Pets are excellent companions, especially the amphibious ones and the different kinds of fish. But with pets that survive in water comes the effort of maintaining the wellness of the aquarium where they thrive and survive. Water is essential for amphibious pets and fish.
Testing the water may sound hard, but it is reasonably easy to do. The main thing you will need is a water test kit. The kit will measure the importance of having the right amount of alkaline, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in the water. In this article, we will discuss how to test aquarium water to provide a safer living environment for your amphibious pets and fish.
Selecting a water testing kit
When selecting a water testing kit for your aquarium, you should know the parameters of your testing. It is best to see the type of aquarium you have for your pet, which comes in four classes, saltwater, freshwater, reef, and planter or aquascape aquarium. To know how to test aquarium water accurately, these are the elements to check in each aquarium type.
- Fresh Water Aquarium - you need to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity, and pH levels.
- Saltwater Aquarium - you will have to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity, and high levels of pH. The salinity of the water is also crucial and will need constant monitoring.
- Reef Aquarium - it is good to test for calcium, alkalinity, phosphate, and nitrate.
- Planter or Aquascape Aquarium - it is good to test for ammonia, nitrite, phosphate, alkalinity, and pH levels. The pH levels in the Planter aquarium will determine how much concentrated carbon dioxide is present for plants to acquire nourishment.
These are a few definitions of some key elements to check in the aquarium. We will answer why we test these elements, and how to reduce the levels in each one. This will ultimately lead us to know how to test aquarium water accurately:
Ammonia is extremely toxic to fish. It elevates during the startup cycle of a new tank. If you have a sick or dead fish, it is advisable to check ammonia right away with a test kit.
- pH Level
The pH level is the acid-base balance of the water. It can lead to fish stress, which can lead to fish loss. A pH level of 7.0 is neutral, but levels will always depend on your pet’s needs. Check aquarium water for pH levels whenever you change the water.
Nitrite can soar during the setup of a new tank or aquarium. High levels of nitrite are toxic for fish and should be regulated and checked. Adding 1-3 teaspoons of salt per gallon of water will reduce nitrite’s toxicity in the tank.
Nitrate is not as toxic as nitrite or ammonia but can still cause fish stress. It can also cause algae to build up in the aquarium. Having low levels of nitrate is advisable. It can be regulated and checked after frequent water changes.
Purchasing the test kit
To purchase your test kit, you can visit your local aquarium suppliers or pet shop. Keep in mind the type of aquarium you have so you can buy the individual test kit and save on cost. There are also Master Kits that provide you a set of test kits for all sorts of aquarium types. Individual-test kits that test a specific type of aquarium cost from 5$ to 15$ and master kits cost around 25$ to 110$. Purchasing the right kit is the first step to know how to test aquarium water safely and accurately.
How To Use a Test Kit
The test kit you purchase will often come with step-by-step instructions on how to test for aquarium water. It is important to follow steps or guidelines that are provided to get an accurate reading. The data is usually color-coded to provide a straightforward answer for the user. The following are the things to do when using a test kit to know how to test aquarium water properly:
- Prepare your sample
To prepare your sample, you can purchase a need-less syringe or pipette. You can dip this into the aquarium of water, pulling back on the plunger to take a sample on the syringe. Immediately transfer this to a sterilized test tube or container provided in your test kit.
- Test tube handling
The water in the test tube should amount to the specified requirement on the test kit. It is not advisable to dip the test tube into the aquarium for collection since leftover chemicals from the test tube may contaminate the water in the aquarium, which can lead to future complications.
- Adding the testing solution
When you are about to add the testing solution to your test tube, make sure you’ve read the directions properly. Use the exact number of drops required to provide an accurate result. It is also advantageous to check on the expiration date of the testing solution. Expired testing solutions give out inaccurate results.
- Mixing the test solution
There are a lot of different ways to mix the test solution with your water. It is vital to check instructions that come with your kit first before doing this. If there are no mixing instructions, you can give the test tube a light shake for five seconds. After everything has settled, wait on the mixture to change color and to get the results.
- Reading results
Test kits come with different styles in providing the results. Usually, it comes in a color-coded matching card. To use the card, hold the test tube next to the card and compare the color of the water with what is indicated in the card. It would be best to make the color comparison in a natural light setting since artificial light may alter the appearance of the color.
- Test water quality from time to time
To be efficient in providing the best environment for your fish and amphibious pets, test until you come up with the right levels you need before adding in your pets. Your pets will require specific levels of water elements, so try to be aware of the levels. Also, constantly check the water every day if possible, this habit will eliminate future problems to occur that are hard to remedy.
Now that you know how to test aquarium water to have the right levels, you can be sure that your fish and amphibious pets are in good hands. Always remember to read the instructions thoroughly before performing the test kits you purchase. Also, be extra precautions in handling the chemicals for testing water in the aquarium. Thoroughly washing the equipment after use is an exercise that you should always practice when using water-testing equipment. I hope this article has shed some light on broadening your skills in pet care for your beloved water creatures. Know more about aquarium care.