Advice needed: Schooling fishes for hard water aquarium?
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Advice needed: Schooling fishes for hard water aquarium?

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Advice needed: Schooling fishes for hard water aquarium?
Old 05-11-2014, 06:18 PM   #1
 
Question Advice needed: Schooling fishes for hard water aquarium?

Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie here! I have been into fish keeping for just over a month now :) I bought an 36-gallon used, well-cycled bow front tank on craigslist (30"L x 16"W x 21"H). The tank came with a AquaClear 50-gal. hang-on filter, 2 air stone bars & a whole lot of fake plants



Over the course of 6 weeks, I gradually stocked my aquarium and currently got:
- 1 swordtail (already there when I bought the tank)
- 6 neon tetras
- 3 guppies
- 1 balloon molly

My neon tetras don't really shoaling together except the time I feed them (I don't know why). I'm considering getting few more fishes preferable tight schooling ones in 2-3 weeks time. After some research on the net, my choice would be either get more Neon Tetra or get a new school of Rummynose Tetra/Harlequin Rasbora. My only concern is that these fishes should be kept at soft water with pH up to ~7. Is there anybody successful keep them in hard water? Do you have any other suggestion? Here is my water parameter (I did 25% water change and gravel pump weekly. I also got ~3 tablespoons of aquarium salt in the tank atm)



Thank you very much for looking!

Cheers,

P.S: Further information about my tank: I did lose 2 neon tetras into the filter intake (2nd week), 1 pearl gourami (4th week), 1 guppy & 1 black molly (last week). One of the guppies also has symptom of dropsy.
At first, I didn't use a heater because my living room was pretty much heated and stayed at 74-76F all the time. Last week, the black molly showed sign of ich/fungus over its tail & fin. My guess is that it was harassed & bitten by the male balloon molly thus fungus could develop on top of the wound. I went ahead installed a heater and raised water temperature to 84F over the course of 24 hours. Then I ordered Seachem ParaGuard from amazon to treat the fungus. Despite using only 1/2 of the recommended dose at night (I did take out the ammonia & active carbon filter inserts though), the smallest guppy died the next morning. The black molly died the next day. All other fishes look perfectly fine though. Atm, I'm still treating the tank with ParaGuard but only at 1/2 recommended dose to clear all the parasites in the tank. Hopefully the dropsy on one of the guppies will be gone soon. If you have any advice on this, I'd love to hear about it too!
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:42 AM   #2
 
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IF I'm not mistaken, your DGH is actually only 8-9 or so. That's actually not very hard, hard water is usually 15 and up. In ppm it's 150, in DGH it's actually pretty soft, around eight or nine. This is ok for neons...your PH however, is a bit high for these guys. Same for Harlequin Rasbora and rummynose tetras. The hardness is ok, but if I am reading that right your PH is the highest on there or second highest. I hate those color things where some are similar, stupid people make me feel color blind. They prefer their PH at 7.0 or below, preferably 6.0-6.5 PH.


Anywho, if that's the case, you want to re-think your stocking. Mollies like much harder water, with a DGH above 12, higher is better since they like nice hard water(sometimes they can do ok in softer waters, but it's not recommended). They also like groups, so your single isn't going to be happy.
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:29 AM   #3
 
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Originally Posted by Sylverclaws View Post
IF I'm not mistaken, your DGH is actually only 8-9 or so. That's actually not very hard, hard water is usually 15 and up. In ppm it's 150, in DGH it's actually pretty soft, around eight or nine. This is ok for neons...your PH however, is a bit high for these guys. Same for Harlequin Rasbora and rummynose tetras. The hardness is ok, but if I am reading that right your PH is the highest on there or second highest. I hate those color things where some are similar, stupid people make me feel color blind. They prefer their PH at 7.0 or below, preferably 6.0-6.5 PH.

Anywho, if that's the case, you want to re-think your stocking. Mollies like much harder water, with a DGH above 12, higher is better since they like nice hard water(sometimes they can do ok in softer waters, but it's not recommended). They also like groups, so your single isn't going to be happy.
Thanks a lot Sylverclaws! The water comes out from the tap here got pretty high pH (~8 - 8.2). Too bad I really love tight schooling fishes like Rasbora/Rummynose tetra. I guess I'll have to visit my LFS to see what they got which can thrive in the same water condition then
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:25 AM   #4
 
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Well, don't get fish just yet. You said it's been just over a month, yes? If it cycled so fast I'm assuming you used mature media in the filter to do that, or took it in cycled. lol If not and you re-did things, you should wait another 1-2 weeks. The reason is, your PH. Sometimes it actually takes longer to stable out, and if you add fish in while it's changing they we get very itchy. lol So make sure it's stable.

Also, there are ways to harden your water and lower your PH. Natural ways, I don't recommend chemicals.

Hardening your water: Crushed coral will do this. You can put some in a small bag, or in pantyhose and tie it off or some such. Or you can add it into your substrate.

Some driftwood can actually soften your water a bit, but shouldn't with coral sand in there making it harder. It can, however, sometimes lower the PH. However, this usually happens when driftwood isn't treated right and leak tannins into the water, which actually isn't good. Some types of substrate will lower or heighten your PH.

Basically just make sure your PH isn't still changing. Likely not, but watch it anyways.

You actually have several options for water like that. Lab Cichlids are one, though they may prefer more space than that. They like hardness of 10-15 and PH from 7.6 to 8.6. You would only be able to have two MAYBE three in there though.
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:51 PM   #5
 
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Originally Posted by Sylverclaws View Post
Well, don't get fish just yet. You said it's been just over a month, yes? If it cycled so fast I'm assuming you used mature media in the filter to do that, or took it in cycled. lol If not and you re-did things, you should wait another 1-2 weeks. The reason is, your PH. Sometimes it actually takes longer to stable out, and if you add fish in while it's changing they we get very itchy. lol So make sure it's stable.

Also, there are ways to harden your water and lower your PH. Natural ways, I don't recommend chemicals.

Hardening your water: Crushed coral will do this. You can put some in a small bag, or in pantyhose and tie it off or some such. Or you can add it into your substrate.

Some driftwood can actually soften your water a bit, but shouldn't with coral sand in there making it harder. It can, however, sometimes lower the PH. However, this usually happens when driftwood isn't treated right and leak tannins into the water, which actually isn't good. Some types of substrate will lower or heighten your PH.

Basically just make sure your PH isn't still changing. Likely not, but watch it anyways.

You actually have several options for water like that. Lab Cichlids are one, though they may prefer more space than that. They like hardness of 10-15 and PH from 7.6 to 8.6. You would only be able to have two MAYBE three in there though.
Great post! Thanks! I also think Cichlids are a bit too big for my tank (their max. size are 5" right?)

Btw, I bought a well-cycled tank with all the filter media & gravel. And I got pretty consistent reading from my weekly water tests. pH has been always between ~8 - 8.2

Yesterday, I finished treating my tank with ParaGuard, did a 25% water change, and put new activated carbon filter in. All the fishes look pretty happy, no more scratching their bodies on the gravel bed :) I might get few more fishes in a 1-2 weeks once I figure out which will thrive in my tank. This week I might get some shrimps. Any thought/suggestions?
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:35 AM   #6
 
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If you want shrimp or other invertebrates, you'll want to harden your water first. Your PH is a bit high for them, but provided it's stable it -may- be alright, some may prefer it but you'd have to look into it.

Ah, I wish I could give you more fish ideas, unfortunately I don't know that many who can handle PH that high. Obviously there are some, I just can't find them. LOL I am hoping someone who knows others will pop on and tell you about them. =)

As for lab cichlids, they typically stay around four inches. If you are ok with just a couple fish, a pair or trio would do just fine in a tank that size.
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:17 PM   #7
 
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If you want shrimp or other invertebrates, you'll want to harden your water first. Your PH is a bit high for them, but provided it's stable it -may- be alright, some may prefer it but you'd have to look into it.

Ah, I wish I could give you more fish ideas, unfortunately I don't know that many who can handle PH that high. Obviously there are some, I just can't find them. LOL I am hoping someone who knows others will pop on and tell you about them. =)

As for lab cichlids, they typically stay around four inches. If you are ok with just a couple fish, a pair or trio would do just fine in a tank that size.
I visited my LFS today. They didn't have any ghost shrimp :( Have to wait few more weeks then :)

Have a great weekend!
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:12 PM   #8
 
Update: After few months, my tank now has about 8 Harlequin Rasbora and they're all doing very well. They also school nicely together (much better than Neon Tetras). I did add a small school (6) albino cories. These are the fishes I love the most: so cute & active :)

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