Soft water and African Cichlids - adjusting KH, GH, pH, and water changes

Kat11

Hello! I'm only a few days into fishless cycling my soon to be dwarf mbuna tank. However, my municipal tap water has an artificially high pH (I've seen it range from 7.8 - 8.2), low GH (4°) and low KH (3°). I'm using Cichlid Mix substrate (CaribSea brand), and added 1lb of crushed coral directly into the substrate (it's all I had on hand). I understand most fish can adapt to ranges of certain water parameters and the true parameter to chase is consistency. And to keep it as simple as possible for the best chance of success.

Questions are: 1) Should I steer away from chemical buffers and such? Or are they effective and easy to manage? I've been eyeing some of the Seachem buffers and salts.

2) Should I simply add more crushed coral instead to raise my hardness -- but then will it raise my pH too much?

2) I have a Python for water changes, how will I deal with chemical salts/buffers when adding tap water directly into my tank? Currently, I add Prime to tank just prior to refilling. In other words, will I need to go back to using buckets if my tank requires all these products be added?

Thanks!
 

MrBryan723

Star far, far away from those artificial buffers. Use natural ones like the coraline substrates. They won't raise it too much, thats how buffers work, they buffer the water up to stable ph and mostly keep it there. The last question should be mostly moot as the coraline sand should be plenty of a buffer. You're already in the low 8 range without adding anything so you shouldnt really need to anyways. Aside from the crushed coral type stuff.
 
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AquaticQueen

Stay away from pH buffers. Going natural is a much better way to go. Your KH and GH are too low for Mbunas. I would add some limestone and more crushed coral.
I wouldn't worry about the pH getting too high. Ideal Mbuna pH is 8-8.6.
 
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Kat11

Your KH and GH are too for Mbunas. I would add some limestone and more crushed coral.
I wouldn't worry about the pH getting too high. Ideal Mbuna pH is 8-8.6.
Thanks! I'm assuming you meant that my KH and GH are too low for Mbunas, correct? Yeah, that's why I'm now questioning my plan for keeping them (I kept them as a child when I was on well water, but here, the water is so not ideal!)
 
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AquaticQueen

Thanks! I'm assuming you meant that my KH and GH are too low for Mbunas, correct? Yeah, that's why I'm now questioning my plan for keeping them (I kept them as a child when I was on well water, but here, the water is so not ideal!)
Yes that is what I meant. Whoops. Sometimes I forget to read what I have written. I'll edit it to correct it.
 
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Kat11

MrBryan723 Thanks -- I have already rinsed (and rinsed and rinsed) shell-y rift lake cichlid mix substrate - should I simply add in more crushed coral/Coraline substrate? Or add crushed coral to my cannister filter maybe?
 
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MrBryan723

I doubt you would actually need to. If anything i would suggest getting a small, cheap hob filter and putting the coral in it. Just for the sake of not having to deal with the canister. But again the substrate should be enough to buffer the tank for a long time. If you were dealing with a low ph from your tap things would be a little different.
 
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A201

Building a Limestone reef should solve the water chemistry problems.
Plus a limestone hardscape usually turns out looking pretty good.
 
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