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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, as some of you know I have been running the tests on the Pumice vs Matrix challenge http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9-equipment/1045898-matrix-without-seachem.html. In doing all of these tests with standard API test kits, I have run into some questions that I just can't seem to find an answer to. So, I ask you experts for some input.
1. How thorough would you clean the test tubes between daily tests?
What I have been doing is rinsing them in tap water and letting them dry out before the next test.

2. Because of some odd results today, I decided to test my tap water and sure enough it shows about 1.0ppm Nitrite. Do you think some residual tap water (what I could not shake out / what did not dry out) could possibly effect the tests?

Now here is some of the issues I am having.
1. When I test the Nitrite level in the Pumice tank, the test tube water turns purple once the 5 drops are put in the tube. Shake the tube for 5 seconds and it is still purple. Leave it sit for 5 minutes (like I am supposed to) and it turns cyan blue (0ppm Nitrite). (Edit, it is just not a normal shade of cyan blue, see pic below)

2. I take that same test tube, rinse it out with tap water (which evidently has Nitrite in it), dip it into any of the 3 tanks in the house and after 5 drops of solution the test tube is cyan blue and never changes to purple.

To me, this seems a bit odd. The only thing I can think of is maybe the tanks outside are just too warm to let the Nitrite bacteria thrive. The tank temps have been anywhere from 83 to 89 degrees.
The ammonia bacteria seem to be doing fine as those test tubes are always bright yellow.

Final question, do you think it would be better to keep the tank temps 80 degrees or less to better promote BB growth?



From @Dianna
"Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation. "

Would this qualify as "well aerated"?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf4OW_IP1zY
 

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I'm the wrong person to talk about API test kits as they annoy the shiz out of me, but for the sake of answering your question about temperature, I don't think that is where your wonky results are coming from.

I've used API test kits in the past to cycle tanks. They're cheap and easy to get my hands on. When I do a fishless cycle, I raise the tank temp up to 86 and leave it there until the tank is cycled or close to it. Despite my feelings about API test kits, they never gave me weird results and I've have never killed a fish from bad readings.

A few months ago I had issues with their nitrate test kits which put a end to the days of my ever buying a API test kit ever again, but none of my fish were harmed because of it.

Do you have town or city water? If so, see what you can find to verify those nitrites. If you have distilled or RO water around, you could always rinse the tubes with that and see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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I purchased a test tube rack and 50 test tubes from an Ebay supplier.
I will say that when the rack is full I move to the sink and use a test tube type pipe cleaner on every tube. Residual can effect the test IMO. Years ago I purchased a 5ml. graduated cylinder. It has allowed me to extend the test kit usage(multiple tank syndrome for sure).
 
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