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Badmans Tropical Fish Message Center:
General message area: Angelfish tank
March 09, 2002 - 07:50 pm
am purchasing a new 40 gallon tank, and would like to put
angels in it. my ph is very high out of the tap, and the
water is fairly hard. understand that angels like low ph.
have read numerous posts about fooling around with the ph
level, and am reluctant to go that route.
March 10, 2002 - 12:30 am
I'd say the EASIEST way to get around this is to get
an RO unit, but that's probably not the most practical
or affordable way to go.
If you have any friends, relatives, or even a place you
work that has city water that has a lower pH and softer
water, I might recommend taking a couple buckets every day
and using that. It might be inconveinient, but compared
to the time and money you'd spend monitoring your pH
and adding chemicals etc... to get the pH down, its a much
better option. After you get the tank set-up, just keep
a couple five gallon buckets around filled with the same
water for water changes, etc...
Of course, if you live somewhere where you city water is
this way, this won't help a whole lot.
Filtering the water through Peat Moss can be effective,
but generally stains the water...similar to when making
tea. The water stays clear, but is sort of tea colored.
I've never used any chemicals or pH lowerers, so I can't
say how well they work, but I DO know that it takes a lot
of monitoring to make sure the pH stays low. Honestly, your
best chances are RO, or Spring water, or findind a source
that has water with a lower pH that you could use for basically
free...buying water can be a drag, but if you want angels,
might be one of your few options if your pH is VERY high.
Of course, you might get away with starting with water with
a lower pH, and overtime, increase the pH simply by using
your tap water and mixing it in with the other water you
use. As long as its not sudden, the Angels "Might"
be ok for a while in the higher pH...I've never done
it myself though with angels, so I couldn't say for
March 10, 2002 - 08:02 am
Nancy there is absolutely no reason you cannot keep angels
at a higher ph. Kick had some for years at her ph. Angels
West in California breeds angels at a ph of 8.0. I kept
my own angels at a ph of 7.6-7.8 for at least two years
before deciding to mess around with a ro unit. The main
reason for my RO was to get all the calcium deposits out
of the water. I hated all the white gunk on my filters etc...
G if you are talking bottled spring water I really have
to disagree here as I tested that stuff with my Ph kit and
it's higher than my tap water. Distilled water is the
water with a low ph, but you have to be sure they haven't
used copper equipment in the distilling process. If you
don't believe this buy a bottle of each at the local
grocery and ph test away! G is the only one so far on the
board that seems to like to mess around with ph and we don't
seem to be able to break him of the habit. There are only
a few PH sensitive fish that you need worry about and angels
are just not one of them!
March 10, 2002 - 08:54 pm
I should have addressed this post to Terri. BTW the biggest
problem with angels is adding them to a tank that is less
than six months old. So if you have a new tank it's
really best to be patient. I almost gave up on them in the
beginning, but funny once my tanks were over six months
old my angels had no problems. I now have four of them that
are all over five years old.
March 11, 2002 - 02:34 am
Without going into a lot of detail, I have seen more than
one instance in which customers with a higher pH had trouble
keeping tetras and other low pH-loving fish alive, but after
switching to African Cichlids or Central American livebearers,
they had no more troubles keeping fish alive.
This is probably the best short response I can give as to
why I like to be concerned with pH.
I'm also more concerned with pH, because a lot of the
fish I have require a lower pH to spawn, and when ANY fish
is kept in its ideal environment, it will generally be happier,
spawn more readily, and (while not necessarily a large
amount of time) will live a little longer...
March 11, 2002 - 07:12 am
Aquarium Fish magazine just recently had an article on Discus
being kept and "YES" actually bred at a relatively
high ph. It's in the new issue of the magazine and I
suggest you read it. Fish that have been bred over the years
in our aquariums are constantly adjusting to higher ph.
The fish hatcheries and farms are aware that the USA typically
has high ph and hard water. They want to sell these tropical
fish to people who can succesfully keep them, hence the
continued research and breeding at higher ph. If you purchase
any wild caught fish you will have a lot of problems if
they are not kept in their environment, but this is simply
not true any longer for most tank bred fish! Yes it's
always better to try to match your fish to your water, but
some people just don't want to keep Rainbow,Livebearers
or African Rift Lake fish!
March 11, 2002 - 07:15 am
Another word on the Discus article. The author does have
low ph and just mentions in passing that these fish are
being bred a couple of places at high ph. Discus are still
pretty sensitive fish and you are making things harder on
yourself if you do try to keep them(they need a lot
of high volume water changes!).
March 11, 2002 - 08:55 pm
am willing to give it a go, and would not have a problem
waiting until the tank "seasons". why would it make
a difference, though, with the tank being 6 mo old as opposed
to simply being fully cycled.
for whatever it is worth, the lfs suggested adding sodium
biphosphate to reduce the ph, but i am skeptical.
March 12, 2002 - 01:05 am
I guess the short version didn't suffice, so here's
the long one:
I think the main problem with this pH discussion is that
we have two people on two different wavelengths.
What I keep hearing from Joyce is that fish that generally
like a lower pH CAN be kept in a higher pH...sometimes even
bred, and usually with very few, if any, problems.
I'm not disputing this fact.
What I am saying (or at least want to be saying)
is that while this is true, you still have to be aware that
you're taking a fish and putting it in an environment
in which it doesn't USUALLY live. Perhaps some of this
has to do with where you live. If you live somewhere where
the fish store's water and your water at home are identical,
then acclimating fish is not a problem, as they have already
been acclimated at the fish store (whether the pH is
high or low). Where I live and work, the store's
water is the same as most of the customers, but our pH is
significantly lower than that of the customers who have
well water. It is in THESE cases that I urge people to be
more cautious, and take time acclimating fish (it is
also in these cases that it is a lot more common for people
to have trouble keeping fish that like a lower pH alive...once
again, I'm not arguing that fish that like a lower pH
can't be kept in a higher pH, I'm simply stating
a fact that I have been witnessed many, many times...if
this wasn't a fact that I have witnessed over and over,
I wouldn't be so stubborn about it). Starting out
by filling your tank with water with a lower pH and slowly
adding some tapwater of the higher pH every water change
is simply one way (and usually a very effective way)
to acclimate fish to a higher pH. This certainly isn't
the only way, but it is probably one of the slowest ways,
and slow usually translates to a less stressful and more
I probably also should have said, that a large number of
the fish I keep ARE wild caught, and in those cases, its
important to both me and the fish, that I keep them in an
environment as close to that from which they came. For me,
it is simply a way to protect my investment. I realize most
tetras are only a couple $, so losing one won't be a
big deal. In my case, a loss would be considerably more
than that, so naturally, I'm concerned with keeping
my fish happy and stress-free.
So, let's please stop talking about pH...I'm not
disagreeing with you Joyce, I'm simply stating what
I have observed from my personal experiences. It is my belief
that an educated fish hobbyist is a successful fish hobbyist.
If its me, I simply like as much input from as many different
(reliable) sources as possible.
"Please take all information given as a matter of opinion,
not as rock solid fact. There are many schools of thought
on fish care and everyone does things differently."
No answer is wrong.
By the way, Terri, messing around with chemicals and other
additives to lower pH artificially is, in my opinion, a
big pain. Adding driftwood to the tank may help lower the
pH a little (in most of my tanks, my driftwood takes
the pH from 7.6 to 7.4...in tanks with a LOT of driftwood,
maybe as low as 7.3 or 7.2). I would honestly use RO
water rather than mess with chemicals if you are concerned
with lowering your pH (maybe start out with half RO,
half tap, or even two thirds RO, one third tap...if you
want to do that...its totally up to you). As I said
above, the RO water will start your tank out with a lower
pH, and you can gradually raise the pH by doing smaller
water changes using tap water to replace the water you take
If you AREN'T too concerned with lowering pH, then simply
disregard what I said, and give it a go.
As for the 6 month waiting period, I'm sure 6 months
wouldn't hurt, but I've known people who waited
only 6 weeks to add angels, and they never had a problem
(I even know a few people who cycled their tank with
angels...which made me cringe when they told me, but it
did work for them...I definitely would NOT recommend it).
Just goes to show, diff'rent strokes for diff'rent
folks, so to speak.
This of course, is simply my opinion...
March 12, 2002 - 10:14 am
Hey I've kept these fish for five years and I really
could zip Kick a quick email to get her expertise added
to mine. G all of our moderators and older board members
have repeatedly had this discussion and fight with you on
PH. It is a lot more dangerous for new fishkeepers to experiment
with water chemistry. If you've been keeping your fish
for lots of years and want to mess around go right ahead(of
course if you forget to test your water regularily you may
end up killing off your fish anyways). I know for a
fact that Kick lives in the same city as you and has even
been to the same store where you work and she keeps angels
at a higher ph. I can also site many AQ fish magazine articles
from columnists that back up my point on fish being succesfully
kept at a high ph. Face it many new fish people cannot afford
to invest 100 dollars in a RO system! Also if you buy new
fish at many of the LFS stores around here in Michigan they
keep them all at a HIGH ph that matches our tap! The shock
of transfering them from a ph 7.6-7.8 to a ph of 7.0 or
lower is just not the best situation. I also have driftwood
in my tank and it did not affect my ph in the slightest.
Another point is that very few people want to or have the
time to breed angelfish. Most angels will cannabilize their
eggs so removing them and transferring to another tank is
advisable. Hatching and raising tiny fry can become very
problematic and time consuming for the average person. The
profits realized from the brood usually do not justify the
time, energy and effort that have been invested. Most fish
keepers just want an attractive addition to their tanks
and buying an angel and keeping it at 7.6-7.8 is not really
a big deal!
Terri I messed around with a phosphate based chem and from
MY EXPERIENCE ended up with a tank full of algae. If you
insist and must take G's advise go out and spend 100
on a RO unit. Also be prepared to move countless buckets
of water to your fish tank from a storage container after
you have spent MANY hours collecting it. This has been the
major drawback to my unit...it certainly will give you lots
of excercise and help build your muscles.
I really don't know where your 'well water'
bit came into the picture? I don't think Terri mentioned
that in any of her post so wouldn't you say that's
taking things a bit off topic?
March 12, 2002 - 10:31 am
"taking a fish and putting it in an environment in which
it doesn't USUALLY live. " This statement has been
made in the past, do any of these tropical fish really live
in little glass boxes in the wild?
Anyways to sum up this whole discussion...I think in her
original post Terri stated that she was reluctant to fool
around with ph and wanted to keep an angelfish. Keeping
things in line with her question and giving a BRIEF answer.
Yes it if perfectly fine to keep an angel at a high ph.
March 12, 2002 - 12:45 pm
This is the final time I will say this:
I'm NOT disagreeing with you, Joyce, on the FACT (by
definition,as taken from Dictionary.com, Fact means:Knowledge
or information based on real occurrences...IF I didn't
agree with you, I would call this a theory or a hypothesis,
but I'm calling it a fact, so I obviously agree)
that some fish can be kept in a higher pH even if they are
normally found in water with a lower pH. In fact, as I read
your entire response to my previous post, it became quite
apparent that you're either not reading my posts, or
are completely misinterpreting them (and putting words
into my mouth in the process).
My "Well Water bit" came into the picture because
I was citing a REAL LIFE occurence where pH out of someones
tap is much higher than the pH at the store where they buy
their fish. I realize this isn't always the case, but
it is around where I live, and is a very valid and pertinent
example as it deals with differences in pH and acclimating
and keeping fish (this was one of the main points backing
my argument, so perhaps if you didn't understand this,
this is why you didn't understand the rest of my post).
You might not have to deal with this, but it doesn't
mean other people don't. My post wasn't addressed
solely to Terri until I get to the part where I say "By
the way, Terri." Maybe this is where some of this apparent
confusion is coming from. I never said to buy an RO unit,
I never said I messed with pH chemicals, and I never said
anything about breeding Angels. You, Joyce, are the one
that said to go buy an RO unit, that I mess with pH chemicals,
and talked about breeding Angels.
Is it just me, or does it seem like Joyce is responding
to a post that is completely different from what I wrote?
I agree with her, and she seemingly responds by attacking
what I said, and reinforcing her point that I have agreed
with since day one.
By the way, you never know when a cargo ship full of glass
boxes might sink and trap fish in them in the wild...so
be careful what you ask for...
I'm tired of typing for now, but I'm sure I'll
have plenty more to talk about later...
March 13, 2002 - 07:05 am
'I've never used any chemicals or pH lowerers, so
I can't say how well they work, but I DO know that it
takes a lot of monitoring to make sure the pH stays low.
Honestly, your best chances are RO, or Spring water, or
findind a source that has water with a lower pH "
G you were the first one to mention a RO unit not me. I
was actually agreeing with you that it is safer to use this
method than to mess with chemicals. So I guess since I'm
listing your quote I really cannot be misinterpreting it
or putting a word in your mouth! You may not have said to
BUY one but you suggested using RO. How the heck else can
someone use it unless they buy a unit? Maybe you have a
state of the art store, but the many stores I've visited
on both ends of my state do not. None of the stores in five
years that I've been in have RO water for sale and I've
traveled to at least 20 stores!
As far as the well water bit...fine to site examples, but
my Eleven year old gets marked down in school when he takes
papers way off topic, so maybe you should have started another
thread. The poor girl just asked if she could keep an angel
at a high ph...not what to do if she ever buys a house with
As far as the breeding I mentioned it first, but in referance
to a store that was trying to genetically adapt fish to
a higher ph(Angels West) this was the only reference
until you brought up the following on spawning.....
The fact that your fish needed a low ph to spawn(March
11 2:34 AM) so even though you didn't metion breeding
angels when you talk of spawning and lower ph in a post
entitled ANGELFISH TANK one assumes that's what you
are in fact referring to??? Maybe if you would have mentioned
the type of fish you were speaking of things would have
been more apparent.
I try to keep my posts relevant to the topic. I could go
get my books and tell Terri about livebearers, diseases
and all kind of stuff, but I think she just wanted an answer
March 15, 2002 - 05:05 am
Hey Terri! - don't mess with the water! I skimmed over
Joyce and G's posts so I have no idea why they are arguing
- everyone has a different opinion. Neither Joyce nor G
are wrong - you would be fine to follow advice from wither
of them. But forget about them for a moment - here is some
advice from me . . .
I only started keeping fish a few months ago (less than
1/2 a year ago) - I have no water test kits! I never
have and I'm starting to wonder if I ever will. I don't
really know what my pH is (probably about 7.5 from what
I've heard in the LFS though). At first I considered
fiddling with the the pH, hardness etc. But now I don't
care - all I worry about is keeping my tanks clean (regular
water changes, cleaning filters, not too many fish all at
once, etc.) Fish are fine in different pH water (as
long as its not extreme like lower than 5 or higher than
Try to get you're angels from a LFS with similar water
to yours and acclimate them to your tank slowly (about
1 hour). But I do recommend that you let the tank age
about 6 months before you get angels - keep some other fish
in their for a while. Don't have any more than two angels
in there - not enough room for more. Just watch your fish
and keep the tank healthy. That's all you need to worry
about. I recommend 1/4 water changes twice a week (that's
what I do).
Forget about changing pH - its over-rated (unless you're
seriously into biotopes and breeding difficult fish).
Besides if you do alter the tank water then at every water
change you will need to alter the new water - it takes long
enough to get the temp. right let alone anything else!
Good tank maintenance, on the other hand, is underated.
Change the water! Clean the filter! Understand your fish!
Think before fore you buy! AND RESEARCH! . . . this is all
you need to worry about!
Just practice good tank maintenance and enjoy your fish!!!
March 15, 2002 - 10:14 am
for the record, the exchange of "different points of
view" has, from my perspective, been very interesting
and educational. my strong preference is not to fool around
with the ph of my new tank. nevertheless, i am concerned
with some types of fish in my high ph water, and that was
the basis of the question.
i would like an angelfish tank because i like to look at
them and i like their behaviour. i do not intend to breed.
my next tank (finances permittingwill be a discus tank.
it seems that every time i move up the scale, my water paramaters
become more of an issue.
so this is actually a bit of pre planning. i am trying to
make an informed decision about addressing my ph issue which
will work for both fish types. since my original post, i
have done the following:
1. Read the article in acquarium fish mag. needless to say,
its encouraging. it suggests that higher ph can be tolerated,
but suggest younger fish are more adaptable. good advice
for angels, i suspect.
2. Actually purchased some sodium biphosphate. not too expensive.
it works, but it takes some tinkering. not certain of the
longer term affects. (did not put it in the tank, but
a large bucket still skeptical, but i would not want to
"experiment" with my fish.
3. tank is set up and is being cycled..should be ready shortly.
will stock with some fish out of my other tanks prior to
adding the angels, and will make ph adjustments (if
any!) prior to their arrival.
For whatever its worth, my lfs keeps their ph neutral. its
not like anyone's water around here. i assume that help's
them keep the fish when they get them, but acclimation is
March 15, 2002 - 07:41 pm
Terri thanks for the votes on our discussion. Stick with
the pros and keep up with reading Aquarium Fish magazine.
There are some really good articles. Also if you can still
get Tropical Fish magazine they used to have a Discus column
by Jack W(a big discus breeder in Florida). Anyways
I thought his ideas really interesting although a lot of
discus people argue with him too! He sure has beutiful discus