Do I need to add minerals?

treehugr
  • #1
I saw this stuff on a couple of Websites and was wondering if you all would recommend or discourage it's use...

Kent Freshwater Essential
Color and vigor of fish can be negatively affected by lack of trace minerals. Kent Freshwater Essential replaces biologically important trace minerals which are used by fish and plants and removed through filtration in freshwater aquariums.

Sounds like it would be good for the fish, especially since the filters that are made for our tank (Biocube) have carbon in them.

Any experience with this type of product - good or bad?
 
Gargoyle
  • #2
My honest thoughts....

Snake oil...
 
treehugr
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
My honest thoughts....

Snake oil...

Really? So I don't need to add anything to keep the fish healthy and happy? Just feed them and do water changes weekly?
 
Gargoyle
  • #4
That's what I would do... I don't believe in the "add every week" or "add after every water change" idea unless its fertilizers for plants.

A high quality food would do more for them than adding "trace minerals" to the water for "fish health" IMO.
 
Jimold
  • #5
That's what I would do... I don't believe in the "add every week" or "add after every water change" idea unless its fertilizers for plants.

A high quality food would do more for them than adding "trace minerals" to the water for "fish health" IMO.

Kent has good products, I use their Discus essentials. But then again I agree with Gargoyle, unless you're using a R/O filter or purified water, (which I use) I don't see any real reason for having to add minerals unless you start to see a problem with the fish.
Remember the old saying:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
 
angelfish220
  • #6
you can take the carbon out of your filters, this is better for your fish.
 
Jimold
  • #7
you can take the carbon out of your filters, this is better for your fish.

true, I almost never use carbon, it leaches all the nutriants my plants need. I only run a carbon filter pad every couple months or so to remove any toxins that might have developed. Even then I only run it a day or so, then take it back out.
 
Gunnie
  • #8
I agree. Unless you are using RO water your tap should add back in the nutrients used by your plants and fish when you do water changes.
 
treehugr
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I agree. Unless you are using RO water your tap should add back in the nutrients used by your plants and fish when you do water changes.

Okay, was is "RO" water? I know, my newbieness is showing

Also, I wasn't aware I could use straight tap water. I guess you just add that "Prime" to it to take out the bad stuff, right? Is it totally safe after that? I'm always leery about tap water.

We've used spring water before but, that could get expensive. If we could use tap that would be great, I'm just worried it's too hard in our area. Also, we get some funky pink/orange residue in our bathtub and dog water dish (I'm assuming it's rust) so not sure that our tap would be a good idea. We've been getting the water from Big Al's (.39/gallon).
 
Jimold
  • #10
Okay, was is "RO" water? I know, my newbieness is showing

Also, I wasn't aware I could use straight tap water. I guess you just add that "Prime" to it to take out the bad stuff, right? Is it totally safe after that? I'm always leery about tap water.

We've used spring water before but, that could get expensive. If we could use tap that would be great, I'm just worried it's too hard in our area. Also, we get some funky pink/orange residue in our bathtub and dog water dish (I'm assuming it's rust) so not sure that our tap would be a good idea. We've been getting the water from Big Al's (.39/gallon).

First, all of us here started out as a "newbie", and I was probably one of the worst, so don't sweat it! lol.
R/O water is short for Reverse Osmosis. It's a type of filter that super cleans the water to the point of no minerals or anything at all left. In fact, if I understand it correctly, it's almost TOO clean for fish, and you have to add some trace minerals, etc... back to the water to make it safe for the fish and plants (if you have them)
As for your water, you're going thru the same thing I did. Our tap water here is near toxic, so what I ended up doing is going to Publix (local supermart) and buying a gallon of all the diffferent bottled water they had, took them home and tested them all for pH, hardness, etc.
Turns out that the plain Publix Purified water was very soft and slightly acidic, just like an Amazon tank, and has been perfect for water changes.
I don't know about where you are, but the spring water I tested was very hard, and it may be these disolved minerals you're seeing as the "funky pink/orange residue". I would test it for hardness and iron (if you can find a decient Iron test kit). I'm betting it's pretty high.
 
Gunnie
  • #11
Unless you have super bad tap water, your fish should be just fine. You will have to acclimate them slowly to your tap water though since you have been using special water which may have a dramatically different ph than what you have been using. Most of the time, your fish can adapt very well to most ph levels in tap water. Wild caught fish have a harder time adjusting than locally bred fish. I'm not sure about the rust, but the water conditioners available are used mainly for chlorine and chloramines in municipal tap water. Some conditioners also deal with metals in the water, and that may what you would need in your conditioner to deal with that rust. Definitely use Prime or some other conditioner each time you add water from your tap to your tank if you have city water. You can find out if your water also contains chloramines, or simply buy a conditioner that treats both. The RO water is reverse osmosis which is a process that takes all the minerals out of the water, so you have to add them back in when using the water for fish.
 
Jimold
  • #12
Unless you have super bad tap water, your fish should be just fine. You will have to acclimate them slowly to your tap water though since you have been using special water which may have a dramatically different ph than what you have been using. Most of the time, your fish can adapt very well to most ph levels in tap water. Wild caught fish have a harder time adjusting than locally bred fish. I'm not sure about the rust, but the water conditioners available are used mainly for chlorine and chloramines in municipal tap water. Some conditioners also deal with metals in the water, and that may what you would need in your conditioner to deal with that rust. Definitely use Prime or some other conditioner each time you add water from your tap to your tank if you have city water. You can find out if your water also contains chloramines, or simply buy a conditioner that treats both. The RO water is reverse osmosis which is a process that takes all the minerals out of the water, so you have to add them back in when using the water for fish.

I agree with Gunnie. My tap water here in this part of Florida is , and so full of Chlorimines it's almost toxic. Plus it's super hard (500+ ppm). So I don't mind spending the extra few $$$ for good water. But that's here, not there. I would test your tap water if I were you before buying all your water.
 
treehugr
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
I agree with Gunnie. My tap water here in this part of Florida is , and so full of Chlorimines it's almost toxic. Plus it's super hard (500+ ppm). So I don't mind spending the extra few $$$ for good water. But that's here, not there. I would test your tap water if I were you before buying all your water.

How do I test the water? I can test it with the API kit for PH and the like, but how do I test for the rust/metals and other stuff?

Unless you have super bad tap water, your fish should be just fine. You will have to acclimate them slowly to your tap water though since you have been using special water which may have a dramatically different ph than what you have been using. Most of the time, your fish can adapt very well to most ph levels in tap water. Wild caught fish have a harder time adjusting than locally bred fish. I'm not sure about the rust, but the water conditioners available are used mainly for chlorine and chloramines in municipal tap water. Some conditioners also deal with metals in the water, and that may what you would need in your conditioner to deal with that rust. Definitely use Prime or some other conditioner each time you add water from your tap to your tank if you have city water. You can find out if your water also contains chloramines, or simply buy a conditioner that treats both. The RO water is reverse osmosis which is a process that takes all the minerals out of the water, so you have to add them back in when using the water for fish.

Is RO water the stuff they sell at the LFS??
 
Jimold
  • #14
How do I test the water? I can test it with the API kit for PH and the like, but how do I test for the rust/metals and other stuff?

You can get kits to test for Iron and copper and I think phosphates, but that's overkill I think. The 2 things I would test for are gH and kH, or General Hardness (amount of total disolved minerals) and Carbonate Hardness (the amount of disolved carbonates, which are also your pH buffers). The kH is not as important right now, but you do want it reasonably low or you'll never get your pH to raise or lower. But if your gH or general hardness is high, as I suspect it will be, then you can definitly count on lots of disolved minerals, including probably the iron/rust you're seeing.
 
treehugr
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
You can get kits to test for Iron and copper and I think phosphates, but that's overkill I think. The 2 things I would test for are gH and kH, or General Hardness (amount of total disolved minerals) and Carbonate Hardness (the amount of disolved carbonates, which are also your pH buffers). The kH is not as important right now, but you do want it reasonably low or you'll never get your pH to raise or lower. But if your gH or general hardness is high, as I suspect it will be, then you can definitly count on lots of disolved minerals, including probably the iron/rust you're seeing.

Okay, I'll see if my LFS has those kits. Making a trip out there shortly. Thanks.
 
Jimold
  • #16
Okay, I'll see if my LFS has those kits. Making a trip out there shortly. Thanks.

You can usually get tests for gH and kH on multi-strips.
 
treehugr
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Well, my LFS had the two tests but I didn't get them. My husband had a good point: "What do we do if the tests show the tap water isn't great? then we just wasted $12 on a test we used once." So, we just bought some water from the LFS like we normally do.
 
Jimold
  • #18
I don't buy water from an LFS... none around here sells it I don't think. But I buy mine fom the local Publix, because the tap water here is nearly toxic.
PLease don't take this wrong, I don't want to argue with your ol' man, but if you DON'T test what you buy or use then for all you know the LFS could be selling the very same tap water.
The other reason for keeping test strips around is once you get it started, I can guerentee your tank WON'T keep the same readings over time. No tank does, toxins and such build up, metals can accumulate, etc. This is the reason for regular water changes. So you need to test your tank regularly anyway for any changes. I'llbe honest, sometimes I get a bit carried away, but I've tested newly set up tanks sometimes as many as 5-10 times A DAY until the cycle was established.
Another thing most people don't realize is the smaller the tank, the faster the water conditions can change. It takes a lot less time for something to build to a toxic level in 10 gallons than in 50 gallons.
 
treehugr
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
I don't buy water from an LFS... none around here sells it I don't think. But I buy mine fom the local Publix, because the tap water here is nearly toxic.
PLease don't take this wrong, I don't want to argue with your ol' man, but if you DON'T test what you buy or use then for all you know the LFS could be selling the very same tap water.
The other reason for keeping test strips around is once you get it started, I can guerentee your tank WON'T keep the same readings over time. No tank does, toxins and such build up, metals can accumulate, etc. This is the reason for regular water changes. So you need to test your tank regularly anyway for any changes. I'llbe honest, sometimes I get a bit carried away, but I've tested newly set up tanks sometimes as many as 5-10 times A DAY until the cycle was established.
Another thing most people don't realize is the smaller the tank, the faster the water conditions can change. It takes a lot less time for something to build to a toxic level in 10 gallons than in 50 gallons.

Yeah, I've definitely heard that a smaller tank is actually harder to maintain than a larger one. Of course I heard that AFTER I bought the small tank {sigh}, thinking starting small would be better.

Okay, I see your point - the next time I go to the LFS I will pick up those tests and start testing the hardness on a regular basis. Should I get any other tests, like the one for phosphates? Oh, that's right, you said that would be overkill. But, if there are metals in the tap, would that be harmful to the fish or cause hard-to-clean buildup in the tank?

Also, to answer my ol' man's question ...if the tap water were to come out too hard, what could we do about it? I recall reading something once about chemicals you can add to change it but, honestly, I'd rather just buy water that is right instead of adding chemicals to make the water right.
 
Jimold
  • #20
Yeah, I've definitely heard that a smaller tank is actually harder to maintain than a larger one. Of course I heard that AFTER I bought the small tank {sigh}, thinking starting small would be better.

Okay, I see your point - the next time I go to the LFS I will pick up those tests and start testing the hardness on a regular basis. Should I get any other tests, like the one for phosphates? Oh, that's right, you said that would be overkill. But, if there are metals in the tap, would that be harmful to the fish or cause hard-to-clean buildup in the tank?

Also, to answer my ol' man's question ...if the tap water were to come out too hard, what could we do about it? I recall reading something once about chemicals you can add to change it but, honestly, I'd rather just buy water that is right instead of adding chemicals to make the water right.

OK, the 4 biggies you have to constantly test for are Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates, along with your pH. And I would also include, obviously, the gH and kH. But I wouldn't go any further than that. I'm not sure why you test for copper and phosphates, I'm pretty sure those are mostly for salt tanks. Just getting a general hardness should let you know if it's too hard or not without getting all spicific about it.
As for softening the water, it's easy. They makes things called water softening "Pillows". It's like a little bag of resins you put intu your filter and it'll absord the metals, etc and soften the water in a day or so. The good ones are also rechargable, so after your done you put it back in it's little jar until you need it again. My tanks are VERY soft, so I always keep a couple around, JIC.
 
treehugr
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
OK, the 4 biggies you have to constantly test for are Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates, along with your pH. And I would also include, obviously, the gH and kH. But I wouldn't go any further than that. I'm not sure why you test for copper and phosphates, I'm pretty sure those are mostly for salt tanks. Just getting a general hardness should let you know if it's too hard or not without getting all spicific about it.
As for softening the water, it's easy. They makes things called water softening "Pillows". It's like a little bag of resins you put intu your filter and it'll absord the metals, etc and soften the water in a day or so. The good ones are also rechargable, so after your done you put it back in it's little jar until you need it again. My tanks are VERY soft, so I always keep a couple around, JIC.

We do test for the 4 biggies so I will just get the one additional test for the gH & kH.

That's interesting regarding the softening pillows...so, it would depend on the fish species and what they would like, correct? And I'm assuming the lower the number, the softer the water (or is it the opposite)? So, what's the number range (min > max)...and what's considered neutral range?

The kH preferences shown for the fish we have now are: Serpae Tetra = 4-8 kH and Dwarf Gourami = 4-10 kH.
 
Jimold
  • #22
Yes, the softness of the water is for the fish, which can vary by species, etc. For example, my tanks are asian and amazon, both very soft water. But if you were to set up an African Cichlid tank, it would be the opposite, and they would need harder, more alkaline water.
Now, softness/hardness (both gH & kH) can be measured in both degrees or ppm (parts per million). And yes, the higher the number, the harder the water, the 4-10 reading for the kH is about soft to about medium. Anything higher may be too hard for gouroumi.
I have the formula for converting degrees to ppm, but i'm not sure where it is right now, I'll find it and post it. But again, the lower the number in ppm the softer the water.
 
treehugr
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Yes, the softness of the water is for the fish, which can vary by species, etc. For example, my tanks are asian and amazon, both very soft water. But if you were to set up an African Cichlid tank, it would be the opposite, and they would need harder, more alkaline water.
Now, softness/hardness (both gH & kH) can be measured in both degrees or ppm (parts per million). And yes, the higher the number, the harder the water, the 4-10 reading for the kH is about soft to about medium. Anything higher may be too hard for gouroumi.
I have the formula for converting degrees to ppm, but i'm not sure where it is right now, I'll find it and post it. But again, the lower the number in ppm the softer the water.

Thanks. So, assuming the low end of the softness range starts at 1, what's the high end of the range?
 

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