How To Use Hanna Nitrate Testers


Life in an aquarium is based on the nitrogen cycle. Living organisms produce toxic ammonia that is transformed into less toxic compounds such as nitrate.  

But too much nitrate in a saltwater aquarium produces too much algae– and too little nitrate kills corals. So how do you know if the nitrate levels in your tank are too high or too low– and what can you do to stop this?

Hanna nitrate testers have been designed to test and control the production of nitrate in your saltwater aquarium, simply and accurately, reducing algae and protecting corals.

The tester has a digital read-out that displays the results clearly. It fits neatly in your pocket, drawer, or testing bin. The testing process is simple– and provides precise results in less than 10 minutes.

Here you are about to learn about–

  • The acceptable and unacceptable levels of nitrates in your saltwater aquarium
  • Low- and high-range Hanna nitrate tester packages
  • How to test for nitrates
  • How to solve the problem of low- and high-level nitrates in your aquarium

High and Low Levels of Nitrates

5 parts per million to 40 ppm is considered a safe range of nitrate in your aquarium, depending on the organism and fish. More than 40 ppm is dangerous to both fish and corals. If your fish become lethargic or your corals start retracting their tentacles, it’s time to test. In a new aquarium, you should be testing weekly.

So How Do You Test For Nitrates?

The low-range Hanna nitrate package

The low-range kit (HI781) includes everything you need for testing

  • Instruction manual
  • Marine nitrate low-range reagents for 25 tests
  • 2 sample cuvettes and caps
  • Filter paper (25 pieces)
  • Filter holder (1 pc.)
  • Mixing vial and cap
  • 1 mL graduated syringe
  • 5 mL syringe
  • 10 mL syringe
  • 16-gauge blunt needle
  • Plastic refilling pipette
  • 1.5V AAA Alkaline battery

How To Use The Low-Range Hanna Nitrate Tester: A Step-By-Step Guide

1. Insert the filter disc (HI7402) into the filter holder (HI7401)

  • Unscrew the two pieces of the filter holder and carefully place one paper filter on the lower piece (that has no threads on the tip)
  • Thread the upper piece over the lower piece
  • Make sure the filter is in the right position
  • Screw the two pieces together
  • The filter is now ready to be used

2. Prepare the sample

  • Use the 10 mL syringe to insert 10 mL of tank water into the mixing bottle
  • Empty all the contents of a packet of HI781A-0 reagent into the same bottle
  • Empty all the contents of a packet of HI781B-0 reagent into the bottle
  • Replace the cap on the bottle and shake vigorously for 1 minute
  • Use a 10 mL syringe and a 16 Gauge blunt needle (HI740272) to extract the contents of the mixing bottle
  • Connect the 10 mL syringe (minus the needle) to the filter, using the threads
  • Place this over a 10 mL cuvette or tube-like container
  • Push the plunger slowly until the cuvette has been filled to 10 mL
  • Replace the cap on the cuvette– use a microfiber cleaning cloth (HI731318) to clean the container carefully— place the cuvette in the nitrate checker and close it

3. Use the nitrate tester

  • Close the cap on the nitrate tester
  • Press the ON/OFF button to turn the nitrate checker on
  • Be sure to wait until you see C2 on the screen
  • Remove the cuvette and unscrew the cap
  • Empty all the contents of a packet of HI781C-0 reagent into the cuvette
  • Replace the cap on the cuvette and shake vigorously for 2 minutes
  • Use a cloth to clean the cuvette carefully— and place the cuvette in the nitrate checker
  • Press and hold the ON/OFF button until 8 minutes is displayed
  • The checker will perform the reading, telling you the concentration of nitrate in ppm
  • The checker turns off 10 minutes after reading

4. How to get accurate results

  • Ensure the sample does not contain debris
  • The cuvette must be dry outside
  • The cuvette must be free of fingerprints, oil, and dirt
  • Don’t shake the cuvette– this can generate bubbles, causing higher readings
  • Do not let the reacted sample stand too long before performing the reading
  • Discard the sample as soon as the reading has been performed so the glass is not stained

The high-range Hanna nitrate package

The high-range kit (HI782) includes

  • Instruction manual
  • 2 sample cuvettes and caps
  • Marine nitrate high-range reagents for 10 tests
  • 3 mL Pasteur pipette
  • 1.5V AAA Alkaline battery

How To Use The High-Range Hanna Nitrate Tester: A Step-By-Step Guide

  • Remove the screw from the base of the checker
  • Insert the battery, and replace the base and screw
  • Press the ON/OFF button to turn the nitrate checker on
  • Be sure to wait until you see C2 on the screen
  • Fill the cuvette with 10 mL of tank water and replace the cap
  • Use a cloth to clean the cuvette carefully— place the cuvette in the nitrate checker– and close the cap of the checker
  • Press the ON/OFF button to turn the nitrate checker on
  • Be sure to wait until you see C2 on the screen
  • Empty all the contents of a packet of HI782-0 high-range marine reagent into the cuvette
  • Replace the cap on the cuvette and shake vigorously for 2 minutes
  • Use a cloth to clean the cuvette carefully— and place the cuvette in the nitrate checker
  • Press and hold the ON/OFF button until 7 minutes is displayed
  • The checker will perform the reading, telling you the concentration of nitrate in ppm
  • The checker turns off 10 minutes after reading

How To Solve The Problem Of Low- And High-Level Nitrate

Low-level is simple to solve. Just increase the number of fish and/or food to be turned into nitrate

It is harder to eliminate high levels of nitrate.

But you can experiment with

  • Not overfeeding or overpopulating the aquarium
  • Changing the water more often
  • Introducing seaweed
  • Mangrove plants
  • Using live rock and live sand
  • Denitrator units
  • Inorganic carbon, alcohol, and skimming

The last method is called the vodka method– let’s all drink to that one!

References:

Hannainst.com

Bulkreefsupply.com

Reefbuilders.com

Plymsea.ac.uk

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