EI Water Change - 0 nitrate PPM - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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EI Water Change - 0 nitrate PPM

I am using EI dosing on my 12 gallon long, and noticing at the end of the week my nitrates are still 0ppm. Should I up my dose or just stop doing water changes every week? I thought the point of doing the water change was to try and cut down on the build up of nitrates? I'm also wondering if I mixed my recipes wrong, or if my filters and plant mass are just cleaning everything up too well. I have a lot of plants in the tank.


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 03:15 AM
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Before changing anything, make sure you are shaking and banging the bejesus out of the bottles. I usually bang them on the counter a couple of times, then shake vigorously for a full minute on each bottle. The API nitrate test is notorious for giving bad readings if the instructions aren't followed exactly.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 03:51 AM
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+1 ^^^ common problem and easy to retest and eliminate.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 03:55 AM
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EI Water Change - 0 nitrate PPM

Agree with both above I have gone through this myself. Knock the two bottles tops together pretty hard for like 15-30 seconds. Then shake for a good minute. You will see the difference.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 04:33 AM
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My understanding of water changes on EI was to have a reset of sorts. Essentially to dilute whatever isnt getting used up. Nitrite may be low and other nutrients may be high. Id be cautious about skipping the water changes unless you are following all of your macro nutrients with some form of testing.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 04:43 AM
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And a better way at determining if you need a water change is to check your tds. So after a large water change say 50% or larger check your tds. Then check at end of week. This will show you how much extra stuff is in your water and give you a better idea if you need a water change or not. Just because your nitrates are that low does not mean other stuff has not accumulated. Tds is easiest way at determine that.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
And a better way at determining if you need a water change is to check your tds. So after a large water change say 50% or larger check your tds. Then check at end of week. This will show you how much extra stuff is in your water and give you a better idea if you need a water change or not. Just because your nitrates are that low does not mean other stuff has not accumulated. Tds is easiest way at determine that.
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That would be much easier. If I recall PPS pro suggests using the TDS meter to time water changes as well. I suspect you are looking at something like this clownplanted ZT-2: Basic TDS Tester - HM Digital.

Now, be careful, these aren't really TDS meters. They are conductivity meters that convert the results to an equivalent mass of I'm guessing NaCl. Salts with a heavier formula weights (e.g. KCl) would give low readings. Salts with lower formula weights (e.g. ammonium chloride) would give high readings.

TDS is properly measured by taking a known volume of water and adding it to a preweighed flask and then evaporating everything in a drying oven. A real TDS measurement would catch sugar and other neutral species.

All that said, the vast majority of dissolved solids in tap water are ionic and what you really care about is changes not the absolute values so we can use these meters just fine. They probably convert them to ppm instead of microcoulombs so people dont freak out on a new unit. Just dont get upset if the TDS on your little meter doesn't match the city's water quality report. If I recall correctly, the PPS pro instructions on aquarium central suggested water changes when the "TDS" went up 100 units from tap.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 01:55 PM
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That would be much easier. If I recall PPS pro suggests using the TDS meter to time water changes as well. I suspect you are looking at something like this clownplanted ZT-2: Basic TDS Tester - HM Digital.



Now, be careful, these aren't really TDS meters. They are conductivity meters that convert the results to an equivalent mass of I'm guessing NaCl. Salts with a heavier formula weights (e.g. KCl) would give low readings. Salts with lower formula weights (e.g. ammonium chloride) would give high readings.



TDS is properly measured by taking a known volume of water and adding it to a preweighed flask and then evaporating everything in a drying oven. A real TDS measurement would catch sugar and other neutral species.



All that said, the vast majority of dissolved solids in tap water are ionic and what you really care about is changes not the absolute values so we can use these meters just fine. They probably convert them to ppm instead of microcoulombs so people dont freak out on a new unit. Just dont get upset if the TDS on your little meter doesn't match the city's water quality report. If I recall correctly, the PPS pro instructions on aquarium central suggested water changes when the "TDS" went up 100 units from tap.


Yes exactly correct. I just use it to see how much my tank water has gone up. I do a water change anywhere from 1-2 weeks. 2 weeks if it takes that long for my new water to go up 100. 1 week if it went up fast. Just looking for a general way to see what is in the water and this seems to work good . Good info did not know all the specifics that you showed so thank you.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 04:20 PM
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no tank will end up with 0ppm with ei because it adds a LOT. more than any plants ever need. that is the purpose of ei. either the test is wrong or the mixture is wrong.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jellopuddinpop View Post
Before changing anything, make sure you are shaking and banging the bejesus out of the bottles. I usually bang them on the counter a couple of times, then shake vigorously for a full minute on each bottle. The API nitrate test is notorious for giving bad readings if the instructions aren't followed exactly.

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I thought you were only supposed to shake the 2nd bottle? Have I been doing this incorrectly the whole time? I haven't been shaking bottle #1, but I have been shaking bottle #2 for 30 seconds and the final solution for 60 seconds.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 04:28 PM
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EI Water Change - 0 nitrate PPM

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I thought you were only supposed to shake the 2nd bottle? Have I been doing this incorrectly the whole time? I haven't been shaking bottle #1, but I have been shaking bottle #2 for 30 seconds and the final solution for 60 seconds.


You need to shake both bottles. But it's the second bottle that can be the problem as I had this same exact issue. The best way to fix the issue and I have confirmed this on two of the nitrate test kits is bang the two caps together for a good 30 seconds doing it pretty hard. Then shake each bottle for one minute each pretty hard. Before doing what I said my test red zero ppm. Once I did the method I was actually at 80ppm nitrate to show you the difference.

The problem you may run into is your second bottle depending on how many times you have used it will be off. It will still at least show you something but I would suggest getting another kit and doing this from the start. Once you do it good the first time honestly testing after you don't have to bang and shake as hard.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 04:53 PM
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You need to shake both bottles. But it's the second bottle that can be the problem as I had this same exact issue. The best way to fix the issue and I have confirmed this on two of the nitrate test kits is bang the two caps together for a good 30 seconds doing it pretty hard. Then shake each bottle for one minute each pretty hard. Before doing what I said my test red zero ppm. Once I did the method I was actually at 80ppm nitrate to show you the difference.

The problem you may run into is your second bottle depending on how many times you have used it will be off. It will still at least show you something but I would suggest getting another kit and doing this from the start. Once you do it good the first time honestly testing after you don't have to bang and shake as hard.

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http://www.apifishcare.com/pdf/34_Te...structions.pdf

I know nothing is more valuable that personal experience, so you may be on to something with banging the tops together and really loosing up and dissolving the ingredients in Bottle #2. However, I have been following the instructions verbatim from the package insert (i.e. only shaking Bottle #2) and haven't had any low readings. My main problem is that I cannot tell the different between 20ppm and 40ppm. It's barely any different. I've tried looking from the top of the solution down (instead of just through the side of the solution), but I do not think this should be done because it makes the solution look much darker and the instructions do not say to look from the top down for the nitrate test.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 05:09 PM
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EI Water Change - 0 nitrate PPM

20 to 40 should be easy to read as it's a noticible orange then goes to red at 40. It's 40-80 that can be very difficult to tell the difference as they are both red. And typically I don't care as I know if it's red(40+)ppm then it's time for a water change anyway. As long as my kit shows I'm in the orange even dark orange then I am fine.


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
You need to shake both bottles. But it's the second bottle that can be the problem as I had this same exact issue. The best way to fix the issue and I have confirmed this on two of the nitrate test kits is bang the two caps together for a good 30 seconds doing it pretty hard. Then shake each bottle for one minute each pretty hard. Before doing what I said my test red zero ppm. Once I did the method I was actually at 80ppm nitrate to show you the difference.

The problem you may run into is your second bottle depending on how many times you have used it will be off. It will still at least show you something but I would suggest getting another kit and doing this from the start. Once you do it good the first time honestly testing after you don't have to bang and shake as hard.

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This was the truth. Who wants to write a better API instruction manual?

Step 0). Fill test tube with 5ml tank water.
Step 1) Add 10 drops of bottle 1 nitrate test into the test tube. Invert several tims.
Step 2). Shake chemical bottle #2 30 seconds
Step 3). Put 10 drops of chemical bottle #2
Step 4). Shake water sample test tube 60 seconds

Found out nitrates were higher than what I posted. Shame on me.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by easternlethal View Post
no tank will end up with 0ppm with ei because it adds a LOT. more than any plants ever need. that is the purpose of ei. either the test is wrong or the mixture is wrong.
Truth was said.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PharmDawgRx View Post
http://www.apifishcare.com/pdf/34_Te...structions.pdf

I know nothing is more valuable that personal experience, so you may be on to something with banging the tops together and really loosing up and dissolving the ingredients in Bottle #2. However, I have been following the instructions verbatim from the package insert (i.e. only shaking Bottle #2) and haven't had any low readings. My main problem is that I cannot tell the different between 20ppm and 40ppm. It's barely any different. I've tried looking from the top of the solution down (instead of just through the side of the solution), but I do not think this should be done because it makes the solution look much darker and the instructions do not say to look from the top down for the nitrate test.

Also struggle with 20 vs 40. I think after I did a water change it looked less red, but not by much. Who wants to write API?

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
20 to 40 should be easy to read as it's a noticible orange then goes to red at 40. It's 40-80 that can be very difficult to tell the difference as they are both red. And typically I don't care as I know if it's red(40+)ppm then it's time for a water change anyway. As long as my kit shows I'm in the orange even dark orange then I am fine.


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Thank you all. I fortunately did not lose not much life. I didn't do a water change for three weeks, nitrate was around 40PPM. Now back to ten, but plants are not doing big like before.
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