Thanks Lauraleellbp. I've discussed the sand in a substrate post here
. I'm getting the same high reading from the tap so I'm just going to assume petsmart didn't read the strip right or something happened. Not sure. According to my water co.'s website the average for my area is a pH of 9.22. I turned the aerator and filter on max and I'm hoping it will level out. Not sure what that means for water changes though. I'll be taking a sample of both tap and tank water tonight to the lfs and see what they say to do. I don't want to use any chemicals for it since I've read that these things can cause problems too, but, I may just have to.
As far as the ammonia test... after doing some research online it looks like the API kits don't like Chloramine.
Does your source water contain ammonia or chloramine? It used to be that the only chemical used in drinking water was chlorine, but now, both ammonia and chloramine are sometimes used as well by water companies, sometimes alone and sometimes together. Chloramine will register as ammonia to a Nessler reagent, which is what API uses(just like 99% of all the ammonia tests used in the pet industry). Not too surprising as chloramine is a chemical combination of chlorine and ammonia.
It's not likely that you'll find a non-Nessler reagent test for ammonia in anything but a high-end fish store though, the cheapest one I've found even on the internet costs more than an entire API Master freshwater kit, plus shipping.+
As a fish keeper, I really, really hate chloramine.
If your ammonia reading from the tap is 8ppm, it's a good bet that you have chloramine, that's the most common ammonia reading for chloramine. If the water has been treated by a water conditioner that handles chloramine, the ammonia will be bound in a form harmless to fish, but it will still register at that outrageously toxic level.
If you live in the US, check your water company's website. They are required by law to have public access to added chemicals and chemical analysis of your drinking water. Usually, it's posted on their website.
Taken from: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/i...4154311AAKsghW
According to my water co.'s info we have a MRDL of 4.. not sure what that means, but it's in there. That's probably what's causing the ammonia test to be janky.
MRDL = 4
MRDLG = 4
2.00 - 3.21
Disinfectant used to treat water
Not sure how I'll get an accurate reading from my test kit with all this going on.