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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody,

I am getting back into the hobby after a few years of moving around (aquarium is cycling) and had a quick question. I had cichlids for probably over a decade growing up and I always bought them from a local "mom and pop" type of store with very nice, knowledgeable owners. That place closed down years ago and now there are just Petco’s and Petsmarts all over the place.

Anyway, I popped into a few the other day and was actually surprised at their selection and how good the fish looked. However, I was somewhat appalled when the 16 year old working in the fish room said that they keep all their fish at about pH = 7.0 and that although African cichlids like higher pH’s, it’s not necessary.

I have two questions, although the fish actually looked healthy and happy, will they have any long term problems (and how do you acclimate them to a much higher pH when you get them home)? If not from a pet store chain like these, where do you guys purchase your fish (online? If so, which sites?).

Thanks!
 

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As a corporate owned company, Petco and Petsmart Have to maintain their pH at the neutral 7.0 because the majority of their fish are the standard tropical fish. Their tanks are kept on 1 interconnected system, and they try to maintain a pH suitable for all fish.

the low pH is as we all know, as die hard African cichlid fans, is usually not ideal, but for the sake of maintaining both high pH and low, pH fish, the 7.0 becomes ideal, and almost all africans from low pH tanks make the change to high pH with seemingly none or very low ill effects. (having purchased some africans from these places, and placed them in appropriate water perameters)

I will say that I doubt there are any serious long term health problems, and a simple bag drip method is more than adequate when it comes to acclimating these fish.

( first temp acclimate, then slowly introducing your tank water into the bag over a 20 - 30 min period, is more than enough)
 

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I would say that a majority of African Cichlid keepers don't buffer their tanks. Most will just use whatever PH comes straight from their tap water. I highly doubt chain stores get WC Africans anyways. Most probably come from breeders and are f1 or more and have been raised with normal unbuffered water.
 

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Fish are very adaptable, and most will do fine in pH other than what they occue in the wild. This is true of Africans as well. You will find that your local LFS will keep whatever fish they sell in water right from the tap. To do otherwise would create far to many problems for the store and the customer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This makes sense, but then the obvious question...

If the fish apparently do just fine, why go through all of the trouble of keeping the pH higher than that of one's water source?

Thanks!

Also, where do most people purchase their fish?
 

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oldking said:
This makes sense, but then the obvious question...

If the fish apparently do just fine, why go through all of the trouble of keeping the pH higher than that of one's water source?

Thanks!

Also, where do most people purchase their fish?
Now you have it. It is rarely necessary and can ruin a good hobby. As Dr Paul Loiselle commented when he spoke at our society "the fish better like his water, or they weren't staying" (or something like that.) Most of the expert fishkeepers I know, with multiple tanks, don't do anything to their water. The time and expense of trying to alter water for as many as 100 tanks would be prohibitive. Fortuneately, it is rarely necessary, and so called softwater and hard water fish are kept in the same available water, and they thrive and breed.
If you have one or 2 tanks and you enjoy water cjemistry, go for it. Pesonally, I would get out of the hobby if that were necessary.
Most of my fish come from other society members, directly, or at monthly auctions.
 

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Since gettign back into the hobby 2-3 years ago I now run all of my tanks with whatever is coming out of my tap, regardless of fish type and have no problems. I do regular water changes / vac and nothing else.

When I was in it 10 years ago I was always testing and altering trying to maintain 7.0. The result was I was always loosing fish and it got me out of the bobby. I'm a firm believer of keeping it the same no matter what. I also do not beleive much in acclimation anymore and for the most part don't practice it. I've seen no difference either way. I also witness my local LFS's going straight from the bag to tank with very valuble fish (80.00-100.00 each) with no ill effects. For the most part I think the temp should be close, if it were 20 degrees different I would think twice, otherwise I see no difference.
 

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I have to agree. I am very impatient when I get a new fish. I float the bag for 10 minutes (well it seems like 10 minutes in my head) then net him and dunk him. The more the fish cost the more careful I usually am. But my impatience usually gets the best of me. :oops: I haven't lost any fish due to acclimation or bad water since I cycled my first tank.
 

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Painting all fish with the same broad brush stroke would be a very costly mistake...

for the most part, I 100% agree that there is no need to alter water chemistry; BUT... to claim that all Discus, German Rams, and black water apistogramma will do fine at a pH, GH and KH suited for Tanganyikans would be ludicrous as would suggesting that Tanganyikans can fare well in black water suited for apistogramma...

You do have to be aware of the tolerances of the species in question and you must know of the bloodline of fish... e.g. yes you can find German Rams that will do great at a pH of 8.0 since they are the 4th or 5th generation of Rams bred at a pH of over 7.6

But try and stick some bloodlines of Rams into that same tank where the breeders used soft water with a low pH and the fish will waste away slowly and painfully in around 6 months...

same goes for acclimation... scoop and dump works great when there is a small difference in water chemistry... until the day you take Cyprichromis who were bred at a pH of 8.2 and used to liquid rock and try to dump them into soft water with a pH of 7.2 ... end result? pale stressed and likely sick fish!

Now try the drip method with those same Cyps over hours and lo and behold, they don't fare as badly! Why not? Simple... fish are hardy and with time, they can deal with change.

So what's this all mean? Simple... although your fish are tough, let's not needlessly stress them!
Know what you are buying, where they came from, and think about ways to help them settle with the least amount of stress possible... and yes, sometimes that means a simple scoop and dump! :)
 
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