water buffer question - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-21-2010, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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water buffer question

so as i get ready move back into fresh water i am doing a little research on the type of tank i want to build and have almost 100% decided on a cichlid tank... that said, no there is no stock list yet and no i dont know if i wand african or central american etc as of yet ..... but i do have a few questions first
my water typically comes off the tap at 7.7 ish for PH and a dKH of about 8-9 not bad i know.... but in the event that i need to change any thing (and only if) am i able to use Kent marine buffer? i know its not a marine tank but will it serve the same purpose in fresh water?

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Last edited by bearwithfish; 12-22-2010 at 08:49 AM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-22-2010, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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better title regarding the actual question LOL

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post #3 of 11 Old 12-22-2010, 07:05 PM
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If you select African rift lake cichlids, I would increase the hardness (and consequently the pH). While there are "preparations" available, they are expensive long-term and a less expensive but effective way to harden water is with calcareous mineral such as dolomite (if you can find it, this is superb), marble chips or even crushed coral. A substrate of coral would be ideal for instance.

If you decide on SA cichlids, the medium/larger species (actually more Central American/South American) should be fine with what you have, but the dwarfs will be a problem without softer water; the hardness is more critical than the pH, though with soft water the pH will naturally be slightly acidic. Using a mix of tap and rainwater, or tap and RO water, are options. Here again, chemical preparations are expensive and not always safe regardless of what the manufacturer may say.

Once the tank is established, and with say tap/rainwater at first, and with plants and wood (with dwarfs this is essential), the natural chemistry will lower and if the fish load is moderate and balanced with the plants, water changes need be minimal and will not be an issue with maintaining softer, acidic water.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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 #4 of 11 Old 12-23-2010, 06:59 AM Thread Starter
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that is kinda what i was hopeing as i do NOT want to get into adding chemicals on a regular basis is i can avoid it....for many many reasons aside fromthe typical lazy man syndrom LOL... so her was my thoughts and help me out a bit here to maintain and encourage proper water i was considering crushed coral and arogonite as the substrate.

now would a bag of crushed coral in the filtration to help keep it suspended? or am i just over thinking the process? man i seem to keep finding my self over complicating things :)

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post #5 of 11 Old 12-23-2010, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearwithfish View Post
that is kinda what i was hopeing as i do NOT want to get into adding chemicals on a regular basis is i can avoid it....for many many reasons aside fromthe typical lazy man syndrom LOL... so her was my thoughts and help me out a bit here to maintain and encourage proper water i was considering crushed coral and arogonite as the substrate.

now would a bag of crushed coral in the filtration to help keep it suspended? or am i just over thinking the process? man i seem to keep finding my self over complicating things :)
Only if you are intending rift lake cichlids will you need to raise hardness/pH, and yes, coral in the filter also works; I have used this to slightly raise hardness (I have very soft water out of the tap).

For any of the Central or South American cichlids, you have good water now and no hardening is needed; softening for the dwarfs as I mentioned.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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 #6 of 11 Old 12-23-2010, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Byron.... as for the stock i am starting to lean towards Lake Malawi.... perhaps peacocks.. but not 100% sure yet... i am going to test my tap water after it sits for 24 hours and post the resaults... just to be sure i am correct in my numbers LOL.... all of your help is greatly appreciated Sir....

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post #7 of 11 Old 12-24-2010, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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ok so i tested 2x here are the results
ph 7.5
dKH 3

i think crushed coral is gong to be the substrate of choice for a Lake Malawi tank....

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post #8 of 11 Old 12-25-2010, 11:47 AM
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ok so i tested 2x here are the results
ph 7.5
dKH 3

i think crushed coral is gong to be the substrate of choice for a Lake Malawi tank....
I would agree. With a KH that low the buffering capability will be limited and the pH will naturally lower in time. I can't recall Lake Malawi numbers and I know they are not quite as high as L. Tanganika which has a pH approaching 9 and very hard water. But a pH in the 8's with comparable hardness would be preferred for rift lake fishes. And crushed coral will resemble the sand of the natural environment.

Vallisneria is an excellent plant in hard water, btw, just to add a bit of green among the coral sand and rocks.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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 11 Old 12-25-2010, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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you are the bast man!!! thank you i was really hoping that this would help .... i got a potential stocking list together last night and i now need to see availablity but her they are

option one
Pseudotropheus*sp. "Elongatus Mbako" x4

Labidochromis caeruleus*(Lion's Cove I) x4

Labeotropheus trewavasae*(Likoma) x4

Metriaclima estherae*(Red) x4


still planning option two out and will post it in time....

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post #10 of 11 Old 12-26-2010, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearwithfish View Post
ok so i tested 2x here are the results
ph 7.5
dKH 3

i think crushed coral is gong to be the substrate of choice for a Lake Malawi tank....
I would suggest mixing in some of that aragonite sand, provided you have dry aragonite and not live marine sand. The crushed coral certainly works, but over the long haul the buffering becomes limited as Byron mentions. Generally speaking, crushed coral is not reliable to buffer at pH levels over 7.6, which is why we don't use it in a marine tank for buffering purposes. The aragonite will provide buffering at higher pH levels.

In any case, the buffering ions in Kent Marine Super Buffer DKH are balanced at the same ratio as natural seawater, with the exception of Calcium which has to be added separately. I would not recommend that product for a freshwater tank.
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