Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2015


Wednesday, February 26, 2014


The most important secret in goldfish keeping is CONSISTENCY. Ranchu, as most goldfish, are strong and adaptable to a variety of water chemistry and temperatures. However, it is often a mistake to chose one set of "ideal" parameters, as recommended in common literature and try to change exciting water chemistry to those standards. For example, shifting pH and what is even more difficult keeping it at a certain level. Obviously, complete understanding of water chemistry is necessary - pH, hardness, buffering capacity, nitrate cycle, etc. But more important here is to recognize the acceptable range of parameters present in the current water and keep them stable within the range. This will provide needed consistency.

In my case, the tap water is well buffered but more alkaline, with pH ranging between 8.1 and 8.2. The ranchu adapted to this pH and will be doing fine, as long as I will maintain consistency. At this higher pH level, however, ammonia becomes more toxic and even small traces of it can be stressful on fish. So, my attention was given to building a sufficient bio-filter, that has been doing a great job so far in keeping the ammonia and nitrite levels at their lowest. Weekly 90% water changes further reduce nitrates and thus my water parameters are kept stable.

I acquired a couple of new gadgets to help me to monitor the water. One is a digital pH meter, that instantly reads pH and gives me an idea about the overall stability. Another gadget is a digital infrared thermometer that I use during the water changes and to help me to decide on the amount and frequency of food while temperatures fluctuate. It is instant accurate and very convenient. One thing to remember with infrared thermometers however, is that they ONLY read temperature of the surface. I usually take readings of the surface that is agitated by the air bubbles.

EcoTestr pH2 by Oakton
Fluke 62 MAX+ IR Thermometer