How to differentiate API NO3 chart colors? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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How to differentiate API NO3 chart colors?

Hello,

I can't seem to differentiate 10 PPM and 20 PPM? Is there any way to do it accurately?

The orange colors seems to be really close.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 05:00 PM
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Sometimes results are more clear if you take the cap off, and look from the top down. (in a well lit room)
I'd put the bottom of the tube between the 10 and 20ppm on the white part to the left of the Nitrate column and see if it's closer to one or the other. I have to do this with a pH
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 05:28 PM
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I feel your pain! I have a differently printed card (same colors, tho) and mine is between 10 and 20 routinely. I am always wondering if I should put the tube smack up against the white card, or hold it slightly off so that light goes through the tube. I've decided to do the latter over time, partly because I like the results better, and it's more intuitive to me.

That said, I have learned from others on this forum a couple of things that I'll pass on to you:
1. Nitrate is plant fertilizer. The more plant bulk you get in your tank, the happier the plants are and the less you need to stress about NO3 levels.
2. Plant consumption of NO3 doesn't mean you don't have to do regular water changes. The only real way to make sure your levels stay good is to regularly (weekly) do a major (50% or better) water change.

HTH!

Tanks a bunch!

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KayakJimW View Post
Sometimes results are more clear if you take the cap off, and look from the top down. (in a well lit room)
I'd put the bottom of the tube between the 10 and 20ppm on the white part to the left of the Nitrate column and see if it's closer to one or the other. I have to do this with a pH
I'll have to try this. I've been having the same troubles. Thanks.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 06:03 PM
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Most test kits are only useful for getting a loose estimate of water parameters. For example when testing ammonia/nitrite you only care if it is there or not, the exact ppm is irrelevant.

When testing nitrate I like seeing it somewhere between 0 and 10 on days where I am not dosing macronutrients, so I would consider your nitrates acceptable but a little high.

If you are looking to get exact ppm readings from the test kit you need to make a reference solution using KNO3, distilled water, and a scale. You then test samples of water with known nitrate concentration and compare your aquarium water to them.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 11:46 PM
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I hate the color chart of that darn test. If you're really invested in knowing you can test again using half tank water and half tap (or another nitrate free water source). I've only done it a few tines when I've gotten a reading in the 40-80 range, as 40 is acceptable in my book, but 80 means I have a problem. If the color goes from red to orange means I was around 40. Stays red = closer to 80. Same thing can be done with the 10-20 range but I wouldn't bother double testing such low levels.



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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the response. Thought I was the only one having a problem.
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