Removing Toxins From Aquariums

Water quality is key to successful fish keeping, it's vital that you initially create and then maintain the correct chemical balance.

Conditioners can be used right at the start to detoxify tap water and then there are several procedures that can be followed to manage the water. Test kits will indicate any irregularities and there are a range of other products available to rectify the situation.

Why Is Ammonia Harmful For Fish?

Caused by natural waste from your fish and uneaten food, ammonia will actually burn your fish's skin and can lessen the amount of oxygen entering their blood. Ammonia turns into nitrites, which are very harmful and must be eliminated, and nitrates, high levels of which are best avoided as algae growth and green water will be encouraged.

How Can Ammonia Be Eliminated From Aquarium Water?

Overstocking with fish and overfeeding are prime causes of excess ammonia as both of these will result in increased decomposing waste. Having an effective biological filter with a large surface area is important. You can also take time removing waste and decaying plants, and lessen the amount of fish food you are providing.

Encouraging beneficial bacteria is important to break down the waste, a product such as Nutrafin Cycle Biological Supplement will introduce nitrosomonas and nitrobacter that work in tandem with other strains to get rid of toxins in the water. You can also take gravel from a established tank and place it in a new one, bringing with it beneficial bacteria. Also, partially change the water (30% of volume) each week adding a conditioner each time.

Do Nitrites And Nitrates Harm Fish?

Nitrites in particular are very toxic, entering the blood and essentially suffocating the fish while poisoning them at the same time. Among other undesirable effects, exposure will add to the chances of your fish succumbing to infection and disease.

Although you can look out for breathing difficulties, with fish gasping for air on the surface, and excessive algae, analyzing the water with a test kit similar to the Laborett Master Kit is the only reliable indication of the presence of nitrates which, even a very low level, are unacceptable.

How Do You Eliminate Nitrites And Nitrates From An Aquarium?

Ammonia converts into nitrites that subsequently becomes nitrates, so if you take measures to limit ammonia it will have a knock on effect. The best solution is for your aquarium to have an efficient biological filter that will effectively convert nitrites to nitrates that are much less harmful or use water additives - Viresco Aquarium Capsules will remove nitrite by digesting organic waste while Tetra NitrateMinus controls nitrates and algae.

What Alkalinity Is Best For A Fish Tank?

In general fishkeepers should aim at a consistent neutral pH level of around 7.0, certain species may like a figure just above or below but water that is too acidic may encourage increased ammonia, high alkalinity may cause breathing problems and both can eventually lead to death.

How Do You Raise Or Lower An Aquarium's pH?

The easiest method of raising the pH is by temporarily removing the fish, and dissolving a teaspoon of baking soda in the water for every 25 litres. You can also add crushed coral. To lower the pH add RO (reverse osmosis) water, uncontaminated peat or activate carbon. A product such as TetraAqua pH/KH Minus will have similar results and Proper PH 8.2, 7.5 and 7.0 are buffering powders that will automatically set the pH to an appropriate level. Be careful not to change the pH too radically over a short space of time as this will stress and perhaps kill the fish.

Will Chlorine Harm Aquarium Fish?

As with nitrites, chlorine should be completely eliminated as it very effectively kills both fish and beneficial bacteria.

How Do You De-chlorinate Aquariums?

In a new tank, allow chlorine to dissipate naturally over time depending on the size of the aquarium, aeration will quicken the process, or add a conditioner such as Interpret Gold Tap Safe which will remove chlorine and heavy metals from tap water.

Does The Hardness Of Aquarium Water Matter?

The hardness of water is measured in two ways and indicates the amount of minerals that are present. Carbonate Hardness relates to alkalinity and will affect pH stability while General Hardness indicates the presence of calcium and magnesium. Some tropical species do only live in soft or hard water, however it's almost certain that the fish supplied by garden aquatic centres have been bred commercially and will survive in average de-chlorinated and adequately conditioned tap water that's not too soft or overly hard.

How Can I Soften Or Harden Water In My Fish Tank?

You can soften water by slowly adding RO (reverse osmosis) water or rainwater, adding uncontaminated peat will also have the same effect. To harden water, introduce crushed coral or clean limestone.

How Do I Prevent New Tank Syndrome?

It's best to get off to the best start so initially use a conditioner such as Tetra SafeStart that will prevent 'New Tank Syndrome', which happens when the biological filter has not matured enough to handle the amount of waste that is being produced. SafeStart contains oxidizing bacteria that will reduce ammonia and nitrite, creating an environment that's suitable for fish to be introduced quickly and safely.