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How many harlequin rasboras, if any?

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by TheSheepWhisperer, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. TheSheepWhisperer

    TheSheepWhisperer New Member

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    I have a 20 gallon live planted aquarium with a Betta and 6 Albino Cory cats. I had about 8 neons but I think the water ph, hardness and alkalinity might have been too much, it was a pH of 8.3 with a very hard rating and a high alkalinity rating(if there are numbers for that too my test strips don't tell me the #s.) But I read that rasboras can live in up to 7.5 pH and I am in the process of lowering the pH in the tank. Would I be able to house the right amount of rasboras in my tank?
     
  2. TheSheepWhisperer

    TheSheepWhisperer New Member

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    I just realized upon checking up on the pH that it does tell me the # for alkalinity and hardness, so the alkalinity is at least 300KH and the hardness 150GH. The pH is now down to 7.8
     
  3. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Welcome to TFF. :hi:

    First issue is the GH/KH/pH. Do not use any chemical substance to lower the pH. With the KH (Alkalinity) as high as it is, this will not work long-term. The initial lowering will last a few hours, but within 12-24 hours the ph will be right back up where it normally is, and the fluctuating pH is hard on fish. The only way to lower pH is to deal with the GH and KH, reducing them, and the pH will follow suit depending upon the numbers. These three parameters are inter-connected.

    The only safe way to do this is to dilute the source water with pure water. Pure water refers to Reverse Osmosis water, distilled water, or sometimes rain water. But this is a permanent issue, as every water change will mean preparing special water outside the aquarium. This can be difficult to manage, and expensive, and emergency water changes (they will happen at some point) are even more difficult when you have to prepare the water in advance.

    Second, male Bettas are not community fish so he is best on his own. The cory catfish should be OK, but no upper level fish. You are lucky the neons did not go after the Betta, or the Betta after the neons, though of course this may indeed be why they died. Don't temp fate or risk fish.
     
  4. TheSheepWhisperer

    TheSheepWhisperer New Member

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    Would peat moss be a permanent fix?
     
  5. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Not really. Adding any form of organics (peat, dried leaves, wood, fish excrement, etc) works to soften the water and lower the pH as the water becomes more acidic. But the issue is the initial GH and KH of the water. The higher these are, the more they "buffer" the pH to prevent changes. This is why after using one of the pH lowering preparations, the pH bounces back up within several hours. That is why you must first reduce the GH and KH before the pH will then be subject to these other things like the organics. However, this is not as easy as it sounds and requires preparation as I indicated previously.

    Most of us here will advise members to know the GH, KH and pH of their source water, and then select fish suited to those parameters. It is safer for the fish, and makes the aquarist's life much easier too.
     
  6. seangee

    seangee Member

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    My water is is similar to yours and I really wanted to keep soft water fish. I tried everything and @Byron is correct. If you want soft water you need to mix it with pure water - it really is the only way.

    And as stated don't bother trying to reduce your pH, it really is not possible with alkalinity that high. You will only get a yoyo effect. Despite what the fish shop staff probably tell you the actual value of pH doesn;t matter to the fish - but hardness really does.
     
  7. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    I've used Ph- and Ph+ with great success. The secret is to just add a few drops per day and let the Ph slowly come down. I get it about water hardness and H ions etc, re-raising the PH but I have yet to have that happen. My choice is to alter the PH BEFORE I add any fish, but sometimes that's not possible. In Topeka per our water report we have ultra high Ph - average 8.8 - with a high over 10. When I first add water it is over the top on my testing kit so it's over 8.8. I don't have a CHOICE but to lower the Ph to closer to 7.0 or my fish would die. I don't get it with all the "natural" methods of adjusting Ph - you have no control over how much it's going to lower it. Tried that and it lowered it way too much and I had to buy Ph+ to get it back from 6 to 7. Why not use a chemical where you can lower it by an exact amount. For my 29 gallon tanks it takes about 3 days to lower it one point by adding 2.5 ml of PHdown each day. So far it's remained stable unless I do multiple LARGE water changes multiple days in a row and then it will creep back up into the 8's . If I keep to my schedule of every 1-2 weeks I rarely get any Ph rebound - I have no explanation for why that's true but the water Ph usually remains stable.

    That's just my experience, I can't guarantee that everybody will have the same experience. I do, however recommend testing your tap water so you know what you are up against. Besides having ridiculously high PH, ours has 1.0-1.5 AMMONIA in it when, according to the city water manager it should not have. They have to use the ammonia to break down the chlorine in the water to chloramines. So you really can't win when you use our tap water. I don't think my landlord would approve of me installing a Reverse Osmosis system. I have, however managed to keep a well cycled tank at zero ammonia even after water changes so it's handling it well. Supposedly we also have Nitrites in our water but my testing doesn't show any. His response to all this was "drink bottled water if it bothers you" even though he knew I was talking about an aquarium. I tested my Brita filtered water and the ammonia is still there so and I refuse to waste so much plastic on bottled water. I need to test the PH but given how hard the water tastes compared to bottled water my guess is Brita doesn't do anything for the PH either. Brita water still tastes very "hard" compared to bottled water.

    So my 2 cents - you may have a different experience. Just remember fish cannot tolerate large ph changes so do everything slowly and ideally BEFORE you add fish to the tank (then you can adjust as fast as you need to).
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I would be interested to know the GH and KH of your source water. This method may seem to be working, but if it is that is almost certain to be due to a lower GH/KH. The buffering action of GH/KH is significant and with these numbers as high as what the OP posted I can guarantee the chemicals will not work, and his fish will be seriously impacted if not killed.

    I have zero GH/KH in my source water, so my pH is very easy to adjust if I wanted to (I have for livebearers) but you still need to deal with the GH for these fish.

    The other thing that seems to be frequently forgotten, or not even known, is that the GH is much more significant for fish than pH. A stable pH, obtained only by allowing the system to work it out itself, is not anywhere near so great a problem for fish as one that is fluctuating.

    Then there is the issue of these chemical substances getting inside the fish, as they naturally do...this is harmful to all fish, without question, no matter what the additives may or may not achieve. We really must consider our fish first.
     

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