Problem making Nitrate Reference Solution - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2016, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Problem making Nitrate Reference Solution

So I had some time to kill today, and thought I would test how accurate my API Nitrate test kit it.

I've read on many forums they are not accurate, and you should calibrate them. I followed these instructions from an old thread by Hoppy.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...-chemists.html

So I run out to the store, buy some distilled water, and some small sealed containers to store the solution. Get home, get out my KNO3 from my GLA ferts, and follow the above instructions.

By this time I am pretty curious to see how accurate my reading are.

Mix it all up, set up five vials to test, and............they are all bright yellow?

I read the thread a little further, and on the second page someone else had the same results, but no one responded as to why.

What am I missing?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2016, 10:02 PM
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Most likely causes are the test kit is faulty, or you do not abuse solution #2 and the test vial sufficiently.

Feel free to edit.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2016, 10:07 PM
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You have to follow the nitrate test kit procedure exactly as it states. Vigorously shake the test tube and the reagent bottle, and do so for the time it says, when it says to do so. Too many people have made the mistake of fudging on that and the test kit says they have no nitrate.

This is one of the reasons for calibrating test kits/devices. You are calibrating your procedure for doing the test as well as the quality of the test kit/device itself.

Hoppy
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2016, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
You have to follow the nitrate test kit procedure exactly as it states. Vigorously shake the test tube and the reagent bottle, and do so for the time it says, when it says to do so. Too many people have made the mistake of fudging on that and the test kit says they have no nitrate.

This is one of the reasons for calibrating test kits/devices. You are calibrating your procedure for doing the test as well as the quality of the test kit/device itself.
Thanks for the responses. I actually did shake the bottle very vigorously before use, and followed the directions. Set a timer for 5 minutes after shaking the mixture for one minute. I use the kit every couple of weeks, and am very familiar with it's use.

The funny thing is I took a reading from the tank at the same time and it showed up at around 10 to 20 on the scale, which is about right for me after a water change yesterday. Yesterday I tested the tank and it was at about 40 to 60, which is also about right at the end of the week (I do about a 75% water change).

Is there any reason my GLA KNO3 wouldn't register at all? I read and re read the instructions, and I'm confident I followed them correctly. I'm going to give it another try, but honestly it basically registered at zero.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-29-2016, 01:28 AM
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I have never worried about nitrate concentration in my tanks, so I don't normally use a nitrate test kit. I have a new kit right now, but the last one I got was about 3-4 years ago, and I tossed it away 2 years ago, after almost never using it. It is entirely possible that there is an error in the calculations for making the nitrate test solutions. When I wrote that I asked that someone verify my calculations, but I'm not sure anyone did. Who wants to volunteer to do it now? (Obviously few, if any, test solutions have been made with this method or there would be more comments about it not working.)

Hoppy
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-29-2016, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I have never worried about nitrate concentration in my tanks, so I don't normally use a nitrate test kit. I have a new kit right now, but the last one I got was about 3-4 years ago, and I tossed it away 2 years ago, after almost never using it. It is entirely possible that there is an error in the calculations for making the nitrate test solutions. When I wrote that I asked that someone verify my calculations, but I'm not sure anyone did. Who wants to volunteer to do it now? (Obviously few, if any, test solutions have been made with this method or there would be more comments about it not working.)
Hoppy thanks for the reply. You know I didn't use a Nitrate kit for about 30 years, kept healthy tanks, and quite frankly never even thought about it. Regular water changes, long lived healthy fish, who cares?

Then I went higher tech, injecting co2, ei ferts, you know the story, and now I am an amateur chemist. Much like you, I doubt it really means much, but I am trying to figure out how to best serve fish and fauna. I'll look into this further and am sure I will figure it out.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-29-2016, 03:26 AM
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Just out of curiosity, are you sure you used KNO3 and not KH2PO4 when you did your test? I ask because the only reason I have the test kit is that I was out of KNO3, but I found a plastic bag half full of what looked like KNO3, but I wasn't able to remember if that was what it was, and there was no marking on the bag. I spent almost $10 to buy the test kit to avoid spending $5 to buy more KNO3. I just put a few crystals of the stuff in a bit of water and tested for nitrates. It was nitrates. There is a hint in this as to why I never made money selling aquarium stuff.

Hoppy
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-11-2016, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Just out of curiosity, are you sure you used KNO3 and not KH2PO4 when you did your test? I ask because the only reason I have the test kit is that I was out of KNO3, but I found a plastic bag half full of what looked like KNO3, but I wasn't able to remember if that was what it was, and there was no marking on the bag. I spent almost $10 to buy the test kit to avoid spending $5 to buy more KNO3. I just put a few crystals of the stuff in a bit of water and tested for nitrates. It was nitrates. There is a hint in this as to why I never made money selling aquarium stuff.
Hoppy I got this figured out. You might find it interesting/amusing.

Check this thread......https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...gredients.html
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