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Old 04-03-2012, 12:08 AM   #1
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Is it better to test for ammonia or nitrates?

Hi all,

I know that the break down order goes ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, then nitrogen.

But what I want to know is: Which one is better to test for, especially in a new/cycling tank? Or should I test for both ammonia and nitrates?

I currently have a nitrate test kit (NO3-) and the Ammonia Alert stick-on thingy in the two tanks that I am cycling.

Also, any advice on naturally lowering the pH of the tap water that I am using?
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:26 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarioMarimo
Hi all,

I know that the break down order goes ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, then nitrogen.

But what I want to know is: Which one is better to test for, especially in a new/cycling tank? Or should I test for both ammonia and nitrates?

I currently have a nitrate test kit (NO3-) and the Ammonia Alert stick-on thingy in the two tanks that I am cycling.

Also, any advice on naturally lowering the pH of the tap water that I am using?
You should pick up a test kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrATE and pH. I recommend the API master test kit. It has all you need.

To answer your question, one is not better than the other. You need to test for both ammonia and nitrate as well as nitrite during cycling.

You'll need the ammonia test throughout the cycle, and once you have nitrites for a couple days, you start testing for nitrates.

The Ammonia Alert really will not work for this. Pick up liquid test kits-or the API master test (which is what most use here)

How are you cycling the tank? Do you understand how this works?
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:21 AM   #3
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Sort of. This is my second time setting up tanks. Any advice is good though. I have Eco complete (10 gal) with live cultures in one tank which might help to speed up the process for that one but the other tank is just a laterite/sand substrate (6 gal). I have some plants in each tank and one betta in each.

I want to be very careful because I don't want to hurt my fish. I know that I need to test the water very often while I am cycling the new tanks and do this until I dont have any more ammonia and nitrates. I also know that you should do very frequent water changes. I set up these tanks yesterday FYI. The pH was 7.6 (or maybe more) yesterday when I set it up. I am actually going to check the nitrate levels tonight and try to keep a graph.

I suspected that I might need an ammonia kit. I have a pH test kit, and a nitrate kit.

Do you think that I should just get the master kit or the ammonia one if I already have the other ones?
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:43 AM   #4
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Well ammonia and nitrite are most toxic to our fish. Nitrates are the more tolerable. Then PH can be an issue for some tanks as well. My experience is testing for all four on a reg basis helps keep a happy tank especially during a cycle.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:01 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice! I guess I will go get some more tests today. Last night my nitrates were at 0 ppm for both tanks but i guess that doesn't necessarily mean that the ammonia or nitrite is low too?

I feel a little that I was swindled by my LFS guy who recommended that test to me. The nitrate test was 17 dollars! I think that I could have got the multi-test kit for a similar price at petco.

oh well, live and learn.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:03 AM   #6
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Get the master kit, you need all 4 components to be tested. You can get the kit for less than $20 on-line.

Please read this, I'm not sure you're really with us on how the nitrogen cycle works: I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?!

With a fish-in cycle, prepare to do lots of water changes.

Your pH will fluctuate until the tank is cycled.

The guy at the lfs sees dollar signs when you walk in the store. Return the kit you bought and get the API master kit.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:06 AM   #7
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I've heard of the masterkit selling for 18 on amazon :/ ... you can spend a lot of money that you don't need to in this hobby if you aren't on the ball lol especially if you ever decide to go sw...so a word of advice, before you buy something price check it online or check CL
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:03 PM   #8
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Both!

Test everything possible.

Api Master Test Kit

Its really good.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:09 AM   #9
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I purchased the API master test kit and some Ammo Lock yesterday.

My tanks yesterday (day 3) were both at 0ppm for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. The temps were 80 and 78 and the pH was 7.8 for both tanks. But just to be safe I did a 25% water change in the 10 gal and a ~35 or 40% water change in the 6 gal tank. I am going to test it again tomorrow and probably do another water change.

I did read that link and it helped. Thank you.

Luckily I only have one fish in each tank and I knew going into this that I would have to do frequent water changes, so I don't mind that at all. Thank you for the advice about the testing! My fish will be happier for it.
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarioMarimo
I purchased the API master test kit and some Ammo Lock yesterday.

My tanks yesterday (day 3) were both at 0ppm for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. The temps were 80 and 78 and the pH was 7.8 for both tanks. But just to be safe I did a 25% water change in the 10 gal and a ~35 or 40% water change in the 6 gal tank. I am going to test it again tomorrow and probably do another water change.

I did read that link and it helped. Thank you.

Luckily I only have one fish in each tank and I knew going into this that I would have to do frequent water changes, so I don't mind that at all. Thank you for the advice about the testing! My fish will be happier for it.
No need for the ammolock,don't let your ammo get above .25&.reduce it by doing a water change..
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