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FishLore.com's Freshwater Aquarium Book


AQUARIUM WATER CHEMI STRY
Anyone wanting to be successful at the tropical fish and aquarium hobby must put forth the
time necessary to understand some basic fish tank water chemistry. Understanding aquarium
water chemistry will help your fish to not only survive but thrive!
I recommend that you get a good aquarium water testing kit or many individual kits. You will
need kits that will test for the following:
? Ammonia
? Nitrite
? Nitrate
? pH
? Water Hardness
? Chlorine / Chloramine
Definitions
Aerobic Bacteria
This is bacteria that requires oxygen to live.
Anaerobic Bacteria
This is bacteria that can live without the presence of oxygen, or bacteria that does not require
oxygen.
Ammonia
This chemical is the result of fish waste and decomposing food in the aquarium. Ammonia is the
leading killer of tropical fish. New tanks that are going through the aquarium cycle or heavily
stocked tanks will show ammonia readings with your test kits. Ideally, we want the ammonia
reading to be 0 ppm.
Chloramine
Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. It is a stronger disinfectant than chlorine
alone and is used in areas where this extra disinfectant is needed. As with chlorine, you must
eliminate this chemical from your tap water before adding it to your aquarium or it too will kill
your tropical fish.
Chlorine
This chemical is found in most tap water and it is used to kill the bad bacteria in our drinking
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