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Does Prime affect nitrite/nitrate readings?

This is a discussion on Does Prime affect nitrite/nitrate readings? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by Byron I'm picking up on the pH issue. The pH is linked to the hardness of the source water. Carbonate hardness ...

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Does Prime affect nitrite/nitrate readings?
Old 04-15-2011, 03:50 PM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I'm picking up on the pH issue.

The pH is linked to the hardness of the source water. Carbonate hardness (expressed as KH) acts as a buffer to maintain a stable pH. The higher the KH the more it will buffer the pH to prevent changes.

Chemical pH adjusters may work temporarily, but then the KH reverts the pH back, and the result is fluctuating pH which is serious with fish in the tank. [Don't know if you do or don't have fish in this tank that is cycling, but if you do please do not use the pH adjuster.]

Other things can also affect pH, and yes, it will normally lower in an aquarium with fish and biological processes. The extent (how much and how fast) somewhat depends on the KH as well as the fish, bacteria, plants, and water volume. There is quite an involved biological process occurring in an aquarium.

If you can give us the GH (general hardness) and KH of your tap water we can probably provide a bit more. Rather than spending money for a hardness kit, contact your water supply people; many have websites with the water analysis posted, and hardness should be included.

Byron.
Thank you that's good to know. I've seen my city's water reports somewhere online before so I will check to look for the hardness and post it back here when I find it. My pH weeks ago was always alkaline like always around 7.2 and it was tough getting it to 6.8. Now it's constantly at 6.0. Strange how it's the exact opposite now.
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:00 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I'm picking up on the pH issue.

The pH is linked to the hardness of the source water. Carbonate hardness (expressed as KH) acts as a buffer to maintain a stable pH. The higher the KH the more it will buffer the pH to prevent changes.

Chemical pH adjusters may work temporarily, but then the KH reverts the pH back, and the result is fluctuating pH which is serious with fish in the tank. [Don't know if you do or don't have fish in this tank that is cycling, but if you do please do not use the pH adjuster.]

Other things can also affect pH, and yes, it will normally lower in an aquarium with fish and biological processes. The extent (how much and how fast) somewhat depends on the KH as well as the fish, bacteria, plants, and water volume. There is quite an involved biological process occurring in an aquarium.

If you can give us the GH (general hardness) and KH of your tap water we can probably provide a bit more. Rather than spending money for a hardness kit, contact your water supply people; many have websites with the water analysis posted, and hardness should be included.

Byron.
I thought I just replied but it isn't showing up so I'm re-typing lol. I just checked the water report for my city and it doesn't include the hardness unfortunately. I suppose I can bring a water sample to Petco. Hopefully they can test for it because this tank is costing me a lot of money (heater malfunctioned a few days ago). The tapwater's like 7.4 and it's strange because when I first got the tank running it was hard to lower the pH from 7.2 to 6.8, where I wanted it. Now it's the complete opposite. Can't get it higher than 6.0. I bet there is an issue with water hardness. If that is so, what can I buy to stabilize the KH? I want it at 6.8.
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Old 04-15-2011, 05:38 PM   #13
 
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I thought I just replied but it isn't showing up so I'm re-typing lol. I just checked the water report for my city and it doesn't include the hardness unfortunately. I suppose I can bring a water sample to Petco. Hopefully they can test for it because this tank is costing me a lot of money (heater malfunctioned a few days ago). The tapwater's like 7.4 and it's strange because when I first got the tank running it was hard to lower the pH from 7.2 to 6.8, where I wanted it. Now it's the complete opposite. Can't get it higher than 6.0. I bet there is an issue with water hardness. If that is so, what can I buy to stabilize the KH? I want it at 6.8.
If you can give me the link to your water supply site, i will take a look. Hardness can sometimes be buried in various terms and though I'm not a chemist i can usually find it. Don't waste money on a hardness test kit, you will only use it once and then never, unless of course you start fiddling with hardness. Hardness of tap water does not change [pH can] unless they change their source of water.

I always believe in letting the pH go where it wants and working with that. The difference to fish--assuming here we are talking soft acidic water fish and not hard water livebearers or something--between 6.0 and 6.8 is not going to matter a whit, provided it doesn't jump back and forth. My tanks run at 6, 6.4, some below 6. I have no issues. But they are all soft water fish, and mostly wild-caught.

Byron.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:05 PM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
If you can give me the link to your water supply site, i will take a look. Hardness can sometimes be buried in various terms and though I'm not a chemist i can usually find it. Don't waste money on a hardness test kit, you will only use it once and then never, unless of course you start fiddling with hardness. Hardness of tap water does not change [pH can] unless they change their source of water.

I always believe in letting the pH go where it wants and working with that. The difference to fish--assuming here we are talking soft acidic water fish and not hard water livebearers or something--between 6.0 and 6.8 is not going to matter a whit, provided it doesn't jump back and forth. My tanks run at 6, 6.4, some below 6. I have no issues. But they are all soft water fish, and mostly wild-caught.

Byron.

Oh ok 6.0 isn't a problem then? I don't plan to get livebearers--never had any luck with them in the past (perhaps the pH was why). I plan on tetras, barbs and danios. I was just thinking along the lines of, "6.0 is the most acidic level on the chart so it must be bad." But as you said it has been quite stable and the fish are still swimming actively, in good health and eating well. As long as the fish are okay with it, so am I. I'm concerned about the cycle which doesn't seem to be progressing but perhaps I should just get plants to absorb the ammonia. Thank you for your info. Very helpful!
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:36 PM   #15
 
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Oh ok 6.0 isn't a problem then? I don't plan to get livebearers--never had any luck with them in the past (perhaps the pH was why). I plan on tetras, barbs and danios. I was just thinking along the lines of, "6.0 is the most acidic level on the chart so it must be bad." But as you said it has been quite stable and the fish are still swimming actively, in good health and eating well. As long as the fish are okay with it, so am I. I'm concerned about the cycle which doesn't seem to be progressing but perhaps I should just get plants to absorb the ammonia. Thank you for your info. Very helpful!
If your water is running below 7, then livebearers will struggle. The ph is one aspect, but more importantly is the hardness. A low pH usually [not always] indicates softer water, and livebearers all occur in hard water with a consequently basic pH (above 7).

I have a low-pH kit that measures down to 5, and a couple of my tanks are what look to be even lower than 5.

If you check some of the fish profiles here [second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top of the page] for many of the characins, you will note the pH of their habitat waters can be as low as 3-4. Now, not all species can manage with that, but the point is that it all depends upon the fish species. With wild-caught fish one has to closely match their habitat. Tank-raised fish are more adaptable after several generations of being tank raised in differing water parameters, though some species still have trouble depending upon the difference.

The Rio Negro in Amazonia, the world's 6th largest river and the largest blackwater river, is home to dozens of species of aquarium fish (cardinal tetra, dwarf pencilfish, marble hatchetfish, discus...); it has a pH that fluctuates during the year from below 4 to the high 4's, sometimes low 5's. The northern tributary streams have a higher pH, around 6 generally. Many species of Corydoras are endemic to these streams, meaning they are only found in one particular stream and no where else. They will never venture into the Rio Negro, and thus not to adjoining streams. Species that share near-identical colouration and pattern have thus evolved in streams side by side without ever meeting. Dr. David Sands reasoned that the fish probably find the differing pH a physical barrier, and simply will not cross it.

Last comment on the cycle. In acidic water it will be slower, and plants are advisable. The nitrifying bacteria multiply best at optimum temperature and pH, and for pH this is in the mid-7's. At 6.4 some sources say nitrosomonas bacteria cannot multiply, and at pH 6 they die off. This is not as bad as it sounds, though, because if there are no bacteria to produce nitrite, there will be no nitrite issues. Plants assimilate a vast amount of ammonia/ammonium.

Byron.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:22 PM   #16
 
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Last comment on the cycle. In acidic water it will be slower, and plants are advisable. The nitrifying bacteria multiply best at optimum temperature and pH, and for pH this is in the mid-7's. At 6.4 some sources say nitrosomonas bacteria cannot multiply, and at pH 6 they die off. This is not as bad as it sounds, though, because if there are no bacteria to produce nitrite, there will be no nitrite issues. Plants assimilate a vast amount of ammonia/ammonium.

Byron.
Ah, that probably explains why my nitrites went back to 0. That was right around the time when I noticed the pH dropped down to 6.0, now that I think of it. I'm leaning more and more towards heavily planting the tank, to take care of the ammonia. I'll just have to hope they live this time! I've had trouble keeping plants alive in the past and I was never sure why. I'll start reasearching. Thanks so much, Byron, your advice helped me out a lot.
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