Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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otter 10-24-2012 07:31 PM

Fish loving Alkaline waters?
I have been fish keeping for about 3 years, first starting with a single betta fish named charlie, that died after two years of being kept in a 3 gallon glass vase.
About a year ago, I started getting more seriously into the hobby, and got a little 10 gallon that crashed and burned fast.
Right now I am keeping lots of betta and gourami, though this isn't working out.

The well water at my house has a PH of 10 and a KH of 240. This is a HUGE problem, not only for my fish, but also for some of my plants too.

My fish get sick all of the time, and my plants are dying and getting algae all over them and I must say, having to go to school and having to deal with all of this is really stressful.

I am re-doing 3 of my tanks (maybe) and adding fish that can stand my high ph.

At the moment I have:

26 gallon bowfront tank with ~~30 gallon filter
20 gallon (maybe 25?) with a 20-25 gallon filter
55 gallon planted tank with 70 gallon fluval canister filter with layered substrate: sand, planting substrate, pea gravel

I might sell one of my 20ish gallons because I have 6 running tanks right now and it is a huge hassle taking care of them.

Ok now to the fishy part.
I am looking for high ph tolerant fish--probably cichlids that will be comfortable in my smaller tanks.

I was also maybe thinking of selling everything except one 3 gallon betta tank and maybe getting a very large tank.
maybe 100 gallons or so and just doing a pea gravel substrate with large rocks and nice aeration and then getting some bigger fish.

Any advice? nice high ph fish? any nice community fish too?

live long and prosper:oops:

Byron 10-25-2012 12:02 PM

Do you know the GH of your well water? The KH is carbonate hardness that will buffer the pH preenting any changes [more on this below] but it has no effect on fish. The GH does, as much if not more than pH.

No freshwater aquarium fish I am aware of naturally occur in water with a pH over 10, but some would manage. Rift lake cichlids, though these need space. The shellies are suitable for small tanks. Tazman knows a lot about all these, much more than I do.

I would consider diluting the water GH and pH with pure water (rainwater, distilled or RO water). Long-term, investment in a RO unit might be considered.


otter 10-25-2012 09:39 PM

The GH is 0.
I was thinking of selling all of my tanks and upgrading to a 100 gallon, so bigger fish should do well.
I was thinking of maybe getting an oscar and a jack dempsey

Byron 10-26-2012 12:02 PM


Originally Posted by otter (Post 1287081)
The GH is 0.
I was thinking of selling all of my tanks and upgrading to a 100 gallon, so bigger fish should do well.
I was thinking of maybe getting an oscar and a jack dempsey

This is very interesting. The GH (general mineral hardness) is zero, with a very high carbonate hardness (KH).

Fish that come from waters with a high pH also have a high GH, such as the African rift lakes or Central American rivers. Fish from waters tha are very soft (no GH) usually require a low pH that is acidic. There are a few small fish from soft waters with a slightly basic (around 7) pH.

This article explains the relatioship between GH and KH and metions the best ways to change them:

In your particular situation, you could raise the GH if you want hard water/high pH fish like the Africans. Or you could go in the opposite direction, and lower the pH for soft water fish.

The latter would make available most of the South American fish (charcins like tetra, hatchets, pencilfish, most catfish, dwarf cichlis, etc) and SE Asian fish (rasbora, danio, barb, loaches, gourami, etc). Diluting the water initially with pure water--and here rainwater would be the best as it is acidic--would get the pH down. The aquarum with live plants and fish would naturally remain acidic. Water changes could be smaller volume which would not raise the pH much and the natural biological system would maintain it fairly stable, or should.

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