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Old 03-08-2012, 07:50 AM   #1
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"Bottom line" on test kits-a practical question

A few years ago I successfully maintained a FOWLR 110 gal aquarium with no losses (except a copper butterfly that I couldn't get to eat) - I used used lots of skimming and live rock but I didn't even own a test kit. I made regular water changes, stocked the tank on the lite side; and all was well.
Now, years later, I have set up a 210 gallon tank. Similar set-up; lots of skimming, lots of live rock (that I am curing IN the new tank, as I did before) but I've decided to give test kits a try. So - let's talk Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate --- and here is my issue and question:
A) I can't really tell the difference between the different shades of yellowish-greenish- or reddish-purpleish-whatever to match the color with the chart and determine the results
B) ' and now we get to my question: As I am mainly talking about the initial cycling/startup - is it fair to assume that if I see ANY reading on Ammonia and Nitrite that that is "too much" and it doesn't really matter how much/how high it is?
EG - Can I use the test kit as a pass/fail where almost any Ammonia/Nitrite reading tells me the tank is still cycling?
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:02 AM   #2
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I would say as long as you can tell what your zero amount is for nitrite and ammonia then you should be ok and notice the change. What test kit are you using btw?
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EriksFish315
I would say as long as you can tell what your zero amount is for nitrite and ammonia then you should be ok and notice the change. What test kit are you using btw?
Thanks - Im away from the test kit but I think maybe it's an API or ATI
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:53 AM   #4
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API. Good tests IME. And yes, as long as the ammonia and nitrite are 0 you are fine. You probably had success because of the large amount of LR and skimmer to help you out prior to testing. The more LR you have, the more room for beneficial bacteria you have. This also applies to sand. The water volume that you are dealing with also aids with issues of possible spikes in ammonia/nitrite from overfeeding, mass die off, making to many additions at once...so on.
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Old 03-09-2012, 04:22 PM   #5
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I'm about 2 weeks into adding semi-cured live rock and basically (If I am seeing these colors right) Ammonia is zero-very low; Nitrate is 5-10 and Nitrite is through the roof! I assume that the next step will be for the bacteria that love eating Nitrate to catch up and it will drop soon. We shall see
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