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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody, I'm getting back to cichlids again, had some a year ago and
decided I'm going back to them again, however i'll need some help getting my tank to the lake Malawi chemistry, which a seller on ebay gave them the list of i'll paste it below, and i don't know exactly what everything means, but below is the reply i gave her back as well.. i hope you can help me more here..

(SELLERS REPLY) The water in lake Malawi is typically alkaline with a pH of 7.7 ? 8.6, a carbonate hardness of 107 ? 142 mg L-1 and a conductivity of 210 ? 285 µS cm-1. The lake water is generally warm, having a surface temperature that ranges from 24 ? 29 °C (75 ? 84 °F) and a deep level temperature of 22 °C (71.6 °

(MY REPLY BACK TO SELLER) I'll need like a big boost of hardness in the water, i used RO, softened water, so i imagine the water is as soft as it can get. how's the best way to harden the water?
I have no idea what the 142 mg L-1 means nor how to test or reach that, and i was wondering, is the Conductivity the same thing as TDS?
and i also need to know what the 285 µS cm-1 means,
and i see the temperature is pretty close to what i have now, (79) is that ok?

JUST TO GIVE YOU A LITTLE HISTORY ON MY TANK
I had a bad algae problem so i did a 95 percent water change and vacuumed out the rocks, plants and gravel the best i could 2 days ago, the water was pretty good clear, but the service was totally covered with dark green stringy algae so i had to do that water change, and my 2
one inch long tetra's survived the water change so far, i left the 2026 eheim filter intact, so that should speed up the cycling a bit.. let me know what i need to do now to get my RO and Softened water to the Lake Malawi... thanks and sorry for the long post..

75 gallon tank.
2026 Eheim
500watt Pro Brothers heater
Approx 80 pounds gravel,
few huge rocks and plastic plants,
 

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Welcome to the Forum Spatterfree. :)

What is the Ph of your water before it goes through your R O unit? If it's over 7.4 it should be O K for Malawins. You can fill from your spicket outside as it shouldn't be hooked up to any softener system.

It's real easy to get caught up in trying to make perfect water but maintaining a healthy filter system is imo far more benificial. Most Lfs's don't do anything special for thier water and most of the fish you get from them are allready used to the tap conditions.

Have a go through in the library section under water chemistry. You'll find some great articles on mixing buffers for your tank. http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/c ... y_list.php
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the help, that link looks very informative.
the PH in the tank right now is 6.4, so it's a little on the low side,
However I hate using the PH up and down kind of stuff because i read alot of bad things about
making a long term good cycle, so i'll be trying something else to increase the PH.
right now my biggest concern is the chemistry that i didn't even know what they mean on the email i got from the seller of the cichlids that I'll be buying from ebay, only reason i am buying them from ebay is because there are 0 and i mean 0 good pet stores in my area here, tried them all, and i'll never try another fish from walmart either... sorry for anybody that me feel like I'm too stubborn, but i tried them long enough now with no luck..

iceblue said:
Welcome to the Forum Spatterfree. :)

What is the Ph of your water before it goes through your R O unit? If it's over 7.4 it should be O K for Malawins. You can fill from your spicket outside as it shouldn't be hooked up to any softener system.

It's real easy to get caught up in trying to make perfect water but maintaining a healthy filter system is imo far more benificial. Most Lfs's don't do anything special for thier water and most of the fish you get from them are allready used to the tap conditions.

Have a go through in the library section under water chemistry. You'll find some great articles on mixing buffers for your tank. http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/c ... y_list.php
 

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I probably should have asked differently. Is the Ph out of your RO unit 6.4 or is your local water supply 6.4?
 

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http://www.cichlidforum.com/articles/buffer_recipe.php

This is a page that contains a rift lake buffer recipe that i have used ever since i have kept cichlids.
Read the recipe at the bottom of the page. it will tell you to add for every 5 Gallons:
1 tablespoon of epsom salt
1 teaspoon of Bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon of salt
The salt is entirely up to you but i use it.

This recipe will increase your hardness to about 18 thanks to the epsom salt and Ph to no more than 8.2 thanks to the bi-carb.
This is just a buffer recipe so eventually as your tank gets older check your levels because you may not require it anymore.

It's a really good way to get your tank up to speed fast
 

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IMO unless you are purchasing F0 stock straight from Lake Malawi you don't need to add any kind of water "hardeners" or other agents. They just add complexity where none is needed. And don't get caught up with conductivity, that is mainly a concern for marine setups.

With my Malawi tanks I've never used anything other than conditioned tap water along with buffering flora such as eco-complete substrate and "holey rock". I have relatively hard tap water but IME most cichlids are hearty and can thrive in a pretty broad range of water conditions. Don't get obsessed with achieving a specific pH or hardness level. Instead, focus on keeping your existing parameters steady. Maintaining a healthy filtering system and providing complete nutrition will be far more critical than exacting water parameters.

Hope this helps! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
the 6.4 is from the tank about 16 hours after i cleaned it up, do you want the PH from the tap?

iceblue said:
I probably should have asked differently. Is the Ph out of your RO unit 6.4 or is your local water supply 6.4?
 

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Spatterfree said:
the 6.4 is from the tank about 16 hours after i cleaned it up, do you want the PH from the tap?
Yes. Out of the tap without any type of filtration, RO, water softener or otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had cichlids a year ago, bought them from walmart and to me it seemed like their colors were slowly fading, i figured it's due to not being in the environment that they want, unless it was the walmart fish that do that since they look fake anyways.

heres what the seller has on the listing about the fish

Genus: Pseudotropheus Elongatus(Freshwater)

Common Name: Chailosi

Origin: Chitande, Lake Malawi

Diet: Omnivore-Herbivore

Temperament: Mildly aggressive

Maximum Size: 3.5"

Temperature: 76-82F

PH: 7.6-8.6

Water Hardness: Moderately hard to hard

jmangels said:
IMO unless you are purchasing F0 stock straight from Lake Malawi you don't need to add any kind of water "hardeners" or other agents. They just add complexity where none is needed. And don't get caught up with conductivity, that is mainly a concern for marine setups.

With my Malawi tanks I've never used anything other than conditioned tap water along with buffering flora such as eco-complete substrate and "holey rock". I have relatively hard tap water but IME most cichlids are hearty and can thrive in a pretty broad range of water conditions. Don't get obsessed with achieving a specific pH or hardness level. Instead, focus on keeping your existing parameters steady. Maintaining a healthy filtering system and providing complete nutrition will be far more critical than exacting water parameters.

Hope this helps! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
is it a good idea to add all that in one shot with fish in there?
or would you recommend me getting rid of the fish?

Gibbs said:
http://www.cichlidforum.com/articles/buffer_recipe.php

This is a page that contains a rift lake buffer recipe that i have used ever since i have kept cichlids.
Read the recipe at the bottom of the page. it will tell you to add for every 5 Gallons:
1 tablespoon of epsom salt
1 teaspoon of Bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon of salt
The salt is entirely up to you but i use it.

This recipe will increase your hardness to about 18 thanks to the epsom salt and Ph to no more than 8.2 thanks to the bi-carb.
This is just a buffer recipe so eventually as your tank gets older check your levels because you may not require it anymore.

It's a really good way to get your tank up to speed fast
 

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Welcome Spatterfree :) I'm a new fishkeeper and member too, I agree with Jmangels don't blind yourself with science keep it simple. My ph from the tap water was 7 yours at 6.8 is quite low, to get PH up I use bicarbonate of soda 1 level teaspoon to 5 gallons (thats UK gallons you would need to adjust slightly as your gallons are smaller) of water it worked a treat and brought it up to 8. If you haven't already, buy yourself a good test kit for Amonia, Nitrate, Nitrite and High level PH and keep a record on each test, this makes it easier to trace spikes.
Hope this helps and good luck! and if in doubt don't panic!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just finished talking to the person in charge of our water system and he said the PH is between 6.6 to 7 right out of the well, and the hardness is about at 55 incase u'll want to know.. and after the RO and softener it's about at 6.2

iceblue said:
Spatterfree said:
the 6.4 is from the tank about 16 hours after i cleaned it up, do you want the PH from the tap?
Yes. Out of the tap without any type of filtration, RO, water softener or otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Teddy,
I'm getting epson salt, aquarium salt and baking soda to balance my tank, I'm wondering... To anyone that woould know, would it matter adding that recipe to a tank that's not established yet?

Teddy said:
Welcome Spatterfree :) I'm a new fishkeeper and member too, I agree with Jmangels don't blind yourself with science keep it simple. My ph from the tap water was 7 yours at 6.8 is quite low, to get PH up I use bicarbonate of soda 1 level teaspoon to 5 gallons (thats UK gallons you would need to adjust slightly as your gallons are smaller) of water it worked a treat and brought it up to 8. If you haven't already, buy yourself a good test kit for Amonia, Nitrate, Nitrite and High level PH and keep a record on each test, this makes it easier to trace spikes.
Hope this helps and good luck! and if in doubt don't panic!
 

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I dont think it would be a problem, but I wouldnt worry about aqua salt and epsom salts, just add the bicarb, it not only increased the PH but the KH and GH. How long have you been running the tank?
 

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I would add Epsom And bi-carb. The reason for the Epsom is that it prevents your PH dropping. By adding the bi-carb alone your PH will read say 8 one day and the next it will read 7.8 literally.Kepping your water hard which is water Epsom does prevents this

It does not matter if your fish are in the tank or not they are not effected by the additives at all.
If you are setting up a new tank add it as soon as the water goes in.

Oh and whether your fish are F1 or not they are never going to thrive in water that is below their standards in terms of PH or Hardness. so keep them all high. Thats like saying that humans can live with poor air qualities. We cant look at Hong Kong there air is now rubbish and they're all getting sick.

If you not worried about your water levels you shouldn't be keeping cichlds
:fish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Does anyone think the algea will come back again since i didn't clean the entire tank and filter?
if yes, are there any ways to keep it to the min?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok. I'll try adding the baking soda, not sure how much i'll put in though, i ran the tank for about 6 months, but never changed water, algea grew on me, but the 2 one inch tetra's looked ok all the time, but like i said, i did a 95 or prob even 98 percent water change and vacuumed the gravel out throughly,

Teddy said:
I dont think it would be a problem, but I wouldnt worry about aqua salt and epsom salts, just add the bicarb, it not only increased the PH but the KH and GH. How long have you been running the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Teddy said:
Welcome Spatterfree :) I'm a new fishkeeper and member too, I agree with Jmangels don't blind yourself with science keep it simple. My ph from the tap water was 7 yours at 6.8 is quite low, to get PH up I use bicarbonate of soda 1 level teaspoon to 5 gallons (thats UK gallons you would need to adjust slightly as your gallons are smaller) of water it worked a treat and brought it up to 8. If you haven't already, buy yourself a good test kit for Amonia, Nitrate, Nitrite and High level PH and keep a record on each test, this makes it easier to trace spikes.
Hope this helps and good luck! and if in doubt don't panic!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have a good kit for testing the water for PH GH TH NO2 CO2 NH3/NH4 not sure why i would test all that ever, but anyone that knows what it means please explain the most important ones..

Teddy said:
Welcome Spatterfree :) I'm a new fishkeeper and member too, I agree with Jmangels don't blind yourself with science keep it simple. My ph from the tap water was 7 yours at 6.8 is quite low, to get PH up I use bicarbonate of soda 1 level teaspoon to 5 gallons (thats UK gallons you would need to adjust slightly as your gallons are smaller) of water it worked a treat and brought it up to 8. If you haven't already, buy yourself a good test kit for Amonia, Nitrate, Nitrite and High level PH and keep a record on each test, this makes it easier to trace spikes.
Hope this helps and good luck! and if in doubt don't panic!
 
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