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Appropriate Apisto pH and how to Get It

Contents:

  1. A. Pandorini enroute
    by Pete Johnson <petej/tlg.net> (Fri, 6 Sep 96)
  2. 'tea' water
    by Pete Johnson <petej/tlg.net> (Wed, 11 Sep 96)
  3. New subscriber to the apisto-at-aquaria.net mailing list.
    by mengerin/cs.utexas.edu (Mon, 20 Jan 1997)
  4. photos & H20 conditions
    by wrisch/mendel.berkeley.edu (lisa wrischnik) (Wed, 22 Jan 1997)
  5. Basic Questions
    by Donald Nute <dnute/aisun1.ai.uga.edu> (Wed, 19 Mar 1997)
  6. Basic Questions
    by Pete Johnson <petej/wordsanddeeds.com> (Wed, 19 Mar 97)
  7. Peat....
    by Pete Johnson <petej/tlg.net> (Sun, 18 Aug 96)
  8. hi
    by "Richard J. Sexton" <fish/vrx.net> (Tue, 14 Jan 1997)
  9. Waters of the World
    by Pete Johnson <petej/wordsanddeeds.com> (Mon, 24 Feb 97)
  10. pH
    by rytireefs/juno.com (Phillip J Ryti) (Fri, 19 Sep 1997)
  11. pH
    by huntley/ix.netcom.com (Wright Huntley ) (Thu, 18 Sep 1997)
  12. pH
    by huntley/ix.netcom.com (Wright Huntley ) (Thu, 18 Sep 1997)
  13. "Living Water Vital" article in FAMA
    by scottydm/aol.com (15 Jan 1997)
  14. Ramirezi died
    by "Darren J. Hanson" <djhanson/calweb.com> (Fri, 9 Jan 1998)
  15. keeping pH as low as 4.5?
    by henshawm/ruf.rice.edu (Mike Henshaw) (Sat, 8 Nov 1997)
  16. Peat
    by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com> (Mon, 9 Feb 1998)
  17. Peat
    by debrown/kodak.com (doug) (Sun, 15 Feb 1998)
  18. Peat
    by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com> (Mon, 16 Feb 1998)
  19. pH
    by Erik Olson (e-mail) (Thu, 19 Mar 1998)
  20. peat and soft water
    by Randy or Deb Carey <carey/spacestar.net> (Sat, 21 Feb 1998)
  21. Iron in SA-waters
    by Fredrik.Ljungberg/saab.se (Tue, 10 Feb 1998)
  22. ph Control
    by <CYKong/aol.com> (Fri, 29 May 1998)
  23. conductivity, peat, hardness
    by Randy or Deb Carey <carey/spacestar.net> (Sat, 11 Jul 1998)
  24. RE: conductivity, peat, hardness
    by plasticolor/guate.net (Sat, 11 Jul 1998)
  25. peat reducing conductivity
    by Randy or Deb Carey <carey/spacestar.net> (Tue, 14 Jul 1998)
  26. Rainwater collection
    by Frauley/Elson <fraulels/minet.ca> (Fri, 19 Jun 1998)
  27. Rainwater collection
    by Mike Downey <windwalker/uky.campus.mci.net> (Fri, 19 Jun 1998)
  28. Rainwater collection -Reply
    by <IDMiamiBob/aol.com> (Fri, 19 Jun 1998)
  29. Rainwater collection -Reply
    by "Joe Anderson" <wja70/hotmail.com> (Fri, 19 Jun 1998)
  30. Rainwater continued
    by Frauley/Elson <fraulels/minet.ca> (Fri, 19 Jun 1998)
  31. Rainwater collection -Reply
    by Mike Downey <windwalker/uky.campus.mci.net> (Fri, 19 Jun 1998)
  32. Rainwater collection ( pros/ cons)
    by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com> (Mon, 22 Jun 1998)
  33. peat
    by Randy or Deb Carey <carey/spacestar.net> (Tue, 25 Aug 1998)
  34. Peat filtration.
    by Jim Atchison <jim/atchison.com> (Thu, 15 Oct 1998)
  35. buffering
    by "Helen Burns" <hlnburns/thefree.net> (Sat, 24 Oct 1998)
  36. Peat filtration.
    by "Steve Waldron" <swaldron/slip.net> (Sat, 17 Oct 1998)
  37. Peat filtration.
    by Randy or Deb Carey <carey/spacestar.net> (Fri, 16 Oct 1998)
  38. Peat filtration.
    by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com> (Mon, 19 Oct 1998)
  39. Peat filtration. -Reply
    by William Vannerson <William_Vannerson/ama-assn.org> (Mon, 19 Oct 1998)
  40. Peat filtration.
    by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com> (Mon, 19 Oct 1998)
  41. Peat filtration.
    by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com> (Mon, 19 Oct 1998)
  42. reducing water hardness for breeding discus
    by "David A. Youngker" <nestor10/mindspring.com> (Thu, 28 Jan 1999)
  43. Peat and Carbon
    by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com> (Wed, 6 Jan 1999)
  44. mixing water
    by Fi205sh/aol.com (Fri, 15 Jan 1999)
  45. Rainwater pH
    by krombhol/teclink.net (Paul Krombholz) (Fri, 15 Jan 1999)
  46. re: pH of RO water
    by Mark Fisher <Mark.Fisher/tpwd.state.tx.us> (Mon, 4 Jan 1999)
  47. re: pH hell [2nd reply]
    by "David A. Youngker" <nestor10/mindspring.com> (Sat, 13 Feb 1999)
  48. re: pH hell [2nd reply] cor.
    by "David A. Youngker" <nestor10/mindspring.com> (Sat, 13 Feb 1999)
  49. Peat water and water parameters
    by IDMiamiBob/aol.com (Sun, 21 Feb 1999)
  50. tannic acid in powdered form
    by Marco Lacerda <marcolacerda/ax.apc.org> (Thu, 25 Mar 1999)
  51. pH mythology.
    by Wright Huntley <huntley1/home.com> (Thu, 30 Sep 1999)
  52. checking water parameters
    by Mike & Diane Wise <apistowise/bewellnet.com> (Mon, 14 Feb 2000)
  53. Ph which chems??
    by "Cory and Susanne Williamson" <webwill/infinet.net> (Tue, 1 Feb 2000)
  54. Ph which chems??
    by Mike & Diane Wise <apistowise/bewellnet.com> (Tue, 01 Feb 2000)
  55. Peat Questions
    by IDMiamiBob/aol.com (Thu, 22 Jun 2000)
  56. RE: Peat Questions
    by "James Purchase" <jpurch/interlog.com> (Thu, 22 Jun 2000)
  57. Peat Questions
    by Neil Frank <nfrank/mindspring.com> (Fri, 23 Jun 2000)
  58. pH hogwash?
    by Bob Ashcraft <bashcraft/brashearlp.com> (Thu, 21 Sep 2000)
  59. pH shock
    by Merrill <merrill34/home.com> (Thu, 21 Sep 2000)
  60. pH hogwash
    by IDMiamiBob/aol.com (Thu, 21 Sep 2000)

A. Pandorini enroute

by Pete Johnson <petej/tlg.net>
Date: Fri, 6 Sep 96
To: "apisto" <apisto/aquaria.net>

>I have three pair of A. Pandorini coming in Monday and have very
>alkaline water. I know these guys require soft water with a low pH.
>So what would be the least traumatic approach...

Lucky you!

I would suggest setting up a tank of soft water with at least slightly 
acid pH (R/O with trace elements and pH adjustment). When you get them, 
add Amquel or any other good ammonia remover to their bags of water to 
remove ammonia. If they are shipped in acid water, the ammonia becomes 
ammonium and if you move them to water above pH 6.8 it dramatically 
reverts to ammonia, which can burn their gills.

Drip water from their tank into their shipping bags, allowing about an 
hour to double the volume in the shipping bag. Then transfer them to the 
tank. Apistos are pretty abused in the shipping process and have already 
probably been bounced through diverse water conditions. In my experience, 
they're pretty resilient regrading pH and hardness changes as long as the 
water is clean.

Over time, adjust the pH in their tank to 6.0 or lower -- you can go 
below 5 with these fish. Keeping the pH around 6 and a temperature of 
about 78F will help avoid skewing sex ratios in fry. Sex in Apistos is 
determined during the first month and is affected by environment: higher 
temperatures will produce more males, higher pH values will favor females.

>My next question is in reference to tank size for maintenance.  From
>questions and readings, I have found that to breed these guys it
>requires a 45 to 60 gal tank.  Initially, I just want to make sure
>they're going to survive with conditioning to follow.  Would a 90 gal
>plant tank safely house six A. Pandorini's along with some Praecox
>rainbows?

That would probably work -- provide lots of hiding places. I haven't kept 
A. pandorini, but I have a group of eight A. nijsenni, a similar species, 
in a 2' x 4' planted tank and they're pretty happy, although I find 
occasional piscicides. Watch carefully for aggression and be prepared to 
rescue victims from agressors. I'd set up a spare 10 gallon or two for 
this purpose.

Good luck & save some baby pandorinis for me!


----------------------------------------------------
     If wishes were fishes we'd all have ponds.

Pete Johnson        San Jose, CA       petej-at-tlg.net
----------------------------------------------------




'tea' water

by Pete Johnson <petej/tlg.net>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 96
To: "apisto" <apisto/aquaria.net>

Tracie> I know that peat will have the same effect, but I don't
Tracie> know that I want to risk sending my fish into PH shock,
Tracie> and even if I do it slowly, I'm not sure I'm ready for
Tracie> the hassles of changing my PH.

Peat doesn't generally effect dramatic changes in pH, at least not the 
peat I've used. It will gradually acidify the water, but the fish 
shouldn't be stressed by its use.

If you're keeping alkaline-loving fish such as those from the African 
great lakes then peat would be a terrible idea, but it won't shock fish 
that like neutral to acid water.

I don't boil peat, though I know others recommend boiling. The nursery 
bags say it's organic and sterilized and I've had no bad effects from it. 
I put a small handful in a nylon stocking and put the stocking in a 
filter. If you're worried about rapid pH changes, you could hide the 
stocking in the back of the tank, where it would alter the water even 
more gradually than in a filter.

If you change your water regularly you don't need carbon except for 
special circumstances such as to remove medication.

Tea is brown and acid, but I don't that tea bags are a good way to make 
black water for fish. If the fish survived the tea steeping, they'd 
probably be jumpy. OTOH, I heard that a local expert who has bred many 
fish was frustrated by a stubborn species which refused to breed until 
one day he accidentally spilled half a cup of coffee into their tank. The 
next day they spawned...


----------------------------------------------------
     If wishes were fishes we'd all have ponds.

Pete Johnson        San Jose, CA       petej-at-tlg.net
----------------------------------------------------




New subscriber to the apisto-at-aquaria.net mailing list.

by mengerin/cs.utexas.edu
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997
To: kk691111/bcm.tmc.edu

>  Thanks for the note on Texas water, now I regret passing up those A. 
>  borelli for $6.  

Absolutely, however in Austin, the $6 borelli is sort of a common occurance.
It is kind of nice living near Amazonia here in Austin.  They've got access
to or carry virtually every cichlid on the planet.

>  On the peat filtered water (with the A nijsseni), I had problems
>  dropping the pH low enough with the filtration I used.  How did you
>  filter yours, and how low did the pH go?  I resorted to chemical means
>  but would prefer to use peat.

I use a trick that was acredited to a guy named Oleg on the killifish
mailing list.  The suggestion is to take a large bucket & put in an
undergravel plate & uplift tube.  Add a bunch of water & boiled peat.
using an air pump, keep the mixture in constant motion, and you have very
cheap "blackwater extract".  If you want to really get the tank dark, use
a sponge filter & just dump in a lot of boiled peat.  That takes the tanks
to a blackwater environment in 2 days.  The common pH range that I'd take
it to was 6.4-6.8 depending on the particular water change & how much
blackwater I used.

				Cheers,
				Matthew


photos & H20 conditions

by wrisch/mendel.berkeley.edu (lisa wrischnik)
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997
To: apisto/aquaria.net

Hello everyone,

Finally, I've gotten more mail from the apisto list than the killie
one (which I should unsubscribe to - all I could tell them is how to
make little killie chips by using them as dither fish for West Africans).

Simon asked me about where he can find picures of A. "pandurini",
A. pasciquamis, A. piauiensis, A. "4-stripe". All but the pandurini should
be in there (the Aqualog). It's probably my fault you can't find them,
due to my lousy spelling. Actually, I think the book misspelled piauiensis as
'piauensis', and I know there are two photos. If you still can't find
them, I'll just tell you the page nos. tomorrow.

Mike asked me about my water parameters for spawning apistos. Where I live
the water is pretty close to neutral pH and ranges from 150-180 ppm, but
I use a Deionizing unit to bring the hardness to as close to 10 ppm as
I can get it (I'm also recharging the damn resin practically every
week).

And yes, I do try to shoot for a pH of about 5.5-6.0. But I am known to
be just a bit compulsive. I always add Tetra Blackwater to my water for
changes, and I was using Kent pH Down (sulphuric acid, if I recall) and/or
Discus buffer (but I hate the phosphates) if the pH was still too high.

Lately, however, I have been just adding the Blackwater straight to the
DI water and using that. The reason for this is that a friend of mine (who
is a great fishkeepe) was just adding peat extract to H20 straight from
a de-humidifier for her West Africans, and they seemed
to be thriving.

Occassionally I get paranoid and add tap water until my DI water is at
10 - 20 ppm.  I sometimes worry (erroneously?) that there may be minerals
that the fish do require in trace amounts. What do you think?

I am monitoring my tanks carefully because I am worried that with no
buffering capacity the pH could shoot down on me. I do weekly water
changes (25%) on most of my fish, though, and I think this helps keep the pH
more stable.

(As an aside - the above friend claims her A. norberti wouldn't spawn
until I told her to do weekly H20 changes. I don't remember doing this.
Nonetheless, for those of you who are having spawning
trouble, pick up on those water changes!)

Regarding temperature, for now-obvious reasons I try to keep my tanks at
26 C. In case anyone's interested, the reference for Uwe Romer's paper is:
U. Romer & W. Beisenherz.(1996) Enviornmental determination of sex in
Apistogramma(Cichlidae) and two other freshwater fishes (Teleostei).
Journal of Fish Biology 48:714-725.
The paper's easy to follow, too.


Lisa the loquacious




Basic Questions

by Donald Nute <dnute/aisun1.ai.uga.edu>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997
To: Rusty Witek <jwitek/stetson.edu>

On Wed, 19 Mar 1997, Rusty Witek wrote:

> advice on whether it's even worth trying for me.  Our water here ranges
> from c. 7.4-7.7 and is hard (I don'thave the figures handy, but can get

> 1) Is it possible to keep any species of apistos in this water?  My single
> cichlid-keeping trick has always been Regular Partial Water Changes, so
> manipulating the PH has always been a losing proposition: just about the
> time I finally get the tank's PH down a bit, it's time to do water
> changes.

I bred A. agassizii and A. cacatuoides in the hard water of southern
Indiana. I did nothing to adjust hardness or pH. So at least some
species will breed under these conditions.  
 
> 2) Is live food a must for keeping (as opposed to spawning) apistos?  I
> don't mind working at my fishkeeping, but my attempts at keeping a steady
> supply of baby brine on hand have made the task seem pretty onerous.

Right now, I have A. caetei with fry receivng flake food and frozen bs.
I usually keep bs nauplii going, but I haven't for the past week or
so because of other demands on my time. I'm also maintaining A. borelli,
A. agassizii, and an unidentified Apistogramma mostly on flake and frozen
bs with occasional bs nauplii.

I have found Apistogrammas rather unpredicatable. Some fish seem
determined to die no matter how well I treat them, and others survive
and breed despite relative neglect. I just keep getting them and
cherish the ones that do well in my fish room.

Don

------------------------------------------------------------------
Donald Nute
Professor and Head, Department of Philosophy        (706) 542-2823
Director, Artificial Intelligence Center            (706) 542-0358
The University of Georgia                       FAX (706) 542-2839
Athens, Georgia  30602, U.S.A       http://ai.uga.edu/faculty/nute

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Basic Questions

by Pete Johnson <petej/wordsanddeeds.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 97
To: "apisto" <apisto/aquaria.net>

Apistogramma steindachneri and A. macmasteri are tolerant of harder and 
more alkaline water than many other Apistos. Some individuals of Apisto 
species with wide ranges -- A. agassizi has the largest geographical 
range -- will also probably adapt well to different water conditions.


---------------------------------------------------------
        If wishes were fishes we'd all have ponds

Pete Johnson  /  San Jose, CA  /  petej-at-wordsanddeeds.com
---------------------------------------------------------



----------- Reminder: Kindly quote parsimoniously when replying -------------
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unsubscribe or get help , send the word "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" or
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Peat....

by Pete Johnson <petej/tlg.net>
Date: Sun, 18 Aug 96
To: "apisto" <apisto/aquaria.net>

Tracie> Do you use anything else to treat your water other than
Tracie> the peat? I have never tried to change the levels in my
Tracie> tanks..so I a little leary. Also, will adding the peat
Tracie> drop the PH too dramatically? My PH is currently running
Tracie> about 7.6 & I don't want to shock any of the fish in the
Tracie> tank.

I soften my local very hard alkaline water with a reverse osmosis unit, 
then add back a little tap water to give it some body. I occasionally try 
peat filtration to induce an Apisto to breed, but haven't had consistent 
results from its use. I have a few tanks which I keep fairly acid -- 
about 6.0 -- by using acid buffer from SeaChem. It's a good product. I 
initially got it because it contains no phosphates, unlike most other 
buffers (Kent also makes a phosphate-free buffer). Excess phosphates 
promote algae growth.

My treated water is very soft, and acidifying it can cause dramatic pH 
bounces because it has negligible buffering capacity. I have tanks that 
dropped below a pH of 4 when I was a bit liberal with acidifier. 
Fortunately Apistos seem pretty pH resilient, but rapid pH changes are 
not a good idea, and pH values below 4 aren't recommended for any living 
fish. I acidify verrry carefully now, and my pH rarely drops below 5.5. I 
keep most tanks between 6.5 and 7.

Tracie> I like some of the larger cichlids, but like to have
Tracie> a lot of small fish rather than a few large fish. (Though
Tracie> I did break down and buy a baby severum...he's still
Tracie> playing nice..but he is only the size of a silver dollar
Tracie> now!)

Large cichlids are beautiful and many have personalities, but I have 
generally small tanks and generally dwarf cichlids. I like the variety. 
The dwarfs also cooperate with planted tanks. I do have some beautiful 
large Geophagus which a friend is boarding with me while he moves from 
here and gets settled in a new plase.

Tracie> My other (smaller) tank is primarily gouramis and
Tracie> tetras. Actually, I just recently bred a pair of my
Tracie> honey dwarf gouramis.....my first venture into breeding.
Tracie> (Still waiting for the babies to get big enough to move
Tracie> out of the breeding tank.....I want to try again with
Tracie> something else now!!)

Breeding is a thrill. I haven't bred much of anything other than 
livebearers and a number of dwarf cichlid types, but I'd like to breed 
some other fish sometime, too. Gouramis, Corydoras, Loricariads and some 
of the pretty tetras: rummynose, in particular. I did just bred some 
beautiful long-finned white clouds. The babies are colored like neon 
tetras.


----------------------------------------------------
     If wishes were fishes we'd all have ponds.

Pete Johnson        San Jose, CA       petej-at-tlg.net
----------------------------------------------------




hi

by "Richard J. Sexton" <fish/vrx.net>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997
To: Pete Johnson <petej/wordsanddeeds.com>

I'm not sure *soft water* will stimulate your apistos to spawn.

According to Ron Harlan at back to nature filtration, calcium
(and other) ion in the water toughen the egg mambrane
as to make penetration by a sperm cell impossible.

A water change in and of itself may trigger spawnings,
or it may take a bunch of them.



--
Richard J. Sexton
richard-at-aquaria.net
Bannockburn, Ontario, Canada                       +1 (613) 473 1719



Waters of the World

by Pete Johnson <petej/wordsanddeeds.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 97
To: "apisto" <apisto/aquaria.net>

Randy / Deb Care write:

>I've had problems with my nijsseni.  Maybe this "Waters of the World"
>will help.  What is it? ...some extract?

It's a liquid product (I believe Mardel is the manufacturer) which comes 
in a variety of "flavors" -- for Apistos I use the Amazon variety, which 
chemically softens and acidifies the water. Other varieties are intended 
to duplicate other aquatic geographies such as the hard and alkaline 
African Rift Lakes. It's available from fish stores and via mail order.


Pete Johnson     ||     When you wish upon a star
San Jose, CA     ||     You might catch an astral gar.



============ Reminder: Kindly quote parsimoniously when replying =============
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pH

by rytireefs/juno.com (Phillip J Ryti)
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com


richter-at-erols.com writes:
REMINDER: Trim your quotations to an absolute minimum
I use a "Discus Buffer" that I bought from "That Fish Place" pretty
cheap.  Then I give it a squirt of Tetra Black Water Tonic, but not
much.  Afterwards you can check the PH and adjust with more if you
like.   Amounts tend to depend on your water.  I also use half and 
half
- tap and RO water.  If you are serious about fish, RO water is a
necessity and bare bones units are only 80 or 90 bucks.  The Discus
Buffer goes down to about 5.8 which I find OK for most of my South
Americans and my plants.  I must admit that there could be some
phosphates in it but I have not had much of an algae problem with it.
Anyone not using RO has tons of phosphate anyway.   Peat is a messy 
pain
in the bog.  Besides, I guess I don't mind a bit of algae. The fish 
pick
at it.

Regarding the phosphate issue.....
Last year, I had a 50 gallon tank with 6 Apistogramma steindachneri and 
4
Apistogramma norberti. One by one the fish died within days of owning
them.
I bought all of them from the same store. Ph was matched to that of the
stores
using acids PH DOWN with phosphoric acid! at the time of course must have
been safe to use all the years except now its not. Hmm. Anyway, used
Discus Buffer to lock
ph at 6 so should have been no problem yet day by day death every
morning.
Gills flared, obvious suffocation but from what???So, I brought some
water in to be
tested slightly angry that a hundred some dollar investment was gone.
Water parameters were as follows:
PH 6.0
Ammonia: Zero
Nitrite: Zero
Nitrate: Zero to nill
Now what? The fish were healthy, bulky specimens in the holding tanks.
Females showing their yellow coloration with the typical threatening
poses. What was killing my fish. Can you say phosphate? Too much of a
good thing I guess. Checked the 
phosphates...  off the scale. Answered question number one. Now how to
fix it. See before I was using tap water at a PH of 7.2 and hardness of
140ppm mixing with R.O. 
Water with a PH of neutral and 10 ppm hardness. Added PH down to water
mixture to lower PH. Than Added Discus buffer. Too much Phosphate. Now I
use 50/50 to sometimes closer to straight Reverse Osmosis Water and the
deaths of the fish have 
disappeared for a time. I now agree with Kurt Zadnik's opinion regarding
this issue.
Soft water first importance than Ph will come later  with the use of 
Tetra Blackwater Tonic or a like product.

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pH

by huntley/ix.netcom.com (Wright Huntley )
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Darrell wrote: 
>
>What do you use to lower the pH of very soft water down to 5-6 pH or 
lower?

First, my RO unit to get the buffers down to realistic levels (i.e., 
make it super soft), then peat or peat extract to start it down in pH. 
Watch it tho, for it can plummet on you in really soft water. In harder 
water, I have used HCl with pretty good results.

Wright


-- 

Wright Huntley (510) 494-8679 Fremont, CA USA huntley-at-ix.netcom.com

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pH

by huntley/ix.netcom.com (Wright Huntley )
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Darrell wrote: 
>
snip...
>Where do you get peat extract and how do you use it? I am asking these
>questions to learn how different people lower there pH.

Peat is used a lot for killifish breeding, for many are "soil 
spawners." It refuses to wet and sink, unless boiled to expand the air 
in all the fibers and drive it off. As it cools, the fibers finally 
soak up water and sink. I use regular Canada Sphagnum from the nursery, 
or Jiffy Peat Pellets from K-Mart.

The water used to boil the peat is softened by the peat and made quite 
acidic, primarily with humic acids. A little bit can lower the pH of a 
*lot* of unbuffered really soft water. That boiling water is what *I* 
call "peat extract."

My tap water is pH=9 and medium soft (200-300 ppm tds -- we used to 
call that hard). After the RO unit, it is 30 ppm and pH=7+. Adding 
about 10% peat-extract water to the RO water will push the pH down to 
between 5 and 6. As fish live in it, it may drop even lower, and kill 
your plants if it gets down around 3-4, so that's why I caution 
watching it. Snails can suddenly expire and foul the tank, too.

Wright


-- 

Wright Huntley (510) 494-8679 Fremont, CA USA huntley-at-ix.netcom.com

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"Living Water Vital" article in FAMA

by scottydm/aol.com
Date: 15 Jan 1997
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

Hey all,
    I have bought several Marc Weis products:  His peat pellets, which
were ok.  And some pH down product which was said to contain "tannic and
other organtic and inorgantic acids." or some such text, it implied <no
phosphates>.   What a bunch of lying c**p.  It was mostly phosphoric acid.
 I called him and he adimited as much, "Well you gotta have phosphoric
acid or it doesn't work."  I had so much red alga and my phosphate was so
high by the time I figured out what was happening.  I was PISSED!, but
polite.  This was in a plant tank.

             Scott


Scott D. Miller        Freelance chip designer
ScottyDM-at-aol.com       Arete, Ltd.
"always  #5 FOO = ~FOO;   //the sound of a beating heart"



Ramirezi died

by "Darren J. Hanson" <djhanson/calweb.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

>Dionigi said:
>Is there any chance that the peat was contamineted with pesticides?

My thought would be, because you have to be real careful where you buy your
peat. I have seen it in the garden shops around Sac but I always go back to
the pet stores to buy it. It is more expensive, but at least I know what is
in it. I never know for sure what is added to the peat at the garden shops.
At the pet stores you know it is meant for your tanks.

The one thing to ask you is, like someone else has mentioned, did any other
tank mates die as well. If so, I would consider the peat as being the
carrier of some contaminent that has cause your Ramirezi to die.

My suggestion before putting anymore fish in that tank, is to take all the
fish out, bag them or whatever, and then strip down your tank. A good thing
to use on cleaning it is vinegar. Rinse the tank and then set it back up.
Place your fish back in it. Don't use the peat you had added to the tank
previously. Check your fish for a few hours to see how they act. This way
you will know it isn't your tank. Also soak all the tank gravel,
decorations, filters, etc. in the vinegar. The best way to find out what
happened is using the process of elimination.

Kaycy


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keeping pH as low as 4.5?

by henshawm/ruf.rice.edu (Mike Henshaw)
Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

I used to breed Nanochromis transvestitus (a west African dwarf cichlid) at
a pH around 4.5.  I used heavy peat filtration to maintain the pH.  In a 20
gallon, I used a backfilter (a medium sized aquaclear I think) filled with
a lot of peat.  I prepared the peat before hand by briefly chopping it up
in a blender.  The blender prep. makes the peat more effective, more
quickly.

Another alternative is to use 2 products, put out by Kent I believe, called
Neutral Regulator and Discus Buffer.  By combining these buffers in
different ratios, you can achieve a wide range of stable pH's.

Mike
------------------------------------
Dept. of Ecology & Evol. Biology, MS-170
Rice University
135 Anderson Biology Lab
6100 Main
Houston, TX. 77005-1892

Ph: (713)527-4919
fax: (713)285-5232
e-mail: henshawm-at-ruf.rice.edu

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Peat

by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

>With the addition of peat, will it lower the PH and the softness? Is there
>a point
>where the water is too soft for Dwarfs?

Well, I'm new to apistos but not peat moss.

First off, FYI many plant people are avoiding peat moss these days as it is
mined from environmentally sensitive areas.

pH - Peat moss contains fulvic and humic acids (organic acids, also called
tannins) which are nitrogen-containing organic acids. The breakdown of
these acids provides nitrogen, hence peat is somewhat useful as a
fertilizer. The formation of acids in peat can also deplete the oxygen in a
contained area such as a bog. This breakdown will of course also occur in a
fish tank, but providing the peat with more oxygen will provide more acid
formation. Filtering water through a lot of peat will eventually result in
a pH of 3.5-4.5.

Softness - The carbonyl groups in the acids can bind cations, and it has
even been proposed to use giant ion exchange columns of peat to treat waste
water and remove heavy metals. Peat can then somewhat soften water, but it
takes a large amount to have a noticeable impact on the hardness of typical
tap water.

I typically add several tablespoons of sphagnum peat to my filters (for the
appropriate fish). My tap water measures out at pH=5.5, DH=10. If I measure
before and about 3 days after adding peat, there is pretty much no change
in pH (maybe -0.1 units) or hardness (maybe -1 degrees), but the water gets
nice and brown. If you have soft water to start with I'd think peat could
be effective at conditioning it to typical apisto conditions.

-Doug Brown
debrown-at-kodak.com



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Peat

by debrown/kodak.com (doug)
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

>The amount of Nitrogen present in peat is normally very small, too
>small to be of value as a fertilizer. The peat is formed as the
>result of anaerobic conditions, not the other way around. The decrease
>in pH in peat filtered water is almost completely due to leaching of
>existing tannins from the peat.

These responses range from misleading to wrong. My oversimplification wasn't
much better. As we're getting off-topic please refer to:

http://karamelik.eastlib.ufl.edu/projects/forum/akm4763/part1.html

for more than you probably want to know about the complex world of peat moss.

-Doug


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Peat

by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Sorry for one more post, but this is by request. This is by no means an
attack on daktari who posted these widely held misconceptions.

>The  amount of Nitrogen present in peat is  normally very small, too
>small to be of value  as a fertilizer.

First of all, some types of peat are nitrogen-rich and used to improve
soils. Moss peat (i.e. sphagnum) is usually low in nitrogen, but some is
better than none. It's not a fertilizer to a horticulturist, but, for
example, I just read a recent report where a Scandanavian country (sorry
can't remember which one) is trying to decide if they should make use of
their moss peat deposits to make mineral poor areas more fertile. A major
function of peat in this application is certainly to prevent minerals from
being leached out, as well as retaining moisture and oxygen in the soil.
However, the report specifically mentioned moss peat as a "fertilizer" in
this case and I agree with the usage.

>>The peat is formed as the
>>result of anaerobic conditions, not the other way around.

This is backwards. Oxygen is required for initial plant decomposition. The
top layers of peat deposits (the most active area and lowest in pH) are
rich in aerobic bacteria. The bottom layers of peat deposits become
anaerobic as oxygen is consumed and not replaced. Anaerobic bacteria
continues decomposition in these layers.

-Doug Brown
debrown-at-kodak.com



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pH

by Erik Olson (e-mail)
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

On Thu, 19 Mar 1998, Tim Ellis wrote:

> Iguess the real question I have is what kind of filter should I use in a
> 20 gallon breeder to take advantage of peat usage. I currently am trying
> a small wisper air driven in the tank pump in a ten gallon. Not sure how
> to use peat with that setup. 

Kathy already mentioned corner box filters and canisters, as well as PJ's
exploding substrate.  You could also use it in Aquaclear power filters by
putting it into an old carbon bag in place of the carbon.  I recently got
to look at a Marineland hang-on-back power filter that had a little
refillable compartment normally used for carbon that could equally-well
hold peat.. that actually looked slicker than any of the other stuff I've
seen.

One other alternative is to boil the peat and add the resulting "tea" to
the water as an extract.

  - Erik

---
Erik Olson				
eriko at wrq.com



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peat and soft water

by Randy or Deb Carey <carey/spacestar.net>
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Frauley/Elson wrote:

> Hi all,
> I've been following the various threads about peat, and tried an
> experiment as a result. I took two 27 gallon tanks I wasn't using
> anymore, and put about 15cm of peat moss in each. I then filled them
> with Montreal tapwater (pH 7.4, 140 ppm, buffered to the point that even
> in careful experiments with absurd amounts of acid, it always bounces
> back to pH7.4).
> The result? In 24 hours, I had a pH of 5.8 and a measurement of 10 ppm.
> I know from keeping delicate killies that the garden centre peat I'm
> using is clean of insectides, fertilizers, etc.
> It seems too easy. Any comments?
> -Gary

My aquarist friend who explained to me what's going on conducted his test with
similar results:

start:      pH at 7.2, dH and kH at 11
24 hrs:   pH at 6.0, dH and kH at  3
36 hrs:   pH at 5.8, dH and kH at  2
from there, dH and kH held steady while pH dropped gradually to 5.7 after a week.

The simple explanation is that the active ingredient in peat, digallic acid,
gives up two hydrogen (making water acidic) in exchange for a calcium (removing
hardness).

My friend set up a garbage can to hold and filter water through peat.  The
recycling of water was accomplished through a power head.  As you can see, with a
bail of peat (relatively cheap), he could produce twenty-some gallons of soft,
acidic water each day.

I still prefer the simpler r/o unit for producing water for my daily changes, but
I'm thinking of doing some peat filtration as a suppliment in my spawning tanks.
I'm hoping the addition of organic material will help stimulate spawns.

--Randy


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Iron in SA-waters

by Fredrik.Ljungberg/saab.se
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Hi all!

Some one asked about iron in natural waters during the
A. nijsseni-thread. The only book where iron is measured
is the Mayland/Bork-book from Landbuch Verlag (German Edition).
I hope I won't get sued for breaking any (c) but I'll give
a few examples (Fe 2+/3+ in milligrams per litre):

0.58 mg/l     Rio Arara (Peru)
0.00 mg/l     Rio Parana (Northern Argentina)
1.50 mg/l     Crique Macouria (French Guiana)
0.95 mg/l     Rio Jurua (Brazil)
0.22 mg/l     Rio Negro (Brazil)

Several more in the range between these above are in the book, most
seem to be between 0.20 - 0.40 mg/l. There are no data on A. nijsseni's
biotope to compare.

As a comparison my tap water is < 0.05 mg/l (below measurable)
so it needs the iron. It probably needs a whole lot of other things
as well but iron and CO2 is often enough to get the plants going.

Now, if only someone would go down there, catch some A. nijsseni
for me and measure the iron in the water while bagging the fish ...

//Fredrik

-- 
Fredrik.Ljungberg-at-saab.se
Saab Ab 
Flutter and Loads Department
voice +46 13 18 54 60, fax +46 13 18 33 63


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ph Control

by <CYKong/aol.com>
Date: Fri, 29 May 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com


     Finally, with some time away from work, I thought I'd post the results of
my product "testing" of Seachem Neutral Regulator (S), Aquarium
Pharmaceuticals Proper pH 6.5 (A) and Jungle pH 6.5 Stabilizer (J).  As you
may recall, I had problems maintaining a stable pH in my tanks because the tap
water is so soft (~1 dKH, ~1 dGH, pH 6.8).  Because the use of Seachem's Acid
Buffer and Alkaline Buffer led to extremely unstable and unpredictable
results, I looked for better alternatives.

     The following table indicates the pH water values at the time periods
indicated.  The testing involved mixing 1/8 tsp of each into 1 quart of water
and testing with Aq. Pharm's pH test (which uses a color comparison chart and
involves subjectivity in reading).  I tested each product twice (each over one
week's period), and a slash separates the readings between the first and
second week.

                  Upon Mixing         2 Days After          7 Days After
S                 7.2 / 7.3               7.0 / 7.0                6.2 / 7.2
A                 6.4 / 6.4               6.4 / 6.4                6.3 / 6.4
J                  6.6 / 6.6               6.6 / 6.6                6.6 / 6.7

     The results are subjective, and YMMV, but overall, I'd recommend staying
away from the Seachem products named here (yes, the 7 day results seem odd,
but based upon my experiences with Acid Buffer/Alkaline Buffer, I'm not
surprised).  As with many of the products sold to aquarists, I'd recommend
testing carefully before  using with tanks containing life. 

-Myongsu Kong.


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conductivity, peat, hardness

by Randy or Deb Carey <carey/spacestar.net>
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 1998
To: apisto-list <apisto/majordomo.pobox.com>

IDMiamiBob-at-aol.com wrote:

> I keep hearing about conductivity as a significant factor
> of water parameters.  But we never get reports of this
> from native water observations.  Is the equipment necessary
> too bulky or difficult to set up for use in the field?

I wrote a quick html page on my conductivity meter and posted it.  The
page includes a picture of the meter with an explanation as to how it is
used.

http://www.spacestar.net/users/carey/fishroom/reviews/conductivity_meter.html




IDMiamiBob-at-aol.com wrote:

> And this conductivity thing confuses me.  If I am supposed
> to get a low conductivity, how can I do that with peat moss?
> It seems to me that all the tannins and stuff the peat is putting
> out should cause an increase in TDS, with a corresponding
> increase in conductivity.  I'm not the most knowledgeable
> guy on this list, so help me out here.

As for peat and why it reduces hardness...

A chemist friend explained what is going on as peat reacts with the
water.

Hard water with carbonates contains the following:
  Ca++        (calcium ions)
  2(H2CO3)  (bi-carbonate)
  2(OH)-    (alkalinity)
  H2O        (water)

The active ingredient in peat is "Tannic Acid" (digallic acid).  This
acid reacts with the hard water to produce:
  2(HCO3)   (carbonate)
  2(H+)        (acidity)
  3(H20)     (water)

So the alkalinity (OH-) is removed, acidity (H+) is added, and Calcium
(and magnesium) are absorbed by the peat thus removing hard ions from
the water.

The replacement of calcium and magnesium by hyrdogen is based on the
same principle of home water softeners which replace with sodium.
However, as far as fish are concerned, replacing calcium with sodium
only substitutes one metallic ion with two others, thus true hardness is
not reduced.  But when calcium and magnesium are replaced with hydrogen,
the metallic ions are truely removed, thus hardness is dropped.
Furthermore, the addition of hydrogen ions increases acidity rather
noticeably.

Not all peat is effective for doing this because they lack the active
ingredients.  German peat and "Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss" do work well
for the aquarist.  I have found some that didn't work at all.  I
obtained 2.2 cubit feet of packed Canadian peat for $8 from a local
garden supply center.  They carry it seasonally, apparently during the
growing season.  (The didn't stock until April in Minnesota.)

As for conductivity, I need to conduct some tests to see how that is
affected.  If you look at the components I listed above, you will see
the net effect is that the ionic charge is dropped in half (the OH- ions
bond to form two extra water molecules).  Furthermore the metalic ions
give way to hydrogen ions.  This seems to suggest that conductivity is
reduced along with hardness, but I'm too much of a novice chemist to
affirm this.  (Input from chemists such as Doug Brown are welcome.)
Thus, I'll have to conduct some tests and report back.

--Randy



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RE: conductivity, peat, hardness

by plasticolor/guate.net
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

At 12:08 PM 11/07/1998, you wrote:
>On Sat, 11 Jul 1998 09:42:27 -0500,
>apisto-at-majordomo.pobox.com wrote...
>>IDMiamiBob-at-aol.com wrote:
>>
>>> I keep hearing about conductivity as a significant factor
>>> of water parameters.  But we never get reports of this
>>> from native water observations.  Is the equipment necessary
>>> too bulky or difficult to set up for use in the field?
>
>I have foun a web site about water testing and such instruments:
>"www.hannainst.com". The so called packet instruments (e.g. the Watertest 
>for 151$ to measure ph, conductivity, redox potential, and temperature) are 
>attractive to be bought. However, nobody advised me to buy water testing 
>instruments for hobby purpose. Allegedly they become incorrect after a 
>year. What are your opinions? Is it true in case of more up-to-date 
>measuring instruments?
> 

I have used the Hanna instruments and they are quite reliable under
laboratory conditions.  With small set-ups (10-12 tanks) and two daily
readings, even the small pocket models gave us 6-8 months of reliable data
(that`s around 5,000 readings).  LaMotte and Barnant make some benchtop
(single parameter) models which last for many years.  Hanna also makes
Multiparameter equipment.  I haven`t used all their ion-specific
electrodes, but those for pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates and nitrites have
been quite accurate at over 1,000 readings per electrode.
The hand-held models have given us some problems after approx. 4 months,
but that might be related to the fact that we have to travel back and forth
once a week from 6,000 feet above sea-level to sea-level, with temperature
fluctuations of over 20C, and after 10 hours in a boat, delicate equipment
does not receive the delicate treatment it deserves.  For home use these
meters are well worth their price.

Peter Rockstroh
plasticolor-at-guate.net


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peat reducing conductivity

by Randy or Deb Carey <carey/spacestar.net>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998
To: apisto-list <apisto/majordomo.pobox.com>

Doug Brown and I took this discussion off line.  He has just supplied me
with some numbers and an explanation for peat reducing the conductivity
of water.

Here are his readings of three waters.  The units are in microsiemens,
the unit for measuring of conductivity.

Tap - 260
Peat filtered tap - 160 (1 cup of sphagnum peat per gallon of hot water,

allowed to stand for a week)
Fish tanks - 340

Doug says that ions, not molecules, contribute to conductivity.  If you
recall my previous post, I showed that the chemical reaction occurring
as peat absorbs the Ca and Mg ions.  The result was a reduction of ions
by one half.  The hard metallic ions are replaced with hydrogen ions
(acidity), and some of those bond with OH (alkalinity) to form water.

If these chemicals were the only ones in the water, one might expect a
50% drop in conductivity, to 130.  Perhaps the additional 30
microseimens come from other impurities.  In any case, Doug has
demonstrated a notable drop in conductivity from the addition of peat.

The elevated reading for tank water is usually attributed to fish urine
and other biological waste that builds up in a tank.  Thus, regular
water changes helps to keep this conductivity build-up under control.
(And I'm assuming it would be worse had Doug not done any water
changes.)

--Randy


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Rainwater collection

by Frauley/Elson <fraulels/minet.ca>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Apflanzeneh-at-webtv.net wrote:
> 
> Hi all,
>        I am planning a fishroom of approximately 600 gals. My current
> method of water prep. would be unacceptable ( Tap water purifier, mixed
> bed D.i) for small applications presently, 220gals. this is o.k .
> Another alternative I know is r.o, but I think convincing my wife that
> its for household use, and not for my fish (after using 60-100 gals a
> week in my "room") just would'nt cut it! Plus my water is on a metering
> system and I pay for every last drop . We are on a limestone aquifier, (
> well water )
> Tapwater : pH. 8.2
> k.h 5  Tetra test ,
> gh. 9 Red sea test kit
>       Does anyone have any expierences with rainwater collection, pros.
> cons , different methods of collection?
>       Any input would be greatly appreciated!
> 
> Steve

Hi Steve

Rainwater's my staple for breeding apistos, killies and West Africans. I
collect it in a couple of 5 gallon buckets under the eaves spouts.
Oddly,  here it measures at pH 7.0 on the nose, in spite of my living in
a large-ish city (Montreal). We have severe acid rain problems an hour
to the north, but not here. I give it 24 hours in a 40 gallon, filtered
on charcoal in a little fluval. A few times, I've skipped the filtration
on all day heavy rain, with no problems.
Pros - cheap as could be, clean water.
cons - heavy buckets, irregular rainfall patterns (feast or famine),
storage

I don't collect for the first 15 minutes of a rainfall. I use snow in
the winter, with equal success.
-Gary


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Rainwater collection

by Mike Downey <windwalker/uky.campus.mci.net>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Hi!
I use strictly rain water collected from the house roof drain system. I
filter out particles with a cloth strainer. I raise West African dwarfs and
Corydoras. I think this is the best alternative to ro. I have no city water
and use the rain water for the house, but since it is held in a large
underground concrete tank the pH is a little high. The rain here in KY is
pH 7.0 . I find the dark blue 55 gallon plastic barrels are the best and
retard algae with their dark color.
Mike



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Rainwater collection -Reply

by <IDMiamiBob/aol.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

 William Vannerson-at- writes:

>  I'm
>  concerned about:
>  Cost (wooden barrels are expensive)

It's a one-time investment, and plastic barrels are cheaper.  Look for food-
safe ones.  I'm sure you should be able to get one in Chicago area from a
meat-packer (they get barrels of pickle-relish for pickle loaf) or some other
food processing place for well under $50.

>  Filtering out debris
>  Insect control (is screening adequate)

Screening over crafter's plastic canvas (for support) is adequate to keep out
both leaves from your roof, and bugs.  THe only insects I have ever seen in a
rain barrel are misquito larvae and bloodworms.  I don't think your fish would
mind sharing quarters with either of those.  I'm sure the arrangement would be
only temporary, at least from the fishes' point of view.

Bob Dixon


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Rainwater collection -Reply

by "Joe Anderson" <wja70/hotmail.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com


>I've often toyed with the idea of adding a "rain barrel" to one of my 
down
>spouts to collect water.  Anyone have experience with this?  I'm
>concerned about:

I have done this in the past for a 120 gal. community tank with
some apisto. macmasterii.  It worked very good for me.
However, keep in mind the "toxins" normally found in roofing materials.
I actually paid no real heed to this, and found it to be no real
problem.  But, enough people have warned against it that it must 
be a "real" issue.
Joe

______________________________________________________
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Rainwater continued

by Frauley/Elson <fraulels/minet.ca>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Apflanzeneh-at-webtv.net wrote:
> 
> (sorry I pushed send.)
> 
> My roof is ashphalt shingles, although 27 years old , this worries me
> this is an oil based product. Am I out of luck ?
> 
> Steve in not so rainy Vancouver (this  year)
> 
>Mine's 12 year old asphalt shingles, and I've had no problem. I've bred and raised a dozen apistos, plus West Africans with no weird results. If you're storing the water, keep it covered for dust and maybe circulate it. I'd drop an airstone in, although I usually forget to.
-Gary


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Rainwater collection -Reply

by Mike Downey <windwalker/uky.campus.mci.net>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

>>>I find the dark blue 55 gallon plastic barrels are the best and
>retard algae with their dark color.<<
>
>I've often toyed with the idea of adding a "rain barrel" to one of my down
>spouts to collect water.  Anyone have experience with this?  I'm
>concerned about:
>
>Cost (wooden barrels are expensive)
>Filtering out debris
>Insect control (is screening adequate)

Bill
I use a womans pantyhose leg over the downspout to catch debris. My wife
saves all the old pairs and I wash in 1 cup clorox bleach in 5 gals water
to remove any soap residue or other such things that could be there from
washing machine.
Mike



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Rainwater collection ( pros/ cons)

by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

After 3 years of constant exposure to the elements there is going to be
practically nothing that is water soluble left in your roofing for rain to
leach out.

>>Joe Anderson wrote : keep in mind the toxins normally found in roofing
>>materials.
>
>
>Tell us what toxins you refer to and at what rate they break down. I have a
>relatively new roof, 3 years, and still get some "grit" with a herd rain,
>but it filters out easily.
>Thanks
>Mike

-Doug Brown
debrown-at-kodak.com



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peat

by Randy or Deb Carey <carey/spacestar.net>
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Peat reduces hardness and lowers pH.  We've discussed this to some length in
previous posts, so I assume that the discussion is in the archives.

But not all peat works this way.  (Peat comes from different parts of the world
and in different grades.)  I have read this as well as experienced this.  I have
had luck with, and have heard good recommendations for, Canadian Sphagnum Peat
Moss.  I got over 2 cubic feet for $8 from a garden center.  But it is a seasonal
product (growing season), so look for it now or you may be waiting until next
Spring. The best stuff is supposed to be German Peat, but apparently that is hard
to get (and expensive).

--Randy


Ade K. Lau wrote:

> Hi List,
>     I am wondering if anyone has used this peat before and is it good
> lowering the hardness and pH of water? Premier Sphagnum Peat Moss Tourbe
> 3.8 cu ft.  I visited their site and they didn't talk about much of the
> peat moss. I want a peat that will lower the hardness and pH so that I
> can start keeping some difficult apistos. Thanks
>
> Ade Lau
> adelau-at-uwyo.edu
> ps) Possible I can get it at Wal-mart most preferred.
>
>

PGHAQ-at-aol.com wrote:

>    Just as long as it don't contain fertilizers in it, It should work. TIM
>





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Peat filtration.

by Jim Atchison <jim/atchison.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

ProfPhilo@aol.com wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> thanks for all the imput on my previous inquiries, this list is great!
>
> In a previous email it was said that one should boil peat for 15 min
> before
> using.
> I am thinking about using peat in one of my tanks and wondered why
> this was.

Boiling drives the air out of the peat and makes it sink. I don't know
that 15 minutes would be enough time to get the peat I use to sink. Some
might be damper and take less time than the stuff I have available. I
microwave it instead...in water of course...for 30 minutes. Then let it
cool.

> Is it to release toxins? or to break down the peat somehow?

In all likelyhood there would be no appreciable breakdown in 15 minutes
(or even my 30 minute microwave routine. There would need to be more
heat applied (longer and maybe hotter) to have much effect on bacteria
etc.

> What happens if you don't boil it?

It will float.

> will it not work?

It will make a mess.

> I was under the impression that you just got the stuff wet and put it
> in the
> filter (in a mesh bag etc..)

I use a nylon stocking...it hangs in a corner of the tank.

> How long does it take for the pH to drop after filtering with peat?

With our water...next day generally...drops for a few and then
stableizes.
Take care,
Jim

--
High Prairie Farms
Freshwater Aquarium Fishes
San Rafael, California
415-472-7294 (phone)     415-472-7971 (fax)
http://www.atchison.com/highprairiefarms.html
LIVE FOODS!  http://www.atchison.com/live.htm



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buffering

by "Helen Burns" <hlnburns/thefree.net>
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998
To: <apisto/majordomo.pobox.com>

-----Original Message-----
From: Mayalauren@aol.com <Mayalauren@aol.com>


>I have very soft water, here in NY, and I use a lot of driftwood, leaves
and
>peat.I'd like to keep my pH around 6 but it usually bottoms out at 5.
>Jason

Jason,
Our water here in Glasgow, Scotland is the same.  I rectify this is by
puting a small amount of coral gravel in my filter.  If the tank is filtered
with just air-driven sponge filtration put some coral gravel in a piece of
nylon stocking and place in tank or add a box filter with a little in it.
Helen




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Peat filtration.

by "Steve Waldron" <swaldron/slip.net>
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com


T
>Micheal writes:
>
>> 
>>   All true, but here in Northern California we don't have spaghnum bogs.
>>   If you buy green moss here, even if the bag says it's spaghnum, it aint
>>   so. It is moss from the redwood and fir forests( what's left of them:-(
>>   that is  stripped from the trees, rocks and floor. There is a big
>>   difference in the two and the green stuff from here shouldn't be used.
>
 Actually, we do have sphagnum bogs around the Klamath/Lassen area- a lot of
endangered, unique plants inhabit them, wouldn't advise collecting. I am not
sure what fish application you need sphagnum for, but I use local ostrich
plume moss collected from downed trees for my terrariums- nice stuff. You
can buy organic sphagnum moss at orchid stores (easy to find in San
Francisco) or mail order from OFE in Florida.
- Steve


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Peat filtration.

by Randy or Deb Carey <carey/spacestar.net>
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

The Sept issue of TFH has a thorough article on peat filtration.  ..."must"
reading for the serious aquarist.

In short, not all peat is as effective:  the pH of peat can range from the 3's
(very effective) to 7.0 (not effective).  Recommended is Canadian Sphagnum Peat.

Reagrding the boiling of peat:  One experienced hobbyist wrote that he was unable
to spawn Congo tetras until he stopped boiling the peat that he used in
filtration of the spawning water.  I'm not sure why this is, but apparently he
lost something beneficial by boiling it.

--Randy

ProfPhilo@aol.com wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> thanks for all the imput on my previous inquiries, this list is great!
> In a previous email it was said that one should boil peat for 15 min before
> using.
> I am thinking about using peat in one of my tanks and wondered why this was.
> Is it to release toxins? or to break down the peat somehow?
> What happens if you don't boil it? will it not work?
> I was under the impression that you just got the stuff wet and put it in the
> filter (in a mesh bag etc..)
> How long does it take for the pH to drop after filtering with peat?
>
> thanks in advance,
> --curious Tarah
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is the apistogramma mailing list, apisto@majordomo.pobox.com.
> For instructions on how to subscribe or unsubscribe or get help,
> email apisto-request@majordomo.pobox.com.
> Search http://altavista.digital.com for "Apistogramma Mailing List Archives"!




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Peat filtration.

by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Peat, despite being a solid, has a pH associated with it. Canadian sphagnum
peat has a typical pH of 3 to 5. This is the pH that will be obtained when
the peat is put in distilled or RO water. BTW, I think some of you are
confusing sphagnum moss with sphagnum peat moss. The moss grows in trees,
the peat moss is the dead stuff on the ground (actually in peat bogs)
composed primarily but not entirely of decomposing sphagnum moss. Also,
only the top few millimeters of peat moss are harvested from peat bogs
(using giant vacuums), so what you buy in the stores is "young" peat often
estimated at 8% or so decomposed.

Especially in young peat, the organic acid functional groups will be
connected to long molecular chains and hence are not part of soluble
solids. Boiling peat will remove some tannic and other acids - some of this
occurs simply from hydrolysis which is from the boiling aiding in
decomposition. However, the increased surface area obtained from removing
all the air from the peat might more than make up for what you lose. If you
want peat to have the quickest effect possible on pH and hardness boiling
is probably the way to go.

Hope this helps.

-Doug Brown
debrown@kodak.com



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Peat filtration. -Reply

by William Vannerson <William_Vannerson/ama-assn.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

>>The fire traveled down to the peat layer, and the smoke came up out
of the ground for miles around for almost two weeks, as the combustion
spread throughout the area. Since the peat was twenty to forty feet
below the surface, there was no effective way to fight the "fire".<<

Some peat fires have been known to linger for years.  They are virtually
impossible to yextinguish.

Bill Vannerson
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/william_vannerson


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Peat filtration.

by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

>debrown@kodak.com writes:
>
>> only the top few millimeters of peat moss are harvested from peat bogs
>>  (using giant vacuums), so what you buy in the stores is "young" peat often
>>  estimated at 8% or so decomposed.
>
>Really?  Would the stuff down deeper be more effective for our purposes, or
>simply too far gone?

An interesting question. It would almost certainly be more effective (at
least to some degree) as with more decomposition you'd get more acid groups
which would in turn soften the water more and provide more acidity.

The reason for harvesting only the surface (I meant to say top few inches,
see explanation below) is allegedly ecological. It is estimated that what
they harvest is replaced naturally in 5-10 years. Another factor to keep in
mind though is supply and demand. I have seen reports that estimate Canada
could easily provide as much as 100 times as much peat as they currently do
using their current operation with the same system of harvesting then
returning the bogs to wetlands to recover.

>Bob Dixon
>PS... I've seen the stuff growing on the ground, but never in trees.  I've
>seen other mosses in trees, but not sphagnum.

You are completely correct. I plead insanity. I'm buying a house and am
hallucinating from the "excitement". Sphagnum moss grows on the ground, on
the top of peat bogs in fact!

-Doug Brown
debrown@kodak.com



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Peat filtration.

by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Dry acid is sodium bisulfate. It will form sulfuric acid and lower pH when
added to water.

>Another alternative that won't promote algae growth is sulphuric acid.  It is
>available in the States as "Dry acid" in swimming pool stores.  I would
>suspect it is available there also.

-Doug Brown
debrown@kodak.com



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reducing water hardness for breeding discus

by "David A. Youngker" <nestor10/mindspring.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999
To: <apisto/majordomo.pobox.com>

>> As far as I know using peat through your filter will lower the pH in
>>  your tank, but I don't think it actually lowers the hardness.

>Yep.  It really does.  SOmehow the things that come out of the peat will
bind
>the minerals in the water and then... I don't know exactly.  I think it
forces
>them to precipitate.
>
>Bob Dixon

The *somehow* is cationic exchange. Sphagnum peat is recommended most often
because it is usually the richest source of hydrogen ions.

It lowers your pH by dumping H+ into the mix, effectively consuming the
alkalinity. It lowers calcium and magnesium hardness because those divalent
ions readily fill the "holes" left through the loss of the hydrogen. As this
is merely an exchange and the peat is "absorbing" those ions, nothing
precipitates but wet peat.

The degree of acidification and softening on your water supply depends in
the largest part on the availability of the hydrogen from the particular
sample of peat you're using. This can vary not only between sources but
between samples from the same source. It also hinges on the balance of
general hardness and alkalinity.

I thought this was old hat for the list...

-Y-

David A. Youngker
http://www.mindspring.com/~nestor10
nestor10@mindspring.com




Peat and Carbon

by Doug Brown <debrown/kodak.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

To some extent maybe, as the activated carbon will certainly absorb tannic
and humic acids. It might take a lot to actually change the pH much though.
The real point is that what the peat adds to your water will quickly make
the carbon useless.

>The carbon will remove the nice colour but will it stop the
>acidifying/softening effect?
>Ken.
>
>ps Happy New Year everyone.
>
>On Wed, 6 Jan 1999 10:40:59 -0500 (EST) Doug Brown
><debrown@kodak.com> wrote:
>
>> Yes, peat moss and activated carbon will work at cross purposes.
>
>*****************************
>Ken Laidlaw
>UK Astronomy Technology Centre
>Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
>Web: http://www.roe.ac.uk
>*****************************

-Doug Brown
debrown@kodak.com




mixing water

by Fi205sh/aol.com
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

In a message dated 99-01-15 02:15:13 EST, you write:

<< Some fish, like Diicrossus filamentosus have adjusted to water so soft that
 they will only spawn at hardness levels of less than 10ppm.  >>

I have kept & bred D. filamentosus & maculatus in Milwaukee tap water, DH & KH
of 10, pH of 7.6 out of the tap. I also had T. candidi spawn in a bare 10 in
tap water, also Satanoperca daemon in tap water, discus, innumerable Apisto's,
and west africans. I did not get fry from the Dicrossus or candidi or the
daemon untill I softened the water a little. I run about 80ppm tap and R-O mix
in my soft tanks.

I always feel that feeding and regular water changes are the best influences
on spawning behavior. I didn't bother with water chemistry untill I tried to
spawn S. daemon whose eggs wouldn't hatch in tap water, so I broke down and
bought an R-O unit. 

I still keep most "soft water" fish in tap water & have yet to find a fish I
really worked who would not spawn in it. When the eggs refuse to hatch is when
I start adjusting since I'm lazy and you have to keep a close watch on water
parameters when you remove the buffering capacity. I am a chemist by
profession & manage a lab so I don't want to be a chemist at home.

Tom Wojtech


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Rainwater pH

by krombhol/teclink.net (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999

>From: IDMiamiBob@aol.com
>
>It should be 7.0, because it is a s close to pure as water gets in nature.  So
>pollution is hurting your water supply.
>

Pure rainwater, or, more accurately, rainwater unpolluted by any man-made
products, has a pH of 5.5 to 6 or so, rather than 7, because it absorbs
some carbon dioxide from the air.  Part of the dissolved CO2 reacts with
the water to produce carbonic acid.

A number of years ago, I was part of a nationwide survey of rainwater
conducted by the Audubon Society.  They supplied me with materials for
collecting rainwater and measuring its pH with little dye-indicator sticks
that had three different pH indicators, giving a range from over 7 to below
3, accurate to 0.5 pH unit.  My results indicated that the rain in central
Mississippi was unpolluted with a pH around 5.5 from late fall through late
spring.  During this period rain falls from warm, moist air brought up from
the Gulf of Mexico.  During the summer and early fall period, rain can fall
from air that has been over land for some time and become polluted.  On
several occasions I got pH's as low as 3 during this period, and the
typical value was between 5.5 and 4.0.


Paul Krombholz, in cool central Mississippi, with warm air on the way. 


re: pH of RO water

by Mark Fisher <Mark.Fisher/tpwd.state.tx.us>
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 1999

>Question 1: My tap water is pretty much crap for growing plants.
>Its got a pH of about 8.6-8.8 depending on when I measure it.
>Its also hard as nails.  

Your tap water may have a high pH because the treatment process has
removed all the dissolved CO2.  Since you have hard water, the treatment
plant may be softening your water a bit to help reduce scale buildup in
pipes.  They generally do this by raising the pH and precipitating out
some of the Ca and Mg.  At this pH, all the CO2 changes to carbonate,
CO3. 

An easy way to check this is to aerate a bucket of your tap water for 48
hours.  If the pH drops to 7.5 or so, then it is the removal of CO2
that's causing a high pH at the tap.  Aeration sure is a lot cheaper and
easier than RO.  For faster results, try injecting CO2 into straight tap
water, and see what the resulting pH is.

There's nothing wrong with hard water for growing plants.

Regards,

Mark


re: pH hell [2nd reply]

by "David A. Youngker" <nestor10/mindspring.com>
Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999
To: "Apisto List" <apisto/majordomo.pobox.com>

First a little background philosophy to support my stance. Forgive me if you
find this repetitive or basic.

I mentioned that an acid and its salt are required to form a buffer. It's a
two-part requirement in order to attain the stability imparted by the
buffering agent. Both sides of an acid reaction revolve around hydrogen ion
exchanges, leaving both proton donors and acceptors available to "absorb"
changes of state. Stability of the buffer can be increased or softened
through varying concentrations while pH or pOH controlled by means of the
mix's proportional ratios.

(For those with a penchant for numbers, stability is optimized at
concentrations in the range of 0.1 - 1.0 Molar. A working pH range of
plus/minus 1.0 around the equilibrium can be achieved by varying the
acid-to-salt ratio from 1:10 through 10:1.)

Using two or more competing buffers to increase the working range of pH
values also increases the amount of change between the endpoints, as you
have discovered. This makes true stability a fragile thing, balanced
essentially on knife-edge. And since we're still working within log scales,
it's not at all difficult to go wrong. Imagine the havoc this would create
in natural systems, then ask yourself, "Well then, just why do *we* try to
work that way?"

Natural buffering and pH control depends chiefly on one simple ingredient:
carbon dioxide. Not solely in its gaseous state, though, but in vast stores
of carbonates and bicarbonates and the carbonic acid providing the system's
driving force. Think about the implications of that for a moment.

We're all aware of the carbonic acid cycle, but I bring it up for
illustrative purposes. Introducing gaseous carbon dioxide to an aqueous
environment produces carbonic acid, bicarbonates and carbonates along the
lines of

CO2 + H2O <=> H2CO3 <=> H+ + HCO3- <=> 2H+ + CO3--

This is a *really* handy equation that can be entered into and altered at
any stage to give you almost complete control over a wide range of values.
The form of carbon dioxide that you add or remove in these distinct stages
couldn't make adjustments much easier. And best of all, it's totally
self-reliant in a subtle way - while the surrounding atmosphere will
continue to contain all of the CO2 you can pump into it, water can dissolve
only limited amounts. The other end is equally limited in the amount of
carbonates that can remain dissolved without precipitating. Excesses can be
removed from the reaction at either end and stored, automatically.

We see the practical application of this in the majority of freshwater
systems (I haven't looked into the marine side in enough detail to make the
same statement there). We see specific use made of it in natural processes
like biogenic decalcification. We even plot out its predictable patterns in
things like the pH/KH charts that aquatic gardeners believe holy. But for
some reason, the idea just must seem too simplistic for everyday uses such
as water changes. We've just "gotta" be able to walk that fine edge,
balancing on the knife again by creating chemical soups rather than
normalized, naturalized environments.

Phosphates aren't necessary, even were they desirable. Dual-buffer
tug-of-wars can, as you've stated, lead to anal-retentive behavior in the
pursuit of chemical "nirvana". "Bull'sEye", ProperpH and similar products
exist for the same reason diet pills do - we want an answer in a bottle.

You already have all of the control you need, as well as the only investment
necessary, in the higher-quality DI unit you're using. Especially since
you're trying for a degree of hardness less than your source water. The
"pure" water coming from the DI means that you can pinpoint a specific pH or
KH for the maintenance tanks with just some simple math. Hardness values are
reduced in direct proportion to the amount of pure water added to the mix.
The 2:1 ratio you were using would cut your starting values to 1/3, meaning
your GH of 190 ppm (10.6º DH) and KH of 130 ppm (7.3º) would be cut to 63
ppm (3.5º) and 43 ppm (2.4º) respectively. These values are certainly very
close to natural - perhaps a touch extra buffering. It would go further in
explaining the vibrancy of the fishes' coloring than would a slightly lower
pH value.

I have to throw my hat into the "don't mess with it further" ring, if for
nothing else than the nature of the resultant water.

Should you find it necessary to alter the chemistry a little more toward the
"black water" end of things, say for the breeding period, then Dave Gomberg
is correct - use the acid of choice when Nature *does* decide to play
chemist. Black water systems that use humic acids for buffering don't
compete with carbonate buffers. They virtually replace them as the
predominate buffering agent through their dissociative free hydrogen ions,
in effect exhausting the "alkalinity" to gain control. The easiest, most
efficient method for us to introduce these humics is, of course, peat
filtration. The control here is gained through the amount of peat exposed to
the water, controlling the amount of hydrogen introduced. Since the peat
also provides cationic exchange services for the divalent hardness cations,
it performs "time-and-a-half" for us in other areas, too. Again going with
his suggestion, start with small quantities and work your way up until you
reach your intended goal.

I will add this to what has got to be a much simpler way of "experimenting".
When working with peat, especially when trying to determine the proper
amounts, its effectiveness tapers off drastically after 48 hours' exposure.
In other words, the difference between 2 days and 2 weeks is not of any
significance, so you can safely draw your conclusions on the second day.

-Y-

David A. Youngker
http://www.mindspring.com/~nestor10
nestor10@mindspring.com






re: pH hell [2nd reply] cor.

by "David A. Youngker" <nestor10/mindspring.com>
Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999
To: "Apisto List" <apisto/majordomo.pobox.com>

Sorry for the additional post - was reading the original before discarding
and should correct para 10, sentence 2:

'The "pure" water coming from the DI means that you can pinpoint a specific
pH or KH for the maintenance tanks with just some simple math.'

phrase should be "specific GH or KH"

but then, you knew that...

-Y-




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Peat water and water parameters

by IDMiamiBob/aol.com
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999
To: apisto/pudge.listbox.com

Colin writes:

> 
>  Does anybody around here knows the way peat reduces the hardness ?
>  Is it by some kind of exchange like resins ?

As I understand it, the carbonate hardness (alkalinity) is redieced by the
standard acid-buffer reaction that converts the carbonate to CO2 and H20.  THe
general hardness is reduced by the Ca and Mg getting bound chemically to the
peat fibers.  Overall, you end up with more total dissolved solids, but
lowered conductivity, because the compounds the peat adds are not ionic in
nature.

Bob Dixon


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tannic acid in powdered form

by Marco Lacerda <marcolacerda/ax.apc.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999
To: apisto/admin.listbox.com

> I've never heard of this before.  If it exists, who makes it and where can a
> person get it?
> 
> G. Kadar

I buy it in Brazil, in a company based in Sao Paulo, but they import it 
from overseas, probably from USA or Germany.
I suggest you check it with a Chemical comapany in US, it shouldn't be 
difficult to find it.
Some Apisto books (if I'm not wrong Koslowski's book) suggest that good 
acid water can be prepared with a combination of tanic acid (mostly for 
brown color, as it is a "weak" acid and does not drop much pH values) 
and HCl. But unfortunately no quantities are given, neither by Römer or 
in the aquarium booksŠ




pH mythology.

by Wright Huntley <huntley1/home.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999

There have been a number of panicky notes to the digest, recently, worrying
about pH change hurting fish. Those folks should relax a bit, IMO. Look
elsewhere.

Much of aquaria chemistry has been messed up by confused authors and poor
translations, Perhaps nowhere is the gospel more deeply entrenched than in
the area of pH-change damaging fish. Well folks, it doesn't. Really!

I can abruptly change the pH of the water of very delicate fish by as much
as two full points and cannot observe any alteration in their behaviour.
Others have reported more than three points (1000:1 sudden change in proton
concentration) with absolutely *no* ill effects. See Scheel's _Atlas of
Killifishes..._, TFH, for example.

In the general range of 4 to 10, most fish probably cannot feel the pH by
any known sensory mechanism. Rapid changes of pH often have been blamed for
what was really tds-change-damage or nitrite/ammonia toxicity.

Hard water frequently has a higher pH than distilled or de-ionized water. If
you dump fish into the softer water, the pH sure does drop, and the fish
most certainly die. Works every time. The cause is the change in osmotic
pressure that bursts cells in skin and gills before the regulating
mechanisms can react. pH has nothing to do with it.

If you have a lot of ammonium (harmless) in solution, a sudden rise in pH
will release copious amounts of deadly ammonia as the equilibrium condition
changes. Less common is the increase in toxicity of nitrites at *lowered* pH
(<5 or 6).

In heavily-planted tanks with lots of photosynthesis/respiration, ammonia
and nitrite are really hard to detect. pH changes under the circumstances
should have no effect at all on fish.

There are a few, rare, pH-related effects seen in breeding wild rainforest
fishes, but I suggest the concerns expressed here should be directed toward
changes in osmicity and nitrogen-compound toxicity problems. The pH itself
is not the cause of fish distress. [Even in those rare cases mentioned, it
is usually calcium ions that disrupt the breeding process or eggs and not pH
directly.]

pH changes don't hurt fish. Osmicity changes need to be gradual, to allow
the regulation to adjust. If you have ammonium/ammonia, slow change will be
every bit as deadly as quick change of pH.

Since I'm attacking some emotionally-held "faith," guess I had better raise
my flame shield, now. (^_^)

Wright

- -- 
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntleyone at home dot com

         "DEMOCRACY" is two wolves and a lamb voting on lunch.
     "LIBERTY" is a well-armed lamb denying enforcement of the vote.
             *** http://www.self-gov.org/index.html ***


checking water parameters

by Mike & Diane Wise <apistowise/bewellnet.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

John,

Graham Rowe once told me that his water (Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia) is so
soft that he and other aquarists have to put a little carbonate gravel in their
grow-out tanks or a lot of the fry grow up with spinal deformities. He believes
that the lack of calcium in the water is the cause and that the food doesn't
provide enough. What ever the reason, it works for him. As for pH, each species
has its own tolerance range, but I doubt that any fish can survive in a pH <3 for
very long.

Mike Wise

John Wubbolt wrote:

> Can water get too soft for apistos and can
> it be too acidic for them?   John
>
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Ph which chems??

by "Cory and Susanne Williamson" <webwill/infinet.net>
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000
To: <apisto/majordomo.pobox.com>

Crushed oyster shells (available as a bird supplement) work well too.

Cory
----- Original Message -----
From: John Wubbolt <BigJohnW@webtv.net>
To: <apisto@majordomo.pobox.com>
Sent: February 1, 2000 6:50 AM
Subject: RE: Ph which chems??


> Hey gooch
> How high do you need to raise the pH.  If you only need to stabilize it
> only a cup full of dolomite will do the trick without causing your water
> to harden too much.   If the tank is heavily planted the plants will go
> nuts in there too.   The stuff given off ( trying not to be technical)
> will be used by the plants giving your tank a nice balance.    A buddy
> of mine is really into planted tanks, i'm not, and his pH crashes with
> all his plants and soft soft water, so he uses a small nylon bag with a
> cup full of dolomite in the back of each tank to keep it from having a
> pH crash.   Works great for him now and his pH has leveled off in what
> he calls a nice workable range.
>
> John
>
>
>
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Archives"!
>




Ph which chems??

by Mike & Diane Wise <apistowise/bewellnet.com>
Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2000
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

Cory,

Very true and shell, being the Aragonite crystal form of CaCO3 instead of being
the calcite form of limestone and dolomite, is more soluble in water so it will
affect the pH more quickly.

Mike Wise

Cory and Susanne Williamson wrote:

> Crushed oyster shells (available as a bird supplement) work well too.
>
> Cory
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: John Wubbolt <BigJohnW@webtv.net>
> To: <apisto@majordomo.pobox.com>
> Sent: February 1, 2000 6:50 AM
> Subject: RE: Ph which chems??
>
> > Hey gooch
> > How high do you need to raise the pH.  If you only need to stabilize it
> > only a cup full of dolomite will do the trick without causing your water
> > to harden too much.   If the tank is heavily planted the plants will go
> > nuts in there too.   The stuff given off ( trying not to be technical)
> > will be used by the plants giving your tank a nice balance.    A buddy
> > of mine is really into planted tanks, i'm not, and his pH crashes with
> > all his plants and soft soft water, so he uses a small nylon bag with a
> > cup full of dolomite in the back of each tank to keep it from having a
> > pH crash.   Works great for him now and his pH has leveled off in what
> > he calls a nice workable range.
> >
> > John
> >
> >
> >
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> > For instructions on how to subscribe or unsubscribe or get help,
> > email apisto-request@listbox.com.
> > Search http://altavista.digital.com for "Apistogramma Mailing List
> Archives"!
> >
>
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Peat Questions

by IDMiamiBob/aol.com
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000

Stuart writes:

> I am interested in using peat both as a means of acidifying / softening 
water 
> and potentially as a substrate addtion.  My problem is that I am not sure 
> which form of peat available in Australia matches that which is used 
> elsewhere.  I have found various descriptions which lead me to different 
> conclusions.
>  
>  I am able to buy Peat in four forms.
>  1) An expensive granulated form from an aquarium / LFS.
>  2) In a mini-bale from a gardening supply store.  This is black and 
crumbly 
> and resembles dirt with some decayed organic matter in it.
>  3) As sphagnum moss from a gardening supply store.  This consists of pale 
> brown or green branched, fibrous strands of moss.
>  4) As compressed bricks or pellets from a gardening supply store.  These 
are 
> dry, hard and pale brown and supposedly swell to many times their original 
> size when placed in water.
<snip>>  

You want the sphagnum peat, not the sphagnum moss.  The difference is the 
peat rotted out in the bog before it was collected.  The moss that is still 
green doesn't have the correct chemistry to do what you want.

>It is my understanding that peat bogs are formed from sphagnum moss.  But I 
am not >sure whether it is the surface or the decayed matter that is useful 
in an aquarium >situation.

Sphagnum peat bogs are.  There are a number of other peats, mostly related to 
rotten trees.

Bob Dixon


RE: Peat Questions

by "James Purchase" <jpurch/interlog.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000

Stuart W asked some questions about "peat":

> I am interested in using peat both as a means of acidifying /
> softening water and potentially as a substrate addtion.  My
> problem is that I am not sure which form of peat available in
> Australia matches that which is used elsewhere.  I have found
> various descriptions which lead me to different conclusions.

You are not alone in your confusion. Both this list and the USENET
newsgroups frequently contain similar requests.
>
> I am able to buy Peat in four forms.
> 1) An expensive granulated form from an aquarium / LFS.
> 2) In a mini-bale from a gardening supply store.  This is black
> and crumbly and resembles dirt with some decayed organic matter in it.
> 3) As sphagnum moss from a gardening supply store.  This consists
> of pale brown or green branched, fibrous strands of moss.
> 4) As compressed bricks or pellets from a gardening supply store.
>  These are dry, hard and pale brown and supposedly swell to many
> times their original size when placed in water.
>
> It is my understanding that peat bogs are formed from sphagnum
> moss.  But I am not sure whether it is the surface or the decayed
> matter that is useful in an aquarium situation.

The term "peat" can and is used to refer to the undecayed remains of a
number of different bog plants. The main reason that the material remains
"undecayed" is that the pH of the material and the water that they sit in is
low enoough to inhibit or prevent the growth of those types of bacteria
which would break down and mineralize the dead plant tissue.

Sphagnum peat is the most commonly available type (commercially), purely due
to the fact that countries like Canada (especially) and the United States
have enormous acerages of Sphagnum moss bogs which are harvested as
renewable resources. Various species of Sphagnum also occur over much of
northern Europe. It makes very little/no difference _which_ species of
Sphagnum you use - they all seem to have the same effect(i.e. adsorb Ca++
and Mg++ ions, lowering the hardness of the water and releasing H+ ions,
lowering the pH). But "peat" can be formed from other bog plants and sedges,
and they might not have the same qualities we are looking for - so look for
"Sphagnum Peat" on the label.

As you note, peat is avaiailable in several "form factors". Which you use
depends upon your intended purpose.

> 1) An expensive granulated form from an aquarium / LFS.

Hagen (Fluval), Eheim, Sera, and a few other companies sell processed peat
for use in aquariums. As you note, it is expensive (at least relative to the
other forms which you can get from a garden center), but it is also totally
"safe" for use in an aquarium - i.e. there are no added fertilizers or other
additives which could cause problems. Basically, these products are merely
finely ground sphagnum peat which has been processed (compressed) into
little balls.

Personally, I have found that a little goes a long way - the finer the
grind, the stronger the action. I have used this type in substrates, but I
find that it is a little strong in its action, and it is easy to use too
much.

> 2) In a mini-bale from a gardening supply store.  This is black
> and crumbly and resembles dirt with some decayed organic matter in it.

A less "processed" form of the above. This is the type which most people
would use in an aquarium. Make sure that it is labelled as pure Sphagnum
Peat and that it contains _no_ additives (like fertilizers). If used to
soften/acidify water, it should be encased in a fine mesh bag (i.e. old
nylon stocking) to prevent the fine particles from fouling the water column.
It will definately leach tannins and color your water yellow/brown. If you
find this objectionable, most of the color can be removed by the use of
activated carbon before you use the water in your aquariums.

If you are thinking of adding peat to your substrate, this is the type to
look for (it's cheap and effective).

> 3) As sphagnum moss from a gardening supply store.  This consists
> of pale brown or green branched, fibrous strands of moss.

An "unmilled" version of the product - you can actually see the individual
plants and tell that they are mosses. Used mainly as a spawning medium to
hold eggs by killie enthusiasts. The acidic nature of the moss helps to
inhibit molds which could attact the eggs. I have never used this type of
peat to soften/acidify water but I would guess that its action would be
milder than either of the earlier two.

> 4) As compressed bricks or pellets from a gardening supply store.
>  These are dry, hard and pale brown and supposedly swell to many
> times their original size when placed in water.

A slightly more processed (compressed) form of #2. Again, make sure that it
is labelled as pure Sphagnum Peat and contains no fertilizers or additives.
Can be used interchangeably with #2.

Hope that this helps.

James Purchase
Toronto


Peat Questions

by Neil Frank <nfrank/mindspring.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000

>From: "Robert H" <robertpaulh@earthlink.net>
> However, even spahgnum peat
>should be used very sparingly in the substrate. The last thing you want is
>any concentration of decaying organic matter in the substrate. Things can go
>foul pretty quickly, particularly if the substrate becomes compact. I used
>peat "plates" for the aquarium and within six months they turned jet black,
>smelled like rotten eggs, and created or contributed to large dead zones in
>my substrate.
>
>When I later used sphagnum, I only sprinkled a couple of handfulls across
>the bottom of the tank. The main benifit it holds is providing some CEC and
>enough organic acid to bring some minerals into solution. If you use enough
>to alter the pH of the water, you have far too much in the substrate.

I have a 70 gallon tank in operation now for ~7 years with a sphagnum peat
moss substrate. I used a HUGE quantity of peat -- the bottom 1.5 inch layer
is 50% peat/50% coarse sand. This is covered by another inch of plain
coarse sand. I used so much peat that I did not bother first soaking it....
it came straight from the large bag. This tank has been EXTREMELY
successful. The first 5 years of operation, it did not require any
supplemental CO2!! When the tank went into decline at that time, I finally
figured out that there no longer was enough organic decomposition to
provide CO2. The substrate did not seem to get compacted.  I only lightly
gravel washed it 3 or so times in its history. If the bottom layer is
anerobic, healthy plants with thick roots certainly don't care. I was first
disappointed that the initial planting of crypts and chain swords quickly
converted into a primarily chain sword tank (I picked peat to pease the
crypts); the several varieties of crypts went "underground" and then
re-emerged in year 2 or 3 to my delight. They still come and go. I love
those types of surprises. BTW, this is the tank featured in the premiere
issue of PAM.
- --Neil


pH hogwash?

by Bob Ashcraft <bashcraft/brashearlp.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000

On Thu, 21 Sep 2000 George Booth wrote:

> > Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 09:44:54 -0400
> > From: Bob Ashcraft <bashcraft@brashearlp.com>
> > Subject: Re: pH hogwash?
> >
> > I have expressed my opinions on other boards about pH shock being a
> > myth, and was flamed to the point where I just gave up.
> 
> What would be the symptoms of "pH shock", if there were such a thing?
> 
> George Booth in Ft. Collins, Colorado (booth@frii.com)
>   http://www.frii.com/~booth/AquaticConcepts
> 

Personally, I've never witnessed symptoms that I would attribute to "pH
shock", even when moving fish between tanks that I knew had a large pH
difference.

The following are quotes from replies I received when I expressed my
personal opinion on the subject:

"A .4 pH difference would be almost certain death. If not right away
then after a little time."

"A difference of more than 0.4 could cause pH shock and even death
within 48 hours if
acclimated too quickly. You should acclimate for about 1 hour for every
tenth of a point difference in pH you suspect may be possible (i.e. 8.0
pH to 7.0 pH should take 10 hours)."


If I were to accept this as being even close to accurate, my fish should
all be dead.

Bob Ashcraft
Pittsburgh, PA


pH shock

by Merrill <merrill34/home.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000

Y'all,

There *is* such a thing known as pH shock, but it is mostly experienced
by importers of fish.

It is true that the ponds in Florida, where so many tropical fish are
raised, fluctuate from up to 6.0 in some areas at night to 8.5 or more
during the day and there is *no* effect on the fish.  It is probably
true elsewhere in nature. Of course, this change is over hours -- not
immediate.

However, particularly in the importation of *some* varieties of
freshwater fish and *most* MARINE FISH, without slow acclimation the
fish will either "faint" or die because of a rapid change from the acid
condition in the shipping bag to the alkaline condition in the receiving
aquariums.

Moving fish from a varience of 1.0 or 2.0 differences in pH in aquariums
does not normally cause pH shock, but ask your dealers if they have ever
had fish faint.  That's it, fellow hobbyists! (I've handled millions of
fish and can prove it easily!)

Merrill Cohen
Pikesville, MD


pH hogwash

by IDMiamiBob/aol.com
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000

Bob Ashcroft writes:


<< The following are quotes from replies I received when I expressed my
personal opinion on the subject:

"A .4 pH difference would be almost certain death. If not right away
then after a little time."

"A difference of more than 0.4 could cause pH shock and even death
within 48 hours if
acclimated too quickly. You should acclimate for about 1 hour for every
tenth of a point difference in pH you suspect may be possible (i.e. 8.0
pH to 7.0 pH should take 10 hours)."


If I were to accept this as being even close to accurate, my fish should
all be dead. >>

I'll jump in on Bob's side here.  I have dropped pH levels from 7.8 to 6.0 
over a period of an hour with no losses.  However, if going the other 
direction in an established, medium-to-heavy stocked tank, the pH shift will 
kick dissolved ammonium to give off H+ ions and become ammonia.  The 
resultant increase in ammonia can and WILL lead to gill damage that kills the 
fish.  Since I concentrate my efforts on South American fish, I never go from 
acid to base, so I don't worry about it.  The only time that it might become 
a problem is if a 20% water change from my 7.6pH tap might be enough to trip 
off the conversion.  But then, I would at the same time be reducing the 
NH4/NH3 concentration anyway, so I haven't had that happen yet, either.

Bob Dixon
Cichlid Trader List Administrator       º o
http://cichlidtrader.listbot.com               0
                                                  ><}}})º>


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