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PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:34 PM
Original message
Aquarium advice needed
OK, I am inheriting an aquarium from the fiancee, and I have hard water. The problem is, the fish in the tank don't like hard water, and I can't just get rid of them and start over like I should with fish that don't mind hard water. Plus the clown loach is fucking insane and fun to watch.

So, I need some advice on how to soften up the water that doesn't involve ion exchange (which doesn't work right, I know). I've heard peat moss in the filter works, but that sounds apocryphal.

And should I be concerned that my tapwater shows up with about 20 ppm nitrates?
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carly denise pt deux Donating Member (855 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. I have hard water...I use aqua safe in the yellow bottle
is it a big tank? Maybe purified water may be better, clown loach fish are interesting to watch.
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 03:26 AM
Response to Original message
2. Some advice...
I live in an area with very hard water. I mean, super fucking hard and with a high pH level. Currently, I keep African cichlids which love the water conditions here, but I didn't always. I actually used to successfully breed angelfish, which love soft water with a low pH. Anyway, here's my opinion on it.

Yes, peat moss in the filter does work. It's quite effective, however the peat leeches into the water and stains it brown. This is healthy. You might not like the darker water, but it's fine for the fish. They don't care and that's how their water would be in the wild. The best way to do it is to get a reverse osmosis set-up. They're a bit pricey though, but the water will be crystal clear. If you go with peat moss, it would go into a filter bag (you can buy these at a good pet shop) inside the filter. It works best with a canister filter (IMHO, the only decent filtration system aside from wet-dry), but you could probably do it with a HOB filter, too.

This site will explain water hardness a little bit more:

As for the 20ppm nitrates, that's okay, but don't let it get much higher. Here's a site on the nitrogen cycle, it will explain it better:

And overall, is one of my favorite aquarium sites.

BTW, how big is the tank, what's the filtration set-up, and what kind of fish are in it?
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PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. The tank
It's a 10 gallon tank (it resided in a dorm room, couldn't get any bigger) with 2 what I think are Bolivian rams, 1 clown loach, 2 black neon tetras, and, as of this afternoon, two cute little oto catfish. We also went out and bought some driftwood and more plants, it was kind of bare. The filter is just a sponge-like thing hanging off the side that has carbon in it.

The peat moss is interesting, I suppose, and the engineer nerd in me wants to build my own filtration system...
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HarukaTheTrophyWife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Yeah, for a tank that size you don't need any more filter than that.
Edited on Sat Dec-30-06 03:47 PM by haruka3_2000
I keep big tanks with messy fish that need lots of filtration. I would go with softening the water with peat or blackwater extract. Both will work. Here's a link to the place where I order lots of my fish stuff:

They tend to have the best prices and they ship pretty fast.

And just as a heads up, that clown loach will eventually outgrow the ten gallon. They get pretty big. I'd get four more neons, as they tend to do better in schools of 6+. That will fill up your tank nicely.

Feel free to PM me if you have questions in the future. I'm somewhat of a fish geek.

Edited to add: You really don't need carbon, unless you want to remove medication from the water. If it's part of the filter cartridge then don't worry about it. It will just provide some extra room for the bacteria to grow, but if it's not, you don't need to spend money on it.
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 04:05 AM
Response to Original message
3. I've used NovAqua successfully. We had some of those little "feeder"
fish from my kids' school carnival. One of them survived. Still alive after, I think, eight years. We've lost track. He went from less than the length of your pinkie to about nine inches long. HUGE. Looks like a small coi. He's moved up several tanks to a 20-gallon one now. We have an air filter into which you put a sponge, a bag of charcoal, and a bag of white "gravel" that further filters for ammonia build-up, and we change those regularly. Spring water or distilled water is good if you don't want to add water purifiers like NovAqua. OR, I've also been told, fill a bucket or other container with whatever water you're gonna put in the fish tank - but leave it sitting out for 24 hours before you fill the tank. I've been told that helps dissipate some of the chemicals in the water. Our fish seems happy and is still thriving, and is big and muscular. He's so strong that he flipped himself out of the tank one evening and clear across the room! I found him on the floor!!! I'm guessing it had just happened when I noticed him, but I have no idea how long he'd been there. Thank God I got to him before one of our cats did.
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