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Water Testing

At Pets R Us we provide a free water testing service.
Many people purchase anything from plastic bowl starter kits to massive aquariums. One the most frequent questions we get is “Does the water really need to be tested? Do I need to retest it regularly?” In a word – yes!
What should be tested, and how often, is not as short an answer. In a newly set up aquarium, water testing is critical to avoid fish loss as ammonia and nitrites rapidly rise. In an established tank, water testing is important to ensure the continued health of your fish.

When we test the water for our customer we test for the following:

  • Ammonia
  • pH
  • Nitrite 
  • Nitrate
  • Ammonia

Ammonia is very important to test as the levels will be elevated during the start-up cycle in a new aquarium. However, ammonia can also be elevated in established aquariums if the water is not changed regularly, filters are not kept clean, if the tank is overstocked, or if medication is used that disrupts the biological cycle. New fish introduced into an aquarium can increase the ammonia levels. Also fish that are overfed can increase the levels. Anytime you have fish that seem ill, or a fish death, you should immediately test for ammonia. Ammonia is extremely toxic to fish.

The ideal pH for a tank is 7.0 or above but many vary depending on the fish in your aquarium. pH is the most frequent cause of fish stress, which can ultimately lead to fish loss. Fish cannot tolerate sudden changes in pH. Even a change of 0.2 can result in stress or death if it occurs suddenly.
Keep in mind that if you use tap water, it has dissolved gasses as a result of being under pressure. Let the tap water sit overnight before testing the pH.
pH can, and will, change with time. Fish waste, water evaporation, topping off water, and water hardness will all contribute to changes in the pH.

During the start up of a new tank, nitrite levels will soar and can stress or kill fish. However, even after an aquarium is initially “cycled”, it is not unusual to go through mini-cycles from time to time. Any elevation of nitrite levels is a red flag that indicates a problem brewing in the tank. If a fish is ill, or dies, it’s wise to test for nitrite to ensure it is not contributing to the problem. The only way to reduce elevated nitrite levels quickly is via water changes.

Although nitrates are not as toxic as ammonia or nitrites, they must be monitored to avoid stressing the fish. Nitrates can also be a source of algae problems. Nitrates will rise over time and can only be eliminated via water changes. Young fish are more sensitive to nitrates than adult fish.
We also have the kits for sale for anyone that wishes to test at home
If you require any advice please ask in store, email or call any of our team on 074 97 23455

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