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TeamPisces said:
Is a PH of 7.8 to low to Mbuna?
That is perfectly fine. It is with in the range that mbuna come from with in lake Malawi.
A number of aquarists have traveled to Lake Malawi, dived down at all the popular collection points, and taken water samples. Mbuna live 30 ft.down or more (eg. yellow labs live 75 feet down or more). At these depths, pH typically ranges from 7.6 to 8.1. There was 2 sites on the internet that showed these values from actual measurements taken by people who traveled to lake malawi, though these sites don't seem to be around anymore. I have linked to one of them, probably close to 20 times in various thread on this forum over the last number of years.
Bear in mind that pH is variable dependent on Co2 levels, particularly in water that is actually on the soft side. The high value of pH 8.6 is taken at the surface, where there is less Co2, and far above where mbuna live.
And yes, despite recommendations and claims that lake Malawi is liquid rock, it is actually fairly soft water. It has been known for well over 50 years and has been measured for the purpose of science. It is not even debatable as these are measurements taken for the purpose of science: Rounded up, it equates to a general hardness of dH 4-6 (or rounded down dH 3-5). A KH around 6 and electrical conductivity ranging from around 200-240 microsiemens. Not hard water at all.There is even some parts of the Amazon river system that have harder water then lake Malawi!
Now, generally, Malawi cichlids are kept in harder water in captivity as usually most people will have harder water coming out of their tap then lake Malawi, as well as some people may add minerals to their already hard water based on recommendations of dH 10 + all the way up to recommendations of dH 30 . What this shows, generally, is that these fish are hardy, and will do well, despite being kept in water much harder then they originally come from. There is nothing special about lake Malawi water nor are these fish particularly fussy about water chemistry.
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