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Test results     (Test Results)

 

Understanding the tables
To remove clutter from the tables, two mathematical symbols were used.

> means greater than.
Example; in the ammonia test with a sample value of 0.5 mg/L, the Blagdon kit showed > 0.4 mg/L.
The Blagdon kit doesn’t have a colour to indicate 0.5 mg/L.  It has 0.4 or 0.8 mg/L, so I have recorded the result as > 0.4 mg/L to indicate that the sample colour showed that the value of ammonia was “a little bit more than” 0.4 mg/L.  In other words, the Blagdon kit was as accurate as possible in this particular test

< means less than.
Example; in the nitrite test with a sample value of 0.2 mg/L, the API kit showed < 0.25 mg/L.
The API kit doesn’t have a colour to indicate 0.2 mg/L.  The nearest colour is 0.25 mg/L so I have recorded the result as < 0.25 mg/L to show that the kit was indicating “a little bit less than” 0.25 mg/L. Again, this was as accurate a reading as could be expected.

When placed between two numbers, the symbol < means “between the values of”.
Example; in the nitrite test with a sample value of 0.3 mg/L, the JBL kit showed 0.2 < 0.4 mg/L.
The JBL kit doesn’t have a colour to indicate 0.3 mg/L.  It has colours to indicate 0.2 or 0.4 mg/L so I have recorded the result as 0.2 < 0.4 mg/L to show that the kit was giving the result “half way between the values of” 0.2 mg/L and 0.4 mg/L.  In other words, although the kit doesn’t have a colour to match the sample I used, it was showing a dead accurate value for this test.

 

Ammonia
As stated in the main article, because koi and other fish continually excrete ammonia into their environment, true zero ammonia levels in a pond are unachievable.  The ideal level for ammonia in a koi pond should therefore be as near to zero as is possible. Since manual test kits cannot detect such very low levels, under ideal conditions, your chosen ammonia test kit should always appear to read “zero ammonia”. Problems with biological filtration systems sometimes occur so it is sometimes necessary to measure ammonia levels that are far from ideal.  Four samples were made up in order to see how accurate were the readings for ammonia  values across a range of commonly reported readings.

Ammonia
all values
are in mg/L

Available values on colour chart
within the range of this test

0.3
sample

0.5
sample

1.0
sample

1.5
sample

API

0  -  0.25   -   0.5   -   1.0 -  2.0

0.25

0.5

1.0

1.0 < 2.0

Blagdon

0  -  0.1  -  0.4  -  0.8  -  1.2  -  2.0

0.1 < 0.4

> 0.4

> 0.8

> 1.2

JBL

0  -  0.2  -  0.4  -  0.6  -  1.0  -  1.5

0.2

0.4 < 0.6

1.0

1.5

Tetra

0  -  0.25   -   1.5

0.25

0.25 < 1.5

1.5

1.5 < 2.0

Waterlife

0  -  0.2  -  0.5  -  1.0  -  2.0

0

0.2 < 0.5

1.0

1.0 < 2.0

 

Nitrite
The ideal value is as near zero as possible and the maximum acceptable value in a koi pond is 0.2 mg/L.  Sample values 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 mg/L were chosen to represent 50%, 100% and 150% of the maximum acceptable value.

Nitrite
all values
are in mg/L

Available values on colour chart
within the range of this test

0.1
sample

0.2
sample

0.3
sample

API

0  -  0.25   -   0.5

0 < 0.25

< 0.25

0.25

Blagdon

0  -  0.1  -  0.25   -   0.5

0.1

< 0.25

0.25

JBL

0.025  -  0.05   -   0.1   -   0.2   -   0.4

> 0.1

0.2

0.2 < 0.4

Tetra

< 0.3  -  0.3  -  0.8

< 0.3

< 0.3

0.3

Waterlife

0  -  0.25   -   1.0

< 0.25

0.25

> 0.25

 

Nitrate
To test the full range of the three kits that were supplied, sample values of 25, 50 and 100 mg/L were chosen. I’m sorry Waterlife, I really tried to get a reading from the nitrate kit you supplied. Two Hannas and the other two kits all showed positive results consistent with the sample values but, no matter how many times I repeated this test with your kit, following the instructions precisely each time, I couldn’t get the faintest colour change.

Nitrate
all values
are in mg/L

Available values on colour chart
within the range of this test

25
sample

50
sample

100
sample

Blagdon

10   -   25  -  50   -   75  -  100

 25 < 50

< 75

100

JBL

10   -   20  -  40   -   80  -  160

> 20

> 40

> 80

Waterlife

0  -  25   -   50  -  100  -  150

0

0

0

 

pH
Koi will adapt to any pH in the range 7.0 to 8.5 but it is important that the value be stable. Five pH values were chosen to test the accuracy of the kits within this range. 

pH

Available values on colour chart
within the range of this test

7.0

7.3

7.7

8.1

8.5

API

6.5  -  7.0  -  7.5   -   8.0   -   9.0

7.0

7.0 < 7.5

> 7.5

8.0

8.0 < 9.0

Blagdon

6.5  -  7.0  -  8.5

7.0

7.0 < 8.5

7.0 < 8.5

7.0 < 8.5

8.5

JBL low range

6.8  -  7.0  -  7.2  -  7.4  -  7.6

7.0

7.2 < 7.4

-

-

-

JBL wide range

7.0  -  7.5  -  8.0  -  8.5

7.0

7.0 < 7.5

> 7.5

> 8.0

8.5

Tetra

6.5  -  7.0  -  7.5  -  8.0  -  8.5

7.0

< 7.5

7.5 < 8.0

8.0

8.5

Waterlife

7.0  -  7.5  -  8.0  -  9.0

7.0

< 7.5

> 7.5

8.0

8.0 < 9.0

 

Carbonate hardness (KH)
The key to keeping pH stable is to have sufficient carbonates in the pond water to buffer any tendency for the pH to vary. A KH of 1oDH, (unless this value has been deliberately chosen and is very carefully monitored) leaves the pond at risk of a pH crash if it should fall even slightly lower. It is possible to successfully run a pond at this low value as part of a regime to replicate conditions in a Japanese mud pond but it is not recommended for the average koi keeper.  A value of 3oDH is the lowest safe value that should normally be adopted, 6oDH is normally recommended and 10oDH is the highest value to adopt.  Therefore values of 1, 3, 6 and 10oDH were chosen for this test

Only one manufacturer, JBL, supplied a kit that included a test for KH, it gave accurate results that were clear and unambiguous for all four sample values 1, 3, 6 and 10oDH.