No matter how clear and sparkling that water may look in your new aquarium, do not be fooled! Remember that looks can frequently be deceptive. Many new owners think that it could not possibly hurt to go ahead and add some fish to their new aquarium setup once they have added the water. After all, it looks so clean and pure!
Wrong. That water you just poured into your tank is full of certain gases that can be toxic to your fish in the right amount. Compressed carbon dioxide gas is present in most city or tap water, along with chlorine, fluoride, and perhaps even some sulfides as well. There are also minerals, heavy metals, and chemicals in this water.
Some of these substances are added by the facilities that treat water in order to make it safe for human consumption. What is safe for a human can be quite unsafe for a fish. You must wait for the water in your aquarium to stabilize before you can add any fish to it. Often, people are advised to place one lone feeder fish in the tank in order to get the beneficial bacteria started up, cycle the tank, and also to see if the water quality is good enough for this fish to live in. While this seems like a good plan, you may be bringing diseases into your tank by doing so. There are much better ways to accomplish this task.
Test kits are available to tell you the condition of your aquarium water. Make sure you get the proper test to match your aquarium water, as the tests for freshwater and saltwater tanks can be a little different. You will want to test your tap water before proceeding to test the tank water. That first test will give you a baseline of sorts. Knowing the parameters of your tap water and comparing them to the parameters of your aquarium water can help you to decide if you need to do a partial water change or adjust the water parameters.
What sort of parameters do these kits test the water for? Normally, a simple water test kit will check the pH, Nitrite, Nitrate, Carbonate hardness and General hardness. You can also purchase kits that will test for ammonia. Tanks can be tested for KH or GH as well with a simple home kit. You can purchase products at your pet store to make the proper adjustments.
It does not take much ammonia to be toxic to fish, so the beginner hobbyist should strive to keep the levels in the tank at or near zero. However, during cycling, you will get high ammonia readings until there is enough bacteria in the tank to breakdown the ammonia into safer by-products. During this time, water changes of 10 –20% are suggested to keep the ammonia levels down. Different fish varieties need different pH readings, so a normal level will depend on the type of fish you are keeping. At one time, the only way to test your aquarium water was with a series of test kits and/or test strips. Whenever you suspected a problem, you would need to perform these tests on a daily basis. With the busy lifestyles so many of us have, it could be difficult to schedule this testing.
Fortunately, there is a solution that will save the hobbyist time, effort, and even some cash! The EcoBio-Block family of products can keep your aquarium water safe for your fish. These products contain a good bacteria that can last as long as two years. This bacteria will change ammonia into nitrates, which are safer for fish. Minerals and calcium are added to the water by the block, and the water is kept sparkling clear. Owning and using an EcoBio-Block product is a great way to help you reduce any problems you might have with your aquarium. Common problems with aquarium water chemistry are easily conquered when you are using the right tools.