20 Gallon Tank Water is hard (~120ppm), yet acidic (~6.2pH). What to stock?

MBing

So, I have a 20g that's already up and going, planted (with Staurogyne repens, Rotala sp., a lone Amazon Sword that was sort of an afterthought, Riccia flutians, and a "bonus plant" I got at one point that's probably Bacopa.) It's had fish in it before, but it's currently "empty." (It has a bunch of common/pest snails in it, a a few stray Neocaridina shrimp that I can easily relocate to one of the other tanks if needed.)


Right. So. I've been raising the pH of my tap water for a while now before using it in my tanks, which I've mostly kept consistent across tanks at ~7.2pH. And my water has a fair amount of hardness - it's definitely between 75 and 150 ppm, but probably more towards the high end of that range. The water comes out of the tap about a full degree of pH lower though, about 6.2 or so. (It's also got 20ppm nitrates right out the tap, hah...)

While I consider what to stock next in there, I am curious as to whether there are any fish or inverts that would thrive in my unadjusted tap water. I've tried to use some of the database sites out there, but the options for searching up candidates by parameters are borderline buggy on some of the main sites. I can certainly stay the course and keep alkalinizing my water before use, but it would be cool to have the option of doing less.

Also: As part of the hobby, I like to breed and sell things when I can. It's not essential, but if the species breeds readily in the aquarium, that is a plus for me.
 

Ghelfaire

You can try asking your local fish stores (or pet stores) what their ph is. If it's just the tap water it should be close to yours
 

FishDin

Probably most farm raised fish. Not wild caught.
 

John58ford

Are you leaving your (tap water for testing) water out in a cup for 6-12 hours before you test it? Often times the oxygen is depleted in the pipes, raising CO2 levels which will give an artificially low pH reading.

Otherwise, if that is off gassed numbers, a high general hardness and low pH would indicate a low carbonate hardness. You may have a chemical water softener in line, or maybe just crazy well water (pretty common). You might be able to raise just the carbonate hardness with a non-aquarium specific product (potassium bicarbonate is one of my favorites) with great results.

Do you have kH numbers from testing or just GH?
 

MBing

Are you leaving your (tap water for testing) water out in a cup for 6-12 hours before you test it? Often times the oxygen is depleted in the pipes, raising CO2 levels which will give an artificially low pH reading.

Otherwise, if that is off gassed numbers, a high general hardness and low pH would indicate a low carbonate hardness. You may have a chemical water softener in line, or maybe just crazy well water (pretty common). You might be able to raise just the carbonate hardness with a non-aquarium specific product (potassium bicarbonate is one of my favorites) with great results.

Do you have kH numbers from testing or just GH?
Yes. The water tests acidic after being left overnight in a bucket. But, as you say, it is a low kH - about 40 ppm carbonate hardness.
 

chromedome52

One degree of General Hardness is equivalent to about 17ppm. Most of the older book references use DGH rather than ppm, so I had to learn to quickly convert from one measurement to the other because my electronic meter measured in ppm. I don't consider anything under 9-10 DGH to be hard water. That's about 150-170 ppm. So I would consider your water as moderately soft. It's not unusual for water at that level to also have an acid pH. Many Tetras and Killifish come from waters that are actually in that range, rather than the extremely soft, 1-2 DGH blackwater, which also has a much lower pH.

However, I've also found that water at your level is still acceptable to most Poeciliid livebearers, with a few exceptions. Platies are fine, but Swordtails seem to prefer a hardness around 20 DGH, or about 300 ppm. They also prefer a higher KH.

Most of your common hobby species will accept the conditions you have. I'd give almost anything to have water with those parameters instead of my calciferous well water.
 

Gennasharples

You can try asking your local fish stores (or pet stores) what their ph is. If it's just the tap water it should be close to yours
not fish related but cute conures. I have one called skittles who is currently trying to destroy the keyboard on my lap top
 

Ghelfaire

not fish related but cute conures. I have one called skittles who is currently trying to destroy the keyboard on my lap top
Thanks, mine destroyed one of my laptops keyboard when I was at work one time. Not sure how they got out of their locked cages
 

MBing

One degree of General Hardness is equivalent to about 17ppm. Most of the older book references use DGH rather than ppm, so I had to learn to quickly convert from one measurement to the other because my electronic meter measured in ppm. I don't consider anything under 9-10 DGH to be hard water. That's about 150-170 ppm. So I would consider your water as moderately soft. It's not unusual for water at that level to also have an acid pH. Many Tetras and Killifish come from waters that are actually in that range, rather than the extremely soft, 1-2 DGH blackwater, which also has a much lower pH.

However, I've also found that water at your level is still acceptable to most Poeciliid livebearers, with a few exceptions. Platies are fine, but Swordtails seem to prefer a hardness around 20 DGH, or about 300 ppm. They also prefer a higher KH.

Most of your common hobby species will accept the conditions you have. I'd give almost anything to have water with those parameters instead of my calciferous well water.
Alright, a picture is starting to form in my head. A quick question about Clown Killifish/Epiplatys annulatus, if anyone has kept them: would a mircoworm culture plus dry food be enough to satisfy their dietary needs, or as some sources suggest, do they only accept live and frozen foods? Given the other params I've mentioned in the thread, are they a good fit?

And Caridina babaulti/Zebra shrimp. A good fit? Compatible with Clown Killies? I know killifish can, at times, eat anything that fits in their mouth, but with how small Clown killies are even at adulthood, the adult shrimp would surely be safe, yes? Would a setup like that decimate any chance of breeding the Babaultis?

I've read many times that "no fish are safe with shrimplets except otocinclus" but...I have breeding, growing colonies of Neocaridina shrimp in my other tanks with White Clouds, Corydoras, and even Platies. So far the only animal I've had that has really bothered the shrimp was a much larger Golden Wonder killifsh, which actually came into my tank as a hitch-hiker, and I've since given away. Is there a reason to believe Clown Killies would be more liable to eat shrimp than those other fish?
 

Gennasharples

Thanks, mine destroyed one of my laptops keyboard when I was at work one time. Not sure how they got out of their locked cages
I need to replace my keyboard every 6 months and completely replace the whole laptop every 12 months becasuse of how mush damage my green cheek and indian ringneck do. they slowly completely destroy the screen and the cords and the things you plus into. they also somehow removed the corner of the actual screen on my phone despite it being glass (removed the glass screen protector first within weeks of me getting it replaced). they are very good at destroying technology.

relating to the fish I'm replacing airline tubing almost weekly and apparently aquatic plants are delicious
 

chromedome52

Microworms and powdered food would be fine for Clown Killies, but I'd throw in some occasional frozen baby brine. They should get along with the shrimp, as the shrimp stay on the bottom, while the Killies prefer to be near the surface. I believe that if they are well fed, they are not going to bother hunting for shrimplets.
 

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