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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, It's been a long time since I was here. I'm in the process of cycling my tank. My water is alot different from where I used to live. I'm getting back in the hobby! Anyway, tank has been running for a few days so I know the cycle is not complete yet but I decided to test the water. I'm doing a 55g freshwater setup with malaysian driftwood that I used to have in a tank for years but is just now seeing water again and black sand. I do wanna add some rocks( not sure what yet ) and what I can have based on my parameters. My question is what fish would do well in these conditions? Also what would you suggest? Feel free to ask me any questions that might help in coming up with a plan. My parameters are as follows....

Ph- 8.0
Kh- 161.1
Gh- 232.7
Ammonia- 1.0
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 7.5

The thing that most concerns me is the Kh and the Gh. I will not go the route of altering this via chemicals. Not a option for me. Much rather find fish that would be fine with these parameters. Also I have a suspicion that they may change when the cycle is complete. Am I right? So excited to get back, but I wanna make sure I take it slow and smart. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Welcome back into the hobby! You do have some hard water there, but that's not a big problem. African cichlids would do well in it, but I don't know if they are your thing. Guppies and other livebearer do well, too, but aren't for everyone due to that pesky habit of breeding like flies.

But there are some neat hardwater fish that have come into the hobby recently. A lot of them are small, colorful shoaling fish. The Asian rummynose barb (Sawbwa resplendens) is my favorite. Emerald dwarf rasbora are also gorgeous. For some bottom-dwellers look at the Inle Loach (Petruichthys brevis) or some of the captive-bred corydoras species as they can tolerate harder water better than the wild-caught ones. A lot of rainbowfish are hard water fish too (if memory serves me right).

Hope I've been able to give you some good ideas!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome back into the hobby! You do have some hard water there, but that's not a big problem. African cichlids would do well in it, but I don't know if they are your thing. Guppies and other livebearer do well, too, but aren't for everyone due to that pesky habit of breeding like flies.

But there are some neat hardwater fish that have come into the hobby recently. A lot of them are small, colorful shoaling fish. The Asian rummynose barb (Sawbwa resplendens) is my favorite. Emerald dwarf rasbora are also gorgeous. For some bottom-dwellers look at the Inle Loach (Petruichthys brevis) or some of the captive-bred corydoras species as they can tolerate harder water better than the wild-caught ones. A lot of rainbowfish are hard water fish too (if memory serves me right).

Hope I've been able to give you some good ideas!
I am considering african cichlids but I have driftwood in the tank and would like to add more not sure how that will be with cichlids.
 

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Nice start, that screams Amazon to me, lots of wood, tannins floating plants with prolific roots, lots, and some serious moss. Of course that isn't really in synch with the harder water. (I am dealing with 23dGH if you want to talk about hard water).

If you heavily planted it and didn't over populate the fish the water would soften somewhat, maybe get you under 10dGH and the pH could get into the lower 7's.

Jeff.
 

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I am considering african cichlids but I have driftwood in the tank and would like to add more not sure how that will be with cichlids.
Pretty sure they would be fine with it. Wood and rocks are usually used to 'scape cichlid tanks because they have a habit of eating most plants. Plus, if the wood has been in there a while a lot of the tannins will have leeched out.

And that is an awesome start to a tank, btw!!! Love that wood!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Kinda leaning towards the cichlids. I've never done them before. I would like to attach some java moss to the wood in spots, I've had great success with it in the past. Just not sure how it will fare with the cichlids.
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Tank is looking good, stick a pile of rocks dotted around and yes it would be suited to cichlids.

They will munch on the driftwood a bit but no destroy it, add a BN pleco or synodontis as a bottom feeder and it would be a nice tank.

There are some easier cichlids to start off with, these include yellow labs, cynotilapia afra, Rusty and acei, in a 55g tank look at about 12-15 in total. Ideally you want 1 male to several females although this is not always possible.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tank is looking good, stick a pile of rocks dotted around and yes it would be suited to cichlids.

They will munch on the driftwood a bit but no destroy it, add a BN pleco or synodontis as a bottom feeder and it would be a nice tank.

There are some easier cichlids to start off with, these include yellow labs, cynotilapia afra, Rusty and acei, in a 55g tank look at about 12-15 in total. Ideally you want 1 male to several females although this is not always possible.
One thing I am sure of is I will be doing BN plecos. Had them in the past and I love em!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hello again folks! Tank seems to be cycling fine. Got a nice new big piece of driftwood in the tank now after soaking. Moved things around a little. I wanted to post a new pic as well as report my water tests. Want to know what you guys think of the hardscape and get some thought on my water parameters. Any and all comments or suggestions welcomed. Please let me know if you see something wrong. Hope you guys like it. Water test results are as follows to date.

4/11/13
- Ph- 8.0
- Kh- 161.1
- Gh- 232.7
- Ammonia- 1.0
- Nitrite- 0
- Nitrate- 7.5

4/17/13
- Ph- 7.9
- Kh- 125.3
- Gh- 232.7
- Ammonia- 1.0
- Nitrite- 0.25
- Nitrate- 10.0

4/22/13
- Ph- 8.0
- Kh- 125.3
- Gh- 214.8
- Ammonia- 0
- Nitrite- 2.0
- Nitrate- 15.0

By the way I am doing a fishless cycle. Again, please let me know if you see anything that isn't right. Still unsure of what I want to stock. I think I will add some moss. Maybe some narrow leaf java fern, anubias and various crypts. Don't think I will add any rocks as the driftwood takes up a lot of space already. If I do it will be sparse. So basically what I'm looking for from you guys is to let me know if the water is looking good and if this was your tank, what would you add as far as fish. Also, the pic isn't too good because at the moment I only have my crappy phone camera, so coloration is not accurate. Thanks guys!
 

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Looking good.

Rocks would be lost. An assortment of short and taller crypts will do nicely although that wood screams for a carpet of green as it will overpower (visually) any plants you put in there. A row of vals across the back behind the wood would be the easiest to maintain and they'll throw out runners to fill in after a few months.

What are the lights?

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Looking good.

Rocks would be lost. An assortment of short and taller crypts will do nicely although that wood screams for a carpet of green as it will overpower (visually) any plants you put in there. A row of vals across the back behind the wood would be the easiest to maintain and they'll throw out runners to fill in after a few months.

What are the lights?

Jeff.
Odyssea 2x 54 Watts T5HO
- Coralife Colormax
- Coralife 10,000k

I also have a 6,700 bulb not certain what combo I will run yet.
 

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Odyssea 2x 54 Watts T5HO
- Coralife Colormax
- Coralife 10,000k

I also have a 6,700 bulb not certain what combo I will run yet.
Drop the 10,000K altogether, that's not going to do much for freshwater plants at all... not sure about the colormax either... as long as both bulbs are 6,000K - 7,000K that should be lots of light. I suspect that the lights might be actually be more than what is needed but I don't know florescents, only LEDs. Floating plants should make it onto your list as well... are you still thinking cichlids?

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Drop the 10,000K altogether, that's not going to do much for freshwater plants at all... not sure about the colormax either... as long as both bulbs are 6,000K - 7,000K that should be lots of light. I suspect that the lights might be actually be more than what is needed but I don't know florescents, only LEDs. Floating plants should make it onto your list as well... are you still thinking cichlids?

Jeff.
Sorry correction its a 12,000k bulb not 10,000k. Just tried the 6,700 with the colormax and it looks better but not as bright. Also tried the 6,700 with the 12,000k, looks good too only brighter. The colormax is for plants (pink bulb) as well as enhancing fish color. I've had success with plants in the past with the colormax and 6,700 combo. I'm still thinking about cichlids but that would most likely limit the plants. It's still up in the air. Was kinda hoping my water parameters would make the decision for me but it's looking like I could go either way.
 

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Sorry correction its a 12,000k bulb not 10,000k. Just tried the 6,700 with the colormax and it looks better but not as bright. Also tried the 6,700 with the 12,000k, looks good too only brighter. The colormax is for plants (pink bulb) as well as enhancing fish color. I've had success with plants in the past with the colormax and 6,700 combo. I'm still thinking about cichlids but that would most likely limit the plants. It's still up in the air. Was kinda hoping my water parameters would make the decision for me but it's looking like I could go either way.
Scientific tests have shown that aquarium plants do grow best under light that has peaks in the red, blue and green wavelengths. The red and blue are essential for photosynthesis, but the green clearly impacts this too, though this may partly be the brightness with green/yellow. The best tubes to achieve this are those with a Kelvin rating between 6000K and 7000K, or a CRI between 70 and 100.

So I would definitely use one 6700K tube. The second tube is really up to you, as you will get a different colour hue depending--as you already posted about. I prefer the crisper (brighter) appearance of the 10,000K or 11,000K mixed with a 6700K. Up to you though.

To your question on suitable fish, any that prefer hard water will be fine, and any that are OK with moderately hard water. Just avoid the very soft water fish. This is mentioned in our profiles of each species.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Scientific tests have shown that aquarium plants do grow best under light that has peaks in the red, blue and green wavelengths. The red and blue are essential for photosynthesis, but the green clearly impacts this too, though this may partly be the brightness with green/yellow. The best tubes to achieve this are those with a Kelvin rating between 6000K and 7000K, or a CRI between 70 and 100.

So I would definitely use one 6700K tube. The second tube is really up to you, as you will get a different colour hue depending--as you already posted about. I prefer the crisper (brighter) appearance of the 10,000K or 11,000K mixed with a 6700K. Up to you though.

To your question on suitable fish, any that prefer hard water will be fine, and any that are OK with moderately hard water. Just avoid the very soft water fish. This is mentioned in our profiles of each species.

Byron.
Thanks Byron, I can always count on you to know exactly what tou are talking about. Can you think of some fish off the top of your head that would do well in hard water. Also I know you have tons of knowledge when it comes to plants. If I were to stock cichlids, what plants would be ok and not be destroyed by the cichlids? Of course, plants that would do well with my setup without co2 and crazy ferts..
 

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Thanks Byron, I can always count on you to know exactly what tou are talking about. Can you think of some fish off the top of your head that would do well in hard water. Also I know you have tons of knowledge when it comes to plants. If I were to stock cichlids, what plants would be ok and not be destroyed by the cichlids? Of course, plants that would do well with my setup without co2 and crazy ferts..
The two obvious groups of fish that thrive in harder water are livebearers and rift lake cichlids. But there are several species that can manage, esp as yours is not overly hard (like the "liquid rock" some people have:lol:). Most (but not all) of the Athernids (rainbowfish) come to mind, and there are some cyprinids, and a few characins.

Plants and cichlids depend upon the species. Some of the Central American species, which are generally larger though not all are, can sometimes dig them up, so plants attached to wood or rock like Anubias, Java Fern work best, and of course floating plants. Vallisneria species thrive in harder water, and grow naturally in the rift lakes, so these are a good choice with rift lake cichlids.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hello again folks! Tank seems to be cycling fine. Got a nice new big piece of driftwood in the tank now after soaking. Moved things around a little. I wanted to post a new pic as well as report my water tests. Want to know what you guys think of the hardscape and get some thought on my water parameters. Any and all comments or suggestions welcomed. Please let me know if you see something wrong. Hope you guys like it. Water test results are as follows to date.

4/11/13
- Ph- 8.0
- Kh- 161.1
- Gh- 232.7
- Ammonia- 1.0
- Nitrite- 0
- Nitrate- 7.5

4/17/13
- Ph- 7.9
- Kh- 125.3
- Gh- 232.7
- Ammonia- 1.0
- Nitrite- 0.25
- Nitrate- 10.0

4/22/13
- Ph- 8.0
- Kh- 125.3
- Gh- 214.8
- Ammonia- 0
- Nitrite- 2.0
- Nitrate- 15.0

By the way I am doing a fishless cycle. Again, please let me know if you see anything that isn't right. Still unsure of what I want to stock. I think I will add some moss. Maybe some narrow leaf java fern, anubias and various crypts. Don't think I will add any rocks as the driftwood takes up a lot of space already. If I do it will be sparse. So basically what I'm looking for from you guys is to let me know if the water is looking good and if this was your tank, what would you add as far as fish. Also, the pic isn't too good because at the moment I only have my crappy phone camera, so coloration is not accurate. Thanks guys!
Here are some more recent test results. Everything seems to be going ok but I am concerned with a couple things. First, my Ph seems to be fluctuating. I know this is not good. I can tell you I have not yet done a water change since starting the cycle. I have topped the tank off a couple of times due to evaporation because I have the temp high to help stimulate the cycle. I have added a huge piece of driftwood that i had soaking for a couple weeks but is still releasing tannins. I guess my question is, is this normal due to cycling or because of the driftwood? I know the driftwood can lower Ph so I figure the fluctuations are do to topping off being that my tap seems to be around 8.0? If so, is there a way to stop this and will it happen after every water change? Also, my nitrates seem to be stuck where they are. Should I be adding more food? Anyway, here are the test results to date...

4/28/2013
Ph- 7.8
Kh- 125.3
Gh- 214.8
Ammonia- 0
Nitrite- 0.25
Nitrate- 10

5/2/2013
Ph-7.6
Kh- 125.3
Gh- 232.7
Ammonia- 0
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 10
 
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