Water testing woes

kashka_kat(z4 WI)July 16, 2012

Water testing questions - in no particular order

First - is 40 ppm nitrate a problem? All the sources Im seeing say "no problem up to 40 ppm." Well. Im at 40 ppm in the indoor tank so I can only surmise that its not good and ... fish are seeming somewhat lethargic, not their usual selves. Part of the problem is that water out of the tap is ranging from 10-20 ppm, which doesnt give a lot of leeway to accommodate additional nitrate from fish waste. This indoor tank is 40% covered by hornwort so Im not sure what else Im supposed to do. besides a big water change, and I do mean "big" because to affect a change when you already have 10-20 ppm it will have to be a lot of water.

How do yall cope with nitrate in your water - are there filters that exist?

Ammonia tests - Ive tried 3 different ones already and all have the same problem - the charts that are provided to compare your sample are all so poorly printed that the color of the chart doesnt look ANYTHING like the color of the sample, If they can print fairly accurate paint color samples we should be able to get a decent chart that actually relates to the colors of the samples. Having to guess or come up with a range of numbers that indicate what it MIGHT be is not very useful.

The tests which color the water in a test tube are not very useful for pond water which is already green from algae - the same shade of green which indicates ammonia!

The API ammonia test tabs have been coming out yellow with a dark green edge around it, and the Seachem test with the little round dots are blotchy green and yellow - how the heck am I supposed to read those???

The Seachem test is supposed to be able to test for free (ie bad) ammonia only - however when I tested water out of the tap plus a dechlorinator that has an ammonia neutralizer in it (Stresscoat) it tested positive for ammonia! Plain tap water - no Stresscoat added - tested negative. So apparently it DOES give a false positives�.

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Can you take some of your water to an aquarium shop? Many of them will test your water either for free or a small fee.

Are you using the white material that scrubs out ammonia in your filter along with the activate charcoal? The product I use is called AMRID but you should find the equivalent in any decent aquarium shop.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:32PM
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kashka_kat(z4 WI)

I did take it to aquarium shop to verify the nitrates - maybe I'll do the same w/ammonia one time just to see what they have to say, however, I need to be able to test at home while I'm getting pond and indoor tank functional (both are somewhat out of whack.)

Not sure what the white material is that you are referring to?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 1:15PM
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waterbug_guy(Phoenix AZ (Melrose))

I don't know what kind of pond, or is it a tank, you run but in a water garden with Koi and/or Goldfish 40 ppm nitrate is no problem. However that's just one more opinion, you've already read different ones. There's a bottom line to opinions, you either have to hope you guessed right in picking one to believe or you learn what the nitrate issues are for fish and form your own opinion base on your specific pond.

On the Seachem test...not waiting 15 minutes will make it hard to read. If ammonia is very low it can be hard to read. The darker color is the test result.

Testing water isn't super easy. You can practice with distilled water and adding pure ammonia from the drug store. Math skills are required, precise measuring and attention to detail.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 4:56PM
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Interesting! Basically, water is important in our daily life, without it human can only survive for days. However, clean water is essential for healthy living. Sadly, microscopic organisms and other contaminants can poison consumers over time. Learn about how testing water for safety can be done in your own home.

Here is a link that might be useful: Testing Water

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 1:59AM
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