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Stocking for a 90 gallon tank
June 11, 2015
4:41 pm
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FishNiecy
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June 11, 2015
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Hi I am currently fishless cycling a 90 gallon tank. I have smooth stone substrate on top of Eco-complete. I have a few live plants and driftwood. I also treat my tanks with salt. I just recently found out some fish, such as the Elephant Nose, hate salt. Any stocking suggestions? I have a smaller tank with Swordtails, Mollies, Cories. So I would like to do something completely different in this tank. Thanks

June 11, 2015
4:53 pm
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Byron Hosking
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Most freshwater fish will not be in good health long-term with the addition of salt.  Salt can be effective when used as a treatment for certain specific diseases, though not all fish can manage with this.  But there is no benefit to adding salt on a regular basis.  Livebearers are able to tolerate salt better than soft water fish, but that does not mean they need it or should have it added.  Even mollies can do well without salt, provided they have moderately hard to hard water.  Some plants will also have trouble in water with salt added.

As for your 90g, if you could give us the water parameters of your source water we will be better able to suggest suitable fish.  The GH (general hardness) is significant, and the KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) and pH also.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA Vancouver, BC Canada
June 11, 2015
5:26 pm
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FishNiecy
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I had a ICk breakout back to back and I was told to treat the tank with salt and heat instead of medicine. That's how I started with salt. I also learned that once you put salt in the tank it never completely comes out. So far the fish have been doing well so I planned to do the same for the new tank. However, based on what You just said, it gives me the opportunity re-think adding the st. I'll get those readings once the tank finishes cycling. Thanks again

June 12, 2015
4:45 pm
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Byron Hosking
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Using salt to treat ich is very different from adding it regularly.  The level of salt used in disease treatment is relatively high in order to be effective and there are some fish for which this is not advisable, but generally it is the preferred treatment.  As I said previously, this is very different from the regular addition of salt to a "healthy" aquarium; here the dose will be so low as to be useless for anything anyway, but the salt will still cause trouble for many fish species, and some plants.

The water parameters should be for your source water, presumably tap water.  GH and KH will not change in the aquarium (unless something is being done to specifically target them), so what comes out of the tap is the governing factor.  The pH is related and worth knowing.  You should be able to ascertain these numbers from the data on your municipal water authority's website, or by asking them.  Once these numbers are known, it will be much easier for any of us to suggest fish.

Just to explain what I mean by "targeting" the GH/KH...if for example you have very soft or soft water out of the tap and want to maintain fish like livebearers or rift lake cichlids that require moderately hard to hard water, you can use a substrate sand made from crushed coral and aragonite which will slowly dissolve in the water, raising the GH, KH and pH.  So in this case, because you are specifically targeting the hardness/pH, the aquarium water will be harder and more basic in pH than what comes out of the tap.  But if the substrate is inert, and no other calcareous substances (shells, calcareous rock, etc) are present, the tap water GH/KH will remain fairly stable.  The natural biological processes in an established aquarium will tend to acidify the water and thus lower the GH/KH and pH, but the speed at which this occurs depends upon the initial GH/KH as these tend to buffer the pH to keep it from fluctuating.  So in very soft water, the pH will tend to lower more than it will in harder water.  This is why it is important to always know the parameters of your tap water befgore acquiring any fish; not only are some fish more specific in their preferences (for long-term health), but it is also important to recognize what is likely to occur over time.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA Vancouver, BC Canada
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