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Setting up an Apisto tank

deadwood04

New Member
Messages
14
Hey all, I am setting up an Apisto tank in a planted 40 gallon breeder. I would like to put 2 Apistogramma trifasciata, 2 Apistogramma cacatuoides, and 2 Apistogramma borelli along with some neon tetra and rummynose tetra dither fish. I'm currently running a Fluval 307 and Fluval U3 filters along with a heater that keeps the water 76-77 degrees F. I have black lava rock and cichlid stones for hardscape with a quartz sand substrate. I do all water tests with an API Freshwater Master Kit.

I have a few questions/concerns.

1. I have pretty hard alkaline water where I live (9 dKH/dGH, ~8.4 - 8.8 pH). I am using 75% RO water from my lfs along with ~25% tap water. The issue that I am having is that I am getting pH readings of ~8.2. I've tested RO water from my LFS and a local grocery store and they both tested 7.6 on the API ph test kit and ~8.2 on the high range test with 2 different API test kits. Test strips are reading ph in the 7.5-8.0 range. I thought RO water would be closer to 7.0 so I am honestly baffled and have no explanation for this. My lfs tested my water this morning and said it was 7.6. They told me that the API high range pH doesn't work right with a KH as low as 4. They are probably the most knowledgeable shop in town and have been in business for 60+ years but I'm a little skeptical of that info as I haven't been able to find any corroborating info online. Does anybody have any ideas?

2. Assuming I have to bring pH down how can I lower it while keeping the water clear? I am not a fan of blackwater tanks.

3. I'm assuming when people talk about soft water for SA cichlids they are referring to GH but would a dKH and dGH of 4 be acceptable/safe for Apistogramma?


I appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism!
 

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dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,517
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
I would like to put 2 Apistogramma trifasciata, 2 Apistogramma cacatuoides, and 2 Apistogramma borelli along with some neon tetra and rummynose tetra dither fish.
You would be better just trying to keep one species, or just males, but male A. trifasciata are quite feisty for little fish.
I am using 75% RO water from my lfs along with ~25% tap water. The issue that I am having is that I am getting pH readings of ~8.2. I've tested RO water from my LFS and a local grocery store and they both tested 7.6 on the API ph test kit and ~8.2 on the high range test with 2 different API test kits. Test strips are reading ph in the 7.5-8.0 range. I thought RO water would be closer to 7.0 so I am honestly baffled and have no explanation for this.
It is to do with the pH scale, pH is a meaningless measurement in RO water. Have a look at <"What happens to pH when.......">. You need to read to the end of the thread for it all to make sense.
My lfs tested my water this morning and said it was 7.6. They told me that the API high range pH doesn't work right with a KH as low as 4. They are probably the most knowledgeable shop in town and have been in business for 60+ years but I'm a little skeptical of that info as I haven't been able to find any corroborating info online. Does anybody have any ideas?
I find conductivity is a <"more useful measurement"> in low dKH water.
Assuming I have to bring pH down how can I lower it while keeping the water clear? I am not a fan of blackwater tanks.
You can with something like citric acid, but have a look at <"All the leaves are brown"> it explains why leaf litter is so important in maintaining soft water aquariums.
I appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism!
Have a look at <"This thread">.

cheers Darrel
 

Rapophie

New Member
Messages
11
Mixing Apistogramma species is generally not recommended, keeping just one is probably your best bet.
The entrances to the caves look a little large, the fish will probably prefer the gaps between the rocks as hiding spots, though I don't have a good reference for size, so not sure about that. This is completely fine however, just don't be disappointed when they don't end up using the decor like that.
For the PH you could try using some Alder cones, in my experience they barely stain the water whilst still being effective at their job.
 

deadwood04

New Member
Messages
14
Hi all,

You would be better just trying to keep one species, or just males, but male A. trifasciata are quite feisty for little fish.

It is to do with the pH scale, pH is a meaningless measurement in RO water. Have a look at <"What happens to pH when.......">. You need to read to the end of the thread for it all to make sense.

I find conductivity is a <"more useful measurement"> in low dKH water.

You can with something like citric acid, but have a look at <"All the leaves are brown"> it explains why leaf litter is so important in maintaining soft water aquariums.

Have a look at <"This thread">.

cheers Darrel
Ok so I reviewed those linked threads. I am familiar with a lot the things mentioned in the pH thread (I've taken 2 years of collegiate-level chemistry general and organic). I understand that the carbonates (KH) act as a buffer to maintain an equilibrium. I understand that less buffer = more wild pH swings. I also understand that CO2 atmospheric or injected will form H2CO3 when combined with water thus lowering pH. I understand that combining RO with tap water (high in KH) will dilute the KH thus shrinking the buffer zone, but I'm a little confused as to why this would cause the pH to go up.

Combine this with the fact that the 100% RO water tested around 8 pH from 2 sources both from the source. I also tested 100% RO water that has been in a container for the last week or so and it is the same.

At the end of the day I'd like neutral-ish softish water and I'd rather not break out an ICE table to do it. Maybe I just go 100% remineralized RO water.
 

deadwood04

New Member
Messages
14
Perhaps keeping A. borellii which are more higher pH tolerant may be a better idea than trying to tinker with the water chemistry and end up with something unstable or untenable.
 

deadwood04

New Member
Messages
14
Or perhaps 1 male of a couple different types of apistogramma with 1 Bolivian Ram? I really am not looking to breed any fish and maybe aggression might be curbed with the lack of female fish.
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
346
Location
San Francisco
If your Bolivian rams turn out to be a pair, I don’t think they could coexist with a trio of trifasciata. I wouldn’t try it, anyway.

If you don’t want to breed, then you should not mix males and females. They will definitely breed (a lot) which will cause conflict with your other fish. When they’re not actively breeding, there will be conflict within the species whenever the male wants to breed and the female isn’t ready.

Sticking to males of very different fin and body shapes might be your best bet if you want to curb aggression.
 

deadwood04

New Member
Messages
14
If your Bolivian rams turn out to be a pair, I don’t think they could coexist with a trio of trifasciata. I wouldn’t try it, anyway.

If you don’t want to breed, then you should not mix males and females. They will definitely breed (a lot) which will cause conflict with your other fish. When they’re not actively breeding, there will be conflict within the species whenever the male wants to breed and the female isn’t ready.

Sticking to males of very different fin and body shapes might be your best bet if you want to curb aggression.
Yeah so maybe 1 each of A. trifasciata, A. cacatuoides, and Bolivian Ram would be ok along with oto's and dither fish.
 

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