API nitrate test? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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API nitrate test?

I test...a lot! I'm not having a problem per say...but does anyone know how to definitively read an API test? Meaning, do you put the vial right up AGAINST the white part of the card or do you put it just barely off of it?

Nitrate tests with the vial ON the card are 20 ppm, but just off the card look more like 10ppm. And I know the general rule is nitrates somewhere around 20+ ppm, so I don't drill down on it too hard, I add to get me in the general area and my plants are extremely healthy.

And I'm not talking about the lighting you use to read the test or how you choose to position the card relative to that lightning, just ON or OFF the card? I'm sure this sounds all too familiar to many out there...anyone have an answer?

Thanks!

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 05:23 PM
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Haha! Funny you ask this question because yesterday I was muttering that I can't differentiate the color difference between the 10 and 20 ppm on my API nitrate test kit color card. And barely can make out the difference between 5 and 10! As long as I'm not pushing the "red zone" at 40 or above, I guess I've been happy.

But to answer your question, I hold the tube against the card in one hand, relatively vertical. Will check back to see what others say. :-)
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 06:45 PM
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"Stans with a Fish" too funny! I think against the card is best. Just an opinion though. That's what I do, had my water tested at t a lfs and their readings were the same as I was getting.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 06:48 PM
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Hold it so it reads how you want it too read. No reason to be disappointed when you're in control.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 09:48 PM
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I hold it up against the card right over the colors and whichever is more transparent or see through as 'naturally the same color' that's what I go with. Seems to work for me...
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-16-2011, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danno79 View Post
"Stans with a Fish" too funny! I think against the card is best. Just an opinion though. That's what I do, had my water tested at t a lfs and their readings were the same as I was getting.
Yeah, I'm seeing that there is no exact science to these tests. I guess it's a little bit of "ballpark", and it works ok for me. Thanks for the insight...and hope you caught my Dances with Wolves reference

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-16-2011, 05:09 AM
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against a white background
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-17-2011, 02:27 PM
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If you have dry ferts, or any other fert that allows you to mix a solution known to be 10ppm, make the solution and measure it. Try 5ppm too.

Then it will become instantly apparent the proper way to read the results for any test, taking everything into account (vial position, lighting and angle, and your own eyes).

For the API tests, I found it to be with the vial pressed up against the white area of the test card, and with the bathroom lights (where I test) directly behind me.
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