Very small widely avail fish for hard water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Very small widely avail fish for hard water

I'm planning out my next planted tank set up. I've spent the past several weeks looking at different types of gravel to achieve the look I want.

I found the perfect one, Seachem Onyx sand. Only downside is that it raises PH, KH and I believe GH too. Seachem states that it can raise PH up to 0.5

My current PH is 7.6, GH 9, KH 5.

So going with a worst case scenario, it may raise my PH to 8.1 and also raise KH and GH.

Are there any fish you guys recommend that will enjoy this water. I'm looking for anything other than guppies, mollies, platies and endlers because I don't want a population explosion.
Looking for very small fish that like to be in a group and 1" or less if possible. The tank is going to be a 20 gallon tall.
Shy fish or those that like to chill a lot is a bonus too because the tank is going to be an overgrown jungle, probably with vals.
I'll be getting the fish at the local lfs, so please recommend something that's widely available.

Any help greatly appreciated

Thanks
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 10:37 PM
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Guppies, mollies, platies, swordtails, most rainbows or danios you'll commonly see in stores. The later two might loosely school, hard to define "chill" in fish that are active in the day.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Guppies, mollies, platies, swordtails, most rainbows or danios you'll commonly see in stores. The later two might loosely school, hard to define "chill" in fish that are active in the day.
Thanks for the input! I will do some research on rainbows and see what variety are the smallest. I like guppies, platies, etc but it's their population that's hard to control, so I may be avoiding these for the new set up.
Glad you brought up danios. I had forgotten about the celestial pearl danio. That's definitely on the list now. When everything is ready, I plan to go to the lfs with a small list and see which ones they have and go from there.

By "chill", I mean very mellow. Likes to hide a lot or just hang around certain areas. Basically the opposite of the hyper zebra danio.

ok, so far this is my list:
-celestial pearl danio
-(big maybe) feeder guppies if I can find a good small fish to control population
-rainbow fish (going to do some research on different types to find small varieties)

Forgot to mention, I don't mind plain looking fish (it's what I actually prefer). That's why I have feeder guppies on the list.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 11:18 PM
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Why not just use black diamond blast sand which doesnít effect PH.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 11:36 PM
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If you like the prolific varieties, check with your local LFS's to see if they accept donations. Whenever I get tired of a fish or one reproduces too much, I just dump it on the LFS. They will QT them a while and then put them out for sale.

Also, you may want to contact Seachem (they are good about responding) and ask them about your setup. As I recall, at pH > 7, the Onyx Sand will only release noticeable carbonates and Ca/Mg for 3-4 weeks before stabilizing and this can be sped up by pre-soaking.

Last edited by Deanna; 06-15-2020 at 11:46 PM. Reason: --
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Why not just use black diamond blast sand which doesn’t effect PH.
I'm looking for something in the medium to light grey area which is why I like the onyx sand. The black diamond blast sand is too dark for the look I'm going for. I've been searching for gravel of the same color but haven't come across any.

I looked at some pictures and noticed that seachem flourite black is not totally black. Don't know if it's the lighting on online pics, but in some pics it looks like very dark grey. I'll have to have a look next time I"m at the lfs.
Flourite black doesn't change water params but I much prefer the lighter grey of onyx sand.

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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
If you like the prolific varieties, check with your local LFS's to see if they accept donations. Whenever I get tired of a fish or one reproduces too much, I just dump it on the LFS. They will QT them a while and then put them out for sale.
Interesting! Thank your for the suggestion Deanna. I will check with them once the tank is set up. Will guppy populations ever stabilize if I don't intervene?
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Betta Splendid View Post
Will guppy populations ever stabilize if I don't intervene?
I have no idea. Rats keep multiplying if you feed them (like humans), so I would expect the same from guppies. @Blue Ridge Reef may be able to answer that, as well as comment upon whether or not he is aware if LFS's accepting donations is common. It is around me.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
I have no idea. Rats keep multiplying if you feed them (like humans), so I would expect the same from guppies. @Blue Ridge Reef may be able to answer that, as well as comment upon whether or not he is aware if LFS's accepting donations is common. It is around me.
Great! Thanks again, Deanna. The lfs I normally go to is in very close proximity to 3 other lfs. I'm sure at least one of them would take in fish. I'd rather have other fish to control the pop. however. If I go with feeder guppies, I will most likely get a very small shoal of another fish to control the population. I wonder if a pair of sword tail would eat the babies? I never hear people complain about sword tail population getting out of hand. I'll have to do some reading on that subject.

Been doing some research and it seems the selection for tiny hard water fish is very limited.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 06:04 AM
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Pristella tetras are known to live in hard water. Your LFS should be able to find some! You could also look into Iriatherina werneri, as well as Danio tinwini. Have you considered white cloud mountain minnows as well?

The tiny hard water fish population is limited outside of livebearers unfortunately. If you're looking for a fish species that will eat the babies, and won't be super proliferant, have you considered a single or pair of kribs?

If you want to limit guppy breeding, then consider keeping them relatively colder (76-78 instead of 78+) to delay pregnancy in female guppies (I think an offside is that the offfspring come out larger?), and not feeding excessively, to limit how many fry a female can pop out at a time. Or just...go with a group of all male guppies?
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So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 01:27 PM
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I've got hard water so researched a lot of small hard water fish, and if you're looking for a small colorful fish to predate livebearer fry, Scarlet Badis might be good with Endlers. I don't have any experience with them, but perhaps others can weigh in. Scarlet Badis are about an inch, as are the Endlers, and prefer live food--so a steady supply of Endler fry would be perfect for them.

Given the limited the selection of non-livebearer hard water nano fish, is there a reason you're limiting yourself to what's commonly available at your LFS? You can get nearly anything online these days, and that gives you access to just about anything available. As others have said, there are a lot of small rainbow fish. Or just stick with livebearer males--they're more colorful, and won't breed.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 02:43 PM
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When speaking of overpopulation in the fish tank, keep in mind how that often works, even in humans. Things seems to be going along and moderately smoothly-----until something like a pandemic comes along to work on smoothing the curve. Fish have war, disaster, and disease outbreaks just like humans do if we don't keep conditions right and the more population there is, the more difficult to keep those conditions right.
So I find it almost required in my tanks to keep the numbers down to a level I can maintain. If I don't nature does it for me! I lean more toward keeping a few of the right fish to not overpopulate the tank versus a tub full of overstressed semi-weak fish who get sick easy!
Going to the local fish shop has both good and bad for it. One is it seems simple but then it also comes with a really high chance of importing disease.
The only known way to avoid having the whole tank sick when adding fish is to quarantine new fish, so that should be part of your advance planning.
Many new fishkeepers have to lose a tank or so before they really accept that idea. Keep a ten ready to pull out when needed?
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
Pristella tetras are known to live in hard water. Your LFS should be able to find some! You could also look into Iriatherina werneri, as well as Danio tinwini. Have you considered white cloud mountain minnows as well?

The tiny hard water fish population is limited outside of livebearers unfortunately. If you're looking for a fish species that will eat the babies, and won't be super proliferant, have you considered a single or pair of kribs?

If you want to limit guppy breeding, then consider keeping them relatively colder (76-78 instead of 78+) to delay pregnancy in female guppies (I think an offside is that the offfspring come out larger?), and not feeding excessively, to limit how many fry a female can pop out at a time. Or just...go with a group of all male guppies?
Thank you for the tips. The pristella tetras are beautiful. I forgot about white clouds lol. I will add them to the list. I just hope they like very densely planted tanks if I decide to get them.

The kribs are perfect, so this will be tough because I'm also really considering Desert Pupfish's suggestion with the scarlet badis / endlers.

The reason I don't want to get all males is because I really don't like the colorful man made strains. Too much pop, imo. I know most people like them. I also want the fish to have fun, if you know what I mean . My group of neons in my current set up breed regualarly but I don't have to worry about fry because the eggs are light sensitive. I also notice that the dynamics of the group is different with single gender vs a mix of both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Pupfish View Post
I've got hard water so researched a lot of small hard water fish, and if you're looking for a small colorful fish to predate livebearer fry, Scarlet Badis might be good with Endlers. I don't have any experience with them, but perhaps others can weigh in. Scarlet Badis are about an inch, as are the Endlers, and prefer live food--so a steady supply of Endler fry would be perfect for them.

Given the limited the selection of non-livebearer hard water nano fish, is there a reason you're limiting yourself to what's commonly available at your LFS? You can get nearly anything online these days, and that gives you access to just about anything available. As others have said, there are a lot of small rainbow fish. Or just stick with livebearer males--they're more colorful, and won't breed.
This is great. Thank you. Ok, I think I've made up my mind now. I'm going with the feeder guppies if the lfs has them, if not, then endlers.
I love your suggestion with the scarlet badis and Ichthyogeek's kribs for population control. I'm pretty sure I've seen both at the lfs.

I've never ordered fish off the web because I feel most of the rare fish are very colorful. I prefer natural strains and less colorful fish that sort of blend in with the plants.

I have considered the indian glass fish but a 20g tall I think is too small for a small group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
When speaking of overpopulation in the fish tank, keep in mind how that often works, even in humans. Things seems to be going along and moderately smoothly-----until something like a pandemic comes along to work on smoothing the curve. Fish have war, disaster, and disease outbreaks just like humans do if we don't keep conditions right and the more population there is, the more difficult to keep those conditions right.
So I find it almost required in my tanks to keep the numbers down to a level I can maintain. If I don't nature does it for me! I lean more toward keeping a few of the right fish to not overpopulate the tank versus a tub full of overstressed semi-weak fish who get sick easy!
Going to the local fish shop has both good and bad for it. One is it seems simple but then it also comes with a really high chance of importing disease.
The only known way to avoid having the whole tank sick when adding fish is to quarantine new fish, so that should be part of your advance planning.
Many new fishkeepers have to lose a tank or so before they really accept that idea. Keep a ten ready to pull out when needed?
That's exactly what worries me with a high population tank. I also prefer under stocked tanks. I'm going to try the suggestion above using scarlet badis or kribs. If they can't keep up, I'm going to give the fry to the lfs.

The lfs I'll be getting them from quarantine new arrivals. I have no idea for how long. Once in a while when I go, I'd see a few tanks with a fresh batch of fish with a quarantine, not for sale sticker on the tank.

I do have an extra tank for quarantine that can be quickly set up with water and extra filter from an established tank.

Thanks for the help guys. So when the time comes it will be feeder guppies or endlers with a pair of kribs and scarlet badis.

Was just about to hit the reply button and something came to mind. What happens if I go with a pair of kribs or s. badis and they start breeding?
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 04:17 AM
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You sell the babies of course to fund your hobby! Unlike with livebearers, with cichlid fry you have to put at least some modicum of effort into helping raise them. Scarlet badis tend to be males, so you'd know if you had a pair of them at least. Or...you could buy something like a Hara hara or H. jerdoni catfish to eat the fry at night?

So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 02:00 PM
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A point that I have come around to is how different fish work for me. Some like livebearers are so easy that they have little value for resale. Everybody already has them if they want them. But cichlids are a group that take a bit more space, a bit more care in both selection and keeping but when they do have fry, it is far less trouble to get rid of excess. They will eat their own fry if that is what you want and set the tank for that or if you want to raise some to sell, you can set up the tank with more cover, let some grow out and they are often much more sought after, especially if you get something that is not often seen in your area.
Form a strictly price/value point, the cichlid will cost more to get but it will also be much more valuable when sold, they are also much less likely to die, in the meantime!
Kind of like the difference in raising rabbits which reproduce too fast versus raising cattle which are more difficult to raise but sure sell better for profit!
Neither will get you enough profit to bother but choose the one which fits your thinking best. Perhaps set up and cook off a few of the easy and then move on to something more fun and challenge?
I keep my fish, I do not let my fish keep me.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta Splendid View Post
The reason I don't want to get all males is because I really don't like the colorful man made strains. Too much pop, imo. I know most people like them. I also want the fish to have fun, if you know what I mean .

I've never ordered fish off the web because I feel most of the rare fish are very colorful. I prefer natural strains and less colorful fish that sort of blend in with the plants.

Was just about to hit the reply button and something came to mind. What happens if I go with a pair of kribs or s. badis and they start breeding?
For endlers, there's a natural strain called "Silverado" that is a plain but pretty silver fish. There's a multitude of colorful Endler strains created by crossbreeding with guppies, but there are a couple of less showy natural Endler strains. Also, after a few generations of breeding they tend to be less colorful unless you carefully select for color.

Be careful when shopping for badis, as they often sell only males because they're more colorful. All males would just fight, so you'd want a male and one or more females. Maybe someone here with experience breeding badis can tell us how much they breed, or if you get a family group they stop breeding. But you can always sell off/give away the males if they start to overpopulate

Keep us posted on what you end up getting
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