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Request/Help: API Kit + Purposely increasing Ammonia reading
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strawberry99
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Joined: 26 Dec 2009

PostPosted: 2010.01.02(Sat)16:53    Post subject: Request/Help: API Kit + Purposely increasing Ammonia reading Reply with quote

Uncertain about whether or not my test kit has "expired," thus my request.
I am requesting anyone who has the American Pharmaceutical (API) Freshwater Master Test Kit to run a test. I am trying to establish a baseline. I am trying to spike an ammonia concentration of 8.0 in the supplied empty test tube using liquid ammonia (ACE Ammonia Janitorial Strength: http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1272325&kw=ammonia&origkw=ammonia&searchId=46123304094 ). This product is chosen because it is what is recommended by many. It is 10% Ammonia Hydroxide.

Liquid Ammonia
Pouring this liquid bottled ACE ammonia directly into the test tube at the 5ml mark, and dripping 8 drops each of Ammonia Bottle #1 and Bottle #2 reveals a faint yellow-green tint (or is it actually yellow?). Color code indicates the level is less than approximately 0.25 ppm. Even with the colored coded chart, it seems difficult to get an exact reading simply through visual inspection. The exact ppm value seems ambiguous.

Tap Water

I tried it simply with tap water as well to the 5ml test tube line, followed by 8 drops each of Ammonia Bottle #1 and Bottle #2. It appears to be yellow-green as well (or is it actually yellow?) at least I believe. Bottom line: Tap water test tube looks almost the same as the concentrated liquid ammonia test tube.

5 drops per 10 gallon of liquid ammonia to increase tank water to 5ppm??

I have read that 5 drops per 10 gallon should be sufficient to bring the aquarium water to 5.0 ppm. However, I can't seem to even spike the reading above 1.0 or 2.0 ppm with pure liquid ammonia. If pouring concentrated liquid ammonia (10% ammonia hydroxide) directly into the API test tube does not even spike the ammonia ppm concentration above 1 ppm, I'm not sure what would. At this rate, pouring the entire liquid ammonia bottle into the tank would not even yield a 5ppm ammonia concentration.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciative.

Expired API Test Kit? I doubt it.
My understanding is that the date of manufacture corresponds to lot number. Bottle #1 therefore, was packaged on 09-07 (Sept 2007). Bottle #2, packaged on 10-07 (Oct. 2007). I have read that API test kits has a shelf lifespan of 3 years. If my understanding is correct, my test kit still has a 1 year lifespan left.

Lot no. on Ammonia bottle #1: 83B0907.
Lot no. on Ammonia bottle #2: 84A1007.

Note: I am in the process of cycling my 40 gallon and 20 gallon breeder tanks, and am uncertain about whether or not my test kit has "expired" or is dysfunctional. This test kit was inherited through craigslist as were both aquarium tanks.
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Darkblade48
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Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Location: Yokohama, Japan

PostPosted: 2010.01.02(Sat)18:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

This may be a silly question, but are you waiting the prescribed 5 minutes before reading the tests?

In addition, are you rinsing out your test tubes with the water to test before you run the ammonia tests? Finally, be sure to shake the reagent bottles well before each use (also be sure to invert the test tube several times after adding the reagents to ensure the reagent and water sample are well mixed).
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strawberry99
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Joined: 26 Dec 2009

PostPosted: 2010.01.02(Sat)18:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darkblade48 wrote:
This may be a silly question, but are you waiting the prescribed 5 minutes before reading the tests?

In addition, are you rinsing out your test tubes with the water to test before you run the ammonia tests? Finally, be sure to shake the reagent bottles well before each use (also be sure to invert the test tube several times after adding the reagents to ensure the reagent and water sample are well mixed).


Suggestions noted, and were carried out.

Great questions, suggestions, and points. Yes, I believe they were all done, but is there a difference between (1) inverting the test tubes multiple times vs. (2) vigorously shaking the test tube?

Prescribed 5 minutes: check.
Rinsing out test tubes with water prior to ammonia tests: check.
Reagent bottles shaken: check.
Multiple test tube inversions: check. (I usually vigorously shake the test tube)

Time lapse doesn't seem to affect results: 5 seconds; 5 minutes; 55 minutes

From what I have seen, waiting the prescribed 5 minutes doesn't seem to affect the results. After 5 seconds, 5 minutes, or even 55 minutes, doesn't seem to alter the results. I usually wait a full 10 to 15 minutes to confirm that results obtained at 5 seconds and 5 minutes are no different. I will even wait 1 hour to confirm the initial results.

Shaking both ammonia bottles #1/#2 rendered same results

My first thought was that the test solution (Ammonia bottle #1 and bottle #2) needed to be re-agitated since both solutions had been sitting quietly for some time. I shook both solutions well, and ran a second test. Same results.
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2010.01.02(Sat)20:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Storage can have a huge effect on reagents so I would go and buy a new kit.
You don't know the history of these.
I've often seen test kits stored on top of tank hoods = hot - and if they were used without shaking in the past they will have incorrect mixes.
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strawberry99
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Joined: 26 Dec 2009

PostPosted: 2010.01.03(Sun)14:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

diademhill wrote:
Storage can have a huge effect on reagents so I would go and buy a new kit.
You don't know the history of these.
I've often seen test kits stored on top of tank hoods = hot - and if they were used without shaking in the past they will have incorrect mixes.


Brand New Store Bought Bottle #1/#2 Ammonia API Test: Same Results (<0.25ppm)
I dropped by Petco tonight and I am utterly confused.

Brand new store bought bottle #1/#2 Ammonia API test: < 0.25 ppm.
Petco testing (paper test strip): Toxic Ammonia Level (> 6.0 ppm; Blue color on test strip)

Question: Is the Aquarium Pharmaceutical Master Test Kit actually reliable or accurate?
A brand new kit versus as a two year old kit, tested on "pure" liquid Ammonia (10% Ammonia hydroxide) yielding the same exact results based on the color coded chart makes me question whether this test kit is in fact an acceptable test for aquarium water.

Are Paper strip tests more reliable than liquid tests?
As mentioned, Petco used the paper strip dip test. Pure liquid ammonia (5 ml) in the API tube was found to be toxic (>6.0 ppm; Blue color)

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (API) Test Results:
1. Tap Water: Yellow
2. Ammonia #1 (Pure Liquid Ammonia; 10% Ammonia Hydroxide): faint green color
3. Ammonia #2 (Pure Liquid Ammonia; 10% Ammonia Hydroxide): faint green color

*Please note that the paper test strip done down at Petco on test tube Ammonia #2 yielded a toxic level (>6.0 ppm; blue color)

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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2010.01.03(Sun)15:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

Possibly some sort of secondary reaction inhibiting the color change? Presumably a blue test strip will work via a different chemical reaction than a yellow liquid test.

Perhaps try diluting some to the 4-8 ppm range to see whether it works at the range that you'll be testing, you might just be overloading the reaction. Just to save you some calculation, it's probably about 0.05-0.1 mL/L of water (about 1 drop of 10% ammonia hydroxide solution diluted in a litre of water) to reach that range.

EDIT: With the new kit I mean, I did notice you've tried with the old one.

EDIT2: Whats the expiry date of the new kit? I find it quite common that LFSs stock out of date items.
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strawberry99
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Joined: 26 Dec 2009

PostPosted: 2010.01.04(Mon)16:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

unissuh wrote:
Possibly some sort of secondary reaction inhibiting the color change? Presumably a blue test strip will work via a different chemical reaction than a yellow liquid test.

Perhaps try diluting some to the 4-8 ppm range to see whether it works at the range that you'll be testing, you might just be overloading the reaction. Just to save you some calculation, it's probably about 0.05-0.1 mL/L of water (about 1 drop of 10% ammonia hydroxide solution diluted in a litre of water) to reach that range.

EDIT: With the new kit I mean, I did notice you've tried with the old one.

EDIT2: Whats the expiry date of the new kit? I find it quite common that LFSs stock out of date items.


Will run a dilute ammonia solution test in the next couple of days.
The previous test were done with the new bottles. I will take your advice and run several dilute ammonia test, and see how that turns out.

I am currently washing Lowe's Quikrete Playsand specifically for future cory catfish purchases. I have been at the washing for several days, and there are still microscopic particles that cloud the water, albeit not as bad as day one. Trying to wash it extremely well to take preventative measures from power filter harm; I am actually considering simply using Sponge filtration (Hydro Sponge) and not using both of my Emperor 400 Hang on Back filters due to the play sand's extremely fine particles.

New Bottle #1/#2 were manufactured this year: 2009.
Bottle #1 Ammonia: 08-09
Bottle #2 Ammonia: 08-09
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jonathandowers
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Joined: 04 May 2011

PostPosted: 2011.05.04(Wed)16:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too am running into this issue (light green tint with pure 10% ammonium hydroxide solution). The API Ammonia test kits simply do NOT work. Ordered fresh online from a reputable store. Batch date is from 4 months ago.

Been trying to contact API to no avail.
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newtanker
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Joined: 10 Dec 2012

PostPosted: 2012.12.10(Mon)19:43    Post subject: Adding ace ammonia to api liquid ammonia test kit Reply with quote

I too ran into this problem this evening. My experience was a little different though. I was using a saltwater kit and added straight ace ammonia to the 5ml tube. I have found either it is possible to screw up the test by adding excessive ammonia or that shaking the #1 and #2 bottles is very important. To make a long story short;

1.Didn't shake bottles and added 5ml straight ammonia and accompanying test chemicals = no reaction after 20 minutes

2.(New test) Shook bottles and added two drops of ace ammonia from dropper to tank water at x levels of whatever into 5ml tube= 8 ppm ammonia. A retest of tank water under normal test procedure= .25-.5 ppm. It should be mentioned that my tank is not established yet, so, the post water test was just to verify that the ammonia caused the reaction not the tank water.

Hope this helps someone. I wouldn't have thought overdosing ammonia in the test tube would have created a non reaction. That is what happened to me though. I have also found that I need to let the test tube sit for 15-30 minutes before reading. It doesn't seem to me that the advertised 5 minutes is adequate.

I am using an api fresh/saltwater ammonia liquid test kit.
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