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Old 06-26-2012, 04:21 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Cleckheaton
Water Test Results... They don't look right

Hi Guys,

All I seem to do recently is ask question after question.... So I am sorry. After my last incidents with my fish, I really want to do my best to avoid it happening again.

My tank has been cycling now for 9 days. I am having to do a fish in cycle as 2 of my fish I bought originally survived against all odds and needed a home.

I did a water test today and the results were not what I was expecting so have confused me. The results are as follows;

Ammonia - 0.25 ppm
Nitrate - 0 ppm
Nitrite - 0 ppm
PH - 7.4

This is the first time I have used my new API liquid test kit as I only got it by mail today. I used the test strips before but came to the conclusion that they are highly unaccurate, because according to them my tank was completely safe... and all my fish died. Nothing safe about that!

Do the results seem normal or does it look like I didn't do the tests right?

Thanks for your help guys.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:38 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Virginia, USA
On the 9th day of a fish-in cycle that looks perfectly normal. You will have ammonia in that tank for at least a few weeks. Then you will start to see nitrite. And finally nitrate. This whole process will probably take 5 to 6 weeks.

What were you expecting?
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:47 PM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Be sure and shake, bang on the table and shake some more on the #2 nitrate reagent bottle-it tends to settle and can give skewed results....

As well as follow the direction to the "T" on adding drops, shaking between and reading results on all test....

Its also a good idea to start a log book and test your source water.

Put your lab coat on.......

To get a base line:
Set up several glasses of source water
Test-Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH high and low

Then in one glass re-test-high/low pH-in 1 hour and in 24h

Another glass-add your dechlorinator-test everything-if it tested positive for anything-re-test again in 1h and 24h

This will help tell you what if any- ammonia, nitrite, nitrate is in the source water.
By testing in 1h and 24h- so that the water can degas- will give you an accurate pH reading as well as tell you how much CO2 is in the water

By adding the dechlorinator-this will tell you if that cause any changes-some can cause false ammonia reading

And any other additive used-like plant ferts-this will tell you if they cause changes

Once you have a base line on your source water and know if any additives change result-This will help ease your mind and/or cause you to make any unneeded water changes based on skewed results.

What you want to see in a cycled tank without live plants
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5-10ppm (under 40ppm)-with active growing live plants-nitrate may be absent.
pH-can vary

Anytime you have readings of:
Ammonia, nitrite-0.25ppm or greater
Make a water only change-but make sure it is not related to additives used that caused a false reading
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:24 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Cleckheaton
Thanks for all your advice.

thekoimaden - I was expecting my Ammonia levels to be a lot higher than they were.

Oldfishlady - Thanks for your tips! I am new to the whole fish keeping scene so all advice is really appreciated. You mentioned certain results about I should see when cycling without live plants. How would the results vary if I do have 2 live plants, which is the case.

Again thanks for your advice.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:31 AM   #5 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Usually just a couple of live plants won't make that much of a difference, however, depending on the species and growth may take a bit longer to see a nitrate reading....
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help water test results

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