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Old 08-05-2017, 03:12 PM   #1
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Hard Water

Tested tap water pH 8.0 hardness approx 250ppm. Any suggestions. Trying to set up planted with dwarf cichlids. Thank you
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:50 PM   #2
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You have hard alkaline water. If you want to keep dwarf cichlids from one of the rift lakes in Africa, your water should be fine for that. Most of the Central American cichlids would also do fine in your water, although there aren't a lot of those I would call dwarfs.

If you want to keep South American cichlids, some will be OK at that hardness but few will breed successfully/normally at that ph. You would need to lower your ph.

Before you start messing with your ph it is essential to know how high your kh is. High kh makes ph harder to alter. I have hard, alkaline water with a kh of 12. I have tried numerous ways to soften my water and lower my ph and none are very effective at a kh as high as mine.

Because I keep almost exclusively South American cichlids and I used to breed a wide variety Apistogramma I switched to RODI instead of tap and used phosphate buffers and salts to build ph/gh/kh to the levels I wanted. This was very easy once I had a way of producing large enough volumes of RODI. It worked great in my breeding tanks but sucked in my display tanks because I was constantly fighting algae/diatoms. I didn't have a lot of planted tanks at the time but I imagine phosphate buffers would be difficult in a planted tank.

Once I stopped breeding Apistos and only had display tanks I decided to move to non-phosphate buffers/acids. This solved the phosphate/algae problems but my life became a constant chemistry experiment try to maintain low ph/kh without crashing ph.

The last few years I have switched to simply refilling after a water change with a mix of tap water and RODI water. It doesn't allow me to set a specific ph but it lets me soften the water, lower the ph and lower the TDS enough for SA cichlids to thrive. It is also easy to provide a stable environment this way.
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Old 08-15-2017, 03:40 AM   #3
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What is RODI? I have African cichlids and my water is very hard 300. What is the optimal water hardness? How do you soften or lower the number?
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:04 AM   #4
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Reverse osmosis deionized water u can buy at a fish store or install one at home it's good water for frsshwater
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:05 AM   #5
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Ok I will check into this. Thx
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Old 08-15-2017, 10:10 AM   #6
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What is RODI? I have African cichlids and my water is very hard 300. What is the optimal water hardness? How do you soften or lower the number?
If you are talking about African cichlids from the African Rift Lakes, hard water is great for them and you should leave your water like it is.

In general, altering your water chemistry is a PITA so you should only do it if you really need to.
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Old 08-15-2017, 11:45 AM   #7
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Dalto, i'm also a SA cichlid fan as well as a few CA varieties. My oklahoma hard, alkaline water is probably similar to your texas water. I don't alter it chemically but probably make it worse, hardscaping three tanks with holey rock. I firmly believe that the hard water is keeping my larger SA's, especially festae, more docile and less inclined to breed. I have a six festae in my display tank, one adult male and female, four juveniles. Zero aggression towards each other. They are all submissive to an adult male GT. Get to enjoy more peaceful interaction without destructive breeding aggression. The hard water hasn't slowed down the convicts breeding, thank goodness for a hungry EBJD and Pleco. Had a pair of Bolivian rams and discus that
Would breed. The eggs never hatched, possibly due to the water parameters.
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Old 08-15-2017, 12:46 PM   #8
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Dalto, i'm also a SA cichlid fan as well as a few CA varieties. My oklahoma hard, alkaline water is probably similar to your texas water.
Indeed. Mine is like liquid rock. I can leave holey rock in my tanks for years and it won't even move the needle on ph/kh because my water has so much to begin with.

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I don't alter it chemically but probably make it worse, hardscaping three tanks with holey rock. I firmly believe that the hard water is keeping my larger SA's, especially festae, more docile and less inclined to breed. I have a six festae in my display tank, one adult male and female, four juveniles. Zero aggression towards each other. They are all submissive to an adult male GT. Get to enjoy more peaceful interaction without destructive breeding aggression. The hard water hasn't slowed down the convicts breeding, thank goodness for a hungry EBJD and Pleco. Had a pair of Bolivian rams and discus that
Would breed. The eggs never hatched, possibly due to the water parameters.
These days, although there are some African cichlids in the house I keep almost exclusively SA cichlids. I used to specialize in and breed Apistogramma and for many of those, soft, acidic water is a requirement. As a result, I have a dedicated RODI system connected to a pair 50g barrels for storage.

I have found that many of my SA cichlids fair better in lower TDS water. Especially the WC cichlids. My mortality rates are much better when acclimating new fish into softer water. It is just generally easier to keep them alive long-term. Of course, South America is a big place and there are lots of bodies of water. There are plenty of fish that come from more moderate water that will do fine in hard water. Also, some fish are more tolerant of hard water than others.
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Old 08-15-2017, 01:08 PM   #9
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I am certain that the only WC, S.A. fish I have are a gold nugget and dull eyed royal Pleco. Had them for years. No real exposure to the difficult acclimation process you experienced. I've been pleasantly surprised how well the RT' s have done in the hard water. Despite all the negative press about excess aggression and size, I have found neither to be true. Maybe due to the hard water. Post some of your photos when you get a chance.
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Old 08-15-2017, 06:46 PM   #10
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Thx. I put in filtration a water softener pack. I'm going to check my water tomorrow. I may end up removing that pack. ��
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