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all the things I add to my water that my friend doesn't !!!

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I've cared for African cichlids for 20+ years now and have religiously followed what's been recommended to me by my LFS and what made sense to me.

My friend has also kept African cichlids for about as long but without adding anything to his water. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nadda.

We have both been blessed without having to deal with any major problems to speak of over the past decades.

So what's better.. adding what you've been told is required or suggested "for the better"?

or.. adding nothing and dealing with issues as they arise?

NOTE.. here's what I add whenever making a water change:

aquarium salt (for gill function)

water conditioner (helps with the fish' slimy coat)

stress zyme (adds millions of beneficial bacteria)

african cichlid trace minerals (helps with overall health and coloration)

Not that I would stop the above mentioned program as it has worked well for me to this point and I wouldn't change what my fish have been accustomed to but am I getting ripped?

My buddy's tank looks just as good as mine?!?!

any tip, suggestion, story, advice or comment is welcome. thanks!

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I add a fair bit of stuff too.

quality dechlorinator ~ turns tapwater from toxic to usable. Getting quality means you can refill from a hose rather than buckets if you double dose.

Aquasonic rift lake salt ~ turns usable water into riftlake water....... I think its worth while as it increases fish life expectancy

easylife ~ returns the nature to the water........ also clears it up AND triggers breeding.

Invest in larger sized bottles/buckets of this stuff

and it becomes more economical to use the fancy stuff long term.

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Lfs staff are there to sell you things, while most are good. Certain lfs will try to sell you stuff that is of no use, or really won't be of any benefit. If your friend has the same success in keeping fish as you have over the past 20 years and yet he adds nothing. I would be questioning whether what your adding does anything, or is actually necessary. Each to there own, personally I think those bacteria in a bottle are a crop of ****. There of no use once the tanks cycled, bacteria lives within the filter, on the glass, in the gravel, on the plants basically on every surface. Adding some because you changed some water is pointless and cleaning the filter shouldnt matter as ideally you clean it in the tanks water after you have siphoned it out as to preserve said bacteria

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The thing is when you mentioned his tank is as good as yours are you taking a close look at his fish - are the fins up - active - well coloured.

As Donny said the Aquasonic cichlid salt is good and might be a good alternative to adding the trace elements and the salt as separate items.

It usually comes down to how you feel about your pets and how well you want to care for them. I have insurance on my car but have not had an accident in many many years but I still have it and some products help provide a similar peace of mind where they are preventative.

There are many strains of bacteria and most have different purposes. A lot that they actually do can not be seen, a tank does not consist of purely nitrifying bacterias and there are benefits of bacteria outside this.

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Whats the water parameters like in Toronto [MENTION=9158]cichlidbro[/MENTION]? Maybe you should do a water test on it and post a pic to us nutters he is Down Under can see what its like. This could also help with the advise people give on here as our waters are very different! p.s I hope you are not taking buckets loads from Lake Ontario! lolol

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Interesting subject......

I love soft water fish.....but I spent a lot of money replacing fish....before I realised they were best kept in soft water!

Ie rainwater or RO water.....the only thing you can add to water to make it softer for fish....is pure water

I also keep tangs....shellies

I used to keep them in treated tap water....they breed well....but given my experience with soft water fish I though they may do better in water with right chemistry

Water chemistry of lake Tanganyika is quite different to Lake Malawi

I used commercial salts at first.....but now use bi carb soda and Epsom salt(lake Tanganyika has high level of magnesium ions)

I use NaCl as a medication.....unlike many it seems.....I don't like to use it as a constant additive

Although it may work for brackish water fish....livebearers, but not for Tangs and definitely not for soft water species

I prefer local products....Superchlor for neutralising tap water and Probiotic bacteria from Aquasonic BioAid

This + feeding NLS pellets as staple food.....I believe my fish have greater longevity,better colour and general deportment

Edited by Rod
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My thoughts run similar to [MENTION=4720]Shanoz[/MENTION] except I would like to see you and your friend do a comparison of water parameters 'before' you add anything. Your friends water might be closer to the right hardness and pH than yours and so might not need everything you do. As far as adding bacteria at every WC I have never and wouldn't do this. As long as you dechlorinate (whichever method you use) your bacteria colony will be fine, adding new bacteria in every WC IMO is just going to upset the balance that's already there.

Lastly, what's the make-up of the rest of your tanks? Substrate and rocks can do a lot of the hard work for you and remove the need to add anything. When I was keeping Africans I had a crushed coral substrate and my hardness and pH never needed adjusting.

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in reply to The Tech Den.. Both mine and my friend's fish look perfectly healthy.. no difference in the look of the gills or gill function. Fish breed in both his tank and mine. both tanks are african cichlid tanks as well. It's just he adds nothing and I do what I've been doing for years.. the only reason I continue is it's what I'm used to and I haven't had any issues.

in reply to 63off.. I'll grab some of my buddy's water when I'm back at his place and go to my LFS to compare our waters. I'll post the findings when I get them people.. K?

in reply to Shanoz.. I'll also do a Toronto tap water check and post that as well!

Here's another piece of info.. never owned a water checking kit. Never check PH, alkalinity, salinity, nitrate or nitrite levels other than when there were issues and I brought the H2O to the LFS.

So.. in short, I'll get back to all y'all soon!

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I understand trying to match water from where the fish come from but will make such a big difference when the fish have been bred and reared in different water for MANY generations.? Just thinking out loud..

Cheers KIM.

PS I have Geos so use rain water no adds.

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Personally....I have found soft water fish are very susceptible to internal bacterial infections if not kept in soft water

Yet show great longevity in soft water

I think there are a lot of common aquarium fish that would look much better if kept in water similar to their original habitat....particularly those at each end of the spectrum....see what tetras look like in soft water compared to hard tap water

Look at guppies in hard alkaline water with a little salt....(keep them in soft water and they are prone to shimmies)

I also find my shellies display much better colour in corrected water.....

I like to think my fish show the best they have?

Perhaps I'm kidding myself....but that's everyone's prerogative...if they are paying!

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On the api stress zyme,

Ever sine I've started using this I've noticed my filters block quickly, I mean there like mud! Any thoughts on why?

Yes it makes microbe biofilms go crazy!.

On the plus side, to grow the biofilm the microbes have to pull crap out of the water...... and better out than in!

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