Aquarium Setup • Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, GH, KH levels

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Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, GH, KH levels

Postby gatorsaver » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:26 pm

I have done multiple searches (174 topics just in c-f) with little bits of info here and there. I have been trying to come up with a list of parameters for the chemical levels of my tank and what to do if it goes high or low. I have looked at a lot of forms and found some info about the Lake Malawi Cichlids. Sometimes I will be away from home for days with work, the boss lady is at home and I wanted to leave a list of what to do if something starts to go wrong. Or if we are on vacation and family that will be tank sitting notices a problem. Everyone knows how to use the test kits but they don’t really know what the numbers mean.

I know that Nitrates should not be above 40ppm but what do I tell them to do if it is that much? Water changes etc.. some say 10% some say 50%

Are there any good numbers that most everyone thinks will work or am I chasing a dead horse. She wants to take a two week cruise this summer. A lot can happen in two weeks.

I have a 125g with a 200g wet/dry.
***
Ph Lake Malawi species: 7.4 - 8.6
***
KH is ideally in the range of 180 - 240 ppm
To raise KH and pH, add baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). A baseline recommendation is 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons of water
***
GH Africans are most likely to appear vibrant and colorful in aquariums with a general hardness ranging from 160 -320 ppm
To raise GH, add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). A baseline recommendation is 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of water
:thumb:
125gal, 18gal wet/dry, Anubias Nana / Java Fern / Moss
Labs x 9, Rusties x 8
Zebra "Obliquidens"x 7
P. Zebra Albino x 8
M. Estherae "Cherry Zebra" x 4
Albino BN Pleco x 3
P. yellow tail Acei x 6
S. Multipunctatus x 8
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Location: Lakeland, FLorida

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Postby steelers fan » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:37 pm

what are your levels right out of the tap after a couple hours?
it may be best not to tamper.

i do 50% waterchanges at least once a week if not twice. if something goes wrong regardless of the issue a waterchange is usually my first action...alot of issues can be handled fairly easily with pristine water conditions.
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Postby prov356 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:40 pm

If your tap water is in a range that's good for your fish, then there's little you need to do except get and stay on a regular schedule of partial water changes. How much to change depends on a few variables, so there's no one right answer.

Some questions.

How long has the tank been set up?

What's the current parameters?

How often do you do water changes now, and how much?

What are the water parameters of the tap water?

How many fish in the tank and what average size?

Are you doing anything now to change the water parameters, meaning are you adding sodium bicarb, etc.?

The reason for the questions is to see if you can just run with your tap water the way it is. Then the easiest thing to do is just continue with the water changes to keep things stable. Weekly is best, but if you are gone for two weeks, it's not big deal to skip a week. That's better than having someone try to manage something for you, particularly if it really doesn't need to be managed. There's a better chance of doing harm than good. Have them come in and do a few feedings with pre-measured amounts of food, maybe once every three days and no more.

Regarding the 'ideal' parameters, best to disregard that. Also disregard the GH values for 'good color'. Many have had great success and colorful fish without striving for these 'ideal' values. There's a pretty wide range that'll work just fine.

Regarding how much water to change, 25-50% is the typical range, but it depends on stocking and feeding levels. The bigger the bioload, the faster nitrates will climb. Start at 25-30% per week and see if that keeps nitrates under control. Also keep up with filter cleanings, etc to remove organics, and that will also keep nitrates down.
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Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Postby gatorsaver » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:13 pm

How long has the tank been set up? just at a month

What's the current parameters? ph 8 ammonia 0 nitrites almost 0 and nitrates just under 5

How often do you do water changes now, and how much? i have done 2 10% water changes

What are the water parameters of the tap water? good question.. i will test that now

How many fish in the tank and what average size? 10 labs and 6 Rusties , all 1" - 1.5" they have been in the tank 4 days.

Are you doing anything now to change the water parameters, meaning are you adding sodium bicarb, etc.? nothing


This is more of a list of what to do later or if I'm not here and can't be reached.
125gal, 18gal wet/dry, Anubias Nana / Java Fern / Moss
Labs x 9, Rusties x 8
Zebra "Obliquidens"x 7
P. Zebra Albino x 8
M. Estherae "Cherry Zebra" x 4
Albino BN Pleco x 3
P. yellow tail Acei x 6
S. Multipunctatus x 8
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gatorsaver
 
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: Lakeland, FLorida

Postby gatorsaver » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:17 am

Tank was running a month with water from a cycled 55g, i add fish 4 days ago. this is what i have so far.
pH from city water is 7.2 in the tank it is running about 7.6-7.8
BF (before Fish) Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5
AF (after Fish) Ammonia 0.25, Nitrite .50, Nitrate 10
125gal, 18gal wet/dry, Anubias Nana / Java Fern / Moss
Labs x 9, Rusties x 8
Zebra "Obliquidens"x 7
P. Zebra Albino x 8
M. Estherae "Cherry Zebra" x 4
Albino BN Pleco x 3
P. yellow tail Acei x 6
S. Multipunctatus x 8
User avatar
gatorsaver
 
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: Lakeland, FLorida

Postby TangSteve » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:47 am

Looks like you have done some nice research.

What is the nitrate reading of the water out of the tap?

Sounds like you have nitrate in the tap and your tank is just starting to cycle as any bacteria in the water from the 55g died without any biomass to eat for 1 month.
135g Malawi
P. acei, L. caeruleus, P demasoni

40B Tanganyika
WC L brevis Chimba,WC A compressiceps Chituta Fire Fin
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Postby prov356 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:40 am

We need the pH, GH, and KH. I'm assuming a cycled tank and ammonia and ntirite are 0. If the tank is not cycled, then of course deal with finishing out the cycle first. Looks like it's almost cycled if ammonia is 0 and nitrites are only .25, but it takes a few days of readings to know for sure.

The best thing for someone caring for your tank in regards to those parameters (pH, GH, and KH) is to do nothing. If you leave with a solid KH value, then pH should remain stable. Nothing is going to consume buffers so quickly that your pH will crash. Regardless of what you do on a routine basis to boost buffers, I wouldn't try to coach someone else in how to adjust them. No reason that it would be needed. Fluctuations, if they occur, will be minor and having someone adding chemicals while you're away 1) isn't necessary, and 2) can do a whole lot more harm than good. Just have them feed. If fluctuations are major, then it's inidicative of some other serious problem that would need some experienced troubleshooting. It's not something that I think you can teach ahead of time.

Nitrates are handled by you through water changes. If they go up a bit while you're away, it's no big deal. I wouldn't have a caregiver doing water changes either for same reasons.

If your pH, KH, and GH out of the tap work for your tank, then easiest thing for both you and your caregiver is to just run with that. But, I can't say without the values.

So, what's the pH, KH, and GH of both tap and tank? Let the tap water sit for 24 hours before measuring.
prov356
 
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:09 am
Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Postby gatorsaver » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:59 pm

I have not tested my GH and KH, I will be picking up that test kit tommorow.
125gal, 18gal wet/dry, Anubias Nana / Java Fern / Moss
Labs x 9, Rusties x 8
Zebra "Obliquidens"x 7
P. Zebra Albino x 8
M. Estherae "Cherry Zebra" x 4
Albino BN Pleco x 3
P. yellow tail Acei x 6
S. Multipunctatus x 8
User avatar
gatorsaver
 
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: Lakeland, FLorida

Postby gatorsaver » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:30 pm

KH from the city is 125 ppm KH in the tank is 125 ppm
GH from the city is 143 ppm KH in the tank is 179 ppm
125gal, 18gal wet/dry, Anubias Nana / Java Fern / Moss
Labs x 9, Rusties x 8
Zebra "Obliquidens"x 7
P. Zebra Albino x 8
M. Estherae "Cherry Zebra" x 4
Albino BN Pleco x 3
P. yellow tail Acei x 6
S. Multipunctatus x 8
User avatar
gatorsaver
 
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: Lakeland, FLorida

Postby prov356 » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:45 pm

With those values, I'd first try to run with it as is. That simplifies things greatly both for you and anyone caring for your fish. Water changes will replenish those buffers. If you really want to boost KH and pH, then just get on a regimen of adding sodium bicarbonate with your water changes. Do a water change before you leave on a trip and there's no reason anyone caring for the fish would need to deal with water parameters. KH always drops over time, but not that quickly.

if we are on vacation and family that will be tank sitting notices a problem. Everyone knows how to use the test kits but they don’t really know what the numbers mean.


Learning that takes time and experience. The most I think I'd teach someone if you really want to have a plan of action for them is how to do a water change. But, personally, I wouldn't. Too risky and rarely will it be necessary. If you decide to, train one person by having them do a water change or two with you, so they get comfortable. Water changes can correct many ills. I'd still insist they not do anything unless they got hold of me so I could coach them through it. There are just too many reasons why you might see an ammonia spike for instance, for them to be able to diagnose and correct. It's not always easy for the experienced. Fortunately, it's not all that common either.

Hope that's been helpful. Just tossing out my thoughts.
prov356
 
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:09 am
Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Postby gatorsaver » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:10 pm

Thanks for all the info. I feel much better
125gal, 18gal wet/dry, Anubias Nana / Java Fern / Moss
Labs x 9, Rusties x 8
Zebra "Obliquidens"x 7
P. Zebra Albino x 8
M. Estherae "Cherry Zebra" x 4
Albino BN Pleco x 3
P. yellow tail Acei x 6
S. Multipunctatus x 8
User avatar
gatorsaver
 
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: Lakeland, FLorida

Postby gatorsaver » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:20 pm

How high or low should the GH and KH be?
125gal, 18gal wet/dry, Anubias Nana / Java Fern / Moss
Labs x 9, Rusties x 8
Zebra "Obliquidens"x 7
P. Zebra Albino x 8
M. Estherae "Cherry Zebra" x 4
Albino BN Pleco x 3
P. yellow tail Acei x 6
S. Multipunctatus x 8
User avatar
gatorsaver
 
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: Lakeland, FLorida

Postby prov356 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:34 am

The KH should be high enough to keep your pH stable. Yours is out of the tap as long as you keep up with water changes to replenish it.

As for GH, I think you'll get different answers. I keep tanganyikans which have the reputation of needing very hard water with a high pH. I've not found that to be true. You might want to post the question in the Malawi section and see what values others have had success with.
prov356
 
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:09 am
Location: North Royalton, Ohio

Postby DrgRcr » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:11 pm

I would think that your numbers are fine. I keep my mbuna in a pH of 8, GH of 180ppm and a KH of 80ppm. I do water changes of 50% every week to 10 days depending on my schedule, and I've never had a pH crash. Konings even suggests a minimum KH of only 3.5(~55ppm) for a Malawi tank.
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:12 am
Location: Central NJ

Re: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, GH, KH levels

Postby fox » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:34 pm

gatorsaver wrote:
Are there any good numbers that most everyone thinks will work or am I chasing a dead horse. She wants to take a two week cruise this summer. A lot can happen in two weeks.

I have a 125g with a 200g wet/dry.
:thumb:


A 125 with a 200G sump. You should be able to take a two week bye and not have to worry a bit. Just do your WC before you leave.

Stock of "10 labs and 6 Rusties , all 1" - 1.5" they have been in the tank 4 days" will not even know you left. Have a good time and tell whomever you are trusting them with to feed occasionally and lightly.
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Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:50 pm
Location: East Coast, USA

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