Discussion regarding only South American Cichlid species. (Oscars, Geophagines, Discus, Apistogramma, Green Terrors, Angels, Severums, Pikes, etc.)
Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:37 pm
Hello all! First time on this forum trying to get some specialized advice. I have had a 20-gallon high tank for about 4 years, but one year ago all but one fish (lemon tetra) died. Life got busy and I kind of let the tank go to #%$&. Flash forward to the present and I have completely cleaned the tank, bought a new filter, heater, planted light, substrate and have rescaped it. I also bought an API test kit, and a GH/KH test kit. These kits proved instrumental in me learning some alarming facts about my tap water. pH: 7.7-8 probably more around 7.6 when aged. GH: 9 KH: 6. The fish I want to keep (apistos and tetras) need soft acidic water outside of my parameters to survive, much less breed. I have heard however that soft-water fish have an easier time adapting to hard-water than hard-water fish to soft-water. I have also heard that captive bred fish are much more easily adaptable to hard-water than their wild-caught counterparts.
Does anyone here have any experience in keeping apistos at my water chemistry? If it would not work at the current levels does filtering through peat work as a solution or is it too risky?
If all else fails do I just use RO water? Or are there fish such as possibly kribs that are smaller cichlids that could live in an alkaline 20 gallon high planted tank.
tank pic: http://imgur.com/bipG09C
Thanks in advance
PS: I am willing to post more detailed specs if anyone needs them
Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:40 pm
I have also heard a lot of good things about shelldwellers, but the absolutely need sand right? Sorry I know this is the wrong category to ask.
Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:59 am
Welcome to C-F
As you've stated, your water is not ideal for fish such as Apistos. The biggest obstacle would be the proper development of eggs, if the fish did spawn. You could certainly try with some tank raised fish. Peat is an option. Water changes would need to be frequent, but small. RO water would need to be buffered, at least to a certain degree. Messing with your water can be tricky. Lots of room for error, especially with such a small volume of water like a 20 gallon tank. It would be easier to just use what you have and keep things consistent for the fish.
Shell dwellers do not require sand. A bare bottom tank with PVC fittings can work. A handful of shells, or a big bag(depending on species), is all you would need to get going with Shellies in your tank.
Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:49 am
You mentioned a planted light fixture. Apisto's really prefer densely planted tank. With a 20 gallon you could do the DIY CO2 with yeast and sugar using a kit on Amazon that's like $13. The CO2 will lower the pH and get you substantially better plant growth. You would just need to recharge the mixture every 2 weeks which takes about 10 minutes at most. I get a 1 point drop in pH when my CO2 is on. Sometimes more. Pretty easy solution. Apisto's are AWESOME... Just make sure you get a single pair. No way would 2 males work in that size tank. I'm having trouble with 2 males in my 75 and I don't have any females in there yet.
As far as shell dwellers i couldnt imagine doing them without sand. The bury their shells to arrange things and then try to bury each other's shells when they squabble. I would say sand is very much necessary to make them feel at home.
Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:02 am
Your water is fine for most of the commonly available Apistos. Cockatoos, borellii, Rotpunckt, and several others will not only survive, they can thrive and breed in that water. Some like Aggies, nijsseni complex, and trifasciata would live well, but may not spawn successfully. Peat in the filter would help reduce the KH, and probably lower the pH, but are not a necessity for the first group of species above. I've bred those three and a few others in water that was essentially the same as yours.
In a 24 inch tank you're pretty much limited to a pair/trio. With a heavily planted tank like yours, they will be very happy.
Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:22 pm
Mr Chromedome wrote:Your water is fine for most of the commonly available Apistos. Cockatoos, borellii, Rotpunckt, and several others will not only survive, they can thrive and breed in that water.
I agree with this. You water actually isn't *that* hard or alkaline in comparison to some.
Apisotgramma cacatuoides(cockatoo) are usually easy to find, relatively inexpensive and are probably the easiest to keep.
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