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Re: Test Kit questions

I will answer what I can-

Kes-Nicole writes:

<Snip>< My son has a small
> tank whose nitrites are very high.  What do we do now?  Just water changes,
> or is there a balance that is off balance that needs correcting?

If the tank and filtration system has been running a while then you either
have too little filter for the tank, or too many fish for the tank.  Your
filter is more than just a "dirt catcher".  It is actually a miature sewage
treatment plant.  It should provide a place for benificial bacteria to grow.
Some bacteria process ammonia into nitrites.  Other bacteria convert nitrites
into nitrates.  The nitrates are far less toxic to the fish than the other
two.  Your REGULAR water change of 10% per week, or 20% every 2 weeks will
remove a certain aof nitrate each time you do it.  This will keep it in check.
As you expressed that it is a small tank, I am guessing it is overstocked, and
the number of fish should be reduced.

> How bout for the fish and plant tank of mine?  Do I really need a CO2 kit,
> dissolved oxygen kit, hardness (GH & KH) kit, iron kit, etc.<snip >>
Some folks will say yes, others no.  You must remember that CO2 kits and 700
watt lighting systems are for folks who want absolute maximum growth and
propagation.  If you are getting plants to survive and grow fast enough to
satisfy you, then you are doing all you need.  Hardness kits are more
significant if you are keeping fish with specific requirements along those
lines, such as discus, which need very SOFT water, or mbunas which need very
HARD water.  For plants, you only need to test your supply occasionally to
make sure you aren't running nearly distilled levels of minerals in your
water.  This is almost (Note: almost ) unheard of from the tap.  There is a
list on the Krib (<A HREF="http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~aquaria/Krib/">
http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~aquaria/Krib/</A> ) of deficiency symptoms, which
will clue you as to what your plants need once you read it and pay attention
to it.  Print the list out and keep it handy.

I'll leave the rest of the questions for others to handle.

Bob Dixon