Hard Water Fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2012, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Hard Water Fish

I used to lurk around here a lot but I kind of let my tank fall into disarray last year and it's taken a while to get it back into proper fish keeping order.

I have a 20g long and was contemplating a pair of apistos when I discovered, much to my chagrin, that they prefer soft water. I have water that is so hard it's practically gritty. I'm not interested in treating my water at every change in order to alter it's chemical make up. Tell me about 'centrepiece' type fish who are down with hard water, if you please.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2012, 03:08 PM
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Well if you have liquid rock for water you're looking at the African Rift Lakes for specimens, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika (sp?) chiclids. But there are fish that can adapt to may varieties of water. Such as P. Gertrudae which is found in PH 4.5-7.8 (in N. Australia, New Guinea ones are found is softer water). There are also tank-bred fish that do well under harder water than their wild caught relatives, such as German Blue Rams. But this all depends on how hard you water really is. If you give us the levels we would be better suited to help you. Are the readings from the tap? The tank?

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2012, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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Ha after I posted I realized I should probably do some testing to give you more specific parameters. Haven't lurked long enough, apparently. I don't know actual numbers at the moment; lost my testing kit and have yet to get a new one. I might get a chance to grab one today.

I *do* know we have a LOT of african cichlid breeders in the area, which I have always attributed to the hard water here. But I'm not familiar enough with any specifics, I just assume they are larger and require more room than I can give them.

I have successfully kept tetras of various species, pencilfish, and cories (and of course those perennial faves & easy keepers plecos, bettas, platys & mollys). I have not had luck with gourami (6 weeks max), otos (6 months max), or GBR (8 months max). My tank is fairly well planted and I do a 25% change weekly when I am not letting it fall by the wayside.

Anyway, I'll test the hardness and see what's what.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2012, 03:53 PM
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i will tell you i am keeping apistos in hard hard water, i just got a GH and KH test kit the other day so i have no numbers on that....been lazy...but i can tell you my PHis 7.6, nitrate 10ppm, and nitrite 0.

they prefer soft water water, but they will do just fine in hard water.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Did some testing.

GH of tap: 500
GH in tank: 600
Ph: 8.5
I'm worried the hardness of the water is affecting nitrite/nitrate tests, both were 0.


So about those fishes that like liquid rock?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2012, 02:56 AM
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Despite what some may think, dwarf mbuna can be kept in 20 long tanks. Just pile in the sand and rocks. No need to organize; the fish will take care of that. If you started out with 20 lbs of fine sand, 40 lbs of round river rock, 10 Pseudotropheus demasoni, and a good filtration system (to accommodate them as they grow), you're off to the races. The only thing... don't try to keep anything else in the tank...

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2012, 02:59 AM
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Any livebearer should work great.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-10-2012, 04:07 AM
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Noahma View Post
Rainbowfish!!!! Most like hard to mid hard water. GREAT fish too.
+1 for this. I have very hard water and have no problem keeping Boesemani Rainbows and Iranian Rainbows.

Not show piece (for some perhaps) but I have multiple species of corys that breed out of control in my 8.2+/- PH liquid rock hard water.

Common Plecos and ottos definitely have no problem with my water hardness as well.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 02:51 PM
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OP says they have a 20 long. Might get cramped long term with the larger Rainbow species. If you were to do Rainbows, maybe a small group of Praecox or Celebes?

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 10:40 PM
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 10:55 PM
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I have a pair of German blue rams that are traditionaly known to like soft water. My tap water has a GH of 19 out of the tap. I bought the rams from a local breeder which were tank raised in our hard water. All of my plants and rams are flourishing in my tank. I think that as long as whatever fish are born and raised in a similar water, they will be perfectly fine.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2012, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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I love love love the praecox, but I seem to find a lot more info saying they prefer soft water to hard; if I can find them at my LFS I might give them a whirl though. They are gorgeous. I have kept various types of neons with great success and they're supposed to be soft / acidic water fans too, so hopefully I'll get lucky with the rainbows.

Thanks for all the advice / help!
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