Re: [RML] Water quality and pH

Bruce Hansen (bruceh at
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 22:13:04 +1000

G'day Ed

I guess you're right - we all like to have a heap of fish in our tanks and
never enough plants to make enough difference


Bruce Hansen, A.N.G.F.A., Advancing Australian Aquatics.

Bruce Hansen, ANGFA, caring for our aquatic ecosystems.

Please visit us at

----- Original Message -----
From: Ed <erom at>
To: <rainbowfish at>
Sent: Tuesday, 17 August 1999 13:48
Subject: [RML] Water quality and pH

> Bruce,
> Regarding water quality testing, assuming that we are taking about
> an established fish tank, with a good gravel bed, water flow,
> in a location with slightly alkaline water supply,
> as most are; imho I think that the best indicator for
> the interval required for gravel vacuuming and water change is:
> nitrate concentration.
> Unfortunately the nitrate test does not seem to be available in
> convenient "dip stick" or continuous monitoring sensor/probe.
> Nevertheless there are practical and economical "manual" nitrate test kits
> in aquarium stores.
> After learning how to test for nitrate I have been amazed at how
> far off my intuition regarding water quality has been. Let face it many
> of us end up with tanks that are overloaded with fish. These tanks
> require more frequent water changes. There is also the wide misconception
> of plants "removing nitrate". While it is true that in nature there are
> definite examples of wetlands with aerobic-anerobic-carbon cycle nitrate
> I have not seen any fish tank that comes even close to nitrate closed
> bio cycle, the only practical approach is the true and tried:
> regular water chance and gravel vacuum.
> Once the volume and time between water changes is established
> continual water monitoring is no longer necessary, for years!
> Regards
> Ed