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Ammonia test strip with fishless cycle


ARMYVET
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Is that blue on the test strip caused by the oxidation of the reagents in the test strip or did you take this picture directly after pulling it out of the water? I would say if that is a "fresh" strip that Cory's initial thought is likely correct that the test strip is "geeking" out. Either that or your dessicant has failed and your test strips are toast. It happens no matter how good your QC team is.

 

Ammonium chloride dissolves into water extremely well and makes NH4+ and Cl- which are both commonly found in aquarium water so the specific compound is not reacting in a rare fashion to the test strips. For the curious the dissociation chemical reaction is: NH4Cl(solid) = NH4+(aqueous) + Cl-(aqueous). NH4+(aqueous) +H2O(liquid) = NH3(aqueous) +H3O+(aqueous) H3O+ +OH- = 2H2O.

Edited by Biotope Biologist
I am a scientist because grammar is a pain
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On 6/15/2021 at 8:59 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-employee monitoring-chloride-4-drops-per-gallon-is-wrong.325708/

I just experienced the same, my ammonia is off the charts with the recommended dosing.

What's the recommended path forward? 75%water change or just let the bacteria munch a little longer?

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On 6/16/2021 at 5:15 AM, rupalimittra said:

I just experienced the same, my ammonia is off the charts with the recommended dosing.

What's the recommended path forward? 75%water change or just let the bacteria munch a little longer?

I did a 50-70 percent water change which brought down my level to about 4 ppm.  I know that is still high but I am not in a rush to have it finished.  I plan on adding shrimp and snails and giving the extra time for algae and biofilm to develop is good for my situation. This also allows the plants time to settle in and get acquainted to their new home and start to grow. Which I am already seeing some growth.  I have been testing it every day but decided last night to just let it go until sunday and then do a test just to see the progression. I am starting to see some green algae starting on the drift wood which I am happy about. so Its going ok. 

 

I would recommend for you to do a water change...get it down to 2-3 ppm of ammonia and then sit back and just let things progress. 

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On 6/16/2021 at 9:28 PM, Cory said:

Still working with the lab. Can you try dipping the strip in and out of the water instead of swirling it for 30 seconds. They sent over several videos, but I'm only posting one here as an example.

 

 

Yes sir I will try that method when I get home.  I still have the gallon of water with the 4drops of the ammonium chloride in it. 
 

I will post the results shortly. 
 

Thank you

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@Cory

ok I performed the procedure exactly as is shown in the video.   Taking the strip and dipping in and out of water for 30 seconds.

Just to recap this is the gallon of distilled water that has 4 drops of the DR.Tim’s ammonia chloride.  4 drops should have a reading of 2 ppm. 
 

Here is the test strip results..

D3E2B2E4-C869-498C-8B1B-8462441A399F.jpeg

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At this point, it'll probably require me getting quite a bit of it. Sending one thing of dr times off for analysis to make sure, then have the lab making the strips do their test etc. It's strange we only ran into this with the dr tims, not other lab grade solutions or fritz etc.

I appreciate the offer though.

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On 6/16/2021 at 11:45 PM, Cory said:

At this point, it'll probably require me getting quite a bit of it. Sending one thing of dr times off for analysis to make sure, then have the lab making the strips do their test etc. It's strange we only ran into this with the dr tims, not other lab grade solutions or fritz etc.

I appreciate the offer though.

I understand …please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help in any way! 

Just to let you know …the cycle is under way in the aquarium…your multitest strips showed I had nitrites and a test with the API kit showed the exact same result. 
Here is the ammonia and nitrite API test confirming your multitest strip. 

BDAB7CF9-586D-4715-A20A-414309F5FE3A.jpeg

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On 6/16/2021 at 8:45 PM, Cory said:

It's strange we only ran into this with the dr tims, not other lab grade solutions or fritz etc.

seems to me you're most likely to have success with high purity analytes.  If I've learned anything its that chemistry is weird and that for any given assay you'll run into conditions where it just doesn't work right.  It's always nice to know what those conditions are though.

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@Cory I ran a similar experiment as to what @ARMYVET did and the results are below:

19D34FF9-8DBD-410E-B6BC-CD0ABE0840CE.jpeg.b94d76f632c7679752962c082611c0d9.jpeg
I used approximately 1 gallon of tap water (was not dechlorinated), an api ammonia test kit, dr tims ammonium chloride and a brand new unopened bottle of aquarium co-op test strips. 
D1A4F043-D76A-4EC6-AE00-1D334427D068.jpeg.3b6ef9edba966f98c9b327e7c33fdd1d.jpeg

I did my initial test without any ammonium chloride and the test strip showed 0 ammonia. 
46611B42-824B-4A87-9AB3-D7D3D4408C12.jpeg.04b16dab55270a47dfd1e990d9fcfe89.jpeg

The api test kit also showed zero ammonia. 

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3F9C7659-EC77-4CDF-8559-597E4DF8CEBB.jpeg.c1e9830a49c3fd7e0f0711ea7937aa26.jpeg

Then I added some ammonium chloride and the test strip showed a color between 0.5 and 1.0 ppm of ammonia. I used the dipping method as shown in the videos. 
0A97FEAD-E0B2-4ABD-9F04-68CE6B54D381.jpeg.9f700310de6fef8d10bcf2be4536b134.jpeg

The api test resulted in 1ppm of ammonia. 
 

After this, I added quite a bit of ammonium chloride to see if I could get the test strip to change color to that darker blue 6ppm reading. 
81BBACAA-7AD3-4401-BA4C-829E53DCD9D9.jpeg.ba9ab2da1a0db0c23fbd488ab3690c5e.jpeg

The test strip result showed the same color as the test before. This is consistent with what @ARMYVET experienced in his testing. 
CB94180E-A8A0-4605-85FE-7EF244C39177.jpeg.31505e921804ddcff048525446d00ec0.jpeg

The api test kit provided a color that I believe to be off the charts as it does not look like the colors on the chart but maybe its just my eyes. 

It appears to me however that the test strips show the same reading regardless of the amount of ammonium chloride added to the water.

I can run this test again tomorrow with ro/di water and more controlled drops if needed. I was in a bit of a rush today unfortunately. 

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It appears both products have yielded their titration curve maxima. For those unfamiliar a titrant usually only yields accurate concentrations to a certain concentration value. After that the titrant becomes ineffective at measuring exact concentrations. 

 

While I admit it's weird that they have yielded below their apparent threshold given the color chart, 6ppm of ammonia is alot and certainly wouldn't be encountered in any real world water test. Perhaps attempt to get as close to 3.0-4.0ppm and report back.

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If @Coryever starts up an internal  R&D Department.....Im moving to Edmonds Washington and applying...LOL 

I can spend hours running tests trying to figure out an issue and find it enjoyable.  I know serious NERM. Funny thing is you see what I have posted here...if you only knew what I was trying before I posted...😂  I didn't know if it was because of my tap water was having something else in it interfering with the test  so I tried my r/o filtered drinking water and then I tried my well water....yeah I was Nerming out for 2 days before posting here lol.

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