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Goldfish Tank Water Quality

Different Types of Goldfish Tankmates

Aquarium water quality is something that every goldfish owner needs to think about on a regular basis. Checking pH, amonia, nirtrite, and nitrite level is necessary to maintain a proper balance for goldfish.

New tanks will face a problem with ammonia as they lack the bacteria necessary in removing the ammonia. Only after several months will a tank begin to develop helpful bacteria that automatically break down the toxic ammonia into nitrite, only slightly less toxic. As this will not remove all the ammonia from the water, a biological filter will be in the best interest of the tankmates. The longer you can let a new tank rest before adding new tankmates, but staring at an empty fish can get really boring. Be sure to check the water quality often, and make water changes as needed.

Checking aquarium water quality is very simple with any number of testing products, and kits. Regular water checks lead to healthy happy goldfish. It is important to check for...

pH
Measured of a scale of 1 to 14, pH is the acidity or alkalinity of your aquairum water. Goldfish do especially well in the 7.2 - 7.6 range. While goldfish can withstand variations in pH better than some other fish, is it good to keep your pH level in line otherwise you could end up with dead fish. Doing partial water changes on a regular basis in the easiest way to maintain you tanks pH.

Low pH
Acidic conditions result with a low pH, and can be caused by an excess of fish waste in the tank water. Acidic water can weaken your fish. A goldfish in an acidic tank will display some of the following symptoms.

  • anorexia
  • excess slime
  • isolation, fish resting on the bottom of tank
  • blood streaking in the fins
  • death

High pH
Alkaline conditions occur when the pH is too high. When the pH level are high ammonia can become more toxic. A goldfish in an alkaline tank will display some of the following symptoms.

  • excess slime
  • gasp at the surface
  • death

Ammonia
Causing many problems with your goldfish's health, Ammonia is made up of fish waster, excess food, and dead fish tissue. High ammonia levels can be lethal, while low levels of ammonia can cause goldfish to produce excess mucus, and turn a red color in their fins. The best level of ammonia is none, but if ammonia is found immediate water changes should occur. In emergency cases an 80% water change can be necessary to keep goldfish alive. Ammonia by itself is bad enough, but add a high water temperature and a high pH level and your entire tank could end up floating belly up. A goldfish in a tank with an ammonia level can display some of the following symptoms.

  • Isolation
  • Lie on the bottom of the tank
  • Clamped fins
  • Secrete excess slime or mucus.
  • Red fins
  • Death

Regular water changes and keeping an eye on pH level is the best defense against an ammonia buildup in the aquarium water.

Nitrite
Another dangerous aquarium chemical, it is very important to keep nitrite levels below .25 ppm, but ideally 0ppm. High nitrite level reduce the ability for the goldfish to get enough oxygen, suffocating the fish. Nitrate occurs naturally in tank water as the ammonia breaks down. By keeping your tanks ammonia level down, nitrite levels will also be low. Having a large tank with only a few fish is a good rule of thumb anyway, but it's great in keeping nitrite levels low.

Nitrate
Created when your aquairum breaks down nitrite by the natural bacteria in the tank, or by actions of plants or algea. While nitrite is not harmful to goldfish, it is a result of all the bad things in a tank which can be cause for alarm.  Keeping your nitrate levels below 40ppm can be achieved by regular water changes.

Hard Water
When there is a high presence of dissolved minerals in the tank water, the water would be considered hard. On the other hand, a low presence of dissolved minerals would be considered soft water. Goldfish can do fine in either.

Water Density
The amount of salt in the tank water refers to the water's density. While goldfish will not live in salt water, adding a small amount of salt to the tank water will not kill your goldfish. A .03% salt solution is a typical way to help boost a gold fish's immune system. Freshwater aquarium salt should be used.

Chlorine
Chlorine is not suitable for any aquarium water, and many product are out there to remove it. Most water conditioners will  remove ammonia, toxic metals, and chlorine.

Aeration
By increasing the oxygen that a goldfish will recieve is considered aeration. Aeration benefits that goldfish, and the natural nitirifcation of waste products. Aeration diffuses in the oxygen into the tank water and diffuses out the waste gase, including ammonia. A regular filter, or a airstone can complete this process. It is important to keep the water agitated to keep it from going stale.