Most water problems are invisible to the eye. To stay healthy and thrive, fish need properly balanced levels of ammonia, pH, high range pH, nitrite and nitrate. These levels can change rapidly and create harmful conditions when fish waste, uneaten food or other organic matter accumulate, or when untreated water is added. If left uncorrected, all of these can be harmful or even fatal to fish, with consequences such as reduction of oxygen, increase in stress and higher risk of disease. It comes with four glass test tubes, a holding tray, test tube rack and computer calibrated, laminated color card.
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Part of the learning curve for me getting into the aquarium hobby was familiarizing myself with water quality parameters. About all I understood was that tap water had chlorine and I needed to add dechlorinator when I performed a water change.
This healthy bacteria is the goal of completing a fishless cycle; will talk more about this in a separate upcoming post. Integral to monitoring progress of the startup of our aquarium and checking the tank health was finding a good aquarium test kit. These still exist and are a good option for those that want a simple test kit. It is as easy as dipping strips of test paper directly into the aquarium for a time, removing the strip to wait for a time, then comparing the colors to a provided color chart.
The advantage is the simplicity. There are a few disadvantages to test strips. First, the accuracy is somewhat limited.
The strips generally have good accuracy when new. However, once the container of strips has been opened, accuracy dimishes over time because of the effects of humidity in the container. The second disadvantage to aquarium test strips is their cost.
Missing from the 5 in 1 kit is Ammonia. Getting the nitrigen cycle started in a new aquarium might require daily testing. Strips will become very expensive. I wanted a better choice that cost less and is more accurate. Luckily, API makes an alternative to test strip kits: their Freshwater Master Test Kit works by using chemicals you precisely mix with your aquarium water in test tubes.
The test kit comes with 4 mixing test tubes that you perform the tests in, 4 caps to cover the test tubes with handy since the tests require mixing by shaking or inverting , 7 individual bottles of various fluids that are used individually or in pairs for testing, instructions, the results color chart, and a handy container that keeps it all together.
The container also holds the test tubes upright for you while you perform the testing. It is a bit daunting in that all 5 test are unique and require slightly different instructions. They all start in the same way, and that is to fill a clean test tube provided with 5 ml of aquarium water up to a white line on the side. I got bogged down in reading the instructions each time I wanted to test the water as they span 5 separate sections over 21 pages in three languages.
I ended up making a cliff notes version and putting it on a card that I keep with the test kit. A pdf of my instructions is located here for those who would like to print one out for their kit.
After a few tries, you will get the rhythm down and become faster at completing the test. I usually only test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. The PH tests I sometimes perform by themselves, but I have not found the results from the PH tests to be helpful to me, so I usually skip them. Note that unless you come up with another test tube, the four provided with the kit will not allow you to perform all the testing at the same time; you will need to choose either the low or high range ph test.
I use a large medical syringe to get water out of the aquarium. I then fill the required test tubes with aquarium water up to the white line. I always use the same test tube locations in the black plastic holder each time I test to avoid confusion on what test tube represents which test.
The order of testing presented here is what I have found to be the most efficient time wise. Note that when they say to wait for 5 minutes, this is the minimum time you need to allow for the color to change in the solution. By the time I finish the last test, it has often been almost 5 minutes of wait time for the first test Nitrate.
After the solution has set the prescribed time, you then read the color compared to the chart. I usually hold the test tube up to the card with the tube over the white portion next to the color scale. With the white background, and in good light, it is usually easy to read the color. Another way is to set the tubes upright on the card by the results that match, as shown below:. It is cumbersome the first few times you perform all the test, but again, it gets faster and easier with practice.
The results are very good. The only real knock that I have for the kit is the PH tests. This tells me that my PH is 7. When I then perform the high range test, the result is always pegged at the lowest 7. Combining the results from both test leads me to a PH of 7. I do not find it reassuring that I never get results solidly inside either test range. I supposed my tap water simply leads to an aquarium ph that is in the break between the two tests.
I would imagine many people are in the same situation with their aquarium PH. I wish that instead of providing two separate tests that supposedly span from 6.
While some aquarist certainly have tanks that fall outside this range, I think it would meet the needs of most. I am very happy with the accuracy observed. I get consistent results that I can trust. As long as you follow instructions, you will be rewarded with accurate results. The real positive of the liquid master test kit is the pricing. It is a bit tough to breakdown the number of available tests in the bottles. Each bottle has 37ml of fluid, but they each utilize different numbers of drops per test.
Other tests would last much longer. This is very conservative as the test utilizing fewer drops would last much longer than As I mentioned, because all the various test use different quantities of drops, and possibly because you will use some tests more than others, you might run out of solution for a particular test before the others. Instead of purchasing an entire master test kit, you can purchase individual tests as replacements:. Share on Facebook. Excellent post. I was looking for this particular info for a very long time.
Thank you and good luck. Well thanks for checking back into my humble little site. I hope to be adding some product updates in the near future to close out the year. I know digital PH meters exist. For the other parameters ammonia, nitrite, nitrate if they do exist, I bet they are super expensive. Thank you for the information and the simplified instructions, typing them from the booklet was a job I have been trying to avoid.
Do you have difficulty assessing the Nitrate values of 40ppm and 80ppm as the colors on the chart appear to be identical? It has been a very long time since I have used a test kit, but I do agree it can be a bit hard to distinguish the Nitrate values. Recheck with another tube and it would be O again! SO I think the BLUE tint from having previously used the tube for nitrites test, even if it was rinsed, scrubbed, rinsed really well, must of left a residue that when I used it the next day for AMmonia test, it would give me the HIgh ammonia reading.
Just sharing. Nitrites are 0ppm and nitrates are between 5 and 10 ppm. Might be nothing — it detects ammonium as well as ammonia so ammonium might be what is making the color be off yellow a bit.
Hi, and thanks for the info. One question I have is this: does it matter where you take the water sample from in your aquarium? Does anyone know if values vary significantly enough to matter in different parts of the tank? Your email address will not be published. Skip to content Search for:. The test results range from 0 ppm parts per million to 8. Nitrite NO2. The test results range from 0 ppm to 5.
Nitrate NO3. The test results range from 0 ppm to ppm. Cap and invert the test tube several times. Shake Nitrate Bottle 2 for 30 seconds. Add 10 drops of Nitrate Bottle 2. Shake test tube for 1 minute.
Wait 5 minutes and read the results. Ammonia: Add 8 drops from Ammonia Bottle 1. Add 8 drops from Ammonia Bottle 2. Shake test tube for 5 seconds. Care must be taken to shake the container thoroughly before adding drops to your aquarium water, and to shake the mixture for a minute.
Invert that bottle : The testing seems reliant on putting in an exact amount of both water and test solution s. Also take care to not touch the dropper to the edge of the test tube as this will not result in a full drop.
The water in your pipes has a higher concentration of dissolved CO2 and this makes the PH reading high. Let a sample of tap water rest over 24 hours in an open container to off-gass this CO2, then test it. The result will be a more representative PH reading of your tap water.
API Freshwater Test Instructions
To submit your vote please sign in or sign up , it is free and takes a few seconds. Directions for testing pH: 1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested to the line on the tube. Add 3 drops of Test Solution, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops.
FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT
Also includes a step-by-step instruction booklet with a color chart that provides information on how to correct unsafe water conditions. We recommend that you take a few minutes each week to monitor your aquarium conditions and create a better underwater world for your fish. Testing your aquarium water has never been so easy or accurate! Sizes Contains tests and includes 7 test solutions, easy-to-ready instructions, 4 glass test tubes and color chart.
API Freshwater Master Test Kit
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