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The Low down On Cycling Your Fish Tank

Freshwater Sucker Fish

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So I'm Asking the Big question that beginners want to know. I'm sure this is on or should be on a list of most frequently asked questions. So I beg your forgiveness. But Rather than reading pages after pages of partial answers or trying to find a needle in a haystack I want the whole meal deal.

I Know About to set up im wanting to focus on the chemistry part of things. Im talking FCA, TCI, ALK, PH, TH, and CYA. If Im missing anything please do tell.

Question Number One: Is there a standard level for all fish? If not then how do they vary?

Question Number Two: Omit if answered in question one. what are some proper levels for some of the most common fish?

Question Number Three: Omit if answered in question one. Is there a difference in saltwater and freshwater fish?

Question Number Four (Trick question): If you where a fish what kind of fish would u be?

Question Number Five: My FCA, TCI, ALK, PH, TH, and CYA are as follows for tanks one and two

Tank One: 0,0,240 8.4,450,100
Tank Two: 0,0.5,180,8.4,450,100

I'm hosting guppies is there anything to be concerned about?

Question Number Six: from the above information would there be anything to be concerned about for a catfish?

Thank you all for your help with this. As im sure it will help me as well as many.
 

essjay

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Can I ask what your abbreviations stand for? Presumably ALK is alkalinity and PH is pH but what about the rest?

Until I know what the other abbreviations stand for I will answer in general terms.


Question 1
Ammonia and nitrite must be zero for all fish.
Nitrate must be under 20 ppm for all fish.
pH and GH depend on the species of fish. Some need low GH and pH, some need high GH and pH, while some need 'middling' levels.
KH (alkalinity) does not affect fish directly. It stabilises pH; with very low KH it can all get used up and allow the pH to fall while with high KH the pH is very stable.
Some testers give a normal range for pH, GH and KH but there is no normal that can be applied to every fish; it depends on the species.


Salt water fish are different in one respect. Like freshwater fish they need zero ammonia and nitrite and low nitrate. But salt water does not vary in hardness and pH like fresh water so all salt water fish need the same.



Since I don't know what your figures represent I can't comment on them. But i can tells you that for guppies, ammonia and nitrite should be zero, nitrite below 20 ppm, pH above 7, GH above 10 dH. Guppies are hard water fish.

Catfish - what type of catfish? Plecs, corydoras etc? Most of them need soft water. And of course ammonia and nitrite zero and nitrate under 20 ppm.




Edit: just realised that TH stands for total hardness, or GH.
 
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Freshwater Sucker Fish

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Can I ask what your abbreviations stand for? Presumably ALK is alkalinity and PH is pH but what about the rest?

Until I know what the other abbreviations stand for I will answer in general terms.


Question 1
Ammonia and nitrite must be zero for all fish.
Nitrate must be under 20 ppm for all fish.
pH and GH depend on the species of fish. Some need low GH and pH, some need high GH and pH, while some need 'middling' levels.
KH (alkalinity) does not affect fish directly. It stabilises pH; with very low KH it can all get used up and allow the pH to fall while with high KH the pH is very stable.
Some testers give a normal range for pH, GH and KH but there is no normal that can be applied to every fish; it depends on the species.


Salt water fish are different in one respect. Like freshwater fish they need zero ammonia and nitrite and low nitrate. But salt water does not vary in hardness and pH like fresh water so all salt water fish need the same.



Since I don't know what your figures represent I can't comment on them. But i can tells you that for guppies, ammonia and nitrite should be zero, nitrite below 20 ppm, pH above 7, GH above 10 dH. Guppies are hard water fish.

Catfish - what type of catfish? Plecs, corydoras etc? Most of them need soft water. And of course ammonia and nitrite zero and nitrate under 20 ppm.




Edit: just realised that TH stands for total hardness, or GH.
free available chlorine, total chlorine, alkalinity pH, total hardness, cyanuric Acid.

The type of catfish is Pictus Catfish

Thank you for your help on this
 

Colin_T

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Is total hardness the same as general hardness?

Why are you testing for cyanuric Acid?
Are you using well water that come from an agricultural or industrial area?

Why are you testing for chlorine?
Do you have chlorine or chloramine in your water supply?

----------------------
Pictus catfish are schooling catfish that grow to about 8 inches and eat guppies. They come from soft water, whereas guppies come from harder water.
 

Byron

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free available chlorine, total chlorine, alkalinity pH, total hardness, cyanuric Acid.
Chlorine must be zero (a basic water conditioner will deal with chlorine and usually chloramine if that is also in your water), cyanuric acid zero (never even heard of this before now).

Total or general hardness (GH in the hobby, expressed in either degrees (dH or dGH) or parts per million (ppm) which happens to be the same as mg/l, depends upon the species of freshwater fish as essjay mentioned. Same holds for pH which generally will match the GH. Freshwater fish need a fairly specific and often limited range when it comes to GH (TH), pH, and temperature. This is why we always ask for the GH and pH of the source water; water varies depending where it occurs because it is a strong solvent and it assimilates minerals, organics, etc depending upon what it comes into contact with as it falls as pure water in rain or snow and then lands on the surface. It is much easier and safer to select fish species that can function in your water than it is to adjust those parameters to suite the fish's requirements; temperature obviously can be adjusted, but GH and pH can be quite involved depending upon what they are initially and what you want them to be.

You asked why: Each species of freshwater fish on this planet has evolved over thousands of years to function in a very specific environment. This is one of the big differences between freshwater and marine fish when it comes to parameters; all the oceans are the same GH and pH, but freshwater varies considerably and the physiology and metabolism of each species is designed to function in a very specific environment. There is some adaptability in some species, more in some than others, and some have basically no adaptability.

Moving to your GH (TH) and pH. GH at 450 presumably ppm (mg/l) ? is hard water, and the pH of 8.4 is what one would expect. A high GH means more dissolved mineral (primarily calcium and magnesium) in the water and this tends to also have a high-ish KH (Alkalinity or carbonate hardness) and comparable higher (basic as opposed to acidic) pH. This usually suits fish, as those who need a higher GH will usually also do best with a corresponding high (basic) pH above 7, while soft water species needing a very low GH usually prefer a lower (acidic) pH below 7.

Livebearers (like the guppies mentioned) are hard water fish. Pictus catfish are soft water with some "middle ground" of sorts, but they will have problems long term in water that is this hard.
 
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Freshwater Sucker Fish

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Is total hardness the same as general hardness?

Why are you testing for cyanuric Acid?
Are you using well water that comes from an agricultural or industrial area?

Why are you testing for chlorine?
Do you have chlorine or chloramine in your water supply?

----------------------
Pictus catfish are schooling catfish that grow to about 8 inches and eat guppies. They come from soft water, whereas guppies come from harder water.
Why are you testing for cyanuric Acid?'
The stips I bought at the pet store come with that test on it. The town I live in is a farming community. The water used is bathwater (not sure if that makes any difference.) It comes from the town's filtration system.

Is total hardness the same as general hardness?

I would assume so. As I don't see any reason it would be different

Why are you testing for chlorine?

Yes, we have trace amounts to make water drinkable.

Pictus catfish are schooling catfish that grow to about 8 inches and eat guppies. They come from soft water, whereas guppies come from harder water.

I have more than one tank and tend to adjust the Pictus Catfish fish tank accordingly.
 
OP
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Freshwater Sucker Fish

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Chlorine must be zero (a basic water conditioner will deal with chlorine and usually chloramine if that is also in your water), cyanuric acid zero (never even heard of this before now).

Total or general hardness (GH in the hobby, expressed in either degrees (dH or dGH) or parts per million (ppm) which happens to be the same as mg/l, depends upon the species of freshwater fish as essjay mentioned. Same holds for pH which generally will match the GH. Freshwater fish need a fairly specific and often limited range when it comes to GH (TH), pH, and temperature. This is why we always ask for the GH and pH of the source water; water varies depending where it occurs because it is a strong solvent and it assimilates minerals, organics, etc depending upon what it comes into contact with as it falls as pure water in rain or snow and then lands on the surface. It is much easier and safer to select fish species that can function in your water than it is to adjust those parameters to suite the fish's requirements; temperature obviously can be adjusted, but GH and pH can be quite involved depending upon what they are initially and what you want them to be.

You asked why: Each species of freshwater fish on this planet has evolved over thousands of years to function in a very specific environment. This is one of the big differences between freshwater and marine fish when it comes to parameters; all the oceans are the same GH and pH, but freshwater varies considerably and the physiology and metabolism of each species is designed to function in a very specific environment. There is some adaptability in some species, more in some than others, and some have basically no adaptability.

Moving to your GH (TH) and pH. GH at 450 presumably ppm (mg/l) ? is hard water, and the pH of 8.4 is what one would expect. A high GH means more dissolved mineral (primarily calcium and magnesium) in the water and this tends to also have a high-ish KH (Alkalinity or carbonate hardness) and comparable higher (basic as opposed to acidic) pH. This usually suits fish, as those who need a higher GH will usually also do best with a corresponding high (basic) pH above 7, while soft water species needing a very low GH usually prefer a lower (acidic) pH below 7.

Livebearers (like the guppies mentioned) are hard water fish. Pictus catfish are soft water with some "middle ground" of sorts, but they will have problems long term in water that is this hard.
GH at 450 presumably ppm (mg/l)?
The bottle does not say a unit of measure I have just emailed them pending response.

Livebearers (like the guppies mentioned) are hard water fish. Pictus catfish are soft water with some "middle ground" of sorts, but they will have problems long term in water that is this hard.

I have more than one tank and tend to adjust the Pictus Catfish fish tank accordingly.
 
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