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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The article Practical Water Chemistry on this site recommends GH of 9 to 18 for African cichlids. The species profiles for my 3 Malawi species recommend water hardness of "Hard." According to the article Water Hardness and Fish Health, "hard" means GH of 8 to 16. Close enough. So far, so good. But, I was reading the label of Seachem's Cichlid Lake Salt product (see below), and Seachem recommends GH of only 4 to 8 for Malawi cichlids. That's a BIG difference from what the resources on this site recommend. Who is right?
 

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Smeagol said:
But, I was reading the label of Seachem's Cichlid Lake Salt product (see below), and Seachem recommends GH of only 4 to 8 for Malawi cichlids.
If one is trying to replicate water parameters of lake Malawi, that would be more correct. The water parameters of Lake Malawi water has been measured for the purposes of science, so it is not some kind of mystery:https://malawicichlids.com/mw01011.htm It equates to a dGH of 3.5 to 5.5, so not very hard at all; actually fairly soft. 50+ years of aquarium literature that reiterates the claim of lake Malawi being very hard, even called liquid rock at times :lol: is not supported by the facts. This site does have GH listed correctly in the "Great lakes of Africa" article https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/lakes_east_africa.php, with the dGH rounded up listed at 4-6.
Also, the electrical conductivity of lake Malawi is around 200- 240 microseimens which is also an indication that it is not all that hard.
Also note that in the first link provided, the pH was measured at the surface where it is much higher due to less CO2. Lake Tanganyika was not measured in the original paper, so an alternate source was used. You can see how pH is dependent on the depth of water in the Tangayika pH graph, as lower depths have much higher CO2. I did have links to 2 sources which I have linked to many times in the past, where aquarists went to lake Malawi and dived down to the depths that are fish live at at a number of popular collection points and the pH values for mbuna (about 30 feet down) ranged from pH 7.6 to 8.1. Unfortunately these internet sites are no longer available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
BC in SK said:
Smeagol said:
But, I was reading the label of Seachem's Cichlid Lake Salt product (see below), and Seachem recommends GH of only 4 to 8 for Malawi cichlids.
If one is trying to replicate water parameters of lake Malawi, that would be more correct.
Oi! I'm so confused.... Should I not try to replicate the water parameters of Lake Malawi? Why do the articles on this site recommend GH of 9 to 18, if that's known to be inaccurate? I've read countless threads on this site where hobbyists are trying to raise their GH to 10 or higher.... In none of those threads did anyone say, "hey, you shouldn't raise your GH that high for Malawi species. Lake Malawi only has GH of 3.5 to 5.5." Which means that many of us should actually be trying to lower GH.
 

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I hope that most advice is to first test your tap water and only tinker with parameters if your pH is way too low and/or unstable.

Remember that the articles were written by Members. When I first joined the forum I read all I could find by "experts" at the time and the advice was all over the place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My tap water is 5.5 dGH. But, following the advice of several articles in this site's library, I raised it. It's currently 11.5 dGH. If I stop adding salts during wc's, the GH will eventually return to 5.5, right? How slowly do I need to make this adjustment so that fish are not harmed?
 

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If you let it come back to 5.5 over time via weekly water changes all should be fine. What is your KH and pH?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
DJRansome said:
If you let it come back to 5.5 over time via weekly water changes all should be fine. What is your KH and pH?
Tank Water
GH = 11.5
KH = 9.5
pH = 8.2

Tap Water
GH = 5.5
KH = 2
pH = off the scale

Because the pH of my tap water is so high and I'm afraid of creating pH swings, I've been doing small (25%) water changes 3x per week, instead of one big weekly water change. That said, how would you suggest I proceed, if I want to quit using salts and let my GH settle down to tap-level of 5.5?
 

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No idea how to increase KH and reduce pH. Since the additive you have been using seems to work, why not reduce the additive by 25% and see what happens?

Your GH is fine but your KH from the tap is too low to buffer the pH and prevent swings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
DJRansome said:
No idea how to increase KH and reduce pH. Since the additive you have been using seems to work, why not reduce the additive by 25% and see what happens?

Your GH is fine but your KH from the tap is too low to buffer the pH and prevent swings.
I'll give that a try. I've actually been using two Seachem products together: Cichlid Lake Salts and Malawi/Victoria Buffer. Had I known at first what I know now, I probably would've never started using the former, and just used the latter for buffering pH. It blows my mind that nobody seems to know about this. I've looked at dozens of different websites, and they all recommend 9-18 dGH for African cichlids, making no distinction between the different lakes. Some sites recommend an even higher range of 12-25 dGH. They're probably thinking about Tanganyika. Why not provide the proper range for each lake? I don't get it.
 

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The cynic in me says that this was all started by folks who make a ton of money selling Epsom salt and baking soda at hundreds of percent profit margin. Just speaking generally here, for example, the parent company that owns Aqueon, also owns multiple tropical fish farms... so, seems to me that perhaps there is a potential for a conflict of interest insofar as the advice given by them goes. And quite probably all the folks they sponsor are well aware of the same "Facts" so they spout them from the pulpits of YouTube, and before long, everybody just absolutely KNOWS that if you want to keep African's you gotta run between 9-18 DGH! Then everybody is buying a couple of things:
1. Lots of "salts" and "buffers" - gotta pump them numbers up!
2. Lots of pH tests. You gotta test it a lot to make sure it's in the correct range! Be afraid!
3. Special substrates - aragonite, cichlid sand, you name it.
4. Scrapers! You gotta deal with all them hard water marks
5. replacement pumps and impellers - geez! Hard water, amirite?

Folks want to sell you things.

KH should be kept over a 3 just to prevent fast downward pH movement. This is not as likely to happen in a tank with frequent water changes, as it is usually caused by lots of nitrates causing nitric acid to build up. I'd just bring the KH up to a solid 3 with baking soda and see if you can live with the resulting pH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
SenorStrum said:
....KH should be kept over a 3 just to prevent fast downward pH movement. This is not as likely to happen in a tank with frequent water changes, as it is usually caused by lots of nitrates causing nitric acid to build up. I'd just bring the KH up to a solid 3 with baking soda and see if you can live with the resulting pH.
Three?! Here we go again. Conventional wisdom says KH should be 10 to 14.
 

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C'mon Smeagol... is it time for the cricket thing again?



It's awesome! And, you know you want to. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Auballagh said:
C'mon Smeagol... is it time for the cricket thing again?

It's awesome! And, you know you want to. :lol:
You lost me. Who is supposed to get the crickets this time?
 

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Hah!
The only dawg I'm backing in this one is El' Hefe', and please do throw that freaking Seachem cricket, UNDER THE BUS.
(And yes - Aqueon's squished out carapace can also just get flushed down the street storm drain, pleazzzze.).
-
Oh... and single edged, craft razor blades. (Windsor Corp.?) Scrapin' that hard water crust off tempered aquarium glass, ain't pretty yo'.... :oops:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
SenorStrum said:
The cynic in me says that this was all started by folks who make a ton of money selling Epsom salt and baking soda at hundreds of percent profit margin. Just speaking generally here, for example, the parent company that owns Aqueon, also owns multiple tropical fish farms... so, seems to me that perhaps there is a potential for a conflict of interest insofar as the advice given by them goes. And quite probably all the folks they sponsor are well aware of the same "Facts" so they spout them from the pulpits of YouTube, and before long, everybody just absolutely KNOWS that if you want to keep African's you gotta run between 9-18 DGH! Then everybody is buying a couple of things:
1. Lots of "salts" and "buffers" - gotta pump them numbers up!
2. Lots of pH tests. You gotta test it a lot to make sure it's in the correct range! Be afraid!
3. Special substrates - aragonite, cichlid sand, you name it.
4. Scrapers! You gotta deal with all them hard water marks
5. replacement pumps and impellers - geez! Hard water, amirite?

Folks want to sell you things. ....
I'm usually pretty cynical myself. However, in this case, the company with an interest in selling me overpriced Epsom salt and baking soda is the very company that told me the truth about Lake Malawi's low GH. According to your hypothesis (with which I would usually agree), Seachem should've kept this information secret.
 
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