Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Jmalone 07-09-2010 02:41 PM

water parameters
Hello all!! I hope everyone is doing well today--

So I took a trip today to the aquarium center, to pick up a nitrate and nitrite test, and I ended up leaving with a few other new items (usually what happens), anyways, I was wondering if you guys could just check out my parameters and give me a little reassurence that my numbers are not out of hand.
Ph- 7.6
Ammonia- .50
Nitrate- 5.0ppm
Nitrite- .25

I also added a piece of driftwood today, along with my first live plant, its a Cryptocoryne spiralis, in hope that the driftwood would lower the ph a little bit, and that the plant would aid with the ammonia and nitrate. Ill most likely do another PWC tomarrow morning just to try and drop the ammonia more-- comments and suggestions are always increadibly helpful-- thanks again everybody--

P.s.- Byron, the water conditioner im using is by this one you would use, or do you recommend something else?? (because you asked in the last post)

Byron 07-09-2010 02:55 PM

I've forgotten the other thread. But having just now looked up Aqueon water conditioner, it says it neutralizes chlorine and chloramine, and aids in restoring a fish's natural slime coat. Can't find out more. If the slime coat issues is natural, no issues with this conditioner. Some don't like conditioners that artificially improve the slime coat, although I have used Kordon's for 15 years without any problems I can identify and they do much the same. So as a basic conditioner, this one is fine. I actually would like to try it myself, as I only need one for chlorine; most also detoxify heavy metals and in planted aquaria this is unnecessary as plants detoxify metals and use some as nutrients as well and this interferes with liquid fertilizers that add some of these metals. So Aqueon is one I must track down.

To your test numbers. I assume this tank is cycling, hence the high ammonia and nitrite. Unless of course they occur in your tap water. Have you tested your tap water on its own (without conditioner) for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? This is worth knowing, as sometimes one or more of these things can be in tap water. Also, wat is the tap water pH? This is useful so you know the effect of water changes when the aquarium is established.

Assuming there are no fish in this tank, fine. But if there are, the ammonia and nitrite numbers call for action. Before going further, I'd like to know more. Is the tank cycling, are fish in it, how are you cycling if not, and what are the tap water test results.


Jmalone 07-09-2010 03:00 PM

Hey Byron--
Yes my tank is cycling right now, and I have 3 cherry barbs and 2 golden barbs in the tank, the ph of the tapwater is 7.6, and there is no trace of ammonia in it; as for the nitrate and nitrite, Ill test for it right now

Jmalone 07-09-2010 03:13 PM

okay- so the readings for the nitrate and nitrite from my tap are
nitrite- 0

Byron 07-09-2010 03:53 PM

Thanks, that explains things. The ammonia .5 and nitrite .25 are the cycling; the nitrate in the tank is from the tap water and not connected to the cycling. For the future, nitrate at 5 is not a problem, most advise keeping nitrates at 20ppm or less, and plants will do this or regular weekly water changes of 40-50% if no plants. You could use a water conditioner that detoxifies nitrate (Prime does, not sure if there is another) but personally I don't think it is necessary; in your situation I wouldn't bother.

During a cycle a good water conditioner to use is Prime since it detoxifies chlorine/chloramine but also ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. It detoxifies ammonia by changing it to the harmless ammonium which the bacteria can still use (and plants if there are any). It binds the nitrite and nitrate somehow, doesn't matter for our purposes. It is a thought, since it would ease the stress on the fish during the cycling. I would expect nitrite to increase, this is probably the start of the second stage of the cycling. Monitor it, a 50% water change daily if it goes above .25 is advisable. Same for ammonia; it should begin to lower.

So, to answer your original question, I would say this is normal; just monitor daily and control the toxins with partial water changes. And consider a small bottle of Prime to use during this period. Not essential, just another little plus.

Looking ahead (again) to your pH lowering: it would be good to know the hardness of the tap water; you can ascertain this from the water supply people, either on their website if they have one or by enquiry. Get the GH and KH if they have it. These numbers will tell us what to expect in the tank, if the pH will lower on its own with the wood and natural biological processes, or if the hardness will buffer it sufficiently to prevent this.

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