Tropical water chemistry can be quite an in-depth subject but here we will try to cover the basics, this will include the nitrogen cycle in its basic form. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphates, where they come from, what they do and how to prevent or remove them from the aquaria.
So firstly we have set up our aquarium, we have our box full of water, we have the heater in and the tank is up to temperature and now we want to add fish, so why can't we just put fish in the tank? The reason is that the water which comes from the taps in our homes is made fit for human consumption, and not necessarily fit for fish to live in. This is done by means of adding various chemicals, such as chlorine or chloramines, fluorides, fluoramines and a lot of other nasties, a typical list can be found on your local authority website.
So the water has to be prepared by removing these contaminants, and so we add a water conditioner. This removes these elements and make the water safe for fish to live in. Another method of purifying the water is to filter the water through a reverse osmosis machine, and then add back in the elements we desire.
Once we have added the water conditioner, we must then consider fish waste and the consequences, and how to combat the effects.