Just switched to dry dosing - measuring nitrates? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Just switched to dry dosing - measuring nitrates?

Just switched from pre-mixed ferts to dry dosing. Using the dosing sticky for my 17g tank. Sticky says 1/4tsp of KNO3 for a 20-40gallon tank 3x a week. I dosed a dash and a half ( a dash is 1/8 tsp ), waited 10 minutes or so and tested nitrates. Still reading 0. Any trick to this?


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 06:12 PM
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 06:21 PM
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Hi TexasCichlid,

Years ago I had the same problem and posted the following to a different forum. You didn't mention the brand of test kit you are using, but if it is API this may help.

Quote:
I had the same problem and couldn't figure out why I could not get a reading. I even went so far as to add NO3 to the test tube and test....still 0 ppm! I bought fresh KNO3.....still 0 ppm. Finally I called API customer service and got the answer, and did I feel foolish!

The problem was me and not following the instructions. Prior to the test I shook up the two bottles of reagents to make sure they were well mixed then I thought I followed the instuctions but I was messing up on a couple of the steps!

API Nitrate Test Instructions:

Directions for Testing Nitrate:

* Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium.
* To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
o Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
o Add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle # 1, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
o Cap the test tube and invert tube several times to mix solution. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect test results.
o Vigorously shake the Nitrate Test Solution Bottle # 2 for at least 30 seconds. This step is extremely important to insure accuracy of test results.
o Now add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle #2, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops to the water sample.
o Cap the test tube and shake vigorously for one minute. This step is extremely important to insure accuracy of test results.
o Wait five minutes for the color to develop.
o Read the test results by matching the color of the solution against those on the Nitrate Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of nitrate in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.

And that was my problem, I wasn't shaking Bottle #2 prior to adding the drops. When I shook Bottle #2 prior to adding the drops and I shook the test tube for 1 minute prior to letting it sit; I got proper results. I felt foolish but it isn't the first time I have felt that way and it won't be the last I am sure.

Hope this helps solve you problem!

Roy_________
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Roy,

I am definitely not doing it that way. I will try it again this afternoon and report back my results. Thank you.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Tried this method to a T. No luck, zero nitrates.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-13-2012, 11:37 PM
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Hi TexasChchlid,

Did you shake Bottle #2 prior to adding the drops to the testing vial? According to the customer service rep at API the reagent in Bottle #2 crystallizes relatively quickly and it needs to shaken vigorously for at least 30 seconds (typically I do at least a minute) before adding the drops to the vial. If the test kit has been on the shelf at the store for a while it my take a lot of shaking to break up those crystals.

Another thing you can do is add a little (very little) KNO3 directly into the vial, add some tank water and test again. Hopefully you weren't sent something that wasn't KNO3....where did your order your ferts from?

Roy_________
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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I will try shaking the bottle again. I ordered from Greenleaf.

that did the trick, just shook the bejeezus out of the bottle and the vial and i turned orange 5-10ppm concentration, perfect. Thanks.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 12:41 AM
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Hi TexasCichlid,

I always spend extra time shaking Bottle #2 prior to testing. I would sit down, watch TV or spend some quality time with one of my tanks and shake that bottle for 5 minutes or so. Glad to help!

Roy_________
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 02:55 PM
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Something to be aware of. Since you used the bottle without shaking numerous times, the concentrations inside the bottle could be giving inaccurate readings. I know it sucks, but you may want to get another nitrate kit
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trickerie View Post
Something to be aware of. Since you used the bottle without shaking numerous times, the concentrations inside the bottle could be giving inaccurate readings. I know it sucks, but you may want to get another nitrate kit
Hi Trickerie,

You make an interesting point; I asked the API CS rep pretty much the same thing since I had done about 10 tests with the same "0" result. (Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.)

They said it would not make a substantial difference in the readings, the idea is to 'super-saturate' the liquid in Bottle 2 with the chemical in the crystals. The concentration of a chemical in a super-saturated solution is reasonably constant regardless of the volume of fluid but will vary with temperature. As with any test kit calibration is always a good practice.

Roy_________
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