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Reading Aquarium Co-Op Water Test Strips


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Hello everyone! I'm having difficulty reading my water test strips. If you look at the attached photo, the KH square is blotchy and could be a couple different colors. Most of the time the pH and and GH squares are blotchy too. Do I read the darkest color or lightest? Am I waiting too long to read? Not long enough? Bad batch? I'm following the instructions exactly, swirl for 3 seconds, keep flat, then read after 60 sec. This picture was taken right at 60 seconds.

Any help is appreciated as I'm trying to balance a planted tank and I just don't have confidence in the water conditions to know what adjustments I can or should make.

image_67147009.JPG

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This happens to me when I leave my test strips out for too long, or when I seem to have to much water on the pad.

For a planted tank you’re going to want your nitrate up to probably around 20ppm. I'm sure you know that, just putting in my two cents😁

Agree with @Streetwise, Cory would know best as the developer of the product.

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To me it looks like the water from each pad has run into the ones around it. This happens to me fairly frequently. Because of that, I tend to set my test strips on a piece of foam or terra cotta or even a towel so the dye on each pad can’t run into the other.

Try that and see what you get! My guess is the buffer is actually quite low (the lightest color).

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When we are taught to use urinalysis test strips, we dunk, tap off the excess, then lay them on a paper towel to prevent any reagent from floating from one test block to another.  I’ve always used basically this same technique although I don’t usually use a paper towel since it’s not urine.  😆 Gently tapping off the excess water with the strip sideways, not vertical, I think is important to minimize reagent bleed and improve accuracy.

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