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Water Parameters for Breeding

archangelvk

New Member
Hey guys, I did a couple of water tests from different sources using the liquid API test kit. Do the values below seem correct or did I do the test wrong? Personally I found it hard to see when the GH turned from "orange to green". If theses values do make sense, which type of water is best suited to breed Apisto Borellii?


Source: Tap
PH: 7.8
GH: 8-9 Degrees hardness (8-9 drops)
KH: 5-6 degrees (5-6 drops)

Source: Friends Soft Water Tank
PH: 7.8
GH: 5-6
KH: 6

Source: Distilled Water from Grocery Store
PH: 6.2
GH: 4-5
KH: 1

Source: 50/50 mix of Distilled Water and Friends Soft Water
PH: 7.8
GH: 4-5
KH: 4

Thanks in advance
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
...... Do the values below seem correct or did I do the test wrong?.......
Source: Tap
PH: 7.8
GH: 8-9 Degrees hardness (8-9 drops)
KH: 5-6 degrees (5-6 drops)

Source: Friends Soft Water Tank
PH: 7.8
GH: 5-6
KH: 6

Source: Distilled Water from Grocery Store
PH: 6.2
GH: 4-5
KH: 1

Source: 50/50 mix of Distilled Water and Friends Soft Water
PH: 7.8
GH: 4-5
KH: 4.......
They look in the right ballpark.

The pH isn't very useful, because of the degree of carbonate buffering. Once you get above about 4 dKH you will always have a pH value in the region of pH7.8. It is just because of the <"carbonate~pH~CO2 equilibrium">.

Where you don't have any carbonate buffering (in the DI water) the pH just reflects the amount of dissolved CO2 in the water. The pH will be a moveable feast in the DI water, and any addition of bases will cause the pH to rise rapidly. pH isn't a very useful measurement in really soft water.

When you mix the DI and Soft tank water 50:50 the dGH and dKH values should half, they don't but this likely to be to do with the test kit.
If theses values do make sense, which type of water is best suited to breed Apisto Borellii?
I've bred Apistogramma borellii in water similar to the 50:50 mix.

I don't worry too much about trying to get exact values for the water parameters, it isn't that I'm not interested (I'm very interested) but meaningful water testing is a lot more problematic than most fish-keeping forums etc suggest.

Do you have <"a TDS meter?"> If you do I'd aim for a TDS value less than 100 ppm TDS.

cheers Darrel
 

archangelvk

New Member
DW1305,

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Ive been meaning to go and get a TDS meter this weekend. However I was wondering if you could still clear up a few questions Ive got?

Im REALLY wanting to breed my Borrellii so with that in mind...

1) Should the 50/50 mixed water have less than 100 ppm TDS when I test it?
2) If not, will I need to switch to RO Water? or will the 50/50 mix still be good enough to breed the borellii?
3) What affects whether or not the eggs will be fertilized? is it GH or KH or PH?
4) You said."The pH isn't very useful, because of the degree of carbonate buffering." im not quite sure I get this?

Thanks again. Your help is appreciated.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
.......Im REALLY wanting to breed my Borrellii so with that in mind...

1) Should the 50/50 mixed water have less than 100 ppm TDS when I test it? If not, will I need to switch to RO Water? or will the 50/50 mix still be good enough to breed the borellii?
Yes, just mix in enough RO water to get down to 100 ppm TDS. There isn't anything magical about it as a figure. It was just the value I got using rainwater in the tanks. I was expecting a lower value, but the water out of the water butt has some carbonate buffering (it is all limestone here).
2) 3) What affects whether or not the eggs will be fertilized? is it GH or KH or PH?
It is probably dGH, because the buffering I have has equal amounts of dGH/dKH (CaCO3 supplies both at 1:1) I don't have any practical experience with high dGH/low dKH situations etc.
4) You said."The pH isn't very useful, because of the degree of carbonate buffering." im not quite sure I get this?.......
The problem with pH is that it needs some interpretation, it looks like a linear value, but it isn't, it is a ratio on a log10 scale.

In this case we are in a <"weak acid/weak base buffered situation"> (H2CO3 ~ HCO3-) which stabilises pH.


Carbonate solubility is dependent on the amount of CO2 in the water, and that amount is dependent on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Just because we have ~400ppm of CO2, that equilibrium pH value is ~pH7.8.

As an example our tap water is from a limestone aquifer and about 18 dGH/dKH and 500 ppm TDS (750 microS). That is pretty much all Ca++ and 2HCO3- ions, it has very few other ions of any description, and you would need to add a lot of acids (H+ ion donors), before the pH value would fall.

Because pH isn't straightforward to interpret I went down another route, where you just use conductivity (TDS meters are really conductivity meters) as a guide. If you have a low TDS value you know you don't have many ions of any description.

cheers Darrel
 

archangelvk

New Member
Oh man that explanation for question 4 was awesome. Thanks man. I always thought it was linear. J

ust to clarify,fFor my first question you said

"Yes, just mix in enough RO water to get down to 100 ppm TDS. There isn't anything magical about it as a figure. It was just the value I got using rainwater in the tanks. I was expecting a lower value, but the water out of the water butt has some carbonate buffering (it is all limestone here)."

So Im assuming that the Distilled water that I got from the Grocery store will NOT be good enough?

Thanks a lot again.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
Oh man that explanation for question 4 was awesome. Thanks man. I always thought it was linear.
I think pH is just conceptually difficult. It is easier if you try and think about changes in pH in terms of changes in water chemistry.
  • In hard water you need a large change in water chemistry to cause any change in pH,
  • in soft water small changes in water chemistry cause large changes in pH.
Have a look at <"pool filter sand">, for some further comment and links.
".....It was just the value I got using rainwater in the tanks. I was expecting a lower value, but the water out of the water butt has some carbonate buffering (it is all limestone here)."

So Im assuming that the Distilled water that I got from the Grocery store will NOT be good enough?
Should be OK, but it might be an expensive option.

cheers Darrel
 

archangelvk

New Member
Im trying to cost out how much it would be if I got the Aquatic Life RO Buddie RO system, the cost to get 7 Gallons of RO water every two weeks (Cuz i hear that for every gallon of RO water you get you waste 3 Gallons down the drain), and buying new cartridges as opposed to just paying $5 for 7.5 Gallons of distilled water every two weeks. I know in the long run it should be cheaper buying the RO System but I need to show the wife numbers lol.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
.....I know in the long run it should be cheaper buying the RO System but I need to show the wife numbers lol......
I think we've probably all been there.

Is rain-water an option? It rains a lot with us in the UK, but I know not everybody is so fortunate.

cheers Darrel
 

archangelvk

New Member
I live in Canada so a third of the year its just cold with snow. Im not sure how the pollution in the air will affect the water quality as well.
 

JennyP

New Member
I never bred borellis, but with my trifasciatus, cockatoo and agassizi couples, the formula was the same:

Do as the killifish breeder do.

Coconut powder (garden substract), as the fish tank substrate. Boil, rinse with clean water, and dechlorinated tap water. A small cave for them and lots of moss

Cycle as usual, put the fishes in, feed them live food 3 times a week and regular fish food every day.

I never lost a fish doing these and i have lots of babies going around each tank.

Checkout my paludarium with this substrate.

PS: I dont test for gh and things like that.

PH: 6.6

VIDEO OF MY PALUDARIUM: https://vm.tiktok.com/XhXwE8/
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
The far-southern Apistos (borellii, trifasciata, commbrae, and others) from the Parana-La Plata River basin should do fine with 4 to 5 dGH. The species that are sensitive to excessive hardness are generally the more northern ones from the Amazon and Orinoco basins.
 

Jon Webb

New Member
Lots of good advice, including using gardening sense along with measured parameters. I have hard water, mostly due to CaCO3. When I was getting used to it, I was in a flurry to find out a tap water to distilled/R/O ratio, with a lot of water chemistries. I also used peat in the canister to soften and acidify and stain the water. What I discovered is that one to one tap and R/O was ideal, with way less peat. I am running at 7.3 now, after no peat for a month, and have re-introduced half the peat. I am aiming at 6.5 pH, and will try not to obsess at <7.
 

Ade205

Active Member
Hi, very interesting and informative thread.

I agree with Darrel in his first post in that the 50/50 mix will most likely work.

Water chemistry is not my strong point! And I'm certainly no Darrel in this department lol! So in order to overcome my lack of knowledge I developed my own very simple system over the years of keeping and breeding fish.

My water is extremely hard, African Chiclids thrive in my straight tap water, so obviously I got into keeping soft water loving wild Discus and then dwarf south Americans! Just as Darrel said, I aim for a specified TDS for species I'm attempting to breed. Successful spawns to TDS values are as follows...

A. Cacatuoides TDS 450ppm
Straight tap water, nothing seems to stop them!
A. Borellii TDS 150ppm and lower...
150ppm is my starting point with most Apistos so can't say if they would of had succesful spawns in harder water, they spawned within a week of getting them at 150ppm and now I can't stop them!
A. Agassizii TDS under 100ppm
I always have issues spawning Agassizii, not sure why as most seem to find them easy! Last pair I spawned had multiple non hatch spawns untill my water was under 100ppm.
A. Trifasciata TDS 100ppm
Think could of used slightly harder water here, took me a long time to spawn them due to Male hyper aggression! After multiple wifes, he finally chilled out and was successful at just under 100ppm
A. Elizabethae TDS 50ppm minimum, most success at 10ppm or lower.
For me, hardest Apisto to breed successfully so far. Had 30 plus spawns without fry before success. Had a few fry at 50ppm, but much better at under 10. Something in tank was buffering water and it kept rising to around 70ppm. Had to constantly work on softening water to get success. Eventually moved to another tank with very thin layer of stand and mainly oak leaf for substrate where they bred very successfully.

This is whats worked for me, TDS meter is the best thing I ever brought Re breeding Apistos!

Ade.
 
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archangelvk

New Member
Ade,

Thanks for posting the apistos and the different TDS I should be aiming for ! Do you by any chance have a TDS to aim for when breeding German Blue Rams?
 

Ade205

Active Member
Ade,

Thanks for posting the apistos and the different TDS I should be aiming for ! Do you by any chance have a TDS to aim for when breeding German Blue Rams?
Hi archangelvk....

Yes, German Rams are my specialty! Literally bred thousands of them!

I find them pretty easy water wise, and have had them breed near 300tds no issue. When trying properly though I aim for around 100Tds.

This pair below Hatched this bunch of fry in my Discus display tank at pretty much 150tds on the dot....
Quick tip for Ram fry is get some vinegar eels on the go... Ram fry are super small and baby brine shrimp are to big for most the fry for the first couple of days... vinegar eels, although not super nutritious, are great as they swim in the water columb where the fry can find them, wiggle loads which promotes the fry to strike, and live for a good few days in fresh water. After first two days free swimming, try brine shrimp, usually the fry have grown enough by then to move onto bbs and will be evident if after attempted feed their little bellies are nice and pink!
Here's a quick vid of 2 day free swimming Ram fry from same parents in first video feeding on vinegar eels.. There's a great shot of a baby ram taking down a vinegar eels at 47s!... it's brutal lol
After this stage, 3 or 4 feeding a day of bbs and plenty of good water see's rapid growth in Ram fry.

Ade.
 
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archangelvk

New Member
Ade,

Oh man thats awesome ! I had my rams breed in my New 33G Long tank. Around 80 of them became free swimming but I lost them all on the Third Day. I fed them vinegar eels 2-3 times a day and threw in some bbs just in case. The only thing in that 4 foot tank were the parents and their fry as I had moved all my apistos to another tank. I also have 2 moss balls, and java moss for the fr to pick at microscopic things that may grow in them. The last night I saw them, there were around 60 and the next morning, all gone. Im confident that the parents ate them. They showed EXCELLENT care of their fry and I think I was the one to blame? The Amazonia Substrate I have in there lowers the PH from my 7.8 tap water to a 6.8. The last night I saw them I did a 20% water change cuz I didnt want the water to have too much ammonia from the dead bbs and I think that the tap water (with a ph of 7.8) might have spooked them and made them eat their fish? I think the substrate didnt have enough time to lower my taps PH? I was quite depressed when I saw that the entire litter had disappeared in one night. I had contemplated taking half out to raise in a Marina Large Breeding box but decided not to. Guess I made a mistake. Any ideas why they ate them? Is my tank too big ?

Oh and yes I had a pre filter sponge for my HoB filter.
 
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