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"5 In 1 Test Strips" Impossible To Read!

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by wesblog, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. wesblog

    wesblog Member

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    I just bought API 5 in 1 Aquarium TEST STRIPS

    Does anyone else have trouble reading these things?

    I tried twice and the test strips make no sense:
    NO3: 20 ppm
    NO2: 0 ppm
    pH: <6.0
    kH: 240
    gH: 0

    My in tank pH meter reads 8.2 (which is what I want) so I am willing to bet all the test strips other readings are wrong too. I am going to return the strips tomorrow... are the vial/drops so solution tests any better?
     
  2. backtotropical

    backtotropical Retired Mod
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    Hi,

    Test strips, although much handier than other kinds of test kit, are known to be inaccurate. They also don't read ammonia which is probably the most important test you can do.

    Liquid re-agent based tests are far more accurate. Many members on here use the API Master Test Kit available from your pet store or Ebay for between £15 - £25. The Nutrafin kit is also good in my opinion.

    They both include tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. These are the 4 'basic' tests which every fishkeeper should have handy.

    Hope that helps. :good:

    BTT
     
  3. rdd1952

    rdd1952 Swim with the Fishes
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    Personally, I've never used strips as I was advised when first getting into the hobby to get a liquid kit. They are definitely dodgy to say the least as far as accuracy is concerned. Another potential issue is that if they haven't been kept in an air tight container, away from any potential moisture, they could become totally useless.

    Edit: You're getting faster with the typing BTT.
     
  4. wesblog

    wesblog Member

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    Thanks. I am going to return the strips for a full liquid kit.

    I did buy an ammonia liquid test kit since the strips didnt test it and was happy to see the tank was at 0.
    I wasn't too worried because I have an old in tank meter that reads far into the safe category for ammonia, but it looks to be above 0.

    I just need something reliable.
     
  5. backtotropical

    backtotropical Retired Mod
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    Don't believe the 'safe' ranges that some tests suggest.

    Ammonia and nitrite are lethal for fish and levels should always be 0. Any detectable ammonia or nitrite indicates a problem.

    Nitrate is not so important. The best thing to do with nitrate is to establish what level your tap water contains and try to keep the level in the tank as close as possible to the level from the tap.

    pH is fairly over emphasised by many kits too. The most important thing here is that pH is stable, not that the number is exactly what you might want. A stable pH which is too high or too low is far better than making the pH swing around by trying to adjust it.

    Quick re-cap:

    Ammonia : Should always be 0. No safe level.
    Nitrite : Should always be 0. No safe level.
    Nitrate : Keep as close as possible to level in tap water.
    pH : Keep stable rather than worrying about exact value.

    Hope that helps you. :good:

    BTT
     
  6. dojima

    dojima Member

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    When I first got started I also used the API 5 in 1 Aquarium Test Strips, liked the idea in theory quick and convenient however I found them frustrating, would defo recommend
    the API Master Test Kit.
     
  7. Darkstar

    Darkstar Member

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    Agreed, I tried some out and they can barely detect water.
     

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