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Old 01-05-2009, 10:05 AM   #1 
Antje
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water parameters and gravel problems

Hello and happy new year to you all!

It seems like I'm stuck with the water parameters. My bettas are still in the bowls and I still haven't started cycling the aquariums, because I don't know, what to do.

The readings:

spring water fresh by itself: ph 6 (I didn't check the other ones)
spring water after 24 hrs.: ph 6, amm 0, nitrite 0 nitrate 10
spring water after 3 days: ph 6.4, nitrate 10 or a little less

spring water fresh in bowls with one betta girl: ph 6
spring water after 24 hrs.: ph 6.4
spring water after 3 days: ph 7.2

tap fresh by itself: ph 7.6, ph high range between 7.8 and 7.4, amm 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0,
tap after 36 hrs.: ph 7.6, ph high range 8.2, nitrate 0 (didn't check the other ones)

I checked the pebbles I'm using in the bowls and some of them bubbled in vinegar. I went to petsmart to get gravel, but all the packages say, they could change the ph. So, what kind of gravel should I get????

If I stayed with the spring water, how would I get it to the right temperature for a heated aquarium, when I'm doing water changes? Can I warm up conditioned water in the microwave???

If I stayed with the spring water, how would I get the nitrate under control, if I had a cycled aquarium?

If I switched to tap water, how would I get the ph under control?

And one general question:
If I let tap or spring water sit by itself (not in an aquarium or bowl), which readings would/could change and which ones stay the same?

Thank you
Antje
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:38 AM   #2 
1077
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I would try and find some natural river gravel small in diameter and rinse it well before using. Usually can find it at walmart. Tapwater unless it is above 8.6 after setting for twenty four hours should be fine for the fish.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:09 AM   #3 
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If you decide on tapwater i would add a little bit of it to the fishes bowl each time i did water change to slowly get the fish used to it. i would increase the amount of tapwater each time just a little until i was using straight tapwater. Sorry for not mentioning this in previous post.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:21 PM   #4 
Antje
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Thanks for the tip with gradually switching the water, 1077.

I'm just wondering, I thought, the ph shouldn't be over 7.5/7.6?

I tried to take a pic of my pebbles, but it's too dark. They look very natural, they are about 1 cm long, 0.5 cm wide, no sharp edges, smooth, different colors. I saw bags of them at walmart, but bought the same looking ones at target. Petsmart and petco have them, too, but they look not very clean in the bags. Are these maybe the ones you mean?
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:47 PM   #5 
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Quick changes in the ph is harder on fish than just keeping them in a high ph. My ph from the tap is around 8. My fish all are fine in it. It usually lowers some as it ages. Sounds like the gravel you bought should be fine, just wash it off first. The spring waters ph is almost to low, I would worry more about the fish dying from a drop in the ph of the spring water, than of keeping the fish in tap on the high ph side. Do you use a dechorinator? It makes tap water safe for your fish, so you dont have to have agging water sitting around.
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:54 PM   #6 
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Yes, I use the tetra aqua safe.
The thing is, that for some reason my tap as well as the spring ph is getting higher while aging, not lower. I didn't treat the tap I tested with the conditioner, but the spring water. And the ph still went up.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:10 PM   #7 
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Alright, well first of all I'd get some inert aquarium gravel. My Petco, PetQuarters, and Walmart all have small bags of it. You just rinse it and go.

Here's my advice to you. Take your tap water, put it in a clean container, stick an airstone in, and airate it for 24 hours. This promotes the gas exchange that can cause changing pH levels in tap water after it is aged. My water comes out at a pH of 6.4, then rises to 7.6. I had the same problems too with wacky parameters until I stumbled upon this information. One we get the actual pH it will be easier to determine which water will be better for your bettas. Don't even worry about the 10 ppm. nitrates. That's perfectly within the safe range.

And yes, you can warm up aged or spring water (whichever you choose depending on results) in the microwave. Because I need to age my water for the same reasons that is exactly what I do.

Hope this helps so you don't have to do the same frantic searching that I did!
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:54 PM   #8 
Antje
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Ok, so I have these little white airstones (that are supposed to make smaller bubbles) with the plastic thingy. I just take one out of the package and put it in the containers one with tap one with spring water? Does it matter, how big the stone and how much water? I would put the water in a plastic spring water container, that I cut open.

I had the thought, that in an uncycled bowl the 10 nitrate would be ok, but in a cycled aquarium, where there is nitrate already there, it could maybe get too high with the extra nitrate adding through the water? If I do water changes in a cycled aquarium to reduce the nitrate level by adding water with nitrate, that would be contraproductive I thought. Or am I thinking the wrong way?

Do you warm the water before or after conditioning? I would guess before, right?

Thank you for answering btw I'll go and check the gravel at walmart and petco.
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:01 PM   #9 
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Yup, just hook up the airstone (you want one big enough to make some good surface agitation) to the pump and stick it in a container of water, then plug it in.

As for the nitrates, I doubt that your 1 betta will really add much to the level even in a cycled tank. As long as you do weekly partial water changes you should be fine. My tap water has a 5 ppm nitrate reading, and my 5.5 gallon betta tank (gets a 20% change weekly) always reads around 7 ppm, so the betta isn't really adding any amount of nitrates that will make the readings rise to harmful levels.

You can add conditioner (assuming you have one that works almost instantly) before or after heating. It's all really the same.

Good luck!
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:11 PM   #10 
Antje
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Ok, so after 24 hrs. airating tap and spring water, here are the results:

SPRING:
ph: difficult to read, but between 6.4/6.6/6.8
nitrate: 10
nitrite: 0
amm.: 0

TAP:
ph: 7.6
ph high range: 8.2
nitrate: 0 (but just when I threw the mixture away I thought, that all of the sudden it looked a little more orange than yellow, but it was too late then to check...)
nitrite: 0
amm.: 0.25/0.50 which is weird, because it was 0 fresh. Maybe this is because I used the aquarium and airstone, which held one of my bettas for few days?

Would it make sense to check the ph again tomorrow?

I'll go to petco tomorrow, to look at the gravel.

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