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Water test kit

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forsaken541

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Messages
146
Location
Spokane, WA
I purchased a marine basic test kit. There are several tests available but I am not sure about a couple of things.
1. should I be worried about the free amonia test or the total amonia test?
2. the total amonia test color strips shows hues of bluish but the test I do keeps coming up in shades of purple and I don't know why.
3.The free amoni test shows a level of 0 but the total amonia as best I can figure shows about 0.4. What is the difference of these tests?
Thanks to everyone contributing to this board you all make a difference to this newbie reefer for sure!!
Erik
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Erik go with the total ammonia test. tests of that nature are hard to read and use. What is the name of the test kit???


Mike
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Eric again tests like that are tough to get exacts, i am not sure why you are getting purple, it probibly has to do with the source of light that you are under when you are looking at the readings, try incandesent or flouresent, maybe it will come through proper.
On what the difference is: NH3 is toxic ammonia, this is what we call free ammonia and what you really need to keep and eye on. NH4 is basically ammonium, it is not toxic like NH3 and not to much of a problem. so total is a measurement of both NH3 and NH4.
here is how it works in your tank.
Food/waste/detritus = source, it then begins to be reduced by bacteria (rotting) frst step is ammonia (NH3),other bacteria reduce the ammonia thier waste is nitrite (NO2), from their further bacteira reduce the Nitrite and thier waste/by product is Nitrate (NO3). Once again bacteria will reduce the nitrate, but here thier are a couple of pathways that can occur. If thier is ammonia present in the anaerobic zone (place where nitrate reduction occurs) then the byproduct will be ammonium (NH4+) when this occurs the ammonium goes back up the cycle and is reduced to nitrites once again, thus the never ending nitrogen cycle, this is what occurs in most peoples DSB's. If thier is no ammonia present in the anaerobic zone then after a few more stages the byproduct will be dinitrogen gas which will off gas into the atmostphere.

anyway hope it helps.

Mike
 
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