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Red Sea 5-in-1 Master Test Kit For Marine Aquariums

Why test for pH and Alkalinity?
pH is the measure of acidity of water. A pH reading of 7.0 is neutral, a pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline, and a pH lower than 7.0 is acidic. The ability of water to withstand changes in pH is called buffering capacity. Based on a method of measuring buffering capacity, it is referred to as the alkalinity of seawater. Since the ocean has almost an inexhaustible supply of buffers, it can hold up to large amounts of acids without a noticeable change in pH. The same, however, does not apply in the closed system of an aquarium, where buffering agents can quickly get used up by calcareous algae and invertebrates. Maintaining your aquarium at the proper pH and alkalinity ensures optimal water quality.
When to test for pH and Alkalinity?
To maintain a correct and stable pH, check the pH and alkalinity weekly.
Directions - pH Test
  1. Clean a test tube by rinsing it with water to be tested.
  2. Fill the test tube to the 6 ml mark with water to be tested.
  3. Add 3 drops of pH (7.4-8.6) indicator, close the test tube with the stopper and shake gently for 10 seconds.
  4. Compare the color with the color scale by holding the test tube in a vertical position, 8" from a white background.
  5. Read off the pH value of the color that is most similar to the sample in the test tube.
  6. Clean the test tube and stopper with tap water.
Directions - Alkalinity Test
  1. Clean a test tube by rinsing it with water to be tested.
  2. Fill the test tube to the 10 ml mark with water to be tested.
  3. Add 5 drops of alkalinity indicator.
  4. Close the test tube with the stopper and shake gently for 10 seconds.
  5. Open the test tube and look down through the open top of the test tube, while holding it 8" above a white background.
  6. Read off the alkalinity level next to the color on the color card that is most similar to the sample in the test tube.
  7. Clean the test tube and stopper with tap water.
Why test for Ammonia?
Fish continually release ammonia (NH3) directly into the water through their gills, urine, and solid waste. Uneaten food and other decaying organic matter also add ammonia to the water. A natural mechanism exists that controls ammonia - the biological filter. It is made up of nitrifying bacteria, which live in the substrate and biological filter media. However, as with any natural process, imbalances can occur. Testing for the presence of toxic ammonia is essential, so that once detected, steps can be taken to remove it. Otherwise, ammonia will damage gill membranes, and prevent fish from carrying on normal respiration. High levels of ammonia quickly lead to fish death. Even trace amounts stress fish, suppressing their immune system and thereby increasing the likelihood of disease outbreaks and subsequent fish loss.
When to Test for Ammonia
Regular testing for ammonia is very important in newly set up aquariums. We advise daily testing for two to four weeks in a new aquarium. Ammonia levels may also rise in older aquariums when the biological filter substrate has been damaged, blocked, or fouled. Test for ammonia right away if you notice gill or skin damage, or color fading.
Directions - Ammonia Test
  1. Check and write down the pH and temperature of the aquarium water of which you wish to test the ammonia level.
  2. Clean a test tube by rinsing it with water to be tested.
  3. Fill the test tube to the 3 ml mark with water to be tested.
  4. Rapidly add 11 drops of Ammonia Reagent A. Immediately close the test tube with the stopper and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
  5. Open the test tube and add 4 drops of Ammonia Reagent B, close it with the stopper and shake gently for 10 seconds.
  6. Open the test tube and add 4 drops of Ammonia Reagent C, close it with the stopper and shake gently for 10 seconds.
  7. Wait 15 minutes for the color to fully develop.
  8. Compare the color with the color scale by holding the test tube in a vertical position, 8" from a white background.
  9. Read off the ppm value of the color that is closest to the sample in the test tube. This is a measure of the total dissolved Ammonia level.
  10. Using the table below calculate the level of toxic Ammonia. For Marine aquariums, any reading of 0.25 ppm of total Ammonia indicates a level of toxic Ammonia of at least 0.01 ppm which will have a negative effect on the fish.
  11. Clean the test tube and stopper with tap water.
Why Test for Nitrite?
Testing for the presence of toxic nitrite is essential, so that once detected, steps can be taken to remove it. Otherwise, nitrite in the water will prevent fish from carrying on normal respiration. High levels of nitrite quickly lead to fish death. Even trace amounts of nitrite stress fish, suppressing their immune system and, thereby, increasing the likelihood of disease and subsequent fish loss. In new aquariums, high nitrite is a normal occurrence. It means that the Nitrosomonas bacteria in the biological filter have started the nitrification process and have produced nitrite from ammonia. When nitrite is present, however, it means Nitrosomonas are not yet present in sufficient quantities to transform nitrite into less harmful nitrate.
When to Test for Nitrite
In new aquariums, we advise you test for nitrite daily for at least two weeks. Nitrite should also be tested when you suspect a malfunctioning of the biological filter.
Directions - Nitrite Test
  1. Clean the test tube by rinsing it with water to be tested.
  2. Fill the test tube to the 8 ml mark with water to be tested.
  3. Add 10 drops of Nitrite Reagent A. Close the test tube with the stopper and shake gently.
  4. Add 6 drops of Nitrite Reagent B. Close the test tube with the stopper and shake gently.
  5. Wait 1-1/2 to 2 minutes for the color to fully develop.
  6. Open the test tube and look down through the open top of the test tube, while holding it 8" above a white background and compare the sample with the color scale.
  7. Read off the ppm value of the color that is closest to the sample in the test tube.
  8. Clean the test tube and stopper with tap water.
A concentration as low as 0.1 ppm is already harmful to marine invertebrates. Concentrations above 0.3 ppm are harmful for marine fish.
Why Test for Nitrate?
Nitrate (NO3) is produced in the aquarium by the biological filter. Beneficial bacteria in the biological filter convert toxic ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. A high nitrate level indicates a buildup of fish waste and organic compounds, resulting in poor water quality and contributing to the likelihood of fish disease. Excessive nitrate also provides a nitrogen source that can stimulate algal blooms. In the opinion of many aquarists, maintaining a low nitrate level improves the health of fish and invertebrates.
When to Test for Nitrate
Test weekly for Nitrate.
Directions - Nitrate Test
  1. Clean a test tube by rinsing it with water to be tested.
  2. Fill the test tube to the 5 ml mark with water to be tested.
  3. Vigorously shake the Nitrate Reagent A for at least 30 seconds and add 5 drops to the test tube.
  4. Add 5 drops of the Reagent B.
  5. Add 8 drops of Reagent C.
  6. Cap the test tube and shake gently for one minute.
  7. Wait five minutes for the color to develop, and then shake again.
  8. Compare the color with the color scale by holding the test tube in a vertical position, about 2" from a white background.
  9. Read off the ppm value on the right hand LOW RANGE side of the color scale that is closest to the sample in the test tube.
  10. Should the result be more than 50 ppm, repeat the test using 1 ml water sample diluting up to 5 ml with distilled water or reverse osmosis water and read off the ppm value on the left hand HIGH RANGE side of the color scale.
  11. Clean the test tube and stopper with tap water.
In a marine aquarium, the nitrate should be kept below 20 ppm, but one should always strive for a zero reading, as all coral reef dwellers are adapted to these low levels in the wild.
 

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Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Reef Master Liquid Test Kit

Warning: Several of the included solutions are harmful and require precautions to be taken for your safety. Please make sure to read included instruction manual before working with these solutions.
Calcium Test Instructions
Why Test for Calcium?
Monitoring calcium levels is essential for keeping a successful reef aquarium. Reef organisms use calcium to build a calcium carbonate skeleton. Over time, as the calcium in the water is used up, the calcium level will gradually drop. Calcium must be present for corals to grow. Even reef invertebrates, such as shrimp, crabs, mollusks, and encrusting algae require calcium to grow and remain healthy.
Calcium level drops as it is used by invertebrates or as it reacts with excess phosphate. Making a partial water change may help to maintain proper calcium levels, depending on the brand of salt mix. Special calcium additives are also available. Elevated phosphate precipitates calcium, rendering it unavailable to reef organisms. Phosphate enters the aquarium from tap water and as a byproduct of fish and invertebrate metabolism. If necessary, remove excess phosphate. However, just having an adequate calcium level is not enough to achieve healthy coral growth, because the growth of corals is directly linked to carbonate hardness (KH), often referred to as alkalinity. All reef organisms rely on the combination of calcium and carbonate to build their skeleton structure by extracting these substances from saltwater. These two building blocks are essential for the growth of corals, crustaceans, mollusks, coralline algae and calcareous forms of macroalgae. Testing for both carbonate hardness and calcium is essential for successful reef keeping.
Testing Tips
This test kit reads the calcium concentration in milligrams per liter (mg/L), which is equivalent to parts per million (ppm).
Directions for Testing Calcium Levels
Read instructions thoroughly before testing. Do not allow test solutions to get into aquarium. To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
  1. Rinse a clean test tube with the water being tested.
  2. Fill the test tube to the line with 5 ml of aquarium water.
  3. Holding the bottle vertically, add 10 drops of Calcium Test Solution #1 to the test tube, cap and shake for 10 seconds.
  4. Shake Calcium Test Solution #2 bottle vigorously for 10 seconds.
  5. Holding the bottle vertically, add Calcium Test Solution #2, drop by drop to the test tube until the solution changes from pink to the blue endpoint. Each drop is equivalent to 20 mg/L calcium. Cap and shake the test tube between drops. Be sure to count the drops added.
    • A pink color should form after the first drop.
    • If a blue color forms after the first drop, the calcium concentration is 20 mg/L or below.
  6. As the endpoint is approached, the color will usually change from pink to purple finally changing to blue. After the purple color forms, only one or two more drops should be required to reach the blue endpoint.
Interpreting the Test Results
Reef aquariums should have a calcium concentration between 400-500 mg/L.
Increasing Your Calcium Levels
There are two ways to increase your calcium level. One is when you make up new saltwater and perform routine water exchanges. The amount of calcium is dependent upon the salt mix that you use. The second method is to add a product that is designed specifically to increase the calcium level in your aquarium.
Carbonate Hardness Test Instructions
What is Carbonate Hardness?
Carbonate hardness (also known as alkalinity) is the measure of carbonate and bicarbonate ion concentrations dissolved in water. These minerals are present in municipal, well, and bottled spring water. The level of carbonate hardness in tap and bottled water depends on the source of the water and the treatment process it has undergone. Carbonate hardness helps stabilize pH in the aquarium. An aquarium with a low KH level (50 ppm or less) will tend to be acidic. Aquariums with very low KH are subject to rapid pH shifts, if not monitored carefully. Water with a high KH level (>200 ppm) usually has a high pH. This test measures KH in German degrees (dKH). To convert to ppm, multiply dKH by 17.9.
Directions for Testing Carbonate Hardness Levels
Read instructions thoroughly before testing. Do not allow test solutions to get into aquarium.
  1. Rinse a clean test tube with water to be tested.
  2. Fill the test tube to the line with 5 ml of aquarium water.
  3. Add KH Test Solution, one drop at a time, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops. After first drop is added, the solution will turn pale blue. If the water sample contains 1 dKH or less, the solution will turn from clear to pale yellow after the first drop is added.
  4. Cap the test tube and invert several times after each drop. Keep count of the drops being added. Do not hold finger over open end of the tube, as this may affect the test results.
  5. The test is completed when the water in the test tube, after having been shaken, turns from blue to yellow. If you have difficulty discerning the color after the first drop of test solution is added, remove the cap and while holding it over a white background, look down through the tube.
  6. The Carbonate Hardness value is determined by the number of drops of the reagent that must be added to turn the water bright yellow. Each drop is equal to 1 dKH or 17.9 ppm KH (see Conversion Chart in instruction manual).
KH in the Aquarium
Aquarists seek to provide a healthy aquarium environment by duplicating the water conditions of the natural habitats of their fish and invertebrates. Freshly made salt mix should have adequate KH, typically between 8-12 dKH.
Increasing KH
Over time, KH will decrease. Partial water changes can increase KH. KH can also be increased with API pH buffers. Proper pH 8.2 (item #148958) is a carbonate buffer suitable for marine aquariums.
Phosphate Test Instructions
Why Test for Phosphate?
Phosphate enters the aquarium from fish and invertebrate waste and decaying organic matter, such as dead algae and uneaten fish food. Water treatment facilities may add phosphate to tap water to prevent pipe corrosion and reduce concentrations of heavy metals in drinking water. Some salt mixes also contain phosphates.
In reef aquariums, phosphate precipitates dissolved calcium and magnesium ions, inhibiting the growth of hard corals and other reef-building organisms.
Testing Tips
This phosphate test reads the total phosphate level in parts per million (ppm), which are equivalent to milligrams per liter (mg/L) from 0 ppm (mg/L) to 10.0 ppm (mg/L), in saltwater aquariums.
Directions for Testing Phosphate Levels
Read instructions thoroughly before testing. Do not allow test solutions to get into aquarium.
  1. Rinse a clean test tube with water being tested.
  2. Fill the test tube to the line with 5 ml of aquarium water.
  3. Add 6 drops from Phosphate Test Solution Bottle #1 to the test tube, holding the dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
  4. Cap and shake the test tube vigorously for 5 seconds.
  5. Add 6 drops from Phosphate Test Solution Bottle #2 to the test tube, holding the dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added to the water sample. Bottle #2 has a very thick solution and may require increased pressure while squeezing to release drops.
  6. Cap and shake the test tube vigorously for 5 seconds.
  7. Wait 3 minutes for full color to develop.
  8. Read the test results by matching the test solution against the Phosphate Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of total phosphate in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
 

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part2

Interpreting the Results
Ideally, the phosphate level should be zero in reef aquariums. The phosphate level in a new aquarium will depend on the purity of water used to fill it. The phosphate level in tap water can vary daily depending on the treatment process used. Phosphate tends to accumulate in established aquariums.
Reducing Phosphate
To quickly reduce phosphate levels, perform a partial water change. Remove any dirt and uneaten fish food from the bottom of the aquarium and change 25% to 50% of the water, depending on the phosphate concentration. To be sure your water source does not contain phosphate, use a tap water filter to remove all unwanted phosphate before adding water to your aquarium. To continually remove phosphate from the aquarium, use API Phos-Zorb (item #111334). Phos-Zorb is a special filtration resin that removes phosphate and silicate ions from saltwater.
Nitrate Test Instructions
Why Test for Nitrate?
Nitrate is produced in the aquarium by the biological filter. Beneficial bacteria in the biological filter convert toxic ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. A high nitrate level indicates a buildup of fish waste and organic compounds, resulting in poor water quality and contributing to the likelihood of fish disease. Excessive nitrate also provides a nitrogen source that can stimulate algal blooms. In the opinion of many aquarists, maintaining a low nitrate level improves the health of fish and invertebrates in reef aquariums.
Testing Tips
This test reads total nitrate level in parts per million (ppm), which are equivalent to milligrams per liter (mg/L) from 0 ppm to 160 ppm, in either fresh or saltwater aquariums. This test measures nitrate as nitrate ion or "total nitrate." (Other tests that measure "nitrate-nitrogen" will give readings 4.4 times LESS than this test.)
Directions for Testing Nitrate Levels
Read instructions thoroughly before testing. Do not allow test solutions to get into aquarium.
  1. Rinse a clean test tube with water being tested.
  2. Fill the test tube to the line with 5 ml of aquarium water.
  3. Add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle #1, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added.
  4. Cap the test tube and invert tube several times to mix solution. Do not hold finger over the open end as this may affect test results.
  5. Vigorously shake the Nitrate Test Solution Bottle #2 for at least 30 seconds. This step is extremely important to ensure accuracy of test results.
  6. Now, add 10 drops from Solution Bottle #2, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position.
  7. Cap the test tube and shake vigorously for one minute. This step is extremely important to ensure accuracy of test results.
  8. Wait 5 minutes for the color to develop.
  9. Read the test results by matching the color of the solution against those on the Nitrate Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of nitrate in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
What the Test Results Mean
In new aquariums, the nitrate level will gradually climb as the biological filter becomes established. Many marine aquarists prefer to keep nitrate levels as low as possible, especially when keeping invertebrates in reef aquariums.
Frequency of Testing
Regular testing for nitrate is an essential part of routine aquarium maintenance. Aquarium water should be tested for nitrate once a week to make sure the nitrate does not reach an undesirable level. Reducing Nitrate
Partial water changes are the easiest way to lower the nitrate in a saltwater aquarium. Keep in mind, however, that the biological filter constantly produces nitrate. Also, because many tap water supplies contain nitrate, it can be difficult to lower nitrate levels by this method. A tap water filter will remove all pollutants, including nitrate, from tap water, making water changes safe and effective.
 

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pH Test Instructions
Saltwater pH Test Instructions
Why Test pH?
pH is the measure of acidity of water. A pH reading of 7.0 is neutral. A pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline, and a pH lower than 7.0 is acidic. Marine fish and invertebrates require a pH between 8.2 and 8.4. Maintaining the aquarium at the proper pH ensures optimal water quality.
Testing Tips
This test kit measures pH from 7.2 to 8.8 in either fresh or saltwater aquariums. This kit contains two High Range pH Test Color Charts - one for freshwater aquariums, and one for saltwater aquariums - so be sure to use the correct chart for your type of aquarium when interpreting test results. Artificial salt water should have a pH of 8.2.
Directions for Testing High Range pH
Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium.

To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Add five drops of Indicator Solution, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops.
  3. Cap the test tube and invert tube several times to mix solution. Do not hold finger over open end of tube, as this may affect the test results.
  4. Determine the pH reading by matching the color of the solution against those on the High Range pH Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the pH of the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
Recommended pH Levels
A pH level of 8.2 is ideal for saltwater fish and invertebrates.

Ammonia Test Insruuctions

Why test for Ammonia?
Fish continually release ammonia (NH3) directly into the water through their gills, urine, and solid waste. Uneaten food and other decaying organic matter also add ammonia to the water. A natural mechanism exists that controls ammonia - the biological filter. It is made up of nitrifying bacteria, which live in the substrate and biological filter media. However, as with any natural process, imbalances can occur. Testing for the presence of toxic ammonia is essential, so that once detected, steps can be taken to remove it. Otherwise, ammonia will damage gill membranes, and prevent fish from carrying on normal respiration. High levels of ammonia quickly lead to fish death. Even trace amounts stress fish, suppressing their immune system and thereby increasing the likelihood of disease outbreaks and subsequent fish loss.

Directions for Testing Ammonia Levels
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Add 8 drops from Ammonia Test Solution Bottle #1, holding the dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
  3. Add 8 drops from Ammonia Test Solution Bottle #2, holding the dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
  4. Cap the test tube and shake vigorously for 5 seconds. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect the test results.
  5. Wait 5 minutes for the color to develop.
  6. Read the test results by matching the test solution against the Ammonia Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of ammonia in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
What the Test Results Mean
In new aquariums, the ammonia level may surge to 6 ppm (mg/L) or more, and then fall rapidly as the biological filter becomes established. The ammonia will be converted to nitrite (also toxic), then to nitrate. This process may take several weeks. Use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Stress Zyme to speed up the development of the biological filter. In an established aquarium or pond, the ammonia level should always remain at 0 ppm (mg/L). The presence of ammonia indicates possible overfeeding, too many fish, or inadequate biological filtration.
The ammonia level is not an indication of the nitrite level; nitrite is another toxic waste material, which must be tested separately.
Monitoring Ammonia Levels
Regular testing is necessary to make sure the ammonia level is safe. Aquarium and pond water should be tested for ammonia every other day when it is first set up, and once a week after the biological filter has been established (in about 4 to 6 weeks).
Detoxifying Ammonia Using Ammo-Lock
To detoxify ammonia, use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Ammo-Lock to instantly lock up ammonia. Ammo-Lock does not remove ammonia; it simply converts toxic ammonia to a nontoxic form. Ammonia test kits will still test positive for ammonia, even though it is nontoxic. The biological filter will then consume the nontoxic ammonia, converting it to nitrite and then to nitrate.

Nitrite Test Instructions
Why Test For Nitrite?
Testing for the presence of toxic nitrite is essential, so that once detected, steps can be taken to remove it. Otherwise, nitrite in the water will prevent fish from carrying on normal respiration. High levels of nitrite quickly lead to fish death. Even trace amounts of nitrite stress fish, suppressing their immune system and, thereby, increase the likelihood of disease and subsequent fish loss.

Directions for Testing Nitrite
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Add 5 drops of Nitrite Test Solution, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
  3. Cap the test tube and shake the tube for 5 seconds. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect test results.
  4. Wait five minutes for the color to develop.
  5. Read the test results by matching the color of the solution against those on the Nitrite Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of nitrite in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
What The Test Results Mean
In new saltwater aquariums, the nitrite level will gradually climb to 10 ppm (mg/L) or more. As the biological filter becomes established (in 4 to 6 weeks), nitrite levels will drop to 0 ppm (mg/L). In an established pond or aquarium, the nitrite level should always remain at 0 ppm (mg/L). The presence of nitrite indicates possible overfeeding, too many fish, or inadequate biological filtration.
Monitoring Nitrite Levels
Regular testing for nitrite is an essential part of routine maintenance. Water should be tested for nitrite once a week to make sure the nitrite does not reach undesirable level.

Nitrate Test Instructions
Why Test For Nitrate?
Nitrate (NO3-) is produced in the aquarium by the biological filter. Beneficial bacteria in the biological filter convert toxic ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. A high nitrate level indicates a buildup of fish waste and organic compounds, resulting in poor water quality and contributing to the likelihood of fish disease. Excessive nitrate also provides a nitrogen source that can stimulate algal blooms. In the opinion of many aquarists, maintaining a low nitrate level improves the health of fish and invertebrates.
 

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part 2

Directions for Testing Nitrate

Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium. To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle #1, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
  3. Cap the test tube and invert tube several times to mix solution. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect test results.
  4. Vigorously shake the Nitrate Test Solution Bottle #2 for at least 30 seconds. This step is extremely important to ensure accuracy of test results.
  5. Now add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle #2, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops to the water sample.
  6. Cap the test tube and shake vigorously for one minute. This step is extremely important to ensure accuracy of test results.
  7. Wait five minutes for the color to develop.
  8. Read the test results by matching the color of the solution against those on the Nitrate Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of nitrate in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
What The Test Results Mean

In new saltwater aquariums, the nitrate level will gradually climb as the biological filter becomes established. It is important to keep nitrate levels as low as possible, especially in reef aquariums with invertebrates.
Monitoring Nitrate Levels
Regular testing for nitrate is an essential part of routine aquarium maintenance. Aquarium water should be tested for nitrate once a week to make sure the nitrate does not reach an undesirable level.
Reducing Nitrate in the Aquarium
Partial water changes help reduce the nitrate level, especially if the initial nitrate level is very high. However, because many tap water supplies contain nitrate, it can be difficult to lower nitrate levels by this method. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Purifier will remove all pollutants, including nitrate, from tap water, making water changes effective. The Tap Water Purifier makes any tap water perfect aquarium water
 

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Seachem Saltwater Basic Test Kits

Reef Special Kit

Instructions for Phosphate Test
  1. Fill sample pipette to base of bulb with aquarium water to be tested. Dispense into a test cavity of the test plate.
  2. Add one drop of Phosphate Reagent 1. Add 2 drops of Phosphate Reagent 2. Stir briefly with stir rod.
  3. After about 5 seconds to 30 seconds (or time frame that produces good matching with scale), compare color to chart to determine concentration.
  4. Promptly dispose of the completed test solutions by rinsing test cavity under running water. If the test plate becomes stained, soak or clean with a dilute bleach cleaner, then rinse well.
Instructions for Silicate Test - Normal Range
  1. Fill sample pipette to base of bulb with aquarium water and dispense to a test cavity of the test plate.
  2. Add one drop of Silicate Reagent 1a and one drop of Silicate Reagent 1b to the sample. Wait 4 minutes.
  3. Add one drop of Silicate Reagent 2.
  4. Insert dry stir rod into Silicate Reagent 3 container to coat with a light dusting of powder. Dip stirring rod with Silicate Reagent 3 in test cavity and stir briefly.
  5. Compare color to color chart after about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Promptly dispose of completed test solutions by rinsing test cavity under running water. If the test plate becomes stained, soak or clean with a dilute bleach cleaner, then rinse well.
Instructions for Silicate Test - Low range

Values below 2 mg/L can be difficult to discern on the color scale. If you need a more exact number in this range you can run a low range version of the test. Note that this option will consume the equivalent of 6 normal range tests for each low range test done.
  1. Fill the low range cuvette to within 1 cm (0.5 inches) from the top with aquarium water sample.
  2. Add 6 drops of Silicate Reagent 1a and 6 drops of Silicate Reagent 1b. Cap and invert to mix. Wait 4 minutes.
  3. Add 6 drops of Silicate Reagent 2. Cap and invert to mix.
  4. Insert dry stir rod into Silicate Reagent 3 container to coat with a light dusting of powder. Dip stirring rod with Silicate Reagent 3 into cuvette and stir briefly. Cap and invert to mix.
  5. Compare color to color chart after 2-4 minutes. Match color against color scale by viewing from top to bottom (not side to side) against a white background. Divide result by 4 to obtain actual value (e.g., if it looks like 8 mg/L then the actual value is 2 mg/L). Color will have more of a green hue so base comparison more on color intensity and less on exact color hue.
Instructions for Iodine and Iodide
  1. Prepare working Iodide Reagent 2: (a) fill empty plastic vial to thread level with deionized (DI) or distilled water (not supplied); reverse osmosis (RO) water may not be sufficiently pure; add 1 drop Iodide Reagent 2a (using dispensing pipette) and 1 drop Iodide Reagent 2b; (b) cap vial and mix; (c) wait 5 minutes before using. The working Iodide Reagent 2 solution is usable for 3-4 hours.
  2. Using supplied spoon, dispense one level measure of Iodide Reagent 1 to a test cavity.
  3. Add one full stem of sample aquarium water using sample pipette to the test cavity containing Iodide Reagent 1. (If a blue color develops now, elemental iodine is indicated. This should be viewed as a hazardous status. Use a dechlorinator such as Prime to remove elemental iodine.)
  4. Add 2 drops Iodide Reagent 2 (that you already prepared in Step 1 above) with dispensing pipette to the test cavity and stir briefly with straight end of spoon. It is normal for not all of the powder to dissolve.
  5. Promptly compare color to color chart as soon as color peaks (20-40 seconds). Peak color will remain stable for about a minute. Rinse out test plate after use and dry.
Marine Basic Kit
Why test for pH and Alkalinity?
pH is the measure of water acidity. A pH reading of 7.0 is neutral. A pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline, and a pH lower than 7.0 is acidic. The ability of water to withstand changes in pH is called buffering capacity. Based on a method of measuring buffering capacity, it is referred to as the alkalinity of seawater. Since the ocean has almost an inexhaustible supply of buffers, it can take up large amounts of acids without a noticeable change in pH. The same, however, does not apply in the closed system of an aquarium, where buffering agents can quickly get used up by calcareous algae and invertebrates. Maintaining your aquarium at the proper pH and alkalinity ensures optimal water quality.

Directions for pH Test
  1. Fill sample pipette to base of bulb with aquarium water to be tested and dispense to a test cavity of the test plate.
  2. Add one drop of Marine pH Reagent and stir briefly.
  3. Read pH from chart.
Directions for Alkalinity Test
  1. Fill sample pipette to base of bulb with aquarium water to be tested and dispense to a test cavity of the test plate.
  2. Hold the alkalinity pipette vertically and add 1 drop of Alkalinity Reagent. Stir briefly. Continue adding drops (count the drops) and stirring until color turns from blue to yellow. Just before going to yellow, a lime green color will appear. The final drop is usually one drop beyond this point.
  3. Each drop is equal to 0.5 meq/L. The number of drops to get to yellow divided by 2 is the total alkalinity.
Why Test for Nitrite?
Testing for the presence of toxic nitrite is essential, so that once detected, steps can be taken to remove it. Otherwise, nitrite in the water will prevent fish from carrying on normal respiration. High levels of nitrite quickly lead to fish death. Even trace amounts of nitrite stress fish, suppressing their immune system and, thereby, increase the likelihood of disease and subsequent fish loss. In new aquariums, high nitrite is a normal occurrence. It means that the Nitrosomonas bacteria in the biological filter have started the nitrification process and have produced nitrite from ammonia. When nitrite is present, however, it means Nitrosomonas are not yet present in sufficient quantitites to transform nitrite into less harmful nitrate.
When to Test for Nitrite
In new aquariums, we advise you test for nitrite daily for at least two weeks. Nitrite should also be tested when you suspect a malfunctioning of the biological filter.

Nitrite Test Directions
  1. Fill the sample pipette to the base of bulb with aquarium water to be tested and dispense to a test cavity of the test plate. Repeat, adding to same cavity.
  2. Add one drop of Nitrite Reagent 1.
  3. Compare to color chart (top scale) after 3-5 minutes.
  4. Promptly dispose of completed test solutions by rinsing test cavity under running water.
Why Test for Nitrate?
Nitrate (NO3-) is produced in the aquarium by the biological filter. Beneficial bacteria in the biological filter convert toxic ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. A high nitrate level indicates a build-up of fish waste and organic compounds, resulting in poor water quality and contributing to the likelihood of fish disease. Excessive nitrate also provides a nitrogen source that can stimulate algal blooms. In the opinion of many aquarists, maintaining a low nitrate level improves the health of fish and invertebrates.
When to Test for Nitrate
Test weekly for Nitrate.

Nitrate Test Directions
  1. If you have just run a nitrite test, you cam jump to Step 3, otherwise, fill pipette to the base of bulb with aquarium water to be tested and dispense to a test cavity of the test plate. Repeat, adding to same cavity.
  2. Add one drop of Nitrite Reagent 1.
  3. Add one level scoop of Nitrate Reagent 2. Stir to mix. It is normal for not all powder to dissolve.
  4. Compare to color chart (bottom scale) after 5-8 minutes.
  5. Promptly dispose of completed test solutions by rinsing test cavity under running water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
part 2

Why test for Ammonia?

Fish continually release ammonia (NH3) directly into the water through their gills, urine, and solid waste. Uneaten food and other decaying organic matter also add ammonia to the water. A natural mechanism exists that controls ammonia - the biological filter. It is made up of nitrifying bacteria, which live in the substrate and biological filter media. However, as with any natural process, imbalances can occur. Testing for the presence of toxic ammonia is essential, so that once detected, steps can be taken to remove it. Otherwise, ammonia will damage gill membranes, and prevent fish from carrying on normal respiration. High levels of ammonia quickly lead to fish death. Even trace amounts stress fish, suppressing their immune system and thereby increasing the likelihood of disease outbreaks and subsequent fish loss.
When to Test for Ammonia
Regular testing for ammonia is very important in newly set up aquariums. We advise daily testing for two to four weeks in a new aquarium. Ammonia levels may also rise in older aquariums, when the biological filter substrate had been damaged, blocked or fouled. Test for ammonia right away if you notice gill or skin damage, or color fading.

Free Ammonia Test Directions
  1. Fill sample pipette to the base of bulb with aquarium water to be tested and dispense to a test cavity of the test plate.
  2. Unscrew the cap from the sensor container and remove a sensor using the supplied forceps, rinse with clean water, and place in the sample cavity. To avoid damaging sensors, do not handle with bare fingers. Use the supplied forceps to manipulate sensors. Avoid excessive pressure.
  3. Read after 10-15 minutes from bottom scale (less sensitive) or after 30 minutes from top scale (more sensitive) in mg/L.
  4. On completion of tests, rinse sensors, and return to their container where they will regenerate within a few hours.
Total Ammonia Test Directions
  1. Fill sample pipette to base of bulb and dispense to a test cavity of the test plate.
  2. Unscrew the cap from the sensor container and remove a sensor using the supplied forceps, rinse with clean water, and place in the sample cavity. To avoid damaging sensors, do not handle with bare fingers. Use the supplied forceps to manipulate sensors. Avoid excessive pressure.
  3. Add one drop of Total Ammonia Reagent.
  4. Read after 10-15 minutes from bottom scale (less sensitive) or after 30 minutes from top scale (more sensitive) in mg/L.
  5. On completion of tests, rinse sensors, and return to their container where they will regenerate within a few hours
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate Test Kits

Ammonia Test Instructions
Why test for Ammonia?
Fish continually release ammonia (NH3) directly into the water through their gills, urine, and solid waste. Uneaten food and other decaying organic matter also add ammonia to the water. A natural mechanism exists that controls ammonia - the biological filter. It is made up of nitrifying bacteria, which live in the substrate and biological filter media. However, as with any natural process, imbalances can occur. Testing for the presence of toxic ammonia is essential, so that once detected, steps can be taken to remove it. Otherwise, ammonia will damage gill membranes, and prevent fish from carrying on normal respiration. High levels of ammonia quickly lead to fish death. Even trace amounts stress fish, suppressing their immune system and thereby increasing the likelihood of disease outbreaks and subsequent fish loss.

Directions for Testing Ammonia Levels
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Add 8 drops from Ammonia Test Solution Bottle #1, holding the dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
  3. Add 8 drops from Ammonia Test Solution Bottle #2, holding the dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
  4. Cap the test tube and shake vigorously for 5 seconds. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect the test results.
  5. Wait 5 minutes for the color to develop.
  6. Read the test results by matching the test solution against the Ammonia Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of ammonia in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
What the Test Results Mean
In new freshwater aquariums, the ammonia level may surge to 6 ppm (mg/L) or more, and then fall rapidly as the biological filter becomes established. The ammonia will be converted to nitrite (also toxic), then to nitrate. This process may take several weeks. Use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Stress Zyme to speed up the development of the biological filter. In an established aquarium or pond, the ammonia level should always remain at 0 ppm (mg/L). The presence of ammonia indicates possible over-feeding, too many fish, or inadequate biological filtration.
The ammonia level is not an indication of the nitrite level; Nitrite is another toxic waste material, which must be tested separately.
Monitoring Ammonia Levels
Regular testing is necessary to make sure the ammonia level is safe. Aquarium and pond water should be tested for ammonia every other day when it is first set up, and once a week after the biological filter has been established (in about 4 to 6 weeks). Detoxifying Ammonia Using Ammo-Lock
To detoxify ammonia, use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Ammo-Lock to instantly lock up ammonia. Ammo-Lock does not remove ammonia; it simply converts toxic ammonia to a non-toxic form. Ammonia test kits will still test positive for ammonia, even though it is non-toxic. The biological filter will then consume the non-toxic ammonia, converting it to nitrite and then to nitrate.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/add_info.cfm?pCatId=13524#top

Nitrite Test Instructions
Why Test For Nitrite?
Testing for the presence of toxic nitrite is essential, so that once detected, steps can be taken to remove it. Otherwise, nitrite in the water will prevent fish from carrying on normal respiration. High levels of nitrite quickly lead to fish death. Even trace amounts of nitrite stress fish, suppressing their immune system and, thereby, increase the likelihood of disease and subsequent fish loss.

Directions for Testing Nitrite
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Add 5 drops of Nitrite Test Solution, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
  3. Cap the test tube and shake the tube for 5 seconds. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect test results.
  4. Wait five minutes for the color to develop.
  5. Read the test results by matching the color of the solution against those on the Nitrite Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of nitrite in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
What The Test Results Mean
In new freshwater aquariums, the nitrite level will gradually climb to 10 ppm (mg/L) or more. As the biological filter becomes established (in 4 to 6 weeks), nitrite levels will drop to 0 ppm (mg/L). In an established pond or aquarium, the nitrite level should always remain at 0 ppm (mg/L). The presence of nitrite indicates possible over-feeding, too many fish, or inadequate biological filtration. Monitoring Nitrite Levels
Regular testing for nitrite is an essential part of routine maintenance. Water should be tested for nitrite once a week to make sure the nitrite does not reach undesirable level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate Test Kits
Nitrate Test Instructions

Why Test For Nitrate?
Nitrate (NO3-) is produced in the aquarium by the biological filter. Beneficial bacteria in the biological filter convert toxic ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. A high nitrate level indicates a build-up of fish waste and organic compounds, resulting in poor water quality and contributing to the likelihood of fish disease. Excessive nitrate also provides a nitrogen source that can stimulate algal blooms. In the opinion of many aquarists, maintaining a low nitrate level improves the health of fish and invertebrates.
Directions for Testing Nitrate
Read thoroughly before testing. DO NOT allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium.
To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle # 1, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops added to the water sample.
  3. Cap the test tube and invert tube several times to mix solution. Do not hold finger over the open end of the tube, as this may affect test results.
  4. Vigorously shake the Nitrate Test Solution Bottle # 2 for at least 30 seconds. This step is extremely important to insure accuracy of test results.
  5. Now add 10 drops from Nitrate Test Solution Bottle #2, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to assure uniformity of drops to the water sample.
  6. Cap the test tube and shake vigorously for one minute. This step is extremely important to insure accuracy of test results.
  7. Wait five minutes for the color to develop.
  8. Read the test results by matching the color of the solution against those on the Nitrate Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of nitrate in the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
What The Test Results Mean
In new freshwater aquariums the nitrate level will gradually climb as the biological filter becomes established. A nitrate level of 40 ppm (mg/L) or less is recommended for freshwater aquariums.
Monitoring Nitrate Levels
Regular testing for nitrate is an essential part of routine aquarium maintenance. Aquarium water should be tested for nitrate once a week to make sure the nitrate does not reach an undesirable level. Reducing Nitrate in the Aquarium
Making partial water changes help reduce the nitrate level, especially if the initial nitrate level is very high. However, because many tap water supplies contain nitrate, it can be difficult to lower nitrate levels by this method. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Purifier will remove all pollutants, including nitrate, from tap water, making water changes effective. The Tap Water Purifier makes any tap water perfect aquarium water
 

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Aquarium Pharmaceuticals pH Test Kits

Why Test pH?
pH is the measure of acidity of water. A pH reading of 7.0 is neutral. A pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline, and a pH lower than 7.0 is acidic. Maintaining your aquarium at the proper pH ensures optimal water quality.
Directions for Testing Low Range pH
NOTE: Read instructions thoroughly before testing. DO NOT allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium or pond.
To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Add three drops of Indicator Solution, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops.
  3. Cap the test tube and invert tube several times to mix solution. Do not hold finger over open end of tube, as this may affect the test results.
  4. Determine the pH reading by matching the color of the solution against those on the pH Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the pH of the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
Directions for Testing High Range pH
NOTE: Read thoroughly before testing. DO NOT allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium.
To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Add five drops of Indicator Solution, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops.
  3. Cap the test tube and invert tube several times to mix solution. Do not hold finger over open end of tube, as this may affect the test results.
  4. Determine the pH reading by matching the color of the solution against those on the High Range pH Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the pH of the water sample. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
Recommended pH Levels
A pH of 7.0 is ideal when keeping a community aquarium containing a variety of tropical fish. Goldfish should be kept in their own aquarium and prefer a pH of 7.5. Many Amazonian fish, like angelfish and neon tetras, prefer a pH of 6.5 to 6.8. Mollies and swordtails thrive at pH 7.2 to 7.5. Frequency of Testing
The pH should be tested weekly, since natural materials in the water (such as fish waste and decaying food) can cause pH changes.
 

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Aquarium Pharmaceuticals KH/Carbonate and Calcium Test Kits

KH/Carbonate Test Kit
What is Carbonate Hardness?
Carbonate hardness (also known as alkalinity) is the measure of carbonate and bicarbonate ion concentrations dissolved in water. These minerals are present in municipal, well, and bottled spring water. The level of carbonate hardness in tap and bottled water depends on the source of the water and the treatment processes it has undergone. Carbonate hardness helps stabilize pH in the aquarium. An aquarium with a low kH level (50 ppm or less) will tend to be acidic. Aquariums with very low kH are subject to rapid pH shifts.
Directions for Testing Carbonate Hardness (KH):
Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow test solution to get into aquarium.
To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
  1. Rinse a clean test tube with water to be tested.
  2. Fill the test tube with 5 ml of aquarium water (to the line on the test tube).
  3. Add carbonate hardness test solution, one drop at a time, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops. After first drop is added, solution will turn blue.
  4. Cap the test tube and invert several times after each drop. Keep count of the drops being added. Do not hold finger over open end of the tube as this may affect the test result.
  5. The test is completed when the water in the test tube, after having been shaken, turns from blue to yellow. If you have difficulty discerning the color after the first drop of test solution is added, remove the cap from the test tube and while holding it over a white background, look down through the tube.
  6. The carbonate hardness value is determined by the number of drops of the reagent that must be added to turn the water in the test tube to bright yellow.
Calcium Test Kit
Calcium is one of the most important elements in a reef aquarium. Reef invertebrates such as corals, crustaceans, mollusks, and even some types of encrusting algae need calcium to grow and remain healthy. Over time, calcium levels drop as invertebrates use calcium in aquarium water.
Why Test for Calcium?
Monitoring calcium levels is essential for keeping a successful reef aquarium. Reef organisms use calcium to build a calcium carbonate skeleton. Over time, as the calcium in the water is utilized, the calcium level will gradually drop. Calcium must be present for corals to grow. Even reef invertebrates such as crustaceans, mollusks, and encrusting algae, require calcium to grow and remain healthy. The calcium level drops as it is used by invertebrates or as it reacts with excess phosphate. Elevated phosphate precipitates calcium, rendering it unavailable to reef organisms. Phosphate enters the aquarium from tap water and as a byproduct of fish and invertebrate metabolism.
Directions for Testing Calcium:
Measures calcium levels as low as 20 mg/L.
Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow test solution to get into aquarium.
To remove childproof safety cap: With one hand, push red tab left with thumb while unscrewing cap with free hand.
  1. Rinse a clean test tube with water to be tested.
  2. Fill the test tube to the line on the test tube with the water being tested.
  3. Holding the bottle vertically, add 10 drops of Calcium Test Solution #1 to the test tube, cap the test tube, and shake for 10 seconds.
  4. Shake calcium Test Solution #2 bottle vigorously for 10 seconds,
  5. Holding the bottle vertically, add Calcium Test Solution #2 drop by drop to the test tube until the solution changes from pink to the blue end-point.
  6. Be sure to count the drops added.
    • A pink color should form after the first drop.
    • If a blue color forms after the first drop, the calcium concentration is 20 mg/L or below.
  7. As the end point is approached, the color will usually change from pink to purple before finally changing to blue.
 

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Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Phosphate
Test Kit

Directions for Testing Phosphate
STEP 1
Fill the test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
STEP 2
Add 6 drops from Phosphate Test Solution Bottle #1 to the test tube. Hold the dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position for uniform drops.
STEP 3
Cap and shake the test tube vigorously for 5 seconds.
STEP 4
Add 6 drops from Phosphate Test Solution Bottle #2. Cap and shake the test tube vigorously for 5 seconds.
STEP 5
Wait 3 minutes for full color to develop. After 3 minutes, read the test results by matching the test solution against the appropriate Phosphate Test Color Chart. The tube should be viewed against the white area beside the color chart. Color comparisons are best made in a well-lit area. The closest match indicates the ppm (mg/L) of total phosphate (PO3-4) in the water sample.
Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
FAQ's about Phosphate
What is phosphate?
Phosphorous is an essential element for plants and animals. Phosphorus, measured as phosphate (PO3-4), enters the aquarium from fish and invertebrate waste and decaying organic matter, such as dead algae and uneaten fish food. Water treatment facilities may add phosphate to tap water to prevent pipe corrosion and reduce concentrations of heavy metals in drinking water.
What level of phosphate is safe?
While phosphate is not harmful to fish, the phosphate level should be zero in saltwater aquariums and freshwater aquariums, including those containing live plants. The phosphate level in a new aquarium will depend on the purity of the water used to fill the aquarium. The phosphate level in tap water can vary daily depending on the treatment process used. Phosphate tends to accumulate in established aquariums.
Why test for phosphate?
While phosphate is required by fish and plants, too much phosphate can lead to cloudy water conditions. In saltwater aquariums, phosphate precipitates dissolved calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ions, inhibiting the growth of hard corals and other reef-building organisms. I have a high phosphate level. What should I do?
In a freshwater or saltwater aquarium use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Phos-Zorb (item #111334). Phos-Zorb is a filtration material that removes phosphate. Making partial water changes can also help reduce the nitrate level, especially if the initial phosphate level is very high. However, because many tap water supplies contain phosphate, it can be difficult to lower phosphate levels by this method. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Tap Water Filter (item #148750) will remove pollutants, including phosphate, from tap water, making water changes effective.
 

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Aquarium Pharmaceuticals GH/KH Test Kit

Directions for Testing Carbonate Hardness (KH):
  • Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium.
  • Remove childproof safety cap using one hand to push red tab while unscrewing cap with free hand.
  • Rinse a clean test tube with water to be tested.
  • Fill the test tube with 5 ml of aquarium water (to the line on the test tube).
  • Add Carbonate Hardness Test Solution, one drop at a time. Hold dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniform drops. After first drop is added, solution will turn blue (If the water sample contains only 1°dKH, the solution will turn from clear to its yellow endpoint after the first drop is added).
  • Cap the test tube and invert several times after each drop. Count the number of drops being added. Do not hold finger over open end of the tube, as this may affect the test results.
  • The test is completed when the water in the test tube, after having been shaken, turns from blue to yellow. If you have difficulty discerning the color after the first drop of test solution is added, remove the cap from the test tube and while holding it over a white background, look down through the tube.
  • The Carbonate Hardness value is determined by the number of drops of the reagent that must be added to turn the water in the test tube bright yellow. Each drop is equal to 1 °dKH or 17.9 ppm KH.
Directions for Testing General Hardness (GH):
  • Read thoroughly before testing. Do not allow Test Solutions to get into aquarium.
  • Remove childproof safety cap using one hand to push red tab left while unscrewing cap with free hand.
  • Rinse a clean test tube with water to be tested.
  • Fill the test tube with 5 ml of aquarium water (to the line on the test tube).
  • Add General Hardness Test Solution, one drop at a time. Hold dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniform drops. After first drop is added, solution will turn orange (If the water sample contains only 1°dGH, the solution will turn from clear to its green endpoint after the first drop is added).
  • Cap the test tube and invert several times after each drop. Keep count of the drops being added. Do not hold finger over open end of the tube, as this may affect the test results.
  • The test is completed when the water in the test tube, after having been shaken, turns from orange to green. If you have difficulty discerning the color after the first drop of test solution is added, remove the cap from the test tube and while holding it over a white background, look down through the tube.
  • The number of drops of the reagent that must be added to turn the water in the test tube green determines the General Hardness value. Each drop is equal to 1 °dGH or 17.9 ppm GH.
General lnformation
What is Carbonate Hardness (KH)?
Carbonate hardness (also known as alkalinity) is the measure of carbonate (CO32-) and bicarbonate (HCO3-) ion concentrations dissolved in water. These minerals are present in municipal, well, and bottled spring water. The level of carbonate hardness in tap and bottled water depends on the source of the water and the treatment processes it has undergone. Carbonate hardness helps stabilize pH in the aquarium. An aquarium with a low KH level (50 ppm or less) will tend to be acidic. Aquariums with very low KH are subject to rapid pH shifts, if not monitored carefully. Water with a high KH level (= 200 ppm) usually has a high pH. The Aquarium Pharmaceuticals KH (Carbonate Hardness) Test measures KH in German degrees (°dKH). To convert °dKH to parts per million (ppm), multiply °dKH x 17.9. What is General Hardness (GH)?
General hardness is the measure of calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) ion concentrations dissolved in water. These minerals are present in municipal, well, and bottled spring water. The level of general hardness in tap and bottled water depends on the source of the water and the treatment processes it has undergone. Hard water (= 200 ppm) is high in calcium and magnesium, while soft water (50 to 100 ppm) is low in these minerals. The Aquarium Pharmaceuticals GH (General Hardness) Test measures GH in German degrees (°dGH). To convert °dGH to parts per million (ppm), multiply °dGH x 17.9.
 

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Red Sea Test Lab Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate Test Kits

Introduction to the Nitrification Process
As fish digest their food they produce ammonia as a waste product. In solution the total dissolved ammonia changes between two forms, the toxic ammonia (NH3) and the relatively harmless ammonium ions (NH4+) according to the pH and temperature of the water.
If no measures are taken, the toxic ammonia will rapidly increase to lethal levels in the limited volume of the aquarium. Bacteria of the genus Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter oxidize ammonia through nitrite (almost as toxic as ammonia) to nitrate (which is nontoxic to fish). This oxidation is known as the nitrification process. The application of bacteria in water treatment is called biological filtration (bio-filtration). In an aquarium with a mature bio-filter, the ammonia (NH3) is quickly converted into nitrite (NO2), which is thereafter converted into nitrate (N03).
Nitrate is relatively harmless to freshwater fish, although high concentrations will promote algae growth in the aquarium. If a de-nitrification filter is not used, the nitrate concentration can be kept within reasonable limits by regular water changes. The Nitrate level can be monitored using Red Sea's Nitrate Mini-Lab Test (item #27323).
Ammonia
As fish digest their food, and as bacteria break down uneaten fish food and other organic matter, ammonia is set free into the aquarium water.
In solution, the total dissolved ammonia changes between 2 forms, the toxic ammonia (NH3) and the less harmful ammonium ions (NH4) according to the pH and temperature of the water.
A percentage of the ammonium ions change as the pH increases, to the more toxic ammonia. Consequently, in marine aquariums with pH 8.1-8.4, ammonia will present a more serious problem than in freshwater tanks with pH around 7, since more toxic ammonia as low as 0.01 ppm, already show negative effects on fish, while 0.1 ppm can be deadly to some species.
When to Test for Ammonia?
New Aquariums
In a newly set up aquarium high levels of ammonia followed by high levels of nitrite is a normal phenomenon. As the new aquarium and the filter develop, nitrifying bacteria begin to break down the toxic ammonia to a safe level, however, it takes slightly longer for the bacteria to develop in sufficient quantities to transform the nitrite into nitrate. Regular daily testing of the ammonia and nitrite is very important in a newly set up aquarium for the first two to four weeks. Only this will tell you when your bio-filter is mature and when it will be safe to put (more) fish into your aquarium.
Established Aquariums
Even low ammonia levels stress and weaken the fish, which makes them more susceptible to parasitic infections such as Ich. Ammonia poisoning is usually displayed by acute symptoms of fish swimming very rapidly, as in a panic; or breathing very rapidly; or jumping out of the water. The chronic symptoms are gill and skin damage and sometimes color fading. At the first sign of any of these symptoms test for ammonia. Ammonia levels may rise in older aquariums when the filter substrate has been damaged; for example, after administration of a medicine. Also, a blocked or fouled filter, as well as decaying matter in the tank, may give rise to toxic ammonia levels.
Nitrite should be tested when a malfunctioning biological filter is suspected. After a long period of time, the filter can get dirty, causing an oxygen shortage leading to high nitrite levels.
Recommendations
The toxic ammonia level in an established aquarium can be lowered by reducing feeding to an absolute minimum. Remove any decaying material and, if possible, as many of the fish as you can. If a blocked or fouled filter is the suspected problem, the majority of the filter material should be removed and cleaned allowing a new population of bacteria to grow. Since the filter must re-mature, we also advise that you monitor the nitrite level.
Note: When making water changes, ensure that the new water has a lower pH than the aquarium water. If the replacement water has a higher pH, the overall effect could be to increase the concentration of toxic ammonia (NH3).
Directions for Ammonia Test Lab
  1. Check and write down pH and temperature of the aquarium water you wish to test.
  2. Fill a clean test tube with 3 ml of water to be tested (to the 3 ml line on the tube).
  3. Rapidly add 11 drops of Ammonia Reagent A. Immediately close the test tube with the stopper and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
  4. Open the test tube and add 4 drops of Ammonia Reagent B. Close it with the stopper and shake gently for 10 seconds.
  5. Open the test tube and add 4 drops of Ammonia Reagent C. Close it with the stopper and shake gently for 10 seconds.
  6. Wait 15 minutes for the color to fully develop.
  7. Compare the color with the color scale by holding the test tube in a vertical position, 8" from a white background.
  8. Read off the ppm value of the color that is closest to the sample in the test tube. This is a measure of the total dissolved ammonia level.
  9. Use the table on the directions that come with the test kit to calculate the level of toxic ammonia. For marine aquariums, and reading of 0.25 ppm of total ammonia indicates a toxic level.
  10. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
Introduction to Nitrite
As fish digest their food, and as bacteria break down uneaten fish food and other organic matter, ammonia is set free into the aquarium water.
New Aquariums
In a newly set up aquarium a high nitrite level is a normal phenomenon. It means that the nitrosomonas bacteria have started the nitrification process and produce nitrite out of ammonia. Nitrobacter is, however, not yet present in sufficient quantities to transform nitrite into nitrate. In a newly set up aquarium, we advise that you test for nitrite daily for at least two weeks.
Only this, together with testing for ammonia (use Red Sea's Ammonia Test Lab, item #27321), will tell you when it is safe to put (more) fish into your aquarium. After this two-week period, especially in the marine aquarium, one should start testing for nitrate, using Red Sea's Nitrate Test Lab (item #27323).
Established Aquariums
Nitrite should be tested when there is suspicion of a malfunctioning biological filter. After a long period of time, the filter can get dirty causing an oxygen shortage leading to high nitrite levels. Since in this case toxic ammonia can also be present in the aquarium, it is advisable to test for ammonia, using Red Sea's Ammonia Fresh Test (item #27321).
Directions for Testing Nitrite
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 8 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Add 10 drops of Nitrite Reagent A. Close the test tube with the stopper and shake gently.
  3. Open the test tube and add 6 drops of Nitrite Reagent B. Close it with the stopper and shake gently.
  4. Wait 1-1/2 to 2 minutes for the color to develop.
  5. Open the test tube and look down through the open top of the test tube while holding it 8" above a white background and compare the samples with the color scale.
  6. Read off the ppm value of the color that is closest to the sample in the test tube.
  7. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
Recommendations
A concentration as low as 0.1 ppm is already harmful to many marine invertebrates. Concentrations above 0.3 ppm are harmful for marine and freshwater fish. A typical behavioral symptom of acute nitrite poisoning is listlessness of the fish.
Lower nitrite levels stress and weaken the fish, making them susceptible to parasitic infections such as white spot.
The immediate short-term measure should be to change 20% of the aquarium water every day.
For the marine aquarium, we advise changing the water using Red Sea's Red Sea Salt (item #159683), until the NO2 level drops below 0.2 ppm. Red Sea Salt is especially useful in emergency situations like this, since it can safely be used immediately after dissolving, the pH and alkalinity being at the natural level. At the same time, we recommend to remove fish if possible, reduce feeding, clean the filter and inoculate it with some fresh material out of a good working biological filter, or use a freeze-dried bacteria preparation.
A value of 2 ppm is already very bad for any aquarium. Should you, however, require an accurate reading of a nitrite level higher than the range of this test:
(2 ppm), you should dilute the sample as follows:
  1. Mix 2 ml water sample with 6 ml distilled water.
  2. Perform the test as above.
  3. Multiply the result by 4.
Nitrate
Introduction to Nitrate
Ammonia produced by fish as a waste product is oxidized by aerobic bacteria in the biological filter, first to nitrite (NO2) and further to nitrate (NO3). In nature, a complete nitrogen cycle exists where plants utilize nitrate as a food source, thus maintaining the very low nitrate level found in unpolluted water.
In the aquarium, we create a one-way system rather than a nutrient cycle. The plant growth is mostly insufficient to use up all the nitrate introduced by the fish food. In most aquariums, especially in marine aquariums, nitrate will slowly accumulate so that unnaturally high concentrations are reached.
In the reef aquarium, corals and other invertebrates react distressfully to high nitrate levels and will eventually die. Nitrate will also act as a nutrient for plants that we do not desire. High nitrate levels cause the development of blue-green algae and hair algae. Fish may eventually become stressed and weakened by the NO3 pollution, which makes them more susceptible to parasitic infections. The nitrate concentrations should be tested every week. This is especially important in the marine aquarium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
part 2

Directions for Testing Nitrate
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Vigorously shake the Nitrate Reagent A for at least 30 seconds and then add 5 drops to the test tube.
  3. Add 5 drops of Reagent B.
  4. Add 8 drops of Reagent C.
  5. Cap the test tube and shake gently for one minute.
  6. Wait 5 minutes for the color to develop, shake again.
  7. Compare the color with the color scale by holding the test tube in a vertical position, about 2" from a white background.
  8. Read off the ppm value on the right hand LOW RANGE side of he color scale that is closest to the sample in the test tube
  9. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
Monitoring Nitrate Levels
Regular testing for nitrate is an essential part of routine aquarium maintenance. Aquarium water should be tested for nitrate once a week to make sure the nitrate does not reach an undesirable level.
 

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Red Sea Test Labs pH and Alkaline Tests

Introduction to pH & Alkalinity
The pH is a very important parameter in the biology of aquatic organisms. It is a measure of the acidity or basicity of the water. The scale runs from zero to 14. Zero is the most acidic, 7 is neutral and 14 is the most basic. A change of 1 pH unit, for example from 7 to 6, means that the water gets 10 times more acidic.
Due to its chemistry, water is able to absorb a certain amount of acidic matter without a resulting change in pH. The substances in the water that do this are called buffers. The ability of water to withstand changes in pH is called buffer capacity. In some of the literature alkalinity is termed "Carbonate Hardness" or " KH Carbonate Buffer." This is exactly the same measurement as is measured in the Red Sea Mini-Lab Alkalinity Test.
To maintain a correct and stable pH, check the pH and alkalinity weekly.
Directions for Tests
pH Test
  • Clean a test tube by rinsing it with the water to be tested.
  • Fill the test tube to the 6 ml mark with water to be tested.
  • Add 3 drops of pH (7.4-8.6) indicator, close the test tube with the stopper, and shake gently for 10 seconds.
  • Compare the color with the color scale by holding the test tube in a vertical position, 8" from a white background.
  • Read off the pH value of the color that is most similar to the sample in the test tube.
  • Clean the test tube and stopper with tap water.
Alkalinity Test
  • Clean a test tube by rinsing it with the water to be tested.
  • Fill the test tube to the 10 ml mark with water to be tested.
  • Add 5 drops of alkalinity indicator.
  • Close the test tube with the stopper, and shake gently for 10 seconds.
  • Open the test tube. Look down through the open top of the test tube, while holding it 8" from a white background.
  • Read off the alkalinity level value of the color that is most similar to the sample in the test tube.
  • Clean the test tube and stopper with tap water.
 

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Red Sea Test Labs Master Reef Lab

Nitrate
Why Test For Nitrate?
Nitrate (NO3-) is produced in the aquarium by the biological filter. Beneficial bacteria in the biological filter convert toxic ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. A high nitrate level indicates a buildup of fish waste and organic compounds, resulting in poor water quality and contributing to the likelihood of fish disease. Excessive nitrate also provides a nitrogen source that can stimulate algal blooms. In the opinion of many aquarists, maintaining a low nitrate level improves the health of fish and invertebrates.
Nitrate Test Instructions
  1. Fill a clean test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the tube).
  2. Vigorously shake the Nitrate Reagent A for at least 30 seconds and then add 5 drops to the test tube.
  3. Then add 5 drops of Reagent B.
  4. Then add 8 drops of Reagent C.
  5. Cap the test tube and shake gently for one minute.
  6. Wait 5 minutes for the color to develop, shake again.
  7. Compare the color with the color scale by holding the test tube in a vertical position, about 2" from a white background.
  8. Read off the ppm value on the right hand LOW RANGE side of he color scale that is closest to the sample in the test tube.
  9. Rinse the test tube with clean water after each use.
Phosphate
Phosphate is regularly introduced into the aquarium through fish waste and the decomposition of fish food. While nontoxic for fish, high phosphate levels will promote the growth of undesirable algae, which will compete with more delicate marine animals and adversely affecting the appearance of your aquarium. Excess phosphate is removed by partial water changes with phosphate-free water. Regular testing for phosphate will guide you as to when these essential water changes should be made.
Why Test for Phosphate?
Phosphate enters your aquarium fish and invertebrate waste, and decaying organic matter, such as dead algae or uneaten fish food. Water treatment facilities may add phosphate to tap water to prevent pipe corrosion and reduce concentrations of heavy metals in drinking water. Unnecessary phosphate may cause an undesirable cloud or tint in aquarium water. In saltwater aquariums, phosphate precipitates dissolved calcium and magnesium ions, inhibiting the growth of hard corals and other reef-building organisms.
Phosphate Test Instructions
  1. Fill the test tube with 5 ml of water to be tested (to the line on the test tube).
  2. Add 6 drops from Phosphate Test Solution Bottle #1 to the test tube, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops.
  3. Cap the test tube and vigorously shake the tube for 5 seconds. Do not hold finger over open end of the tube as this may affect the test result.
  4. Add 6 drops from Phosphate Test Solution Bottle #2 to the test tube, holding dropper bottle upside down in a completely vertical position to ensure uniformity of drops. Bottle #2 has a very thick solution and may require increased pressure while squeezing to release drops.
  5. Cap the test tube and vigorously shake the tube for 5 seconds. Do not hold finger over open end of the tube as this may affect the test result.
  6. Wait 3 minutes for the color to develop.
  7. Remove the cap from the test tube and while holding it over a white background on the test strip (included), compare the color of the sample with the colors on the test strip.
Calcium
Calcium is an essential component in the skeletons of corals and, therefore, is constantly depleted from the aquarium. To promote healthy coral growth a natural level of calcium must be maintained. Test weekly.
Why Test for Calcium?
Monitoring calcium levels is essential for keeping a successful reef aquarium. Reef organisms use calcium to build a calcium carbonate skeleton. Over time, as the calcium in the water is utilized, the calcium level will gradually drop. Calcium must be present for corals to grow. Even reef invertebrates such as crustaceans, mollusks, and encrusting algae, require calcium to grow and remain healthy. The calcium level drops as it is used by invertebrates or as it reacts with excess phosphate. Elevated phosphate precipitates calcium, rendering it unavailable to reef organisms. Phosphate enters the aquarium from tap water and as a byproduct of fish and invertebrate metabolism.
Calcium Test Instructions
  1. Rinse a clean test tube with water to be tested.
  2. Fill the test tube to the line on the test tube with the water being tested.
  3. Holding the bottle vertically, add 19 drops of Calcium Test Solution #1 to the test tube, cap the test tube, and shake for 10 seconds.
  4. Shake calcium Test Solution #2 bottle vigorously for 10 seconds,
  5. Holding the bottle vertically, add Calcium Test Solution #2 drop by drop to the test tube until the solution changes from pink to the blue end-point.
  6. Be sure to count the drops added.
    • A pink color should form after the first drop.
    • If a blue color forms after the first drop, the calcium concentration is 20 mg/L or below.
  7. As the end point is approached, the color will usually change from pink to purple before finally changing to blue.
Red Sea Success Supplements
Success Calcium Supplement
In the reef aquarium, a constant high calcium level is required to promote the growth of hard corals. This element should be supplemented regularly since it is used up very fast by the growing corals and the calcareous algae. Success Calcium will not affect pH and alkalinity (buffering capacity) of your aquarium. Just a small amount will raise the calcium level considerably. This product contains only natural components in a balanced composition that will not disturb the anion balance of the seawater, even after prolonged use. Calcium should be supplemented in combination with weekly 10% water changes.
Directions:
Shake well before use.
Use only in aquariums established for a minimum of three months. Make sure the aquarium has sufficient light.
Dosage:
To raise the calcium level by 50 ppm:
Add three teaspoons for each 10 gallons of aquarium water. It is recommended to add this amount over a four day period.
To maintain a stable level of calcium:
Add 1 teaspoon for each 60 gallons of aquarium water, per week.
Success Strontium
Although only a minor trace element in seawater, strontium is essential to the building of calcareous skeletons, shells or corals, mollusks, and many other invertebrates. Strontium is one of the elements constantly extracted from seawater by reef-building organisms and should therefore be added regularly, along with calcium, molybdenum, and trace elements. To maintain and stimulate coral growth, use regularly in conjunction with weekly 10% water changes.
Directions:
Shake well before use:
Do NOT add directly to aquarium. Add correct dosage to fresh water, used to compensate evaporation (top off water), stir, and add gradually to your filter sump. Dosage:
Add 1 teaspoon for each 60 gallons of aquarium water.
 
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