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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello community,

I'm a little bit confused about water tests..
I bought both titration test kits (JBL Pro Aquaset) and test strips with mobile app (JBL Pro Scan).

Somehow the test results differ, some just slightly but some quite a lot and I'm so confused...

Here are the results:

NO2
Titration: < 0.01 mg/l or ppm
Strips: 0.25 mg/l or ppm (app says slightly too high)

NO3
Titration: 1 mg/l or ppm
Strips: 25 mg/l or ppm (app says slightly too high)

KH (the most confusing)
Titration: 10 dKH
Strips: 6 dH

Are titrations in general more accurate?
Should I be worried about the above values?

Background:
10 gallon planted tank, back filter (waterbox, default set plus extra bag of filter medium), Tropica nano tank CO2 system, I have 8 ember tetras, 2 military helmet snails and 2 amano shrimps.

Thank you for your advice in advance!
 

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Are titrations in general more accurate?
Yes. By a long shot. Strips are generally frowned upon by most hobbyists in search of accuracy. I find even the best strips fail quickly and aren't always great for even general ranges.

Should I be worried about the above values?
Depends upon what you want your parameters to be.

But more importantly - did you cycle your tank prior to adding livestock? How long has it been set up? If you didn't cycle the tank with an ammonia source before adding fish, shrimp (plural, one S) and snails, then you're likely to experience deadly ammonia and nitrite spikes.

What confuses you about kH?

What are the rest of your tank's parameters?
 

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I will add that one of the big lessons I learned from this site is you must calibrate your testing kits. It gets difficult to navigate problems with inaccurate testing.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes. By a long shot. Strips are generally frowned upon by most hobbyists in search of accuracy. I find even the best strips fail quickly and aren't always great for even general ranges.



Depends upon what you want your parameters to be.

But more importantly - did you cycle your tank prior to adding livestock? How long has it been set up? If you didn't cycle the tank with an ammonia source before adding fish, shrimp (plural, one S) and snails, then you're likely to experience deadly ammonia and nitrite spikes.

What confuses you about kH?

What are the rest of your tank's parameters?
The tank has been set up for six weeks and I had the snails in there since the third week. So there is ammonia source...
The rest of my tank's parameters are perfect. On the 6th week all parameters seem to be perfect according to the titration tests so I added my fish and shrimp. I bought strips after that and thought it won't hurt to try as well, then I discovered it differs quite a lot from my titration results.

All inhabitants seem to be healthy and happy at the moment.

As for the KH, 6 and 10 seem to be a big difference...


I will add that one of the big lessons I learned from this site is you must calibrate your testing kits. It gets difficult to navigate problems with inaccurate testing.

Wow thank you, no idea the tests have to be calibrated, I studied the booklet it came with but it's never mentioned in there...
 

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The tank has been set up for six weeks and I had the snails in there since the third week. So there is ammonia source...
The rest of my tank's parameters are perfect. On the 6th week all parameters seem to be perfect according to the titration tests so I added my fish and shrimp. I bought strips after that and thought it won't hurt to try as well, then I discovered it differs quite a lot from my titration results.

All inhabitants seem to be healthy and happy at the moment.

As for the KH, 6 and 10 seem to be a big difference...




Wow thank you, no idea the tests have to be calibrated, I studied the booklet it came with but it's never mentioned in there...
You didn't cycle your tank. Click this link to read a post about properly cycling your tank before you add livestock. Since you're detecting ammonia, your tank is not cycled. You can't cycle a tank with shrimp in the tank - they'll die because they're too sensitive to tolerate ammonia or nitrite. And it's cruel to cycle a tank with fish, as their gills burn and they eventually die.

Don't worry too much about calibrating your liquid test kit. Most decent kits like JBL, Sera, Nutrafin don't need to be calibrated for the average hobbyist. Liquid kids will be close enough for your purposes.

Your test strips likely give you a different reading than the liquid test kit because test strips are notoriously unreliable and tend to be inaccurate or less accurate.

Perfect is not a water parameter. Do you know the rest of your tank's water parameters? I'm not asking for no reason - I'm asking so we can give you accurate answers instead of misguiding or confusing you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You didn't cycle your tank. Click this link to read a post about properly cycling your tank before you add livestock. Since you're detecting ammonia, your tank is not cycled. You can't cycle a tank with shrimp in the tank - they'll die because they're too sensitive to tolerate ammonia or nitrite. And it's cruel to cycle a tank with fish, as their gills burn and they eventually die.

Don't worry too much about calibrating your liquid test kit. Most decent kits like JBL, Sera, Nutrafin don't need to be calibrated for the average hobbyist. Liquid kids will be close enough for your purposes.

Your test strips likely give you a different reading than the liquid test kit because test strips are notoriously unreliable and tend to be inaccurate or less accurate.

Perfect is not a water parameter. Do you know the rest of your tank's water parameters? I'm not asking for no reason - I'm asking so we can give you accurate answers instead of misguiding or confusing you.
what do you mean by I didn't cycle my tank?

let me elaborate what exactly I did:

Day 1: hard scape (rocks, aquasoil, tons of plants), filled with water, with filter medium, easy start bacteria.
Day 2 - Day 20: First two weeks I add bacteria everyday according to the instructions I received in the aquarium store.
During the first three weeks I test everyday. At the beginning there's already ammonia because of the aqua soil. There are no inhabitants in the tank. and then slowly I began to read less and less ammonia, and I read NO2 and eventually NO3, then i began doing water changes.
Day 20 and 21 ammonia and nitrite level already zero (or according to the titration less than 0.1, that's the smallest reading it gets). So I added the snails.

I didn't add any fish nor shrimps until 3 weeks after that.

Oh as for the parameters at the moment:

According to JBL Pro Aquatest (Titration):

temperature: 25 degrees celsius
KH: 10
pH: 7
NH4: less than 0.05 (smallest reading in the color chart)
NO2: less than 0.01 (smallest reading in the color chart)
NO3: less than 0.5 (smallest reading in the color chart)

So I don't really understand why u said I'm cruel to add fish to water with ammonia and nitrites, there are none....

My confusion is just that the strips reading higher than the titration, which you said should be more accurate.
 

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what do you mean by I didn't cycle my tank?

let me elaborate what exactly I did:

Day 1: hard scape (rocks, aquasoil, tons of plants), filled with water, with filter medium, easy start bacteria.
Day 2 - Day 20: First two weeks I add bacteria everyday according to the instructions I received in the aquarium store.
During the first three weeks I test everyday. At the beginning there's already ammonia because of the aqua soil. There are no inhabitants in the tank. and then slowly I began to read less and less ammonia, and I read NO2 and eventually NO3, then i began doing water changes.
Day 20 and 21 ammonia and nitrite level already zero (or according to the titration less than 0.1, that's the smallest reading it gets). So I added the snails.

I didn't add any fish nor shrimps until 3 weeks after that.

Oh as for the parameters at the moment:

According to JBL Pro Aquatest (Titration):

temperature: 25 degrees celsius
KH: 10
pH: 7
NH4: less than 0.05 (smallest reading in the color chart)
NO2: less than 0.01 (smallest reading in the color chart)
NO3: less than 0.5 (smallest reading in the color chart)

So I don't really understand why u said I'm cruel to add fish to water with ammonia and nitrites, there are none....

My confusion is just that the strips reading higher than the titration, which you said should be more accurate.
Getting basic answers to questions shouldn't be like pulling teeth. If you cycled your tank, you could have actually explained that you cycled your tank when initially asked. Thank you for finally clarifying.

It's good that you didn't add fish or shrimp (1 S, plural) until the tank was ready for them.

It's cruel to add animals to your tank when ammonia or nitrite is present - like when a tank has not been properly prepared for them. That's why I asked you specific questions in an attempt to find out if you'd actually prepared the tank to support life. You have since clarified that you did properly prepare your tank.
 
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