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Adjust the water for the fish or the fish for the water...

This is a discussion on Adjust the water for the fish or the fish for the water... within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by Reefing Madness Why can't you use all RO water? Distilled or otherwise?? Next to no KH means a flaky pH and ...

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Adjust the water for the fish or the fish for the water...
Old 12-30-2012, 12:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Reefing Madness View Post
Why can't you use all RO water? Distilled or otherwise??
Next to no KH means a flaky pH and I would have to buffer it. I'd also have to buy ALL my water. Not high on my agenda.

I guess I am starting to sound like I asked for opinions to only ignore them, not the case. Just checking all my avenues and using you guys as a bit of a sounding board.

Thanks.

Jeff.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:10 PM   #12
 
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Next to no KH means a flaky pH and I would have to buffer it. I'd also have to buy ALL my water. Not high on my agenda.

I guess I am starting to sound like I asked for opinions to only ignore them, not the case. Just checking all my avenues and using you guys as a bit of a sounding board.

Thanks.

Jeff.
Ah, but at least the KH and PH can easily be adjusted up, not down.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:19 PM   #13
 
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One of the last times I was at the LFS they were prepping 14 tanks for a shipment of fish being received. I doubt that they perfect any chemistry specific to the fish for the expected short duration of their stay.
One must remember that the store hopes to sell their fish fairly quickly, and they have to turn a profit. Most fish seem capable to living through this "brief" stay, but some do later develop issues directly related back. Another point is that many stores do adjust their water to around neutral, in order to hopefully accommodate the majority of species without too much trouble. Many use a circulatory system so the water flows through all the tanks and back through the filtering. In my area, we have very soft water, and the better stores maintain their hardwater fish in a separate system where they can include calcareous gravel in the substrates.

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See I consider this a very valid point - IF a hardware fish has been bred in soft water, the fry raised and have always lived in software.... is it really still a hardwater fish?!?!?
What about 9 spawns later..... that fish wouldn't even know of (I know....) hardware, but yet it's still a hardwater fish? Or is it??
Yes, it is the way it was created, or more accurately, the way it has evolved. We cannot change--within the comparatively short span of a few generations--the physiology of a fish that has evolved over thousands of years to live in very specific water parameters. We sometimes fail to recognize that fish are completely bound by and dependent upon their aquatic environment in a way than no land animal breathing air is. The smallest change to the water can impact a fish in a major way, depending upon the change and the fish.

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I know we say we can't force fish to adapt etc.... but are we doing anyway?

I know some fish won't breed in soft if there hard, but I'm willing to bet breeders can make it happen, and do so.
Over many generations, adaptation will usually be possible, or the species will become extinct. This is how it works in nature. Fish are now evolving in the streams in the Amazon. But it is not an overnight process, it takes generations. And having said that, this is not the major change we are contemplating in water parameters. The water in the Rio Negro with a zero GH and KH and near-zero TDS, and a pH of 4, is not going to change, perhaps ever, beyond more than a minute amount. And conversely, the rift lakes are not going to become the Amazon without a major upheaval in the earth which would likely have to be so catastrophic that it would decimate most life anyway.

With all our environmental problems we are beginning to face today, have we still not learned that nature can change somewhat but it has finite limits? Something to remember.

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Old 12-30-2012, 12:25 PM   #14
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Either option is possible, so it really comes down to your decision.
Yah, thats pretty much where I am at, just picking.

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The relevant factors are effort and cost. Turning on the tap at water changes is obviously the least effort and lowest cost, which means one is more likely to maintain a necessary schedule of regular partial water changes.
Yes, absolutely... probably the salient points of the whole process.

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If one decides to adjust the water, the initial setup is fairly easy; but providing suitable water for subsequent water changes is where things get trickier. There are of course some ways to reduce this; tons of live plants with a minimal fish stocking does help a lot.
That was why I was considering a 50% up front then making sure to track any further additions based on the resultant ratios... It would get complicated beyond the first couple, but, once I had it calculated it is a static mix... but always a mix. I was sort hoping that a 1:1 might work as I was still going to stock fish that the resultant parameters were best for, there are so many to choose from after all. I also have loads of plants and plan on keeping it that way too.

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No one has yet raised the issue of soft water fish miraculously adapting to hard water. Some fish can do this, to some degree anyway. But many cannot; they can appear healthy and fine, but the inevitable shorter lifespan is a sign that all is not well along the way. And it is the GH or rather the amount of "hard" mineral in the water combined with the TDS that is far more relevant than pH, as we now understand.
Yes, I was not willing to rely on adaptation, as much as it may occur. Too late when the fish is dead or dying to decide that it didn't work out. I have found some that are noted as best in a GH of less than 30 degrees and that's pretty much where I am headed I think.

Jeff.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:26 PM   #15
 
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On the issue of buffering pH with no KH, this is usually un-necessary. It does depend upon the fish of course. But the GH and TDS are far more relevant.

I have zero KH in my tanks and have done for over 20 years, and I have never had issues with pH. I let it drop--or rise--where it wants. Interestingly though, with regular water changes it does not fluctuate. I maintain a steady GH as this is the prime factor.

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Old 12-30-2012, 04:12 PM   #16
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Byron, what do you use for your water source?
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:59 PM   #17
 
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Byron, what do you use for your water source?
My tap water. I am fortunate that I have near-zero GH and KH, and the pH is now around 7 (they add soda ash to keep the pH at 7, otherwise naturally it would be well below 6 as it was pre-2001). But this means I have to increase the GH for plants. For fish alone I wouldn't, as I have mainly wild caught soft water species. Raising the GH from zero to 5 or 6 dGH has not affected them, as far as I can tell after a year now. I use Equilibrium to achieve this. I do no buffering as I mentioned.

The pH in the tanks used to be below 5 in some and around 6 in others; now it is remaining in the mid 6's. I test it sporadically; I might test it in all tanks just prior to the water change for say 3 or 4 weeks, then I might go 2, 3 or 4 months, varying, before testing again for 2-3 weeks. I keep the numbers. It has never varied by so much as a decimal point in most of the tanks during months of doing this.

Last edited by Byron; 12-30-2012 at 06:04 PM..
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:21 PM   #18
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Decided on some fish to go with the water... it just makes more sense to go that way. I might tweak the GH down by cutting with some RO water here and there but mainly for the plants.

Emerald Catfish, 6
Cherry Barb or Flame Tetra, 12 of whichever we go with.

We dropped the idea of a show fish for a larger school of smaller fish and these two mix well.

My wife didn't really want to feel like she was being watched anyway.

Jeff.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:22 PM   #19
 
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You will never make a fish survive in the water harness is not the same as it's natural water found in the wild.
Gill structures are different between species, A soft water species will have respiratory problems if placed in hard water and it's life span will be halved'
Mandy, Marine biologist/Vet
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:23 PM   #20
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Water testing day.

pH is up a tad to 8, but I'm testing right at the end of the day, so it's not surprising, next time I'll test in the morning to see what the swing may be.

Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates all zero. Not surprising, plants are doing well and we are nowhere near overstocked with fish.

dGH = 17, down from about low twenties
dKH = 14, also down from low twenties.

At my last water change I substituted 5 gallons of RO water with a pH of near 6.4. I don't think it should have dropped the hardnesses as much as it did so the tank is naturally softening the water. I'll work out the math on the expectation later to see what was RO factor and what may be natural.

Jeff.
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