» Posted by on Sep 17, 2015 in Blog, Education, Patrick D | Comments Off on Proactive Water Care for Healthy Fish

Proactive Water Care for Healthy Fish

Maintaining Your Aquarium

By Patrick Donston

WaterTest

Testing water makes a proactive aquarist

Maintaining water quality is the most important aspect to ensure the health of fish and invertebrates. Poor water quality is responsible for more captive aquarium deaths than any other factor. Thus, developing a regular routine for performing maintenance tasks is the foundation of aquarium keeping. We must take time to siphon detritus, clean filter media, equipment, and test water regularly. If these tasks are not completed water chemistry will change quickly, thus compromise the health and beauty of the habitat. An aquarist should never assume water parameters are good. Water testing is the most important tool in maintaining water quality. Set aside a half an hour per week and test your parameters. If there are changes it will be easier to adjust when they are slight as opposed to larger swings. This is referred to as proactive care. A lot of aquarists assume everything is ok, until a problem arises. These aquarists will struggle with adjustments because the changes needed are more significant. This is termed as reactive care. An example of such a problem would be a ph adjustment.

This tank was pretty dirty

Ph is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Most freshwater tropical fish prefer a ph of 7.0-7.5, while marine habitats are higher: 8.0-8.4. When alkalinity (the acid buffering capacity of water) is lowered, the ability of a solution to prevent ph decrease is lessened. Alkalinity in a closed system has the natural tendency to go down because of organic build ups and oxygen depletion. As fish breathe oxygen and expel carbon dioxide, the saturation content of carbonic acid will lower the alkalinity. Organic detritus decaying on rocks, in the substrate, or in the mechanical media naturally decrease the alkalinity. In these situations, a “proactive” aquarist would be able to clean media, water change, and buffer alkalinity — this would lead to a quick recovery. Conversely a “reactive” aquarist would not know of any water quality problems until acidosis sets in their fish’s blood. In low ph situations, metabolic functions and immune responses are compromised. These fish may get sick with any number of pathogens and the aquarist is “chasing the disease”. I’ve often expressed that we should be leaning less on medication, and more on practicing proactive water care with good nutritional boundaries.

If you are interested in our services for your own aquarium please email us, or call the shop for a quote!

Copyright 2013 Absolutely Fish, Inc. All Rights Reserved