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Hard water species in soft water?

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by BettaMan2000, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. BettaMan2000

    BettaMan2000 Fish Fanatic

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    Can hard water fish species such as guppies and platies adapt to soft water, there are some really nice looking guppies in my lfs, they’ve had them in their tanks for a while and talking to the manager they’re in soft water and seem to be doing well?

    I’m not sure whether they’re captive bred originally in soft water or have somehow adapted or if there are such things as softwater guppies, I didn’t think these existed?

     
  2. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The short answer to your initial question is no; species that occur naturally in moderately hard or harder water must be maintained in similar water. They have evolved to function in such water, and they need the mineral (primarily calcium and magnesium) which cannot be supplied except dissolved in thee water so they take it up as they assimilate the water they live in.

    Having said that, guppies are a bit unusual. They do seem able to manage in softer water, at least for a time. But manage and thrive are two very different things. If I recall from other threads, you have very soft water. Forget livebearers, they will not thrive. And with so many soft water species...

    On the store water issue...this is a very different situation. Stores hope to sell fish quickly, and many (but not all) species can tolerate less than ideal parameters for a short time. When you get them home, permanent maintenance means in water parameters thee species requires. Anything less is cruel to the fish. Some stores may adjust their water for this or that, or generally; I live in a very soft water area, and some stores do buffer their water so they are somewhat in the middle, thus able to hopefully maintain the fish from differing parameters until they sell them. This doesn't always work. Other stores here have a bank of "hard water" fish like livebearers and rift lake cichlids, and they use calcareous substrate or otherwise buffer the water so these fish are in better conditions, separate from the other banks of tanks with softer water. Bottom line, research a species to know exactly the parameters it requires, recognizing that its health totally depends upon this being provided, and go from there.

    The effects of soft water on hard water requiring species are not always evident for a time. Mollies for example seem "OK" for a few weeks, then they may develop fungus, shimmying, clamped fins...all directly due to the lack of mineral in the water. Then they die rapidly. All hard water species will have significantly shortened lifespans in soft water, this is guaranteed. So clearly there is a detriment to the fish, whatever the signs along the way.
     
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  3. BettaMan2000

    BettaMan2000 Fish Fanatic

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    Interesting, thanks.

    They're definitely unusual, i was speaking to a nurse yesterday regarding her fish that she keeps on her ward (three guppies) for what must be over a year now, they seem to be using soft water from the tap albeit with tetra water conditioner and they seem to be doing fine.

    It is however interesting.
     
  4. fishlover22346

    fishlover22346 New Member

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    with most species, they cannot tolerate hard water if they are soft water fish, or soft water if they are hard water fish, but in they guppys, molly’s, and platys case, you are in luck. all of these species can thrive in soft water. I have kept very soft, acidic, amazon biotopes with guppys and molly’s before and they seem to do fine. I used to breed guppys in soft water too. they will do great. now with most fish this isn’t the case. for instance, african cichlids can’t live in soft water.
     
  5. neoyyf

    neoyyf Member

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    Since you have soft water, increasing hardness is easily done by means of crushed coral, limestone, etc so you can keep them if you want
     
  6. NickAu

    NickAu Member

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    That is incorrect especially for Mollies.

    As Byron states here.
     
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  7. fishlover22346

    fishlover22346 New Member

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    I had my molly for a very long time, until I had to move out of state, and I had to give it away to my grandma who has a large tank. It died later. but I believe that the one livebearer that tends to do the best in soft water are guppys, they are quite tolerant
     
  8. NickAu

    NickAu Member

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    Quoting Byron again.

     
  9. fishlover22346

    fishlover22346 New Member

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    what would you call thriving, I believe thriving is eating well, playing, swimming normal, begging etc
     

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