Water levels are all wrong

Bethv

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Hi.
I've started a tropical aquarium for the first time and I've had it running for 2 weeks without fish. I bought a test kit that measures the GH, KH, PH, NO2 and NO3 levels. However they're all wrong

The levels are showing they're this..
GH - 180ppm
KH - 180ppm
PH - 8.0
NO2 - 0.5ppm
NO3 - 20ppm

I used tap water to fill up the tank and then added a water conditioner. I added drift wood, Java fern and moss balls from the start of running the tank. So my question is why are my levels still so wrong? Assuming it's the tap water...

How do I reduce water hardness and PH levels after what I've already added to the tank?

I plan to have Neon Tetras only.

Thanks in advance!!
 

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FishkeeperLinz

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Hi.
I've started a tropical aquarium for the first time and I've had it running for 2 weeks without fish. I bought a test kit that measures the GH, KH, PH, NO2 and NO3 levels. However they're all wrong

The levels are showing they're this..
GH - 180ppm
KH - 180ppm
PH - 8.0
NO2 - 0.5ppm
NO3 - 20ppm

I used tap water to fill up the tank and then added a water conditioner. I added drift wood, Java fern and moss balls from the start of running the tank. So my question is why are my levels still so wrong? Assuming it's the tap water...

How do I reduce water hardness and PH levels after what I've already added to the tank?

I plan to have Neon Tetras only.

Thanks in advance!!

Have you looked on your water company's website? That will give you a general idea what you GH is likely to be.

The problem with test strips is they do have a tendency to be inaccurate, and don't test for ammonia, which is why the majority of fishkeepers will advise you to get a liquid test kit, such as the API or the NT Labs kit.

Is this tank currently cycling? If so, then readings for nitrite may not be wrong, as such and nitrate is fine.
 

communityfluvalroma

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Hello and welcome to the forum.

Your water parameters look absolutely fine, considering you’re two weeks in to your cycle.

What type of cycle is it that you’re doing?

As @FishkeeperLinz said, I would highly recommend buying a liquid test kit. I personally have the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. It’s imperative to test your Ammonia levels for the duration of your cycle and even more so once you have added fish to the tank.
 

seangee

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Hi and :hi:
Please read this useful link before buying any fish

Those readings aren't necessarily wrong but suggest you live in a hard water area. I am in the Thames valley and the hardness and pH look similar to mine. It may in fact be higher than the numbers you gave because your GH (and possibly KH) look like they are off the scale.

What that does mean is that your water is not suitable for neon tetras but very suitable for many live bearers. As you don't say how big your tank is you may want to consider males only as most will breed prolifically. Have a look at endlers - they may be a nice alternative if you only want a single species.
 

Byron

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Just to add a bit more explanation...the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) and pH of your source water are determined by the mineral content of the water. The GH and KH is not likely to change much if at all in an aquarium. The pH might alter, depending upon organics, but the GH/KH here has reasonably good buffering capacity so likely it willnot be much of a change.

The GH is the most important of these for fish. A GH of 180 ppm equatees to 10 dGH, and we use these two units in the hobby so you may see one of the other. This GH is moderately hard water.
 

Essjay

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According to the colour chart, these strips only measure up to 180 ppm so the GH could be higher than that.

Can you look on your water company's website to see what they say, please. You need a number and the unit of measurement rather than some vague word. UK water companies often use different units from fish keeping which is why we need that.
If you can't find it, tell us the name of the water company and we'll see if we can find it.
 

Colin_T

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If your GH is 180ppm I wouldn't bother reducing it for neon tetras unless you get wild caught neons. Then you can use some reverse osmosis (R/O) water mixed with the normal water to reduce the GH.
 

Essjay

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It could be 180 ppm or anything higher than 180 as the strips don't measure higher than that. This is why we need to check with the water company as the water could be too hard for neon tetras.
 
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Bethv

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Hi everyone, thank you all so much for your replies!! So what I've learnt is that I need to buy the liquid testing kit as my test strips aren't accurate enough.

I've check online and the quality of my tap water is 278 mg/l which is classed as hard. Is this too hard for live bearers?

I only have 30L tank so I didn't want fish that were too big, which is why I was aiming for Neon Tetras.

What's the best thing to do?
 

Colin_T

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Take a glass full of your tap water to a pet shop and get them to check the GH for you. Write the results down in numbers when they do the test, and find out what the results are measured in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

If the water is 278mg/l (278ppm), it is hard and suitable for rainbowfish, goldfish, livebearers and Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi cichlids.

The water is too hard for neon tetras, which like a GH below 150ppm.
 

BoningKnife

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Fish such as neon tetras are bred all over the show in vast numbers, they are kept all over the world and are very much a mainstay of tropical fishkeeping for that very reason. I do not dispute the importance of gh in extreme cases nor if your keeping more specialised species. However, surely I'm not the only one who thinks its importance in this particular scenario is being somewhat overstated?
 

vanalisa

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Fish such as neon tetras are bred all over the show in vast numbers, they are kept all over the world and are very much a mainstay of tropical fishkeeping for that very reason. I do not dispute the importance of gh in extreme cases nor if your keeping more specialised species. However, surely I'm not the only one who thinks its importance in this particular scenario is being somewhat overstated?
Each species is specialized.
 

Colin_T

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It depends on how long you want the fish to live for. I used to have customers that were stoked because they kept their fish alive for 2 months, but I got annoyed if my fish didn't last 3 years.

Yes neons and other soft water fishes can live in hard water, but they don't live as long.
 

BoningKnife

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Like I said, science is all well and good. The fact remains they are mass produced and successfully kept all over the world. If they died two months after they were bought in the majority of places, there appeal would never have been very widespread would it. I agree extreme cases apply. Beyond that, I stand by my point.
 

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