Nitrite tests - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrite tests

I have five planted tanks that I routinely test for nitrates, nitrites and ammonia. I have been using mainly API test kits and the levels of nitrates are around 5 to 15, ammo is zero, and on the API test kit, the nitrite is zero. However, the API nitrite test kit only goes from zero to .25. I also have a Seachem nitrite test kit, and on that test kit, all my tanks are testing positive for nitrite in the range of .1 or so, sometimes a bit higher.

Since the API kit doesn't have any scale for less than .25, I am wondering if I need to worry about these lower levels according to the Seachem kit?

Why does one kit have such a different measuring scale from the other? Is .25 the first detectable level where we need to take action?

I have tested my RO water that I use for all the tanks, and it tests zero for nitrite on the Seachem test...

Thanks for any feedback,

Lainey
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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I called tech support at API and they said that the action level for nitrite is .5ppm. Therefore, anything under .25 is well below the level where I need to be concerned. I wish more people could confirm this?

Thanks,

Lainey
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 12:54 AM
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For most fish that low a level is not a problem.
Test kits are not so accurate that either could be right or wrong. (There might really be 0 ppm nitrite, anyway)
If you were raising fry that were really sensitive (most fry are more sensitive to everything than their parents) then you could get an even more sensitive and accurate test kit and do something about anything that was a problem for the fry.

Nitrite crosses the gills and enters the blood, causing a problem called Brown Blood Disease. (Go ahead and google this) You can prevent this by adding some salt (sodium chloride) to the water. The dose of salt is 1 teaspoon per 20 gallons, if the nitrite is at 1 ppm. Even that is a lot of salt for this level of nitrite. It is the chloride that is providing the protection.
When the nitrite is reading just a hint of color change on most average test strips or kits there is probably enough chloride from other sources in the tank to provide the protection needed. No need to add more. No need to worry about that trace of color on the test.

Even at .25 to .5 ppm, all I have done is a water change and clean the filter media (rinse and reuse) and the nitrite drops right back down. The bacteria that convert nitrite to nitrate seem to be a bit more sensitive to things, and might reduce their activity for no apparent reason.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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I do have a tank full of two week old blue ram fry. The nitrite reading for their tank is around .1. I can't see a problem with them, but I am a bit wary. The level never goes below .05. I have been reluctant to add salt because I have lots of plants in the tank, but I have been using Seachem Prime.

I guess I am going to continue with the Prime until the babies are a little older just in case, although I really don't know if it's necessary or not.

Thanks for responding...

Lainey
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 01:16 AM
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Even at the rate of 1 teaspoon per 20 gallons this is such a low level of salt there is no issue with plants. You could try as little as 1/4 teaspoon if you wanted to.
Prime will neutralize that little bit.
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