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Discussion in 'Welcome: Introduce Yourself & Learn More About TFF' started by Mick Vallis, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. Mick Vallis

    Mick Vallis New Member

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    Hi, had Tropical Fish over 30 years ago (complete amateur) now decided to have another go.
    Bought a 190ltr corner tank about 3 weeks ago & after stabilising have now stocked it with:
    2 gold sailfin mollies
    2 red dwarf gourami
    12 neon tetra
    4 long fin danio
    2 kuhli loaches (not seen since putting in tank)
    5 nerite snails
    Due to water PH (7.8) & KH (>20) from tap have been struggling to lower PH a touch & lower KH more than a touch.
    Experimented with tap water by putting it through a britta filter (std stuff in water jugs) & found first pass lowered PH to 6.7 & KH to 13.
    At water changes (20%) I now spend a couple of hours (about 40ltrs as throughput is slow) jugging out of tank & passing through filter (see pic if I can work out how to attach).
    This has lowered my PH to 7.3 & KH to <15.
    Couple of questions:
    1. Can you see any issues with this process?
    2. Are my stock levels ok for this size tank or can I get some more?

    Struggling with pic (security error) will post later.
     
  2. Mick Vallis

    Mick Vallis New Member

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    DSC00519a.jpg
     
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  3. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Try measuring the pH of your tap water after 24 hours. A Britta filter should not adjust it but water companies sometimes put in something to temporily raise the pH to stop pipes corroding, and the filter may just get rid of that substance. That throughput is probably not sustainable because:
    1. Most people recommend changing 50-75% per week (I do 75)
    2. You will exhaust your filters quickly and they are expensive.
    KH does not really matter (neither does pH) but GH does. You have a comination of fish that requre water ranging from very hard (mollies) to soft (pretty much everything else). Post the GH figure and unit and someone can advise as these fish cannot all thrive in the same tank.
     
  4. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    It is a few years since I used a Brita jug so they may have changed the cartridges since then. My cartridges dropped the pH from 7.6 to off the bottom of the API liquid tester scale. The reason? They used an ion exchange resin which swapped metal ions for hydrogen ions, and pH is an upside down measure of the amount of hydrogen ions. The more hydrogen ions there are the lower the pH. The website now just says that Maxtra cartridges contain ion exchange resins but give no details.
    Brita's website's FAQ section used to contain a warning not to use the filtered water in aquariums.


    The way to test pH is to run a glass of plain tap water and a glass of filtered water. Test them both immediately, then let them stand and test again next day. Then post all four readings on here :)
     
  5. Mick Vallis

    Mick Vallis New Member

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    Will Do, thanks.
     
  6. Mick Vallis

    Mick Vallis New Member

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    Have ordered a GH/KH test kit as I do not trust the 6 in 1 test strips I have been using (strip indicated PH at 9.1. My pen & PH test kit indicated 7.6) will post GH/KH levels tomorrow.

    Confused with the "cannot thrive" as my fish suppliers details for recommended PH levels are:
    Mollies 6.5 - 8.0
    Tetra 6.0 - 8.0
    Gourami 6.0 - 8.0
    Danio 6.0 - 7.8
    Kuhli 6.0 - 8.0
    Snails 7.0 - 8.0

    Which is why, with compatability and looks, I chose this combination.
     
  7. seangee

    seangee Member

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    General hardness refers to the amount of minerals in the water. Hard water fish require these and will die (quite quickly) if their needs are not met. Mollies require a GH of 15-30 German degrees, with a preference for higher values.

    Cardinal tetras need a a GH of 1-12 degrees with a preference for lower values. If the water is too hard they will live, with a reduced lifespan, and eventually die of organ failure from an accumulation of minerals. Fish are more tolerant of a wide range of pH providing the pH is stable. Many fish shop workers do not realise this or have been trained differently because getting the sale matters (and medication for ill fish is quite lucrative too). A good site for species info is www.seriouslyfish.com

    Edit: In case that sounds excessively cynical I'm afraid its not. There are detailed explanations on this site so I won't try to repeat them (or search for them ) while I'm on my phone.
     
  8. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    What the supplier didn't tell you is that hardness is more important than pH. Not many shops realise this.

    Sailfin mollies 15 to 35 dH
    Neon tetra 1 to 12 dH
    Dwarf gouramis 2 to 18 dH
    Zebra danios dH 5 to 20 - but temperature 18 to 25 deg C; danios are not really tropical
    Kuhlis dH 0 to 8

    All info from the best website for fish profiles http://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/
    It is better to keep fish in water with hardness around the middle of a species' range.

    If you look on your water company's website, it should tell you what your hardness is. You need a number and the unit (UK water companies often use a unit not used in fish keeping so we have to convert the number)




    seangee posted as I was typing :)
     
  9. Mick Vallis

    Mick Vallis New Member

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    Told you I did not like the 6 in 1 test strips, they say 4-16 GH is ok. Also told you I was an amateur.

    Thanks......
     
  10. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Welcome to TFF, and back to the hobby.

    I agree with the other two members' posts above. The GH, KH and pH are interconnected. I fully concur with the advice not to attempt adjusting pH, this is without doubt going to cause serious issues. Once you/we know the GH, KH and pH (outgassed) for the source (tap) water, we will have a better idea of what may occur or need doing.

    Outgassed pH is what essjay was referring to. Tap water can sometimes have a high level of dissolved CO2 in it, and CO2 produces carbonic acid which in turn lowers the pH. Out-gassing the CO2 means allowing CO2 to leave the water, which it will do if the container of water is left standing for 24 hours. Some use agitation to hurry this along. As the CO2 leaves the water, the chemical process reverses in a sense, and the pH will return to its initial level in the source water. It is not necessary to go through this out-gassing for tank water pH tests, just fresh tap water.

    The pH will tend to remain at the out-gassed level, and depending upon the GH and KH it may or may not lower from this level. The natural biological processes in any aquarium with fish, where organics accumulate and are broken down by bacteria, producing CO2 which produces carbonic acid which lowers the pH. However, the GH and KH can counter this process to some degree depending upon the initial levels of all three. Attempts to lower pH if the buffering capability of the GH/KH is significant will lead to serious pH fluctuations and this is bad for fish. A stable pH even if somewhat outside the range for a species is better for fish (less detrimental) than a pH fluctuating.

    Turning to the matter of different fish species requiring different parameters (parameters refers to the GH, KH, pH and temperature, nothing else), this is something usually ignored by many fish store staff. Freshwater fish have evolved to function in very specific parameters, because fresh water unlike sea water is different depending where it is found. The physiology of each freshwater fish species requires a fairly narrow range of parameters or the fish has difficulty just managing its normal daily internal processes. Some fish have a wider tolerance than others. This is why it is crucial to know the parameters of the source water, and then select fish species suited. These fish will thrive, rather than just survive--and unfortunately "survive" always means the fish is slowly weakening and will die prematurely, either from some other disease it can no longer fight off, or from the internal weakening that just gives out; there is no way around this.
     
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  11. seangee

    seangee Member

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    What is the reading on the strips. It is probably accurate enough, its just the interpretation of what is ok that is too generic. At least this should inform us what we are working with.
     
  12. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    Ok I really disagree with this water hardness issue. I purchase most of my fish from LiveAquaria and they list the parameters needed for their fish. They post KH NOT GH and they post Ph. But many people on this forum say only GH matters, and PH and KH does not matter. If that's the case then why would one of the largest online Internet fish sellers refer to PH and KH and completely ignore GH. I've also read multiple articles (I'll try to find some links to them so I can post them here) that strongly emphasize the importance of KH and the unimportance of GH. So what's the deal? Is this a controversial issue in the fish world? I am a relative newbie but I read, read and read so I feel somewhat educated by now. I've found articles emphasizing KH while other emphasize GH so it sounds like a somewhat controversial issue. Since I buy my fish there - I follow their guidelines and look at KH and PH rather than GH.

    Here is a link to LiveAquaria showing an example of the parameters they publish for each of their fish:

    https://www.liveaquaria.com/product/991/powder-blue-dwarf-gourami?pcatid=991&c=830+882+991

    I rarely lose a fish that I've purchased from them. Once I lost 3 of the same species as soon as I put them in the tank even though the water parameters matched exactly to what I had at that time. I got an immediate store credit but have never figured that one out - my guess is that they listed the wrong parameters for that species. Other than that I have never lost a fish I purchased as long as I stuck to the KH and PH. The PH in my city runs extremely high so ideally I get that all straightened out with PH down before I add fish (and wait a few days because there can be some kickback on the PH after a couple of days and it may measure too high or two low). Once I have fish, it seems to be more stable - I have to adjust the PH with every large water change or it's back up into the 8.9 (as far as my test kit goes). I do this by adding 2.5 mls to a 29 gallon tank every day until the PH is close to 7. Usually takes 2-3 days and is USUALLY but not ALWAYS stable. So I may have to do some tweaking later on. It is definitely an art to getting it just right. And when there is fish in the tank, you want to move slowly. When you have semi-hard water it's a little tricky to get the PH to stay stable but generally I have minimal problems. After it's been stable for a while, even a water change doesn't seem to disturb it significantly. I tolerate PH of 6.8-7.4 and generally don't mess with the PH as long as it's within those parameters. It just puts too much stress on the fish.
     
  13. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    Definitely skip the Brita filter method. My city (as all cities are required to do in the US) use ammonia to break down the chlorine in the water. A good water manager will adjust it in such a way that there is NO ammonia left in the water. Well, here in Topeka our tap water has ammonia ranges of 1.0 to 1.5 so you are always fighting ammonia levels. When you do a big water change, you may actually be adding ammonia - what a mess. I'm still wating for a call back from our City water manager that was going to talk to the staff involved in adding the ammonia and find out what is going on.

    That said - I ran the water through my Brita just as a lark - and it did not lower the ammonia whatsoever - so it's really may not be doing you any good to use Brita water. Give your city water a test after you run it through Brita and see what it says - my city just said I should be drinking bottled water - even after I emphasized this was for an aquarium not for me and that wouldn't be feasible for the 80 or so gallons of water I need to do a good water change on all my tanks. And why do I have a Brita???
     
  14. Mick Vallis

    Mick Vallis New Member

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    Bit of a disaster, found 1 dead mollie & 5 or so tetra at top of tank gulping for air.
    Did a quick strip test all ok other than nitrite 2ppm, nitrate 10ppm, slightly elevated but not lethal.
    Have been switching off air stone at night, not been a problem until this morning.
    Rookie mistake, my output from Fluval 206 eternal filter was 100mm below waterline, have now raised so flow just breaks the water surface.
    Wow, the difference in my fishes behaviour is dramatic, Danios, tetra at mid water, male gourami out and about (was hiding). They all look so much happier.
    Do you leave air stones on or switch them off at night?
     
    #14 Mick Vallis, Oct 29, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
  15. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Actually, nitrite at 2 ppm is pretty lethal. Maybe it won't kill the fish instantly but it will be doing harm. In simplistic terms, nitrite does to fish what carbon monoxide does to us - stops the blood taking up oxygen. You need to get it down to zero as soon as possible by doing a large water change. Do your strips test for ammonia? If nitrite has gone above zero, ammonia might be above zero as well.
     
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