Ammonia gets converted to nitrite by the bacteria in your tank. Nitrite levels will soar in new tanks that have not yet been cycled. Nitrite is just as toxic to tropical fish as ammonia and the only way to quickly reduce nitrite levels is through a water change. Nitrites will eventually be converted to nitrate by the bacteria growing in the tank and filters. Ideally, in established tanks you want this reading to be 0 ppm with your aquarium test kit.
Nitrate : Nitrites are converted to nitrates during the cycling process. Nitrates are not as toxic as ammonia or nitrites but they are harmful and will stress your fish at high enough levels. The only way to remove the nitrates is through a partial water change. Ideally you want to have test kit readings of less than 20 ppm in fresh water tanks and even less in saltwater tanks.
Nitrogen Cycle : This cycle usually takes from 2-8 weeks to complete and will happen in all new aquariums. You could speed up the process by using the filter material or gravel from an established tank. Even then it could still take a few weeks for the tank to cycle. This is the cycle whereby Ammonia is converted to Nitrites and Nitrites are converted to Nitrates.
Carbonate Hardness (KH)
This is the measure of calcium and magnesium salts which are present in the water, especially if the water is alkaline. Soft water tends to be associated with acidic conditions while hard water is indicative of alkaline water. If pH fluctuations are being experienced, it is worth testing the pond water for hardness. If you are experiencing low levels of carbonate hardness, you may need to add minerals to the pond as your koi need a certain amount of calcium and minerals for their good health. It will help to buffer the water which will help maintain a constant pH level (using Hydra pH Buffer). This can be done by putting crushed oyster shells in the filters , or by adding a proprietary product designed for buffering the water in the pond. Certain medications also react differently in soft and hard water, so it is important to know about your water conditions should a problem arise. Generally in soft water chemicals become more toxic, while in hard water they become less so.
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. The recommended product to use to remove the chloramines is the Hydra Chloramine-T.
Chlorine : This chemical is found in most tap water and it is used to kill the bad bacteria in our drinking water. Chlorine must be eliminated before entering your aquarium or it will kill your tropical fish. The recommended product to use to remove the chlorine in regular tap water is the Hydra De-Chlorinator.
The hardness level of water has to do with the amount of minerals that are dissolved in the water. Calcium and magnesium are the primary minerals that are dissolved in tap water. "Soft" water has relatively few dissolved minerals whereas "hard" water has many dissolved minerals. Water hardness is not really an issue unless your water is excessively soft. Then you may have problems with runaway pH levels. For saltwater aquariums this is especially true. The carbonate hardness of saltwater can give you a good indication of how stable your pH is.
Water pH too low, insufficient carbonate hardness or general hardness? The best recommendation is to follow the links below on effective and safe products from Hydra International.
Oxygen (O2) : Oxygen enters the pond by the process of diffusion at the surface and at the same time carbon dioxide is released from the pond. If plants are present, the process of photosynthesis causes oxygen to be released into the water, although this is reversed at night when oxygen is absorbed by plants and carbon dioxide is given off. Oxygen levels are dramatically affected by temperature - the higher the temperature, the lower is the dissolved oxygen content of the water. This creates a catch 22 situation as your koi most need oxygen in the hot summer months just when the water is least able to hold high levels of oxygen.
pH : pH is the scale used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of water. The scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 0 being the most acidic, 7 being neutral and 14 being the most alkaline. It is possible to raise or lower your pH levels with water changes or chemicals from your local pet store.
Water pH too low, insufficient carbonate hardness or general hardness? In order to balance the right pH levels, using the Hydra pH up and Buffer will regulate and control your pH levels in your pond. Please follow the link to the full product description.
Phosphate : Phosphate can be introduced to your aquarium mainly from tap water, dead plants and fish food. High phosphate levels can cause algae outbreaks. There are products on the market to remove phosphates and you can do your part by keeping up with your aquarium maintenance and performing regular water changes. Saltwater reef tank keepers and freshwater plant keepers may want to invest in a phosphate test kit.
Phosphate levels high? hydra provides remove this chemical compound that provides nutrients to the growth of blanket weed and algae. Click the link below for full product details.
Silt : Soft, gooey, murcky black pond bottom stuff oozing between toes, staining shoes past ankles. Decaying organic contents of silt smell like rotten eggs. Wade the edge of your pond, and take a look.
Nature gives us silt, naturally. Silt is as normal as fallen leaves, grass clippings and fish poop. As a matter of fact, fallen leaves, grass clipping and fish stuff become ingredients of silt on pond bottoms all over the world.
The best way to decrease the organic and oxidizable matter is by using the Hydra Silt-Less that is ideal for ponds and small lakes.It is harmless to both humans and to your pond fish. For full product description please click on the link below.
Temperature : This has dramatic effect on koi as the lower the temperature the slower their metabolism will function. At very low temperatures their immune system will also be affected. Koi are coldwater fish, but they do benefit from being kept in a heated pond with stable water temperature. In unheated ponds temperature fluctuations cause stress, and koi are highly susceptible to disease over the autumn-winter-spring season change.