No Nitrate(s) at all?!
I just measured the Nitrate Levels in my established Tank (has been set up for 5 months and finished cycling) and according to the liquid test drop master kit fluids, I have 0 nitrates, 0 nitrates, and 0 ammonia.
No Nitrate at all? Is that even possible? I thought the master kit drop test bottles are more accurate then the test strips, but I measured with both methods (test strip and test drops) and the strip showed normal/low nitrate levels while my master kits (I used two different ones just to be sure one didn't go bad over time) both indicated ZERO nitrates in my established tank. Are both of my master kits old an expired or what? I am confused
No nitrate is very unusual in a 5 months old tank.Did you check the expiry date? Which brand is it?
Did you read the instructions for testing and shake the correct bottle and tube.
Not having any NitrAtes is actually normal. It just means your tank is really clean, and is probably understocked and overfiltered.
My 55g African Tank constantly runs at 0 nitrates, and its been setup for 2 years
If you havent used the nitrate test drops in a while, make sure you shake the bottle #2 very very well. After shaking very well, retest. There is some separation that occurs with that test liquid if it sits for some time. If you still test 0, than your tank is very clean. Than I guess its time to get some more fish...
Results from the sample and reagent tests with the color chart can be affected by background colors and the wavelength of ambient light. Actually, those things do not affect results but they can change the way we perceive colors.
Probably, none of the water test kits sold for aquarium use are highly precise. However, they seem to do just fine for us aquarists, and the test kits are available at reasonable prices.
I'm always writing that ammonia and nitrite should be zero, but if they actually were, the nitrogen cycle would starve. Those two compounds should measure zero on the equipment normally used by aquarists, but a rigorous chemical analysis would probably find at least trace amounts.
Whack the nitrate bottles on a hard surface while shaking VERY well for a few mins- the nitrate test is very finicky & the reagants can clump leading to an inaccurate result. Also, make sure you shake the test tube well after adding the first bottle of drops & then shake it again well after adding the second bottle of drops. Do you have plants? Plants use nitrate as food & can lead to a zero reading too.
Thank you for your answers.
I believe my readings are correct. The tank is really clean, as of now I have few fish (and little fish) in there (waiting for them to grow that's why I'm not adding any new ones), I have two filters (one would actually be sufficient as it is a 36gal tank and the filter was made for a 45 gal tank PLUS I have an extra filter just in case I need a "seeded" filter all of a sudden for a new tank or so
AND I have lots of plants in the tank.
So, yeah, I guess the readings are correct. I always shake the bottles very thoroughly before testing.
Thank you for your answers - I seem to have really good water, now I know why my fish are happy and I am happy, too
Oh, just to answer the questions, I used two API Master Test Kits and the 5-N-1 Test kit by Jungle from Walmart.
The Jungle thing indicated nitrates, the API did not
The test strips are inaccurate but consistently inaccurate. The reading will be wrong but always off by the same amount for a particular level of what you are measuring for.
Well, I've been wondering if I somehow stalled the nitrogen cycle in my own tank because once the nitrites were gone, I had zero nitrates and my ammonia has been hovering around 0.50 ppm. I usually use the API test kit, but also used the test strips to compare - both gave the same info. Just stopped at a pet store with a water sample, (I was sure to explain all the things I've added to my tank recently to combat ammonia and nitrites) and they say my tank is cycled and I shouldn't be alarmed at zero nitrates. But then again, who knows? My head is spinning - you never know if they're just employees who know how to test water or if they're really knowledgeable. I like to come here first for info. from very experienced aquarists, but I also like the face-to-face with someone who should know what they're doing. I'm going to get a second opinion - I'm very interested in hearing what another store has to say about my water.
I have the same problem so am happy to find this thread and find that it is possible to have a cycled (been cycled almost two weeks now) tank and have 0 nitrates... I have one betta in a 10 gallon tank with a filter that filters 90x/hour... and everything on my API kit is O (I had 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia and 5 nitrite two days ago before I transfered my betta and his two anarcharis plants).
Betta is happy but I panicked when I saw the nitrates drop...
Most of the test kits sold for aquarium use are reasonably accurate for their stated purpose. They are not appropriate for precise chemical analyses, but they are also not as expensive as lab equipment.
are you saying I still may be okay?? just have tiny amount of nitrates but the kit cannot measure it? But is this not bad? Does this not mean it won't take much for the tank to get overwhelmed?
Like I said, Neptune the betta fish seems fine but he has been through the ringer so I do not wan to stress him more.
For the first time that I have had him he is asserting himself. He is continually rushing towards the section of the tank which reflects his appearance and FLARING!!! I hope he does not tire himself our
i know this is three weeks ago and hopefully things have stabilized by now but you really should not have any ammonia in a cycled tank. 0.5 is actually quite high. When the tanks is cycled you should have 0 ammonia (sometime temporarily you MAY have a tinge less than 0.25 -- which is quickly digested by the nitrates) but a reading of 0.5 seems to suggest that you are not quite done with the nitrogen cycle...
Have the same thing going on with my tank. I do have live plants so that's proly why I have zero nitrates. Just means my tank is really clean!
this is also my worry since my tank just finished cycled when I checked January 1, 2013. I was so happy that finally I have zero ammonia and nitrite. Then I tested my nitrate today and it reads zero, I said to myself what the heck I retested tonight and it still read zero. I have a lot of live plants in my tank though. I am confused because my tank is a little bit cloudy, whitish cloudiness not greenish. I googled this up and it shows it might be bacteria bloom. I am confused more, why is my reading zero ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and I have bacterial bloom? any idea?
Live plants do use nitrate as food. At the time of my first post I didn't realize that. Learned alot from then to now!
I'm in the same situation.
I did show some nitrate readings (5ppm i think) a few days ago.
Not sure if the aquarium salt or mardel maricide affects the readings.
So I use the API liquid test-
Shook each Nitrate bottle like crazy, took a sample, and bam! 20ppm of nitrates. Everything else was still zero tho.
A nitrate concentration below 40 ppm is considered safe. Nitrate increases can be caused by overfeeding, so always try to feed no more than the fish eat in a couple of minutes, and change 25 percent of the water every week.
Good to know on the 40ppm's of nitrates. I thought it was 20...
Went to bed last night after checking to see if my aquaponics system had any nitrates.......none, zero, zilch...... This system has been cycling for 3 plus months. What have I been doing wrong? The plants in the system are dependent on some level of nitrates for food.
So I find this thread and read that I should shake my test liquid bottles, which I do, but y'all say REALLY, REALLY shake them. Well I did and BAM (to quote wrxwit)!!!!! I'm running about 100 PPM.
Guess I need some more plants! I've been holding off because of the false negative reading now it's catch up time AND it's July.....grrrr
For now, you may want to stop feeding the nitrogen cycle. Unless the aquarium is huge, it should have a working nitrogen cycle already. Fast growing plants do ingest significant amounts of toxic nitrogen compounds, and just waiting for a few days may complete the cycle.
Since test accuracy could be an issue, a backup test is in order. Most pet shops will test aquarium water for free. Although the results may not be particularly accurate, they will at least provide some basis for comparison with your results.
Good luck, and please keep us updated.
Something similar happened to me. I have been in the process of cycling. My 25 gallon tank is 2 months old, after 1 month and use of stability I showed ammonia, this was high for around a week, than showed nitrite and immediately showed nitrate the next day, my ammonia dropped to 0 but nitrite stayed high for 3 weeks. unfortunately my LFS told me if I used stability I could immediately add fish.
Well I noticed my angel ram having stringy poop and a different LFS said to use METRO and FOCUS just incase, I used that for about 5 days, dosing the medicine on the food and dumping the rest in the water-- on day 4 I tested my water still high nitrites, I tested my water 1 day after I stopped using the meds and had zero nitrate, I got really excited thinking it finally cycled after almost 4 weeks of high nitrite, I decided to run one last thorough test and noticed all my readings were ZERO. Did the metro and focus kill all my bacteria's? I did a PWC yesterday and was sure to really rinse my filter bag in old aquarium water, which turned very cloudy from the left over meds. I haven't checked the readings today.
Are you waiting the full five minutes for the color to develop in the test tube.?
Thanks for the tip about shaking the Nitrate test solution. I had the same thing 0 Ammonia and 0 Nitrites but 0 Nitrates. Shaking the bottle and bam, I went from 0 to the 20 that I was expecting!