Couple Questions

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FishGyrlFriend

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Now that my aquarium is getting more established...I have a couple questions
pertaining to cleaning my 55 GALLON tank

#1 - How do i use the large siphon vacuem?

#2 - We were concerned about water displacement since we hadnt added everything but now we arent adding much more so originally we only filled it so that there is about 5 inches of space from the top of the tank to the water level. Do we do the 20% water change THEN just add all the water we need to add? Or just add that additional water and change it later?

Also.. What chemicals are best for PH levels? What chemicals do you use to keep nitrite levels down?

My tank just went through its bacterial bloom phaze and is now clearing up very nicely on its own..but the ph levels are a lil high and now there are nitrite levels showing up. Do we just let it go through that part of the cycle and just watch the levels or should we add anything? I put in some aquarium salt (1 tablespoon per 5 gallons as my LFS said) to try to reduce the PH. Am i doing the right thing?

Thanks!
 
1 - is the siphon jsut a tube or does it have some kinda self-starting thingy on the end?

2 - don't think it amtters? not sure.

I wouldn't try to adjust the pH, it often does more harm than good. especially not with salt which could be dangerous to some of your fish eg the plec. How high exactly is it?

The best way to reduce nitrites is water changes. I have to ask....if the tank isn't cycled...why do you have that many fish? :/
 
its at 8.4 right now :-( Yeah i admit we probably rushed it a little bit. We read that the nitrites will peak because the bacteria is building up, after its built up it will break back down and go back to normal.
 
Whenever you find yourself asking if you should do a water change, the answer is pretty much ALWAYS going to be yes. Water changes improve conditions for the fish, so are always a good thing. If you just "topoff" the tank, you can actually increase the hardness--after all, the minerals that make the water hard don't evaporate, so increase as the water level decreases. Not really the case here, but I assure you, doing a water change, then filling to the top will be better for the fish, especially since this will also reduce the amount of nitrite the fish are exposed to.

Lowering nitrites is best done via ater changes--it won't hurt the bacteria populations, since they will grow just the same if there is 10 times the food they need, or only twice.

For adjusting the pH--what fish are you keeping? Many species will love your water, while other will require careful acclimation. Most all fish could be acclimated to your conditions--the primary concern is if you want to breed the fish. Eggs are much more sensitive to pH than are adult fish. Otherwise, you're better off leaving the pH alone, since it is stable currently. Very few of the packaged products will result in a stable change to the pH--and having it yo-yo up and down (and costing you lots of money) is very tough on the fish. If you must change it, do so by diluting your tapwater with RO (reverse osmosis) filtered water. This dilution will result in a stable shift in water conditions (both GH, KH and pH), but requires a bit of experimenting (in a jar with test kits, not with the fish) to determine the ratio of RO water needed to adjust your tapwater to the desired range.
 

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