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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have set up a 55 gallon mbuna tank (Will house Cobalt zebras, Acei and Yellow labs) and a 40 gallon dwarf mbuna tank (Will house Afra and Saulosi) No fish yet, still trying to fishless cycle the tanks. My problem is that my water has a pH of 9.6 out of the tap. gh and kh need to be tested and I'm waiting on a test kit to arrive. I do have a TDS meter and an API master test kit though, TDS is 561ppm. I spoke with an online retailer and told him my situation and he said the mbuna would be fine in my water. This just seems way high for mbuna to me. I know Tanganyikans like a pH that high but I'm hesitant to try mbuna with my water. RO unit is not a possibility due to landlord issues, however buying RO water is an option. What should I do to keep mbuna guys?
 

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Did you try testing after the water has been in a container for 24 hours?

I would skip acei in a 55G and do only the saulosi in a 40G.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just drew about 2.5g water about an hour and a half ago into a clean home depot bucket. Put an airstone in it to bubble and will check it again tomorrow. I think my municipality puts something in the water to keep the pH high. My gh kh test kit is sitting in my PO Box now. Going to get it and test gh/kh and will post those values here soon. Thanks for the reply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, just tested GH and KH but am kind of confused on how to interpret the results...

The GH test never showed an Orange color that the directions said it should start out as after the first drop. The first drop turned it a very faint green.

The KH test turned very Blue and didn't turn Yellow until the 19th drop of reagent. Off the scale.

So to me, that indicates that I have low GH and way high KH, am I wrong? The water chemistry articles I have read on here are pretty confusing to me as well. If I understand it right, the KH affects the pH more than the GH, so maybe that is why my pH is so high.. I'm still going to test the water in the bucket that's being aerated for 24h to see if the pH drops any but my tanks have been setup for a couple of weeks and they still test at a whopping 9.4 for pH. I just don't know what to do other than "cut" my tap water with RO water to get the pH to around 8 - 8.2 or maybe just buy RO and buffer using the rift lake buffer recipe. My substrate is inert so no help there. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
After 24 hours pH did come down to 8.8, so I added distilled water until I got it down to 8.2 I'll test it again tomorrow. At this point I'm just going to cut tap with RO/Dist. to get it where I need it. 8.2 is fine by me and I think it'll be fine for my mbunas.
 

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I would just go with the 8.8 and avoid tampering long term.

When you first get them I would reduce the pH of the quarantine tank to the same as the tank they are being kept in by the seller. Then during the 3 weeks of quarantine, let the water changes gradually change the pH to your tap water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
pH is down to 8.2 today. My 40 gallon is cycled now. 55 is just about there too. I got a really good deal on 7 Pseudotropheus demasoni (Mozambique) and 7 Cynotilapia zebroides (Cobue Afra) all about 1.25" for $30.00 I couldn't pass it up. They were drip acclimated to the 40 gallon and seem happy. I will be doing 25% WCs in the 40g daily starting today until the 55g is finished cycling. I'm vacuuming out the substrate, as I really don't like this pool filter sand. My Eco-complete Zach Black sand came in today.. Kinda worried about putting it in now, especially in the 40g now since there are already fish in the tank. Does anyone know if the eco-complete will over-buffer the water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just a quick update. All of my fish are doing great! I took DJR's advice and just decided not to mess with the water. The ph stays at 8.4 now after removing the PFS and putting in the CS Zach Black substrate. Caribsea was kind enough to inform me that their Cichlid substrates will NOT over buffer the water. I recently switched to Prime from API tap water conditioner after testing showed ammonia in my tap water (0.25 ppm), Prime is so much better imo. The 55g is at the point where it can process 4 ppm of ammonia in 24hrs. Nitrite still has just a bit of catching up to do though, probably another week or so. It's been interesting getting back into the hobby after being out for over 10 years, I forgot how enjoyable it really is. The biggest thing I am remembering now is not to be overly obsessed with water testing every day, buffering etc. Watching your cichlids' behavior is the best indicator of how your tank is doing. That and regular water changes will keep em' healthy and happy. Thanks for your advice DJRansome, it IS appreciated.
 
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