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The dilution solution….


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No, I am not talking about water changes…

Rather I am talking about the difficulty in distinguishing between some color changes on strips and liquid tests…


Is this vial showing 10 or 20 ppm nitrate?  Awfully hard to distinguish between the two.  I know many people would say “who cares?” It is obviously less than 40 ppm…


Yes, but Iam trying daily dosing of easy green to maintain daily 20 ppm in order to maybe optimize plant growth and minimize algae.


testing a 5 ml sample of tank water, and then a 50% dillution of tank water helps to distinguish between 10 and 20 ppm…  if the color is pretty much the same, the tank is closer to 20 ppm… if seriously paker it is closer to 10 ppm…


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I had someone show me the method of laying it over the area on the chart and the result will kind of be "invisible" through the liquid. 

It hasn't worked great for me, but it might for certain water chemistry and levels. 

Overall I am still perplexed that there aren't more reliable means of testing these things.  It hasn't changed much in 25 years, really.  All methods of their weaknesses.  I like the ACO test strips for nitrate and nitrite, I think they work really well for that.  My water is very hard, and the rest of the tabs aren't worthwhile for me.  

pH tests from API, for me, have been difficult to interpret.  Sera makes a test that I find slightly better for pH.  But I also bought a Milwaukee pH tester recently because I have become tired of the seeming shifting of liquid test results. 

I know there are some multi testers that are expensive and use expensive discs of some sort, but I suspect those also have huge drawbacks.  I try to lay off testing very much, honestly.  I find it frustrating. 


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On 4/23/2023 at 8:08 AM, jwcarlson said:

I try to lay off testing very much, honestly.  I find it frustrating. 

It is indeed.  A 50% dilution will not work with ph, but does with ppm.  I find it useful insofar as giving a second view, second chance.


I also bought a digital ph meter and buffering powders.  I found the meter I bought virtually useless…. I have not found the API liquid PH tests to be terribly variable myself in my use of them, but I can certainly understand the irritation that would engender.

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I have only had this meter for a week or so.  The results make sense and mimic what I consider to be accurate results through other means.  It was a meter suggested on an apistogramma forum and was about $150.  I don't know what time you purchased, but I think the inexpensive ones on Amazon are useless.  This one I have has to be stored in a little bath of storage solution and requires some periodic calibration.  A pain, I'm sure.  But I don't know a way around pH that tests wildly variable.  

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On 4/23/2023 at 7:58 AM, Pepere said:

daily dosing of easy green to maintain daily 20 ppm

Interesting, however I really like the Hanna testers myself rather that test strips (Fact is I tossed all of the test strips.)

I only test every so often, once a month or so.

Also, I don`t use any type of fertilizers anymore because it's a waste of money. (I also don`t have a lot of plants because I usually kill them and found out that plants aren`t needed, go ahead and drink the Kool-Aid.)

Last time I checked my nitrates they were around 0.20ppm.

Good luck.🥸


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I might not “need” plants, but I sure do like them.  And the fish seem to like swimming in and amongst them too.

neither myself or my fish seem to enjoy artificial plants nearly as well…

Plant growth and aquascaping the plant arrangements is a big part of my enjoyment of the hobby.

If it brings you no pleasure you do well to avoid it.

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