Krib tank ph question

RonP
Member
I am keeping a breeding pair of Kribs in a 36g species tank, with a natural ph of 7.8, hoping to raise fry. The fish are doing their job, I've been blessed with a few generations of fry over time. Parents are attentive to the fry.
But, all have failed to survive after a few days or weeks. macZ has indicated that the high pH might well be a factor.
My question is would it be sensible to lower the ph very slowly to maybe 7.2 or thereabouts? As I do 50% water changes weekly, and maintain the tank in pristine condition, I'm sure I can do it. What effect is it likely to have on this pair accustomed to 7.8?
I have raised African Cichlid fry in other tanks, no problem. Just want to see the Kribs succeed.
Thanks in advance for any inputs.
 
Broggy
Member
I would be tempted to take some surviving fry, and raise them up in this high ph. when they grow and are breeding for you, they and their fry will be a lot more hardy. but I don't know about that because you are saying none of the fry are surviving. if you are doing 50 percent weekly water changes, an RO system would be nice if you want a lower ph.
 
TClare
Member
If you can easily lower your pH it should be worth trying to see if the fry survive better. I don’t think it will hurt the adults as long as you change it gradually.
 
MacZ
Member
Fish in many of the rather soft and acidic waters have adapted to these environments due to the fact that low pH means low density in bacteria and fungi. We're not even talking extreme blackwater: pH between 5.5 and 6.5, GH and KH almost nonexistant, TDS 50-70, EC 100-140µSi/cm. That is often already enough to keep the spawn from falling for infections.

I would also check the factors food and parasites. Anything in that tank you know of?
What did you feed the fry?
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
I fed Northfin fry food. The tank tests .25 ammonia constantly, but all my cycled tanks do, using API test tubes.
Nitrites always 0, nitrates almost 0, increasing a bit just before water changes but still ok. PH is always 7.8 like my tapwater. I have not checked KH or GH.

This tank has run for 2 years...was a community tank mostly. No serious loss history, tho 2 or 3 neon Tetras disappeared over time after the mature Kribs were added. No other fish in the tank for several months. Kribs are looking healthy, but always a bit shy to movement.

No signs of parasites that I can see.
Oh, and I feed Northfin sinking pellets, Spirulina and Kelp flakes rotated, plus a few frozen brine shrimp every 2 weeks. Only Prime used, no other chems.
 
MacZ
Member
RonP said:
The tank tests .25 ammonia constantly, but all my cycled tanks do, using API test tubes.
Standard problem with the API test kits as far as I could observe. You hear a lot about false positives for low ammonia and false negatives for nitrates.
KH and GH are definitely good to know. I would never even start a tank anywhere without knowing the readings for these.

I see a bit of an issue with the food.
To get the parents in good condition: Feed frozen brine shrimp (defrosted and quick rinse to remove the salt) at least twice a week, live or frozen white mosquito larvae and if you can get them black mosquito larvae. The latter are absolutely top food for conditioning. Also rotate some other frozen or live foods. Not a fan of bloodworms for cichlids though, but I can't tell how kribs do with them. Test it. When they lay in the corner breathing heavy for a day it's clear bloodworms don't belong on the menu.

Then for the fry: Live baby brine shrimp. A hatchery set is not expensive, you can also just build one yourself and only buy the eggs and salt. There is nothing better for freshly hatched cichlids than that.
All that supplemented with the dry foods and vitamins.
And the spirulina and algae flakes: Kribs are are mostly carnivore, chewing microorganisms from the substrate and hunting insect larvae. Almost the same ecological niche as Apistos.

RonP said:
Only Prime used, no other chems.
Perfect. :)

One more thing about the waterchanges. 50% a week is ideal, when you have fry make that 50% TWICE a week, maybe even three times.

Edit:
RonP said:
This tank has run for 2 years...was a community tank mostly. No serious loss history, tho 2 or 3 neon Tetras disappeared over time after the mature Kribs were added. No other fish in the tank for several months. Kribs are looking healthy, but always a bit shy to movement.
Maybe some dithers that are fry safe... I'm not a fan of mixing continents but the only fish I can think of for that are pencils.
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
Good info...I will make some changes. Thank you MacZ!
And thanks to all for fast and helpful responses. Got some changes to work on!
 
MacZ
Member
You're welcome.

I just have to make clear: There is no quarantee this will do the trick. You will have to experiment to find out what will be perfect for your fish. :)


Edit: I just read the thread again and totally forgot another thing: Leaf litter! Infusoria grow on the leaves that are great for fry to feed on until you have BBS ready.
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
Update..
I am now feeding Brine Shrimp twice weekly. So far cannot locate mosquito larvae in Canada. Will keep trying.
I have dried hardwood Maple leaves on property. Well I read they are not best, it's what I have in abundance, so I will start with 4 big leaves..
 
TClare
Member
RonP said:
Update..
I am now feeding Brine Shrimp twice weekly. So far cannot locate mosquito larvae in Canada. Will keep trying.
I have dried hardwood Maple leaves on property. Well I read they are not best, it's what I have in abundance, so I will start with 4 big leaves..
You might be able to collect mosquito or gnat larvae if you place a container with water in a semi shaded place outside.
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
I live in semi arrid desert climate. No mosquitoes survive here most years. None this year (early stages of drought rn)
 
TClare
Member
RonP said:
I live in semi arrid desert climate. No mosquitoes survive here most years. None this year (early stages of drought rn)
Oh, OK
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
TClare said:
Good thought tho. If we ever get a rainy season, I will try. It has happened in past years but rarely. Thank you!
 
MacZ
Member
RonP said:
Update..
I am now feeding Brine Shrimp twice weekly. So far cannot locate mosquito larvae in Canada. Will keep trying.
I have dried hardwood Maple leaves on property. Well I read they are not best, it's what I have in abundance, so I will start with 4 big leaves..
Maple is indeed not optimal, as it usually breaks down extremely fast. But then you will simply have to add more, more often.
The mosquito larvae problem I've heard from several canadians now. Really no chance as frozen foods? Usually LFS should have those. But I guess yours has only the red ones (= bloodworms), which are nutrition-wise rather bad. The protein is almost too high, low vitamins, high fats, medium fiber.
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
No frozen so far...I only have PetSmart locally..not there. Have checked most major suppliers across Canada, no luck.
I normally get most supplies from amazon.ca, tho I doubt frozen could be shipped anyway...temp is high of 85F rn.

In better times I would head into USA to obtain, but not with Covid restrictions.
I do have frozen blood worms, will try a small portion later this week and check closely.
Amazon in Canada don't have them.
MacZ, I could feed dried Fluval Bug Bites..
40% dried Soldier Black Flies, plus salmon.
High protein content.
Not frozen or live, but ingredients are in line with the diet for Kribs.
Does that make sense? If so, how often would you suggest?
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
Bumping post above on Fluval Bug Bites, as it was amalgamated and maybe missed.
 
MacZ
Member
I use bug bites, too. But were hard to obtain here. They are ok, but not optimal.

I do 1 day frozen/live, 1 day dried/freeze dried, 1 day fasting in rotation. The Apisto gets at best 4-10 little pieces of bug bites, 2-3 are stopped by the pencils and cardinals.

For conditioning do frozen/live 4x, (freeze)dried 2x and only one fast day a week.
 
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RonP
Member
Excellent. Thank you.
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
Update:
12 maple leaves in tank now for 3 full days. PH is dropping at about .1 daily, now at. 7.5...
Following 4 days on new proper diet , I see more activity in tank especially at feeding time. A bit less shyness to motion as well.

Seems like a promising start...again thanks for the advice, this forum comes thru again!

I'm not sure how far to reduce ph, but thinking maybe around neutral 7.0
over time..lots of maple leaves to work with.
 
MacZ
Member
If pH ends up somewhere between 6 and 7 you are perfectly good.

The food takes effect pretty quick usually. :)
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
So, with lots of Maple leaves, I can reduce ph to 7.5 in 2 or 3 days. But no lower, and with weekly 50% changes, back up to 7.8
I am thinking of a 2 pronged attack:

First...check out KH and GH..and address any issue.
Second, set up a container to age water for the weekly changes, with leaves in the container.
Is this a sensible plan? Missing anything?

The fish are now nicely colored and active with new feeding regiment.
 
MacZ
Member
RonP said:
Is this a sensible plan? Missing anything?
First is great and is your first step before even thinking about actual parameter shiftiing. Second won't do much, actually, you may also accidently foul the water. If you do this use RO for the leaf pretreatment and add an airstone.

RonP said:
The fish are now nicely colored and active with new feeding regiment.
That's great to hear and already a good sign. ;)
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
MacZ said:
First is great and is your first step before even thinking about actual parameter shiftiing. Second won't do much, actually, you may also accidently foul the water. If you do this use RO for the leaf pretreatment and add an airstone.



That's great to hear and already a good sign. ;)
Thank you!
I'm researching hardness, got an API test kit...will attack there first.
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
Readings from API tests.
Tank is 5 KH, 5 GH, 7.5PH
Tap is same except PH is 7.9 (it varies a bit)

Hardness too high ?? Is the addition of part RO needed?
I have ordered some IA leaves from Amazon to try.
 
MacZ
Member
This is considered soft to medium hard by aquarium standards. KH and GH are similar to my tap, pH is not.
Hardness is not too high, but pH might be. Many had success in your parameters, but as you are still struggling your fish might profit from lower hardness and pH.
You know how to mix and lower safely?

How many IALs? Whatever the number, double it. Maybe look out for cheaper leaf litter like oak or walnut. You have west african or south american dwarf cichlids, you will always want to have leaf litter at hand.
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
Slow delivery on IALs , won't get until mid-June...I will try the IA leaves at double dose first, retest and then decide on next steps.
If PH remains high...I will research/try RO, need to invest in equipment at that point.
Much thanks MacZ...for the excellent responses, and for staying with me on this..
 
MacZ
Member
Good strategy and you're welcome.

Don't know why but once in a while I get invested with the projects of people I give my advise to.

Hows the tank looking these days?
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
MacZ said:
Good strategy and you're welcome.

Don't know why but once in a while I get invested with the projects of people I give my advise to.

Hows the tank looking these days?
Tank is looking great, Maple leaves mostly covering bottom areas now. Kribs are strong yellow black stripes, bright reddish purple bellies. I will try get a pic at feeding time..today is weekly 1 day fast.
 
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RonP
Member
Best photo I can do..cheap phone camera.
IMG_20210607_115848726~2.jpg
 
MacZ
Member
Doesn't matter, they look gorgeous!
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
Thank you..
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
Update:
IA leaves arrived 2 days ago. I put 2 very large ones in. Yesterday was fasting day, so I did not check.
Tested this morning..ph is now 6.5!!
Hard to believe. I will test again tomorrow. May have to remove one leaf..the pair are extremely active, chasing food right to the top of tank. Water looking darker colored now. ☺
 
MacZ
Member
Leave the leaf. One more or less makes no difference. ;)
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
Will do...I was a bit concerned it dropped too fast. Fish seem happy tho.
 
MacZ
Member
A drop of more than 1.0 pH points within a few hours is concerning. But just about 1.0 overnight is absolutely fine. I doubt it will drop further anyway. Also keep in mind that the pH is usually lowest in the morning. Bet later in the day it's only about 6.8 or 7.
 
  • Thread Starter
RonP
Member
Well, MacZ, you are right it's 6.8 at 6PM!!
 
MacZ
Member
That was closer than I thought. :D
It's just usually you have the lowest pH generally in the morning and the lowest after adding botanicals is in the morning after adding them.
 

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