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Creek water alkaline?


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#1 rcb

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 05:45 PM

Are most creeks Alkaline? Admittedly we have lots of limestone which I assume is the contributing factor. But it's around 7.6-7.8. I've kept my tank at the same level since. I know tropical fish aquariums tend to aim for 7.0 or so.. or at least used to. Am I right to keep the ph in the same range?



#2 jeffreyconte

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 09:27 PM

Streams that are fed by limestone aquifers are going to be alkaline by nature. A pH of 8.0 to 8.3 should be expected.



#3 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 09:54 PM

Yep. Streams in my area are right around 8.3 and so is my water, which is provided by a private company that pumps water from wells in the Little Miami basin. Other than for aquaponics, I have never altered my pH. Perfect for my local fish at least.


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#4 littlen

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 08:08 AM

Note that tropical fish that aim for a pH of 7.0 are usually intended for South American cichlids, catfish, and tetras.  If you have really alkaline water, you'd be in good favor with Old World tropicals from Lake Malawi and Tanganyika as well as the natives in your area.   (Not that I'm suggesting you mix them).


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#5 rcb

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 09:37 AM

We are only keeping natives, so it's all good on that end. Just wanted to make sure e were in the right mode of thought. We've been getting replacement water from the same creek. (we live in the country and the creek adjoins some of our property).



#6 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 08:54 PM

We're sitting on a solid lime sheet of rock and our river bottom plus the quarries near us are all limestone and some sandstone. So our water is naturally more alkaline and it's this native water that I use in my tank. Yeah, it takes a bit more effort to go out, fill 2-5 gallon buckets full of river water and do my partial changes, but the fish are better off for it. Our tap water is ungodly. Every time I have used it in an aquarium in the past, within 2 days it drops to acidic and burned the fish. With the native river water, I hold a constant pH that they're used to and it almost never fluctuates unless I go too long between partial changes.



#7 TurbineBlade

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 02:54 PM

This thread is older and doesn't really leave any questions unanswered.  That said, I was going to add a quick thought just in case anyone reading this gets the impression that trying to tamper with pH is something desirable for an aquarist.    

 

Short answer: It isn't.

 

I can't think of many situations where one would want to do anything other than maintain a stable pH for virtually everything - native or tropical.  Even tank-bred discus were reportedly breeding readily in relatively basic/alkaline water when I last left the tropical hobby back in ~ 2006.  Unless you were importing wild-caught rams (?) or something else being pulled directly from lukewarm tea, trying to manipulate pH requires a fair amount of effort and may do more harm than good for many, if not most aquarists.  

 

Stable pH >> "native" pH

 

BTW - Why does a fish forum tag "aquarists" as misspelled?  


"Trying is the first step toward failure!" -- Homer Simpson


#8 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 10:06 PM

Messing with the pH isn't a really good idea unless it's too low or too high. The idea is to balance it. Stabilize it at what the fish came from. However, fish do not handle abrupt and massive changes in the pH, it has to be done gradually. You can get the appropriate pH regulator chemicals at many pet stores that sell fish and aquarium supplies. It adjusts the pH over a period of hours.



#9 TurbineBlade

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 07:19 AM

That's what I meant though -- you're better off using whatever comes out of your tap than trying to match the parameters inherent to the specific stream or streams from which you pulled your fish.  I referenced rams, but on the other extreme, the same could be said of something like Lake Tanganyika cichlids.  If you have moderate alkalinity and a pH of about 7.8, that's terrific.  

 

Could you start adding tsps of baking soda per 10 gallons, etc. trying to match the lake's extremely high alkalinity and pH of up to 9.5?  Sure, but that's a lot of effort you'll spend fighting your tap for no real benefit given that your frontosas or shell dwellers will thrive and breed in what you already have.  

 

Just my $0.02.  I do recognize that it's a bit counterintuitive to recommend against matching pH, which would seem to be a reasonable thing to do.  

 

Messing with the pH isn't a really good idea unless it's too low or too high. The idea is to balance it. Stabilize it at what the fish came from. However, fish do not handle abrupt and massive changes in the pH, it has to be done gradually. You can get the appropriate pH regulator chemicals at many pet stores that sell fish and aquarium supplies. It adjusts the pH over a period of hours.


"Trying is the first step toward failure!" -- Homer Simpson


#10 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 05:08 PM

I guess it depends on the person and the fish you have. I go get 5 gallon buckets of the native water they came from and use that instead of tap water. Our tap water is horrible and every time I have used it, the pH fluctuates wildly and it turns acidic within 36 hours. Years ago, back about 2004 and before I had amassed more knowledge about tanks, care, water and parameters, I had goldfish in my tank and my fish ended up with white "fluff" on their scales. The tank wouldn't, couldn't cycle because the water was so bad. I had to change the water almost daily. Once I changed the water and started using lake and river water, it never came back.

 

Our tap water is miserable and I recommend that if people are going to use tap water, test it thoroughly first and use native lake/river water if possible. However, I also understand that doing a partial water change on a 200 gallon tank using 5 gallon buckets of lake water really isn't feasible without giving yourself a hernia and stroke. Lugging home 60 gallons of lake water to do a 30% change in a 200 gal tank would be enormous work.



#11 TurbineBlade

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 05:23 PM

Gotcha -- It sounds like you very much do NOT have the buffering capacity I associate with "midwest water" (I spent most of my life in central and southern Missouri, which ranged from moderately hard to liquid rock).  I had a buddy who dabbled in various rift lake buffer recipes, and getting a measurable change in pH was actually quite a task with the water we had in Springfield, MO, which was quite alkaline. 

 

I understand that some municipal water supplies have levels of phosphorus unacceptable to SW aquarists attempting to keep algae under control -- so it's true that you're at the mercy of what you can get.   

 

That's a tough situation to manage; I can sympathize.  


"Trying is the first step toward failure!" -- Homer Simpson


#12 Fleendar the Magnificent

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 06:43 PM

Yeah, our water is horrible and I suppose that if I spent a lot of money on buffering chemicals, it might work, but I don't have that kind of money I want to blow. On top of that, I keep natives from the river here across town, so it's easier, less costly and better for the fish that I use their native water. Yeah, it's some work to haul home 4 buckets of water every 1.5 weeks, but it works out and the fish are better for it. My pH stays rock-solid balanced and stable.

I just love my fish, especially my very colorful darters.

 

As for algae control, using lake and river water is a challenge all it's own because it already HAS algae micro plants free floating in the water. I have to lightly scrub the tank walls about once a week to remove the light coat that starts growing. I don't think there's any way around algae when you use native water other than to keep nutrients low, keep the tank out of sunlight and limit the number of hours the tank is lit.



#13 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 04:34 PM

If I had to deal with that inconvenience, I would get some plants to uptake nitrogen.


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#14 TurbineBlade

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 04:46 PM

I've always wondered about a sump, with lighting, filled with duckweed for that purpose.  

 

If I had to deal with that inconvenience, I would get some plants to uptake nitrogen.


"Trying is the first step toward failure!" -- Homer Simpson


#15 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 05:50 PM

I have done exactly that. I am not in the position of Fleendar, my water is not too bad. More a sustainability thing, which the additional lighting probably cancelled out. Anyway a refugium or sump packed with hornwort, duckweed, etc. will nearly eliminate the need for water changes. Bare bottom works fine.


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