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Old 07-07-2004, 06:13 PM   #1
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New 55 gallon tank - hardness questions

Hi all! I am so glad I found this forum - VERY active and I love what I have been learning. I recently set up a 55 gallon tank that I received from a friend who is no longer using it. I put in 8 zebra danios and one pleco to start the cycling process. 2 of the little danios didnt make it past 24 hours but the other 6 seem fine. I am not getting any ammonia readings yet, my PH is at 7.5 - my GH is less than 1 and my KH is at 10 (both german hardness readings). Isn't it odd to have a KH that is on the high side and GH on the low side? I have a well at home for my water and I do have a softener on it using potasium chloride instead of sodium chloride, plus I let the water sit for a few days before putting any fish in it. My water temperature is between 78 and 80 degrees so I don' think that is an issue. I think I anticipated any additional questions, but if you need any further info, please let me know.
TIA
Mark
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Old 07-07-2004, 07:02 PM   #2
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I think that low GH and high KH makes sense for water that's been through a softener. That water is now very soft (GH), but still well-buffered (KH). Have you measured those parameters for your well water before it goes through the softener? Do you know what fish you would like to have eventually in the tank? Your choice of fish/plants may affect what you want your water parameters to be.

I would suggest measuring your potassium levels too. I think some of the "planted tank" folks would know more about safe levels of that ion.
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Old 07-07-2004, 10:19 PM   #3
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I am really still deciding which fish to add to my tank. I am thinking it might be smart to pick fish that meet my water situation instead of trying to make my water fit the fish I would like - I am not that picky about what I will eventually put in there. At least those are my thoughts right now. Who knows if/when the bug really hits what lengths I will go to.
Will potasium levels affect (effect??) fish or just plants?
Thanks again
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Old 07-07-2004, 10:54 PM   #4
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UPDATE - 2 more of the danios are dead. I am now down to 4 - but the 4 remaining fish seem to be healthy and happy. They are all over the tank but not in an erratic manner. The pleco is happily chugging away as well. Does anyone have any thoughts as to why these other seemingly healthy danios just died? Could it just be bad stock from the fish store? I retested the water again and have the same readings - zero amonia and the ph and hardness readings are the same as they have been since I set things up.
I am noticing a very slight white cloudiness to the water now, but only if you look at it the long way.
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Old 07-08-2004, 03:08 AM   #5
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Is there a way to get water before the softener? If so get a sample and test it. Might have to use that or a mix of the 2.
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Old 07-08-2004, 04:46 AM   #6
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the white cloudiness is from your tank water just beginning to cycle. my guess is it's not your kh, gh or anything else killing the fish but simply the cycling process. Most of the time when you cycle with fish you are going to lose at least a few of them

Do you have any neighbors, friends, etc. you could borrow a filter pad or something from to help speed up the cycling process? Otherwise you are probably in for a long process.
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Old 07-08-2004, 07:55 AM   #7
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I live in a rural area and none of my neighbors are into aquariums. I will ask around to some friends and coworkers to see if anyone can give me a filter or something to help speed up the process.....
As far as getting a water sample before the softener, it would be difficult but I could bypass the softener. Not sure how viable it would be as a long term solution for changing out water, but now I am curious to see how much my softener is working.
one final question, would the cycling process kill 4 fish in the first 2 days? I thought it would be the buildup of ammonia that would have the negative effect on the fish.
The remaining 4 are still going strong - oh yeah, and the pleco!
I will continue to monitor and give updates.
Thanks again everyone!
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Old 07-08-2004, 07:56 AM   #8
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I live in a rural area and none of my neighbors are into aquariums. I will ask around to some friends and coworkers to see if anyone can give me a filter or something to help speed up the process.....
As far as getting a water sample before the softener, it would be difficult but I could bypass the softener. Not sure how viable it would be as a long term solution for changing out water, but now I am curious to see how much my softener is working.
one final question, would the cycling process kill 4 fish in the first 2 days? I thought it would be the buildup of ammonia that would have the negative effect on the fish.
The remaining 4 are still going strong - oh yeah, and the pleco!
I will continue to monitor and give updates.
Thanks again everyone!
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Old 07-09-2004, 12:17 PM   #9
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One comment regarding potassium. It is necessary as a fertilizer for plants, but can interfere with calcium uptake at high levels (not sure if this is for fish or plants). I checked the planted tank forum, and found this thread
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?p=182071
in which 15 ppm is recommended as a good maximum safe level.

If the ammonia is zero, what are the nitrites looking like? They are part of the cycle and toxic too!
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Old 07-10-2004, 12:19 AM   #10
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Ammonia and nitrites still at zero. Pleco didn't make it. I am taking a water sample to the fish store to see what they have to say.
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