Badman's Tropical Fish

All-Water Boards => Beginner's Circle => Topic started by: awhit on May 03, 2016, 12:29:07 PM

Title: Questions about stocking my 72G Bowfront
Post by: awhit on May 03, 2016, 12:29:07 PM
Hi there,
I'm new to the group, but not new to fish keeping, but its been quite a few years since my last tank. I currently have a 72 G bowfront fully planted and running for 4 months now. I have a 30 G sump under the tank with all the filters and heater in it. All my levels are within normal although my pH is a bit high at 8.2.
I currently have it stocked with:
4 angels
6 albino corys
1 german blue ram
2 bristlenose pleco
2 harlequin rasbora
a handful of ghost shrimp
an overabundance of ramshorn snail.
I recently had one of my german blue rams die, pretty sure it was starvation because I never saw it eat and it was getting skinny and lethargic, I've not had any other fish death - other than the rasbora's jumping out of the tank. I'd like to add a shoaling fish of some sort, but unsure as what to add. I was thinking about rainbowfish, or rummy nose tetra. Any advice as to what would be a good fit would be appreciated.

Title: Re: Questions about stocking my 72G Bowfront
Post by: Pat Mary on May 03, 2016, 01:16:30 PM
I think that your ram died because of the pH.  They prefer soft, slightly acidic water and yours is the opposite.  Here is their profile:

I am also giving you a link to one of our articles explaining pH, GH and KH and telling how to change them in a safe and natural way:    All of the fish that you presently have have similar requirements for pH.

Personally, I would increase the quantity of your harlequins to about 12 individuals and make sure that there is a cover for the entire aquarium to prevent further jumps out of the tank.

Title: Re: Questions about stocking my 72G Bowfront
Post by: TwoTankAmin on May 03, 2016, 05:03:03 PM
I would not rule out wasting as a disease rather than a pH issue. Since all the fish, as noted, prefer similar parameters, a pH issue should have affected more than the one ram. Even if none of the others died, they should show signs of not being discomfort in some way.

You need to be careful following the information in the link on changing parameters. It is difficult to do in a stable fashion and normally is best achieved with the help of RO or RO/DI water. The use of peat and driftwood are difficult to control and wood gradually stops working slowing down along the way and peat is messy and best done as an extract you create.
Peat moss softens water and reduces its hardness (GH). The most effective way to soften water via peat is to aerate water for 1-2 weeks in a bucket containing peat moss. For example, get a (plastic) bucket of the appropriate size. Then, get a large quantity of peat (a gallon or more), boil it (so that it sinks), stuff it in a pillow case, and place it in the water bucket. Use an air pump to aerate it. In 1-2 weeks, the water will be softer and more acidic. Use this aged water when making partial water changes on your tank.

Although some folks place peat in the filters of their tanks, the technique has a number of drawbacks. First, peat clogs easily, so adding peat isn't always effective. Second, peat can be messy and may cloud the water in your tank. Third, the exact quantity of peat needed to effectively soften your water is difficult to estimate. Using the wrong amount results in the wrong water chemistry. Finally, when doing water changes, your tank's chemistry changes when new water is added (it has the wrong properties). Over the next few days, the chemistry changes as the peat takes effect. Using aged water helps ensure that the chemistry of your tank doesn't fluctuate while doing water changes.

I actually lower the pH and TDS in one of my tanks and I am using RO/DI, catappa leaves, alder cones and a bit of muriatic acid. It took me about 8 or 9 years in the hobby with multiple tanks before I was willing to try this.

You say the other params are normal- What does this mean in terms of GH and KH and, if you have the number, TDS. These are more important than pH and are more likey to cause problems if they are out of acceptable ranges than does pH.

Title: Re: Questions about stocking my 72G Bowfront
Post by: awhit on May 03, 2016, 05:35:46 PM
I haven't tested in a couple of weeks, but this has been the steady reading for the previous 2 months.

pH = 8.2
ammonia = 0
nitrite = 0
nitrate = 20
KH = 11
GH = 3

All the other fish are swimming happily no gasping, and their colors are bright. In fact, the remaining ram is out and about a lot more.

I'd like to try something other than the rasboras, the ones I can find locally are tiny and I'm afraid the angels would eat them up. They're also the only other fish I've lost.

Title: Re: Questions about stocking my 72G Bowfront
Post by: TwoTankAmin on May 04, 2016, 08:19:58 AM
Well your pH may be on the high side for your fish, but the GH is fine, you have soft water at 3. You would have a lot of trouble lowering the pH due to the KH level. KH is what holds pH stable. I am assuming you have reported Gh and KH correctly and not reversed them.

I have always mistrusted nitrate test kits.They tend to be inaccurate, especially in the 0 - 20 ppm range.

It would have taken more info about the fish which died to know for sure what the problem was. Constipation would be evident as the fish would not have been pooping for some time. but then it likely would have been swollen before it stared to waste. Internal parasites or worms could have been the problem as well as some other nastier and contagious things.

I suggest you keep an eye on the other fish in this respect. Watch out for long stringy white poops as a good indication something is wrong. Also watch for any other fish losing weight.

Smaller fish that would work would be many of the Tetras. But you need to find them bigger as smaller one are going to be angel food for sure. Some folks will try to buy both small angels and small schooling fish at the same time so both gain size together. The other option is to buy the angel small and the schoolers larger at the outset.

Harlequins though common and inexpensive have always been a favorite of mine. In my water they tend to glow. The one thing you need to watch for is if your angels form a pair. This process and the aftermath can change seemingly mellow fish into nasty killers. It is the case for many cichlids, not just angels.

There is a pretty good article on angels I think you would enjoy reading and might help with understanding their behavior. It has been around for a long time but is still pretty accurate

I should mention that I kept and spawned angels in water that was 7.4 pH, 5-6 GH and 4-5 KH. Over time the params have dropped and my tap is now pH 7.0 and 4 GH and 3 KH. Also, I do not feed beefheart to any of my fish ever.