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does everyones ammonia and pH never look like the color in the chart?


My ammonia looks like .25 than when i pour it out it looks half .25 than half at 0.


my pH looks VIOLET but the chart has a dark purple color.


i am especially concerned with the ammonia 70% says its 0 30% says its .25-.10

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Color match test kits are notorious for giving false/hard to ridership readings. Add to that API is not known for the most accurate test kits and you will likely get frustrated using them. To optimize your success make sure you are only making readings with the correct 5ml of tank water (I'd advice picking up a syringe for this) and look at the color card to make comparisons in the whitest lighting possible.


To be completely honest, If you really want to test accurately and have a solid piece of mind you have two options.

1) Either upgrade your test kits to another brand for the added reliability and look into something like the red sea pro kits which have a specially designed color comparator.

2) Test your water and write down results. Then go to one or more LFS and ask them to test your water and compare your results to see if your kit is in line with theirs to give you an idea of the test accuracy.

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yeah, i'm with ya on the API ammonia test. I'm 2 weeks into the cycle.. maybe.. I dunno.. stupid test! The only way I can tell is if I compare it to a sample vial from my frag tank. The new tank is just slightly darker in color.

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Pseudocheilinus hexataenia

I agree with most of the above. API was never a great company for quality, but for price they were almost impossible to beat. Their test kits pretty much suck. If you got them, though, use them.


If you do plan to take your testing more seriously I would suggest purchasing some glassware for your testing purposes. A glass, bulb syringe and a few thin test tubes will work just dandy and cost $10 at most. Not only are they reusable, they're easily cleaned with distilled water which will prevent any cross contamination you might experience with plastic syringes and test tubes.


Just a suggestion.

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i took water to a LFS once and he got hte saem readings as mine but he used the same test kit as mine -_-

If hes getting similar readings that a positive at least you have a standard between tests which means they are likely moderately accurate.


I can also second the glassware and syringe if you plan on testing frequently it will likely yield better results. It is also good to note that tests such as Nitrate are as simple as any color change do a water change :P Which pretty much means keep the card looking as close to 0 as possible! Same for phosphate, pH really isn't to big of a deal right now either. The key to pH is keeping it stable! Also the first few months your tank is settling and it will likely fluctuate which is expected.

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Pseudocheilinus hexataenia
If hes getting similar readings that a positive at least you have a standard between tests which means they are likely moderately precise.


Also, might I suggest placing the results up against a stark white sheet of printer paper and comparing. The background noise from your room or where ever you're testing might be giving you that 70-30% appeal.


Lastly, it may be a lack of reagent that is preventing a complete color change. Is the 30% at the top or bottom of the vial? If it's at the top, I would assume it's a reagent issue. This is on the assumption the reagent added increases the molecular weight of the product and causes some settling. I don't know the chemistry first hand, so again, this is an educated guess.

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