Fishkeeping as a hobby? Why not! After all, who doesn’t get mesmerized just by the view of live plants and fish swimming gracefully in clean and clear water. That is why keeping your aquarium clean at all times is important to the wellbeing of your aquatic pets; and to keep your fish healthy and happy, you will need to do a few regular maintenance jobs.
Below is detailed explanation of the parameters of water quality.
Hardness is a measurement of the dissolved minerals in water. Soft water contains low mineral content, while hard water contains otherwise. General hardness appears to be the critical factor for a variety of biological processes, most notably reproduction. The eggs of many egg-laying fishes only seem to develop properly within a certain general hardness range. The precise mixture of minerals in the water will vary according to the sediments through which the water has flowed. Water from a chalk aquifer, for example, will have a high concentration of calcium carbonate.
The chart below is a guide of desired GH for different types of fish.
Although invisible and odorless, nitrate can have a deadly effect on a tank’s inhabitants. Many fish will not show any symptom of nitrate poisoning until the level reaches 100 ppm or even higher, but studies have shown that long-term exposure to sub-critical concentrations of nitrate stresses fish, making them more susceptible to diseases, hampers growth of the young and decreases reproduction rate. Ideal Nitrate level is below 50 ppm.
Nitrite is a highly toxic pollutant which is produced by bacteria during the breakdown of fish wastes and other organic matters through a process called nitrification. Overfeeding and overstocking can lead to high nitrite level, but incorrect filter maintenance and new tank syndrome are perhaps the most common cause of high-level nitrite detections. In an established aquarium, nitrite level should be maintained at 0 ppm.
Free chlorine is a halogen chemical element. Concentrated levels of chlorine kill fish and other aquatic life-forms. It is an oxidizer which removes the necessary slime coat from fish, causing stress and stress-related illnesses. As the tank’s pH levels go down, chlorine becomes more toxic. Exposure to high levels of chlorine damages the gill structure of the fish which leads to difficulty in breathing causing them to swim erratically or gasp at the water surface to get enough oxygen. These symptoms can easily be mistaken for low-oxygen problems, gill parasites or other diseases when tap water is to blame. A chlorine level of 0 ppm is ideal.
The carbonate hardness scale is based on the concentration of carbonate and bi-carbonate and reflects the buffering capacity of the water. Water with a high buffering capacity resists changes in pH, resulting to a stable water condition which is essential for the maintenance of many species of fish that cannot tolerate even small pH changes, such as Tanganyikan cichlids. Excessively low carbonate hardness level is not good for aquarium plants, especially those that extract some of the carbon used for photosynthesis from the carbonate and bicarbonate salts in the water.
Below is a guide of desired GH for different types of fish.
The measure of the hydrogen ion(acid) concentration in water is called pH. This is the measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of water. Values above 7 are alkaline or basic; those below 7 are acidic. The scale runs from 0-14, with 0 being the most acidic and14 being the most alkaline or basic. Pure water has a pH of 7 that is said to be neutral. Most of the fish traded for hobby come from habitats where the pH lie somewhere between pH 6 and pH 8. All fish have a preferred pH range, and one of the factors every aquarist must consider is matching the conditions in the aquarium to that of their natural habitat.
The chart below is a guide on the desired GH for different types of fish.
So you see, keeping your aquariums clean is not as complicated as you think. Keep a maintenance chart next to your aquarium so you don’t miss a schedule. That way, you always keep your aquariums in sparkling condition. A hazy aquarium isa stressful environment for your fish and is a total eye sore. A well-preserved, spotless, and well-lighted aquarium, with healthy live plants and fish will always be a source of good therapy and relaxation for everyone.