is the chemical representation of water. But aquarium water is much more complex
than an oxygen molecule bounded by two hydrogen molecules!
Fish spend their entire lives in water, and its quality
and condition is a big factor in the aquariums success or failure.
Water quality can be defined by the correct level of oxygenation, temperature,
beneficial organisms and the absence of irritants, harmful chemicals and
disease. These factors can all be controlled if the following water conditions
are kept right
- pH: pH is the level of
acidity/alkalinity of the water. A community tank is best kept at a pH level
6.8-7.0. pH kits are readily available and can quickly tell you what pH
your tank is. Any variations from the norm can be easily
corrected. Sodium bi-phosphate is used to increase acidity and lower the
alkalinity and sodium bicarbonate used to decrease acidity and increase
- Nitrate and Nitrite: A
high amount of these pollutants can be detrimental to the health of your fish.
Regular partial water changes of approx 15%, along with good filtration will
keep nitrate and nitrite levels low enough for good fish health. These
pollutants come from fish waste.
Hardness: This is the
concentration of chloride, sulphide and bicarbonate salts present in the
water. This is generally not an issue if water treatment is used or
rain water is utilised. Most fish prefer a hardness of
less than 8 degrees of hardness.
Salinity: This is
measured as specific gravity, which can be obtained by and inexpensive
hydrometer or ask you pet shop. A reading
of less than 1.25% is ideal. A little sea salt in the tank can reduce the
chances of disease.
Temperature: This needs to be maintained at approximately 24oC or 72oF
+/-2oC. A little warmer 26oC will increase the chances of breeding, make
your fish more active and help reduce the effects of disease.