The first Water Change Wednesday! July 8th

This week is a little bit special compared to what I had been doing for water changes in the past few months. Because of the lack of decorations in the tank until now, I’ve been able to use a gravel vacuum with a two inch diameter and really dig into the gravel and make sure everything gets picked up.

The large wood piece in the tank is a recent addition, introduced at the end of last weeks water change, so I haven’t had to deal with the issue of working around it until now.

Image borrowed from

This weeks “before” water parameters are:

  • GH: 120
  • KH: 80
  • pH: 6.5
  • NO2(nitrites): 0
  • NO3(nitrates): 40
  • Ammonia: 1.0  ppm

This weeks “after” water parameters are:

  • GH: 120
  • KH: 80
  • pH: 6.5
  • NO2(nitrites): 0
  • NO3(nitrates): 30
  • Ammonia: 0.5 ppm

    API Ammonia Test Strips 1
    Image borrowed from

Now obviously, the nitrates should be much lower after a 25% water change. I’m pretty unhappy with this, but I’m pretty sure I know what the culprit is. Or should I say culprits? My seven obnoxiously friendly platys are eating, and pooping machines! And with the amount of places I just couldn’t go this time with my beast of a gravel vac I’m really not surprised at the high nitrate level.

Now before you judge me I do have a plan to remedy the situation!

My fiance, Aidan, recently purchased a 29 gallon tank from a coworker and it came with everything. Gravel, a filter, heater, hood, stand, relatively boring backing, and most importantly, a smaller diameter gravel vacuum!

From now on I’ll be doing two water changes per week, on mondays and fridays. I’d prefer to keep the nitrates below 20, the lower the better really. I also plan to add three baby amazon swords, which will consume some but not nearly enough nitrates. I also plan to get those babies growing quickly so I can start replacing the fake plants with real ones. Because lets be real here, it’s just nicer when its natural. I also want to add some hornwort among other things, but that’s a story for another post.

Back to the water parameters! My general hardness comes in at 120 ppm(parts per million) on the API strips scale, which turns into about 6.7 degrees of water hardness (DH). This works for my fish and shrimp, but doesn’t work for my snails. Turbo and Dali need much more calcium than what my water provides so they can keep those cute little horns growing nice and strong. For this I’ll be cooking up something called snail jello! I have a recipe for this, but again, that’s a story for another post. Actually after writing this I have multiple posts to write, I’ve probably written something super confusing because I’ve stopped myself from going off on tangents like six times.

So things to look forward to: an explanation of basic water chemistry, plans for fish and plants, snail jello recipe, and a tank population update! Looks like a busy week for this girl.

Remember people! Happy fish, happy keepers! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s