Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New York City, New York
Diff test results and might I be torturing my fish? Learning biochem asap
Hi Mr. Patterson. Thank you for your helpful response.
I will try keep my posts more specific and topically relevant to my problems.
Also, if my photos are not visible, please let me know again so that I can learn how post correctly.
My question was (is?): Why are my 3 pH test kits reporting different values? (2 API tests, but they are different 'batches'; 1 Red Sea test). To reiterate (and as the pics show, if they are visible): Test 1 shows pH of 7; Test 2 shows pH of 6 (could even be lower, who knows--it's pale yellow); Test 3 shows pH of 6.2 (lowest reading possible).
Yes, all the tests involved dropping bromothymol blue into a glass tube.
I re-tested everything again this morning when I was calm and serene. Following your advice, I even switched up the tubes. Test 1 gave me different results than Tests 2 & 3 every time. (BTW, I tested tapwater and Brita filter water too--same thing).
Now I concur that Test 1 must be faulty or corrupted somehow, so I threw it in the trash. It is batch lot # 28B0808 if anyone has had similar experiences (though the fault was probably mine somehow).
I cannot believe I stressed so much all day when the (probable) answer was pretty evident. I must have done a zillion tests and taken a hundred photos. I am a happy graduate student but I have el zilcho common sense.
...WHICH BRINGS ME TO YOUR OTHER QUESTIONS! (I have a bad feeling about this)
Did your ammonia test show anything when you did it?
I tested from 2 different kits. I am attaching photos below! Both were pretty yellow, like 0 to 0.25 max but...no green I could really detect.
According to the Table in the kit, since my pH max 6.6 (lowest chart offers) and my water temp is approx 82*--85*, my % of toxic ammonia should be at most 0.2--0.3.
When you added plants did you tear down your tank completely and restart? If so, did you make sure that your filter was still cycled? How heavily planted is the tank?
For 2 weeks prior to adding the plants, I added a lot of activated carbon into the canister filter media in order to "make sure the water was super clean!" Then I took it out the day I added the plants. I did not break down the tank; I just took out the plastic plants and put in live ones with fert tabs below their roots.
In my Eheim, I left all that media at the bottom basket that looks like pasta noodles. I lightly rinsed the course blue pad that goes over it, but I didn't clean the heck out of it or anything. In the top basket, I left all the media that is little spherical pebble-like (both this and the noodle media are dark and stained, so I assume that this means they're full of bacteria--please tell me if I'm wrong).
I put a fresh white filter pad on the top cause the old one was gross.
OH WAIT--I DID SOMETHING NEW--I added a small bag called "Phos-Zorb" into the top basket. It covered maybe 1/3 of the ball media.
I also added a thin pad called "Deep Blue Ammonia Reducer Media Pad."
Oh, and another thin filter pad called "Aqua-pure Phosphate."
Did I totally screw myself with this new filter media?
My tank is not heavily planted; 5 small amazon swords; a cryptocoryne lucens as Axelrodi kindly informed me; a tuft of micro-sword around a rock; a moss ball, a tiny mystery something nobody has IDed yet (not that I think anyone should), and a few plants Axelrodi does not believe are aquatic, much to my dismay. A pic of my tank is underneath. Lame now but one day it will be beautiful like the tanks I see on this forum!
Do you know anything about your water quality/parameters other than the pH, KH/alkalinity in particular? Are you injecting CO2 into the tank at this time? If so, turn it off
I do not have a KH test but I will get one today and report back to this forum ASAP. I know that the pH of the tapwater is about 7.0 and that Manhattan water is supposed to be very acidic, but I can't vouch for that. I know that I never get the hard white mineral deposits on my tank that I used to get when I lived in Nevada, and that soap lathers here.
OH--I also did a Nitrite test. It looked pretty light blue to me, pale. It was harder for me to read this one bc instructions say to look down into the tube. Maybe 0 or 0.05? See photo.
I am sorry that this is so long; if you, Mr. Patterson, can slog through it and give me any advice I would be grateful. My fish are my responsibility and I feel guilty when they die and I want healthy plants for them to live in, too.
OH AND I TURNED OFF MY CO2 monstrosity! Dear Lord, did I overbuild! I am not exactly Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Oh, I have this stuff called "Seachem Alkaline Buffer." Should I use it or leave it the heck alone? Most seem inclined not to use quick-fix chemical solutions, so I won't touch it unless I'm advised otherwise.
Thank you very much!