This is the page with information about my city's water. I am wondering if the water I get out of my tap will be sufficient to use in my South African Cichlid tank. I will have fish from Lake Malawi and Victoria. Thank you for the help guys as this is my first cichlid tank :)
Melbourne's Drinking Water - City of Melbourne, Florida
Chemically though it is below in Total Dissolved Solids from that link
Here is the water chemistry of Lake Malawi
pH 8.5 – 8.6
Alkalinity (mg/L CaCO3) 118 – 129
Hardness (mg/L CaCO3) 90 – 120
Conductivity (Ás/cm) 2210 – 220
Calcium (mg/L) 16.4 – 19.8
Carbonates (mg/L) 118 – 129
Chloride (mg/L) 3.6 – 4.3
Magnesium (mg/L) 4.7 – 8.8
Potassium (mg/L) 6.4
Phosphorous (mg/L) < 0.007 – 0.030
Sodium (mg/L) 21.0
Silicate (mg/L) 1.1 – 4.0
Sulfate (mg/L) 5.5
Although Domesticated bred fish are more adaptable to water parametres than Wild Caught
Talling, J.F., and I.B. Talling, 1965, The Chemical Composition of African Lake Waters. Internationale Revue ges. Hydrobiologie 50 (3): 421-463.
So my pH is fine but I need to raise hardness. Would I be able to use the cichlid salt they sell at my LFS?
Interesting the pH rises from 7.6 to 8.2 but I can't see any indication of what they may be adding to do that. Anyway, that's not an issue, and I agree you need more mineral in the water to harden it.
The rift lake salts you can buy will do it, but may be expensive long-term. A less expensive way would be to use calcareous rock or gravel such as limestone, dolomite, marble. Calcareous rocks slowly leech calcium and magnesium into the water, adding hardness. When I kept rift lake cichlids with my very soft tap water, I used dolomite as the substrate. It is a white gravel made from, naturally, dolomite, and is the best method.
You can also use a combo of calcium rock and magnesium sulfate (common Epsom salts). The calcium can come from crushed coral, such as what you can buy for the substrate in marine tanks. And at each water change add a small amount of Epsom salt mixed in with the replacement water. The coral adds the calcium, the Epsom salts the magnesium. Epsom salts can be purchased in drug stores, grocery stores, etc., in bags and is not expensive. We can discuss this method more if you ask. Dolomite would be my first choice if you can find it.
This is great advice in regards to adding mineral content to the water for Rift Lake Cichlids and even Guppies. If you noticed in the water chemistry my previous post there is high concentrations also of Sodium positive ions, and Clorides in the water to for the lake chemistry of African Cichlids. In the late 60s and early 70s I was breeding a few species that were direct wild caught in my aquariums in Calgary and I added NaCl to my water with good success.
I think it may be wise for the poster to get proper test kits if possible for them to monitor their water in KH, PH and maybe a hydrometer. For to measure the exact water chemistry out of their tap as well as in their aquarium.
Malawaiin Cichlids are really easy to breed in regards water chemistry when their water and nutrition are followed at optimum values (especially wild caught species)
Thank you for the responses guys I took the general idea of what you guys told me and put it into action. I changed my substrate from gravel to crushed coral which will help me with my water hardness and pH. Next, I plan to use reef bone as the base rock in my aquarium. If I am not mistaken that will raise pH and hardness as well.
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