Here Is A Way To Measure Ammonia Accurately

Cory

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Here is the color after 1.5 hours api with sodium citrate. In the hanna phoshate checker it read .12 ppm.
 

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brandon429

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That’s so helpful thank you both

number of reef boards this information is being discussed: just one, you both have brought valuable data to our hobby with these increased measurements and forward motion
 

GuppyHJD

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Dan P...very interesting post and it brings back a lot of lab experiments. When I look at the original target of "new aquarist thinking they have a stalled cycle", I wonder if they are using the entry level API test kit that notes on the box the range of acceptable inaccuracy, would the aquarist would have a Hanna checker to also use?
 

taricha

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Here is the color after 1.5 hours api with sodium citrate. In the hanna phoshate checker it read .12 ppm.
Here's a quick look at the API with my tank water, and spiked to 0.10ppm NH3.
TW_0.1.jpg

Left: blank, center: tank water, right: tank water +0.10 ppm NH3.
 

Cory

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Here's a quick look at the API with my tank water, and spiked to 0.10ppm NH3.
TW_0.1.jpg

Left: blank, center: tank water, right: tank water +0.10 ppm NH3.
Nice. Im guessing ive got some ammonia in my system because its got a slight blue hue? Whats your tanks water reading on the hanna checker?
 
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I did the test on my tank water with api and sodium citrate. It turned an instant yellow color without any green hue. Am i supposed to put in the phosphate checker after an hour?
I would say the formation of a yellow color is a “fail”. You should not be able to detect any yellow color formation. I would be interested in hearing how you ran the test. A photo of the yellow test solution might clarify what you are seeing.
 
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API Modified Recipe for 10 ml sample:
10 mL sample
0.30 mL sodium citrate. white scoop from Red Sea kit. 6 red Salifert scoops add up to 0.30 mL
6 drops Reagent A
4 drops reagent B
Development time 1 hour
Color is a shade of sky blue

Ill just put this here for users to follow for 10ml bottle samples (the one from hanna checker is 10ml). If its not correct let me know ill change it.
And here is the standard curve for the modified API NH3 test.
00DABE89-2A84-4C68-95C9-F70502AD54BC.png
 
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Instead of scoops, would it be possible to get milli/microgram weights?

--Gray
0.15 mL is 0.15 mg. This correlation depends on the coarseness of the crystals I measured, but the exact amount does not appear to matter, though undercharging sodium citrate gives a cloudy test solution.
 
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Dan_P

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Dan did your reef tank water/known cycled water test out at the lowest possible

or mid
Undetectable color, so, I would say from this test total NH3 is < 0.01 ppm which means free NH3 around 0.001’ish ppm.
 
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brandon429

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Excellent, that begins a running baseline for what we expect for tanks that are post cycle.
 
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knowing accurately what nh3 does in a cycling tank, and by when, currently eludes the hobby

adjustments like this help to reveal truths, and truth affects the retail market in interesting ways. being able to plan and effect stark changes in reef tanks reliably such as home moves and upgrades all rely on accurate nh3 control, I’m interested in adjustments that reveal more consistency tank to tank when basic ammonia tests are ran. this is promising.
i am currently practicing establishing nitrification capability in a tiny aquarium with Biospira. The ammonia oxidizing bacteria get to work rapidly, like days but nitrite oxidizing bacteria are taking weeks to reduce NO2 concentration.
 
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Here is the color after 1.5 hours api with sodium citrate. In the hanna phoshate checker it read .12 ppm.
Cool.

I am running additional experiments today on development times. At 1.5 hours, even a zero NH3 could start to develop color. More later.
 
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Dan P...very interesting post and it brings back a lot of lab experiments. When I look at the original target of "new aquarist thinking they have a stalled cycle", I wonder if they are using the entry level API test kit that notes on the box the range of acceptable inaccuracy, would the aquarist would have a Hanna checker to also use?
You are correct. The salicylate method has a finicky zero though Red Sea seems better than API. Both are subject to the same issue.
 

brandon429

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The ammonia oxidizing bacteria get to work rapidly, like days but nitrite oxidizing bacteria are taking weeks to reduce NO2 concentration.


-what I love about cycling charts is someone figured out the timings eighty years ago and even though we have much better gear nowadays, we keep finding they were pretty right. I like that reliability.
 

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i am currently practicing establishing nitrification capability in a tiny aquarium with Biospira. The ammonia oxidizing bacteria get to work rapidly, like days but nitrite oxidizing bacteria are taking weeks to reduce NO2 concentration.
Exactly the condition that some deny the existence of, except in this thread, it appears. Usually a “false reading” proclamation ensues.
The ammonia oxidizing bacteria get to work rapidly, like days but nitrite oxidizing bacteria are taking weeks to reduce NO2 concentration.


-what I love about cycling charts is someone figured out the timings eighty years ago and even though we have much better gear nowadays, we keep finding they were pretty right. I like that reliability.
Brandon. Make your mind up. Lots of other threads you’ve replied to said the old cycling charts are rubbish, only good for sewage treatment plants. Which is it?
 

brandon429

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Nice false quote R but its not like my analogies were brief- mis summary allowed :)
Find one post where I’m against cycling charts, quote it in that post and bump it up for review but leave this one free of battle. leave Dans post free of common cycle battles


we are usually dealing with stuck cycle claims well past chart dates.

Our most recent was a 1.5 year old reef with claimed free ammonia, made a bunch of retail purchases in reaction, and thought their ten thousand dollar reef was certain to die (its still alive today)

Dan’s findings might help clear out threads like that


if low level accurate reads do show ammonia stalling.
 
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Cory

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I would say the formation of a yellow color is a “fail”. You should not be able to detect any yellow color formation. I would be interested in hearing how you ran the test. A photo of the yellow test solution might clarify what you are seeing.
How i did it was add 10 mls tank water. Added 6 spoons of sodium citrate. Mixed it up until fully dissolved. It took quite a bit of violent shaking to get it moxed. Then i added the two chemicals in the api test and shook it up a 5 or six times. Then i let it sit for 1.5 hours. Did i do the test wrong?
 
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How i did it was add 10 mls tank water. Added 6 spoons of sodium citrate. Mixed it up until fully dissolved. It took quite a bit of violent shaking to get it moxed. Then i added the two chemicals in the api test and shook it up a 5 or six times. Then i let it sit for 1.5 hours. Did i do the test wrong?
Sounds good! Development time is only one hour, but being consistent from test to test is important.

When you said that you saw a yellow color I immediately assumed the worse. Your photo did not look like a bad yellow.
 

Cory

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Sounds good! Development time is only one hour, but being consistent from test to test is important.

When you said that you saw a yellow color I immediately assumed the worse. Your photo did not look like a bad yellow.
Yes when i shook it up it was yellow. Ill check if the kits expired or something and report back. Whats my result of .13 ppm mean? Ive got that much ammonia?
 
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