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Hardy fish for beginner with soft water.
October 13, 2012
5:54 pm
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Catre
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I'm relatively new to fishkeeping and want fish that will thrive in my local water, are hardy and are readily available as I live in a rural area in northern ireland.

My tap water has a hardness of 3 KH and 3 GH in german degrees. 

The tank is a juwel rekord 80.

Please could anyone help?

October 13, 2012
6:38 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi there Catre.
If you could maybe still add the pH of your tapwater. I got similar parameters (KH 3, GH 4) and there are plenty species suitable if the pH is right.
Regards
R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
October 14, 2012
1:30 am
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Catre
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My pH after leaving overnight was 7.6.
Thanks.

October 14, 2012
10:39 am
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coelacanth
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Most of the commonly-available aquarium fish will do just fine under those parameters, they're very much right down the middle. Are you buying from a specialist aquarium shop or a more general petshop?

Most livebearers (not Mollies), tetras, barbs, rainbowfish, dwarf cichlids, small catfish etc. will live perfectly well. Is the power supply wholly reliable (not sure how rural we're talking)? If you ever lose supply, might be better to look at species which are known to be temperature tolerant such as white cloud mountain minnows, paradise fish, green barbs, bloodfin/green fire/flame/black widow/Buenos Aires tetras, peppered corydoras etc.

Less is more though, better to have a dozen healthy small fish than try to squeeze in a few more.

If you ever come across to England for any other reason, it'd be worth taking the time to drop in on one of the aquarium shops here in Lancashire, we have some of the best anywhere and properly packed fish will last overnight no problem if you can't get to one just before you head back.

October 14, 2012
11:28 am
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Rüdiger
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As coelacanth says, lots of species to choose from. Just one cautious thought on livebearers. With those you'll have lots of fish in your tank very quickly. Again not knowing how 'rural' we're talking, you might not be able to sell them off or even to give them away. I would then rather go for tetras, barbs or the likes i.e. egg laying species. In a well established and structured tank you'll have the odd surviving offspring of those too but much less. And these numbers your tank will be able to handle if you follow coelacanths advice to go for a few small ones to start with.
Regards
R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
October 14, 2012
12:53 pm
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Catre
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Thanks very much for both your detailed answers! I have White cloud mountain minnows and zebra danios at 21 °C, but when looking on here it recommended 5-20°H? The White clouds had babies when I fed them mosquito larvae, one of them has survived and is getting big. I was going to add more danios to make them up to a shoal and maybe a type of barb if I can find one that is compatible. 

 

After looking I feel like the one I feel suitable for the low temperature and size of tank would be Puntius semifasciolatus. Does that sound ok?

October 15, 2012
8:13 am
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Rüdiger
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Hi there.
Unfortunately you don't say how many of the white clouds and zebras you are keeping in that tank already. With P. semifasciolatus you should keep in mind that they get to be just about twice the size of T.albonubes. Since it should be kept in groups of at least 8 - 10 specimen, I think it would be a bit much for an 80 cm tank considering the other fish in there.
If you go by the time tested (if general) rule of 1 cm fully grown fish per liter of water, the limit for your tank would be at about 22 fish the size of the zebra danio which can grow up to 5 cm.
Again depending on the number of fish already in the tank, I'd think about Danio choprae, another beautiful and lively species suitable for the water parameters and temperature you mention. It seems to be produced in numbers lately and appears increasingly often in the trade, at least around here.
Regards
R.
P.S. Don't worry about the GH too much. Both T.albonubes and D. rerio live happily at your water parameters as long as the pH doesn't drop below 6. Then they start to show signs of stress e.g. lose ther colour and become somewhat disorientated. That's at least what I experienced once when I didn't check the pH of the tap water before a water change.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
October 15, 2012
7:10 pm
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Eyrie
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Catre said

Thanks very much for both your detailed answers! I have White cloud mountain minnows and zebra danios at 21 °C, but when looking on here it recommended 5-20°H?

The recommendation is for general hardness which, like temperature, is measured in degrees.  Your water is a little on the soft side for those species but as Rudiger says it's not a major problem.  It is possible to increase the hardness but this involves more work and unless you keep on top of what is needed then the water parameters will fluctuate which can be more of a problem.

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October 15, 2012
7:38 pm
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Catre
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Oh I have 6 WCMM and 3 Danios. I thought the recommendation was 6 but shall add more accordingly (was intending to add more anyway). I might avoid adding another species then. Sometimes less is more :) I have a smaller 60cm tank which I might set up for the WCMM if I did decide to get another species.

 

@Eyrie Oh I know it is degrees hardness but mine is only 3 degrees is what I meant.

October 16, 2012
11:10 am
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi Catre.
Just a few more words to put you at ease with your water parameters. Let's simplify things a bit and say that GH (Gesamthaerte in German or general hardness in Englisch) indicates the amount of all things that are in solution in a certain amount of water. If you'd add destilled water for instance you dilute that solution and the GH drops. If you imagine now just half a days worth of monsoon like rain (i.e. destilled water) you'd have to agree that even in the wild the GH can't be constant all the time. In revers, during the dry periods millions of tons of water evaporate until often even in a river bed only small ponds remain for the fish. Thus creating very concentrated solutions with a very high GH indeed. Fish have either evolved or adapted to cope with that.
If you take your T. albonubes now, they have been tank bred over many generations all over the world. Firstly, it was thought to be extinct in the wild until recently and secondly there was nothing to be had out of China for many a year. If you compare your water parameters with those of the next big city around you, you'll find significant differences. Multiply that with "the whole world" and you'll agree that the little fish must be quite adaptable to say the least.
I don't want to appear to be lecturing you, so if you knew all that already please don't take offense and just see it as a contribution for the next interested reader who maybe didn't.Smile

By the way, I do like that you're thinking about that 60 cm tank already! A very clear indication for beginning MTS!Cool
Regards
R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
November 10, 2012
6:21 pm
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Catre
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Thanks very much.

I have now got 6 WCMM and 6 Danios. I plan to up them to 8 of each in line with the updated guidelines. 

I would quite like a centrepiece fish for the tank or something that occupies a different area of the tank. My family think the colours are too boring and the fish are too small. I have been looking at different options.

 

Locally it is hard to find suitable fish for my hardness - everyone has livebearers , cichlids, marines, goldfish or tropicals.

 

I have seen golden barbs peppered cories and hillstream loaches though. Do you think I could try 8 golden barbs at a push for a centrepiece or do you think I should look further afield for something else more suitable? (Maybe a paradise fish? I don't know)

 

I hear what you are saying about the stocking but I think that the WCMM and danios are quite slender and so they probably don't fit well with the rule? 

November 11, 2012
4:40 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi Catre,

this time around it is not quite as easy to answer your question since there is family involved.Wink

As mentioned already, personally I would not be comfortable with a reasonable group of 'Puntius' semifasciolatus in an 80 cm tank, even all by themselves. They can grow to about twice the size of your white clouds and are very active and agile swimmers i.e. should have a lot of space.

If your white clouds and zebras are shoaling together (as mine do) you don't necessarily have to up their numbers.

The pepperd cories and/or hillstream loaches won't do it for your family either since they are neither colorful nor big fish. Most species that would fit their (family) requirements fall through not due to the hardness or lack thereof but rather the temperature in your tank. But you can't raise temps too much without making the T. albonubes suffer. 

If you want to make your family happy you should try to get your hands on the "paradise fish" you mention Macropodus opercularis or better M. occelatus which is a tad less aggressive; even if that means you have to wait for quite some time. A pair or 1.2 should do nicely with the rest of the tank. Don't be shocked by the word "aggressive". Both T. albonubes and D. rerio can hold their own against the big ones. Smile

Regards

R.

P.S. By the way, with the choice of Macropodus opercularis or M. occelatus you could let that tank cool down to 14* C for about 8 weeks during winter and do all inhabitants a huge favor. You'll see the difference.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
November 11, 2012
10:19 pm
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Catre
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Thanks again Rüdiger!

 

Hmmm my family might just have to be disappointed.

What about odessa barbs or another smaller species of barb?

 

I was even considering golden pencilfish or flagfish (I've seen them before in a larger fish store that is further away).

 

It makes me wish I hadn't went for the white clouds - for their own sake :( I mean if I had went for the T. micagemmae they would prefer softer hotter water.

November 12, 2012
9:06 am
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Laugh The sufferings of a fish keeper. How I know them.Laugh

Hi Catre, that's why it is said (and it's true) "The greatest virtue of the fish keeper is patience".

But let's perhaps approach your dilemma from a different angle. You did mention that you have a 60 cm tank collecting dust somewhere. A group of 6 white clouds and 6 zebras would fit in there if you keep the interior simple. Some gravel or sand, a couple of  fist sized rocks, a loose group of e.g. java fern in one back corner and a few thin twigs will give you a nice impression of a riverbed. 

If you do have a heater for the jewel, your choice of fish would basically only be limited by supply, as long as you keep to mainstream varieties and don't go for some sort of "specialist fish". I'll just keep to what you've mentioned already. A nice shoal (15+) of the golden pencil fish (Nannostomus beckfordi I assume) with a group of peppered cories (C. paleatus). You mentioned that people in your area do keep cichlids so I'm sure you could get your hands on a pair of a dwarf cichlid (Apistogramma sp). Apistogramma cacatuoides for instance has been tank bred for a long time, has adapted to a broad range of water parameters and is one of the easier to keep. Add a handful of another tetra species you can get and that you like and you'd have a beautiful tank you should be able to enjoy for a long time.

Adjust the heater to between 22 and 24* C for the cooler months and let summer do the rest, just checking that temps don't go above 27* C for too long. Two or three alder cones or a handful of leaf litter will drop your pH to just the right level.

If you read the profiles of those species here on SF you get a good idea how to set up the tank to make them feel "comfortable".

I hope this is of some help.

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
November 18, 2012
1:35 am
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Catre
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"P.S. By the way, with the choice of Macropodus opercularis or M. occelatus you could let that tank cool down to 14* C for about 8 weeks during winter and do all inhabitants a huge favor. You'll see the difference."

 

I used to have it unheated but I was told to keep it at 21 degrees or so incase the fish got a chill at night if temperature went lower than 16.

Personally I think they were happier at the 16-18 unheated temperature, but wasn't sure of the danios would like it.

November 19, 2012
9:00 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Hi Catre, provided the temperature doesn't drop below 16°C for prolonged periods I suspect your danios will be fine and might even enjoy a bit of fluctuation. :)

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November 19, 2012
1:35 pm
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Rüdiger
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Hi Catre,

Matt is absolutely right. If temperatures in the room you are keeping the tank in do not drop significantly below 16° C just forget about that heater. From experience I can tell you that the zebras as well as the white clouds really do appreciate the lower and fluctuating temperatures and show it with higher rate of activity and (come spring with rising temperatures) brilliant courting and mating displays.

Mine once endured (due to busted central heating) a period of 5 days at 12° C day and night (so did I btw.) without any signs of ill comfort. After that both species started spawning at 19° C still in the middle of winter (Ididn't Smile).

If you don't want to take any risk, just as a safeguard, adjust that heater to it's lowest setting, which ideally is 16° C but 18° C is ok too.

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
November 22, 2012
12:30 am
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Catre
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Thanks for the reassurance. The minimum setting is 18ºC. There is a cold snap here at the moment so I just put it on the minimum temp.

 

Can I just ask what would be the maximum size of shoaling fish I could add a group of (since my danios and WCMM shoal together and I have 6 of each already) since the golden barbs are too big at max size 75mm are too big.

I have been considering Odessa barbs as they are max 46mm (similar to danio size)? As you said earlier a max of 22 of that size I assume that would be ok?

 

Thanks for all the help you have been great!

November 23, 2012
9:43 am
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Rüdiger
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Hi Catre,
for your setup, the Odessa barb Pethia (Puntius) padamya certainly is a better choice than 'Puntius' semifasciolatus. If you want to go with them and keep the stock of zebras and white clouds as is, I'd say a group of 10 will do nicely.
When you introduce them to the tank, you might want to keep a keen eye on waterparameters for about 3 weeks. You basicslly double the bioload in the tank and now it will show if your filter has fully matured yet, thus can handle the load.
As for the 'help', you are most welcome. If it saves just one fish from suffering and eventually expiring, it's well worth every effort. Smile
So if you do have more questions, don't be shy, just fire away.
Regards
R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
February 6, 2013
7:56 pm
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Catre
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I'm back again to ask even more questions.

Update: Still the same fish as before.

I haven't been able to source the odessa barbs yet. Mainly because the local stores are small - one said they would get them in but I haven't got back since as I work the same hours as they open. I am also still think about paradise fish if I managed to get some.

 

However I keep thinking I might move the WCMM into the 60*30*30cm tank and then add tiger barbs with the danios? Does that sound ok?

 

I am currently changing my substrate to sand from the gravel. Would I be able to get pepper cories along with the WCMM? I know they prefer sand.

 

I understand if the tanks are too small.

 

 

 

 

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