Dubious Water Test Results
I just got the water from my new setup tested at the LFS, as I don’t have my own test kit (yet). They used strips instead of test tubes though, so I’m not sure if I should take these results with grain of salt. I’m using Tropica aquarium soil with a moderate to high plant load, and I don’t have any livestock currently.
Firstly, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate all came back at zero. I was honestly hoping to see some ammonia as evidence that my tank is cycling properly, as the Tropica soil is supposed to leach some ammonia in the early weeks. Maybe it’s not enough to register on the test? I’m wondering if I should be adding another source of ammonia to jumpstart the cycle.
The weirder thing though was that the PH supposedly read at 6.2, while hardness was 300. Is this even possible? I always thought that PH and hardness were usually correlated. Maybe the Tropica substrate buffered down my PH without affecting my hardness? The weird thing is, my municipality reports general hardness in our tap water being around 120.
Should I trust these results, or disregard them as the test strips being ineffective? Should I look for another shop that tests with a proper liquid test kit?
Pictures attached: my test results from the LFS, and the cloudy water in my newly set up tank.