Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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H Seldon 01-05-2012 02:50 PM

Livebearers Basic Soft Water?

My water is soft 20 PPM yet my ph is base 7.8. I have platies and guppies will the softness bother them? I have 4 platies and 5 guppies in a 27 gallon tank (all female). Thanks.

redchigh 01-05-2012 03:09 PM

yes, it will.

Buy some crushed coral or agricultural limestone and add it. I prefer the limestone since it doesn't affect PH much. Texas holey rock also works.

H Seldon 01-05-2012 04:39 PM

Thanks for the advise. Should I put them in a substrate (I assume)? Also, I have live plants, could it harm them?

Byron 01-05-2012 05:07 PM

It may help the plants, depending upon species. Vallisneria will thrive in harder water, swords will do better too with more calcium.

I've only used dolomite and aragonite/crushed coral to raise hardness [my tap water is even softer than yours] so I don't know about the effect of the limestone that redchigh mentioned. My point here is that these substances can work fast and furious, so you don't want to go overboard. However, with livebearers this is not as much of a concern as it is with me, trying to slightly raise GH for still-soft water fish and plants. But it is usually best to add this stuff in the filter if possible; a mesh nylon bag of crushed limestone/dolomite in a chamber of the filter works very well. Once you mix it in the substrate, you can't easily remove it. But again, with livebearers, this is not critical.


H Seldon 01-06-2012 10:09 AM

Thanks for your reply. I will look for both dolomite and crushed coral this weekend. My plants are pretty simple water wisteria, H corymbosa, java ferns, anubius, sword, it wouldn't be a problem to loose a few. Plants are secondary to fish, although I can still remember a planted tank with swordtails I saw 30 years ago in a hotel lobby, very long, probably several hundred gallon. I have never gotten over that image of brilliant red swords against dark green plants. More beautiful than any tank I have seen, marine or otherwise.

Good to know that some plants do well in hard water. I will plan to pull out my carbon filter and fill a similar sized bag of dolomite or crushed coral in its place. My filter is a aquaclear power filter. Thanks for the info.

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