Which of these 2 test kits to trust?

Tttay89

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Since the start of fish keeping I have always used API test kit and ALWAYS had a very high Nitrate reading at around 40 which has always annoyed me and never been able to get it to budge with taking measures. even my tap water reading is around 25ppm
I thought I'd get another Nitrate test kit to double check and the guy in the shop started saying to not use API he would never stock that "rubbish" as how extremely unaccurate they can be and sold me a whole test kit (good salesaman) it is NTLABS.. So I have tested Nitrate with this and it looks to be around 10 - 15... (I assume this is still ppm)??

any experiences with these 2 brands?
 

Essjay

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I know you probably know all this but just to make absolutely sure - do you shake API bottle #2 like the instructions say - or even longer - before adding it to the tube?


Something you could try. Test your tap water with both testers. Then look on your water provider's website for your water quality report. Nitrate will be in there. It will tell you how many times they tested, the lowest reading, the highest reading and the mean over all the tests. Compare the mean reading to the two testers' results.
 
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Tttay89

Tttay89

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Yeah I shake as I should for both tests.
I will test tap water now. Do i have to wait 24 hours before testing or is that for pH
 

Essjay

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Waiting 24 hours is just for pH to allow pH changing gases to gas out.
 

PheonixKingZ

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If you can, use a friends API Master Test Kit, or go to another LFS, and ask them to test it. See what brand they used.

Is your test kit expired? Did you get it used?
 

AbbeysDad

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It is all to common these days to have high nitrates in tap water, especially in agricultural areas or reservoirs subject to agricultural runoff. (see My Nitrate Fight).
I sometimes think we expect too much accuracy from home test kits - after all, it's hardly a lab environment.
As mentioned, there is an element in the #2 regent of the API test kit that tends to separate so it must be shaken well and often rapped on a hard surface and if this is not done repeatedly, and tests are performed, the regent can be compromised over time.
I also think that the color chart can be an issue with the gradients of orange and the visual interpretation. I have resigned that yellow is excellent, orange is okay, and red is BAD. Exact numbers are somewhat meaningless.
 

Ch4rlie

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The nitrate test is the least accurate test for all the tests available on the AFMTK due to the simple fact of the solution agents in the bottles needs to be shaken, not just shaken but really SHAKEN properly, this is basically to activate the liquid solution and once activated fully then your nitrate tests should be more accurate, in theory anyway.

I have used NT Labs test kit before, but that was years ago and did not think very much of it, maybe it was because am so used to the AFMTK and rely on this more.

I am much like @AbbeysDad just using the colours as a guide as he says -

yellow is excellent, orange is okay, and red is BAD. Exact numbers are somewhat meaningless.

Once I see red on the test kit, I don't panic at all, just simply do a large water change to reduce the nitrate.

Bear in mind the nitrate is the least toxic element out of Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate, long term exposure to high levels of nitrate is bad for fish AND for the plants as well actually, so I tend to aim for around 40ppm as a max limit, if more than that then I'll do a quick water change.
 

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