Water Test Confustion


DigdirtJen

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My local pet store was out of the API Pond Master test kits, and the guy in that department said the API Freshwater Master kit tests for the same things so that's what i bought. I've attached pictures of both charts and they don't test for the same things, so now i'm confused over how to tell what is right for my pond. Could someone please let me know the correct ranges on the freshwater chart for my goldfish pond ? I would be very grateful. Both of these are just images from the internet. My pond is 120 gal. and has 2 koi and 4 comets.
Pondwtr.png
freshwtr.png
 

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TheFishGuy

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What kind of tests do you need on the pond test kit that the freshwater does not have? At 120 gallons, a pond should be treated more as a very large aquarium, so it seems like freshwater would be just fine
 

DigdirtJen

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I don't know that i need any else, i just need to understand where on the freshwater chart my results should follow. I probably need to explain a little more. The first tests i bought were the 5 in 1 strips for pond. When i brought the freshwater kit home, i expected those charts to be the same but they aren't so i'm not sure where on the freshwater chart my results should be. I know i may sound thickheaded, but what would really help me is if some one would circle the numbers on the freshwater chart so i'm totally clear or just list the number range for me. Thanks again!
 

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I don't know that i need any else, i just need to understand where on the freshwater chart my results should follow. I probably need to explain a little more. The first tests i bought were the 5 in 1 strips for pond. When i brought the freshwater kit home, i expected those charts to be the same but they aren't so i'm not sure where on the freshwater chart my results should be. I know i may sound thickheaded, but what would really help me is if some one would circle the numbers on the freshwater chart so i'm totally clear or just list the number range for me. Thanks again!
Okay! Makes total sense, I have the freshwater kit, so I will take a picture and circle the ideal ranges, as for the differences, the freshwater kit has been designed slightly better, and is more accurate, so that would be the reasons for different measurements, as they may be harder to get on strips so they were left off
 

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Okay! Makes total sense, I have the freshwater kit, so I will take a picture and circle the ideal ranges, as for the differences, the freshwater kit has been designed slightly better, and is more accurate, so that would be the reasons for different measurements, as they may be harder to get on strips so they were left off
Oh wait I just realized what you were really talking about, looks like the freshwater may have more tests? Probably things more commonly found in aquarium than pond water
 

DigdirtJen

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So basically, what i need is a translation from the strip chart to the freshwater test tube chart....and to know where my test results should be on the freshwater chart.

strip test.jpg
freshwtr.png
 

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DigdirtJen

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Yay! i'm so glad i'm making sense...thank you so much for helping me figure this out. I'm excited to await your reply!
 
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I have not tested my water in a very long time and don't remember the acceptable values of each test off hand. This is what I think the OP is asking for. Someone please list these values.

I think ammonia, nitrite, nitrate should all be zero.

Ph is more of a constant reading, large fluctuations are not good, you want a steady constant reading, but I believe generally the target numbers are 7.4-8.4

Kh is another test, but I don't recall that acceptable reading....
So, someone please post up a complete list of acceptable readings...
 

TheFishGuy

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So basically, what i need is a translation from the strip chart to the freshwater test tube chart....and to know where my test results should be on the freshwater chart.

View attachment 131743View attachment 131744
so my editing software wouldst work so I will just explain the ideal measurements

ph is ideal at 7.0-7.2 but 7.6 isn't bad

high rang ph is ideal at the same measurements but again, if your normal ph is on the chart, then you should have to test for this, it is only if your ph appears to be higher than the normal test

ammonia is ideal at zero, and really anything above that should call for a partial water change

nitrite again is ideal at zero but a little bit isn't awful, it may call for a partial water change if it gets very high though

for nitrate some people think it should be at 5-10 however, if you have pond plants, they need some nutrients, and they should greatly diminish the nitrate, so my rule of thumb is around 20-25 I am good, but anything above 30 and I need a partil water change

hope that helps!
 

TheFishGuy

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I have not tested my water in a very long time and don't remember the acceptable values of each test off hand. This is what I think the OP is asking for. Someone please list these values.

I think ammonia, nitrite, nitrate should all be zero.

Ph is more of a constant reading, large fluctuations are not good, you want a steady constant reading, but I believe generally the target numbers are 7.4-8.4

Kh is another test, but I don't recall that acceptable reading....
So, someone please post up a complete list of acceptable readings...
I think nitrate needs to be a bit higher than that, otherwise your water isnt cycled, and there is not enough nutrients for alges and other pond plants to feed off of
 
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I'm not sure about your question.

Just compare the color of the completed tests to the chart that came with the API freshwater kit, as it looks like you have done. The values of the tests are right below each color and the first one at the top of each column is zero. The colors change going down the column according to the value of the test results that you might get.

Ammonia and Nitrite should always be zero. Nitrate can be higher, especially in a pond. Mine runs around 40 and that isn't a problem at all. It can be higher without any issues. The phosphate test isn't usually given much consideration with ponds. It's more geared to aquariums.

Forget about the chart for the strips. They don't apply to the liquid tests. There is no reason to compare them, as the strips are not accurate enough to be very useful, so you can dispose of those.

Also, your water looks fine for the tests you have pictured.
 
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I may be wrong, but [I think] the only difference between the 2 test kits is that one uses a measure for nitrates, while the other measures for phosphates. Since chemistry is not my thing, I can’t tell you what the difference are, but they both have something to do with the end product of the nitrogen cycle, and it has something to do with nutrients that plants can utilize. Again, I may be way off base with this...sorry. I do know from reading other pond groups that some people regularly test for nitrates while others regularly test for phosphates. I don’t know if it matters which is used.
 

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so my editing software wouldst work so I will just explain the ideal measurements

ph is ideal at 7.0-7.2 but 7.6 isn't bad

high rang ph is ideal at the same measurements but again, if your normal ph is on the chart, then you should have to test for this, it is only if your ph appears to be higher than the normal test

ammonia is ideal at zero, and really anything above that should call for a partial water change

nitrite again is ideal at zero but a little bit isn't awful, it may call for a partial water change if it gets very high though

for nitrate some people think it should be at 5-10 however, if you have pond plants, they need some nutrients, and they should greatly diminish the nitrate, so my rule of thumb is around 20-25 I am good, but anything above 30 and I need a partil water change

hope that helps!
I wanted to let you know that i printed off your reply and took it home to use as a guide. I can now say that it is absolutely true that the test strips are a sad excuse for water testing. I ran my tests w/ strips and with the test tubes to compare. Wow...i'll be sticking to the tubes from now on. My levels all look good. The ph was a little on the low side so i did add a little baking soda to the water. I'll test it again this weekend. My plants even look a little better since adding the baking soda. Thank you again for your help!
 

DigdirtJen

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I just want to thank everyone so much for the advice. You guys are just so wonderful to take your time to help out those of us who are learning! :giggle:
 

TheFishGuy

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I wanted to let you know that i printed off your reply and took it home to use as a guide. I can now say that it is absolutely true that the test strips are a sad excuse for water testing. I ran my tests w/ strips and with the test tubes to compare. Wow...i'll be sticking to the tubes from now on. My levels all look good. The ph was a little on the low side so i did add a little baking soda to the water. I'll test it again this weekend. My plants even look a little better since adding the baking soda. Thank you again for your help!
awsome! glad to know everything worked out!
 

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Glad also to hear it worked out. Hope others that read this as a reference that test strips are basically useless. One thing to note, we really are stuck with whatever pH our source water is. Higher pH makes ammonia more toxic and lower pH can mean there isn’t enough buffer in the system. Monitor the pH for whatever is “normal” and add buffer baking soda or oyster shells (chicken scratch) can be put in bags or “socks”.
 
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