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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrates not registering?

I just mixed my first batch of KNO3 solution per chucks calculator and added enough to raise my 75 gal aquarium to 5 ppm nitrates from 0 ppm. (In the past I have been using the botanica nitrogen fert by Kent) After doing this I waited a few hours and checked the nitrates again with my seachem nitrate test kit that has been working fine all week. The nitrates were still zero I added the same dose 3 more times while measuring a few hours after adding each dose. It started to read the nitrate but at very low levels. One of the fish began acting stressed out (breathing at the surface) so I did a 30% water change. The fish is back to normal now. I ordered another seachem test kit today as I think this must be the problem. I don't have any ref solution left so I can't check the kit today. I do remember somebody giving a formula to make some ref soln. Has anyone one had a similar experience and does anyone know how to make the ref soln.

Thanks in advance!!
Dave
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 12:35 AM
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Rule #1. Never test your test kit in the tank. You should instead dose a bucket to a known level and use that water to test the test kit.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 01:13 AM
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You should be able to use Chuck's calculator of figure out how to create a reference solution. I once used it to create a gallon of distilled water with 20 ppm (I believe) of N.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
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This is very weird- I just remeasured the NO3 level (5 hours since my last water change)and it is at 10 ppm.--I have not added anything to the water but 1 teaspoon of baking soda. I don't know why the test read so low earlier in the day after I had added the KNO3. I ran the test in the exact same way as I did earlier in the day and used the same test kit. Can kh affect the seachem nitrate test???, Does KNO3 take a long time to diffuse??? what is going on here??
Dave
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 03:43 AM
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I'd say the test kit is probably bad.

I went through the same thing a while back. Tests would be fine one day and weird the next. I was fighting the water and macros because the kits hadn't expired (according to the date). But finally got tired of it and bought a new kit and it is reading consistent. According to a lot of people there are very few reliable NO3 test kits out there.

I'd agree with BSS and mix up a known solution and test it a few times over a couple of days and see if the readings vary. That should tell you right there.

Good luck!

Tom
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 07:45 AM
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Are you using AP test kit by any chance? I found the first few tests had really low readings. I assume it was because the second reagent was not shaken enough. It was more reliable after the first few tests, but you still need to shake the second bottle REALLY well before each test.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 02:16 PM
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Clearly stated was the fact that the Seachem test kit is being used.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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I have both test kits the AP and seachem. I could never tell for sure what shade of color I was looking with the AP. The seachem test kit comes with a ref soln of 10 ppm so you can get a baseline of what color you are deal with at 10 ppm. I think with any test that you have to shake the bottle for a certain time period (like with the AP) you are prone to have a wide margin of error.
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