The aquarium water is the fundamental element for the aquarium hobby . G iven this absolute truth, it is necessary to know the main characteristics of the water and how they can affect members of the aquarium .
All the fresh water that reaches our homes has a single source, rainwater. It may seem that this water is the most suitable for an aquarium due to its apparent cleanliness, but this is not the case, especially in large cities where there is great atmospheric pollution and rainwater is loaded with all of them.
The water that maintains the most stable characteristics and the best quality is tap water.
Water is the result of the combination of two gases, hydrogen and oxygen.
The quality of the aquarium water, as well as its chemical composition, are fundamental aspects for all living beings that the aquarium contains.
For the care of fish and plants, we must pay special attention to the following characteristics: pH, hardness, conductance and resistance . We must know what they are, how they affect the aquarium and how we can control them.
In marine aquariums , we must also pay attention to the density of the water, which usually contains 35 grams of salt per liter, Although it depends on the seas to which we refer, for example in the polar oceans, the density drops to 30-33 grams per liter, while in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, this density increases to 38-40 grams per liter .
Measure the pH of the water
The acronym pH comes from «hydrogen potential.» The acidity or alkalinity of the water is expressed by pH and varies between 0 and 14, with 0 being the maximum acidity and a pH of 14 means that we are dealing with very alkaline water. PH 7 is neutral.
Every week the pH of the aquarium water should be measured to determine the quality of the water.
Inland fish require a pH between 6.5 and 8.5, while Amazonian fish that live in black water prefer soft water, between 6 and 7, East African species prefer a pH between 7.5 and 8, in In any case, in each of the aquarium fish files, you have the recommended pH parameters.
To measure the pH of the aquarium, the simplest and most practical way is to use thecolorimetric method.
There are several types of tests on the market, some more accurate and capable of measuring a greater range of the pH scale and others provide lower readings.
They usually use a liquid solution, contained in a pH Test Kit . In this Kit we will find a color wheel and a reagent.
To know the pH of the aquarium, the color of the water and reagent mixture is compared with the colors of the wheel.
In the market we will find all kinds of aquarium water quality tests and meters .
Some are specific, to measure the alkalinity of the water (pH), the calcareous hardness (KH), its hardness (dH), levels of nitrites (NO2), nitrates (NO3) and ammonia (NH3).
In addition to the tests aimed at measuring each of the parameters, there are another series of Analysis Kits that serve to measure all the parameters.
Its effectiveness varies from one model to another, the strip ones being the simplest, but least reliable.
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Measure water hardness
The hardness of the water measures the amount of calcium and magnesium salts contained in the aquarium water.
There are several acronyms to express the hardness of water, but the one that you will find in almost all the information is the German degrees, dH.
The dH is measured in milligrams, and tells us the amount of dissolved salts per liter of water . The higher the dH, the harder or alkaline the water is.
Hard water will have a high pH, and soft water should be more acidic.
We can measure the hardness of water (dH), using a colorimetric method that uses reagents, to determine the hardness of water based on whether they are stained in one color or another.
Calcareous or carbonate hardness
Almost all waters contain bicarbonates, which are measured in degrees KH. The presence of bicarbonates influences the regulation of pH, and as a consequence, on the health and development of the organisms that live in the aquarium.
A KH value between 5º and 18º is recommended for most inland fish, while fish from large African lakes need higher carbonate hardnesses, and marine fish need KH values to be between 15º and 18º.
Water conductivity and resistivity
The conductivity and resistivity of water is based on the principle of the passage of electric current between two electrodes , and allows determining the mineralization of the water.
Hard water transmits electrical current more easily, because it contains a high concentration of minerals.
Resistance is exactly the reverse measure, a hard and highly mineralized water, has a very low resistance, so that the current easily passes from one electrode to another. This is the case of sea water.
We can know these parameters by contacting the water service in our town.
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