Some advice on raising the water hardness in my new aquarium
I recently moved to a new apartment and just set up a new aquarium that i plan on using for African Cichlids, everything is perfect for them, except i have the softest water imaginable. I went out and bought some crushed coral and put it at the bottom of the filter behind the filter media. I have a Marineland penguin biowheel 200. Im probably just being impatient but that was 2 days ago and there has been no change, So any tips on this would be great! Or just a friendly "your on the right track just chill out";-)
Haha! Soft water is something a lot of aquarists dream of! It means cardinal tetra and discus. But I see your point. It isn't always the greatest. I have a 55 gallon goldfish tank that I have to harden. I use CaribSea's Florida Crushed Coral because it will raise both GH and KH. I'm assuming you know how hardening water works and have a test kit. Be patient. It's taken me weeks to raise the hardness to where I want it to be. But that is because I have fish in the tank. If you haven't added your fish yet, then try adding more crushed coral. It's taken me about 1.5 cups to get the hardness where I want it to be.
And also. Welcome to the forum!
The best solution for rift lake cichlids is to use a substrate of crushed coral/aragonite sand. CarribSea make this, there are likely other manufacturers too. Some stores sell it in bulk which will be less expensive. This sand is also very authentic in appearance to the rift lakes.
The crushed coral adds the calcium, and the aragonite adds calcium and magnesium which is also essential. This obviously raises the GH, and the pH with it.
You can use special mineral salts [not to be confused with common salt which should never be used with these fish] that will create "rift lake water" but this will be much more expensive long-term. The afore-mentioned sand substrate will last years.
Thanks for the replies! I may be upgrading the size of my tank to a 55 sooner then i thought due to more space becoming available, So im debating changing the substrate to aragonite sand, i dont like how crushed coral is lighter and emphasizes dirtyness lol. Im curious how i keep the hardness level steady during water changes though?
Thanks again guys
Alright that makes sense, iv never used sand as a substrate before, mainly because i heard all the debris settled on top, any tips for maintaining this?
On a side note i cant decide if i want to go with black or a lighter color aragonite sand
I came across a recipe for a rift lake buffer,
Rift Lake Buffer Recipe - Cichlid Salt
If i did my math right that would mean 11 parts of each ingredient for a 55 gallon tank, if i chose to use sand would this help maintain the effect of the buffer or would it raise it to high?
The packaged rift lake salts he mentions at the outset will work, they do not contain "salt" so are fine, but they are expensive. Using an aragonite/crushed coral sand will last years for the cost of a substrate.
I didn't know they made black aragonite sand. The tan colour is normal for the rift lakes so the fish will feel comfortable over it, and you would have dim light (meaning not bright) for the fish. Vallisneria is an excellent plant for thickets, it grows in the rift lakes. And of course lots of rocks.
Re the debris, I never have this issue. The Malaysian Livebearing snails may be one reason. These would work with rift lake cichlids, the trapdoor of the snail makes it hard for fish to get them, plus they burrow in the sand during daylight.
Well i got everything set up, spent 3 hours cleaning the sand, and i filled the tank with the garden hose (outside water is nice and hard) so far so good, i just have to put some extra work into a couple of used filters i found. A whisper and an aqua-tech that both make a lot of noise. I have 1 50 gallon filter with a bio wheel running for now but i highly doubt that will be enough.
It is not too expensive and will be fine for this size tank.
I might even leave your best running filter on the tank with the Aquaclear 110 for added circulation and the ability to rotate cleaning the filter's as often as necessary.
I use an Aquaclear 110 on 55 gallon holding a few middlin size plecos but I also have Hydro IV sponge filter for some added biological filtration (surface area).
This allows me to completely clean one filter each week without fear of losing too much of biological filter.
Next week,I clean the other one.
Should you decide to purchase the Aquaclear, or any 0ther filter for that matter,Is wise in my view to purchase extra pads,sponges,cartridges ,so that you can swap out that which need's cleaning and replace it with fresh and alway's have clean one ready .
Hope some of this helps.
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