Stocking a tank with hard, high pH water?? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-11-2012, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Stocking a tank with hard, high pH water??

Hi folks,

I'm new to the forums, set up my first tank (at least since I was a kid) about five months ago. It's a 29g tall that seems to be going well - currently has 3 hi-fin variatus (platys; 2 f 1 m), 4 white cloud minnows, 6 neon tetras, 5 otocinclus, and 2 honey sunset gourami (sex uncertain; they're young and the fs attendant wasn't sure). The gouramis are a new addition, otherwise the tank has been stabe for a few months. I'm setting up a 2nd tank (20g long) and I want to branch out a little. Tank size is obviously a restriction but I've got another problem. I live in Arizona, so the water coming from the tap is hard and alkaline. 7.8 pH range. I get my fish tank water from the tap outside, so it bypasses the water softener (which just changes the salts; it's not a RO system), but that only helps so much.

I've been looking at gouramis, dwarf cichlids, and loaches (not all necessarily in the same tank; I'm going to move some of the fish from the 29g to the new one, so some could go into that one)... but none that are of a suitable size for my tank seem to like hard, high pH water. I'm watching the honeys to see how they handle it, I've only had them for a few days.

I have a number of the "silk" type fake aquarium plants; I'm willing to look into live plants but I'm not currently keeping any. The new substrate will be sand; the existing is rounded gravel.

Any suggestions? I know the platys are OK with higher pH but they're honestly my least favorite fish of the existing collection.
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-12-2012, 12:25 AM
welcome to the forum.you might want to check out the tropical fish profiles.they have the info you want there.
platy's are the safest bet for hard water.live plants will help out so if you can add them it's a plus.if you want to soften the water get some peat and put it into the filter or you could use water softeners from the bottle ( ph buffers ) if you can't find peat.bog wood also help with softening the water just make sure it's clean and doesn't leak anything unwanted out.

5x2x2 aro,highfin bat,fei feng,ST,albino tinfoil,c.perch
4x1.5x1.5 planted tetras,harlequins,
otto,WMM,2 types of celebes rainbows,rcs,amano, bamboo,red ramhorns,MTS
3.5x2.5x2 flowerhorn,pleco
3x1.5x1.5 russel's lion,blue cleaner,sixline and leopard wrasse,maroon clown pair,green chromis,scorpion,tiger cowrie,turbo,lyretail anthias,jewel,anemone,star polyp,marbled and giant green mushi,zoa
2x1x1 nano sw shrimps
22 May 2012
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-12-2012, 06:08 AM
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Celebes rainbowfish. :) Quite a few of the smaller rainbowfishes (but not all) prefer water like that, if you are looking for something different.
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-12-2012, 06:19 AM
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Livebearers, and African Lake Cichlids are other choices for hard water. Cichlids are a bit more trouble though in getting the correct stocking since they are for the most part aggressive fish.

How hard is the water? Do you know actual GH & KH? The pH of 7.4 isn't likely a problem, but if the GH is high that will be for the soft water fish you have mentioned. I'm fairly sure all municiple tap water is kept above a pH of 7, they likely don't want acidic water going through their pipes. A high pH does not mean hard water (Mine varies from 7.6 to 8 yet my GH is less than 2 dGH which is very soft).

Using peat or chemicals is not something I would recommend. They don't really work and lead to an unstable system that is far more harmful to the fish. The only method I recommend for softening water is mixing with RO/DI or with rainwater.
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-12-2012, 10:49 AM
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Welcome to the forum and the hobby!

Geomancer is right. It depends on just how hard your water is. Some of your fish will be fine, but others may not. Once you have the exact numbers for your local hardness you can check them against the species requirements found in our profiles. You can access the profiles by clicking on the tab in the upper lefthand side of the screen or by clicking a highlighted fish name like honey gouarmi, neon tetra, or guppy.

---Izzy

Sitting by the koi pond

writings on fish and fishkeeping


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post #6 of 12 Old 06-12-2012, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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I have read the fish profiles, some of them several times. According to the fish profiles, however, my neons shouldn't be surviving - my water is at about a 7.8 pH, and the profile indicates that they require water below 7.0. Just offering a "for instance". So I am hoping someone here will have some advice to offer on specific species of fish that might fare relatively well outside of their "natural" pH ranges. I have seen the statement that captive-raised fish are "generally more tolerant" of a wider range of temperatures/hardness/pH ranges than their wild ancestors, but it's hard to know what that "more tolerant" means - if their natural range goes up to 7.0, do they tolerate up to 7.4? Or up to 8.0? You know?
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-12-2012, 06:20 PM
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It depends on what water the fish were bred in. Most fish that you get in chain stores will be captive bred, but there are several that are most often imported and there is no way to know (chain stores won't know, local may or may not as they just get them from a distributor).

Regardless, fish won't instantly die outside their range a little bit. They'll even last a few years.

The difference is between a fish living 3 years, and them living 5 years.
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-12-2012, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalriada42 View Post
I have read the fish profiles, some of them several times. According to the fish profiles, however, my neons shouldn't be surviving - my water is at about a 7.8 pH, and the profile indicates that they require water below 7.0. Just offering a "for instance". So I am hoping someone here will have some advice to offer on specific species of fish that might fare relatively well outside of their "natural" pH ranges. I have seen the statement that captive-raised fish are "generally more tolerant" of a wider range of temperatures/hardness/pH ranges than their wild ancestors, but it's hard to know what that "more tolerant" means - if their natural range goes up to 7.0, do they tolerate up to 7.4? Or up to 8.0? You know?
You might find some helpful info on this question in my article on stress:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...um-fish-98852/

I explain why it is imortant to maintain fish in their natural "environment" including water parameters, and what is occurring (and will occur) when this is not done.

I'd be happy to answer any questions on this.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-13-2012, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice, I'll check out the hardness levels and get an exact #. I know our water is hard, groundwater in this area carries a pretty heavy load of dissolved mineral salts. But my test kit uses a unit system that clearly isn't the same as the one commonly quoted on this forum, so I'll have to figure out the conversion. I don't have it handy here at work so I can't quote it.
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-13-2012, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so my test strips of course only give me a range. But from the strip colors, my water has a GH level somewhere between 11 and 14 DH. I guess if I really want to know for sure I need something better than my litlte test strips!
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