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Ammonia test strip with fishless cycle


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Hello,
@Cory I have a question about the Ammonia test strips.  What type of test are they.
I am starting a new tank and was putting in Ammonium Chloride (DR. Tims) to do a fishless cycle.  I put in the stated amount for my tank waited 30 min to all mix together and test with the strip but the test strip said I had hardly any so I added a bit more ammonia.  Waited 30 more min but the reading in the strip did not change.  I found that odd so I broke out my API test kit and the ammonia was reading off the charts high.  
I had to do a large water change to bring it down to get the 3 ppm level I was looking for.

My guess is that the reagent that is used in the strip does not react with ammonium chloride but would like to confirm this as to help others who may want to start the cycle in their tank in this manner.  I absolutely love the multi test strips they have made my life much easier lol.

Has anyone else experienced this?

 

0164107B-A213-4554-980B-31C58FDB1775.jpeg

Edited by ARMYVET
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On 6/14/2021 at 9:37 AM, tonyjuliano said:

How many drops of Ammonium Chloride?  What size tank?

The Instructions said 4 drops per gallon. Take tank size (20 gallons) subtract 20 percent to account for decor and substrate....that leaves 16 gallons.  4 drops  x 16 gallons = 64 drops.  I put in 64 drops and waited 30 min to allow tank to fully mix together and performed dip strip test.  it showed almost no ammonia.  I then added 32 more drops and waited another 30 min and retested...same result....got API kit and got the result shown. 

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Bad test strips it seems!  The API result is, appropriately, off the chart.

Drain the tank, start over.  Test for ammonia before dosing again (to account for residual ammonia may be lurking after water drain).

Its kind of important not to exceed 2ppm, as it will lengthen the cycle time.

Are you doing Dr. Tim's bacteria too?

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On 6/14/2021 at 10:22 AM, tonyjuliano said:

Bad test strips it seems!  The API result is, appropriately, off the chart.

Drain the tank, start over.  Test for ammonia before dosing again (to account for residual ammonia may be lurking after water drain).

Its kind of important not to exceed 2ppm, as it will lengthen the cycle time.

Are you doing Dr. Tim's bacteria too?

Well Im just not sure if its bad strips or if these strips are not meant to read ammonium chloride.   I just have a hard time believing anything from the CO-Op is bad...LOL

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On 6/14/2021 at 10:59 AM, tonyjuliano said:

Ammonia is ammonia.

Doesn't make sense.

You could be right...but there are some dechlorinators that specifically say theat they cannot use certain types of tests eg salifert so I just didnt know if this could be a similar situation.  

I did a water change that first  evening to bring it down it a readable level. I am not in a rush so once I got it down to about 4 ppm Ill figured i would let it cycle out and let the plants enjoy all the nitrates...lol

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I wanted to follow up as I never had problems with the testing of these strips before releasing. 

The lab that creates our test strips confirms it can test NH3 and NH4. 2 minute video shows them doing the test to show the difference at different ppm. Are you following the directions to dip it in and out of the water per these directions?

Holding the end of the test strip, dip into the aquarium
ensuring the test pad is submerged, gently swirl the
test strip for 30 seconds.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

@Cory  Thank you for the follow up ...it is greatly appreciated!

Yes sir.  I read the bottle before the first test and after the first test just to make sure I didnt screw it up some how which is not without possibility.

After the 3rd attempt is when I went and got the API test and got the result shown.  I even went so far as to wait until the next day thinking maybe I had not given enough time for it to mix together and tested again and still the same result.

It was at that point  I even tried dipping the strip directly into the bottle of Dr. Tims and still got no reading.   

 

If there is another test or procedure you would like me to try for you I would be happy to and video it for you so you can see if I am doing something wrong which again I could be. 

I only asked in case there was an issue to bring it to your attention and to try to help others.

Edited by ARMYVET
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I wonder if this is a case of Dr tim's product having a problem? On this other reef forum, people are having problems with ammonia being way too high from it. The directions look to be the same still. I'm wondering if you were to put less ammonia in to say a 1 liter, and then test with our strip if it would then read correctly.

Lots of test strips geek out when something is way out of parameter.  The api test kit shows at least 8, but it could be higher then that even.  If I find some time, I may run this test myself. I'm not a fan of fishless cycling, but info like this could be helpful for those who do it in the future.

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/dr-tims-ammonium-chloride-4-drops-per-gallon-is-wrong.325708/

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On 6/15/2021 at 1:59 PM, Cory said:

I wonder if this is a case of Dr tim's product having a problem? On this other reef forum, people are having problems with ammonia being way too high from it. The directions look to be the same still. I'm wondering if you were to put less ammonia in to say a 1 liter, and then test with our strip if it would then read correctly.

Lots of test strips geek out when something is way out of parameter.  The api test kit shows at least 8, but it could be higher then that even.  If I find some time, I may run this test myself. I'm not a fan of fishless cycling, but info like this could be helpful for those who do it in the future.

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/dr-tims-ammonium-chloride-4-drops-per-gallon-is-wrong.325708/

 

@Cory

I am willing to do furthur to try to help.....I will get 4 1 gallon bottles of Distilled water on my way home tonight and run 4 tests.

Bottle 1 one drop

bottle 2  two drops

bottle 3 three drops

bottle 4 four drops 

and run a strip into each one and photo the results and send them to you here or if you have a email I can send that way as well.

Anything at all I can do to help us all learn I am willing to do.

 

 

 

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I should be receiving some ammonium chloride from Dr Tims on Thursday. I will test this as well in an empty 10 gallon and post the results. 

Just out of curiosity, why are you not a fan of fishless cycling @Cory?

I typically use cycled filter media, growing plants and patience to cycle my aquariums as I do not enjoy the fishless cycling process.

Unfortunately I do not have these things for my new saltwater tank so I will be using ammonium chloride and bottled denitrifying bacteria to cycle a sponge filter & some dry rock. I will also be getting some aqua-cultured live rock as well to help speed things along. 

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Just for reference, I’m cycling a couple of tanks right now with ammonium chloride (also Dr. Tim’s) and both my API liquid and ammonia test strips concur.

I do the liquid tests 2x a week, and use the strips on the other days.  I’m following this particular cycle very closely, because I’m trying to establish an anoxic filter using a slow-flow plenum.

Strips are Bosike brand, and are FDA certified for ammonia readings.

One thing you have to be careful about ammonia test strips is keeping humidity out of the storage container.  Any “dampness” affects accuracy.  The Bosike strips have a special vapor absorbing cap for storage.

Edited by tonyjuliano
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This pic is of the test strips…now please remember that almost 40 min has passed since the control test to the end …notice how after 40 min how even the control test strip that started out showing zero has discolored…this is due to the oxidation of the strip just sitting. 
 

7CB9C505-B51A-4809-9C84-0174C4F4A666.jpeg.1081afefee12bf4035848b0936036e5d.jpeg

strip 4 is lighter than the control because it has been sitting less. 

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