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Old 03-26-2023, 09:16 PM   #1
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Hi and nice to meet you!

Hello from north central Washington! I'm totally brand new to the fishkeeping hobby and super excited to get started! This has been a long time dream of mine! I spent my youth in California, and at that time pretty much lived at the Aquarium of the Pacific where I fell in love with aquatic life. Ever since then I wanted to own an aquarium and keep fish, it's just taken me many years to finally be in a position where I can realize that dream!

But my goodness it's been a bumpy start already! The first aquarium I purchased in January was defective out of the box, and I had a bit of a battle getting a replacement. Fast forward a few months, and I am ready to finally get back up and running! No worries though- I'm not discouraged! I'm more determined than ever to be the best fishkeeper I can be. And on the bright side, it gave me a few months to really research and prepare while I was waiting for my replacement tank to get here! But there's still so much I don't know! I'm really looking forward to being a part of this community and learning from all of you! I've read forum posts here for a while, but figured it's time I should join in!

Other than loving fish, I also own 2 cats, and am an avid gardener. I'm an artist and own a small business, which focuses on art for charity- raising money for animal rescue and awareness for childhood cancer.

Thanks for taking the time to read my introduction and I'm looking forward to getting to know you all more!

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Old 03-27-2023, 05:35 AM   #2
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Welcome to the community. Looking forward to seeing and hearing about what you are getting up to.
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Old 03-27-2023, 07:07 AM   #3
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Hi and welcome to the forum

What sort of plants do you keep?

What sort of art do you do?

Did the shop tell you how to maintain and look after the aquarium and how to clean the filter?
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Old 03-27-2023, 03:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin_T View Post
Hi and welcome to the forum

What sort of plants do you keep?

What sort of art do you do?

Did the shop tell you how to maintain and look after the aquarium and how to clean the filter?
Hi! Thank you! I'm actually a complete and total newbie! I purchased my first ever aquarium in January of this year, but it had some issues straight out of the box. It took a lot of long and stressful conversations and negotiations with the dealer and the manufacturer, but they finally decided to honor the warranty and send me an exchange! So actually my aquarium has been (and still is) sitting empty since January.

But I just received the replacement tank the other day so I'm hoping I'm finally ready to get started! I've purchased just about everything I think I need- and am in the process of shopping for plants right now! So I don't currently keep any, but will soon!

As I'm a total beginner, I've been looking into easy "beginner" plants. But honestly I really have no idea what I'm doing!!! @.@ The plants I'm interested in right now are

Hygrophila corymbosa Siamensis
Dwarf baby tears
Water sprite
Cryptocoryne x willisii
Hottonia palustris
And some sort of Anubias

But I'm not sure if any of these are good! I'm always open to suggestions!

I don't have a LFS or any pet store around here for that matter, so everything I'm learning I'm learning online and from this awesome community! I've spent the last several months researching as much as I can about aquarium care, but I know I've only scratched the surface.

I can tell you I have a pretty decent understanding of the nitrogen cycle, and the importance that plants play in the aquarium. I also understand about the beneficial bacteria and water parameters pretty well. And I've been researching up on each species of fish I'm interested in owning. But I'm also here to learn! I don't think I know much about cleaning filters? I did read somewhere having a bubble machine is important though? And someone told me for my aquarium (the Fluval Flex) that the Intank filters are better, so I was going to look into getting those.

I don't fully understand filter media yet though... like floss, charcoal, coral. I still need to learn more about that! But I did research substrate. I want cory cats so I made sure to try and get a substrate appropriate for them! (I'm also open to stocking suggestions!)

Anyway as you can see... I really am.a beginner but I'm trying hard and more than willing to learn. I understand this is a living and working ecosystem with a delicate balance, and fish are living creatures that deserve love, respect, and an amazing life! I really want to be the best fishkeeper I can be.

As for art, I'm a fiber artist! I work with cord and wire (and sometimes beads) to create woven custom jewelry pieces. Jewelry sales feed animals in need, as my business motto goes! My business is pretty active in animal rescue, particularly TNR for community cats. I also make hair accessories for children, and puppy dogs on occasion one bow sold = one bow donated to a child battling illness. It's just a way to give back and make a positive impact, in my own small way. The world needs all the positivity it can get <3

I used to do fine art (mostly watercolor painting) in university, but I found I like manual arts so much better!

Anyway long post! Sorry!
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Old 03-28-2023, 12:39 AM   #5
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I don't know the filter layout on the Fluval Flex but normally you don't clean a new filter until it has been cycled. That takes 4-8 weeks. Then you can squeeze or wash the filter media/ materials (sponges, ceramic beads, plastic Bioballs, etc) out in a bucket of aquarium water. The filter media is re-used in the filter and the bucket of dirty water gets poured on the lawn outside. Established filters (filters that have cycled) should be cleaned at least once a month.

If you have black granules or white granules in the filter media, they can be removed and not replaced. The black granules are carbon and that removes chemicals from the water. Unless you have heavy metals or chemicals in the water, it is not needed.
The white granules are Zeolite, which is used to remove ammonia form the water. If you have this in the filter, it stops the beneficial filter bacteria from developing and the tank never cycles.

If the filter case isn't built into the aquarium, you can rinse the filter case and water pump under the tap. The water pump can be taken apart and cleaned under tap water. Be careful when taking them apart because they can have small plastic washers and rubber grommets as part of them and if you lose these, the pump won't work. Hopefully they provided you with an instruction booklet on assembling and disassembling the filter (if it's part of the tank).

Live plants can interfere with the cycling process. If you want to cycle the tank before adding fish, you should leave plants out. Alternatively add the plants when you first set it up and let them grow for a few weeks, then add a few small fish. You don't add any ammonia when cycling with plants. Monitor the water quality (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate & pH) and if it's good after a couple of weeks, add a few more fish. Slowly build the numbers up over time.

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If the tank has a curved front glass, it makes it difficult to work out how much water is in it. This can make life unpleasant if the fish ever get sick and need treating.
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Old 03-28-2023, 05:08 AM   #6
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Oh yes that sounds familiar now that you're describing it. I remember watching a few YouTube videos about cleaning aquariums and they mentioned the same sorts of things (like about washing in the dirty water). You mentioned dumping the water out in the yard. I watched a video where the guy talked about how he did that and his grass in that one area turned lush, green, and thick! I have a TON of houseplants and a large garden so I'm looking forward to seeing how dirty fish water helps my plants!

My water is really hard with minerals, and I live in orchard country (lots of commercial fruit orchards, and with that comes a lot of pesticide run off) most folks around here, including myself, don't drink the city tap water. Even well water can be questionable. Anyway, you mentioned heavy metals and chemicals in the water... I've been wondering about if my tap water is even safe or if I shouldn't just use spring water or something like that. But I bought some water test kits so I guess I'll start there and see!

I'll keep that in mind about the white granules thank you! I had no idea about that!

I hear you about the bow front with the fluval, and honestly after the whole fiasco with the silicone I'm just not even sure if I want to keep this tank. It's brand new and unused... I'm sure someone would want it and possibly know how to deal with the silicone situation. Same with the other one (I have 2 Fluval Flex 32.5 gallons right now because of all this @.@...) but someone on here mentioned about acrylic tanks instead. It's not too late for me to switch, just a bit of a hassle and longer wait time.

I did some research on acrylic tanks today. Seems like the biggest downside is that they scratch easy (and I guess they can turn yellow and get brittle with time but hey, everything ages!) But I like how resilient they seem.. I have trust issues with Fluval at this point lol ^_^; I also had to get extra special permission from my landlords to have this aquarium, and pay an extremely hefty damage deposit... so the last thing I want is to prove them right and have a disaster in my apartment.

Anyway I was looking into the clear for life tanks. They seem okay I guess. It's sort of hard to find good options online but I'm trying!
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Old 03-28-2023, 05:26 AM   #7
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Acrylic doesnt discolour. Its one of the few plastics that is uneffected by UV. If its going yellow in the sun, its not acrylic.
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Old 03-28-2023, 05:42 AM   #8
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Oh that's good to know! I obviously know zero about acrylic lol that's just what people said in some videos and on forum posts I was reading. But the videos were like 8 or 9 years old... so lol

Does it turn brittle like they said? Anyway I really think I might go with acrylic. I just don't know which tank to get!
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Old 03-28-2023, 06:38 AM   #9
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I think someone is mixing polycarbonate up with acrylic. Polycarbonate goes brittle and yellows when exposed to UV. Acrylic doesnt. Conservatory roofs are often made from polycarb, and the roof sheets are sometimes cut down to make DIY aquarium lids. Polycarb is a good material because its durable, light, insulating and easy to machine, but like most plastics will deteriorate when exposed to UV given enough time. Acrylic is one of the few that doesnt. If people are reporting their acrylic tank deteriorating, then it isnt acrylic.
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Old 03-29-2023, 03:19 AM   #10
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If you have possible chemical drift/ runoff, you might want to get your tap water tested for everything by a professional water testing company. They can see if there are chemicals in it. If there is, you will need a carbon filter or reverse osmosis filter to clean it up before you or your family drink it. If you have pesticide and or herbicide in the water, you don't want that getting on your skin either.

If you use well water, have a cover on top of the well to help keep out chemicals from spraying.

If you use mains water is from a water supply company and it has pesticide or herbicide or anything bad in it, the company needs to clean it up or get a new supply.

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If you are thinking about another tank, just look for a plain old boring rectangular glass tank. Try to get something that is 3 feet long x 12-18 inches wide x 18 inches high (or something similar, whatever you can get).
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Old 03-29-2023, 02:03 PM   #11
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Yes you're absolutely right about the water! Fortunately the county I live in is pretty diligent about regularly testing our city water because of those very reasons. There's actually dedicated water testing laboratories here that work directly with public works/Department of public health. I think our tap water is pretty safe to wash up in, but most of us won't drink it (maybe out of paranoia or habit lol).

The lakes, streams, and rivers are an entirely different story! Although there's been massive efforts by the department of fish and wildlife to clean them up, the pollution is terrible. We don't swim in them or fish out of them... you always know a tourist because they're the ones splashing around in the lakes in the summer >.< us locals know better. It's the pesticide run off that gets into the irrigation systems and drains into the natural waterways. There's such a high prevalence of MS (multiple sclerosis) and cancer here in the valley, it's really tragic. I myself am a cancer survivor, and my mom is currently battling cancer. It's almost a way of life here... but over the last 20 years many orchardists have switched to organic fertilizers and pesticides and that's helped a lot! There's been efforts to help the environments, but as always, progress is slow!

I do want to get my tap water tested before putting any fishies in it though (just because of the area I live in, and because it's very mineral rich. We have extremely hard water here...) that way I will know best what to use in my aquarium. I know some people do mix tap water with distilled or spring water and so forth (even my cats only drink spring water mixed with distilled water in their fountain, to prevent urinary crystals and blockages because of our hard water. My cat had a urinary blockage when he was a kitten from drinking tap water only and it was really scary >.< so no more of that!) I only want what's best for my pets!

But I still have a lot to learn about water and water parameters (and I know it depends on the species of fish too!) I am trying to pick out community fish that will all go along well together. Like similar parameters and temperature requirements plus will all get along. It's hard! But I also like a challenge and I like hard work so I am okay with that ^_^

Honestly I really am thinking of another tank. And yes a plain old boring rectangular one sounds great!
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Old 03-29-2023, 03:52 PM   #12
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What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website (Water Analysis Report) or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

Depending on what the GH of your water is, will determine what fish you should keep.

Angelfish, discus, most tetras, most barbs, Bettas, gouramis, rasbora, Corydoras and small species of suckermouth catfish all occur in soft water (GH below 150ppm) and a pH below 7.0.

Livebearers (guppies, platies, swordtails, mollies), rainbowfish and goldfish occur in medium hard water with a GH around 200-250ppm and a pH above 7.0.

If you have very hard water (GH above 300ppm) then look at African Rift Lake cichlids, or use distilled or reverse osmosis water to reduce the GH and keep fishes from softer water.
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Old 03-29-2023, 05:47 PM   #13
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Personally I would forgo your tap water. It sounds a little to stressful in terms of always worrying about it, or testing it. If you have beginner issues and fish losses you will naturally start to question your tap water and issues may or may not have anything to do with the water.

If you can get access to reverse osmosis water from a local fish store or collect rain water then at least you know youíre working from a blank slate. With the RO water you can remineralise to put some dissolved solids back in to the water. With rain water you can try and collect in a water butt etc. it will take some time but as the weather warms you can keep checking the rain water for signs of life and this will guarantee itís safety. Using RO or rain will also give you wider scope of fish you can stock with than your hard tap water.

40 litres of RO costs me about £7 and I only use it to top up evaporation so it lasts me a good few weeks.

Plants are a good way to cycle an aquarium. Plants normally melt when they are placed in a new environment as their emersed leaves transition to underwater leaves. This decomposition will create ammonia which will help cycle the aquarium until the plants establish themselves. After the plants are established you can begin stocking fish slowly.

I only use a sponge filter in my aquarium. It provides a home for microbes responsible for the nitrogen cycle as breaks the surface with bubbles which facilitates gas exchange. The uplift and action of the rising bubbles brings deoxygenated water to the top of the aquarium and the constant action moves the water in a way that doesnít cause too much flow for the fish.
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Old 03-29-2023, 06:36 PM   #14
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Kind of will reply to two people at once here so I hope it doesn't get too confusing lol... but anyway, I don't know my water parameters exactly yet but I will definitely get them tested! I can tell you that last time I used a test strip though, my hardness levels came back as "very hard" or at least 300ppm. So I do know I have very hard water (which is pretty obvious from all the mineral deposits around my sinks and shower head etc lol) I will check out the water company website if there is one.

As for getting water tested or getting RO water from my local fish store, unfortunately, there are no local pet stores or fish stores in my area. I would have to drive about 4 hours due east, or 6 hours due west to get to one as I live in a very rural area! But, I do live close by to the National Forest Service fish and wildlife office, and I know they test water there. So that's possibly an option, at least for water testing!

Collecting rain water is also not an option sadly, as I live in the high desert! I know most people associate Washington state with rain (because Seattle) but that's only true if you live West of the Cascade mountain range! I live east of the mountains in the rain shadow, where it rains maybe 1 or 2 weeks a year total if we're lucky! Lots of nice sunny days though!!

That being said, I was already shopping online for an RO system just a bit ago actually! I think you're absolutely right that the stress and worry isn't worth it and it will be hard to tell what's due to water issues (or other issues) especially as a beginner. Plus... I kind of had my heart set on honey gourami >: They were the one fish I was super interested in keeping and they definitely can't live in my hard water. (Thanks for all that awesome information on the different fish species and their GH water requirements by the way! It made it easy to understand, and is a great start and really helpful to give me an idea!

I don't know anything about RO systems though... so it looks like I have more research ahead of me, but that's okay! I don't even have a useable aquarium yet, so that gives me more time to learn.

Thanks for the information about the plants too. I have also been taking that in bite sized chunks, as that's a whole other huge piece of it (all part of one big working ecosystem but SO much to learn about!). I am pretty good with plants in general as I keep many houseplants and have a large garden every year, but aquatic plants are a totally different world to me and not exactly the same! I love learning about them. There's some similarities and some differences in growing them but they definitely have different requirements (some of which have really surprised and fascinated me!) I am really excited to keep learning about growing aquatic plants.

As a beginner trying to figure out the water, the fish, the plants, and working with 2 broken aquariums has all been a little overwhelming lol.. but it's really great to have all the support! This hobby is definitely not for the faint of heart! I am learning you have to be 100% committed or don't bother. Which is absolutely true with any pets of course!!! But I feel like it's especially true in the wonderful world of fishkeeping!
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Old 03-30-2023, 02:47 AM   #15
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SOLAR STILL
You can make a solar still, which would probably work well where you are. It would give you pure water, no waste water and be free to make pure water, it just requires a bit of sunlight.

Get a large plastic storage container (or several containers) and put it outside in the sun.
Pour a bucket of water into the storage container.
Put a clean bucket in the middle of the storage container. Have a rock in the bucket to stop it floating around.
Put the lid on the storage container.
Put a rock or small weight on the lid in the middle, so the lid sags above the bucket.

As the sun heats up the container, water will evaporate and condense on the underside of the lid. The water will run towards the centre and drip into the bucket. When the bucket is full of water, you put it into a holding container and put the bucket back in the storage container with another bucket of tap water.

You get pure water with a pH of 7.0, 0 GH, 0KH and no wasted water, no power used and it's cheap to set up. You can then use this distilled water on its own for soft water fishes like gouramis, or mix it with some tap water to get whatever GH you want. Even with gouramis I would mix it with a bit of tap water to get a GH around 50-100ppm.

Solar stills are slow to make water so you might need a number of them, but they don't cost anything to run once you have the items needed. Try to use food grade containers so the plastic doesn't leach anything into the water when the sun heats it up.

If you paint the outside of the container black, it will heat up faster and work more efficiently. You can also use these inside in a warm room but outside in the sun is best.

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Reverse Osmosis (R/O) units push water through various filter cartridges and membranes to remove chemicals and minerals from the water. Depending on the R/O unit, you get water that is pretty close to pure water with a pH of 7.0 and 0 minerals.

They usually have 2 or 3 (sometimes more) plastic containers that are connected together with pipework. The tap water is pushed through one container where it is filtered for whatever (say minerals) before going into the next container where heavy metals are removed. Then it goes into another container where chemicals might be removed. The clean water comes out one hose and the waste water that contains all the minerals and chemicals comes out the other hose. The waste water can be used on the lawn or distilled.

The drawback to r/o units is they waste water, which isn't good if you live in an arid area. The good units have a 1:1 ratio, which means they waste 1 gallon of water for every 1 gallon of pure water you keep. The not so good units can have a waste water ratio of 2:1, 3:1 or even worse. They basically produce 2, 3 or 4 gallons of waste water for every 1 gallon of pure water. The waste water ratio is something you need to check if you plan on getting one. You want a unit with a 1:1ratio.

You can get r/o units that screw onto the tap (like a garden tap) or get them fitted inline by a plumber. I prefer the portable units that can be screwed onto a tap. All r/o units need the filter cartridges changed regularly and they usually have a life span on them, something like replace cartridges after 5000 gallons, or similar. If you have lots of minerals or chemicals in the water supply, you might need to change the cartridges more often because they eventually block up. Replacement cartridges can be expensive if you are buying them regularly, so check the price on replacement cartridges and make sure they have a decent life expectancy.
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Old 03-30-2023, 05:54 PM   #16
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Wow thank you so much for all that information! That's such a cool idea about solar stills. I am definitely going to try that out. The high desert is an interesting place to live, because it's like a tundra I guess... Although it can get frigidly cold here in the winter, it's still quite dry. I think we have close to 350 ish days of sun per year- even when temps can drop to -20 F and below!

I probably will end up getting an RO unit anyway though XD That is GREAT info on the 1:1 ratio thing! Thank you SO much! I actually had been shopping around (with no clue @.@) and the one I was thinking about had a 1:4 ratio!!! So needless to say I went and found a different one after reading your post! I watched a few videos about them so I think I am having a better understanding of how they operate.

I also read a few articles on water chemistry to try to get a better grasp on KH, PH, and GH and how it all relates to one another. Turns out I have pretty alkaline water. Really high KH and my PH is close to 8... So I am thinking when I remineralize I probably won't need to buy anything with KH in it since I can probably just mix in tap water for that.

I did read something interesting though (what's your thoughts on this?) someone said that if RO water sits around too long the PH goes up, and the way that you can lower it again is by adding vinegar or lemon to the water :O (still trying to understand water chemistry) although I am guessing there's probably a thread somewhere on this forum that talks all about that so I should go look that up!

In the meantime I am still trying to sell my tanks lol.. I think I might just have better luck selling the parts (the aquasky lights alone are worth a lot) and using the actual tanks for growing hydroponics veggies lol... and I'll keep shopping around for an RO system and a filter for my new aquarium and etc etc! Getting there slowly but surely.

Enjoy the journey not the destination? Well something like that xD
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Old 03-30-2023, 10:37 PM   #17
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The pH of water should not change when sitting in a container unless there is something in the water that affects the pH. In a clean container with just water, there shouldn't be anything to affect the pH. The only exception to this is water straight out of the tap (or r/o unit). When tap water is in the pipes it can be under pressure and the gasses (carbon dioxide, oxygen & nitrogen) that are dissolved in the water can be forced out. This can cause the pH to be higher or lower than it would be when exposed to air. When the water is exposed to air, the dissolved gasses in the water settle back down to their normal levels and the pH can change. Once the water has been exposed to air for 24 hours, it should have normal gas levels and the pH should not change after that.

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pH, GH & KH
pH is the measurement used to tell us if something is an acid, neutral or alkaline/ base. The pH is measured on a chart that ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 being in the middle and called neutral. Pure distilled water has a no mineral content (0ppm GH/ 0ppm KH) and a pH of 7.0 and is considered neutral. Vinegar has a pH around 3, while bleach has a pH above 9. Most aquarium fishes come from water with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0. However, fishes from Lake Tanganyika in Africa come from water with a pH between 8.5-9.0, and the pH in some waterways in tropical Asia, South America and the south-west of Western Australia can drop to 5.0 or lower during the dry season. Seawater usually has a pH around 8.5 but that is dropping now due to excess carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The KH of the oceans is also dropping because of this excess CO2.

If something breaks down in pure water the pH drops and becomes acidic (pH goes below 7.0).

If minerals are added to pure water the pH goes up and becomes basic or alkaline (pH goes above 7.0).

If you want to reduce the pH, you can add small amounts of acidic substances like carbon dioxide (CO2), peat moss, driftwood and things like sodium biphosphate to lower the pH. These acids get neutralised by the carbonates/ bicarbonates in the water, and when the carbonates and bicarbonates have been used up, the pH drops. The more carbonates/ bicarbonates in the water the higher the KH is, and the higher the buffering capability of the water. This means the pH is more stable and more acids are required to drop the pH.
A higher KH usually means a higher pH too.

If you want to raise the pH, you can add sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate/ bicarbonate, limestone, sandstone, shells, dead coral skeleton, dead coral rubble. You add a small amount and monitor the pH over a week. If the pH is still too low, you add a bit more and monitor for another week. When the pH settles at the desired level, you don't add any more.

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Carbonate Hardness (KH) is the measurement of carbonates and bicarbonates in the water. These normally increase the pH. When there are acids in the water, the acids cause the pH to drop. If there are plenty of carbonates/ bicarbonates in the water, they neutralise the acids and help stop the pH from dropping. If there are no carbonates/ bicarbonates in the water, the pH can drop rapidly (literally overnight).

To increase the KH you add carbonates and bicarbonates (baking soda is sodium bicarbonate). Some brands of baking powder have more ingredients than just sodium bicarbonate and these should not be used in aquariums.
When you add carbonates or bicarbonates the pH will go up.

The K in KH is from the German word Karbonate. The English language spells carbonate with a C but in fish keeping we use the K from the German word.

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General Hardness (GH) is the measurement of minerals in the water and GH test kits usually measure calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. The more calcium chloride and or magnesium chloride in the water, the harder it is.

To increase the GH you add minerals like calcium and magnesium chloride. Rift Lake water conditioners are designed to raise the pH, GH & KH of water for African Rift Lake cichlids that come from Lake Victoria, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. These Rift Lake water conditioners contain a lot of calcium and magnesium chloride and can be used at a lower dose rate to raise the GH of water for various other fishes.

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If you have hard water, it contains lots of minerals (chlorides) and it usually contains lots of carbonates and bicarbonates too. To lower the hardness, you dilute the hard water with soft water. Reverse osmosis (r/o) water, distilled water and rain water have no minerals and is very soft water. Mixing some of this soft water with the hard water will reduce the GH, KH and pH of the hard water.

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You don't normally have to test the GH and KH on any regular basis because it is usually stable. I recommend testing it a couple of times a year to make sure it hasn't changed and most pet shops can do this for you.
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Old 04-01-2023, 11:18 PM   #18
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Wow thank you so much for that wonderful water chemistry lesson! Some of it I knew, but a lot of it I didn't!! Especially about how Ph can change like that. That's so interesting. I think I have a pretty good (at least rudimentary) understanding of it now. I'd for sure like to learn more about the fish species I'm interested in keeping and their water parameter requirements. Still so much to learn!

Sorry if I reply to posts slow in the next little while by the way! I had a bit of a lull the last 2 weeks, but I just picked up a large order so I have a lot of work now (lots of custom pieces to get done and work deadlines now!) I'll be around still but slow to reply!

In the meantime I'll just keep learning all I can about the hobby! Oh also, I think I found a local buyer for both of my Fluv Flex tanks which means hopefully I can get a replacement soon.. but the new one most likely won't come with a filter like the Flex did. Any good filter recommendations? I know we're in different countries and all but is there anything in particular to look for when shopping for a filter? Sorry, I know this is also probably somewhere in the forums here! I should go search that up when I have more time, I know! Just thought I'd ask just in case! :p
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Old 04-02-2023, 01:36 PM   #19
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The filter you get will depend on the fish you keep. If you keep tetras and gouramis, they come from slow moving water and don't like lots of water movement. So a smaller filter is better for them.

If you get danios or rainbowfish, these guys love water movement and a bigger filter can provide more water movement. Alternatively, get a smaller filter and use a powerhead (water pump) on a timer to create extra currents for them to swim in.

If you get Rift Lake cichlids or set up a marine tank, you want a bigger filter so it turns the water over faster. The reason these types of fish need lots of water turning over is due to the high pH of the water (7.6-9.0). Any ammonia produced in water with a pH above 7.0 is toxic. The higher the pH, the more toxic it becomes. If the pH is 8.5 (like a marine tank or Lake Tanganyika tank, the ammonia is extremely toxic and a bigger filter with a faster turnover rate will help to remove the ammonia faster so there is less chance of it poisoning the fish.

Filter size doesn't really mean much besides water turnover rates. The biological filter that develops inside the filter (on the filter media) will only grow to a size that is big enough to deal with any ammonia produced. The beneficial filter bacteria might only occupy 2 inches square on a filter pad and that is all you require. However, the fish might produce a lot of waste and that would block up a small 2 inch square filter sponge, so a bigger sponge is better even though most of it won't contain any beneficial filter bacteria.

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Good brands of filters used to be AquaClear HOB (hang on back) style filters, Eheim external canister filters, and Fluval external canister filters. However, with your experience with Fluval tanks, you might not want a Fluval canister filter. AquaClear is or was owned by Fluval for a bit but the filter is such a simple design, they are hard to screw up and work rather well. Eheim is a bit more expensive and used to be top of the line and are still good. Those are my 3 choices but there are lots of other brands that work just as well and come with the same sort of warranty.

Look for a simple external canister filter or an AquaClear HOB style filter. Filters with special priming features and all sorts of extra gizmos are not necessarily better and many of these extra bits eventually cause problems. It's common for companies that make filters to think adding more features makes the filter better when it would be better if they just left things alone. The old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" can apply to many new models of power filter. AquaClear HOB filters haven't changed much in 40 years and are actually a better design now that they were in the 80s. If you don't mind a filter on the back or side of the tank, then an AquaClear 50 or 70 makes for a good filter. They do occasionally have bad batches but are normally very good filters.

If you find filters and want an opinion on them, post a link to them and we can have a look.
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