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Aquarium Maintenance: Periodic Water Testing

aquarium pH test kitPerforming periodic aquarium water quality checking is a must if you intend to ensure that your fish stays healthy and the whole small ecosystem remains well balanced. The most basic testing for your aquarium involves checking for water parameters like pH, ammonia and nitrites. Water test kit is usually available to help you to give fast and accurate reading and all these can be readily purchased at your local fish shops.

Ammonia and nitrites remain the most lethal natural toxins that can harm your home aquarium. Both chemicals are generated from the waste produced by the fish and also rotting aquarium plants especially leaves. During the initial stage after aquarium setup and before beneficial bacteria starts to propagate, you can be sure that ammonia level during this critical period is very high. Ammonia levels are usually measured in ppm (parts per million) and usually concentration as low as 0.2 – 0.5ppm is lethal enough to cause instantaneous death to your aquarium fish. Don’t worry too much if you do not understand what the figure means and in particular the unit of measurement. This is because a cheap (usually cost between $5- 10) ammonia test kit can easily give a rough indication on your current toxicity levels just by doing a simple color matching. The nitrite test kit also works the same, using similar principal of testing just like your ammonia test kit and I would recommend investing a small amount of money for these must have items. This can potentially save you a lot of hassles later part dealing with dead fish as a result of the chemical poisoning.

pH checking is also another integral part included as part of your periodic water checking. Unlike ammonia and nitrate whereby both must be kept to the minimum level, there is no specific pH which is considered the best. This is because pH suitability varies from one aquarium fish species to another and usually there is a desirable range at which your aquarium fish prefers. Below is a simple list that you can use as a guideline to check out the suitable pH range for your aquarium fish.

Types of FishpH range
Goldfish6.5 to 7.5
Neon Tetra 5.5 to 6.5
Guppy 7.0 to 8.0
Swordtail 7.0 to 8.0

Related topics: Preparing fresh water and performing water change
Tips for successful aquarium fish keeping
The Nitrogen Cycle

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