The key for success is testing the water for ammonia and nitrites, and taking action quickly when problems occur. To aid in tracking the status of your aquarium, links to charts for logging your tests can be found under the charts section of this page. Each chart shows the danger zones and offers steps to reduce toxins before they result in loss of your fish.
Test for ammonia: Begin testing for ammonia on day three after adding the fish, and continue testing every day until the ammonia begins to drop. After the ammonia begins to fall, continue testing every other day until the ammonia reaches zero. Using the chart provided, plot the ammonia levels. Should ammonia reach the danger zone, take steps as shown on the chart. If at any time fish show signs of distress, such as rapid breathing (gilling), clamped fins, erratic swimming, or hanging at the surface for air, take immediate action to lower the ammonia level. Chemicals such as Ammo-Lock will quickly neutralize toxic ammonia.
Test for nitrites: Begin testing for nitrites one week after adding the fish. Continue testing every second or third day, until the nitrite level reaches zero. Using the chart provided, plot the nitrite levels and take steps as shown on the chart if nitrite reaches the danger zone. If at any time fish show signs of distress, such as rapid breathing or hanging near the surface seemingly gasping for air, test for nitrite. If levels are elevated perform an immediate 25-50% water change and test daily until levels drop.
What Not To Do
Have questions? Continue to Page 3 for answers to the most commonly asked questions.