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API Test Kits


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#1
lowlevel

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Hey guys... I'm getting a little annoyed trying to read the API saltwater nitrate test color...

The instructions say to view the test tube against the white portion of the card in good light.... but I'm finding that I can make the water match multiple colors depending on how close I hold the test tube to the white portion of the color chart card.

If I hold the tube right up against the card.. it matches the 40ppt color.
If I hold the tube just slightly away from the card, it matches 20ppt.
If I hold the tube about 2 inches away from the card, it matches 10ppt.

When I get a chance I think I'm going to go buy a different brand test kit... but I figured I would ask in case someone else here also found this and determined what the best 'distance from card' to read the API tests may be.

Edited by lowlevel, 29 March 2012 - 09:37 AM.


#2
altolamprologus

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Holding it just slightly away from the card gives the most accurate result. That said, any reading on an API test kit is too high for a reef and you should do a water change. Doesn't really matter what the actual number is IMO

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#3
PwnMe

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The Nitrate one will be an unmistakable yellow for 0ppm. As Alto said... water change time. The ammonia test can be tricky because it gets cloudy with salt water. I typically test my aquarium against fresh RO water. If the colors match I assume alls good.

#4
Daveg99

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get yourself some better kits. API are notoriously inaccurate. I use a red sea kit.

#5
duoc9119

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My Nitrate test may have gone bad. Consistent reading of 0ppm, feeding twice a day with mysis and pellet mix, with micron sock in the sump.

Going to get a new Nitrate, possibly Salifert or Red Sea depending on what is available around here

#6
banshee

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After testing through my cycle I learned to tell the differences. They never match the card exactly. My Nitrates went from 0 to 160+ and back to 0 over the course of my first 2-3 weeks. It was a great lesson in test reading! Try to get to 0 and keep it there and then you don't have to worry! ;)

#7
PwnMe

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My API tests seem pretty consistent...

#8
mrbigshot

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anything other than bright yellow and you have to do a waterchange. that's how i view it. no mater what the level is imho its to high. i keep my trates at 0
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#9
lowlevel

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Ok, so it's 20 then... I know its high... Just wanted to know how high.. I change about. 12% of the water every week... But yeah looks like I need to do a large one to knock them down.. Since I'm just kind of keeping them at their current level otherwise. Thanks everyone!

#10
Trasheep

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Ok, so it's 20 then... I know its high... Just wanted to know how high.. I change about. 12% of the water every week... But yeah looks like I need to do a large one to knock them down.. Since I'm just kind of keeping them at their current level otherwise. Thanks everyone!


For the ammonia, nitrate and nitrite tests, I used fresh (unused) salt water as a comparison. If you are using RODI, it should not be detectable, in theory that is. There are always exceptions. Just my two cents. :) Good Luck!

#11
modulok

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My nitrates have always been an API reading of 0.

I just got a Hanna Checker for Phosphate and it read .21 ppm. I 've been getting about <.25 on my API test, so that's actually very close. Bad thing is that phos is supposed to be much lower than .25...my reason for getting the Hanna Checker.

#12
Enigma

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I just don't trust the API nitrate test (which I got it the kit). I'm not getting the colour changes that i think i should be getting. I purchased the ELOS nitrate kit yesterday. There is a lot of stuff in the box. It is a more complicated process, and I was assured that it is a good test.

#13
G0nePhishin

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Hey I was having the same problem, I found the solution, although it is a bit silly. Go outside and read it under true real sunlight. Then it is crystal clear what color you have vs what is on the card. It took me a bit to figure this out but it really works!

#14
lowlevel

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Hey I was having the same problem, I found the solution, although it is a bit silly. Go outside and read it under true real sunlight. Then it is crystal clear what color you have vs what is on the card. It took me a bit to figure this out but it really works!


I'll give that a shot... Usually I'm doing my maintenance after midnight so you may be on to something. :huh:

#15
Enigma

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What I discovered is that my nitrate levels are too low to register on the API test. They did register on the ELOS test.

Edited by Enigma, 03 April 2012 - 05:59 AM.


#16
Formula462

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My API tests seem pretty consistent...



As long as they are stored correctly and not expired, they work fine. The only issue I have is sometimes the high range Ph reads a tad low. I have owned and used every test under the sun lol.

If it is at all orange, it's too high.

#17
Enigma

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As long as they are stored correctly and not expired, they work fine. The only issue I have is sometimes the high range Ph reads a tad low.


Have you been able to determine why this happens?

My Ph is a bit lower than I would like it to be (7.8-8), and I'm using the API test. I'm now wondering if I'm doing something that may affect the accuracy of test.

Edited by Enigma, 03 April 2012 - 06:04 AM.


#18
Formula462

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Have you been able to determine why this happens?

My Ph is a bit lower than I would like it to be (7.8-8), and I'm using the API test. I'm now wondering if I'm doing something that may affect the accuracy of test.



No, they just seem to be a little off sometimes. TM Ph kit is my favorite. One drop, match the color.