View Full Version : are these levels alright????

04-11-2003, 01:34 PM
I would like to know the right levels of water quality for my mawlawi cics, 13 of them all about 2.5" in a 55. This is what i came up with..
<0.3 mg/l of NO2
18-17 GH
12 KH
8 PH
0.25 mg/l NH3 +NH4
9-10 mg/l CO2

I hope somone could tell me if i'm in the right levels. All i really know is that the PH is good.

Also interested in website that would have all the levels:oops: :oops: :oops:

oh yeah, this was done with a tetra test kit from wall mart.

04-11-2003, 03:48 PM
yeh, thos elook pretty good.

04-12-2003, 04:58 PM
Hi seamonkey,

You should have zero ammonia and zero nitrite anything other than zero indicates a water quality problem. How much water and how often do you change it?

Your GH/KH are a liitle high. I like my GH tp be btwn 8-12 and my KH to be @14. In actuality my gh is 10 and my kh is 16. I have found that your KH in a Malawi tank as in nature should be higher than your GH.

The most immediate cause for alarm is the ammonia/nitrite-you need to do a 50% water change now, and find out what the problem is.

Its either to little water changes, bad tap water(dont think so though), or maybe a dead fish some where.
Or inadequate filtration, or cycling not complete. But you need to deal with it quickly, especially since you have young fish.

Even if you purchased a test kit from Wal-Mart you should again have zero NH3/4 and zero NO2.

Whats the filtration on the tank, how long has it been set-up????

Get back to us:nervous:



04-12-2003, 06:10 PM
seamonkey: Heed Matt's reply to your question!
Your fish are in immediate danger from the ammonia and nitrite (NO2), specifically!! :nervous:
The only acceptable level for both of these is 0ppm. At a pH of 8, the ammonia level is ten times higher than if the pH were neutral at 7. That means that it is that much more likely to cause harm/death to your fish if the situation is not remedied. The temperature of the water also affects the killing effect of ammonia/nitrite. It is always toxic, but will take only slightly longer to kill at lower temps.

The nitrates are a little different. In some cases fish can tolerate as high as 40ppm, but you don't want to keep that high a level over time. Ideally it should be under 20ppm. The only way to lower any of the readings would be to do a water change as Matt suggested. You then need to follow up with regular water changes of about 25%-30% every week.

Also check the following things:

1) Is there a dead fish hiding in the tank somewhere?
2) Are you over feeding the fish?
3) Is the filter media in need of cleaning/changing?
4) Have you not been following a regular water change/cleaning schedule?
5) Is your bio-load too large for the filtration you have?
6) Is the filtration you have adequate to filter the entire tank's volume at least once per hour?

If your answer to any of these questions is NO or I DON'T KNOW then you need to rectify the situation immediately in order to keep your fish alive and healthy.

As for the water hardness, Malawians do well in water that has a GH of about 150ppm and a KH of about 120ppm to 150ppm. Remember that the KH is related to pH. Your pH is a little low for Malawians; IMO it should be at 8.2.

Before you change anything in terms of pH, make sure the other conditions of the water are straightened out first!

04-13-2003, 01:32 PM
Okay, I water changed close to 30%, and ran the same checks one day later(twice). I came up with:

Nitrates: Less than 0.3 mg/L (the test only lets me be this accurate)
GH: 17 (same)
KH: 12 (same)
PH: 8 (same) it's 8.3 out of my tap.
NH3 & NH4: 0 mg/L (was 0.25 MG/L)
CO2: 3.5 mg/l (miscalc from above stated 9-10)

Whisper 60 (max flow)
Whisper 20-40 (max flow)

Playsand bout 1" - 2" deep and an ave Temp of 79F

I have been changing 5 gal every week and a large 20 gal once a month.

All of my fish are visably healthy. :)

04-13-2003, 01:33 PM
The tank is cycled.

04-13-2003, 04:19 PM

That's a lot better! If I were you I would do a 50% WATER CHANGE WEKLY. In a 55 that shoudn't be to much work. it will be well worth the effort. I wouldn't worry about your CO2 unless you have a planted tank.



04-13-2003, 06:05 PM

Unless you're keeping wild caught fish or are having trouble breeding certain species, I wouldn't worry too much about the specific water parameters in your tank for general husbandry purposes (other than those related immediately to the nitrogen cycle). The important thing is stability.

Most captive bred Malawians are quite adaptable, so I am concerned you're worrying too much about a point or two here and there. That could lead to damaging experimentation with your water parameters. Again, look to provide stable conditions first. Test your tap water. If it is significantly different than your tank water, you need to be preparing large amounts in advance for use with water changes (i.e. filter over crushed coral, etc. to achieve the levels you require). My sense, though, is you are using standard tap water, and that appears to be just fine. In fact, that's one of the real tricks of successful fishkeeping.... keeping species that can thrive in your area's tap water. So, your in for trouble if you want to switch to Discus!

Having said all that, there is good advice above about pH, hardness, etc. and your initial nitrite, etc. readings. In a well cycled tank, there should be no detectable ammonia or nitrite. Gradually increasing nitrate readings are to be expected and are reduced through regular water changes (primarily; live plants and chemical filtration can help). If your tank is thoroughly matured you should have no serious troubles with your water parameters. The fact that your fish are already doing well speaks to that fact.

04-13-2003, 06:29 PM
CHC is absolutely correct.

Your readings sound much better! In my 55g I change 25% of the tank's water weekly, and half it's volume every three months. I gravel vacuum every other water change (what I can get to) and then do the whole tank's gravel once every 6 weeks. This helps keep the nitrates down and the tank clean.

Whatever you decide to do with water changes, keep them regular...every week!

04-13-2003, 06:58 PM
chc, merlyn, matt. Thanks for the advice. If it's not broke don't fix it.
I'll start doing bigger water changes.
Just want the little displaced creatures to be happy. thank you

04-14-2003, 04:51 PM
That's the spirit!

At least if you have to be captive in a tank, be a happy one!

04-26-2003, 08:54 PM
In my 125 I change 30 gal/week, but then it's a labor of love, right?. LOL