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Still confused about water chemistry
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Kunnagh
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Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: 2003.07.28(Mon)15:03    Post subject: Still confused about water chemistry Reply with quote

Hello

Re-joining the fish-keep habit after break of 20 years (keen teen last time) and have got hold of second hand tank, with gravel from what was apparently a successful tank. Tank filled and UGF run for a week. Now added plants yesterday, and then did water tests from kit. Results thus:

pH - 8.0
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrite - 0 ppm
KH - 8 deg KH - 140ppm
gH - off of the scale - 12 drops is 12 deg gH (210 ppm) and we took 18 drops to get solution to change to green

These last two differ completely in the notes as to the type of fish they are suitable for - the gH reading talks about cichlids and 'brackish water' fish.

We'd like to keep some simple stuff at first - guppies, platies, swordtails, cories, and so forth - is this water going to be OK, or will we have to do something about either pH or gH?

I'd be grateful for any advice/suggestions

Cheers!

Kunnagh
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Rotem
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Joined: 06 Mar 2003
Location: Albuquerque, NM

PostPosted: 2003.07.28(Mon)16:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should also check you tap water parameters, to see if they come out with these params or if it's something in your tank causing it.

I would expect your water params to fluctuate a bit before they actualy settle down. As you cycle the tank and as the plants take hold you params should change.

I think plateis & swordtails shoulnd't have any problems with your tank specs, they are strong hardy fish that you can have in the tank.
If your water params don't change in the long run, you can consider using chemicals to lower you pH, KH & gH.
Or you could consider yourself lucky to have the perfect water params for an african cichlid tank.
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kdjoergensen
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Joined: 22 Apr 2003

PostPosted: 2003.07.28(Mon)16:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

General Hardness (GH) is defined as follows:

0 - 4 dH, 0 - 70 ppm : very soft
4 - 8 dH, 70 - 140 ppm : soft
8 - 12 dH, 140 - 210 ppm : medium hard
12 - 18 dH, 210 - 320 ppm : fairly hard
18 - 30 dH, 320 - 530 ppm : hard
higher : liquid rock (Lake Malawi and Los Angeles, CA)

As you can see you have fairly hard water. For the type of fish you are considering (guppies, platies, swordtails) this is not necerssarily bad. The GH corresponds with your high pH (probably a lot calcium in your water which brings both GH and pH up .. KH similarily).

KH levels indicate that it can be somewhat difficult to bring down your pH (it takes a lot of acids to neutralize the carbonates in your water).

You could use water softning pillows to reduce the hardiness .. it will replace the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions which is not bad as most of these fish like some salt in the water to live well... do not add cories then because they are supposely very sensitive to salt...

The problem using pH-down (the type you use for pools) and other types of pH reducers is that many of them are based on phosphoric acid which is a main algae fuel..

In general, I think for the type of fish you are considering you should probably be OK. There are more knowlegable people on these boards who will be able to guide you, but if you choose your fish carefully (e.g. stay away from rasboras, neons, gouramis, etc) then your water is probably not all that bad...
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Kunnagh
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Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: 2003.07.28(Mon)17:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh dear - I think some of the family were quite looking forward to tetras... Rolling Eyes

Does this mean that we shouldn't be putting them in this environment?

I think my tank might be a bit small for cichlids - it's only 30" long, and not deep - about 100 litres in all, I reckon.

If cories won't deal with the saltiness, can someone recommend a similar habitted fish that will?

I've not seen particularly good press for water pillows elsewhere on this forum - are they really a good idea? I have to ask all this 'cos the technology all seems to have moved on since I last got my hands wet!

Cheers!
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Huntress
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Houston TX

PostPosted: 2003.07.28(Mon)21:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most fish can adapt fairly well and live very happy lives in the water you have. . If you really wanted to soften up the water you have naturaly you can use peat in your filter and that should help nicely. Also, some types of driftwood and CO2 injection (if it's a planted tank) will help to soften and lower the pH naturally and stabley (is that a word?) One of the best things to do is find out hat your local fish store's water params are at (usually they don't muck about with pH and hardness) if they are pretty close to your own you are in business. If your family really wants tetras you can go with a nice school of hardy ones like black skirts, cardinals, black neons (which in my experience can live through anything) and some others.

HTH
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Derek
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Joined: 28 Jul 2003

PostPosted: 2003.07.28(Mon)22:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think kdjoergensen has given you excellent advice. You may also try using peat to lower the pH slightly. It may bring it down to 7.8 or 7.5. However if you just leave your water the way it is, all the fish you mentioned should do just fine with the exception of corydoras

However if you have your heart set on Cory's, and I personally love them, don't add salt to your water, but choose your cory's carefully. Most like pH around 6.0 to 7.0 and much softer than what your water is but if you acclimate them really really gradually, like a week (all fish should be put in a quaranteen tank first anyhow although 95% of all fishkeepers don't) they should fair OK.

Derek
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Kunnagh
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Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: 2003.07.29(Tue)7:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All

Thanks for your prompt and helpful replies. Our tap water tests at less pH - about 7.3, but the same KH and gH. I've added my two (fairly big) bits of driftwood, so I'll keep an eye on this for a bit, and see how we go.

I'll post an update when things have settled, unless anything dramtic happens...

Ooh, one extra question - I haven't added any Aquarium Salt yet - should I still do so with this level of gH?

Cheers!
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kdjoergensen
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Joined: 22 Apr 2003

PostPosted: 2003.07.29(Tue)15:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't add aquarium salt yet.. let the tank establish and cycle and then add salt if you end up with a lot of fish which prefer brackish waters... neons and catfish do not, so do not add salt until you are sure of what you want in there...

By the way, the pH may change as you get your tank established and cycled. Tap water may have dissolved minerals and contain a fair amount of carondioxide already. Once you have the tank established and the power filter aerates the surface of the water, releasing carbondioxide, the pH may increase further (ours did), but since you have a fairly high KH (our KH is fairly low) the pH swing may not be too drastic..

In any event, I would re-test the water once the aquarium had a chance to settle...
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Kunnagh
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Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: 2003.08.15(Fri)7:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

So... two weeks (plus) on , and we have been cycling the tank with 6 Danios and 3 Guppies. I know you're all going to say 'fishless cycle', but we are where we are, so I'm asking for advice.

The ammonia and nitrite readings have not moved at all. 0ppm from day one, testing every two days or so, not seen any change. Did a 20% water change, and introduced a portion of rainwater (About 30% of the 20% was rain water) which had been standing. This was to try and soften the water a bit, and lower pH. pH didn't move, and GH came down from 18 to 16dGH.

One of the Danios was always a bit sadder looking than the others, and he died today, Sad (well, he's disappeared, we haven't found him yet). The other fish are all very bouncy, no signs of stress, danios even do the circle dance around the plants in the morning when the light comes on.

<EDIT> Found hm. Sad He'd jumped out of the top, and had got stuck between the edge of the tank and the cover. Very hot in there, 'cos of the lighting, so he didn't stand much of a chance. Poor daft blighter! Still, it doesn't look like he was sick at least... Confused </EDIT>

Since the tank, gravel and UGF (including the up-pipes) were all from a mature tank, is it possible that the bio-load of these fish is being dealt with by pre-existing bacteria? I'm using an Aquarium Pharm Master Test Kit to check levels.

What's the best way to proceed from here?

Cheers!
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Type-R
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Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Location: East Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: 2003.08.15(Fri)14:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kunnagh,
If your gravel was kept damp between removing from the mature aquarium and putting in your new one it is perfectly feasable that the tank is already cycled. If you think of a wet / dry filter the bacteria is exposed to air all the time but multiplies rapidly because it is kept wet. Have you tested for nitrate levels?
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