Video:How to Test for Ammonia and Nitrates in the Aquariumwith Dan Thornton
High levels of ammonia in your aquarium can be toxic to your fish, regular testing for ammonia and nitrates will help maintain a healthy tank. Watch this About.com video to see how its done.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Test for Ammonia and Nitrates in the Aquarium
Hi, I am Dan Thornton, owner of Reef Encounters in Erie, Colorado and I am here for About.com to tell you how to test for ammonia and nitrates in the aquarium.
Testing for Ammonia
The reason that you want to test for ammonia is because it's toxic. Especially when you are setting up a new tank, you are going to see a spike of ammonia, so you want to test for that daily if you can. On an established tank testing for ammonia weekly is fine, and you really shouldn't see any at all. Sometimes if you have just fed a lot of food, you might see a tiny amount, but it should be gone within an hour, or two.
Be Consistent When Testing Your Aquarium
You want to keep track with a log, so write down the dates of each test and what the results were. You want to test on a consistent timeline, so if you change water in your tank every four weeks, then you would want to test the water before you change it every four weeks.
Testing for Nitrates
The reason that you would test for nitrates is that you want to get an idea of what is building up in the water. Generally, you are going to get rid of your nitrates through water changes. The test for nitrates are not real accurate for home aquariums, unless you get really high levels of nitrates, it's not a big problem.
Methods for Testing
Testing for ammonia and nitrates can be done using a couple of different methods. The most common methods are using a dipstick which is a little less accurate , but much more simple. The other method is using a test tube and some drops. This test you have to shake the tube with the first solution that you put in. That's very good. Zero it would be perfectly yellow.
There are several different types of ammonia test kits. This one you have to shake for a full minute. There is no ammonia. This is an established tank, so we won't see that.
Thanks so much for watching, for more information on fish, please visit About.com.