Good Water for Red Phantom Tetras? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 6 Old 02-10-2014, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
Question Good Water for Red Phantom Tetras?

I'm planning to house a small school of Red Phantom Tetras in my 20-gal community tank, and I want to make sure they thrive.

It is my understanding that - in general - Tetras prefer soft, somewhat acidic water... at least that's their natural habitat.

In Philadelphia, we have moderately hard water on the alkaline side. My tap and tank water have a very stable pH of 7.3/7.4. And the reservoir from which my tap water originates reports GH of 9.5deg and KH of 4deg.

Considering these parameters, my LFS suggested that Red Phantom Tetras would do better than some others (e.g. better than Neons).

Does this advice sound plausible?

Any thoughts on helping them thrive?
(I don't want to mess with my pH chemically)
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-11-2014, 04:43 PM
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a stable ph in your range should suffice,especially if they are aquarium bred.if they are wild caught or if you are planning on breeding them,that is another story. if they have been in a local lfs,ask for their water parameters.if your params are close to yours,there should be no problems. slow acclimation will help. make sure to quarantine for 4 weeks.
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-12-2014, 05:00 PM
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As a general rule of thumb, fish that prefer soft water can be adapted (SLOWLY) to hard water. Fish that prefer hard water can almost never be adapted to soft water. The reason for this is that there are certain minerals and trace elements in the water that fish need to utilize to survive. Fish that live in softer water utilize these minerals with very little left in the water. The harder the water is, the more of these minerals and elements there are. Therefor, when you put a soft water fish in harder water, they use what they need and there are simply more minerals left in the water. When you try to do the reverse, however, and put a hard water fish in soft water, there aren't enough minerals for it to sustain life properly and it will likely perish. As long as you get the fish locally (should have similar water to you already) or acclimate VERY slowly, you should be fine keeping a softer water fish in hard water. Keep in mind, there are some fish that just won't tolerate it but a vast majority of fish will. I keep Neon Tetras in my water which has a pH of 8.4 and a KH/GH of 14-16.

I have a trio of red phantom fry in with my betta temporarily. Awesome fish!
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-14-2014, 09:39 PM
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You say you don't want to mess with your ph chemically, but what about adding driftwood or leaves (Indian Almost and Oak work really well!) to help soften your water a bit? Just adding a few leaves can help bring it down a bit and add beneficial micro organisms into the tank!
I have an tank with an entire leaf litter substrate, and I think it looks incredibly beautiful and natural.

Personally, I think it's best to house fish in water closest to what that evolved to live in. I think they show their best colors in conditions closest to their natural habitat. (This isn't to say they can't be housed in water that's harder than what they come from, just that it may not be the optimal condition.)
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-15-2014, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
Thanks everyone. I have been wanting some driftwood in the tank, but without discoloration from the tannins. If I boil and soak it until it no longer bleeds tannins, will it still have a pH lowering effect?
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-16-2014, 07:50 AM
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No. You can put some peat moss under the substrate if you are worried. I prefer not to alter my parameters.
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