Multi Purpose

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Frequently Asked Questions...

what do i need to start my 90 gallon aquarium?

I recently purchased a multi-purpose water conditioning agent to remove clhronie and improve slime coat. as well a s a bio-conditioning agent with good bacteria, and prevention from ammonia and nitrates.

also, what test kits should i purchase?i know i HAVE to purchase a PH test kit, what about ammonia, nitrates and carbon?

please any suggestions and opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Best Answer...


Believe it or not you don't HAVE to test PH. In fact, you are best off not worrying about it at all because it's really not recommended that you adjust it - adjusting it can easily lead to instabilities. Don't get me wrong, your friendly local pet shop certainly wants you to buy it all and they get their employees to believe a lot of nonsense.

Our fish are captive bred and have a wide tolerance for PH - the only important element is stability. Tap water will not be too acid or basic for the fish because it would ruin the pipes - it's just right for our fish almost all the time. I'll bet you a million points your fish store uses the same tap water you do if they're local.

Except for conditioner to combat the metals, try not to complicate things by dumping chemicals into the tank. All the fish ask for is clean water and a good diet to live healthy for years - this theory has helped keep my tanks and fish long lived and problem free for many years. I don't even use carbon in the filters - just sponge. To keep carbon effective you pretty much have to change it with each water change, and for the most part there's not much for it to do in the first place (plus it can't distinguish and not absorb good elements in the water)

Let's break down that Miracle conditioning agent: You don't need anything to deal with ammonia because you should be letting the tank cycle - a cycled tank deals with its own ammonia. You don't need anything to deal with nitrates because you should be doing water changes each week to keep the tank healthy and they can be removed that way. Those products don't remove nitrates, they just change them. So all that's left is bacteria, and bacteria in a bottle has a history of being pretty ineffective - I won't say anything about that product since I've never used it - just don't expect much.

If you really want to cycle the tank fast, and I mean instantly, get filter media from an established tank (a friend or the fish store) and put it into your own filter. There you go, healthy bacteria and a cycled tank. How much fish load it can support depends on how much you got, and how crowded the tank it came from was, but this is without question the fastest way to get things done.

Regardless, an ammonia teset is the only real NEED, while you set up your tank. If you can't seed the tank and will go through a full cycle, you'll want nitrIte as well.

NitrAte isn't a NEED, but testing regularly it's a great way to keep tabs of the condition of your water and how your water changes are keeping up. From my experience a well set up and kept tank with moderate stocking can hold at less then 15 nitrates with partial weekly water changes. There are ways to making the maintenance super easy, but that's another issue.

Good luck, that's a nice tank - I use my 90 for my "high ph" Malawi cichlids.

(All my fish, including 'soft' or 'low ph' fish, live in the same PH 8 water, and all do great and live long, I don't suggest things without experience first)