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Recently bought my first aquarium =)

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Recently bought my first aquarium =)
Old 04-25-2009, 03:06 PM   #11
 
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the ppm is almost back to zero. I haven't checked the nitrogen levels. I will do that when i get home. Should the nitirites and nitrates be at 0 also>? haven't lost any fish yet.
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:03 PM   #12
 
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the ppm is almost back to zero. I haven't checked the nitrogen levels. I will do that when i get home. Should the nitirites and nitrates be at 0 also>? haven't lost any fish yet.
The nitrite will rise and then fall back to zero as the second part of the nitrogen cycle once the ammonia is at "0" or nearly so. When the ammonia and nitrite both read "0' it means the nitrosomonas and nitrobacter bacteria respectively have multiplied to the level that can handle the ammonia and nitrite being produced by the fish/nitrogen cycle. When you consistently have readings of "0" for ammonia and nitrite for several consecutive days, the tank is cycled for what's in it. Once a tank is cycled and this biological equilibrium is established, the ammonia and nitrite should always read "0" and will only do otherwise if something occurs to make the system crash biologically (things like adding too many new fish at one time, destroying the bacteria by cleaning the filter and gravel at the same time, etc.

Nitrate is a different (third) part of the process. I have never heard of a tank with "0" nitrate, but I'm not a biologist so I don't know if such is possible. But I doubt it very much. We all do weekly partial water changes primarily to remove nitrate, but also to replenish minerals and trace elements that the fish (and plants in a planted aquarium) require, as well of course as simply removing foul water and replacing it with fresh. Nitrate is basically harmless to the fish, unless the level rises. Different fish have different tolerance levels for nitrate, but most authorities recommend keeping the nitrate below 40 ppm and preferably under 20 ppm. The nitrate in my two aquaria is constant at 5-10 ppm, due to the fact that I do weekly partial water changes of 40-50% and the tanks are fairly heavily planted and plants use nitrate.

I'm glad to hear you've had no fish loss so far, which makes we wonder if the pH in the tank is acidic (under pH 7.0 which as you probably know is neutral)? Have you tested it, and if so could you post the reading?
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:32 PM   #13
 
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The ph is 7.5 at the temp is 76. The temp jumps between 74 and 80 throughout the day. the gap is getting smaller and smaller every day though because I'm starting to know when to turn the heater up and down.
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:34 PM   #14
 
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I'm planning on doing a 20% water change every 3 days. should i do it every 2?
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Old 04-25-2009, 07:04 PM   #15
 
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The ph is 7.5 at the temp is 76. The temp jumps between 74 and 80 throughout the day. the gap is getting smaller and smaller every day though because I'm starting to know when to turn the heater up and down.

My thought on the ammonia in relation to the pH doesn't matter as your pH is 7.5. As the pH drops and becomes more acidic, more of the ammonia changes to ammonium which is basically not toxic to fish. Test kits for ammonia read ammonia and ammonium as the same thing, which is OK because the bacteria still convert it to nitrite and the cycling has to occur regardless. It just means that in slightly acidic water the fish will experience significantly less stress from ammonia because it is changed into ammonium.

I'm assuming the temp is variable because you have not yet been able to set the heater to remain constant? The temp should not vary like this, it is not good for the fish, so I hope you are not deliberately adjusting the temp every day except in trying to get the heater set. A good temp for freshwater tropicals is 77-79F. It can be tricky adjusting a heater. A point to remember is that it takes time for the heater to adjust itself after you have changed the setting, so you should let it sit for a few hours before changing the setting again, otherwise it will just flip back and forth.
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Old 04-25-2009, 07:06 PM   #16
 
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I'm planning on doing a 20% water change every 3 days. should i do it every 2?
If the ammonia is high and the fish are showing signs of stress, daily water changes are advisable. Remember not to vacuum the gravel, just siphone out and replace the water (use a conditioner). When you said the ammonia is almost at "0" what exactly is it?
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Old 04-25-2009, 07:39 PM   #17
 
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the color for "0" on the color chart test is slightly brighter than the color in the vial. the next color up in the number line is a lot darker than the color in the vial.
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Old 04-25-2009, 07:43 PM   #18
 
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the water has been 76 all day. 3 days ago the Temp outside was up to the high 90's then it started getting cooler Friday. The nights get cold and the days get hot. I turn it down during the day and up at night. Unless the therm shuts itself off when it gets too hot. idk
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Old 04-25-2009, 07:47 PM   #19
 
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****, when I changed some of the water i siphoned some of the gravel to get the junk out. hope i didn't suck up all the bacteria. Shouldn't it be in the filter though?
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:16 AM   #20
 
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the water has been 76 all day. 3 days ago the Temp outside was up to the high 90's then it started getting cooler Friday. The nights get cold and the days get hot. I turn it down during the day and up at night. Unless the therm shuts itself off when it gets too hot. idk
I was wondering if this was the issue. Yes, the heater will shut off when the water reaches the temp the heater is set for, and not come on again if the water temp remains at or above the set temp. So leave the heater alone if it is heating the water at 76 at night, that is good.

Hot weather affects our tanks and the only thing we can do is to either air condition the room or set up some sort of chiller (cooling). Others who live in hot climates may have some advice on this, I have never bothered during the few really hot days we get in the summer. As long as the tank water is circulating for oxygen/gas exchanges, the fish will manage. Don't overfeed.
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