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Getting your levels right in a new tank
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Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Location: Cumbria, UK

PostPosted: 2010.02.07(Sun)7:44    Post subject: Getting your levels right in a new tank Reply with quote


When I first bought my aquarium 6 months ago, I did the usual setup stuff I read about, leaving it for 4 weeks etc etc. When I put my first few fish in I tested my nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and pH and all were very high. At the time I was on a very tight budget and was told to buy all sorts of different remedies... until I did some research.

From what I found out, plants help remove these from the water, my filter was still building up bacteria and so I got my chemistry head on. How could I help the plants remove these chemicals from the water and lower my pH without spending great deals of money and more importantly without affecting the fish. Simple Answer. Fizzy Water (Club Soda for the Americans)

Now before you all shout at me for adding things like that to my tank, heres the science;

Fizzy water (or Soda Water) is just plain water thats had CO2 put into it. This creates Carbolic Acid. Acid added to an alkalie neutralizes... Plants remove the C02 through photosynthasis and with it, the nitrates and ammonia.

I used 2 litres twice a week in a 170 litre tank and in a space of 2 weeks, got my pH to 7.2, and everything else to pretty much 0. The only effect it had on the fish is they would go to the top occasionally for air in the first few hours of putting it in the tank.

It's also important to mention, if you're going to do this, do it just as the lights come on so that the plants have the maximum amount of time to photosynthasise.

Suprisingly, this works. 6 months on from then, my tank still has the same readings.
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2010.02.07(Sun)7:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fizzy water and soda water are different. One has just CO2 added and the other has sodium bicarbonate as well.

You were lucky but hit & miss addition of CO2 can be a disaster and there are safer and cheaper ways to balance a tank.

The fish were going to the top as adding CO2 in the presence of ammonia makes the ammonia more toxic.

A fishless cycle is a far better way to start out.
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Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Location: Cumbria, UK

PostPosted: 2010.02.07(Sun)14:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

It didn't cost me anything as I work in a pub so got it from the fountain gun. In the UK it's just called soda water, tap water with added CO2. I understand that 'real' soda water has other things in it but hey ho, thats the english dialect for you.

As for there being easier and cheaper ways I agree... but the circumstances I had on this occasion were a little different.

The deal I had with the guy I bought the stuff from was I buy the tank then let it mature over a period. He had another tank at home with fish, heater, filter etc etc. which he needed to keep the fish alive obviously, until my tank had matured. After a month, he brought the rest of it around but not even half a bucket of the origional tank water so had a few issues. This solution seemed to have sorted it out so thought I would share it.

I am still kind of learning though. I'm still quite fresh to the world of fish keeping so thanks for the info. Smile
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