Aquarium Water Chemistry: What Do You Know

Aquarium Water Chemistry: What Do You Know

People who want to gain success at keeping an aquarium and understanding the life cycle of tropical fish varieties should know some basic things about aquarium water chemistry. Having a clear idea of this chemistry can help the fish in your aquarium survive and even thrive very well.

Aquarium Water Chemistry: What Do You Know
Aquarium Water Chemistry: What Do You Know

Understanding Aquarium Water Chemistry By Using Water Testing Kits

You can either get hold of individual kits or a water testing kit to test the following:

  • Nitrate
  • Ammonia
  • Nitrite
  • Chloramine/Chlorine
  • Water Hardness
  • pH

Definitions Of Different Elements Of Aquarium Water Chemistry


Ammonia is a chemical that forms in the aquarium because of food decomposition and fish waste. It has the potential of killing tropical fish. New tanks undergoing aquarium cycle or the ones that are stocked heavily might highlight ammonia readings through test kits. The ammonia reading for your tank should be ideally 0 ppm.


You will find this in tap water. It is used for killing harmful bacteria found in drinking water. It is necessary to eliminate chlorine in an aquarium as it has the potential of killing tropical fish.

Aquarium Water Chemistry – Copper

Copper is a heavy metal that can quickly come in with the tap water in your home, especially if your home has old copper pipes. Copper can even come into your fish tank if you have ever used copper-based medicines in your tank. This chemical can be harmful to invertebrates and fish.


It is a blend of ammonia and chlorine. It serves as a stronger disinfectant in comparison to chlorine. You can use it in all those areas where chlorine is necessary. Just as chlorine, you need to eliminate chloramine from tap water before adding it to the aquarium in your home. It is harmful to the fish in an aquarium.

Aquarium Water Chemistry: What Do You Know
Aquarium Water Chemistry: What Do You Know


These are not as harmful and toxic as nitrites or ammonia. However, they can stress the fish in an aquarium at a very high level. Nitrites convert into nitrates during the cycling procedure. One right way of eliminating nitrates is by changing water partially. Your fish tank needs to show nitrate reading of 20 ppm.


Bacteria in a fish tank convert ammonia into nitrite. The levels of nitrite will get higher in new aquariums that have not undergone any cycling procedure. Nitrites can be very harmful to tropical fish. The only way of reducing the levels of nitrate in an aquarium is by changing water frequently. Nitrites will convert into nitrates eventually by means of bacteria in the filters and the tank. The nitrate reading for your tank should be 0 ppm, ideally.

Aquarium Water Chemistry – pH

It is the scale used for measuring the alkalinity or acidity of water. This scale ranges between 0 and 14, where 0 is most acidic; 7 is neutral, and 14 is most alkaline. Water changes can help in raising or lowering pH levels in an aquarium. However, the pet stores even sell chemicals that can help aquarium owners in having the right pH scores for their tanks.

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