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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I inherited a tank on Friday. New substrate and new filter media so having to cycle from start. Using Stability and Prime. Today (day 3) my Nitrate levels using API master kit are very high for sure 40, but looks more like 80 on the card (hard to distinguish). Nitrites are zero and ammonia is one. I have a fluval test kit and it shows nitrate 20, nitrite .8 and ammonia 2. What's going on. Is API affected by stability and prime? I don't know which test to trust. Fish seem ok.
 

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Welcome to C-F!!

Have you checked the expiration dates on either brand test kit? I've not tried the Fluval brand one but some people do have difficulty discerning the color of the API Nitrate test.

You can always try testing your tap water with both test kits to see if the results are the same or still different.

I'm not aware that Stability or Prime affects the nitrite or nitrate test but do hear that the ammonia test kit will still show a low non-toxic ammonia reading when using Prime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will test Tap water. That's a good idea. I did test the tap water with API and it did have nitrate 5. I didn't check with fluval. Regardless, how could I possibly have so much nitrate 3 days in? Should I be doing a water change? I'd rather not and let the bacteria colonize. Thanks for the reply.
 

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You are cycling with fish so you will need to follow the instructions for Stability or check their website FAQ section. I'm not worried about the nitrate but more so the 1PPM of ammonia as it is more toxic to your fish.

Do be sure to rinse the test tube and cap thoroughly with tap water both before and after any testing. If you happen to have distilled water at home, you can also rinse the test tubes and caps with that and also do a nitrate test to see if you still have a reading.

I'm not sure of your aquarium or testing experience but follow the testing instructions exactly especially for the nitrate reagent bottle shaking before dispensing the drops into the test tube.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thankfully Prime stops the ammonia and nitrite/nitrate from affecting the fish. I'm OCD and have tested MANY time quite thoroughly. Another problem is the tank is over-stocked, but have been living in harmony with the previous owner for years. The water is cloudy from bacteria bloom. Hopefully it sorts itself out by morning or I'll have to call in sick to do water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Still having a problem with Nitrates. I have been doing regular big water changes, but Nitrates still read high. Today I did more than 50% wc and tonight API kit shows 40ppm Fluval shows 10ppm. Used Prime to condition water during change. Ammonia and Nitrite = 0. Fish are all happy and healthy - no losses during the move and the cycle.

What gives with these Nitrate levels? Oh - tap water tests negligible with both kits.
 

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Do another 50% water change tonight to get nitrates to 20ppm and another tomorrow to get nitrates to 10ppm.

Then test daily to see how fast they climb. If you can make it a week before they climb to 20ppm you can do 50% weekly. If they are 20pm before a week do larger water changes.

How many fish are in the tank? What are the dimensions?
 

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What kind of filter(s) do you have on it and when's the last time they were cleaned? A big buildup of waste in the filter could be contributing as well.
 

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How much are you feeding the fish
Overfeeding is the number-one cause of high nitrate levels in aquariums. Overfed fish produce much more waste than normal, and when more food is given than they can take in, the uneaten food rots and produces even more wastes.
Keeping too many fish in a tank also leads to problems with accumulated wastes
 

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If possible I would recommend making a standard solution (with potassium or sodium nitrate) of known nitrate concentration and use it to cal check your kits. The two kits should not be that far off from each other. I used API for years but it is prone to systematic errors due to reagent mixing. I have not used fluval. As others have mentioned the expiration dates are important. I only use Salifert Nitrate test kits now. I have found them to be simple to use and accurate.

I keep a log on all my tanks. I just looked in my log at the last API nitrate kit I used and it read 40ppm with a 20ppm nitrate standard. I personally wouldnt assume that your kit has the same error unless you have some data to support it.
 

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Stevidad, since you are getting 2 different readings on the API and Hagen nitrate tests my guess would be incorrect test procedures on the API test. You must thoroughly shake the #2 reagent bottle prior to dispensing the drops, shake the test vial for recommended time between adding #1 & #2 drops and wait the correct amount of time before comparing the color card.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm very thorough with the testing and timing and shaking. I did another 50% change tonight. I "think" they're both showing at 10ppm.

To answer other questions:

I've only had the tank 3-4 weeks so filters are that old in penguin 350.
I got the tank (37g) stocked given to me. Has been stocked for a long time with a lot of fish. 4 convicts: 1 bumblebee: 2 blue stiped, 3 yellow striped, another pair, sparkly blue one - I realize it is overstocked, but the guy who gave it to me has had them for years. They all survived the 2hr move and me setting up from scratch with a new cycle.

Not sure what else to do with them. They're a happy little family. They all have their own hiding spots and all seem to get along fine.
 

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With the high stocking you may need to change 75% weekly or even more often than that.
 

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I'm in the same boat !!! I do many water weekly and have over 12 plants in the tank with plenty of filtration..... my fish in a 75 gallon are small in size . I use a API test and it's always the same . My conclusion is that a lot of these test are rigged to have you buy more products. I've had a rift tank for 3 months with 1 dead fish due to diet . Honestly do what thInk is right !!! You will only get mixed answers here .. do what you think is best.
 

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I do 5-10 gallons a week in getting into the gravel and at least 25-35 a week in just water changes and cleaning the filters every : weeks . Just find out what for you and stick with it.
 
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