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Water Quality - LM

Posted By: Ken <kgj41@hotmail.com>
Date: Tuesday, 23 January 2001, at 10:42 a.m.

As a novice, water chemistry is driving me crazy. I've had a 38 gal, high tank at home for a year with no problems other than frayed pectoral fins on one angel fish. I've been doing bi-weekly 10% water changes. The pH in my tap water (from a well) is about 7.8 and nitrates are at 10 ppm. Alkalinity is at 100, Calcium Hardness at 337. I set-up a new 30 gallon tank at work in Oct. (HOB filter and UGF) and used seashells to decorate, resulting (I think) in pH of 8.2. Took out the seashells. LFS guy told me to lower the pH by using acid buffer, so pH crashed to 7.0 (that's when my 3 clown loaches, which I'd recently purchased, got ich). I'm using peat in my HOB filter, and am aerating boiled peat water in my basement (based upon recommendation from krib website) for water changes. My nitrates were at 100 ppm (or so, depending upon which shade of red you think they are), so I've been doing daily small water changes for the past week and a half so they're down to about 40 ppm. The peat water hasn't really had a chance to age (pH is the same as tap water still) because I'm using the water for daily changes and constantly putting new, boiled water into the peat tank. I've added plants and driftwood to each tank, too. Here's my question--should I just use my tap water and assume the fish will adjust? Reconcile myself to 10% water changes once or twice a week to keep nitrates down, and try to grow a multitude of plants?? I'm considering using "Algone" (anerobic bacteria pouches (http://www.algone.com/filtration.htm) or Kent Marine Nitrate Sponge, a granular zeolitic medium, to lower nitrates - and/or using a different filter like the "Cleanin' Machine" (http://www.aquadirect.com/filter/freshwater.html)Is that electric shock therapy for fish? I'm exhausted doing water changes every day on two tanks, although I'd love (and need) to get a 150 gallon tank--I've got fish who are growing and need more space. I really enjoy my aquariums, but this is discouraging...

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