We only call people on it when they should know better.
Here's a crash course in water chemistry...
pH: perhaps the most important of them all, pH, which stands for power of hydrogen, is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity of water. A higher concentration of hydroxide (H+) ions will make water more alkaline. pH is measured on a scale from 0-14. 0-6.9 is considered acid (like HCl and battery acid) 7 is considered neutral, and 7.1-14 is considered alkaline (like milk and oven cleaner). Straight out of your tap, you will probably never see a pH below 6 or above 9. I have had water that was 5, but it had massive amounts of pH down dissolved in it. Whether your tap water is acid, neutral, or alkaline depends on your location and several other factors. (for a more in depth look at pH, Understanding pH)
GH: the total amount of minerals dissolved in the water. Measured in degrees. Water with less minerals is referred to as soft, water with more minerals is referred to as hard. You probably already know if you have generally hard or soft water, as it effects a lot of other things, from how well your soap foams to whether you need to get lime scale removers.
KH: also called Alkalinity or carbonate hardness. Carbonate dissolved in water acts as a pH buffer- making it more stable. Water with a high carbonate hardness is more stable, but harder to change, whereas water with a low carbonate hardness is easier to change, subject to swings.
O2- I've seen tests for this- It just measures the amount of dissolved oxygen in your water, which is important, but as long as you have aeration should never be a worry. The only case I recommend having one of these tests is if, like me, you live in an area prone to power outages and you need to know when to start performing CPR on your tank...
The other three that most test kits include are Ammonia (NH3/NH4), Nitrate (NO3), and Nitrite (NO2). I see no reason to waste the time typing it all up here, as there are some excellent articles written about them (this one is excellent, if at points excessively technical, The Nitrogen Cycle) and even a webcomic episode CO2-written by none other than yours truly on the subject (The Aquahobby Webcomic- scroll down to the second post on the page).
Hope this has been of help! _________________
pH is the acidity/alkalinity of the water. nutral is 7.0. The human body actually runs closer to 7.4 aside from inside the stomach wich is and don't quote me but closer to 2.0. The lower the number from 7 the more acidic it is. If something is intolorent to acidity it will burn them. Like pouring lemon juice in your eye, it will burn. KH and GH are forms of hardness. I beleive they just test for different things. But fish also have preferences to how "soft" or how "hard" the water they live in is. Tetra's prefer rather "soft" water, so provide them with a low hardnes level. Live berrers like guppies prefer harder water. But they also prefer some salt in their water which isn't good for most freshwater fish depending on the level of salinity that is.
Yes, it can be very confuseing. The best thing you can do is read. Check the articals on this site, some very good info can be found in them. Also, never be afraid to ask questoins. Its the best way to learn.
I have a male crowntail betta in a 10 gallon with 3 cherry barbs, 2 ghost shrimp, and a snail and I've never seen him show any aggression towards anyone. The shrimp will actually swim up to him and chase him. It's hilarious! Mr. B (the betta) just swims away. When I first put him in the tank he seemed to chase the cherry barbs a bit but he seemed more curious than anything.
Joined: 19 Dec 2006 Location: Fennimore, Wisconsin
Posted: 2007.01.05(Fri)18:20 Post subject:
I have a male crowntail betta in there. This is all really confusing. And not to mention my library doesn't have any fish books. Well they are ordering some for me to check out. I've done a lot of reading and there is a lot of stuff to learn.
I did a 25 percent water change last week and did a 10 percent change last night. My water is cloudy so I read that I should do 10 percent change everyday or everyother day until it clears. I don't know what to do.
How do I increase the amount of ammonia to 4ppm? _________________ 20 gln. freshwater
Joined: 19 Dec 2006 Location: Fennimore, Wisconsin
Posted: 2007.01.05(Fri)21:58 Post subject:
I'm not a pro at this so I'm sure I didn't do the tests right. I remember reading that they can be sensitive. I read the instructions and the hard part was shaking the test tubes. I guess you have to do it a special way. I was horrible in Chemistry when I was in school.
If you have already cycled, then any reading other than 0 is an indication that something is very wrong.
Why is that? I did a 10 percent water change last night. Could that effect the levels? I didn't add any AquaSafe in the water. I read that you don't need to on a 10 percent water change. If wrong let me know.
When was the tank set up? What did you do to get it ready for your fish?
These might not be the exact dates but close to. I guess I should keep a log of everything.
I got the aquarium.
I rinsed everything out first, then added water.
I added 2 teaspoons of tetra AquaSafe.
I did a 25% water change with a half teaspoon of aquasafe.
I added the Crowntail Betta. Fed it with Betta Bio-Gold
I added 4 teaspoons of Tetra EasyBalance
Changed Filter Cartridge
I did a 10% water change
What size is it? Are there any other fish in there apart from the Betta? What sort of filter do you have?
Fish: Just the Betta
Filter: I bought the kit from Wal Mart. Its an Aqua-Tech Power Filter 20 I believe. I want to get a Canister filter in the future. _________________ 20 gln. freshwater
The basic deal is your tank is new, it isn't cycled, and you have a fish in there.
Fish give off wastes (Not just the Poo you can see). These wastes called "Ammonia" are TOXIC to the fish, they will harm or kill them.
Luckily for us some bacteria turn up, and eat these fish wastes, and turn them into other chemicals called Nitrites (Also toxic). Again a second lot of bacteria turn up, and turn these Nitrites into a much safer chemical called Nitrate, and we deal with this by doing weekly water changes.
Once a tank has been running for several weeks, the bacteria will be on top of the toxic chemicals the fish are putting out, and your tank is a much safer place for your fish, we give this a name "Cycled".
As you can see, the bacteria needs food otherwise it won't build up (No Ammonia, no bacteria), but at the same time, whilst a tank is cycling, the Ammonia that is spare (Not enough bacteria to eat it all), is harming your fish. That is why the idea of fishless cycling is now popular.
But that isn't what you are doing, so we need to help you with a plan of action, before we get onto that, one last thing.
You mention Aquasafe. This is used to take a chemical called Chlorine out of your tap water.
Chlorine is put in tap water to stop us dieing from bacterial bugs like cholera. Chlorine is good at killing bacteria, and it will kill the very bacteria we are trying to grow to keep our fish alive. Chlorine also hurts fishes gills.
You should always use a de-chlorinator (Aquasafe) every time you change water.
When you clean your filter (Where the bacteria live) you must never use tap water to clean it, always use old tank water. Otherwise the Chlorine will kill the bacteria we need.
Don't replace any filter media with new stuff, all you would be doing is throwing all your bacteria away.
OK back to your tank.
Any level of Ammonia is bad for your fish, you could take your fish back to the shop and do a fishless cycle.
If you can't do this, you need to keep the Ammonia level low, to stop your fish from dieing, the best thing you can do, is start a daily water change routine (Using a de-chlorinator each time). This will lower the Ammonia, and later on Nitrite levels whilst your tank is cycling. I would look at doing 10% per day, but keep on using your test kits, and if you see the Ammonia getting higher, do an even larger water change, if you see your fish gasping or looking off colour, do a larger water change.
Do not consider adding anymore fish until your tank is cycled.
Do not add any other chemicals (Easy balance etc), they are often a waste of money, but they could also do more harm than good.
You don't have to be a chemist to be a fish keeper, but a little bit of understanding of what's going on is very important.
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