Maintaining a healthy aquarium can be quite a challenge without the proper tools and knowledge. Not only do you need to equip your tank with a high-quality water filtration system and an aquarium heater, but you also have to perform routine water changes to keep the water in your tank clean. Once you install your filtration system and heater, however, the work of maintaining high water quality in your tank becomes less of a chore and more of a habit – routine water changes become a weekly task and, as long as you keep up with them, you shouldn’t have too many problems. There is one thing, however, that you may be forgetting – regular water tests.
Color chart provided by a kit
Why Test Your Tank Water?
Aquarium water test kits come in several easy-to-use forms. One variety involves treating a sample of tank water with a test solution and then comparing the color to a chart provided by the kit – another variety involves dipping a paper test strip into the water sample and reading the color. Testing your aquarium water is fairly easy to do, but why is it so important? Think about this – your fish cannot tell you if they aren’t feeling well or if something is wrong in the tank. Ammonia levels, oxygen levels and other aspects of water quality can change without having any visible effect on the tank.
How, then, will you know if there is a problem? Eventually, your fish may start to exhibit signs of a problem but, by that point, it could be too late to do anything about it. Your best bet is to test your tank water on a regular basis to make sure the water parameters are within the correct range. Testing your tank water regularly will help you to establish a baseline for your tank so you will be able to easily tell if something changes.
Things to Test For
The basic aquarium water test kit comes with everything you need to test for the most important aspects of water quality – pH, ammonia levels, nitrite levels and nitrate levels. In addition to these readings, however, you might also need to test for alkalinity (water hardness), salinity and water temperature. The aspects of water quality you need to test for may vary depending on the type of fish you have in your tank – some fish are more susceptible to changes in water quality than others, so you may need to keep a tighter rein on the water parameters in your tank. Testing for salinity levels shouldn’t be necessary unless you have a brackish or saltwater tank – if you are keeping a freshwater tank, the salinity level should be 0.
Tips for Testing Tank Water
Ideally, you should be testing your tank water on a weekly basis. If you already have a routine for performing water changes and other maintenance tasks you can simply add water testing to the list. If you do not want to go out and buy an aquarium test kit right away, you may be able to take a sample of your tank water into your local pet store to have it tested for free. In order to keep up with weekly water tests, however, it is best to have a test kit at home.
By now you should understand the importance of keeping your aquarium water clean and clear – the cleaner your tank environment is, the healthier your fish will be. Testing your tank water on a regular basis will help keep you apprised of changes in water quality, but there are a few simple things you can do to make sure the water quality in your tank stays high. In addition to routine water changes and replacing your filter media as needed, you should think about installing an EcoBio-Stone in your tank. These stones are made with volcanic stone and cement, infused with beneficial bacteria and the nutrients they need to thrive. Once you install an EcoBio-Stone in your tank, the beneficial bacteria will multiply to help establish and maintain the nitrogen cycle, keeping your tank water fresh and clean.