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Old 08-23-2005, 07:51 AM   #1
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Cichlid Question

I would like to start a Cichlid aquarium but I'm not real sure if I can. My current PH in my FW tank and out of my tap are 6.6 can Cichlids survive in that? What are my options?

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Old 08-23-2005, 09:38 AM   #2
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Sure, South American Cichlids love lower ph values. There are many that could be kept in that range including Discus. If you are'nt looking at diving into keeping discus just yet I would recommend Oscars, Jack Dempsey, Green Terror, Festiva, and a lot more that could go in your 55 gallon tank with that ph. Just do some research online about South American cichlids, and if you wanted to get really adventourous you could try some dwarf species like Rams and Apistogrammas.
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Old 08-23-2005, 09:46 AM   #3
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I'm actually in the planning stages of a new tank and I really love the colors of the cichlid. I really like the yellow and blue ones (sorry i dont know the names of them) but I was just worried about my PH level from what I was reading they need a PH of >8 and I'm not sure I can get mine there. So would I be ok to go ahead and proceed with starting up the tank?
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Old 08-23-2005, 11:32 AM   #4
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If you are looking at highly colorful yellow and blue cichlids my guess is you are looking at Electric Yellow Labs and Haplochromis Blues of some variety. Both of these fish are from Lake Malawi and are African Cichlids needing hard water in the 7.8-8.4 range. Your ph of 6.6 wont do very well for these fish and chances are you will find them under severe stress in such soft water.

My recommendation is using either Crushed Coral (the same that is sold for saltwater tanks) or a Malawi Cichlid Type substrate. Crushed coral will naturally buffer your ph up to about 8.0 and above so with the use of this as your substrate your water hardness should be good for African cichlids. If you find your ph not high enough or not staying constant discarded oyster shells also work well as a ph buffer in cichlid tanks.
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Old 08-23-2005, 02:47 PM   #5
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No oscars (12 inches long), and macman is right about the africans. Jack Dempseys and firemouths could work. Just research like he said.
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Old 08-23-2005, 03:29 PM   #6
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I would use crushed coral in your filter. If using a canister it is very simple. Just put a small bag of it in the filter.

They can survive in pH 6.6 but will thrive in a higher pH. I'd aim for the upper 7's and lower 8's. Mine just spawned in a 7.4 pH with soft water. Anything is possible.
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Old 08-23-2005, 05:48 PM   #7
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My Green Terror is quite happy in a 6.8 pH (CO2 injection).

There are many things (additives, substrate, etc.) specifically designed for bringing up the pH for africans. If you go that route, I suggest you take the time (without fish) to not only make sure you get the pH high enough, but that you can keep it stable.

I'm not sure of the best way to handle water changes in that case, though. I think it would be pretty bad to raise your pH way up, and then add low pH water every change.
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Old 08-23-2005, 07:33 PM   #8
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I would guess that you could just do smaller but more frequent water changes, like maybe 10%-15% every 3-4 days, to avoid changes in pH that might be harmful to fish. But I've never had to mess with pH myself.
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Old 08-23-2005, 09:25 PM   #9
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Crushed coral is slow and natural. It took weeks before the pH stabalized at our old apt to 7.8. It would increase by maybe .2 per week.
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