Who's next in my new 55 gallons?

Byron

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There is a problem here, if I am understanding correctly. It has to do with the hardness of the water. The GH is said to be 106 ppm (for those who prefer dH, this equates to 6 dH). This is soft water, way too soft for mollies to be healthy long-term. The rummynose will be fine, as with most other tetras, etc from South America, and most SE Asian fish like the mentioned gourami. But not any livebearers, especially mollies which must have the GH around 12 dH (214 ppm) absolute minimum, and they can have it much harder, up to 30 dH is not problematic. The pH must be on the basic side (above 7) which it will be with the GH higher.
 
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meodix

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There is a problem here, if I am understanding correctly. It has to do with the hardness of the water. The GH is said to be 106 ppm (for those who prefer dH, this equates to 6 dH). This is soft water, way too soft for mollies to be healthy long-term. The rummynose will be fine, as with most other tetras, etc from South America, and most SE Asian fish like the mentioned gourami. But not any livebearers, especially mollies which must have the GH around 12 dH (214 ppm) absolute minimum, and they can have it much harder, up to 30 dH is not problematic. The pH must be on the basic side (above 7) which it will be with the GH higher.
Ok. But this is the number for the tap water, as asked previously.
The water for my 55 comes, in good part, from my 25 that as been running for years with mollies (my last 2 were transferred in the 55).
And this is what i saw about water hardness from McGill university:

The hardness of water is determined by the milligrams of calcium carbonateper litre and is reported it in parts-per-million (ppm). In general, water with less than 60 ppm can be considered soft, water with 60-120 ppm moderately hard, and water with greater than 120 ppm hard.

I don't know about the dH you refer to. And the mollies (old and new) have been in the 55 for almost a month now, they seem fine.
 
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meodix

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To Byron

Extra infos:
-in the 25, there were tetras (neons and cardinals) for years with the mollies. I transferred them in a new 15 gallons last year.
-some of the water in the 55 also comes from the 15
-both 15 and 25 were originally filled with the tap water (not sure what the ppm was at both times)
 

Byron

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Every water authority seems to have a different generic name for degrees of hardness. I would be interested to know the rationale behind McGill's, as it is not going to work for tropical fish. The chart below is also generic, but reasonably close for aquarium purposes.

0 - 4 dGH 0 - 70 ppm very soft
4 - 8 dGH 70 - 140 ppm soft
8 - 12 dGH 140 - 210 ppm medium hard
12 - 18 dGH 210 - 320 ppm fairly hard
18 - 30 dGH 320 - 530 ppm hard
over 30 dGH over 530 ppm very hard

It may well be that a professional chemist would consider a GH of 120 ppm as "hard water," but I would seriously doubt it. This is without any question soft water for the purposes of fish. There have been several water authorities in the UK with strange scales when it comes to the generic term, which is why the number must always be known.

Mollies must have fairly hard or harder (using the chart I posted above) water to be healthy. I will try to explain as best I can why. Each species of freshwater fish has evolved over thousands of years to function in a very specific environment; "environment" here means the water parameters, habitat conditions (substrate composition, wood, rock), water flow, and even light. The internal physiology of the species is designed and built to function with the least amount of difficulty in this specific environment. As soon as the fish is forced into a different environment, it encounters difficulties; at the very least this results in stress, but often it is far more serious.

The effects of this to the aquarist may be unseen until the fish just dies. It depends upon the factor and the role it plays in maintaining the health and well-being of the fish. Fish from hard water require a high level of calcium, and this they can only get from the water, not from eating. Water is continually passing into the fish, via osmosis through the cells; it enters the bloodstream and passes through various internal organs. Substances dissolved in the water that are themselves able to diffuse across the cell membrane will enter the fish in the water. Minerals are one such dissolved substance. In the case of hard water species, the fish uses the calcium in the water for important physiological processes. Soft water fish are somewhat the opposite; they filter out these substances, but other problems occur for them. The point to be understood is that the fish species has very specific requirements, and it cannot function well if these are not being met.

How long it may take for these issues to become obvious depends upon factors such as the species, age, level of the minerals in the water, etc. Mollies often go a few months before things are obviously bad for the fish. External signs may or may not be present, but if they are, they frequently include shimmying, clamped fins, lethargy, and soon after death. Other problems and disease can manifest these same symptoms, so it is not always obvious as to the actual cause.

You can find greater explanations of everything I mentioned in any reliable source.
 
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meodix

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I will take everything you mention under very sincere consideration.
Having said that, even if i want to learn, i must also go with the experience i've had of the past 24 years. Like i said in a previous post, perhaps i've been lucky, but i've never had strange deaths in my tank. Every time i lost one, it was:
-bought a dozen or more of small ones (tetras, guppies, danios, etc) and lost one or two in the following days
-or i knew about how old they were when i bought them (or sometimes were born in the tank), and they passed about at the maximum life expectancy. Which is not a perfect science, agreed. I've even had one who survived twice the amount given in official sources, who don't even agree with themselves (another thread for that story some day).

When i started checking more on the hardness in my region, in addition to the guy at the shop (whom i've known for about 5 years that he's been working there), 2 more who have been keeping tanks for years, also used similar terms to 'slightly hard'. So that's what i went on.

I agree that in the case of the 55, a month is not long enough. But like i said, 2 of the mollies came from a tank that was originally filled with the same tap water and shared the tank with tetras for years.
Now, it's too late, perhaps i should have come here earlier, before the whole process.

I would have a lot more to say about the environment, i'll also keep that for another thread when i have more time.

Thank you for taking the time to explain your more expert experience.

I shall of course endeavor to make their lives as good as possible, and i'm not implying people should cut corners willingly. But i think we sometimes underestimate their strength. To quote the great philosopher Ian Malcom:

"life finds a way"! ;)
 

Byron

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I will end my participation here by making an observation about our meddling with nature. We should all realize by now that it doesn't work. Nature, whether one considers it happenchance or if one believes in a divine creator, it is still the same: the natural world has strict rules governing it, the absolute laws scientists term them, and every effort we make to alter what has been set in motion always ends in failure. Look at climate change...how many more people are going to have their towns burned to the ground within minutes, or see their home floating down a river that only an hour before was a highway. This is what happens when we try to change nature. It is no different with fish. No one can talk to a fish, and unless one could, there is absolutely no way to know how it thinks or feels with what we force upon it. Research the requirements, and be prepared to provide them without question; any thing less is unfair and frankly cruel to the fish.

Byron.
 
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meodix

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Cruel to the fish? Hope i don't meet the criteria. But if someone would judge that by an extra strict set of numbers, that not even all the experts agree on, i would fit that.
You're right, nobody can talk to a fish, expert or not. But one can observe in addition to calculate. If i have a molly who is supposed to live between 4 or 5 years, and that the basic parameters are met (water, food, etc), and it lives to 5 years seemingly moving and behaving 'normally' and without any physical signs of illness, one can reasonably conclude that it lived a pretty decent life.
And let's not overestimate the perfectness of living in the wild (human intervention or not). Much better, but not necessarily always perfect for all the fishes to live to their life probable expectancy.
Climate change? Ouch, a whole new discussion, although i think we would agree on much. On a smaller scale, human intervention has not always been failures, another discussion ;) IMHO
 

Byron

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I wrote my previous post (#21) when I was very tired, and at the end of a difficult day with my cancer issues. I was trying to get across the significance of all this. The numbers of the GH are the important aspect, whatever subjective term anyone applies. And you will find all reliable sources agree that mollies require water with a GH of around 12 dH or higher. That doesn't mean they will die in a day in 11 dH or 10d or 9 dH water; but their life processes will be more difficult the softyer the water, and strenuous for the fish. And I consider it cruelty to subject fish to something as factual as this is. Fish have a complex relationship with their aquatic environment, which is considerably more involved than that of any terrestrial animal.

I obviously do not know how accurate your data is; given the incomprehensible information you provided from McGill, it seems quite possible the GH numbers here are way out. Maybe the water is higher in GH than has been said.
 
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meodix

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I'm sorry about your situation.
Maybe i didn't comprehend the exact number i got from the city's site (there was a lot in there). But, at the time, it seemed to fit the other infos i had.
Like you said, fishes have a complex relationship with their aquatic environment, so, for me, it is difficult to confine them to a specific set of numbers that are not even agreed on by the experts. I'm sure we could discuss for a long time but just 2 points:
-readings of their native ancestral water are taken where? Is it the same for the whole run of the river? Is it the same throughout the year? Was it the same 10 years ago? Who decides which one of these multiple possible readings is the right one? Do you do an average to get to the right one? Is there a right one?
-the fishes we buy have never seen the river where these readings (good or not) have been taken (maybe their great-great-great-great-great-grand-mother has). Of course, there are certain conditions that are constant. But life also adapts and evolves. The ones that were breed outside nature for generations are not exactly the same as their ancestors. So how can we know with the extreme precision you seem to propose what are the exact numbers?
So i will not panic for every number that is a bit off. IMHO, someone who adds chemicals and/or moves fishes and/or changes the decor and/or any major changes in the tank every time the numbers are not quit the precise match to what is the norm at that moment (specially considering that these numbers are elusive) is being cruel too.
Within a small amount of leeway, let them live. Granted, in this case, we are not sure if it's a small leeway or not about the hardness. I will check further. But i cannot throw away years of experience that happened right in front of me. And that experience has shown me that mollies and tetras can both live long lives without illnesses in the same tank that was filled with the tap water of my region.
Take care of yourself :)
 

Byron

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I'm tired of this go-round, but you have some serious misconceptions. We are not talking "exact" numbers. And there is no disagreement among ichthyologists as to the type of water this fish requires to function normally and thus be healthy. On this forum alone you can find thread after thread and post after post supporting all this.
 
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meodix

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Life is not just a set of numbers.
Science is not just chemistry.
I intend to continue keeping an open mind about the complexity of living.

Have a nice day.
 

Naughts

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meodix

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Thanks for the link.
One of the things it says is, of course, you cannot put a hard water fish in totally soft water, and vice-versa. In no way, i have ever stated it could be done that way.
The main question: is my local water hard or soft? From 3 testimonies of local fish keepers, the tap water is slightly hard. So the question becomes: can mollies and tetras live a healthy long life in such water? From my experience, yes. And it says in the article that slightly outside the norms water can be helped with regular water change, which i have always done (apart for a few months years ago when i had a burnout).
It also says the hardness is linked to the PH, mine in the 55 right now is around 7.3-7.4 It also says: Avoid just use pH altering products. The fish have adapted to their environment and it is necessary to consider their conditions as a whole, not just the addition of extra ions.
Of course, i'm in no way recommending to stretch the buffer zone to infinity. But, in my case, a little stretch has not resulted in tragedies, so far. I didn't know that when i started but this is the result.
I'm not contesting the validity of actual norms. But norms change over time so i claim that i can allow a little leeway. Just to show how numbers can be elusive depending on where you get them, i got this from 3 books of respected origin (like Larousse):
for the temperature for the platies, i get between 20-25, between 24-28 and between 15-25! Which one is the right one? None is the right one, real life is more complex.
If i had known about hardness when i started, i perhaps wouldn't have put mollies and tetras in the same tank. I say perhaps because if i had the certitude that the water was sort of halfway like it seems to be, i might have done anyway, with the little experience i had back then.
So, to new fish keepers who might read this, follow what the others are stating. Imho, just don't go overboard with exact numbers as they are not always entirely reliable and remember that the fishes, if in good health when you bought them, will adapt to small differences to the numbers. This is just the conclusion from my own personal experience, among many other more experienced ones.
 

Naughts

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The main question: is my local water hard or soft?
Unfortunately the local fishkeepers have misled you, and that is easily done as water providers (and even aquarium test kits!) have differing definitions of soft/hard to the definitions used in fishkeeping. So the values given in post number #19 are what you need, giving you Soft water at 106ppm/6°GH- these are the 2 measurements used in fishkeeping, ppm and German degrees hardness.
Avoid just use pH altering products
Agreed. This can lead to swinging parameters which are detrimental, even deadly for fish. The GH, pH and KH are intrinsically linked and complex, there is not a simple recipe to move one aspect without effecting the others.
Just to show how numbers can be elusive depending on where you get them,
This is one of the most frustrating aspects of the hobby, especially for new fish keepers. Information is conflicting and confusing. There are many unreliable websites and you tubers, and from your examples, even books. I like the website https://seriouslyfish.com/ as it has a scientific knowledge base. Then, of course, there is the advantage of having just one reference to simplify things!
don't go overboard with exact numbers as they are not always entirely reliable
Another way of looking at it is safest to go for the mid-range parameter number (Seriouslyfish.com always gives a range, not a specific number) so that the fish are not exposed to the extreme limits of their comfort zones.
After all, there are so many things that can effect a fish in terms of stress and health, why add other variables into the mix when we know better?
 
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meodix

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Unfortunately the local fishkeepers have misled you, and that is easily done as water providers (and even aquarium test kits!) have differing definitions of soft/hard to the definitions used in fishkeeping. So the values given in post number #19 are what you need, giving you Soft water at 106ppm/6°GH- these are the 2 measurements used in fishkeeping, ppm and German degrees hardness.

Agreed. This can lead to swinging parameters which are detrimental, even deadly for fish. The GH, pH and KH are intrinsically linked and complex, there is not a simple recipe to move one aspect without effecting the others.

This is one of the most frustrating aspects of the hobby, especially for new fish keepers. Information is conflicting and confusing. There are many unreliable websites and you tubers, and from your examples, even books. I like the website https://seriouslyfish.com/ as it has a scientific knowledge base. Then, of course, there is the advantage of having just one reference to simplify things!

Another way of looking at it is safest to go for the mid-range parameter number (Seriouslyfish.com always gives a range, not a specific number) so that the fish are not exposed to the extreme limits of their comfort zones.
After all, there are so many things that can effect a fish in terms of stress and health, why add other variables into the mix when we know better?
Just to clarify, the 106 number comes from the city's site, and i'm not completely sure i got the right one, as there was a lot of numbers on their water quality page. The 3 local fish keepers did not give me numbers, they used words to the effect of 'slightly hard'.

I always do the average, which is why there is always a buffer zone to consider.
I will check your site, thanks.
 

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