Every aquarium owner has heard of pH, but many do not understand the importance of controlling it. pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity in the water. Carbon dioxide, pH, alkalinity and hardness are interrelated and can have profound effects on . The relationship among alkalinity, pH and CO2 can be. Water Hardness, Alkalinity & pH. nursyahida abdullah. Loading Unsubscribe from nursyahida abdullah? Cancel Unsubscribe. Working.
There are many reactions in aquariums that produce acids, and others, like biofiltration, that directly use carbonates.
Water Chemistry Basics: pH, Temperature, Water Hardness, Waste Breakdown, Minerals, and Chemicals
Over time the alkalinity can be "consumed," and if alkalinity is depleted, the pH of the water in an aquarium can plummet, causing extreme stress or death to the fish and adversely affecting biofilter function. Alkalinity can be easily replenished in an aquarium by periodically exchanging a portion of the tank water with new water with a moderate total alkalinity or by adding chemical buffers, such as sodium bicarbonate baking sodato the water. One place where total alkalinity is very important is when copper is used as a treatment for algae or parasites.
Total alkalinity should be measured before copper is used in an aquarium, as the toxicity to fish is directly related to the total alkalinity. Copper should not be used in aquariums with plants or invertebrates unless they are first removed from the tank. Total alkalinity should be tested once a month to ensure levels are sufficient for the tank's fish inhabitants as well as for biofiltration.
Prior to each copper usage, total alkalinity should be tested to prevent copper toxicity. Carbonate ions are scarce in low pH water.
Raise the pH of that water and some of the bicarbonate ions become carbonate ions. One important difference is that bicarbonate ions are considerably more soluble than carbonates. Calcium has only limited solubility with carbonate, but is considerably more soluble with bicarbonate. If the pH is less than 10, it is safe to assume that the hydroxide alkalinity is zero. What did that mean?
Alkalinity and Hardness
The concentration of temporary hardness depends on the ratio of bicarbonate to carbonate alkalinity. As cooling tower water cycles up, the alkalinity and pH both increase.
As this happens, the ratio of carbonate to bicarbonate increases.
This causes the solubility of calcium to decrease accordingly. For every number of cycles of concentration, a specific ratio of carbonate to bicarbonate ions exists. For beginning aquarists this may be the best solution. There are a wide variety tropical fish available and it is not difficult to find at least a dozen different species for every different type of water. Any decent book on aquariums and tropical fish will list the individual pH and hardness requirements of the different fish species.
Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are all part of the breakdown of waste in an aquarium. A significant amount of fish and plant waste can accumulate in any aquarium. Uneaten food, algae, and bacteria can also contribute to the waste load in an aquarium.
As in all environments, this waste needs to be broken down and either eliminated or turned into something that can be utilized by another organism. In an aquarium, there is a population of bacteria that is responsible for this process. The breakdown of waste is a four-part process. First, the waste from fish, plants, and food breaks down and releases ammonia. This ammonia is very toxic to fish and must be converted by bacteria to nitrite.
The nitrite is also toxic to fish and must then be converted to nitrate. The nitrate is not nearly as toxic and is taken up by plants or algae and used to help them grow. Nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia are also removed through the weekly water changes. Because high levels of ammonia and nitrite are lethal for fish, it is critical that these products be efficiently removed or converted to nitrate.
Maintaining a population of bacteria that can convert ammonia and nitrite is an important part of the water chemistry, and the process is known as biological filtration. Biological filtration will occur naturally in most tanks that have been up and running for a couple of months. The better filters often contain a special area or wheel that is made specifically for providing an optimal habitat for growing these bacteria. While the bacteria will live in a traditional filter and on rocks etc.
If a fish tank is over crowded, or the waste level gets too high through overfeeding or dead fish etc. Periodically checking the ammonia and nitrite levels in your tank with a test kit will ensure that your biological filter is working correctly.
Tanks that have a healthy plant population will also aid in the removal of nitrates. Because it takes weeks to months for a tank to grow a healthy population of bacteria, it is important that a tank be allowed to age before fish are added.
After the tank ages several weeks with only a few hardy fish, more fish can be slowly added over a couple of months to make sure the biological filter is not overloaded.
Copper Copper is not found in any significant levels in most water supplies, but it can be toxic to fish if it is present in larger amounts.
In homes that have uncoated copper plumbing and soft water, a small amount of copper may leach into the water supply. In addition, some parts of the country will also have a small percentage of copper in their water source.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
There are commercial test kits available for copper if you feel that your water may contain copper. Polyfilters, chemical copper removers e.The important role of alkalinity in your reef tank
Nitrate High levels of nitrate can be present in the water of wells contaminated from fertilizer, agricultural run off, or sewage. These nitrates are dangerous to humans as well as livestock. Nitrates can be removed by reverse osmosis or specialized nitrate removing chemicals. Chlorine Chlorine is commonly added to water supplies to disinfect the water and can be harmful to fish.