first freshwater aquarium - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-08-2011, 02:57 PM
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Most of us use just use tap water that we condition with chemicals to remove the chlorine. Nitrates aren't as big of a problem in freshwater if you do your weekly water changes. The most trouble they will give you is algae blooms. I've heard different things, but the general idea sounds like anything under 40ppm is okay for fish. Some are more sensitive to it, some less.

If you have test that test for GH and KH, those are the readings that Byron is talking about. I think I've seen reef test kits that include those. You could also look for a local water quality report; they will have hardness and pH and phosphate and all kinds of things. But we are only looking for pH and hardness.

---Izzy

Sitting by the koi pond

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post #12 of 19 Old 12-08-2011, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imcosmokramer View Post
Thanks Byron.

I use RO/DI water because I already have it for my reef tanks. Is there a reason not to use it? Wouldn't it have chlorine in it? and nitrates? (at least that is why we do that in SW).

By hardness, are you guys talking about alkalinity? Sorry for to basic questions, I just know nothing :)

If you ever have any saltwater questions, I'm your guy.
Izzy has answered your questions. With freshwater, minerals in the water are needed by some fish (such as guppies or any livebearer), less by others (very soft water fish). Your tap water will have some degree of hardness (GH) caused by some of these minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium. Depending what level of hardness is in the tap water, for livebearers it may be better than RO which of course removes everything.

We in freshwater like to do regular weekly water changes. If one is able to use the tap water, this is much less trouble. Water conditioners detoxify chlorine, chloramine, most also heavy metals. Knowing your tap water parameters (GH, Alkalinity, pH) is essential.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #13 of 19 Old 12-12-2011, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for all the help. I'll go get some tests this week and post findings. How often do you test? Do you need to keep testing to monitor fluctuations, or once you know the baseline of the water you're using you can make adjustments based on that?
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post #14 of 19 Old 12-12-2011, 12:01 PM
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When setting up a new aquarium you should test every day, but once you have an established aquarium you only need to test once a week.

API has some good test kits. The API master freshwater kit is commonly found in stores and is pretty good. If you go online you might be able to find some higher-end stuff.

---Izzy

Sitting by the koi pond

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post #15 of 19 Old 12-12-2011, 12:12 PM
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Just to clarify on the testing question. Once you know the hardness of your tap water, that is it for hardness, as it is not going to shift in the aquarium unless you do something to deliberately affect the hardness. You can find out the GH (general hardness) and KH (Alkalinity) from your water supply [people, many have a website or they can tell you directly.

Tests of the aquarium water as Izzy said should be more regular depending upon this and that. Initially, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate need to be monitored until the tank has cycled. [You should test the tap water alone for each of these once, just to ascertain if any are present; there are ways to deal with them if they are, depending upon the numbers.] The pH should also be checked, it will initially be the same as the tap water, but biological processes in the aquarium can affect pH over time so it is wise to know how this plays out.

Once cycled, periodical tests for nitrates (with the "a") and pH are all you should normally need to do, just to ensure things are stable.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #16 of 19 Old 01-05-2012, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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things are going well so far, one of my plants is changing colors...not happy, I'll try to get a good pic.
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post #17 of 19 Old 01-05-2012, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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I wrote it in another thread, but there's no need to feed the shrimp anything specific right, they'll just get leftover food?
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post #18 of 19 Old 01-06-2012, 12:21 AM
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Certainly can't hurt to feed them once in awhile to make sure they are getting proper nutrition. Some sinking pellet like veggie/algae pellets and shrimp pellets would be appreciated by them.
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post #19 of 19 Old 01-06-2012, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imcosmokramer View Post
I use RO/DI water because I already have it for my reef tanks. Is there a reason not to use it? Wouldn't it have chlorine in it? and nitrates? (at least that is why we do that in SW).
I'd personally use tap water. The water conditioners you buy in most cases make the water perfectly safe for fish. Plus the minerals are good for your plants.

Pure water is very corrosive which is why drinking it is unhealthy long term (it can actually leach minerals OUT of your body). Add salt though and it becomes saline, the same stuff used in IVs ;)

The small bottles of water conditioner I've seen have a flip top lid that makes it really easy to 'drip' into a bucket of tap water. The directions usually are 10 drops per gallon if I remember right. They will last you a long time.

You'll be doing partial water changes once a week, so you want to work out a simple system for you routine that works for you.
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