Aquarium, Part II

I decided to proceed with decorating the aquarium on Friday after work. I wanted to wait until all the materials for the tank came in the mail but they won’t be coming in until Monday (according to UPS tracking). Monday would be a horrible time for me to set up the filter and decorate the tank because I knew it was going to take me hours and I didn’t want to stay up late AGAIN on a work night. No harm in decorating early, right?



My lady bugs are absolutely adorable in the tank! I made them out of Premo! Scupley and baked it on Friday. They were the last ones to go into tank on Friday πŸ™‚ I went ahead and tested the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels of the tank. I was expecting the pH of my tap water to be around a 7.5 and my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate to be at 0 ppm.


I was wrong. It was hard to figure out the pH for the water since the color chart for 7.6-8.2 all look VERY similar. I concluded that looked like an 8.1 since the color seemed a little between 8.0 and 8.2. My husband, Chae, thought it looked more like it was between 7.4 and 7.8. What do you guys think?

Ammonia levels were at 0.50 ppm and nitrite and nitrate at 0 ppm. I’m not quite sure how the ammonia levels are anything but 0 ppm since the only ways I knew to raise the ammonia levels is by fish feces and left over uneaten food in the aquarium. So, naturally, I thought our tap water might contain some ammonia in it, which isn’t unheard of. So, I tested our tap water straight from the tap.


The pH looked to be about an 8.0 and ammonia is 0 ppm. That means that it’s not our tap water and something with the fish tank! It could be the ornaments I put in but I’m blaming it mostly on the second hand filter we received. No matter, I’m happy that there is ammonia in our tank right now because with it, we are able to go through the nitrogen cycle without fish in it! I wish we had all our filter material ready so that I could get some bacteria growing there, but oh wells.

If you’re a little confused by all the ammonia and nitrogen cycle talk I just did, I found this link to be especially helpful in explaining why I’m not concerned with the ammonia levels being anything but at 0 ppm.

Fish feces contains a TON of ammonia that are extremely toxic to fish. However, when there are colonies of beneficial bacteria in your fish tank, they eat the ammonia when it is released into the water. After eating the ammonia, they excrete nitrites which are also pretty toxic to fish. However, there are also another group of beneficial bacteria that grows in your tank that will eat the nitrites and excrete nitrates (notice the difference, -ites vs -ates). Nitrates are toxic to fish, too, but not as toxic as the former two. Depending on the fish you’re keeping, nitrate levels can go up to 20 ppm to 40 ppm without it harming your fish. Nitrates are easily removed from the water by doing a water change on your fish tank.

How exactly are the bacteria grown? I’m not entirely sure! I just know they do and you know they’re in your tank when your ammonia levels goes up and then goes back down to 0 ppm. I also know that bacteria can’t grow or live for very long in the aquarium if there aren’t any slimy surfaces for them to attach to. The slimy surface will naturally form in your tank once you have water in it.

The rest of the tank stuff will come in tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have more to show you of the fish tank on Wednesday!

Night all!


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