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Old 11-10-2004, 09:47 AM   #1
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Testing my water... help....

I have always tested with no real concern and I always just did one or two at a time. I just sat down with my ram tank and did all the tests I had. This was AFTER I was looking at everyones pictures and how pretty their Rams are... My Rams have not colored like that. I sometimes have the pink on the belly, useally when its dinner time, or right after I do a water change... I know they color up more when they are bigger, (mine are still pretty small) biggest one is less then an inch... so back to my water. My friend works at the water dept, and we talked chems & ph... My water company adds hardly NOTHING to the water, a little chlor. a little carbon, and some flouride.... thats about it. the PH tests 8.0 AT the plant... now heres whats really throwing me off... my PH is running 6.4..... I have done NOTHING to the water. I WAS going to do CO2, but Im afraid that will drop it further, and my plants are doing great already. I do water changes twice a week on this tank. aprox 3 gal total for the week

Ok... so what does everyone see when reading my water prams???
Nitrite 0
Ammonia 0
PH 6.4
GH 107.4 ppm (6 drops)
KH 17.9 ppm (1 drop) <----Does this sound right??? THe directions said after 1 drop the liquid would turn blue, then count how many drops till yellow... It never turned blue, one drop and it was yellow.

Why arent my Rams all colorful like everyone elses????

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Old 11-10-2004, 12:02 PM   #2
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I don't know much about the water issue, however, I can probably help with the Ram color question.

I bought 2 Blue Rams and had the same question you had. I happened to be looking through the book I bought "Aquarium Fish" by Barron's just the other day, and low and behold, the lfs made a boo boo. I acutally have Cupid Cichlids or Biotodoma cupido "Santarem". Needless to say, I was a little bummed, but they are still wonderful fish. I've had them for 2 weeks now.

Here they are.
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Old 11-10-2004, 12:23 PM   #3
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Do you have a home water filter of some sort? If not then I'd first test your tap water straight out of the tap at home just to verify that the water in the tank is the same as that coming from your tap. It doesn't matter what numbers the water company gives you if that isn't what is coming from your tap.

Your KH is very low... so low that it isn't even registering a number on your test. That can be a problem but no necessarily. It just means that your water has little buffering capacity. I'd perform PH tests at various points throughout the day to see if you are experiencing PH swings. If you are then you'll need to address the problem immidiately. So test the PH in the morning and a couple of times throughout the day and at least once at night about an hour after the lights have gone off.
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Old 11-10-2004, 03:36 PM   #4
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If your KH is low then, as AtodaJ said, you have little buffering capacity and pH is dependent on KH to remain stable. It is unusual for water to have such a high pH yet a rock bottom low KH, so I'd test again.

Accumulated debris in a tank over time will cause a drop in pH, but this takes years generally and I'm not sure how long this tank has been running. You are right to be hesitant to run CO2 - I'd definitely wait on that until you know what's the deal with your pH. Are you using liquid reagent pH tests?

If you indeed do have a very low KH then you'll need to buffer the water artificially. There are several satisfactory ways to do this, but let's see what's going on first. pH swings could be the reason for the lack of color in the rams.
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Old 11-10-2004, 03:39 PM   #5
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YOu have got to get your pH up to around 7.5-8.0! My rams love that range. Cichlids like higher pH levels. That's probably the most glaring issue right now, imo.
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Old 11-10-2004, 04:03 PM   #6
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It's very unusual to see high GH & low KH. However, your KH number actually fits in with your low pH, so that might not be an error.

You might consider asking your friend in the H2O Dept what the KH is at the plant. Mine actually posts the numbers on the web so anyone can find out .... you might have to look under Bicarbonate level (or carbonate level) ... that is same as KH. And yes, atodaJ's suggestion of testing the tap water yourself is a good idea too ... something might have happened to the water enroute.

If you have high KH at the water plant & low in your tank, something must be removing the KH - maybe
You have something absorbing the HCO3 - eg driftwood, peat.
You have a source of acid that is consumming the HCO3 (unusual as you are doing enough water changes to replenish the KH)

This is a bit of a mystery ... but nothing the smart people here can't figure out!
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Old 11-10-2004, 04:25 PM   #7
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all right, I just tested again and the KH never turned blue... I am using the liquid tests, and read the directions over again and again to make sure I wasnt doing something wrong. I'll test my tank again later tonight.

This tank has been set up for maybe a month??
I just tested my tap water and I got 7.2 PH
I know I have rams, they have the red eye with the black stripe ,


something I thought of just a sec ago was the expiration date. I have one on my master kit, but the KH kit has none to be found. I found some numbers... but not sure if they are a date or not.

From the research that I found before I got my rams, in nature they are low ph fish. although they will thrive in many ph levels, so long as they are stable.

I have no home water filteration...

My Rams seem happy... They zip all over the tank, chase each other all over, play in the plants that seem to be taking over the tank, and eat like they have never been fed before... 8O
I just want them to have the pretty colors....

RIght now they are a tannish-greenish sort of... their stripes stand out very nicely, and the blue fleck on their sides just sparkles... They do get color on their bellies usealy during dinner, and their eyes are that red with the black. they have some red in their fins, but not much. Do you think I could have gotten a bad batch? Or maybe they arent big enough to color up?? Or maybe it is just my screwey water... Its kind of ironic, I was so worried about my water being too hard for these guys, and turns out it might be to soft... hmmmmmm
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Old 11-10-2004, 05:40 PM   #8
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update... I had tested the ph of my tap...but didnt test the KH of my tap... My test kit is ok... after first drop, it turned blue.... It took five more drops to turn yellow, so 6 alltogether. so... whats in my tank to do this??? heres a list...

penn-plax Cascade 200 power filter (HOB)
Shultz Aquatic plant soil
Tropic sun 5500K daylight bulb 15 watt
river rock found in back yard creek <--------- (i dont know what they are, they passed the vinager test)
some pebbles from my other tank, aquarium grade
hornwort
rubin sword (echindorus 'Rubin")
Afzelli (Anubias afzelli)
Java Fern & some Valis
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Old 11-11-2004, 12:04 PM   #9
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I would not do a single thing to your water, and just keep on like you have been. Technically they do prefer softer, more acidic water but if they hare happy and eating then I'd leave things alone. It can get to be a real headache to try to manipulate your water parameters. The other option is to mix R/O water with your tap at every water change. For that size tank it is pretty doable.

That said, I believe the colors are going to come later, with maturity. Lots of cichlids don't show good coloration at all until they are older, so I'd not necessarily think of that as a symptom of anything.
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