125 gallon South American community progress

Colin_T

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Acei cichlids come from Lake Malawi and need water with a GH around 300ppm and a pH around 7.6. The other fishes you have come from softer water with a lower pH.

What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).
 
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Snagrio

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Acei cichlids come from Lake Malawi and need water with a GH around 300ppm and a pH around 7.6. The other fishes you have come from softer water with a lower pH.

What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).
My water is actually from a well (aka not city water with added chlorine and such) and filtered. I just tested the PH from both tanks and they're reading over 7.6 (which might explain why some of the fish in the 55 aren't doing so well...).

Have no clue on the hardness/softness though unfortunately.
 

mcordelia

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do you get your well water tested for drinking water quality every now and then? the GH/KH may be contained there.
 
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Snagrio

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Talked with my dad (used to be in filtration business so he knows all about this kind of stuff) and he said the water, after going through our softener and iron filtration, is VERY soft, like 2ppm at most (otherwise the water would be over 400ppm but the water throughout the house is soft filtered).

So in short it's very alkaline and very soft.

EDIT: forgot 7 is neutral PH so the water is only slightly alkaline, oops. Still relearning a lot of lost knowledge here, have been going years on just the bacteria cycle stuff.
 

mcordelia

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Oh boy, do you fill the tank with the softened water? From a fish perspective, the water softener does not change the hardness because the total quantity of dissolved ions in the water is the same, but the fact that Ca and Mg are being switched out for Na means that there is more "salt" in the water and that is bad for the fish.

Long story short, you still have "hard water" but the ion composition is different. Technically, from what I understand it is best for the fish to fill the tanks from the bypass valve, but I think what you need to consider as well is what fish do well with hard water, or should you look into using RO water to dilute out the hardness.

This might actually be an interesting conversation for you and your dad to have, since he clearly seems to have a lot of expertise in the field. Let me link you to a couple of threads where this just came up a few days ago, hold on.
 
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mcordelia

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On here is the thread. It's a little all over the place,but the person ended up getting a lot of good feedback from @essjay and other folks on the hardness topic so worth a look. Also some links to original posts on hardness by older members as well :)
 
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Snagrio

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I think at this point, the best course of action would be to rehome all the cichlids as originally planned (except the severum as @Colin_T suggested in another thread, will have to see how to acts around live plants though), put the albino pleco and severum in with the other fish in the 55 gal, and completely redo the inner workings of the 125 (get new, finer substrate, natural driftwood, real rocks and live plants). Then after a little bit to allow the vegitation to take root I'll move in the 55 gal inhabitants.

And my folks just gave a flat no on keeping the 55 running (after the fish have moved obviously) so that's also out of the question. They've already been extremely gracious in allowing me to expand and not leaving me forced to rehome the loaches I've grown attached to throughout these years. Not going to press the matter any further.
 

mcordelia

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That's fair. It's great that you have an open line of communication with your folks :)

so yeah, it seems like you know what you are working with, and at least for the next few weeks you have your work cut out for you in trying to get everything set with moving the old fish out and rescaping the 125 and then getting set up to break down the 55. I'm sure at some point you will get to start thinking about other additions for the 125, but it seems like at this point you have a good way to test what happens with the severum and your other fish by putting him in the 55, and it should give you a pretty instant answer as far as whether he is going to try and gobble up the other inhabitants or live peacefully with the other fish.
 
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Snagrio

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The question now however is, should I just wait on doing anything until after Christmas? We are actually have some family over (before anybody flips a lid it's people we've had visit several times over the course of this year with no issues) and obviously I don't want things to be in the middle of a transitional mess while all that hubbub is going on. That and it'd admittedly be pretty disappointing for the kids to have a 125 just, sitting there empty (since again I want to allow time for plants to grow in a little before introducing a ragtag group of rambunctious loaches).

I'm going to just automatically assume then, that it'd be immensely unwise to try and rehome a bunch of fish, rescape a tank, and move an entire other community within the span of less than two weeks and that I should just leave everything as is until after the holidays so I can more comfortably take my time?
 

mcordelia

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That would be my approach, especially since it allows you to plan better instead of jumping into it. I assume you have other obligations, and for example just the amount of time required to do a good job washing substrate for the 125gal is no trivial feat. At the same time, that's something you can be doing now without touching either tank, and will show your folks that work is in progress, even though the displays themselves are not being touched.

also recommend getting their feedback instead of our feedback on this plan, since it is their house after all :D
 
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Snagrio

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That would be my approach, especially since it allows you to plan better instead of jumping into it. I assume you have other obligations, and for example just the amount of time required to do a good job washing substrate for the 125gal is no trivial feat. At the same time, that's something you can be doing now without touching either tank, and will show your folks that work is in progress, even though the displays themselves are not being touched.

also recommend getting their feedback instead of our feedback on this plan, since it is their house after all :D
I have. It basically boiled down to "Why do all the pretty ones have to go..." 🤣 I even hinted that it wouldn't have to be the case if the 55 was still allowed to function but my mother's staunch on not having two tanks so, their loss I guess.

Will admit it's somewhat upsetting myself, would've loved to keep the aceis in particular, but with the massive amount of new space (once the red devils in particular are gone it's going to look so much bigger) there's more than enough opportunity to find equally dazzling species down the road that won't be so, "cichlid-y" if you catch my drift.
 

DAnCSF

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I have. It basically boiled down to "Why do all the pretty ones have to go..." 🤣 I even hinted that it wouldn't have to be the case if the 55 was still allowed to function but my mother's staunch on not having two tanks so, their loss I guess.

Will admit it's somewhat upsetting myself, would've loved to keep the aceis in particular, but with the massive amount of new space (once the red devils in particular are gone it's going to look so much bigger) there's more than enough opportunity to find equally dazzling species down the road that won't be so, "cichlid-y" if you catch my drift.
Well you've certainly scored i the big tank upgrade....time is your friend and given the CV surge being safe, is better than the consequences...so take your time....regards
 
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Snagrio

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Drove around to a couple LFSes (one was pretty bad so I won't even talk about it) and after a long talk with one of the employees, it feels like I have more questions than answers at this point... For one thing it sounds like I'd either have to try and give the cichlids away to a chain store (Aquarium Adventure as I've been told) or try my luck and see if someone would take them via Craigslist.

Also both the employee and other folks online have said that not only is 125 STILL not big enough for the clown loaches long term, but that doing a planted system (which I'd really like to attempt again) would be next to impossible, even if I tried "substrateless" species like the Javas. The employee even suggested that I should all but start over and get rid of all my current fish (he said they could take in the smaller species like the rainbows and such). I don't know... It'd give me a chance to try my vision again of a massive mixed shoal of neon/cardinal and black tetras, or try other things like Bosesemani rainbows and rope fish or even a biome themed system with fish from the same continent.

Really, today's little trip ended up leaving me with more questions than answers. Lots of things to mull over...
 

DAnCSF

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Well you've a chore ahead of you...gather what information you have and then go forth and do it....Lot of people have planted tanks...If I may, if you have a concern about fish digging up plant why not attach plants to rocks plant them add sand around the base and along with some rocks over the roots.etc....or just eschew plants all together...Remember it's your tank you can do whatever you want after, taking in and distilling all the info and advice. Good luck.
 

Naughts

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I can understand this is overwhelming. Sometimes (often) tanks evolve rather than are fully planned at the outset. Decide the one thing you want most and put it in. Then build from there.
 

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