High pH suggestions
Hi I'm starting up a 20 gallon long planted tank and recently tested the pH which came out to about 8.3-8.4. I'm wondering what a good selection of fish would be for this range? I was going to go with neons and corys but I worried this is a bit high for them. Thanks
For a tank with PH that high, african cichlids from the rift lakes would work.
Saying 8.6 is a bit high for neons and cories is the understatement of the century (discounting everything george w bush has ever said.)
Look for Tangenica cichlids (I know I misspelled it.)
You could also put peat into your filter or under the substrate to lower PH.
I've heard of lots of people keeping neons in water with pH in the 8's. They won't spawn, though. But it's erroneous to label neon's with the more stringent pH requirements of Cardinals.
Additionally, the following corys can handle a high pH, as long as the water quality is good: Bronze corys, skunk catfish, imitator corys, and peppered corys. Again, your water quality must be very good for these corys, and the pH should be CONSISTENT. But they ought to be able to handle the high pH environment of your aquarium.
For other fish species to consider, I would look at most of the livebearers (guppies, mollys, swordtails, platys), which do extremely well in high pH water.
If your heart is set on tetras, some of these might do better in your particular water than neons would: bloodfins, black widows, silvertips, emperors, and x-rays. However, for shoaling fish I would probably be more likely to look at appropriately sized barbs and/or zebra and pearl danios, which are much more likely to thrive and breed in a high-pH/hard water system.
If you like african cichlids, then by all means you might want to consider them...but be careful about species as many of them have no business in a 20g long.
A pH of 8.6 and the (presumably) high hardness that usually comes along with a pH like that, as well as the fact that you've got a long, low tank like that, really screams "dwarf shelldweller colony" to me. That'd make a great tank for Lamprologus meleagris, Lamprologus ocellatus or Neolamprologus multifasciatus. Easy set-up, too; just do a sloped sandy substrate with maybe some silk plants (tall ones) along the back edge (or real plants if you're feeling up to the task) and put plenty of shells in the tank. With tap water like yours you wouldn't need any special substrate or filter media and the fish are easy to feed and care for. Keep the water quality high and they'll probably breed.
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