Live plants and Ph - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-18-2012, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Question Live plants and Ph

So today I was out at the LFS and bought what looks to be a variety of sword plant and 4 of a plant that looks kind of like Cyprus. These are my first live plants in the aquarium (im slowly starting to swap out all of my plastic for live). But then it dawned on me, what about my ph . Because I have well water, my ph is 8-8.2. Should I worry about the plants and ph needs? What is the prefered ph for these plants. I am building a home made CO2 thing to replace the regular air pump that I have now. I will also be making a trip soon to get some plant supporting substrate to add to my current regular gravel. The tanks is currently holding 3 platies and 2 panda cories. Thanks for any help!
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-18-2012, 07:47 PM
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Well, that's a bit on the high side so you may have a little trouble depending on the species. Do you know the species of what you got? If you post pictures, I'm sure some people around here will be able to identify them if you don't know.

One thing I noticed though is your Panda Corydoras may not like that high pH, they are a soft acidic type fish with 7.5 being their high side, plus they are schooling and would be a bit happier in numbers of 4+ (I see the profile here says 3, click on the shaded name to read up about them). The platies though do really well in hard basic water.

Do you have bright lights? Without bright light, there is no need for CO2. If you add CO2 you have to balance all the other nutrients & light at a higher level.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-18-2012, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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I do not know the species of the plants. I am totally aware of the whole cory situation, but the employee said that he knows tons of people that have cories in high ph and said that if i do frequant water changes, there should be no major health issues. I have very bright lights, they are LED's and provide ample light.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-19-2012, 06:16 AM
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Actually, LEDs are usually not bright. Do you know the lumen rating of them?

For example this one which claims is the same as a dual strip fluorescent:
LED Aquarium Lighting Double Bright | Energy Efficient Solar and Lunar Settings

Has a lumen rating of 450 for an 18" length, while a single fluorescent at that length gives off 700 lumens ... let alone a dual fixture. Lumens are hardly the be all end all of lighting but I would doubt an LED fixture would classify as 'bright' in the lighting world.

As for the corys, I'm afraid they didn't tell you the truth =/

If you post pictures of the plants, I'm sure they can get identified.
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-19-2012, 06:27 AM
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I agree with Geomancer about the Cories. Sales people will often tell stories to sell fish but most of them are not based on fact. They might know people who house fish in less then correct environments where the fish are still alive but just managing to stay alive and being truly comfortable in the environment are two very different things.

It is disappointing to find out that our water parameters to not meet the needs of the kinds of fish that we want. I too keep running into that but now that I know to check into it closer and not believe the sales people, I won't make that mistake again. I do not want it to cost my fish a happy, healthy and comfortable life.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” Mahatma Gandhi
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-19-2012, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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So I couldn't find any info as far as what the lumens are for my LED's on the packaging or website. As for the plants, I got some pictures and will pet them at the end of the reply. I came up with an idea for my cories. My dad has a 50 gallon tank that used to be saltwater and is not in use anymore. He said that if I can keep up with my 10 gallon for a few weeks, then I could convert it to freshwater. If that happens, I will move the cories (along with some other cories) into it. The water quality will be better for them too because it will be more acidic.
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-19-2012, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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It wont let me post pics because it says there are too many characters
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-19-2012, 12:17 PM
I suspect my high PH had a part to play in why my pepper and albino cories died off. They were fine for months but the last ones died a couple weeks ago. My bronze cories are doing fine.. aside from the one that had a dime sized chunk ripped out of it's side. Wondering if it mad the blue gourami (gold variety) mad.

That being said, I dont understand why you expect your future 50g tank will have a lower PH then your current tank. Is the tank going to stay at your dads house who has a different water source then what you have currently?
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-19-2012, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Oh I have all of that under control.I am gonna use RO water from my LFS and mix it proportionally with my current hard water. It will be a little tedious to find the right ratio. I live at my parents house (im 13), so im kind of stuck with well water besides the RO.
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-19-2012, 01:54 PM
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That will work. You might find some useful tips here:
as it mentions mixing RO with tap/well and the proportions.

On the issue of high pH for corys, I do believe this has an effect on the fish over time. Of equal if not more importance is the probable hardness; GH is not mentioned so I can't say much more on that aspect. The above-linked article goes into how these affect fish. A lot is written about a fish's adaptability, and while some of this is undoubtedly true, one cannot carry it to extremes. The scientific evidence simply does not support it.

While keeping the water conditions good (here meaning clean water, via water changes, plants, not overfeeding, etc) will result in healthy fish, as the store mentioned, this does not mean the fish are actually doing well.

Corydoras panda is now mainly tank-raised, unless you deal with a direct importer from Peru. They manage (or seem to) in water that has more mineral content and a higher pH than the species would ever encounter in its habitat. But it is also the case that these fish rarely live their normal lifespans, and this is most likely due to inappropriate water parameters. Temperature can also play into this, as noted in our profile, even tank raised fish will not last long at temperatures around 79F.

To your (maxw47) original question on the plants, as others noted this depends upon what species, but if the common swords it is likely Echinodorus bleherae or Echinodorus amazonicus [which may be the same species anyway] and these will adapt to higher pH so they may adjust.


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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