No nitrate or nitrite

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All API tests are inaccurate you get what you pay for.. Also did you do research before getting the lion and eel? The API strips are truly hopeless liquid is way better but salfrite or the good digital testers are the best

The API Saltwater Master Kit is actually quite accurate and worth it imo/ime. If you're still cycling your tank, it's a very inexpensive way to check your pH, ammonia and nitrites. Down the road, you will probably want to go with a different brand to check your nitrates if you do a reef tank.

For the reef test kits, I'd definitely agree that API kits are worthless. To check your Calcium, Magnesium, and Alkalinity I'd use a better test kit like Red Sea, Elos, and/or Salifert.

The digital meters are nice but really only come into play if you have several tanks and/or can afford to spend the $ on them.
Ok someone said the test strips were junk so maybe it is there I just can't get a reading. If my tank isn't cycled why isn't it, and how do I make it cycle? I saw the ammonia go up....then down...

The LFS said the predators are hardier and better to start with than others, so what's this about BETTER filtration. He never mentioned anything about not keeping them in that size tank when they're that small. In fact he said it was fine until they grew. A 30 gal just for the DWARF lion...?
9 times out of 10, the LFS is NOT a good source of info. I'm lucky, I have a good one.
An aquarium's biological filter depends on the beneficial bacteria, we've already discussed. This converts deadly ammonia into slightly less deadly nitrite, and then into unpleasant, but fairly innocuous nitrate. Like any living organism, these bacteria need food to survive.
With a "normal" setup, you feed a little every day, the fish poop a little every day, the bacteria eat the poop every day. But with a predator tank, especially fully grown preds, you don't feed very often. Sometimes as little as once a week. So, for several days, nothing at all is feeding the biological filter. Then in one day, massive fish poop, and it drops twice what the filter can handle.
I'm not saying you cannot have a small predator tank, just that it requires some very special consideration. What the LFS guy *probably meant* is that if you forget to feed a fish that needs to eat twice daily, the problems are larger than forgetting to feed a fish that can go weeks between meals.
Re: Keeping fish in small tanks until they grow. Very very very common misconception is that "a fish will grow to the size of it's environment" and be perfectly ok. There's a lot of biochemistry involved, but rather than bore everyone to tears, let's sum it up.
If an adult fish requires at least 50 gallons and 4 feet of swimming space, then a baby of that species requires THE EXACT SAME amount and size.
And absolutely 30 for a dwarf! The smallest dwarf lion can reach 5 inches in length, but most dwarf lions top out at about 8 or 9. Doesn't sound dwarf? The volitans lion (standard size) gets a foot and a half long. A 1 foot by 2 foot tank is just not enough space, even for a dwarf.
Anytime a LFS employee says "Oh it'll be fine for now" or "This expensive one here is the easiest" or really any bold statement that he/she cannot back up with facts, numbers, or sources.... it's a lie. He or she is trying to make a sale.
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