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Old 01-05-2011, 03:05 AM   #1
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Wacky API Results: Please Help Me Analyze, Once More...

It seemed like one of my fantails -- the chocolate/gold variant -- was acting a bit whacko, so I decided to run the full gamut of API tests via the chemical freshwater kit. The results bordered on the even more whacko...perhaps someone could help me make sense of them all...

Here's what I seemed to have arrived at:

Ph: 7.6 or possibly even higher
High Range Ph: 8.2? Is this even remotely possible?
Ammonia: 0 to 0.25 -- I STILL cannot get this down to absolute zero
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: Anywhere from 20 to 40 ppm; could even be higher


It's SO difficult to determine certain readings based on the color chart because some of my results seem like they can fall into varying categories of colors; can someone make sense of these readings for me?
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Osage_Winter View Post
Ph: 7.6 or possibly even higher


They only read up to 7.8 (I think) so any reading of the top value should be taken as "see the high range test".

Quote:
High Range Ph: 8.2? Is this even remotely possible?
Sure it is, why wouldn't it be?

Quote:
Ammonia: 0 to 0.25 -- I STILL cannot get this down to absolute zero
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: Anywhere from 20 to 40 ppm; could even be higher


It's SO difficult to determine certain readings based on the color chart because some of my results seem like they can fall into varying categories of colors; can someone make sense of these readings for me?[/QUOTE]

Yep, the colours can be tricky when you're determining absolute levels. However I find that it's quite easy to determine a zero from a non-zero reading, the ammonia is very yellow and the nitrite is light blue. If you're still unsure do a test of your tap water alongside which hopefully will give you a zero reading to compare it to.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:51 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Osage_Winter View Post
Ph: 7.6 or possibly even higher
High Range Ph: 8.2? Is this even remotely possible? It's very possible. There's nothing wrong with 8.2 pH. I've seen successful tropical tanks with a pH of 9+

Ammonia: 0 to 0.25 -- I STILL cannot get this down to absolute zero Hold your test tube against the card under a bright light. I suspect you're actually at zero.

Nitrate: Anywhere from 20 to 40 ppm; could even be higher. Control nitrates with PWCs. I try to keep mine under 20ppm.
My comments above in blue.
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:54 PM   #4
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Thanks Mark...

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Originally Posted by Mark Hewitt View Post
They only read up to 7.8 (I think) so any reading of the top value should be taken as "see the high range test".
I'm going to have to double check this and get back to you...not certain...

Quote:
Sure it is, why wouldn't it be?
I don't know -- I'm just asking because it seemed a bit "out of sorts" for a reading...

Quote:
Yep, the colours can be tricky when you're determining absolute levels. However I find that it's quite easy to determine a zero from a non-zero reading, the ammonia is very yellow and the nitrite is light blue. If you're still unsure do a test of your tap water alongside which hopefully will give you a zero reading to compare it to.
Because the colors look so similar for different comparison tests, I can't determine exactly where they fall into line -- a good example is what you give above, with the Ammonia and such; I can tell Ammonia is in the yellow to very yellow range, so that's not that difficult to determine...but with Nitrate (yes, the Nitrite is definitely an aqua blue, so that is easy as well), the colors could range anywhere from a light shade of orange to a dark shade...I simply cannot determine exactly where this falls with my water sample...
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:57 PM   #5
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Thanks Jim...

Quote:
Ph: 7.6 or possibly even higher
Quote:
High Range Ph: 8.2? Is this even remotely possible? It's very possible. There's nothing wrong with 8.2 pH. I've seen successful tropical tanks with a pH of 9+

Okay...thanks.


Quote:
Ammonia: 0 to 0.25 -- I STILL cannot get this down to absolute zero Hold your test tube against the card under a bright light. I suspect you're actually at zero.



It didn't seem like it was at absolute zero -- but I will rerun it with your suggestion when I get a chance...


Is it not possible that with a fancy goldie tank, ammonia simply will never be absolute zero?

Quote:
Nitrate: Anywhere from 20 to 40 ppm; could even be higher. Control nitrates with PWCs. I try to keep mine under 20ppm.


So under 20 is what I should be shooting for? Is this still within the "orange" color range in the chart?
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:42 PM   #6
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If you're using the new API test kit, I know what you're talking about. Mine too seems to show ammonia readings some where between 0 and 0.25 on all 3 tanks. I also have tested my tanks with my older API kit and it shows no ammonia. So it probably really is at 0.

I liked the old API testing kit better. If no ammonia is present, the water in the tube would stay completely clear. If any ammonia is present, the water in the tube would turn yellow.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:11 PM   #7
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If you're using the new API test kit, I know what you're talking about. Mine too seems to show ammonia readings some where between 0 and 0.25 on all 3 tanks. I also have tested my tanks with my older API kit and it shows no ammonia. So it probably really is at 0.
I suppose I am using the new kit -- I didn't buy it all that long ago, but that may not mean anything based on how retailers like PetSmart keep their stock...

That's good to know, though, that perhaps the ammonia reading is really at zero -- can anyone else confirm this that is familiar with the API kits?

Quote:
I liked the old API testing kit better. If no ammonia is present, the water in the tube would stay completely clear. If any ammonia is present, the water in the tube would turn yellow.
Well, this would be a massive help -- that's how it should be! I don't think I have the "old" kit then, based on what you describe here...

Thanks for your input and help.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Osage_Winter View Post
That's good to know, though, that perhaps the ammonia reading is really at zero -- can anyone else confirm this that is familiar with the API kits?

I have a newer kit and on all of my tanks the water turns yellow, as well. It's more than likely zero. You really need to be in good light, for sure, though. You can barely tell when it turns a wee bit orange unless you hold it against a white backdrop. I used a friend of mines older kit up until recently and hers always stayed clear if it wasn't present.. definitely was much better before!

It's definitely possible to be ammonia free with goldies, just a pain in the rear end sometimes.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:35 PM   #9
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I do exactly what Mark suggested with the ammonia test. I too have trouble telling the difference between 0 and .25 on the card so I will often run a control sample tap water. If they are the same color the tank level is zero. I have to assume there is 0ppm ammonia in my tap water.

With the Nitrates I finf that 10 and 20ppm look the same, but at forty there is a definite redness to the test. I am pretty lucky here as my nitrates stay pretty low at the moment my tanks are well understocked and have live plants.

I also like Jim's advice about being sure you are holding the tubes against the card in a bright light, I find natural or flourescent (sp) from behind works best. If you are unsure about the nitrate do a PWC, and check your ammonia against your tap. I would bet Jim is right and you are at zero.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:52 PM   #10
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Thanks Khalix.

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Originally Posted by Khalix View Post
I have a newer kit and on all of my tanks the water turns yellow, as well. It's more than likely zero.
Whew. Good relief. Seems like that's the concensus.

Quote:
You really need to be in good light, for sure, though. You can barely tell when it turns a wee bit orange unless you hold it against a white backdrop. I used a friend of mines older kit up until recently and hers always stayed clear if it wasn't present.. definitely was much better before!
I could have sworn I was doing these in good light, but there's no question others experience this frustration with the API color charts, as I am discovering...

Quote:
It's definitely possible to be ammonia free with goldies, just a pain in the rear end sometimes.
Uh oh...so perhaps I do have some ammonia in my water...

If there is, it must be minimal though...
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:53 PM   #11
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I do exactly what Mark suggested with the ammonia test. I too have trouble telling the difference between 0 and .25 on the card so I will often run a control sample tap water. If they are the same color the tank level is zero. I have to assume there is 0ppm ammonia in my tap water.

With the Nitrates I finf that 10 and 20ppm look the same, but at forty there is a definite redness to the test. I am pretty lucky here as my nitrates stay pretty low at the moment my tanks are well understocked and have live plants.

I also like Jim's advice about being sure you are holding the tubes against the card in a bright light, I find natural or flourescent (sp) from behind works best. If you are unsure about the nitrate do a PWC, and check your ammonia against your tap. I would bet Jim is right and you are at zero.
You a Pats fan?
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:04 AM   #12
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Yes. I am a huge NFL fan, and have been a Pats fan since the bad old days when I was a kid. Why do you ask?
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:37 AM   #13
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I agree with Saltair. Comparing the difference between 10 and 20ppm can be very frustrating but at forty there is a definite redness to the test. If you start to see red in your test tube, it's probably a good idea to do a PWC.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:46 PM   #14
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Yes. I am a huge NFL fan, and have been a Pats fan since the bad old days when I was a kid. Why do you ask?
I saw where you were from.

I hail originally from New York, but alas -- I am not a Giants or Jets fan, rather a diehard Patriots fan from back in the day as well! To me, there is no better team -- or NFL franchise symbol for that matter -- than when Tony Eason, Steve Grogan and Craig James wore the "Pat the Patriot" emblem on their helmets and uniforms, and I cannot stand the new "Flying Elvis" logo. That has GOT to go.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:46 PM   #15
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I agree with Saltair. Comparing the difference between 10 and 20ppm can be very frustrating but at forty there is a definite redness to the test. If you start to see red in your test tube, it's probably a good idea to do a PWC.
I am uncertain if there is a trace of red per se, but it could definitely be possible -- the water looks like it's due for a PWC anyway.
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:59 PM   #16
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How are things going? PWCs getting any easier?
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:02 AM   #17
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Hello! Thanks for the message!

Well, here's an interesting update -- I haven't done a PWC since we've chatted, but we did pull all the ornaments and plants out of the tank because the diatoms were getting unbearable, and we washed them and scrubbed them down thoroughly with hot water, returned them to the tank, and miraculously, the water has gotten much clearer. The diatoms are now only on areas we couldn't get to -- parts of the bubble wands and the gravel -- but the other stuff doesn't have them anymore, and the water quality since cleaning the decorations seems to have improved almost immediately...

Following the wash down, we topped the water off with some fresh dechlorinated water, and the tank has been remaining clear and clean. How long this will last before the diatoms take over again is anyone's guess, and when that happens, I'll be real angry and disappointed, but for now, the tank looks pretty good...
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:12 AM   #18
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Glad your tank is looking better..just because your tank has experienced a bad case of diatoms doesn't mean it will always be that way.

Have you not done a PWC because of your siphon issues?
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:13 AM   #19
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Glad your tank is looking better..just because your tank has experienced a bad case of diatoms doesn't mean it will always be that way.
Well, I may have spoken too soon -- upon close examination last night, it was clear to my wife and I that the diatoms are back on most of the plant tips again...

I'll begin a new thread on this problem. Look forward to your input.

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Have you not done a PWC because of your siphon issues?
Indeed, I would say...
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:25 AM   #20
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I figured as much. I thought of you the other day, which is why I replied to this thread to see how you were doing. I use a python type siphon on my two aquariums that are near my kitchen, but my son just received a 20 gal tank for his birthday and his bedroom is upstairs. The bath a joining his room was built in 1949 and has an old pedestal sink, so I can't use my python. His tank is a craigslist find and came with it's own siphon but for life of me I couldn't figure out how to get it to work. Watched videos online and still couldn't figure out until in frustration I sat down and kept searching and found this video on Youtube. Her method works like a charm every time! I get my son to hold his thumb on the end of the tube at the bucket, while I fill the other end up with water. So easy! Just had to share incase you wanted to give it a try.

YouTube - Water Siphon Demonstration
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