Questions About Water Hardness And Tds

HenryC

So I was about to buy a golden ram cichlid from a local breeder. I remember checking inthat generally, ramirezis do better in pH between 6-7 right? I told the guy that my tap water came out at 7.8pH and wondered if his rams would fare well in my tank, asked him about the pH in the water that he breeds them and he told me that he has neutral 7, and that he uses RO water with a 20ppm TDS.

He asked me if I used tap water and I said yes, and he told me to forget it, that I was going to kill the ramirezI if I placed it in a tank with hard water. I'm kinda aware that TDS means hardly anything, and that you also have to take into account GH and KH, but I kind of got discouraged by the guy so I didn't ask anything more.

I gotta admit that I forggot about GH and KH tests kits when I started my aquarium 2 months ago, but now I have ordered some to test them. In the meantime, I checked the water facts that my water processing plant/commission releases to the public, and they state that they have a GH of 366ppm. Now, as I live in Mexico, I am not sure how we call KH over here, but I see other 2 parameters in the sheet, and they say "Total alkalinity" and "Bicarbonates", which both are at 157ppm. I wonder if any of those two mean KH? It also states that the TDS is around 850. And lastly, my pH is 7.8, as previously stated. Here is the sheet, in case you udnerstand spanish lol:

Is my water bad? Should I use RO water and replace the minerals instead of my tap water? I am currently keeping neon tetras, bloodfin tetras, a dwarf gourami, cory catfishes and mystery snails, they all seem to be fine, they're lively and eat well, look well and haven't had a casualty in nearly 2 months of keeping them.

I wanted to add a RamirezI as well but yes, the breeder discouraged me and told me I would be killing the fish. Any suggestions as to how should I proceed with this?
 

angelcraze

Bicarbonates would be KH. But test strips (if that's what you are using) aren't the most accurate.

I do take I to account TDS personally. I don't really test pH though because other things other than hardness can affect it. For instance, my pH is 7.4, but my KH and GH are only 2 degrees (40 ppm). My tap TDS is average 60ppm.

I haven't kept rams in harder water myself, but I'm under the impression they can adapt fairly easily, as opposed a hardwater fish acclimating to soft water since sift water doesn't have the minerals they require.

I'm sure soft water is best for the ram, so I'm not gonna say what to do. I'm following to see what others think.

I'll tag coralbandit for his thoughts, he is the ram whisperer around here
 

HenryC

Bicarbonates would be KH. But test strips (if that's what you are using) aren't the most accurate.

I do take I to account TDS personally. I don't really test pH though because other things other than hardness can affect it. For instance, my pH is 7.4, but my KH and GH are only 2 degrees (40 ppm). My tap TDS is average 60ppm.

I haven't kept rams in harder water myself, but I'm under the impression they can adapt fairly easily, as opposed a hardwater fish acclimating to soft water since sift water doesn't have the minerals they require.

I'm sure soft water is best for the ram, so I'm not gonna say what to do. I'm following to see what others think.

I'll tag coralbandit for his thoughts, he is the ram whisperer around here
Thanks! I have an API master's kit. I ordered their kit for GH and KH as well. And wow 60 TDS tap water, the wonders of living in a first world country lol. Soemtimes I hate my country . I wonder if I'm going to have to start usin RO water or just switch up to high hardness fish like guppies.
 

angelcraze

My water is very soft, yes. Others are surprised as well. That's why I keep angels and rams, so I don't have to add minerals. If you are set on keeping rams, you might have to cut with RO, we'll see. But there are other nice colourful dwarf cichlids like kribensis that can better tolerate slightly harder water.
 

coralbandit

Thanks! I have an API master's kit. I ordered their kit for GH and KH as well. And wow 60 TDS tap water, the wonders of living in a first world country lol. Soemtimes I hate my country . I wonder if I'm going to have to start usin RO water or just switch up to high hardness fish like guppies.
Live bearers will love , no LOVE your water . Rams not so much for not so long IMO ..
My tap is 350TDS and for all but the rams I have raised from my own breedings is far to 'hard' for breeding.350 is not too hard for general good health of the ram but in my opinion and honestly I would say 850 is seriously pushing it and expecting anything but a shorter life for an already short lived fish is an expectation that will be disappointing. If the fish is breed in soft water and raised in soft water failure is almost guaranteed .
20 TDS is what my water comes out of my ro but is not what I use in total .
100 TDS is the number of happiness for rams ..I need say no more then that for most ..
Mix your ro and tap to the target TDS you want ...
 

HenryC

Live bearers will love , no LOVE your water . Rams not so much for not so long IMO ..
My tap is 350TDS and for all but the rams I have raised from my own breedings is far to 'hard' for breeding.350 is not too hard for general good health of the ram but in my opinion and honestly I would say 850 is seriously pushing it and expecting anything but a shorter life for an already short lived fish is an expectation that will be disappointing. If the fish is breed in soft water and raised in soft water failure is almost guaranteed .
20 TDS is what my water comes out of my ro but is not what I use in total .
100 TDS is the number of happiness for rams ..I need say no more then that for most ..
Mix your ro and tap to the target TDS you want ...
Thank you for your knowledge. As beautiful as they are, I'm gonna pass up on them. Don't wanna condemn them to a slow death.

Now, I wonder if my gourami, tetras and corys are actually suffering. I'm gonna research more and if it comes to it I might just rehome then and get only guppies. Or I'm gonna start making RO water changes. Gotta think this thru lol.
 

angelcraze

You don't have to do RO changes. Just cut your tap say 50% with it and go from there. Just saying there's no real hurry now. Your fish are used to your water and a slow decline in TDS is best IMO. Your fish types prefer soft water, but not as sensitive to higher minerals in the water as rams are. Definitely use RO for top offs

If my water was hard and I didn't have a lot of space, I'd probably get shell dwellers from Lake Tanganyika.

Just throwing out another option.
 

HenryC

You don't have to do RO changes. Just cut your tap say 50% with it and go from there. Just saying there's no real hurry now. Your fish are used to your water and a slow decline in TDS is best IMO. Your fish types prefer soft water, but not as sensitive to higher minerals in the water as rams are. Definitely use RO for top offs

If my water was hard and I didn't have a lot of space, I'd probably get shell dwellers from Lake Tanganyika.

Just throwing out another option.

Hmm ok Thanks! So next Monday is weekly water change. I usually do 30%. So you suggest me to do 15% tap and 15% RO? And continue like that for a few weeks, topping off with RO right? Until I get the hardness and pH I want.

Will my pH be stable in the process? Will I be in danger of a pH crash? And wow the shell dwellers are super cute haha, but I wanna see if I can condition this water for the fish that I already have. I'd feel kinda bad having to give them away/return them, after watching them for so many hours, kinda attached to them already lol.
 

coralbandit

Chasing pH/GH will be frustrating ..Cut your tap with RO [ say 50/50 ] and measure the TDS .
You can test the pH ,and GH but I suspect your KH will keep most values pretty close even when cut with RO.
I know I am the exception but I do not test for pH or other parameters when I mix ro ,just TDS.
The water will always be the same this way ..
Topping off with RO is a great way to keep TDS from rising even higher through out the week..
 

HenryC

Chasing pH/GH will be frustrating ..Cut your tap with RO [ say 50/50 ] and measure the TDS .
You can test the pH ,and GH but I suspect your KH will keep most values pretty close even when cut with RO.
I know I am the exception but I do not test for pH or other parameters when I mix ro ,just TDS.
The water will always be the same this way ..
Topping off with RO is a great way to keep TDS from rising even higher through out the week..
HI again! So at the end I did got the golden rams (a male and a female), but I also got a whole new 20gal tank just for them and perhaps some compatible fish. I do not have the rams yet, the breeder is keeping them for me until I am set up.

So if I understand correctly, I should not worry about pH right? I think that if I cut the water to get to 100TDS, it will stabilize to 7.6, because that's what my tap water is at. The rams will be ok then? Should I just focus on pure TDS?

Someone recommended me using discus buffer to lower my pH between 5.8 to 6.8. But if you think that is not necessary, I will not do it. Also, it says that phosphate buffers can be bad for plants, and I intend to keep plants in the golden ram tank.
 

angelcraze

I would opt for max 200 TDS and see where that puts your pH. It should go down some with the addition of RO. But yea, I don't really focus on pH at all. As long as I know my water is soft, it doesn't really matter.

Do you have a KH and GH test?

Hmm ok Thanks! So next Monday is weekly water change. I usually do 30%. So you suggest me to do 15% tap and 15% RO? And continue like that for a few weeks, topping off with RO right? Until I get the hardness and pH I want.

Will my pH be stable in the process? Will I be in danger of a pH crash? And wow the shell dwellers are super cute haha, but I wanna see if I can condition this water for the fish that I already have. I'd feel kinda bad having to give them away/return them, after watching them for so many hours, kinda attached to them already lol.
No worries, I get that! I would continue to use 50/50 RO and tap if tap stays at 850 TDS. RO for any top offs.
 

HenryC

I would opt for max 200 TDS and see where that puts your pH. It should go down some with the addition of RO. But yea, I don't really focus on pH at all. As long as I know my water is soft, it doesn't really matter.

Do you have a KH and GH test?


No worries, I get that! I would continue to use 50/50 RO and tap if tap stays at 850 TDS. RO for any top offs.
The test says about 250-300GH, about 150-200KH, 7.6-7.8pH on straight out of tap water, which is consistent of what the water company states in their monthly reports. I do not have a TDS meter yet, but water report states the same, about 850TDS.

So to lower to 200TDS I guess I need about 3 parts of RO water and 1 part of Tap, assuming TDS are evenly dissolved on all the tap water body. Setting up my tank for the first time, I guess it would be ok to put 5 gallons tap, 15 RO right? And then top off with RO and do water changes on the same ratios? 1:3 tap:RO

Unless I'm missing something haha!
 

angelcraze

The test says about 250-300GH, about 150-200KH, 7.6-7.8pH on straight out of tap water, which is consistent of what the water company states in their monthly reports. I do not have a TDS meter yet, but water report states the same, about 850TDS.

So to lower to 200TDS I guess I need about 3 parts of RO water and 1 part of Tap, assuming TDS are evenly dissolved on all the tap water body. Setting up my tank for the first time, I guess it would be ok to put 5 gallons tap, 15 RO right? And then top off with RO and do water changes on the same ratios? 1:3 tap:RO

Unless I'm missing something haha!
I think so! The other fish could do 50/50 tap RO, but for the rams I'd do 75/25 RO and tap, especially if you're looking for them to breed.
 

HenryC

I think so! The other fish could do 50/50 tap RO, but for the rams I'd do 75/25 RO and tap, especially if you're looking for them to breed.
Thanks! Yes I've been doing 50/50 for the other guys for about 3 weeks now. This new setup will always be 25/75. Any recommendations for fish that could go well with the rams/these parameters? Was thinking about leopard danios but websites state they needs a little cooler water than the rams.
 

angelcraze

Flame tetras? They are nice and active, but not too active, not nippy, colorful and pretty small. I'd get 10 of them.

Lemon tetras are also very active for a tetra of you like that. They are a bit longer than flame tetras, but not as stocky.

I like red phantoms the best, and I keep them for more than 6 years in higher temp, but it says they prefer lower temp??

Then there are glowlight tetras or black neons or green neons that are more torpedo shaped.

Edit: I have gold tetras in a blackwater tank, they are nice and small and timid. They'd be good in a 20g. I just looked up their temp requirements and they handle up to 84°! I was surprised so had to share. Same with ember tetras, but embers are very very small.

Think about what color you want with your rams, then make sure their temp requirements fall in the same zone as the rams (80°-84°f).
 

HenryC

Thanks! Really digging the gold tetras. Would be cool to have an all "golden" tank haha. Gold tetras with Golden rams.
 

angelcraze

Thanks! Really digging the gold tetras. Would be cool to have an all "golden" tank haha. Gold tetras with Golden rams.
I totally agree! After reading about their requirements, they'd be a perfect tankmate!

Here are mine if it interests you
 

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