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Biological supplement during nitrogen cycle or not?

This is a discussion on Biological supplement during nitrogen cycle or not? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Angels will like your water, but please, not in a 14g tank. I was going to suggest you read the profile on Angelfish to ...

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Biological supplement during nitrogen cycle or not?
Old 07-28-2010, 08:27 PM   #11
 
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Angels will like your water, but please, not in a 14g tank. I was going to suggest you read the profile on Angelfish to learn their tank requirements, etc., but just noticed it is not complete; one of the older ones that needs some revision. I'll tend to that later, but for the present a 55g tank is minimum for a small group of angels and they need to be either in a group of as a mated pair.

With hardness numbers like those, I'm wondering if your location "Washington" is Washington state? I'm just north in Vancouver, Canada, and our water in the Pacific Northwest is very soft and slightly acidic, the sort of numbers your fish store gave you. Anyway, they are very soft, so that supports my thinking as to why your pH fell so much so quickly. It would be good to get this number confirmed from your water supply people. You don't need a hardness test kit, once you know the tap water hardness that's it. The others though are good, and API is a good kit. If pH is not included, pick up a normal range pH kit next time; API make normal range and high range, you want the normal.

With a 14g tank of soft water, some lovely fish choices could be the smaller characins (tetra like Ember Tetra, pencilfish, hatchetfish), dwarf rasbora (Boraras species), dwarf Corydoras species, perhaps for a single specimen fish something like a small gourami (honey gourami would be best), one of the dwarf SA cichlids like the Checkerboard, etc. All of these would do well with some wood and live plants. Leave the coral out, it will harden the water.

White clouds are OK with your water, and they are nice fish; but like all shoaling fish they must be in a group of 6 minimum, which takes up a lot of the available water space in a small tank. So you might like to browse the profiles before deciding on more. Also, they are cooler water, and fare better at room temp (around 70F) so this can limit tankmates as most tropicals are warmer water. This fish is also in our profiles, White Cloud Mountain Minnow. You can click the shaded name of a fish species to see its profile, or click the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top. All the fish I've mentioned above are in one of characins, cyprinids, or catfish; the gourami is anabantid, the cichlid obviously cichlids, but this one is not there (yet).

Byron.
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:35 PM   #12
 
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I've been watching your thread develop and have gone to get a test kit of my own. I'm currently cycling my tank as well and I came up with these numbers.
Nitrate-0
Nitrite-1.0
Hardness-300
Chlorine-0
Alkalinity-250-300
PH-7.7

I've been monitoring the PH, and it comes out of the tap that high, also Oklahoma City's water supply is notoriously hard. Are there any reliable water softeners? or shall i leave this alone for now.
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:55 AM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mettalikatt View Post
I've been watching your thread develop and have gone to get a test kit of my own. I'm currently cycling my tank as well and I came up with these numbers.
Nitrate-0
Nitrite-1.0
Hardness-300
Chlorine-0
Alkalinity-250-300
PH-7.7

I've been monitoring the PH, and it comes out of the tap that high, also Oklahoma City's water supply is notoriously hard. Are there any reliable water softeners? or shall i leave this alone for now.
The hardness and alkalinity numbers indicate what we term "fairly hard" water. Hardness is determined (caused) by the amount of calcium and magnesium (primarily these) minerals in the water. The more mineral, the harder the water and that means the stronger the pH buffering capability. This hardness interacts with the pH to keep it stable. Which is good from the standpoint of stability, but not so good if you want to lower (soften) it because the buffering resists such methods. Which is basically why pH adjusting chemicals like "pH Down" do not work long-term; they lower the pH immediately, then the water's natural buffers kick in and raise it back, so you add more, and the result is a fluctuating pH that is highly stressful to fish and will outright kill some.

I would cycle the tank before thinking of adjusting the water parameters. With the degree of hardness present, the best option is RO (reverse osmosis). The initial unit is expensive, but if you decide you want fish that require softer water it will be worth it long-term. Filtration through peat also works, but the harder the water the more peat is required and is loses its ability to soften faster. Peat needs to be replaced regularly as it "wears out". A third method is to use rain water or distilled water to mix with the tap water. This is very similar to RO but works better in small tanks where less water is required for weekly water changes. The rainwater has to be free of toxins and chemicals, which can be present depending where you live.

Your choice of intended fish will determine whether or not the above is in the picture. As it comes out of the tap, your water is fine for livebearers, rift lake cichlids, and a number of alkaline/hard water fish species. If you check our fish profiles (second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top) the water parameter range is given for each species, along with tank size, numbers, suitable tankmates, etc.

Byron.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:36 AM   #14
 
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Looks like I'll be skipping the angels, unless I get a much bigger tank, but it's great to see that there are plenty of other fish that will thrive in the soft, slightly acidic water of the Pacific Northwest. I am disappointed, however, that the pet store worker was not more informative when he sold me these White Clouds for my smaller tank in April. I actually bought them at a place that supposedly specializes in aquariums. At the time,I was looking for something that wouldn't bully my Platy and was pleased to hear that the Mountain Minnows were peaceful. But I also remember asking if they should be in groups or if they needed swimming space and the guy said those things did not matter. The good news is that the two I have seem to be doing okay and they are active swimmers and fun to watch. I know the water is too warm for them, however, because I keep it around 75 or 76 for the Platy.
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