GH and KH questions about new Similis setup

creepa

Member
Hello there,

I am new to the forum (actually made my account to ask this question).

Some background info:

I have recently converted my 125 gallon Discus Aquarium into a Neolamprologus Similis species only aquarium. My LFS only had 6 Similis available. As of right now the tank is looking very empty, so I am very hopeful for breeding. I have placed about 72 shells of various sizes into the aquarium after having the fish for about 3 days and they immediately began checking and going inside of the shells even before they were all done sinking.

My current tank water parameters are as follows:
pH - 7.8
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrites - 0ppm
Nitrates - <5ppm
gH - 4-5 degrees
kH - 5 degrees

My substrate is approximately 80 pounds of Pool Filter Sand, and 30 pounds of aragonite sand which was added 3 days before these current readings.
My water coming out of the tap is similar to the current tank parameters, only slightly lower pH and slightly lower gH and kH.
From my research most of what I can find would say that my gH and kH are too low for Similis to be fully content and likely to breed.
If I am to get them to successfully breed would I need to add a product such as Cichlid Lake Salt?
Or would I be better off to shoot for consistent parameters rather than chasing 'ideal parameters' with additives?

I appreciate any and all input on the topic.

Regards,

Chris
 

Utar

Member
Welcome to fishlore.
I am not expert on this type of fish you want to keep, but they are very interesting so I might give it a try in the future. Form what I understand about ph and fish is that most fish will adjust to ph. But trying to chase ph is not a good idea unless you are very confident that you know what you are doing. That is you can keep the ph in that tank at that level at all times and it does not fluctuate. I have read that although certain species of fish can live just fine in ph out of their range, they might not be able to breed.
 
  • Thread Starter

creepa

Member
Utar said:
Welcome to fishlore.
I am not expert on this type of fish you want to keep, but they are very interesting so I might give it a try in the future. Form what I understand about ph and fish is that most fish will adjust to ph. But trying to chase ph is not a good idea unless you are very confident that you know what you are doing. That is you can keep the ph in that tank at that level at all times and it does not fluctuate. I have read that although certain species of fish can live just fine in ph out of their range, they might not be able to breed.
Thanks a lot for your reply, I appreciate your input. I agree about not chasing pH - I had discus breed in my tap water regularly when it was around 7.0
I was wondering more specifically about Similis and their general and carbonate hardness in this case.
 

MacZ

Member
While the pH of 7.8 is good, the GH and KH are indeed a bit low. But instead of adding costly salts, a good chunk of limestone or a few heaps of crushed coral are cheaper and more efficient as the buffer the hardness up to a certain level depending on the levels already present and store the solubles that make up hardness, so you can just do a waterchange and the levels regulate themselves. With salts or baking soda (yes, people do that.) you'd have to redose with every waterchange.
 
  • Thread Starter

creepa

Member
MacZ said:
While the pH of 7.8 is good, the GH and KH are indeed a bit low. But instead of adding costly salts, a good chunk of limestone or a few heaps of crushed coral are cheaper and more efficient as the buffer the hardness up to a certain level depending on the levels already present and store the solubles that make up hardness, so you can just do a waterchange and the levels regulate themselves. With salts or baking soda (yes, people do that.) you'd have to redose with every waterchange.
Thanks a lot for this - this is exactly the information I was looking for.
I definitely like the sounds of not having to redose with every water change. I had in my mind that the aragonite would have done this same thing, but I will add crushed coral as well. Do you have a source/brand of preferred crushed coral? And is this something I should do slowly over time or will it not have as dramatic of an effect to make a difference?
 

MacZ

Member
You're welcome. Aragonite might contain small amounts of thing you don't want in a tank like arsenic. Would abstain from that. And sorry, no preferred brands. For one you are likely on a different continent and secondly with that stuff the properties are basically always the same and brand names are only adding to the price unnecessarily.
 
  • Thread Starter

creepa

Member
MacZ said:
You're welcome. Aragonite might contain small amounts of thing you don't want in a tank like arsenic. Would abstain from that. And sorry, no preferred brands. For one you are likely on a different continent and secondly with that stuff the properties are basically always the same and brand names are only adding to the price unnecessarily.
Okay awesome. I will look in to adding some crushed coral. Would you recommend adding it over an extended period of time?
 

MacZ

Member
creepa said:
Okay awesome. I will look in to adding some crushed coral. Would you recommend adding it over an extended period of time?
It's supposed to be in there permanently. For a tank your size, add about 1-2 kg of crushed coral either in a bag, mixed in with the substrate or in a filtercompartment (here only as much as fits in, meaning you have to replace it after some months.
When your water is of a certain acidity and/or low hardness the carbonate and calcium in the corals and in limestone dissolve over time, meaning at one point you will have to add more. Looking at your readings the amount of coral should be enough for 5-6 months, maybe a bit less, maybe a bit more. Just test pH, GH and KH at least once a month, so you can react in time.
 
  • Thread Starter

creepa

Member
MacZ said:
It's supposed to be in there permanently. For a tank your size, add about 1-2 kg of crushed coral either in a bag, mixed in with the substrate or in a filtercompartment (here only as much as fits in, meaning you have to replace it after some months.
When your water is of a certain acidity and/or low hardness the carbonate and calcium in the corals and in limestone dissolve over time, meaning at one point you will have to add more. Looking at your readings the amount of coral should be enough for 5-6 months, maybe a bit less, maybe a bit more. Just test pH, GH and KH at least once a month, so you can react in time.
This has been extremely helpful. Thank you very much for your input.
 

Rdel

Member
I'm in the process of setting up my first multi tank and have been asking the same questions. Like you my pH is about 7.8, kH 7 and gH 3.

From what I've been reading, and feel free to shoot me down, is that chasing pH is futile unless you really know what you're doing and pH of 7.8 should be fine, and kH of 7 should be enough of a buffer to protect that.

The gH ideally I would like higher. Seachem Cichlid Lake Salt will cost me £16 for 500g, will last me over a year (only a 33 gallon tank) and seems a very straight forward process of just adding a teaspoon each week with the water change to make the water just that bit more tailored to their needs without chasing the pH.
 

MacZ

Member
Chasing pH usually refers to chasing LOW pH-numbers and is usually also the dangerous thing for the fish, because when working with RO/distilled water and super low kh/gh the pH may drop far below 5, even into the 4-numbers which usually kills fish, especially when happeneing suddenly.
Using limestone or coral to make water harder and raising pH is safer as the water can only take a certain level of solids solved and so it has an upper limit.

And yes 7.8 pH is technically enough for Tanganyikans, but a GH below 15 is usually detrimental to fish from the Rift Lakes. KH of 7 sure buffers enough, around 10 is optimal.
 
  • Thread Starter

creepa

Member
I definitely agree with you about chasing pH. That was never my intention - I knew they would be good at any stable pH in that relative range. My discus would regularly breed in 7.0-7.2 and a lot of material says it needs to be much lower than that.

I was more worried about gH and kH. I wound up putting an additional HOB filter on my tank that Is filed with 4 cups of Crushed Coral. Over the last week this has increased my pH to 8.2 and my gH and kH are also up to around 9-10. I can see a big difference in their behavior already. They have begun moving much more sand, shells, and are showing some breeding traits as well.
 

Rdel

Member
MacZ said:
And yes 7.8 pH is technically enough for Tanganyikans, but a GH below 15 is usually detrimental to fish from the Rift Lakes. KH of 7 sure buffers enough, around 10 is optimal.
Aw brilliant, this is the kinda information I was looking for so thanks and thanks to creepa for starting the thread.

I've read that much stuff with people saying no need for the lake salt but just had a feeling that with how low my water is out of the tap and it just made sense to add it.

I'll aim for above 15 and then try to keep it stable with each water change from there.

Cheers.
 
  • Thread Starter

creepa

Member
MacZ said:
Chasing pH usually refers to chasing LOW pH-numbers and is usually also the dangerous thing for the fish, because when working with RO/distilled water and super low kh/gh the pH may drop far below 5, even into the 4-numbers which usually kills fish, especially when happeneing suddenly.
Using limestone or coral to make water harder and raising pH is safer as the water can only take a certain level of solids solved and so it has an upper limit.

And yes 7.8 pH is technically enough for Tanganyikans, but a GH below 15 is usually detrimental to fish from the Rift Lakes. KH of 7 sure buffers enough, around 10 is optimal.
From your experience- would the crushed coral continue to increase the gH to be as high as 15?
 

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