Expired test kits

Lucky Lefty

New member
Maybe yet again another rookie mistake, I've been posting about my current cycle, and tracking my levels with a Red Sea marine lab test kit.

The test was given to me by a friend when I first got my tank. He lost his tank in hurricane sandy. I decided to look over the box last night after testing again and receiving the same results I've been getting again and again.

The date is hard to read in the bottom of the box, but it reads 02 [] 11. The center " [] " looks like a zero, but is different than the zero in 02 so it must be some sort of stamped space.

That being said, if this thing is 3 years expired, Have I been recording false readings? And maybe why everything is so low even after the addition of the dead shrimp?

This morning I orders an API master kit on amazon, mainly because it was the only complete kit I could find and I had a $25 amazon gift card.

Thanks for reading the latest chapter.
 

billdogg

Active member
I'd be surprised if your expired kit was still real accurate, but it's probably close enough, at least for your initial cycle. The API test kit will be good enough for your cycle as well, but once things get going, you may want to invest in more accurate kits. I prefer Sailifert kits for their ease of use and repeatability.
 

Lucky Lefty

New member
Thanks for the replies.

I was thinking of bring my water to my LFS. Might do that today. Too bad my cycle is not complete, it's members appreciation week and today, the last day, every member gets a free bag of live food and a free frag of their choice.

Anyhow, I was going to get a "reef" test kit that seemed of better quality but it did not have an ammonia or nitrite test. As you mentioned billdogg, I figured it'd be good enough for the cycle.

Man oh man, it would be amazing if the LFS test showed that my cycle was complete and I've been getting false readings.. Highly unlikely but hey, I can wish.

Gotta stop by there anyway, hopefully they are selling some patience, because mine is wearing thin :/ haha
 

Crooked Reef

New member
Once your cycle is complete you won't test for ammonia or nitrite nearly as much. I haven't tested for those two in a long time unless something dies or just looks off with the tank. Same with ph. I test salinity, nitrate, calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity.

Oh and make sure your lfs gives you actual numbers for your results. Too often people post that they were told their water was "good" or "fine" and have no idea what their numbers actually are.
 

dkeller_nc

New member
You don't say how long your tank's been cycling. If it's been 6 weeks, your cycle is highly likely to be complete, and you may not get a measurable concentration of ammonia, nitrite, or even nitrate if the tank's water volume is fairly large and the tank was all dry rock.

Regarding expired test kits; yes, it's always good to use them within their dating. However, whether they've "gone bad" sensitively depends on how they were handled and stored. The worst place to store them is in the tank's stand where the temperature and humidity are high. The kitchen cabinet is the best place - cool, dry and in the dark.

Also, avoid buying "all in one" test kit sets. Instead, buy individual analytes (calcium, alkalinity, nitrate, etc...). You'll save money this way, since some analytes are tested very frequently, and while some may only be tested for troubleshooting purposes (i.e., infrequently).
 

Lucky Lefty

New member
You don't say how long your tank's been cycling. If it's been 6 weeks, your cycle is highly likely to be complete, and you may not get a measurable concentration of ammonia, nitrite, or even nitrate if the tank's water volume is fairly large and the tank was all dry rock.

Regarding expired test kits; yes, it's always good to use them within their dating. However, whether they've "gone bad" sensitively depends on how they were handled and stored. The worst place to store them is in the tank's stand where the temperature and humidity are high. The kitchen cabinet is the best place - cool, dry and in the dark.

Also, avoid buying "all in one" test kit sets. Instead, buy individual analytes (calcium, alkalinity, nitrate, etc...). You'll save money this way, since some analytes are tested very frequently, and while some may only be tested for troubleshooting purposes (i.e., infrequently).

Not sure why my tank info is t showing up under my posts, but I've been cycling since 5/7/14, so basically 2 1/2 weeks almost.

Put a dead shrimp in about a week and a half ago and my levels didn't change.

Ammonia has been .25
Nitrite .01
Nitrate 2.5 - 12.5
Ph 8.0

Almost every water check has had the same readings, even after the shrimp.
 

dkeller_nc

New member
At 2-1/2 weeks, there's little chance that your cycle is complete if you started with dry rock and an organic source (the shrimp).

If, however, you started with high quality live rock, whatever mini-cycle took place is likely over.
 

Lucky Lefty

New member
At 2-1/2 weeks, there's little chance that your cycle is complete if you started with dry rock and an organic source (the shrimp).

If, however, you started with high quality live rock, whatever mini-cycle took place is likely over.

Dkeller, I did start with live rock, but had a very... Let's say ROCKY start. I'm not sure if what happened hurt my jump start.

If you could, check out my first thread http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2409653&highlight=noob+learning+the+hard+way

Long read, but it details so much and I'd greatly appreciate your opinion.

Thanks
 

dkeller_nc

New member
I didn't read everything, but did read the travails of the live rock in the box. I think you're probably right, you killed most of the macro life on the rock. But it's unlikely you killed the bacteria.

I'd make two recommendations:

You don't have enough rock for either a FOWLR or a reef. In the case of the FOWLR, you don't have enough rock to provide sufficient hiding places/territories for the fish. In the case of a reef, you don't have enough rock to mount corals on, and enough hiding places/territories for the fish.

So add some additional rock. Best place to get this isn't your LFS, it's Premium Aquatics (for pacific rock), or Tampa Bay Saltwater (for aquacultured gulf rock). If you order from TBS, you'll be absolutely amazed at how much life is on high-quality rock.

Second recommendation is to wait at least 3 weeks after the last addition of live rock. You're not so much waiting on a "cycle" in the traditional sense as you are to ensure the rock is fully cured - that is, any dead macro life has had a chance to fully decompose.
 
Top