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Old 09-06-2011, 05:39 AM   #1 
dsheps83
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Australia
Water question

I'm new to having a an aquarium thing. now i have a 30L tank (9 gallon) have set up a pump and heater.

now i live in a remote part of aus. I have a rain water tank that is approx 3m (10 foot) x 3m (10 foot) and is about 6m (19 Foot) Deep. now there used to be a tree that dropped leaves onto the roof but i have cut that away, but there is a few inches thick of sticks leaves and stuff on the bottom of the tank, mosquitoes love it, but is it all possible that the water in the tank has done a natural cycle.

I only have strips to test.

but the hardness is fine, then ph level is about 6 - 6.5 the nitrate and nitrites are always 0 even after not changing the water for days. don't have ammonia test might get the pet store to test it.

thanks for any info.

oh i have 2 small plants in the tank.
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:29 PM   #2 
flowerslegacy
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Hi dsheps83 - Welcome to the forum. I can't say that I will have the most experienced answer for you, since I've never used natural rain water. But I can answer a few questions for you and hopefully get you on your way. In regards to cycling, first there needs to be an ammonia source. Ammonia in a tank is naturally derived from fish waste, poo, etc. Or some folks add it in the form of bottled ammonia but either way, it must start with ammonia. A natural rain water tank would be void of ammonia. Without the ammonia then you wouldn't have the beneficial bacteria that would naturally convert to nitrites and then nitrates. So it makes sense if your readings are currently 0 - the water is not cycled. In regards to your pH, your water hardness is actually a little too acidic. This is probably caused from the decaying plant matter in the tank. While bettas prefer soft water, they really don't prefer anything under 6.5 ph. Ideal pH for a betta is 6.8 to 7.0. If your water is as low as 6.0 then you may have problems. I tried to research the effects of overly acidic water and my quick search didn't find much. You may want to do more research on that topic before moving forward. One piece of information I can add in regards to pH is that it is very important to have a stable pH. Many folks with high or low levels purchase products to adjust their pH and it's extremly hard to do. A varied pH is very stressful on your fish, so whatever source of water you choose, it's best to leave the pH alone. Even if it's a little too high or low, a stable pH is best. In regards to your current 9gal, you would need to cycle it. Therefore you'd need a good test kit and water conditioner. A water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia, nitrites and nitrates is necessary if you're going to cycle with your fish in the tank. Live plants can assist with waste removal, but you'd need the tank to be *heavily* planted to avoid ammonia and nitrites during the cycling process. Hope this helps and good luck with your new tank!
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:35 AM   #3 
dsheps83
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thanks for the reply. well i would have thought there would be ammonia in the tank due to birds (mainly seagulls) re leaving them selfs on the roof and then washing into the tank, i will try and get the rain water tested. if there has been ammonia inthere could it be possible to cycles or are filters needed?

I now drain 2.1 gallons (8 litres to me)
then fill .5 of a gallon (2 litres to me) of normal tap water. which has a really high ph level.
then fill 1.6 gallons (6 litres to me) of rain water then add water conditioner, then use an aquarium heater to bring to temp, then siphon to tank, so not to disturb the water.

doing this gives me a good ph level now.
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