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September 13, 2018

Water Test - Water Change

I hope you're not tired of hearing about the fish and their tanks. I'm not tired of writing about them.

Here is today's horrifying water test for ammonia.

On the far left, you can see the color chart. The tubes from left to right belong to the angel tank, the hospital tank, the danio tank and the goldfish tank. The results of these tests have been consistent, so I'm going to set a baseline in hopes that soon this will change. However - in a nutshell - the tanks have not yet cycled and I'm still doing a partial water change on all four tanks tonight.

Angel tank - 20 gal long
AquaClear 50 filter
7 live plants, 3 cory catfish
Test results are either 0.25 or 0.50 ppm Ammonia
I could stare at this for a long time and for a while I convince myself it's one reading and then convince myself it's the other. It looks like it's got some of a yellowish tint. You know what - it doesn't matter. It still needs a water change. It's NOT yellow.

Hospital tank - 10 gal
Penguin 150 filter
12 live plants, 2 crayfish and 1 guppy
Test results are clearly 1 ppm

Danio tank - 20 gal long
Two Penguin 150 filters (previously used)
6 live plants, 10 zebra danios (all still living >1 week)
Test results are a solid 4 ppm

Goldfish tank - 20 gal long
One Penguin 150 filter
One large live plant (hornwort), large carp, 2 comets, 2 albino cory catfish, 6 plecos
Test results 2 ppm

Rinse the tubes soon after you've completed your test. If you don't, you're likely to get a yellow residue in the tube. This can be easily cleaned with a swab - but normal swabs (from your bathroom) are just slightly too short to reach the bottom of the tube. [If you grab the end with a tweezer, you can reach the bottom.]

Notice that I have a piece of white paper behind the tubes. This is not just for the photo. Put a clean piece of white paper behind the tube and make sure the light is above/behind you when you compare the tube to the chart. It may be helpful. However, it's all still green - regardless of shade (level). If you start doubting the results or are unsure if you have ammonia - test your drinking water. This is yellow. The test works.

I've been doing partial water changes daily for about two weeks. I've lost about a dozen angelfish, 9 guppies, one catfish that didn't look like the others (seemed sluggish and dull) and one crayfish.

Notice that the ammonia levels do not correspond exactly with the number of fish. The goldfish tank has more fish, larger fish and fewer plants, but the ammonia levels are lower. Normally the levels are the same as the angel tank, but I may get another ammonia spike there since I changed the filter pump on the tank. [Found that the one I was using was recalled due to being a shock hazard.] To prevent losing all the beneficial bacteria, I took the old filter cartridge and shoved it into the new filter. This is another reason I like the Penguins - they have slots for two filter cartridges. I left it there for about 24 hrs and then discarded it.

I've gotten the water changes down to about 90 min. I fill the 5 gal bucket with water, treat the water and then remove water from two tanks. I fill the bottom tank first. Once the bucket is empty, I refill and treat and pull water from the other two tanks. Once that bucket is empty, I refill, treat and take a break. Then I empty that bucket (always start with the bottom tank) and fill, treat and break. This allows time for the chemicals to interact with the water and remove the chlorine. I fill the bottom tanks first because it's easier to dump the end of the bucket in the top tanks.

Using the siphon, when you switch from sending water to the bucket to pulling water out, make sure all the water has been evacuated from the hose. Otherwise you will have trouble getting any kind of suction when trying to vacuum the gravel. I lift the end of the hose and continue this all along the hose until I reach the sink. You can hear a louder sound when it's empty. And do not use the lever at the tube end to stop the water. This works well on my garden hose, so I tried it on the siphon - once. When the bucket is full, change the lever at the sink. You don't have to believe me. They sell the replacement part at the same pet store where you bought the siphon. They don't cost much. Buy one and clean up the water.

Posted by BlueWolf on September 13, 2018 09:42 PM