meghan2June 27, 2007

Hey guys,

I was going to get my fish today, but the ph level was at 8.4, so we got a ph decreaser. Anyway two questions,

1) How many fish can I put in a 28 gallon...I've gotten different answers so I need your advice

2) Do fishes like the tank with lots of space..or do they like it with different fun things..for example...I have of course gravel, two plants and bubbles in my 28 gallon tank...should I add more like big rocks or decor...I'm not sure..please let me know..I will really appreciate.

Thanks :)

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woeisme(z7b NC)

Glad you didn't get the fish yet.

"I was going to get my fish today, but the ph level was at 8.4, so we got a ph decreaser."
My advise is leave the pH as is. pH decreasers like pH down and the like are only temporary. Depending on your LFS (local fish store) they may also have a high pH if they have the same water supply as you do. Check with them first. If not no big deal, you can still have most tropical freshwater fish in a "high" pH. Just acclimate them slowly by adding some of your tank water to the water the fish come in. I usually use a dedicated clean 1 gallon pitcher for this. Empty the fish with the pet stores water in it into the empty pitcher. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of your tank water to the pitcher. Wait about 10 minutes, dump out the ammount you added from your tank ( the 1/2 or 3/4 cup). repeat this step for about and hour emptying and replacing water every 10 minutes. Then over a sink or container empty the pitcher into a fish net until all your fish are netted. Then release the fish into the tank from the net. There are some fish that actually like the higher pH. Brakish water and Rift Lake Cichlids are among these. If they are not what you want, most fish will do fine in a higher pH. The thing to keep in mind is pH reccomendations for fish are only for "perfect" conditions. This is more important for breeding. pH has alot of focus because of common misunderstandings from fish keepers that don't get involved in the "chemistry" of cycling a fish tank. pH has even less effect if you do a fishless cycle. So don't worry to much about your pH, you can still own most fish. The ones you can't are more delicate ones that aren't meant for begginers.

"1) How many fish can I put in a 28 gallon...I've gotten different answers so I need your advice"

It depends on what type of fish you are going to keep and there ADULT size. The rule of thumb is 1" of fish per 1 gallon in the tank. This rule is fine but not fool proof. An adult oscar gets to 10" but keeping 1 in a 10 gallon tank would not work. Neon Tetras are just about an inch long, in a 20 gallon tank you could get away with alot more. The more important thing is depth of the tank and surface area of the water. Give the dimentions and I can give you a better idea. Then again, it still depends on the size fish and their "profile" as to what they need.

"2) Do fishes like the tank with lots of space..or do they like it with different fun things..for example...I have of course gravel, two plants and bubbles in my 28 gallon tank...should I add more like big rocks or decor...I'm not sure..please let me know..I will really appreciate. "

Again, this depends on the type of fish you keep and their particular variety. Some fish, even in the same family prefer less swimming area and more rocky and nooks and cranies to hide in, while others need open space for more swimming room. Another thought, your gravel, rocks and decor may actually raise your pH. Some gravel ( just crushed rock or clay) can buffer your waters pH quite a bit. Those dissolving white water conditioners sometimes shaped like shells or treasure chests will buffer it too much. Any seashells or ceramic decorations will also do this. The best thing to do is test a sample of your tap water that has sat out over night in a small cup like a shot glass. Check the pH of the "aged water" if it is signifigantly lower pH then your tank then something in the tank is buffering pH. Go from there, if there is a difference then post a query on how to test rocks and "stuff". Also, this is a great board, but for daily, expert advice, try this group out. It takes a day or 2 to join but well worth it.

Here is a link that might be useful: ATFKH - msn fish group

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 9:15AM
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HI woeisme,
Thank you so much. I really appreciate all the advice. I want to get all Goldfish and maybe on algae eater. I know Goldfish get pretty big, and I wanted 9, so that is why I wasn't sure about how many would be comfortable in my tank.

This morning the ph level was still high. I am going to check my tap water as you is it okay to get the fish even with a little high level? I've also heard adding aquarium salt might help? I've tried two different brands of ph decreaser from two different stores, and I'm running out of ideas :(

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 12:39PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

Your pH is fine for goldfish. Unless you get the smaller ones that only grow 2-3", only 3 would be good and they would out grow the tank eventually. Goldfish are pretty sturdy fish and most likely will survive the first stages of the cycle. I still would urge you to do a fishless cycle. As far as pH - It is OK to KEEP goldfish at the higher pH, BUT ammonia is more toxic at higher pH levels then at more acidic or lower pH. Ammonia is also more toxic at higher water temperatures then lower. depending on where your location is make sure your water temp stays below 68F for the goldies. The pH down products do work, but it is only temporary. To put it simply, when you add the pH down product, the calcium carbonates in your water eat through it rapidly. When you add the product test the water 1 hour after you have added the reccomended dose. Then every other hour until you can gauge how many times a day you need to dose it. If you are adding at night, then checking it in the morning or the next night it may already have risen back to the original pH. It may be worth it to just buy a ton of distilled water and some trace element additives just for the cycle period. DONT use distilled water unless you add trace elements back into it, that would be disasterous also. You would need enough distilled water to fill the tank and for water changes.
I still think it will be alot easier and painless in the end to do the fishless cycle. If you are impatient, and can't wait to get the fish, it can be done. BUT, you will subject the fish to unnecessary ammonia poisoning resulting in long term damage to their vital organs or even death. If you decide to go that route be prepared for sick or dead fish. Salt will block nitrite poisoning. Also, use a good water conditioner like "Prime" to not only condition new water but detoxify ammonia. Prime can be used at 5 times normal dosage as it's directions state.
Really though, read the articles I suggested before or this one is good also with many links in it for more detailed explanantion.
Whatever you decide, if you need help, just post here or e-mail me by clicking my board name.
Did i mention you should try the fishless cycle =0)
Here is a good goldfish site

Here is a link that might be useful: cycle FAQs

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 7:59PM
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I was wondering what your tap water pH is as well as what you might have in there as decoration, that might be elevating the pH.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 8:52PM
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I'm gonna check my tap water ph tomorrow..I put it out today, and I need to wait for 24 hours.
As per as the ph in the tank, it is still around 8.4...I only have gravel, two plants and bubbles in the tank..nothing else...well, if nothing works..i'm gonna change the whole thing with distilled water and run a fishless cycle.....I hope that works.

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 9:45PM
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The reason why I bring up tank decorations is that some people adorn their tanks with what they find or have on hand and that can include things like seahells. Things like that continually seep Calcium Carbonate, irregardles of how much acidic compound (Sodium biphosphate)they apply to bring down the pH. It may be that your tap water is naturally alkaline. Aside from the afore-mentioned fish that prefer alkaline water, livebearers, in general do fine in it, as well as goldfish, danios, glass catfish, silver sharks, archers, puffers, momos, African cichlids, Australian Rainbows.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 7:56PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

Your gravel may also bring up the pH. If it has limestone, marble calicite and a number of other rock in it, it will buffer the pH. Take a hand full of the gravel and place it in a bowl or cup. Pour enough white vinegar over it to cover it 1". After a few minutes if it has calcium carbonates in it, it will produce bubbles. Sometimes it takes up to 5 minutes, but a steady stream of bubbles will come off any buffering gravel. Some water conditioners have a buffer in them like Amquel. That is one more reasoon I prefer Prime.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 8:16PM
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Well, I have a ten gal with an apple snail, two African dwarf frogs and an algae eater. Fish do like Things, like an array of plants, ship wrecks or ocean rocks with holes. Dollar store glass cups turned to there sides for hiding etc Its like would you rather live in a big boring flat field or a place with lots of things to explore, and it is not true that fish forget every few seconds!

IÂve heard a few times that an inch of fish per gallon, which seems reasonable. But I do not like over crowding, thatÂs why I do not have 10 inches of fish it my ten gallon tank I have close to half that amount. I often think on a minimal level a fish in between on and two inches needs a gallon of water. I good idea is to start with only the basics, a few little fish, maybe one of two bigger ones and perhaps an algae eater or a snail. Then after a week or two see how dirty the tank is, and how the fish or doing, if the tank is still very clean and there isnÂt poop visible poop than consider a couple more fish. Remember that the more fish the more cleaning! I personally love African dwarf frogs, so I would recommend getting a few, or even making your tank a frog tank! (But thatÂs just an idea.)

If your okay with cleaning often, and you have a filter you max would be 28 inches of fish, but I would go with 14 inches, half that.
Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 10:42PM
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Hey everyone,
Thanks for all the input. The wierd thing is I took tap water in a small bowl and left it out for 24 hours for evaporation. The ph was very low..a 6.8. Then I took water from the same source and tried the procedure again and the ph is a 7.8. I think my water is hard...and you're right the ph decreaser only works temporarily.

Anyway, no fish yet :(
I have to wait for the tank to get some bacteria again.

I'm only going to get 3 goldfish and one algae eater, since I'm new at all this....Then maybe I can add more once I feel comfortable.

Once again ..thanks!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 4:40PM
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Perhaps the test kit is suspect? Can you pick up another one and try it yet again? Strange that the same water is significantly different.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 6:06PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

If you have well water (Even city water) the results don't surprise me. A well that is deep and is located in Limestone, calicite or marble will be very acidic because of lack of oxygen. The calcium carbonates that leach into the water from the rock turn to a kind of carbonic acid and the result is trapped CO2( naturally carbonated water like Perrier or soda that has CO2 pumped into it) When the CO2 exchanges with oxygen it disipates and then the pH will soar. I had well water in my last home with this situation. Directly from the well pH was 5.3. After aeration 7.8. Test the tap water again. First directly from the tap. Let the same water sit overnight or if you have a spare airstone and airpump, pump rapid bubbles in the sample for 2 hours. If you have trapped CO2 in the water supply, the pH will change quite a bit. Also try the vinegar test with the gravel. I have bought gravels that even had printed on the bag "will not alter pH" and it did. Also, failed the vinegar test.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 9:18PM
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Sounds good....I am going to try testing the water again. I'm even going to check the gravel...but I don't think it is the gravel because the pet store in my city has the same water..and their displays have the same gravel. I think if the ph is high constantly, then it is the water...and if the goldfish are going to be fine in there...then I am going to get one.
Once again ...Thanks:)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 5:09PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

I wouldn't worry too much about the pH either, but it would be helpful to you to know if yours is being altered by anything. I would still urge you to try the fishless cycle. Whatever you decide, good luck.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 5:23PM
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Woesime and PH. Woesime, I appreciate your post re ph, as I just had to redo several tanks due to high ph and cory whiskers melting. Not due to water quality as I have two filters each tank, vac and do partial water changes twice weekly. The water is prefiltered and aged as well.

I finally got around to doing a hardness test and I was stupified! It was off the chart! Never changed to green at all! Beyond Cichlid levels, like cement in liquid form!

I had tested the gravel or so I thought and see where you suggest vineger which I hadn't done. Nonetheless, I took most all of the gravel out including snails. I called Seachem to ask about their products, and mentioned I had called the gravel companies. (ot, I have a background in ceramics and knew there is a product which involves fritted glass, but it was too small for aquariums, yet one can get larger sizes of tumbled glass gravel or sand which would completely eliminate the need for questionable gravel.)

I had noticed a chunk of gravel from my original that had broken so I could see the layers which meant it had resin or plastic coating over who knows what. Resin or epoxies are not completely sealed ie they transmutate on a molecular level chemicals so that what ever they are coating can leach out. (ie chemistry in ceramics taught me this, as some so called air dried or oven baked clays are epoxies or resins).

So while talking to the technician at Seachem he mentioned that the Eastern Seaboard (I am in NYC) has water that flows through calcitrate and or lime based beds. Plus what ever lime might be added by the municipality. Then I mentioned the gravel, and he mentioned that many complain about the so called 'won't alter ph' gravels. Then it occured to me that they might get it from slag or other not great sources, and he agreed. Cheaper crud then coat it. Ikes!

Well, now my ph stays lower, one tank with most all of it gone settled around 7, the other 7.2. (from top of chart which is 7.6 so could have been higher) So far. This has been only a few weeks (two) and it might be changes in the water source itself? I will continue to test and see where it settles.

But I had left the water out in a test bucket (which is aerated with a filter in the pre aging tank), as you suggested in a long ago post, and then when I added the gravel within a very short time the ph shot up.

I am too afraid to test the hardness from the tap...I think the Seachem products which buffer it then a second product stabilizes it would work, but I am hoping not to have to do so.

So thanks for the thread Medhan2 and follow up Woesime. Best Sherry

ps. I have some beautiful blue neon rainbow fish. They can handle the higher ph as well, are much smaller then most rainbows, and are so funny I think of them as keystone cops, with their swimming antics. Need to find more to create a school. Will post on sep thead re one which is sick with something (came from very poor stock, oops again).

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 2:50AM
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Thanks for all the feedback....To be honest though, I am too scared to run a fishless cycle, since I am new to all this, but what we did was change the whole water.....washed everything we are putting up a brand new tank. The water is now around a 7.8...which is much better than 8.4. The tap water is about 7.8 also, so that means the water is hard. Now, since you guys said that goldfish should be fine in there we are going to get the fish. Just wish me luck.....I'm kinda scared... :O

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 6:37PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

The fishless cycle is the least scary thing, because you cant harm the fish!
I do wish you luck. Since you are going to cycle with the fish, I would just get one. Feed sparingly and monitor the ammonia religously daily, twice a day when ammonia starts to be detectable. I would suggest the 2-part ammonia reagent type test. API has one that is sold in almost all pet stores, but is cheaper online. If you can spend a few extra $, get the API freshwater master test kit. It has ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits. When ammonia first starts to show (anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks)test twice a day and keep the level from rising too much above .25ppm. Use water changes and double dose with Prime water conditioner to dilute and detoxify the ammonia. You may experience cloudy water shortly after ammonia appears. It looks like someone poured a glass of milk into the water. This is normal, and a sign that the first stage of the cycle is coming to an end, and the 2nd stage will begin. Sometimes everything goes well for the first 2 weeks, no sign of ammonia or nitrite, then bang. All of a sudden the happy healthy looking fish suddenly get very ill, very quickly. This why to check for ammonia daily, then twice a day. If you get into trouble, just post a new thread with your specific trouble. Happy fishing.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 9:02PM
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Thanks so much...I feel much more confident now...:)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 2:32AM
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