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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got this from Petco last night.

it doesn't work for me.

from left to right:
Tank water sample, 5ppm reference solution, 10ppm reference solution, 20ppm reference solution

the kit expires at 10/2018, and looks new from the package.

I had old API test kit, it doesn't show correct color, so I got new one, but seems it's worse than my old kit.
 

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Not trying to be a jerk, but are you sure you are following exact directions for the nitrate test kit? I know API can suck and give bad readings but not seen such a .. dud test result.

Fill test tube to line
Add 10 drops of nitrate test solution #1
Cap and gentle shake/mix
Take nitrate test solution #2 and shake VIGOROUSLY for at least 30 seconds (30-45 seconds is recommended)
Uncap testtube and add 10 drops from nitrate bottle #2 immediately
Cap and shake VIGOROUSLY for 1 minute
Let sit 5 minutes than compare with chart

Personally I would contact the company, maybe they will refund you or send a functioning kit. Good luck!
 

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Not trying to be a jerk, but are you sure you are following exact directions for the nitrate test kit? I know API can suck and give bad readings but not seen such a .. dud test result.

Fill test tube to line
Add 10 drops of nitrate test solution #1
Cap and gentle shake/mix
Take nitrate test solution #2 and shake VIGOROUSLY for at least 30 seconds (30-45 seconds is recommended)
Uncap testtube and add 10 drops from nitrate bottle #2 immediately
Cap and shake VIGOROUSLY for 1 minute
Let sit 5 minutes than compare with chart

Personally I would contact the company, maybe they will refund you or send a functioning kit. Good luck!
I think a lot of people miss this part - VIGOROUSLY
 

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Not trying to be a jerk, but are you sure you are following exact directions for the nitrate test kit? I know API can suck and give bad readings but not seen such a .. dud test result.

Fill test tube to line
Add 10 drops of nitrate test solution #1
Cap and gentle shake/mix
Take nitrate test solution #2 and shake VIGOROUSLY for at least 30 seconds (30-45 seconds is recommended)
Uncap testtube and add 10 drops from nitrate bottle #2 immediately
Cap and shake VIGOROUSLY for 1 minute
Let sit 5 minutes than compare with chart

Personally I would contact the company, maybe they will refund you or send a functioning kit. Good luck!
Yeap, I use my iPhone to time the 30 seconds and 1 minutes then 5 minutes.

I had an old test kit from API, the color is fading away, so I decide to buy a new one. I ordered one from Amazon, but it takes couple days not two days to arrive even I have prime account. so I grab one at Petco in my city.

aquarium water, 5ppm, 10ppm and 20ppm from left to right.

I think a lot of people miss this part - VIGOROUSLY
Ok, will try it tonight.

how hard I should shake it?
it's ok to shake more than 30 seconds?

One more question, should I shake the bottle#2 every time if I do multiple test at same time?
 

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Ok, will try it tonight.

how hard I should shake it?
it's ok to shake more than 30 seconds?
30 seconds is the minimum, some users of the product say to go as much as 45, I usually do 40 seconds, and as to how vigorously: enough that you look like a mad idiot angrily shaking the [censor] out of that vile! Make sure cap is on tight and that you have a good grip on it so it does not go flying ..or it will be messy. I shake it hard enough to make my arm hurt, you can't shake it too much, but you can shake it too little/gently.. which we want to avoid here. Hopefully it works with the more aggressive shaking.
 

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in the pics the water looks like all 0 nitrates and in the 2nd pic only the first tube looks to have any nitrates and then maybe 5. am i missing something? are you adding more solution to the tubes to get different readings? or are you wanting more nitrates?
 

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Hi James He,

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 instuctions. 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 Instuctions:

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!
 

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in the pics the water looks like all 0 nitrates and in the 2nd pic only the first tube looks to have any nitrates and then maybe 5. am i missing something? are you adding more solution to the tubes to get different readings? or are you wanting more nitrates?
I think I din't shake the bottle #2 hard enough, will try tonight again and see if that makes any difference.

Hi James He,

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 instuctions. 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 Instuctions:

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!
I made the same mistake, will try it tonight and settle this down.
 

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also dk on here found out that bottle 2 will crystalize pretty fast so banging it will help alot with that as well

Yeah, THIS. I vigorously shake AND smack the bottle down on the arm of my desk chair a few times while I'm at it;) The bottle of solution #2, not the test tube;) I do vigorously shake them tube for the full minute once mixed, I wrap a piece of paper towel at the bottom of the test tube cap because all that shaking will cause some leakage.
 

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Bottle #2 contains finely ground zinc particles that, as you found out, settle to the bottom of the bottle as it sits on the shelf. Vigorous shaking/pounding is required to get them back into suspension.

It should be pointed out that if you use the test without adequately shaking the bottle, the concentration of the particles starts building up and causes bad (too high) readings as the bottle get used up.

I generally replace the test kit well before its used up and comparing the old with the new test, the old one often reads more than twice as high as the new test.

So if you've done many tests without adequate shaking, you could have already compromised the accuracy of your test kit. Kit calibration may be called for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bottle #2 contains finely ground zinc particles that, as you found out, settle to the bottom of the bottle as it sits on the shelf. Vigorous shaking/pounding is required to get them back into suspension.

It should be pointed out that if you use the test without adequately shaking the bottle, the concentration of the particles starts building up and causes bad (too high) readings as the bottle get used up.

I generally replace the test kit well before its used up and comparing the old with the new test, the old one often reads more than twice as high as the new test.

So if you've done many tests without adequate shaking, you could have already compromised the accuracy of your test kit. Kit calibration may be called for.
thanks, I made some reference solution to calibrate the result.

left is the aquarium water sample, right is the 20ppm reference solution.
I'd say the result is pretty accurate.

my tank water is between 40-80ppm.
 

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