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Old 05-23-2011, 05:32 PM   #1
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testing with API vs Tetra - totally different results - help!

I am cycling a 10 gallon fish only. Added one shrimp in nylon about 3 weeks ago. Did one water change to bring down ammonia, and did another water change this weekend because nitrites and nitrates were getting high. Each 25%.

Tested this morning and nitrites on the API test were very hard to read. It was purple, putting it at mid range, but it was VERY purple, and given the stage of cycle I am in I assumed it was probably more off the charts even though it wasn't pink at all.

I also tested the nitrates using API. I shake and wait when I am supposed to, so assume I get a good reading. I use this same kit for my freshwater and have been able to match up results with the LFS (although not for a while) The result came up about 20. No need for another water change yet.

So I go to LFS to have water tested to make sure I match what they find. They use a TETRA kit. Not surprising, the nitirites were way high. I had guessed that. But...the nitrates were off the chart as well, over 100 and in the red. !!!! Way different than what I got with the API. So I bought a TETRA kit but have not used it yet. Will decide what to do with that based on what you tell me here.

I was confused by these results. So, I come home and again tested very carefully with the API kit and it barely registers over 10! When just an hour ago the LFS said (and I saw) it was over 100.

I know I need to do another big water change, but I need to be able to trust my test kits. I live too far away from the LFS to have them test it each week as I will need to do with new tank.

Any ideas for me?
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Old 05-23-2011, 05:42 PM   #2
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Why would you do a water change to reduce ammonia? Removing ammonia just delays the cycle even more. Stick with the API ones...quite reliable IMO. May I ask what is your source of bacteria and a place for it to colonize? A piece of live rock would suffice, or even those fluval ceramic rings they sell.

If you don't have sufficient areas for colonization the bacteria will never get a jump on the ammonia. (I doubt your nitrates are 100 ppm, you'd have to have one heck of a bacteria population, or something that just plain leeches nitrates into the water)
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Old 05-23-2011, 05:57 PM   #3
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My ammonia was off the charts over 8 - too high to be beneficial and possibly detrimental - but no one ever answered my question completely on my other thread.

Bacteria source = one shrimp

BTW ammonia was zero on both tests - the cycle has begun and progressed well to this point

I have the tank and decorations and a small amount of rock. Not ideal, but that is what I am trying to work with at the moment.

Thanks for the start - but what do I do about my nitriate readings that barely register 10 right now, which is actually less than this morning?
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:12 PM   #4
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Did you say you used the same test on fw as sw? That could be why you're coming up with different numbers
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:14 PM   #5
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Also youll be testing more than once a week
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:21 PM   #6
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My API ammonia test says it works for both fresh and salt
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:24 PM   #7
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the chems work on both the only difference is the color chart that and sw master kit has high range ph while fw master has normal ph other than that there all the samw
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:33 PM   #8
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I know I will be testing many times a week once I get fish in there, at least for the the first couple months. That is why I am upset about the test differences. I gotta be able to know what the right answer is in order to take the correct action.

My kit does say both salt and fresh. I looked for expirations dates but didn't see any.

Do I bust open the TETRA kit, or trust the API?
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:36 PM   #9
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trust apii or go expensive and go saifert(sp?) most accurate kit there is and look at the lot # that's expiration date the last 4 digits are manufacturing date it goes mm/yy for example 0109 was made jan of 09 the chems are good for 4-5 yrs i beleive
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:37 PM   #10
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There should be numbers on the bottom of the bottle that will tell you when it was made. An old test kit causes problems. I dont remember the order in which it goes but the production date is the last 4 digits
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