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How To Test Your Aquarium Water Properly

Aug 17, 2007
It seems obvious enough, but it is amazing how many aquarium owners don't realize the importance of the tank water to the health of their fish! The temperature, ph level and number of fish you have can all affect the health of your tank. The only way to ensure the water stays right is to regularly test it with the appropriate testing kits.

Always have a thermometer handy and test the water daily to make sure it is around 24 degrees (this can vary depending on species so be sure to double check). The best thermometers are the ones that stick to the glass so you can confirm the temperature each time you look at the fish tank. If the temperature is out of the correct range, the fish will be much more susceptible to developing illnesses. It is just as important that the tank water maintains a consistent temperature level, so don't place it near heaters or air conditioners. When you change the water only add water that is the same temperature so the fish aren't shocked.

The tanks PH level is certainly one of the most important things for you to monitor. You can buy a testing kit for around ten dollars and should test it every few days. You want to see a level of around 6-7; Higher than seven is alkaline, and below seven is acidic. If you ever add anything at all to the water, including more water, you should test again to check the effects. This applies to decorations, rocks, air stones or medicines.

You will also want to test the Ammonia levels regularly, as this is dangerous to the fish if it builds up too much. If the ammonia is too high, the fish will die, so keep the water and filter clean, and again test at least every week so you can nip any problems in the bud before they cause death. The level of nitrite in the water should always be nil, and regular high readings would indicate you need a new filter. Along with your PH test and ammonia test, keep the nitrite testing kit on hand as well, and test weekly or more if an issue arises.

The last tests to do for healthy aquarium water are hardness and carbonate hardness concentration. Everyone has different water hardness and carbonate levels depending on your towns supply, and most fish thrive in softer water. This would be over fifty but less than two hundred parts per million and any higher could mean they will become sick. Carbon hardness is less often a problem, but is just as important to test in case it does get out of hand.

All the above mentioned kits are inexpensive and vital. By closely monitoring the water in your aquarium, you can ensure your fish flourish and live a healthy and happy life in your home. It saves you the money of buying expensive medicines and having to replace fish, not to mention unnecessary guilt wondering if you maybe could have looked after them better!
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for Fish Tank Guide where you can learn more about setting up and caring for your fish tank.
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