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did a water test this morning
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Magnum V8
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Joined: 24 Dec 2006

PostPosted: 2006.12.25(Mon)11:49    Post subject: did a water test this morning Reply with quote

I'm new to fish keeping, and this is my first attempt at it. Its a 20g long with a barb and 3 zebra danios. I know fishless cycling is the preferred method, but I found out too late. Anyway, I used the Mardel Master test kit and it showed an ammonia level of .50ppm. I don't quite know what that means.

Can you tell me what the next step is? Is that ammonia level still safe enough? I thought about doing a water change but didn't know if that would affect the cycle. The tank's been up for about 2 days. I certainly don't want the fish to die.

Also, the test kit's manual said the buffering capacity needed to read 120 ppm or higher in order to produce an accurate pH reading. The buffering capacity test scored 80 ppm and the pH tested 6.8. Can you tell me anything about that? Do you think I should test the water straight out of the tap? BTW, I'm on city water.

Thanks.
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susankatomerit
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Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Location: Tulsa, Ok

PostPosted: 2006.12.25(Mon)12:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

The tank is just starting to cycle, the ammonia levels will rise even higher than that, when it drops to zero the nitrite levels will spike the same way. both levels are bad for fish and should be at zero at all times. I would suggest making water changes at least every couple of days to keep your fish safer during the cycle. It can take weeks to cycle a tank.

Get some amquel + and use it with each water change as it will help keep the levels down also. Add lots of fast growing plants to help also.
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Cathy G
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Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: 2006.12.25(Mon)12:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do a water change - at least 25%. You'll need to try to get your ammonia readings down to .25. Have you done a nitrIte test yet? This is the next toxic substance after the bacteria has broken down the ammonia. Why don't you add 1Tablespoon salt to your tank. Dissolve it in a few cups of tank water and then pour it into the tank. This should be enough to help your fish to not absorb the nitrItes when they start showing up. Every time you do a water change after you add the salt, you'll need to keep the salt content up. So, if you do a 30% water change after the initial salt dose, you'll need to dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt into your new water... (3teaspoons=1Tablespoon)

As to the pH. What is your KH reading? If your KH is 2-3, don't worry about your pH for a while. THe KH is the measure of the actual buffers in your water. A reading of 2-3 will keep the pH in your tank stable. You won't have any problems with a stable pH unless you add Co2, which you would only need to if you had a planted tank with high watts per gallon.

If you want to test your tap, just let it sit out overnight before the test so all residual CO2 is gone...

Cathy
P.s. If you have a product like Amquel +, you could add it to your tank, it helps eliminate extra ammonia.
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Magnum V8
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Joined: 24 Dec 2006

PostPosted: 2006.12.25(Mon)13:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

The nitrite test is included with the Mardel Master Kit. Its currently at zero, or it was when I tested this morning.

What is KH? Sorry, but I'm just beginning to learn the language of aquarium water chemistry. If KH is the same as buffering capacity, then it measured 80 ppm. I don't know how that compares to your suggestion of a 2-3 reading.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the tank's only been up and runnin' for a couple days. Also, I did just finish doing an approx. 50% water change.
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Cathy G
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Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: 2006.12.25(Mon)14:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

KH is carbonate hardness. This is what prevents a pH from going up and down. Everyone needs some KH is their tanks, some folks with very soft water don't have it. In these cases they add crushed coral to their filter boxes, or they add some baking soda. (Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate...)

Your KH says 80? This is 80 ppm. (Parts per million). If that is the case, your KH corresponds to 4 degrees hardness which is just fine. Its when you degrees hardness are 1-2 that you need to be careful, in those circumstances the pH can 'crash' which means take a sudden nose dive and kill sensitive fish in the process.

Merry Christmas, and am glad to hear you did a big water change. When stores open back up, you might want to buy some AMQUEL +. It reduces ammonia and nitrites and will help your fish cope as you cycle your tank.

Cathy
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Magnum V8
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Joined: 24 Dec 2006

PostPosted: 2006.12.25(Mon)15:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're saying the 80ppm is fine, but the test kit's manual said anything under 120ppm buffering capacity will not produce an accurate pH measurement. In fact, it said anything under 120ppm buffering capacity could cause the undesirable swing in the pH. The test this morning showed the aforementioned 80ppm buffering capacity/KH and a pH of 6.8. Can I expect that to be an accurate measurement of the pH?

BTW, how did you convert the 80ppm into degrees?

Thanks for all your info, and merry Christmas to you too!

John-Paul
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naclh2ofly
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Joined: 07 Jun 2003
Location: MD's Eastern Shore, USA

PostPosted: 2006.12.25(Mon)20:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

To convert GH & KH from ppm to degrees divide "X"ppm by 17.9...
Your 80ppm KH is about 4.5dKH

I haven't a clue as to why the test manual would claim you would get a false reading for your pH with what they consider inadequate buffering... I have softer water than yours, 2~2.5 dKH & dGH, and I'm injecting CO2. You just need to be mindful of your pH & KH with regular testing and keep up with routine water changes. Over time with out regular water changes the break down of organics will create a weak acid which will lower your pH especially with a low KH...

You may want to consider Aquarium Pharmaceuticals(API) test kits for pH & KH...

Fred
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Magnum V8
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Joined: 24 Dec 2006

PostPosted: 2006.12.25(Mon)21:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the manufacturer's manual meant that the lower buffering capacity won't produce an accurate pH test because of the chance that the pH could quickly lower at any moment. In other words, don't bet on my pH staying consistent.

So, does all this mean that my water is naturally, perfectly, acceptable for South American cichlids? Once my tank is cycled I'd like to get some Blue Rams, and maybe in the near future upgrade to a bigger tank and keep Discus' in there too.

Fred, is your pH consistent?
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naclh2ofly
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Joined: 07 Jun 2003
Location: MD's Eastern Shore, USA

PostPosted: 2006.12.26(Tue)6:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before planning another tank with South American Cichlids lets get this tank up and going ;^) although odds are your water will be fine for most S. A. Cichlids...

Yes my pH is very consistant... 6.2~6.4 day or night

Fred
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