The importance of Water Quality

The importance of water quality

Many factors come into play when discussing what provides your fish with the ideal living conditions. Temperature, Flow, Lighting, Diet and water quality being the main areas we all like to focus on.

On the Lothian Fishkeepers Facebook group, we recently discussed the subject of water quality. We understand that the quality of water has a direct effect on anything living in your aquarium. The four most important elements of your aquarium water consists of Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and pH level. We can test for many other elements, especially if we have a saltwater tank but regardless of water type, these four elements I consider the most important.

It is important that you achieve the right conditions for your fish species. Some fish have a wide range of water perimeters that they can live in. However, fish such as malawi require  pH levels as high as 8.5 and general hardness of up to 16KH to replicate the african lake water. Discus for example, enjoy pH levels of 7 and higher temperatures up to 29 degrees celsius. 

With the different requirements needed for different fish, it always pays well to research your fish before stocking your tank to make sure each fish is suited to the water chemistry. 

We now have a wide range of tools aimed at water maintenance available to us. A good reliable testing kit is a great start, pH metres and TDS metres are fantastic. Having Water buffers and conditioners in your cabinet advised. Establishing and sticking to a regular maintenance routine is a great way of keeping on top of everything. This will help pick up on any issues as early as possible.  

During our discussion, we received some recommendations for equipment for maintaining water quality.

Steven Bisset "Most freshwater fish are very adaptable, especially river fish because ph fluctuations happen every time it rains. I think that regular water changes are a must to keep fish in tip top condition"

Lindy Crawford Aiken "I keep fish that do best in ph 5.5 and below and very soft water. My tap water is tds 49 gh2 kh 0. My most important piece of kit is my ph meter. I also use catappa leaves and rooibos teabags to get tanin stained water. This makes the fish feel more comfortable and they colour up beautifully. However for my shrimp my tds meter is my most important bit of kit for remineralising to tds180. My active substrate takes care of ph for me by buffering to 6.4."

Paul Walker "For my wild Malawi stability in the water key ph8.2 kh16 gh16 at all times. Stability is more important, even if your water is of a bit, fish can look after themselves. I use Upson salts for my kh and gh levels and bio carbon for ph levels.  Sand or rock don't rise the ph, it's a old wife tail"

Thanks for everybody's input into our discussion last week. we really did provide a lot of good advice. If anybody would like to create a document on the topic for our group files, your more than welcome. Remember, there is no definitive right or wrong where water is concerned and the advice above is given based on personal experiences only. If you have any questions on this topic or anything else, please ask any of the Lothian Fishkeepers via our Facebook group.

Bye for now.

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