Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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silent world 02-03-2007 11:45 AM

Ph enquiry
Hi all,
Just had my tank set up for nearly three weeks. Plants were introduced a week ago. Have an external filter with a seasoned sponge and other media, (also seasoned). Wish to buy my first couple of fish now. Among other fish I will be keeping angels and discus. I have just tested my water and the nitrite is zero, but Ph is between 7.3--7.8, about the same as my tap water. Obviously I need to bring it down for the fish mentioned. I understand I can use untreated peat. I realise that the best method is putting the peat in a bag within the filter, but I did not wish to disturb the filter again after placing the seasoned filter stuff in it just a week ago.
Will the peat ( in the bag or stocking) be as efficient if I just place the bag in the tank? Or has anybody any other suggestions for easy Ph adjustment without the expense of bottled solutions. :roll:
many thanks

FDStation152 02-03-2007 11:59 AM

I've used peat granules (they make them for use in ponds) in filter bags directly in the tank and they will work that way but there are some other concerns you may want to look at. If you use that method every time you do a water change you are going to cause they pH to swing. This can seriously harm all fish but discus in particular are very sensitive to pH swings. You may want to consider getting a large rubbermaid type container to age water in (with the peat in a filter bag) for water changes. Just add the peat and the water and run a small airstone into it for circulation. However the longer you run water over peat the more acidic it will get. This can be relatively difficult to control. The way I get water for my discus is as follows.

1. I start with gallon jugs of distilled water.
2. I pour that distilled water into a larger mixing container
3. I reconstitute the water with trace elements (for use with ro/di/distilled water and can be found in most pet stores)
4. I add powdered seachem neutral regulator and discus buffer in the ratio required to acheive the desired pH (theres a chart on the bottle)
5. I mix it all up and pour it back into the original jug.
6. I siphon it into the main tank with airline tubing.

That method takes a long time BUT it entirely eliminates pH and temperature flucuations during water changes. And unlike trying to add the chemicals directly to the water in the tank they effect is permanent as the distilled water does not have the buffering capacity to reverse what you've done.

One more point I wanted to make even though its not the direct subject of this post. Angelfish and discus generally do not make good tankmates as the angelfish will usually beat the slower discus to food and are more agressive. While there are exceptions to that its generally not worth the risk. Its a shame though as they are both very nice looking fish that require the same basic water conditions and yet they shouldn't be kept together.

silent world 02-03-2007 03:03 PM

Many thanks for that FDStation. Can you help me with the mention of Ro/di/, I'm not up on these modern abbreviations. I am surprised at your comments about incapatability between angels and discus. I used to be well in on fishkeeping many years ago, but notice abbreviations for several things I am not familiar with. I am starting keeping these fish for the first time and have read a lot on the subject and find much advice that they do indeed keep well together as they are similar Ph and temperature, and both quite peaceful. That is what makes the hobby so interesting isn't it, the varying experiences of different hobbyists.
If i buy-in distilled water and mix it with rain water and leave it to stand, then bring it up to teperature by adding boiled water, would that be ok? or is aeration a must?
Thanks again,
silent world

silent world 02-03-2007 03:23 PM

Continuing on from my last post... I have just been looking up on the RO subject, and now understand what it is about. I will now be looking into the availability aspect for the aquarist to see if I can use it.
Thanks again :thankyou:
silent world

FDStation152 02-03-2007 11:31 PM

Its not very hard to find. Most pet stores will sell it to you. Walmart also carries it for about 60 cents a gallon. The concerns about housing them together is not so much one of agression between the two but rather concerns of feeding. I have both in seperate tanks and you can see between the two that the angels are much more voracious when it comes to eating. Knowing how slowly my discus go about feeding I would think that the angels would beat them to almost all of the food perhaps causing malnutrition further down the line. That is the most common reason they aren't generally kept together. Another issue would be how they behave if either pairs up and begins to spawn. Even relatively peaceful fish can put on quite the mean streak as spawning adults. I've had mated pairs of angels kill other tankmates in the past. Tank size would play a role in this as in a very large tank the angels wouldn't feel as threatened and would just defend an area of the tank rather than try to drive out everything in the tank. I've yet to breed discus but since almost all of the other south american cichlids I've kept become more agressive once mated I would expect to see the same behavior from them. When young I have no doubt they could be kept together if you had a way of assuring the discus would get their fair share of food but as adults the angelfish may become too agressive towards the discus or vice versa...especially if you had a mated pair.

Be sure if using RO (reverse osmosis) DI (de-ionized) or distilled water that you have a product to reconstitute the lost mineral content. This could be blending with tap water or using a commercially available product. Discus in particular are prone to deficiency diseases such as hole in the head.

silent world 02-04-2007 11:18 AM

Many thanks for that, very interesting, i've taken it all onboard and will be watching for the signs when I get my fish, once I've sorted the problem of getting my water changes organised. :BIGwinky:
silent world

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