A Few Frequently Asked Questions About Filter and Bacteria Boosters-Water Dechlorinators-pH Buffers
How should I prepare new tap water before adding it to my aquarium?
Fill a plastic bucket with tap water, and add the required amount of AquaSafe to make it safe for the fish (5ml per 10 litres). Leave the water standing for an hour or two to allow gasses to equalise, and during this time warm it up so it is a similar temperature to the aquarium. This can be done by adding a little boiled water. You can then carry out your water change and any maintenance, and top the aquarium back up with the conditioned water.
Is fluoride in tap water harmful to my fish?
Fluoride is found naturally in freshwater at concentrations of 0.01 – 0.3mg/l, and in saltwater at 1.2 – 1.5mg/l. In some regions, fluoride is added to tap water at a concentration of around 1mg/l, to reduce tooth decay. Whilst this is not a problem for marine fish and invertebrates, it is higher than freshwater fish experience in their natural environment.
There has been relatively little research done on fluoride toxicity to ornamental fish, so much of what is known comes from work on fish that we do not keep in aquariums and ponds. The toxicity of fluoride to freshwater fish depends on water temperature and water hardness, being more toxic in warmer, softer water. For sensitive species in soft water (e.g. specialist Discus aquariums), the fluoride levels present in fluoridated tap water might be sufficient to affect behaviour and long-term health. However, it is unlikely that it could cause any immediate harm.
As water hardness is reasonably high in many areas that are fluoridated, and many ornamental species are quite hardy, it is unlikely that the levels included in tap water will cause any harm at all. Flouride added in tap water will be removed over time by plants and other biological / chemical processes.
In most cases, it is unlikely that any action needs to be taken. However, concerned aquarium and pond owners can simply ensure that they only replace a portion of water at a time. For example, a 25% water change, using tap water containing 1mg/ fluoride, will give a total concentration of just 0.25mg/l. The need for using tap water in aquariums and ponds can be further reduced by using Tetra EasyBalance and Tetra Pond WaterBalance.
Is it okay to use water from a softener for my aquarium or pond?
No. Domestic water softeners replace minerals such as calcium and carbonate with others such as sodium and chloride. This creates less natural water, in which the fish may not be as healthy. It is better to use tap water that has been treated with AquaSafe for water changes and topping up.
For species of tropical fish that require artificially softened water (e.g. Discus), you should use water that has been treated with a Reverse Osmosis unit. This removes all minerals, creating pure water that can then be mixed with tap water to create the correct conditions. Your aquatics outlet can advise you further on this.
Is tap water safe for my aquarium or pond?
No. Tap water has disinfectants such as chlorine and chloramines added to it, to make it safe for us to drink. In addition, it may contain a variety of heavy metals. All of this are toxic to fish, and must be removed before it can safely be used. This is easily done by treating new tap water with AquaSafe.
Is water hardness important for fish?
Yes. Hardness refers to the level of certain essential minerals in the water. Carbonate hardness (KH) is important because it keeps the pH (acidity) of the water stable. Both KH and General hardness (GH) are also important for the health and vitality of the fish. Recommended levels for the majority of tropical, pond, and goldfish are 3 - 10°dH for KH, and 6 - 16°dH for GH. Some specialist tropical fish require specific water hardness values that may be higher or lower than these general recommendations.
What is the difference between GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness)?
When measured with a TetraTest kit, GH primarily refers to the concentration of calcium and magnesium in the water, whereas KH refers to the concentration of bicarbonate and carbonate. GH is important for the general health and well-being of fish, and KH is important for maintaining a stable pH (acidity).
Why is the ammonia and nitrite high in my new aquarium or pond?
High ammonia or nitrite in a new pond or aquarium is not uncommon, and is commonly referred to as ‘New Tank / Pond Syndrome’. It occurs because the filter needs time to develop a population of ammonia and nitrite-removing (nitrifying) bacteria. When fish are added, they begin to produce ammonia. This rises until there are sufficient bacteria to remove it from the water. They turn this ammonia into nitrite, so this then rises until there are enough bacteria to turn it all into harmless nitrate.
If too many fish are added at once, or if fish are added too quickly, the ammonia and / or nitrite levels can rise to a point where they are dangerous to the fish. At this stage a water change must be done to dilute them. For this reason, traditionally it is recommended that new ponds or aquariums are stocked slowly, to avoid dangerous rises in these substances. Ideally, you should add a few fish, and then test the water every couple of days to monitor the rise and fall in ammonia and nitrite. Once it reaches safe levels, a few more fish can be added, and so on.
In aquariums, a faster and safer approach is to use Tetra SafeStart whenever fish are added. This contains the bacteria responsible for removing ammonia and nitrite, and thus biologically activates the filter much more rapidly. It allows the safer introduction of fish to new aquariums, and means you can add more fish to the aquarium at any one time. Simply add SafeStart at the same time as new fish are introduced.
Why do I need to use a water conditioner?
Tap water is formulated to ensure it is safe for us to drink, with strong disinfecting agents such as chlorine. Although harmless to us, these are toxic to fish and other aquatic animals. It is therefore essential to condition tap water to make it safe, before adding it to the aquarium. This is done by filling a plastic bucket with tap water and adding Tetra AquaSafe to it. AquaSafe removes chlorine and other harmful components, and also improves the overall quality of the water with vitamins and protective ingredients. Once AquaSafe has been added, bring the temperature of the water up to that of the aquarium, and carry out your water change.
Why has the water gone cloudy in my new aquarium?
Before the filter has time to develop its own population of micro-organisms, it is not uncommon for them to grow in the water itself. This ‘cloud’ of microscopic life can give the water a hazy or cloudy appearance. In itself it is not harmful, and should pass within a week or so (a partial water change can be done if it is very severe). However, you should check the water for ammonia and nitrite to ensure they are not also high. If they are, add Tetra SafeStart to the water.
Nutrafin Cycle Biological Filter Additive
Enjoy your aquarium immediately with new, powerful, fast acting Nutrafin Cycle.
Fish keeping, like life, is all about balance. Fish will only thrive when their water is in perfect harmony, with enough good bacteria available to neutralise harmful ammonia and nitrite. That's why Nutrafin have completely re-formulated Cycle, their flagship biological supplement, to make it faster, more powerful and easier to use.
Introduce Fish Immediately*
Nothing is more frustrating than staring at an empty aquarium, waiting for it to complete a fishless cycling process. With new Nutrafin Cycle you can now enjoy your new aquatic world straight away as the fast acting formula immediately creates a habitable environment for your fish.
New Easy-Measure Cap
Cycle comes with a new easy-measure 20ml dosage cap marked in 5ml increments, so whatever size your aquarium you can be confident the dosage is correct.
New Nutrafin Cycle has been developed using the latest advances in bio-technology and has achieved improved bacterial stability, higher activity levels and an ultra pure concentrated product for unparalleled consistent performance from every bottle.
Whether you're a new or experienced fish keeper, new Nutrafin Cycle is essential to ensure a safe, balanced home for your fish.
*Nutrafin Cycle will allow immediate stocking of fish when all necessary conditions have been provided, including correct temperature, proper filtration and the application of Nutrafin Aqua Plus. Fish should be introduced gradually over several weeks.
New Cycle features five times the biomass of the current generation (500mg vs. 100mg per litre), significantly increasing the speed at which these robust beneficial bacteria populate the aquarium as well as being able to immediately metabolise greater quantities of ammonia and nitrite. The new Cycle formulation has been supercharged and more readily adapts and responds to demanding conditions.
Cycle is composed of 5 strains of nitrifying bacteria. In addition to this, heterotrophic bacteria are also included to complement the actions of the included nitrifyers by converting organic waste to inorganic (ammonia & nitrite) compounds for conversion to nitrate.
Lab testing has clearly demonstrated new Cycle to be able to metabolise up to 40mg/L of ammonia in approximately 24 hrs. The new Cycle features a robust group of bacteria that are highly adaptive and responsive.