09-20-2010, 06:18 PM
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A few things have been on-going in your aquarium, and it is not possible to rule out pH as one of the problems, though it may have been an issue more of fluctuating than stable if un-preferred pH. Characins are sensitive fish and while "this" or "that" on its own may bother them but not harm them, "this" plus "that" might do both.
In my experience the info on wiki species is fairly reliable. We have fish profiles here, second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top, and for those I have written (all the characins and cyprinids plus many others) the info on "preferred" water parameters comes from the majority of reliable and knowledgeable ichthyologists. When there are variations also from respected authorities, I say so to avoid any misunderstanding. As can be seen in several of the characins profiles, some species will "manage" in harder water but show clear signs that it is not "preferred" and we cannot always assess what damage may be caused internally by subjecting this or that soft water species to hard water. It is a fact that some species such as the cardinal will develop calcium blockages of the kidneys in hard water, and they do not live as long as they can in soft water, even though outwardly they "appear" fine. Many other species are undoubtedly similar.
This again is not saying that pH was the issue here; the cycling problems were probably more of an issue. But you are correct to research the needs of any fish you intend to acquire, and ensure they will be "comfortable" with what you can provide them. That I applaud; unfortunately many unknowingly acquire this or that fish without doing their "homework" and that is not fair to the fish which is a living creature that has certain limitations that must be recongized if we are to be responsible aquarists.
Last edited by Byron; 09-20-2010 at 06:21 PM..