new tank set up, unsure of test results

markymark

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hI all,

ive had my tank set up for just over a week now, I added 6 neons yesterday. I am pretty worried I'm going about it wrong though! here is my most recent reading of the water

NO3-20

NO2-0.5

Ph-7.5

KH-240

GH-120

I am still learning here, shouldnt the KH, and GH have altered over the week? this reading infact all readings have stayed the same, nothing has altered. should'nt I have an ammonia test on this kit also??

any help would be greatly appreciated.

mark
 

griffin

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an ammonia test would also be good to have. are you using something to speed up your cycle? i'd think that after a week, you shouldn't be as far along in the cycle as your numbers seem to indicate. have you tested your water source to see what those readings are?

kh and gh should not change much if your tank and your water source are the same. most fish like stable levels of kh and gh.
 
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markymark

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griffin said:
an ammonia test would also be good to have. are you using something to speed up your cycle? i'd think that after a week, you shouldn't be as far along in the cycle as your numbers seem to indicate. have you tested your water source to see what those readings are?

kh and gh should not change much if your tank and your water source are the same. most fish like stable levels of kh and gh.
I have been using something to speed up the cycle yes. I thought the gh and kh would alter a lot more, I soppose that's shows how much I know so far.
 

griffin

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I don't think it's good for kh and gh to move around too much. I may be wrong, but I think fish like for those to be stable. i'm not sure how yours rank, but stable is good
 

Luniyn

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Generally GH and KH (basically water hardness and buffer ability) will remain relatively stable provided you aren't adding anything to the system to change it (either store bought chemicals or substances like peat, etc.) Because of water changes, and us using tap water with each change, the GH and KH of your tank will be relatively the same as out of your tap. Now unless you are trying to raise a certain type of fish, or are looking to get your tank to the "ideal" level for live plants, for the beginner it isn't all that important to test these values unless you see things like sudden swings in your pH or other strange going's on in your tank. But just like fish can get used to many levels of pH over time, they can also get used to different levels of GH/KH. So with the levels you are currently showing I wouldn't worry about it.

As to the type of tests you are doing at this point in the game (i.e. the Cycle phase) you should worry about ammonia, nitrite (NO2), and shortly nitrate (NO3). The pH of your tank is useful only because it needs to be stable. Swings up and down denote a major problem and the source of the swings would need to be dealt with right away. Other then that, for the beginner that is all you should worry about (and it's enough ).

Also it looks like you might be using test strips instead of a liquid test kit? If that is the case then I (and many others on here) would highly suggest that you stop. They are very, very inaccurate and can lead to a lot of work where it isn't needed. We had a member using test strips and found that his nitrate level was up to 100ppm which is a very toxic level to his fish. He went into water change mode for several days only to have his test strips say his nitrate levels were going up. He then went out and bought a liquid test kit and found his level was actually only at 10ppm which is where it should be. So if you really want to know what's going on in your tank, try to get .

As to the quality of the water now that you've added fish, you need to do water changes starting today. Get in there and do at least a 25% water change every day. Neon tetras are not a hardy fish and will not take the heightened levels of ammonia and nitrite very well. I would also suggest getting a water treatment chemical like or . These will not only remove the chlorine or chloramines from your tap water (so if you were using anything to treat your tap water, either of these would replace it) but it will also detoxify ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. This will allow you to have higher levels without harming your fish, however, you must keep up with the water changes every day or you will start to lose fish.
 

griffin

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I think you're actually mostly finished with your cycle, but you probably want to bring down your nitrate levels. 20 is about as high as you want it to get.

if you're using the liquid test kits already, you might want to just go and get the ammonia test separately since you have everything else in the kit. what test kits are you using?
 
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markymark

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griffin said:
I think you're actually mostly finished with your cycle, but you probably want to bring down your nitrate levels. 20 is about as high as you want it to get.

if you're using the liquid test kits already, you might want to just go and get the ammonia test separately since you have everything else in the kit. what test kits are you using?
I'm using API 5 in 1 aquarium test strips, and ive just bought API ammonia aqarium test strips. I'm about to look at the kit ive been advised to buy now though after reading one of the above reply's. my reading's so far have been done with the named strips. ive done three water changes so far and my ammonia reading has come out at 0.5. I'm about to do another today.

by the way ive heard when replacing your water in your tank (25%) you can get away with adding water that has been left to stand for a few days, meaning you don't need to add any chemicals, is that correct? if it is'nt I won't go ahead with it.
 

Luniyn

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markymark said:
by the way ive heard when replacing your water in your tank (25%) you can get away with adding water that has been left to stand for a few days, meaning you don't need to add any chemicals, is that correct? if it is'nt I won't go ahead with it.
That is only true if you only have Chlorine in your tap water. Test your water from your tap with the ammonia test, and if you have an ammonia reading then there is a chance that you have chloramines in your water instead of chlorine. If that is the case then no amount of letting the water sit will get rid of the chloramines and you must use a water conditioner to break up the chloramines (which is a combo if ammonia and chlorine).
 

griffin

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you can get away with it by letting it stand for a few days (that's what I do), but the thing is, it won't work for all water conditions. am ammonia reading won't tell you either way for sure either.

if the ammonia reading would tell you, then it would mean that the chloramines have broken down and the chlorine off gassed. you could also just have ammonia present in your water source. is there a way you can test with your water to determine if there's chloramines or chlorine in your water?

chloramines will usually give your water a greenish tint whereas chlorine will give a slight bluish tint.
 

Luniyn

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You are right that having ammonia in your tap doesn't necessarily mean 100% that you do have chloramines in your tap water, but it's ups the chance that there are. Chemically there are plenty of ways to break up the bond in chloramines, and who knows what conditions the water will encounter between the chemical treatment plant and our homes. There is a lot of pipes and collector tanks, etc. along the way to give plenty of time for all the other chemicals in our water to have an effect on the chloramine bond and pull them apart to form new combinations. This would leave one or the other free in our water out of the tap. It's the same as us adding chemicals to our tank to detoxify ammonia or something like that in that we aren't removing the ammonia, but combining it with other chemicals to make new, less toxic one's. For example, Amquel adds sodium hydroxymethanesulfonate (HOCH2SO3-) to the water. When there is Free ammonia (NH3) in the water, it will combine and the result is aminomethanesulfonate (H2NCH2SO3-) and H2O (yep water is actually a byproduct of the combination). So in this reasoning, you never know what will come out of your tap water, hence why it's probably a good idea to contact your local water plant and ask them, as they are required to send you a report for free, at least in the US and I think most places in Europe. But yes if you wanted to test for chloramines or chlorine yourself there are . But considering once you know if you have it or not, you pretty much never need to test again, it is more cost effective to just buy a large bottle of Prime or Amquel+ as you only need a few drops per gal of new water and then you don't have to worry about anything. I still think the best bet is to just ask your local water facility for a report as they will let you know about things you could never even think to test for.
 

griffin

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you could get a test kit or ask your water quality facility. however, it's not really a one time test since they can and do change what they put into the water. water quality/content is NOT a constant.

tests that use drops are also much better than the strips that luniyn recommended. apI is a good brand.
 

Luniyn

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The test strips are only for the chloramine or chlorine tests. I don't recommend them for anything else (that and API doesn't make a chlorine/chloramine test kit). But as I said, when it comes to chlorine or chloramines in your water, it only matters if you have them or not. It doesn't matter how much you have as you need to get rid of them no matter how much is in there. And once you know you have them, there isn't a need to test for them again because these are the chemicals your water treatment company uses all the time to get rid of the bad bacteria in your water. The only change you would have to worry about if they changed from using only chlorine to using chloramines, but again you would be better off just asking them then randomly testing your water over and over again. Especially since this kit costs $14+.
 

griffin

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if you're on any system of water, there's going to be one or the other or both in your water. unless that kit can differentiate between the two, it's pretty useless. if I remember correctly, it doesn't differentiate between the two.
 
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markymark

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hmmm, think ill just treat the water to save the hassle. the tank has been running for a month now and all seems to be going well. although I do have an unwell looking molly, I'm going to query that in another section as I'm a bit worried about that.

anyway thanks for the help everyone, excellent site.
 

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