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I like to keep nitrates at less than 20 ppm. So yep I would increase water changes. KH at 11 is no problem. I understand KH in the lake is well past 14 and closer to 20.
As to seachem buffer welll I guess its fine but I think you may be spending more than you need.
Simple bicarbonate of soda= Sodium bicarbonate= Sodium hydrogen carbonate= Baking soda will keep your KH and pH stable withpout expesive and risky commertial mixes you and I do not understand. I would aim for a higher pH than 7.8 and go for closer to 8 or 8.2 but its not that important as long as you avoid pHs of less than 7.5.
All the best James
 

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Be sure to buffer the new water before it goes into the tank. But then I guess you know that. :oops: :)
 

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As long as you get the pH about the same (usually by raising the KH) and have it at a temp close to the water in the tank you can do large waterchanges (I do up to 90% on some heavily stocked tanks with young). To be on the safe side with just one filter if you clean it you can add extra bacteria products (like Tetra safe start) and/or a short term ammonia and nitrite de tox like Seachem Prime (you may use this already for the chlorine/chloramines). Extra safe is to store and airate the new water for a few hours before using but I tend to only do that with new WC.

If your filter is filling with gunk and needs cleaning on a reg basis (I find this most with planted tanks for some reason) then you might look into adding a second one to keep the tank more stable. Then it has less effect if you need to clean one. Yep a biuld up of gunk in the filters will stop waterchanges from having as much effect as they usualy have as you have a bank of stuff that can add nitrates to the water (and I think keep the pH down)

Again hope I am not being too trite here. :oops: :)
 

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Your stock is increasing in size and numbers so your filter is having to work ever harder to keep up. It will thus start to block more and more frequently. You can use a mechanical filter media at the start of it and clean that more regularly. Sooner or later you will need to crop young as there is only so much good high maintainance and increasing filtration can do. Otherwise without predators any breeding tank will eventually crash. You can try reducing feeding, increasing filtration and filter maintainance and water changes to pospone this but eventually with any breeding tank you need to remove some fish.

Sorry that sounds harsh and you may not be there yet but I think its wise to consider this now, even if it is just to plan for the future. I hear you can usually increase the effectiveness of powered filters by adding a pre filter (A sponge block on the intake that you clean each week or waterchange or any time it starts to block). To be honest I have little experience of this, I usually add extra filters.
If your not fussy about make, second hand filters are often for sale at at least UK cichlid auctions and websites at almost give away prices, as some folk convert to more centralised multi tank systems or leave the hobby.

I picked up about 10 fluvals 101-303s for £20 all in off one guy. :oops: :) (Who converted his fish tanks to run on low cost to run Matten filters)

All the best James
 
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