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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought some API 5 in 1 test strips for cycling the new tank I'm setting up, so I decided to test them out on my Betta's current tank to see how they work

I followed the instructions (Picked up the test strip with dry hands, swirled in water twice and then removed the test strip facing up)
the nitrates, which is white for none, and dark pink for a lot, just kind of became this gray-ish white color???? Similar with the nitrites. Should I be concerned??????? Pretty sure there's some Nitrates or Nitrites in there, considering my Betta has been in there for months

I am so confused
 

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Hi,

Nitrites would be the bad stuff. Nitrites are the product of certain bacteria eating the ammonia. Both ammonia and nitrites are toxic to fish, so those are the ones that you really want to be at 0. If you are doing a fish in cycle, then I would recommend Prime water conditioner by Seachem. It can actually be over dosed if needed, and it holds the toxicity of low levels of ammonia and nitrites, and thus protects your betta for a good 24 to 48 hours until you can do a water change.

Nitrates, on the other hand, are the byproduct of beneficial bacteria eating nitrites. Most cycled tanks have some nitrates, but if you have certain live plants in your tank, you could have 0 nitrates, and the tank could still be perfectly cycled. I have a pothos ivy that sucks up almost all of the nitrates in my betta tank. Many floating plants will do that.

I have found that the test strips can be somewhat unreliable. The API freshwater master test kit is more accurate, although it is a bit more pricey. But if you can get the test kit, it will last for a nice long while (something like 800 tests all together, I think).

In the mean time, you can try testing your source water with a test strip to see what the base levels are for it. It helps to know what your source water levels are so you can better track what is going on while you are cycling the tank.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, ty!
Also, can I check for ammonia using the PH level? The test strips I got don't show ammonia levels and it seems like ammonia levels would be useful for cycling a tank
Or, should I just wait for nitrites to appear and then watch for the nitrates?
 

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No, ph measures something totally different - how acidic or basic the water is. I think there are test strips that measure ammonia that are sold separately. That's another reason why I don't like test strips. Seems like a way to sell more products instead of having on inclusive test in strip form...:sneaky:
 
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