Parameters of water in the aquarium.
When looking at water in the ocean, an aquarium, or water flowing from our tap, we usually see a colorless, transparent liquid. But this colorless liquid has a whole list of parameters and properties that determine its quality. And quality, in turn, affects the suitability of drinking water and the content of living organisms in it. And such parameters in water can be counted more than a dozen for sure. Here are just a few: hardness, acidity, temperature, general mineralization, degree of oxygen saturation, and so on. And all of them are almost invisible visually.
But now I want to talk only about three. About those that are most often used in the description of the content of aquarium fish.
At the time when I was a child, and I was looking at the first book about keeping fish in an aquarium, I did not understand some of the numbers and Latin letters found in the description of each fishes... I think they are still incomprehensible to most beginners.
For example, water hardness. Not only is it of several types, it is also measured in different degrees, depending on the country.
Therefore, I decided to make a small cheat sheet about the meaning of the main indicators.
Why these parameters "Non-living"?
I myself came up with such a name for easier understanding. These include temperature, hardness and acidity.
These are parameters that are not affected by the inhabitants of the aquarium, such as fish, plants or bacteria. Rather, it is these parameters that affect them more. And in such parameters there is more chemistry and physics than biology.
For example, the fish itself can not change or affect the temperature in the aquarium. But the temperature can push the fish to spawn, help cope with the disease or kill in a matter of seconds. And in this parameter there is no biology at all.
"Living" water parameters in the aquarium.
But in the aquarium water also contains chemical compounds that are formed during the life of the fish, are processed by bacteria and absorbed by plants. They are also practically not visible visually, are determined by special tests and very strongly affect the quality of life. Here I call them for myself "Alive" parameters and have already written several posts about them in the heading “Aquarium Chemistry". Read necessarily! They are very important for the health of your fish.
Here they are: Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates!
"Inanimate" options. Temperature, hardness and acidity.
And now let's look at other parameters that are most often written next to the names of the fish in books, websites, or price tags in zoo stores. And there are usually three such parameters. Temperature, hardness and acidity of water.
Temperature is not a simple, but the most familiar parameter to us. We meet with her everywhere and feel her every second, although we cannot see her.
In simple terms, temperature is a physical quantity that reflects the state of heating of bodies. Displayed in degrees Celsius (° C) or Fahrenheit (° F). Measured with a device called a thermometer. (How to choose a thermometer for an aquarium, read the article below).
Temperature is a very important parameter of water when keeping and breeding fish. Fish are cold-blooded creatures, and they cannot warm us from the inside, so they are completely dependent on the temperature of their environment.
Important! Fish are very sensitive to changes in temperature. A fast change in it at 4 ° C or more, can lead to a temperature shock and even their death. Therefore, always equalize the temperature at the transplantation of fish after buying or changing the water in the aquarium! Especially in an aquarium with caviar or fry!
Temperature. How to change and maintain?
Tropical fish, thermophilic in nature. And room temperature in the aquarium is usually not enough for them. To increase and maintain it in the aquarium, use special aquarium heaters. Almost all modern heaters have a built-in sensor (thermostat), and they can automatically turn on / off to maintain the required temperature. Now there are a great many of them and their prices are not high enough. But there are a few points that you need to pay attention to before buying.
Important points when choosing a heater:
- Check the power of the heater and the volume of your aquarium.
- Since the heater can be attributed to important devices in the aquarium, read reviews and buy proven manufacturers. Otherwise, in the event of a breakdown of a substandard device, there is a risk of boiling your fish alive.
- Important! Choose heaters with a temperature controller only. Often, in the entry-level aquarium kits there are unregulated heaters that are set to the same temperature, for example 25 ° С. In my opinion, a useless thing. If necessary, you will go and buy another one, but with a regulator. It will be needed in case of fish farming, caviar ripening, or in the treatment of fish. Under these circumstances, the temperature is necessary higher than with normal maintenance. Yes, and fish of different species, you need a different temperature, so you need to buy a heater only with a regulator!
To lower the temperature, for example in the hot summer, other devices are used - water chillers or fans. Or resort to folk methods such as frozen ice bottles.
Hardness of water.
The next parameter of water, which is usually written in the description of fish keeping, is water hardness. As for me, one of the most confusing options for a beginner aquarist. Of course, if you are not a chemist, biologist or physicist by nature.
Water hardness is an indicator of the content of calcium and magnesium salts. In the aquarium there are not one but several types of stiffness, temporary (KH) and permanent (GH). And the sum of these parameters gives us an indicator called total rigidity.
In simple words, the temporary stiffness is the stiffness that can change during the day, under the influence of processes occurring in the aquarium with the help of plants and fish. Also, this hardness can be changed by boiling water.
A constant hardness is the hardness that does not change during the process of boiling water.
Water hardness is measured in degrees of hardness. Moreover, in different countries there are different systems of degrees.
Water hardness must be considered when choosing fish and plants. And it is especially important to take it into account when they are compatible.
Tropical fish fall into our aquariums from different parts of the world. And accustomed to a certain hardness of water.
Fish living in rivers of South America have got used to enough soft water. And the fish living in the lakes Africa, conversely adapted to hard water. That's why, for example, it is not recommended to keep cichlids from South America and Africa in the same tank. Although both of them - cichlids.
Rigidity. How to measure and change?
Water hardness is measured using aquarium tests or special instruments.
If you have neither one nor the other, then there is another way to find out the hardness of the water flowing from your tap. Just call or go to the website of the organization that supplies water to your home. They have their own water analysis laboratories and are required to provide such information. Indeed, now, even in modern washing and dishwashers, it is necessary to set the level of rigidity. This is necessary for the rate of addition of softeners.
Next, I will tell you how you can affect the hardness of the water in the aquarium. To facilitate understanding, I will not divide rigidity into temporary and permanent. (If you want to go deep into this question, look on the Internet.) There are many articles with complex formulas and calculations.)
How can to lower hardness?
Sometimes, for example, to stimulate spawning in fish, it is necessary to soften the water in the aquarium. The easiest way that I use is to add distilled water. It is worth a penny and is sold in stores with auto parts. Osmotic water is also suitable for dilution and softening.
The next method is the use of fillers for a filter, such as peat or resin-based.
Of all the available methods, you can try to add boiled (without sediment) or thawed (frozen) water to the aquarium. It is necessary to freeze according to a special scheme, only one third. And it is troublesome!
Another affordable and natural way to soften water is to add plants like Elodea to the aquarium. (Elodea) or hornwort (Ceratophyllum).
How to increase the hardness?
To increase the level of rigidity in the aquarium, you can use special liquid water conditioners from well-known manufacturers (DENNERLE Gh / kh + eg). Or special fillers for filters.
From simple and affordable methods, you can simply add shells or marble chips to the aquarium.
When growing live feed of artemia, it is also recommended to increase the rigidity in the incubator. To do this, add a pinch of baking soda. But I didn’t add, and everything is fine with me already. If anyone is interested, here is my video:
Acidity of water (Level of pH).
Another indicator included in the group of “important water parameters” is the pH level (acidity). Depends on the concentration of carbon dioxide in the water. It is indicated on a scale from 1 to 14. Where the number 7 indicate neutral water. All readings below 7 will indicate slightly acidic or acidic water. All of the above, slightly alkaline or alkaline water. Values from 5 to 9 are considered suitable for fish. But most fish prefer to live in water from 5,5 to 7,5. The pH level may vary slightly during the day. And here, as with temperature, it is important to avoid sudden changes. Indeed, even a short-term (within 20 minutes) but a sharp change in pH by 2 units can lead to irreversible changes in the gills of fish, with their subsequent destruction.
Level of pH. Measurement and change.
Currently, various tests and instruments are used to measure acidity in an aquarium. From the cheapest test strips to more advanced electronic devices called pH meters.
How to increase the pH in the aquarium?
Important! In water conditioners for changing the composition of water is quite a strong "chemistry", so, use them with extreme caution and always read the instructions!
How to lower the pH?
To safely lower the pH level, special water conditioners are used pH Down. Or lower it with the help of special fillers for the filter.
But if you want to lower and keep the pH level under control in a natural way, then use driftwood in the aquarium. Or add almond tree leaves there (Catappa). (Read below).
Aquarium fish, like other living creatures, are able to adapt and adapt to different parameters water. Even if they differ from the parameters in their habitats in the wild. The only thing is to avoid sudden changes in any of them. Well, follow the general chemical balance in the aquarium.
It is interesting to read:
- Substitution of Water in the Aquarium! (Just like a cup of coffee!) Find out How! 2018-11-22
- Small Bubble Air Sprayer: DIY! Personal Experience (+ Photos)! 2018-09-03
- CO2 Reactor and Diffuser in the Aquarium. How to choose? 2019-08-10
- Aquael Plant Leddy Tube: Comparison with Sunny Led. + Photo! 2019-03-23
- Aquarium Flute for Filter! Installation, Review and Work Pros! 2018-12-08