Water Too Soft!
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Water Too Soft!

This is a discussion on Water Too Soft! within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hi, I am just getting started on setting up my first aquarium, I have 26 gallons (posted setup), I am in my second week ...

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Old 03-20-2010, 08:44 PM   #1
 
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Water Too Soft!

Hi, I am just getting started on setting up my first aquarium, I have 26 gallons (posted setup), I am in my second week into fishless cycling. I have been studying different fish that interest me, I really like several live bearer species and I am finding that my tap water is too soft for most of them, I wanted to know how hard it is to increase water hardiness, I have read some things that say its not too difficult and others that say you should choos fish that compliment your tap so I can't decide.

My tap water chemistry:
Nitrate: 0 (I understand this will change through the cycling process)
Nitrite: 0 (ditto)
GH: 0
Chlorine: .8 (used dechlorinator for tank)
Total Alkalinity-KH: 0-2
PH: 6.5 (i have monitored this regurarly in the tank for the past 2 weeks since the Alkalinity is so low, it has came out pretty much the same evey time)

The fish I am interested in:
Dalmation (Marbled) Lyretail Molly
Platies (have not dedided for sure, maybe a Mickey variety)
Angelfish (love the Golden Veiltail), I know these prefer soft water, but also know I probably should only have one in my size tank.
Maybe a Pleco if I can find one that will stay smaller in size.


Any recommendations about whether I should dive into changing my natural water chemistry would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:33 PM   #2
 
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i was able to find one live bearer that is good for soft water. it is the celebes halfbeak. i too love ive bearers and have 2 tanks full of them, but, i unlike you have very hard water. check these halfbeaks out and see what you think, i never heard of them before doing a search. you can also google liver bearers for soft water and see what you can find. as far as a pleco is concerned, you can look into the bristle nose, they stay fairly small.
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:16 AM   #3
 
Most common livebears can live in just about any hardness/ ph levels. These fish are very adaptive. Your pH is not all that low anyway, at least IMO.
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:16 AM   #4
 
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Welcome to TFK!

I think your tank is too small for angelfish. Something like a festivum cichlid or maybe a gourami might be a better choice. They sort of fill the same aquarium niche without growing too large (well, depending on the gourami species anyway).

As for your water...well. Livebearers really do better in harder, more alkaline water than you've got. You can gently raise the pH and hardness by using dolomite gravel or crushed coral in your filter. However, it's a lot more difficult lowering pH/hardness (safely anyway) than it is to raise it. Personally, I'd see your soft, acidic water a blessing and a sign that rather than try to change your water parameters to suit livebearers, you should take advantage of the water you've got and get some softwater fish. Many fish from South America and Southeast Asia (which make up a large percentage of tropical fish available) prefer water just like yours.

Are you using paper test strips? I recommend getting a liquid test kit, such as the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, as the paper strips are notoriously inaccurate.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:48 AM   #5
 
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I'm with Mikaila on this one... you shouldn't worry too much as I'm pretty sure the fish fish will do just fine in your water.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:09 AM   #6
 
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Thanks for all the feedback, it looks like I still got some desicions to make, I will take a better look at the Softwater choices out there before I start messing with my water, I am using the strip test but already have it on my list to get a master kit because of all I have heard about the strips and will get the test kit before I make my final choices, I really dont want a bunch of stressed out or dead fish.

Batman, I will look into your recommendations on fish and see what I can find, another question, I don't have many local options on where to get fish (IE Petsmart, Petco, one local pet store this guy has been in my area for over 20 years he has a lot of salt water but not so much tropical, what do you think about mail order? or should I just start looking for places further out?
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:55 AM   #7
 
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I'd set up the tank first let it cycle and then see what you have.

For example my parameters from tap are KH 1 pH 6.8
In my tanks I have everything in the different tanks ranging from 7-7.8 and KH 1-5. The likelihood that your tank after balancing itself out will stay exactly what your tap water is is slim to non; I have built well over a dozen set ups so far and not a single one had the same parameters then the tap.
A few things I would suggest for the set up thou 1) Don't use new driftwood for decor (tannin will not only stain your water but lower your hardness) 2) Look for a lil rock decor for this tank to help up and stabilize your hardness a lil 3) Then quit worrying and def do NOT bother with the various chem's your sold.
I agree with the above I'd also not add Angel to this tank size.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:24 AM   #8
 
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Thanks Angel, I will wait, and so far I only have fake stuff in the aquarium, I will look into some rock too.
I really want to do things right the first time. My husband keeps telling me the water should be my new pet instead of getting fish, its my main subject of conversation these days :).
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:10 PM   #9
 
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You could also add crushed coral in with your gravel that'll harden the water up some as well and keep it stable for yrs to come too.

And I'd have to agree with your hubby; I seen this gazillion times people rushing into new set ups trying to get everything done "real quick" and then sit there with a BUNCH headaches later on , which could have easily been avoided with the right set up and some patience in the beginning.

You may wanna consider live pants they don't only look neat but help a lot for a good water quality and last but not least its natural set up for the fish if you look here you can click on the individual links and see my planted tanks maybe that'll inspire you http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/p...hp?userid=1029
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Old 03-21-2010, 05:01 PM   #10
 
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The tanks are really beautiful, is it difficult to keep the plants healthy?
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