Originally Posted by nomel
I'm confused...you're all telling her more water changes when she has all zeros....interesting...so..to sum it up, change your water more to get rid of those pesky zero readings!
Maybe it's that one 5 in fish in a 55 gallon tank is just too small of a bioload to make enough ammonia for your test kit to read. That's almost 11 gallons per inch of your fish! One of the 11 gallons is just for the tail fin! And, I doubt you overfeed...and there's another solution for the all zeros problem.
BTW, I only change my water twice a month with readings that are fine...muhahaha.
1077 has responded to these issues, but I would like to just expand a bit re the frequency of partial water changes since this is in my view the single most important aspect of maintaining a healthy aquarium.
In nature, fish live in water that is constantly changing; in rivers the water flows past the fish, and in lakes there is a natural change over from top to bottom causd by thermal currents, and in both cases there is considerably more water per fish than in any aquarium. The result is that the fish does not remain in the same water more than a few seconds. Further, if there is something in the water that the fish dislikes (toxin, salt, temeperature or acidity change...) it has the ability to move elsewhere in the stream or lake; it is not forced to remain in the same water as it is in the aquarium.
Fish produce waste constantly--urine and solid excrement. Solid waste can partially be removed by vacuuming the substrate but most of it breaks down into liquid before this occurs, and in liquid form it remains in the aquarium, circulating around and around. No filter can remove it. The ammonia resulting from the waste and other things is converted by bacteria. But the waste remains, and it continually increases. The fish is literally swimming around in its own urine and waste. Only the partial water change can remove this waste.
The perfect scenario would see a pwc every day. Some discus keepers do this, change 50% every day, and many of them feel this is mandatory for discus. Other fish may not be quite as sensitive but a regular pwc benefits all fish and plants, since it provides micro- and macronutrients they require. Fresh water also supplies minerals the fish require to maintain a healthy internal balance. Fish need minerals just as we do to maintain body functions and a healthy immune system. Performing more frequent pwc with less water is preferable to less frequent with more water, because the object is not only to change part of the water but to maintain an equilibrium over a period of time that is more constant than fluctuating. From experience I have learned that a weekly pwc maintains a more constant balance in nitrates and water quality than monthly or bi-weekly changes. And it more closely patterns nature, so the fish naturally respond with less stress which means better health and increased vitality.
There are filter manufacturers who claim their products allow the aquarist to perform fewer pwc. This is false. Nothing can replace the pwc, and the more often, the better.