On test sets, I'm kind of divided as I have trouble getting a good reading with the API nitrate and found the Salifert brand has a pink color which works much better for me. Never found why but the API reads okay up to about twenty, even when I mixed distilled water to known amounts of nitrate for 5, 10, 25, 50 PPM. I had really fish heavy stocking and nitrate has always been something of a problem but when I went into plants, I felt I needed to know more but the tests were showing always 80 + even when I did back to back 50 % water changes for several days in a row. The written info says African cichlids have to have clean water like 20 PPM so I had always had some doubt as they were fat, happy, and breeding at what tested to be 100!
I apologize for the side tracks that this thread has taken. I originally intended for this thread to be focused on the regulator build, but I have so many questions and this thread seems to provide the best answers to those questions. Thank you to @PlantedRich
for being there to provide such great information.
I have pretty much the same results with the API kit. The nitrate test is pretty easy to judge in the 0-20 range, but it seems very difficult to judge the color in the high range. Until I got my nitrates under control with continuous drip, it was always scary red with no way of really knowing if it was around 40 ppm or closer to 100+.
I will be buying the Salifert Nitrate test. Debating getting the Salifert Master Reef Testing Combo Kit
as it also has Ca, KH/Alk, PO4, Mg tests (also pH which I already have). I may not need to use them all the time, but it would be nice to know where I stand on all of them. Hopefully freshwater does not read differently as these are designed for salt water.
I did some research on recent water quality tests for my district. TDS is 289 ppm. Water hardness is 219 ppm (Ca+Mg+Carbonate). Ca is 44 ppm, Mg is 30 ppm, which would leave 145 ppm for Carbonate. Additional measurements are , Chloride 11 ppm, Sulfate 24 ppm, Sodium 19 ppm, and Chlorine >1 ppm. (all numbers are averages and rounded to the nearest whole number). According to my calculations (which I made at two decimal places), there is ~13 ppm of unidentified dissolved solids.
Copper, Lead, Arsenic, Barium, Uranium, Vanadium, Trihalomethanes, Haloacetic acid, etc are in the ppb range totalling about 1 ppm. I think those could be considered negligible.
Nitrate Nitrogen is claimed to be at 1.06 ppm average with a range of 0-1.97 ppm. Nitrate = Nitrate Nitrogen x 4.43, so that would come out to less than 5 ppm Nitrate. All my tests of Nitrates in tap water reads over 10 ppm. This could be due to inaccurate tests or the drought condition in California, as measurements were averaged over the 2015 to 2017 range. Makes me doubt the rest of the numbers are correct in current conditions.
I know you said that Chemistry was not your strong point PlantedRich and I still insist on throwing up all these crazy numbers, but does anything stand out to you as something that needs to be concerned about? For that matter. Anyone who is more chemically minded. Same question. Perhaps this is something that should be posted on a different thread.
Regardless. I am committed to learning as much as I can and getting the proper test kits to really understand where I stand and what I need to do to be successful in my quest to have a successful high tech aquarium build.
I have been waiting for my regulator body to start posting photos of my build. Hopefully it will be here on Monday. All the other parts have already arrived, but since everything kind of revolves around the regulator I think it will be better to start once it is here. Then we can get this thread back on track.