Top 10 Mistakes #4: Test your fish water quality

Why is fish water quality important? Can’t you simple LOOK at your tank? Well, ponder the following situation: you have two glasses before you. One is tap water and the other is hydrochloric acid.

How do you know which one is safe to drink by looking at them? Which one would you put your fish into? Our chief veterinarian took the test of tap water vs. tank water.

It is impossible to tell if water is safe for fish by the look of it.

Water that is safe for fish and dangerous for fish will look EXACTLY THE SAME. This is why we always test the water at all of our appointments and why all fish owners should do the same. Fish health is directly tied to certain water quality parameters. If you’re a regular reader, please, list them along with us:

You don’t have to test all of these parameters all the time, but regular tests of AT LEAST ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, kH and temperature are essential.

Test your water AT LEAST once a month. You will need the following tools:

All of these tools are easily purchased at your local pet fish store or online.

Safe levels for fish will vary on the species. For koi, goldfish and most tropical, including bettas, you want your water within the following parameters (please keep in mind that this chart was made using the API kit parameters and are general guidelines):

ParameterKoiGoldfishTropicalsBettas
Ammonia<0.2 mg/L<0.2 mg/L <0.2 mg/L <0.2 mg/L
Nitrite0 mg/L 0 mg/L 0 mg/L 0 mg/L
Nitrate<20 mg/L <20 mg/L <20 mg/L<20 mg/L
pH6.5-9.06.5-9.0varies7.0-8.5
kH>100 mg/L >100 mg/L >100 mg/L >100 mg/L
Temperature33-85F (1-29C) 33-85F (1-29C) 74-84F (23-28C)78-82F (25-28C)

As your fish systems progress, record your weekly/monthly readings and watch for any trends. How does your regular maintenance change your readings? By keeping a close eye on your parameters, you can significantly improve the overall health of your fish. 

Good fish water quality = happy, healthy fish.

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4 thoughts on “Top 10 Mistakes #4: Test your fish water quality”

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Mistakes New Fish Owners Make – #1 – Aquatic Veterinary Services

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Mistakes New Fish Owners Make – #5 – Aquatic Veterinary Services

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