WATER QUALITY

Paul Carter

 
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...bacteria is found on all surfaces, the sides and base of the aquarium, mops, plants etc.

No matter if your water is hard, soft, acid or alkaline it should be as clean as possible, reducing stress on the killies, hence improving their resistance to disease. The basic method of maintaining good water quality is the bacterial action of converting ammonia/nitrite to nitrates. Even small levels of ammonia/nitrite are poisonous. At the moment there are a number of articles in fishkeeping magazines relating to 'New Tank Syndrome' which detail the successful production of a bacterial filter. The bacteria is normally found in filters, but they are actually on every surface that is in contact with the aquarium water, which is an important fact for killie keepers. Water changes are still important to dilute the resultant nitrates. There is not a problem if a filter is used in the killie tank, whether it is a air operated box or sponge filter. Care must be taken when cleaning the filter medium, so as not to kill the beneficial bacteria. Rinse the medium in aquarium water which can then be discarded (this is excellent for watering your house plants, if no salt has been added).Most killies are kept in bare tanks without filtration. The beneficial bacteria is found on all surfaces, the sides and base of the aquarium, mops, plants etc., anything that has been in contact with the water for a minimum of two to three weeks.



Care must be taken when cleaning the filter medium, so as not to kill the beneficial bacteria.

Great care must be taken when cleaning, so as not to kill all the bacteria. Cleaning only one surface per week could be an option, but I prefer the more natural method, therefore I grow Java Fern and Java Moss on small pieces (twigs) of driftwood which I can remove whilst tank cleaning. If they are kept moist there will be minimal loss of bacteria. An advantage of using live plants is that they will use some of the nitrates as a fertiliser. Another problem area is the small containers in which we hatch killie eggs.These are normally very sterile and will see a steady rise in Ammonia/Nitrite values over the first couple of weeks, sometimes to levels that will kill all the fry. Some ways to overcome this problem is to put pieces of Java Moss in the hatching container, carry out daily water changes (with freshwater of the same temperature, pH, hardness etc.) and to transfer the fry to larger quarters as quickly as possible. The levels of Ammonia/Nitrite can increase very rapidly if uneaten food (e.g.. dead brine shrimp) is left in the container. If lack of spare time stops you house-keeping after each feed, then adding a couple of small snails (but only after the eggs have hatched) will help.

 


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