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Old 09-21-2006, 12:18 PM   #1
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dwarf cichlid / water quality / live plant question

Hey all,

I recently got a 50 gallon (48"x13"x18") tank, which is currently getting established. My original stocking plan was:

school of tetras

However, I just tested my water straight from the tap and found it to have:

pH 7.9
GH ~100
KH ~150

(pH was measured using the AP test kit, GH and KH using a dip strip, as the store didn't have a liquid GH/KH kit when I was there.)

From my research, those conditions are not ideal for the type of cichlids I want to get, is that correct? Is there any way around this problem without going reverse osmosis or anything drastic?

The reason I chose these fish is because I want to have live plants in the tank, and most cichlids are not condusive to this. Any suggestions on other fish that would appreciate these conditions, or any way to acclimate my chosen fish to these conditions?

I will try to find a liquid GH/KH test to get more accurate results.

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Old 09-21-2006, 12:32 PM   #2
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Angelfish, particularly if they have been bred/raised locally, will probably be alright. Rams/Apisto's won't work though, they haven't been tank-bred for dozens of generations like most angels have. It's much simpler to keep fish suitable for your water than to try to lower pH, soften water, etc. African Rift Lake cichlids or livebearers are better suited to hard, alkaline water.

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Old 09-21-2006, 12:48 PM   #3
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I have to disagree here. I bought some rams off of Aquabid and they are thriving and breeding with two sets of free swimming fry in my water that has 300 ppm gH!!!! 8O

Play your cards right and your set-up will work. I have angels, my breeding pair of rams, Apisto.cacatuoides, Apisto. trifasciata, and three kind of tetras in my 55 in very hard water, and they are all doing well. My Apisto cacatuoides look like they're setting up shop to spawn. Most fish prefer stable params rather than "perfect" params.

If I can breed & hatch rams in 300 ppm gH, nothing will convince me that these fish aren't adjustable.
"My name is Crazy Red and I'm an Aquariumaholic." ~~Melissa~~dedicated Ram breeder~~

55 gal.FW: 4 platies, 3 angelfish, 3 Cochu's blue tetras, 2 Rummynose tetras, 4 A. cacatuoides, 1 A. trifasciata, 2 blue rams, 6 Von Rio tetras, 1 Queen Arabesque pleco

29 Gal. FW: 2 variatus platies, 6 cherry barbs, 10 harlequin rasboras, 1 opaline gourami, 1 hillstream loach, 1 Rio Jari pleco (L-316), 1 GBR

10 Gal. FW: 1 african clawed frog, 1 dwarf flame gourami

10 Gal. FW:tons of blue ram fry

(4) 2 Gal. FW: all four with male bettas
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Old 09-21-2006, 12:56 PM   #4
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i keep GBR and Bolivians at a ph of 8.0, they are doing just fine, color is brilliant, they are active and very happy.
Just because I am working at Petco does not mean I am a sell out, they are still an evil empire, that I am trying to make better.
75 Gallon: New World Cichlids|26 Gallon Bowfront: Planted Angelfish/Swordtail Tank|20 Gallon Long: "Nano" non-reef|10 Gallon: frog and mosquito fish
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Old 09-21-2006, 03:20 PM   #5
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I’m going to have to agree with crazyred here. My dGH is 10 and my dKH is 3 out of the tap, but I have a calcite substrate which has pushed the dKH to 7. My apistos are doing very well, and have already had a successful spawn in these conditions. To get them to spawn I did a 50% water change with tap water, which brought the KH down enough to induce spawning.
10g Heavily planted - 1 mating pair of Apistogramma Cacatuoides "Orangeflash" and a whole lot of MTS
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Old 09-22-2006, 09:24 AM   #6
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I've also bred German rams in liquid concrete (GH and KH speaking) and a pH level of 8!

As long as you aren't getting wild caught specimens and keep your water quality high, you should be fine with apistos.
Current species:
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Old 09-22-2006, 06:13 PM   #7
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Thanks guys, perhaps all is not lost.
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Old 10-07-2006, 01:35 PM   #8
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My rams have also spawned in a pH of 7.8 many times and they are not too far removed from the wild strain. They are an F5.
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Old 10-08-2006, 12:03 AM   #9
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For future reference, has anyone tried growing plants like Saggitaria sp. or Vallisenera sp.? These plants will consume a lot of the hardness.
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Old 10-08-2006, 11:57 AM   #10
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I have discus thriving in ph of 7.8, Rams in the same ph and the rams havve spawned. The discus are still too young to consider it but my angelfish have spawned and are doing fine. The fish that are local to you whether from breeders or lfs's, are usually acclimated to similar water as yours.

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