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Free P&P on Live Foods & Plants

All of our Live foods and Plants now have Free P&P within the UK
Live Guarantee

Tartan Guppy provides a live guarantee where any creature or plant that unfortunately has not survived the journey will be refunded pro rata. Delivery must have been accepted on first attempt and notification must be made to ourselves within 24hrs of the item arriving. Delivery costs are non-refundable and a photograph of the creature or plant in the unopened bag must be provided with any claim.

Water Chemistry

Acclimatising Your Fish

You may have your own method for acclimatising your fish, if not here is a suggested way :

1.       Turn off aquarium lights.

2.       Dim the lights in the room where the shipping box will be opened. Never open the box in bright light - stress or trauma may result from sudden exposure to bright light.

3.       Float the sealed bag in the aquarium for 15 minutes. Never open the shipping bag at this time. This step allows the water in the shipping bag to adjust slowly to the temperature in the aquarium, while maintaining a high level of dissolved oxygen.

4.       After floating the sealed bag for 15 minutes, cut it open and either pour the fish and water into a floating container or roll the top edge of the bag down one inch to create an air pocket within the lip of the bag. This will enable the bag to float on the surface of the water.

5.       Add a small amount of aquarium water to the container.

6.       Repeat above step every 5 minutes until the container is full.

7.       Lift the container from the aquarium and discard half the water.

8.       Float it in the aquarium again and proceed to add aquarium water every 5 minutes until full.

9.       Net fish from the container and release into the aquarium.

10.    Remove the container from the aquarium and discard the water. Never release shipping water directly into the aquarium.

A Cycled Tank is a Healthy Tank

What is the Nitrogen Cycle?

The nitrogen cycle describes the process whereby ammonia products, which are secreted by animals as waste, are converted by bacteria to nitrite and then into nitrate.

Ammonia and nitrite are highly toxic to fish in very low concentrations, so establishing the bacteria colonies that quickly convert these compounds to nitrate is crucial to creating a healthy environment for fish. Nitrate are far less toxic, and can easily be removed through periodic water changes or consumption by live plants. Most fish mortality in new tanks can be traced to the lack of an established nitrogen cycle in the tank.

Fish excrete urea, which contains ammonia. In a new tank that does not have the necessary bacteria colonies, this ammonia will rapidly accumulate to the point where it is toxic to the fish. Depending on the size of the tank and the number of fish, the ammonia may become toxic within one day to a week or so.

New Tank Syndrome (NTS) describes a tank that does not have the necessary bacteria colonies, and which kills fish as a result.

Every new tank must under go what is known as Cycling. During this time you must closely watch your tank and monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. By monitoring these parameters you will be able to tell when your tank has become habitable for fish, or if it is still in the Cycling phase.

Steps of the cycle


The cycle is started when ammonia (NH3) is introduced into the tank as fish waste. This ammonia builds up until the bacteria that eat it start to form a colony (a bacteria bloom may be observed as white cloudyness within the tank), and can convert the ammonia to nitrite as fast as they are produced. When the amount of ammonia spikes, and starts to decline, you know you are going into the second phase of the cycle.


As your ammonia starts to decline, you will see the nitrite levels rise then spike. Nitrites are the byproduct of the ammonia-eating bacteria, and are also highly toxic to fish. Like the cycling in step one, you must build up enough nitrites to form a second colony of bacteria that will dispose of them as they are produced. These bacteria will in turn create nitrate. Once your levels of nitrites AND ammonia have reached 0ppm ("parts per million"), your tank is said to have been cycled.


Nitrates are the final product of the nitrogen cycle. Nitrates are not toxic to fish in low concentrations, although they become toxic somewhere above 20ppm depending on the species.

There are two methods of keeping the level of nitrates at acceptable levels. The first is regular partial water changes (20-50% every 1–4 weeks, depending on stocking levels). The second is adding plants to the tank - nitrate levels can drop to 0ppm in a heavily planted tank. However water changes are still necessary to remove other substances such as DOCs (dissolved organic compounds), solid fish waste and replenish dissolved minerals that aquatic animals and plants may need.


(Information courtesy of

"Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle" by Users Eliashc, Ilmari Karonen on en.wikipedia - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -


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