Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Properly Cycled w/o Fish :) Now What? (

ikcaj 06-25-2011 11:22 AM

Properly Cycled w/o Fish :) Now What?
:lol: I did it! I properly cycled a fishless 20 gallon tank with live plants and full spectrum light using a decaying shrimp as a starter. Everything is exactly where it should be. Problem now what to do with it?

I have livebearers in my other 30 gal. I've finally gotten those readings where they need to be except for the pH. The water is still too soft and acidic. I've added seashells to slowly raise the pH.

The pH in my fishless tank is perfect for live-bearers, but I know rapid changes in alkalinity and pH can kill them.

Can I gradually mix water from the fishless tank into the other during water changes to increase the pH? My brain can not calculate how much water to add.

Options currently available for moving (eventually) into new tank are a pair each of mollies, platties and fan-tail guppies.

I'd like to get both tanks to match so I can possible move fry from one tank to the other.


Byron 06-25-2011 11:27 AM

Sea shells would likely have minimal impact on hardness and pH unless there are many. There are better methods, but first, what is the pH and hardness of your tap water? And what is the pH in the fish tank (with the fish)? I need to know this to assess what can occur respecting the pH as this can be harmful to fish.

Hardness is the critical thing in pH adjustment; you can find out the hardness from your water supply folks, many now have a website with water data posted.


ikcaj 06-26-2011 09:07 AM

Lord only knows. I looked everywhere and I did find a 2009 water report, which is the most current. ( I also found documents from state and federal agencies talking about our aquifer and water system in general. We get most of our tap water from a very large lake nearby. From what I can understand, it is moderatley soft with very low alkalinity. Using my aquarium test kit I get the same results testing water straight from the tap. Hardenss of about 100gh and alkalinity of less than 40. The data Web sites I looked at gave general info for this area hardness of 80-125 and alkalinity of less than 50.

Byron 06-26-2011 12:47 PM

Not much help in that report, hardness and pH are not mentioned. But if your numbers are accurate, and assuming they are in ppm which I think is a safe assumption, it is soft and low KH (which buffers pH). So in an aquarium, the pH will lower easily.

The best solution is to use dolomite.m This used to be readily available in fish stores as gravel, but lately it is harder to track down. But it is absolutely the best substance for hardening water (and simultaneously raising the pH and keeping it stable). Years ago I used it for tanks of livebearers and rift lake cichlids [I had very soft and acidic water out of the tap] and they thrived. Crushed coral (as in gravel again) can also work, along with Magnesium sulfate (common Epsom Salt with no additives); the coral provides the calcium, the ES the magnesium. Takes very little of each.

This is explained more in an article I added last week to the Freshwater Article section, here's the link:

You want to aim for a pH in the mid to upper 7's for livebearers. Medium hard water should achieve this.


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