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About Me

Found 5 results

  1. A few months back my tap water changed and I noticed the pH in a couple of my smaller tanks (2.5 and 10 gallons) kept crashing seemingly randomly. After doing some testing I discovered that my KH was extremely low, causing the pH to drop from 7.2 to almost 6 in less than a day. I have since resolved this issue with crushed coral in those tanks, however my two larger tanks (29&60 gallons) haven’t experienced this problem, which I believe to be a result of the seiryu stone I have in these tanks. My tap water comes out at 7.2 pH, 2 KH, and 2 GH. I have not tested aged tap water, but I am going to set out some to age today and will update on that. After testing the largest tank today, the parameters within it are 7.2 pH, 3 KH, and 6 GH. The substrate is a layer of gravel capped in pool filter sand and the only other hardscape is Malaysian drift wood. Filtered by 2 larger co-op sponge filters. Is it true that the seiryu stone is causing the increase, and should I do something else to buffer the KH and GH to prevent a pH crash? I’m wary to add aragonite sand or crushed coral to this tank because it houses my 3 African butterfly fish, which I know prefer more acidic and soft water. Thanks for the advice!
  2. New Fluval test kit has PH reading 5.5-6! As did my tap water and bottled water. I exchanged it for a new one today thinking it was faulty. Aquarium store also tested their water and got same results as mine. Tried again. Same results. Local city water tests at 7.2 to 7.8. My research says chlorine can throw off results? What is going on with this reagent? Any ideas? First pic is first test. Second pic is new kit with aquarium water on left and tap water on right.
  3. Hi all! So I have had my planted tank for a week as of today, and I have a few questions. Should I wait before doing water tests with the API Master Water Testing Kit or test as I go through the cycle. Should I have waited to plant until it the tank had cycled? I have seen answers go either way, my Vallisneria appears to be "melting" which I understand is normal as it adjusts to the new tank. I guess my question is when should I worry that it's gone? I did do a test this morning. Nitrates looked to be at 2 PPM, Ammonia was 0, and Nitrate was 0. PH was 7.6 on the standard, 7.4 on the High PH Test. Im wondering if these numbers mean anything at all in this one week. I feel a bit dumb to be honest cause I watch videos, and read articles and everything seems to either go in either direction. Thanks in advance!
  4. Most of the time when I test my nitrites, the first one looks like the bottom tube and the second time looks like the top tube. These tests were done literally one right after the other. I fill a beaker with aquarium water, then use a 3ml plastic dropper to fill my API test tubes. Then I shake the indicator solution, dispense 5 drops, cap and invert the tube for 5-10 seconds. Then I do it a second time. I rinse the tubes, shake them out, and let them dry until the next day. Test kit is not expired; I bought it brand new in August and just opened it in December. Why is it like this? It does this almost every time I test. I sometimes test 3 times. The latter two tests show up light blue, no trace of purple. So what’s going on? The only other test that gives me problems is the API nitrate test; it consistently reads higher than my Salifert nitrate test. If it’s relevant, the pH is 6.0 lately. I’m not sure why...I don’t have any fish in it and I do 10-50% water changes every few days. Just plants and snails. I have ADA Tropica and it was dropping my pH to 6.2-6.4 but lately more like 6.0. I am not sure which test to believe. The tank has been running for almost 2 months. Ammonia always tests 0 (since just over 3 weeks ago I guess). I’m just wondering what could be causing this...never had it happen that I can remember Thanks for your help!
  5. I know I know, Cory has done a video on this. But I am a numbers and charts person, so I wanted to offer some more data on this topic. I have a background in chemistry and I know a lot of you NERMS on here like this sort of detailed analysis, so here it goes. Once I saw the video, I thought it was genius! Of course! If you are in the ballpark, much better to use those quick test strips (which you will use more often than the liquid kit because they are so easy. As a reminder, you can see Cory's video here: Because I thought this was great info, I went out and bought some test strips to compliment my API test kit. Of course, like any info on the internet, I also wanted to test it. I did a quick test a few weeks ago and got very different results. Whoa! That's weird, and not what Cory's video showed! So today I sat down and did some more precise testing/recording numbers. For this experiment, we have to accept that the human eye just sucks at interpreting color accurately. If we wanted to get super precise numbers, we would want something like a spectrometer, but that's not financially realistic for the average person. (Doesn't mean I'm not looking 'em up on ebay after this...) I have two different tanks I tested this on, but only once each time. One is a planted 60 gallon community tank and the other is a 10 gallon snail tank. I try to keep the gH higher in the snail tank for shell health, so that measurement is particularly important. Both tanks are moderately/heavily planted. The snail tank is overstocked, but I'm pretty diligent about water changes. The Community tank is a little understocked, and please note that I administered some General Cure today to deworm, so that could potentially interfere with results. When I did the test, I had to break my bad habit of not shaking the API test kit for a full minute. You can categorize this under "I am smarter than the sum knowledge of all fishkeepers." arrogance. Surely, not shaking for a full minute couldn't make that big a difference, right? Well, I can get into my previous quick and dirty results, but yes, you need to shake for the full minute. I got very different nitrate results when doing this. Anyway, you can't test the API kit if you aren't going to use it according to the instructions. Please note that I DID NOT USE THE API TEST KIT FOR pH. I have a pH meter which I consider to be the most accurate option available, therefore I compared the test strip to the API kit on nitrate, nitrite, gH and kH. You can see the results below in chart and list form: OK, so what are we seeing? Well first we're seeing that my nitrate levels in my tank are WAY high and I need to fix it, but that's for another day. Within the community tank, everything is pretty much the same between Tetra and API. This is consistent with Cory's results. Now if we look at the Snail tank, we see some variation. Ph and nitrite are looking the same, but gH, kH, and most concerningly nitrate are showing differences. The difference in nitrate could be because of the logarithmic scale it uses to refer to color. Ever notice how the measurement chart jumps from 0, to 5, to 10, then 20, then 40, etc? It's a bigger and bigger difference with each color change on the chart. So if you have a very high concentration that you are reading, and you're having trouble reading it, your mistake matters more than if you were reading something closer to 5. (Ex. Is it 5 or 10? Eh, it's close. Is it 40 or 80? Whoa, big difference!) I did have trouble figuring out the color of the nitrate on the API test kit; I have included pictures of the results here so that others can give input, if you like. Please note that because I thought the API nitrate reading was between 40 and 80 ppm, I split the difference and called it 60ppm. I have no explanation for the difference in KH and GH readings. API results for Snail tank: Tetra test strip Snail tank results: OK so what does all of this mean? I think it means that if your tank is generally healthy and you are just doing regular water checks (once a week, once a month, etc) and you want a heads up on anything that might be an issue, you're probably ok using the Tetra test strips. But if you are having issues with something, you may want to try the API kit. BUT, I would argue that we don't really know which method is more accurate. Within the fish community, we sing the praises of the accuracy of the API Master test kit. But why? What are we comparing it to? Well, we have reports of the test strips going bad very easily, so that's one reason. But ideally, I would want to measure my water parameters with a mass spectrometer (this is me being a super nerd- it is a scientific instrument which gives you VERY accurate reports of concentration. Again, not realistic for the home hobbyist at all! But has anyone every tried it? Ever? Anywhere? I expect API did the testing, but those aren't exactly easy to look up. Why do we choose API as the best? I think it's worth considering. Tl;dr The API Master test kit has fairly similar results to the Tetra strips if you are measuring low concentrations (everything in your tank is going as expected,) but there can be major differences if you have something like nitrates very high. This is because it's tough for the human eye to read colors accurately. I have no explanation for the differences in kH and gH in one tank but not the other. Also, consider that we don't necessarily know that the API Master kit is the most accurate. Everyone says it is, but what are we comparing it to? Thanks for coming to my TED talk. lol I don't work as a chemist anymore so sometimes it's just nice to get this out of my system. I hope some folks find this helpful/interesting.
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