looking for hard water fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2006, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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looking for hard water fish

Greetings all, Looks like we will be setting up another planted tank in our house (apparently 6 is not enough). New tank will be a 72 gal bowfront, CO2 injected and lit with a TEK light. Our local water here is quite hard, 9-11dKH, 22-24dGH. Plants will be Swords, Crypts, Rotalas, Ludwigias, Cardimine, Ricca, Cabomba, vals, etc that have proven to do well in our other tanks. Intention is to put in fish that are too big/mean for our other tanks. Right now we are thinking of Firemouth and Pearl Gourami as the main fish. Also want to include some robust mid-size schooling fish, and cleaning crew.

So I am looking for suggestions for readily available fish that will be able to thrive and breed in our hard water.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2006, 10:44 PM
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I know I'm new here. Firemouths are somewhat soft, neutral to acidic water fish. Just to be a little bit different, have you looked at Tanganyikan cichlids such as Julidochromis. Just a thought. Most don't get more than 3 or 4 inches and they're pretty neat fish to look at.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-07-2006, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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from my understanding, firemouth are a central american species with range up into Mexico and are found in hard water. I think my biggest worry with them is digging and agression

an excellent article on them can be found at:

"Water measurements in the Thorichthys meeki habitat can be expected to show alkaline readings with pH in many cases over 8.0 and hardness levels from hard to very hard..."

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-07-2006, 01:50 AM
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A slightly different perspective on Firemouths here. and yet another here

For robust mid-size schooling fish, you might want to check out some of the rainbows. Many of them are colorful and many like the harder water.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-08-2006, 01:36 AM
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Central American cichlids live in hard alkaline water. Try the Convict. It's easy to keep and easy to breed if you want to try that. I have no idea how any of these fish will fare in a planted tank though. I think most are diggers so you'll want to keep your plants between rocks and other immobile formations to protect them from being dug up.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-08-2006, 08:59 AM
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African will go fine with the plants, I would try something like peacocks they would be easier than Mbuna as far as digging plus they are very beautiful fish.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-08-2006, 09:06 AM
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Try the Convict
NOOOOO! in my experience they tore apart my community of firemouths, keyholes an angel and tetras! evil buggers and they grow quick too.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2006, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for recommending the convict. However I am not really a fan of Cons.

what about tiger barbs as dithers ? surely they could stand up to the firemouth. can they breed in hard water ?

Every gourami we have had has been mean -even the pair of honey gourami we have now. Will a pearl gourami be able to stand up to tiger barbs ?

'bows are a nice suggestion; active, school nicely, and they readily breed in hard water. for some reason it is proven to be very difficult yo get healthy rainbows locally. We have a school of Celebes in another tank and they are really nice fish. I can't see them lasting with firemouth though.

Celebes definitely to not seem smart. they spawn nearly every day. the rams just follow them around and eat the eggs as they lay them.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-12-2006, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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...now I am thinking a pearl Gourami and tiger barbs won't get along very well.

how about Rosey Barbs ? can they stand up to Firemouth ? will they shred ricca and eat Cobomba ?

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