Owning an aquarium entails not only cleaning the tank regularly, but also ensuring that the quality of the water is at its optimum levels. Oxygen levels in an aquarium should e tested regularly or it can have deadly consequences for the fish that live in the tank. If there is not enough oxygen, this condition is known as hypoxia, which may ultimately lead to the death of the fish.
To avoid hypoxia, you need to test aquarium oxygen levels. Here’s what you need to do.
- Determine the type of test kit you will need. You must know what type of water you use in your aquarium, either fresh water or salt water. Different kits test for different aspects of the water quality so you must specify if you are testing for dissolved oxygen.
- Purchase an oxygen level test kit designed for aquariums. These are readily available at pet stores, aquarium suppliers and also online retailers. Some tests may have slight variations so read the manufacturer’s instructions before use. For example, Tetra sells oxygen test kits for about $10 for a pack of 30.
- Get a sample of the aquarium water in the vial provided. A test kit usually comes with different reagents. Depending on the brand, you will need to place a small sample of the water and then place a few drops of the reagent.
- Don’t shake the mixture since this may affect the accuracy of the results. Make sure you follow the instructions. Most tests should be done away from sunlight, since the light may also affect the results.
- Allow enough time before checking the results to give the reagent enough time to react with the water.
- Compare the color change in the water mixture with that of the chart provided. Some test kits make your hold up the water mixture and the sample chart against the light. This allows for a more accurate reading, instead of comparing results based on colors printed on cardboard paper.
- The ideal dissolved oxygen level for an aquarium should be around 7 parts per million dissolved oxygen. Any lower and the fish become susceptible to disease.
- If you realize that your oxygen levels are too low, there are several things you can do to remedy the situation. Check if your oxygen pump is working. Also, avoid over crowding the fish. Another step you can take immediately is to avoid feeding the fish when the oxygen levels are low as feeding can further decrease the levels. You may also adjust the water temperature, since higher temperatures decrease oxygen levels. Finally, you may also add more aquatic plants to increase oxygen production.
- Perform the test on a weekly basis, or more if you suspect there is a problem with your tank water and equipment.
Aside from testing the oxygen levels of the tank, you also need to ensure that the pH levels of the water are correct. Make sure that the fish that you choose for your tank are appropriate for the environment, and that you avoid overcrowding. With a few routine maintenance checks, you can enjoy your aquarium for many years to come!