Changing your water parameters over time - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
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Changing your water parameters over time

In doing my research on switching over to a SA Cichlid (Bolivian Rams or GBR) tank as well as maintaining a nicely planted tank I came across a question about water. So my regular tap water has a pH of 8.4 a GH of 300ppm and KH of 300ppm. Now what I did is in my treated and standing water (that sits under my bed in a 31L plastic container) that is going to be used for water changes and evap, I mixed 1G Distilled water with 4G of tap water. The Distilled numbers read as follows 6.2 pH, 0GH/KH (they both read zero). When I combined the water I got a very nice reading of 7.2 pH, 150ppm GH, and 180ppm KH. Are those numbers more sustainable for Rams? I also spoke to the LFS and there water that they have their rams at is sitting at 7.8. With those two pieces of driftwood, how much will it lower my pH? I am going to slowly change my pH and GH/KH down with my current fish for a month or two and see if I can sustain these numbers.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 11:46 AM
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OK, sorry for the novel first off.

Hey there pmcsomething. I am by no means an expert on SA Cichlids but I have been keeping very successfully (and they would breed successfully if the Plecos wouldn't eat their eggs) for a few years. My water parameters are about the same as yours (High pH and harder water) and I do nothing special to the water except to use dechlorinator.

I would highly suggest and look under their South American section. There are a couple of people there who all they keep are rams (both German and Bolivian) and so there is a TON of information and the people are nice. Do a search on the username "blairo" and take a look at some of his planted tanks. The guy has a gift and likes to keep rams as well. Just remember that depending on what types of cichlids you keep, they will dig and eat your plants. Rams are pretty good about not eating them, but they do dig.

Now for my "opinion" stuff when it comes to changing water parameters. How big is your tank and how often are you planning on changing water? I have a 135 and a 55 (soon to be 90) where my SA cichlids are kept and a 15% water change is over 28 gallons of water to treat. Changing my pH or hardness was just out of the question. If you have a smaller tank then maybe, but personally I would look around in your area for some high quality fish that were acclimated to your water. Or keep them in a small (10 gal or so) quarantine tank and slowly acclimate them with your water over time and put them in your main tank. As an aside, most non-wild rams will probably acclimate well in your water, but I do not know about breeding.

Bottom line to all of this, and a lesson I learned the hard way, is that when your tanks become more work than enjoyment the hobby becomes another job and can make you lose interest or worse (not paying close attention and losing fish). Just be careful before you take the plunge to treat all that water without thinking of the possibilities. For example, a bottle of medicine, fertilizer, or dish soap gets accidentally dumped into the tank and you have to do an emergency 60-75% water change. I have been called a pessimist for thinking like that but if it could save my fish I am all for it. Sorry for the novel, I just hate to see people start a regimen that causes more work when it is not entirely needed.

BTW, somewhere on this forum (sorry cannot remember the name) is a person who keeps discus in a naturally planted, NON WATER CHANGE tank. That right there is a perfect example of how these fish can acclimate.

Hope that helps and doesn't confuse the issue.

- Chris
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 12:28 PM
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First, you need to decide/know two things. Do you plan to keep the fish in a community setting w/o raising any fry...or are you planning to raise fry? Then, will you want the Bolivian Rams or the German Blue Rams?

The Bolivian Rams will do quite well in much harder water. Especially if you want to keep them in a community tank, you could keep the Bolivian just fine without altering your water at all.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 04:56 PM
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Keeping fish in a community tank is one thing. Breeding them is another. Fish eggs and fry often do have very specific water requirements in order to develop. If your goal is to breed the fish, then I would encourage you to join a fish forum and discuss more of the specifics there. If your goal is just to keep them in a community tank, then you may not need to change your water parameters at all.

If you're interested in a good fish forum, is the cichlid-specific forum officially associated with Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 04:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies. I have already joined cichlid forums and have been absorbing all the info that I can from them. I found a local carrier of Bolivian Rams that is 15 minutes from my house, so I sent him an email asking what his parameters are and such. I am trying to do as much research as I can before I add the fish to the tank. I think that overtime, and constant and steady pH and gH/kH are important to a healthy fish. They may do better with a lower pH but they will survive.

I plan to breed these little guys in a community tank, but their tank mates will be 10-15 Neon Tetras and Pete the Pirate and his two buddies (they are all Oto's) and then a pair of Bolivian Rams.

12.5W X 30L X 18.5H are the tank specs. This comes out to about 30.03 gallons US. That is planted with 4 specimens of plants. I have two pieces of DW soaking at the moment, I am going to rearrange things and put them in this weekend if I have the time.

If you need more info, please let me know. And thank you again for the help.
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