Increasing Hardness & pH
I have soft water at neutral pH, but I'm planning to start a 10G African cichlid tank (shell-dwellers). Trying to decide what the best way to bring up hardness and pH to the proper range, and I could use some advice. I've never messed with these before.
Limestone raises pH and hardness, yes? I have some nice limestone fossil rocks that would look neat in the aquarium.
And I'll have shells in the tank, of course, for the shell-dwellers. That'll up the hardness a bit.
How much is too much? I don't want to accidently raise pH and hardness too high.
And are water changes going to be a problem? The new water won't have the same levels as the tank water. Could that harm the fish?
I found a formula for adjusting soft water on another forum by a member with way more years expierience than I will ever hope to have.
One Teaspoon Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
One Tablespoon Epsom salt (Magnesium sulfate)
One Teaspoon MARINE salt (Sodium chloride and various trace elements) Per 10 gal of water.
Mix this in a ten or twenty gal. rubbermaid tub and then check the pH after twelve hours. Adjust as needed. By mixing in the tub you will have a source of water for water changes. I would aerate the mixture for twenty four hours before using it for water changes.
PM me if you would like the source for the information. I might were it me, consider a twenty gal long rather than a ten gal for the shell dwellers.
There is also the rift lake salts you can buy to create natural water for these cichlids. I've never used it, and I would assume it is similar in result to the formula 1077 posted. I also agree a larger tank is needed.
When I kept rift lake cichlids years ago, with very soft and acidic tap water, I just put dolomite in the substrate. Much easier than fussing with water mixes in my view. I also had a lot of limestone rock caves along the back of the tank. Water changes were never a problem because the dolomite raised the hardness and pH and the buffering action kept the tank stable even with 25-35% weekly water changes.
Rift lake cichlids prefer water at pH 8-9. Lake Tanganika I think it is is over 9, the other two lakes just under, though I'm going from memory and may have mixed the names. Anyway, high pH and hardness won't hurt.
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