How to use water testing kits

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OFL created the topic: How to use water testing kits

I receive e-mails from people every day seeking advice on Oscars. It seems that many people are confused by water testing and how to do it. I thought I would do a sticky on the forum to try and explain in four easy stages that testing the water is extremely easy, you certainly don't need to be a chemist to be able to carry it out.

There are many test kits on the market, I'm not going to list all of them. I use a company called Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. They make some excellent products for the aquatic world. I purchased the complete water testing kit. This included ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. What I'm going to do is tell you how you test the water. I'm going to use ammonia as an example, I won't go through all the tests, once you know how to do ammonia, you will know how to do the rest of them.

An ammonia testing kit will comprise the solution that you add to the tank water (this could be two, or three bottles depending on the company use), a glass or plastic vile that you mix everything in, a colour card and instructions.

So here we go

1. Take your vile and swill it out in existing tank water, including the lid.

2. Put the correct amount of tank water in the vile. There is normally a line that indicates how much water to put in the vile.

With Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, the ammonia testing consists of two bottles. They are both indicated as #1 & #2, do not get it back to front.

3. Take bottle one and give it a quick shake and then add eight drops to your vile. Put the lid on and give it a quick shake. Do not plug the end of the vile with your thumb. Remember that we excrete ammonia through our skin, this could mess the test up completely.

4. Now take bottle two, quick shake and add another eight drops and then shake the vile. Now all you do is wait for five minutes and then compare the colour of the water to a colour card that you get with the kit. Zero ammonia will normally be bright yellow. The more ammonia that is present, the greener it gets.

I better just mention the nitrate testing. Sometimes you are required to shake the second bottle for at least 30 seconds and then shake the file for one minute after you have put all the solution in. Always read the instructions carefully. If you don't do the test properly, you may well get a false reading.

It's a straightforward as that. There is no need to be frightened when it comes to testing tank water.

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Joliet Jake replied the topic: Re:How to use water testing kits

http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb245/jolietjake6/tc1.jpg?t=1181063564

Ken, 51, NJ-USA (2 Tiger Oscars)
Need to give away one healthy 1 year old Oscar if you know of anyone interested. See the adoption thread for photos. Thanks!
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Bangerang103 replied the topic: Re:How to use water testing kits

ill try and buy that tommorow I have off!

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tank setup, 3 weeks count down! (june 3rd)
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caineknight replied the topic: Re:How to use water testing kits

hi there not really sure if this is the correct section to be asking this but i was wondering if it would be benificial to use a water filter on my tap water before adding to my tank as i have a fairly large filter and it is used reasonably inexpensively, (this is what i drink), and would i still need to use a chlorine removing chemical and if i did still use a chemical would there be any drawbacks? i'm 80% certain the human consumption filter i have removes it for me.
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  • ikkie78
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ikkie78 replied the topic: Re:How to use water testing kits

This is probably a really dumb question but when you are checking the results of the test do you hold the tube right against the card so its touching it or away from the card a little bit? Seems almost 2 different colors show up depending if you are touching the card with the test tube or if you hold it just a little bit in front of the card....dumb question I know but thought i'd ask! :)

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Nickisue replied the topic: Re:How to use water testing kits

Ryan I usually hold mine against the daylight. That way you can see the color. if it's dark or no natural light is available, I would pick the way you want to read your results, and read it the same way every time. Often if it is cloudy dark day, I hold it against the card! Hope this helps some! ;)
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ikkie78 replied the topic: Re:How to use water testing kits

Yeah that helps! :) I've done both and it seems like if I hold it up to a window with the daylight coming through (or bright light if its nighttime) it seems lighter than if I hold it against the card...especially with the higher end nitite and the lower ammonia reading. Gets kinda confusing! haha! :laugh: Like with the Nitrite reading one way looks like 2.0 and the other 5.0...and you all know i've had plenty of practice with the testing lately! haha! :laugh:

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Dalerfootball95 replied the topic: Re:How to use water testing kits

how about test strips?

although i would hate to see fish fight, my oscar would kick your oscars ass!
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Nickisue replied the topic: Re:How to use water testing kits

strips are not reliable, they often give false readings and we don't recommend them.
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adkraptor replied the topic: Re:How to use water testing kits

i have also wondered the same thing. i see what u mean, i get 2 differenet reading via light room or against card

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