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  1. You can try to find baker's ammonia. This is ammonium bicarbonate, a solid that is an excellent substitute for pure ammonia. You can find it in some stores that specialise in European foods, e.g. a delicatessen
  2. There is a thread in the Articles & FAQs section: A note on pH meters It contains the information about how to care for and calibrate a pH meter and pros and cons in comparison to liquid test kits
  3. You need enough structure in the tank so there is no clear line of sight from one end to the other, especially near the bottom, to avoid territorial aggression. It also helps if you have the cave over to one side and the opening facing towards the side. Do you have a picture of the tank? Another way to distract them if to have another pair in a tank right next to them. Lots of posturing and aggression but no risk of injury. Sometimes a mirror can do the same. Having another 'female' next to her will often provide enough distraction to keep her from beating up the male too much.
  4. Ah, didn't see the bit about making thousands of dollars per year, that is quite a bit more difficult. Most of the easy-to-breed fish don't sell for that much. To cover costs and make $3000 a year you'd have to sell *at least* 1500 fish per year, I reckon. Less of course for more expensive fish, but there is also a smaller market for those...
  5. I think the comments so far have been a bit too much in the negative side. Perhaps people still misunderstand what you are trying to do? If I understand you correctly the main aim of your project is to provide some activities for your members, you just don't want to have to fully subsidise it and ideally make a bit of money that can be reinvested in this and other projects? I think that goal can be achieved. You said you had electricity largely covered through other project income? That will take care of most of the ongoing cost. A lot of the materials you may be able to get through donations. Some of the pet shops may be willing to help here or maybe some of the clubs here in Brisbane (QCG, ANGFA, etc.). The clubs would also be an excellent source of knowledge and maybe some of the member would be happy to help out personally. In terms of fish, any that are fairly hardy and do not require too much maintenance would be a good start. A few of the livebearers would work. They are easy to breed, don't really require heating (they survive in ponds and streams here), and they always sell, even if you don't get much per fish... Shoot me a pm and I can get you in contact with some people who may be able to help.
  6. I'd try to push both even lower over the next little while. I wouldn't worry about the pH crashing, that is basically what you want. In their natural habitats pH values as low as pH 4 have been measured. The TDS could be quite a bit lower as well, but really low values may be difficult to achieve while lowering the pH as mentioned in the earlier post. I'll keep my fingers crossed. Maybe with the rain coming through over the next couple days..
  7. Do you have actual values for pH and TDS/conductivity? The rocks (?) and empty snail shells may push up your GH/TDS Even if they have allegedly bred in GC tap water, they will still be easier to spawn in water closer to their natural habitat. From all descriptions I have read they seem to be specialised for leaf litter areas with extremely low pH and TDS. The water conductivity/TDS reported in some of their habitats is lower even than for your regular RO water. To avoid all possibilities of the GH getting pushed up, I would remove all rock, gravel and snails and cover the bottom with a thick layer of wood and leaves. They are not really cave spawners so you won't need a special cave. Keeping the light low as you do is also good. Just RO with IAL and DW alone will not necessarily get the pH low enough so you may have to lower it further by adding an acid source. There will be a trade off with conductivity, which will rise again a bit so you could try just pure RO without adding anything for a while to see if that is enough before switching to lower pH. The best way I found to lower pH without affecting conductivity too much is to use a mixture of hydrochloric acid and citric acid. Don't use any of the commercial pH downers, they add too much crap in the water and will raise TDS a lot more. The addition of some target/dither fish that can tolerate the low TDS/pH conditions will also help the pair to bond, pencil fish are a good option as they generally are not fry predators. hth
  8. I had a bad batch about two years ago. Same as for you, just didn't want to hatch the same as previous cans I bought. I tried various things but couldn't get them to hatch properly (maybe 50%). In the end I was able to get them exchanged for a new can in the shop I bought them at. The next can was fine again. So it can happen. May have been proper storage somewhere along the supply chain...
  9. [MENTION=15893]The[/MENTION]TechDen thanks for requesting that. it will be interesting what additional data they can provide
  10. interesting read. but there are a number of problems with that study: they don't give weight/amount of food used and they don't give protein and nitrogen content of the foods used so there is no real comparison. could be just the fact that competitor x has more protein in the food. to compare foods you would also have to look at growth rate and total growth, which is both related to protein available. the zeolite addition is a bit questionable. it is true that zeolite absorbs ammonia (amongst other things), but the zeolite is in the stomach, the ammonia travels in the blood before excreted through the gills. so how is the zeolite going to absorb the ammonia? it is more likely to just add as a filler, reducing the overall protein content by weight. or it may potentially absorb some of the nutrients, making them unavailable for the fish's digestion. that study, at least as presented, is what I would call pseudo-scientific - pretty graphs without any real meaning because of (intentional) bad experimental setup. they do want to find reasons why their food is better, after all - and why they should be able to charge more for it...
  11. Yep, all out of apistos atm. [MENTION=14753]cblaxall[/MENTION] has some of my breeding stock as well as some members of the QCG, so I am sure some will resurface here or at auction
  12. They are both man made strains of the same species and they don't necessarily breed true, either. If you keep a pair of super reds you will have just a better chance of getting super red fry, you will also have a chance of getting less colourful individuals which will then be double reds or even just "normal" cacatuoides. Crossing super and double red will likely reduce the number of individuals with the super red colour pattern, but if want to continue the super reds you can always pick the best fry and continue to breed for super red colouration.
  13. Sodium and potassium are not included in GH, they are both monovalent ions ( have a charge of +1) The vast majority of GH is made up by calcium and magnesium, other ions such as iron and the trace elements usually play only a minor role
  14. I wouldn't worry about the small drop in pH. Discus in their natural habitats live in water that is very soft (KH, GH about 1) and somewhat acidic (pH 5-6.5). The small variations in your tank are well within the tolerances for the fish. Do you have a hardness reading for your tap water or a conductivity/TDS measurement? Looking at your tap water pH it probably is fairly soft water - which is great for keeping discus. If the water is soft, the change in conductivity/TDS and hardness that you are introducing by adding pH Up is likely much more severe than the small variation in pH you are trying to 'fix'. There are two things that discus really struggle with, one is the built-up of pollutants such as nitrite and nitrate, hence the frequent water changes associated with keeping discus (and it looks like you are staying on top of that). The other one is stress. The easiest way to avoid stress (apart from not keeping them with more aggressive fish) is to have a large enough tank and to have plenty of areas in the tank where they can retreat to and feel safe. Use lots of tall plants (real or artificial), larger pieces of driftwood, tall aquarium ornaments etc to generate sheltered areas. You may not always be able to see all the fish, but your fish are much more likely to stay healthy
  15. What is your current pH? What do you want it to be? And why? If you want a lower pH because you want to keep soft water fish (who often live in more acidic water) the requirements are quite different compared to a situation where you have very alkaline water and want to bring the pH down a bit because you want a planted tank
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