When to perform water test?

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When to perform water test?

Postby PepperT » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:29 am

We've got a 60 litre aquarium that has been set up for around two months now, (2 weeks without fish, and 6 with). The 7 fish, (4 guppies, 3 platys, 1 balloon molly), were all looking happy and we were looking to add some extra fish so after performing a PWC took a sample of water to the LFS for testing. [I now know that this is the wrong time to test - should be before PWC!]. The LFS said there was a huge ammonia reading, but that Nitrite and Nitrate levels were both v. low suggesting a very recent Ammonia spike. With hindsight I think this could have been down to some over-zealous hoovering of the substrate. Is that plausible as the tank did seem a little churned up? [the benefits(?) of having help by an 8 year old helping with his tank!]
On advice of the LFS we added Stress Zyme to the tank, and of course didn't add any new fish, but after sitting at the surface for 24 hours one of the guppies died.
I've now purchased an API Master Test kit, and levels seem to have stabilised, so we're again looking at adding new fish.
Two questions though: i. Generally speaking when is the best time to perform a water test - just before a PWC, or mid-way between two PWC's? ii. Is my theory right that over stirring-up of the substrate could have caused the ammonia spike, (I'm fairly sure that we're not over-feeding the fish), in which case isn't it a good idea to perform a water test after a PWC but before adding new occupants?
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Re: When to perform water test?

Postby Carylnz » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:21 am

It depends on why you are doing the test.
Doing one before a PWC helps you know if one is required and, if so, how much of one.
It also helps to know what it was before the PWC then after so you know you have changed enough.
Tests are very useful on smaller tanks and when a tank is still under 6 months old. Smaller tanks, like yours, will experience swings in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate much more quickly than larger tanks so if you are new to fish keeping and/or have an over zealous helper, the tests can be done whenever you like if you suspect they need checking because of something done/not done.
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Re: When to perform water test?

Postby ady » Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:42 pm

hi and welcome to TTT.... :)

as said above,smaller tanks are harder to keep stable.not impossible tho..

gravel cleaning does help reduce any waste sitting on the bottom. which would rot and contribute to the ammonia/nitrates etc..

a gentle swirl around will keep more debris from getting dispersed into the water..and hopefully up ya hoover.you definately dont wont to be stirring it up vigorously..

i clean my gravel in a rota...left side during water change,then right next water change. admittedly its getting harder too do because all my plants are growing like mad... 8) ..

you got the same test kit as me and many of the others on here...as long as you use the correct amount of drops for each test,you can trust the results..much more accurate than dip tests..

the test kit will let you know how much to change,but keep a close eye on the water levels in case of a spike like you experienced..you need to work out a water change regime...say 25% a week as matter of course when levels stabilise for example...or 33% - 50% if needed......you will get to know how much you need to do....for example if you had an ammonia reading of 0.50...you want to do a 50% change,to reduce this too 0.25...then another the next day to reduce it too 0.125....as a rough guide for ya.

only add fish when water is stable, or you will cause more problems,with the added bioload creatring more waste..
when you add more fish,do a water change the day before,that way the new arrivals get a long time to settle in without maintenance in the tank...you will have to watch ya levels after aswell.the bacteria in your filter takes time to
catch up with the extra waste. the bacteria are the filter really and they have to be maintained for healthy water and fish.

never over clean your filter,never wash it in tap water,only wash in old tank water. otherweise you kill the bacteria and your tank will start to re-cycle..not good..leads to spikes and fish death if not dealt with. only clean your filter when the flow drops..

good luck with it and dont be afraid to ask questions on here. also read as many posts in the begineers forum you can,it's packed full of info.

anyways, i hope that helps you..

once again welcome to the friendly forum

ady :)
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