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Pygmy hatchetfish: pH and light questions


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#1 Okashiko

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 06:58 PM

Hey all,
I recently acquired a 12 gallon Aquapod and decided to convert it into a new planted community tank. I did a little bit of research on what community fish would be good for a small tank like that, and ultimately decided on getting 6 harlequin rasboras and 6 pygmy hatchetfish. They seemed to be nice, compatible community fish with similar requirements. Both fish species like soft, acidic water - especially the hatchetfish, which likes a pH of 6.5 or lower.
I read that the hatchetfish can be a little bit delicate, so I'm somewhat concerned with the water parameters in my tank. Unfortunately, even with a hunk of driftwood and blackwater extract added, the water in my tank is sitting at a solid 7 pH. I'll be starting up the CO2 again tomorrow, but I'm not expecting great miracles out of that. Is there anything else I can do or add to the tank to get the pH down? I don't just want to go and dump Seachem Acid Buffer in the tank if there's a better way around this.

Also, I read somewhere that hatchetfish like dim lighting - I already keep the tank in a poorly-lit room, but should I also limit the amount of time that I keep the light on for the plants? I have a type of compact florescent bulb in my tank that is on a timer for 8 hours a day.

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Thanks in advance!
~Okashiko

Edited by Okashiko, 03 August 2011 - 06:59 PM.


#2 Laura Lee

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 08:20 AM

I'd add some floating plants for them. Hatchets love hanging out in those. It's another way to give them shade, too.

Acclimate them slowly (drip acclimate) and make sure your water parameters remain stable (especially the kH and gH) and you'll probably be fine. Water parameter stability is more important most of the time than actually hitting some ideal target pH.

#3 Okashiko

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 10:18 AM

I'd add some floating plants for them. Hatchets love hanging out in those. It's another way to give them shade, too.

Acclimate them slowly (drip acclimate) and make sure your water parameters remain stable (especially the kH and gH) and you'll probably be fine. Water parameter stability is more important most of the time than actually hitting some ideal target pH.


Drip acclimate? Should I not have added them to my tank already?
Also, what do you recommend for a floating plant that won't take over my tank? Are giant water lettuce or red root floater ok?

I'm going to go re-test my water parameters tonight, and then again this weekend. Do you think testing 1x week after that is sufficient?

Edited by Okashiko, 04 August 2011 - 10:47 AM.


#4 Laura Lee

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:16 PM

Whoops- well if they're already in the tank now, done is done! lol

I'd check the water parameters every day for a few days just to monitor for an ammonia or nitrite spike. That's always a good idea when adding new fish to a relatively small tank like this one.

Yes, Red Root Floater, Pistia, or Salvia all probably would work well for floaters and are much less invasive than duckweed. Some stem plants like Hygrophilas (Water Wisteria is one Hygro) or Pennywort also can do well floating.

#5 Okashiko

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:35 PM

Whoops- well if they're already in the tank now, done is done! lol

I'd check the water parameters every day for a few days just to monitor for an ammonia or nitrite spike. That's always a good idea when adding new fish to a relatively small tank like this one.

Yes, Red Root Floater, Pistia, or Salvia all probably would work well for floaters and are much less invasive than duckweed. Some stem plants like Hygrophilas (Water Wisteria is one Hygro) or Pennywort also can do well floating.

Heheh, oops! ^.^;;; I guess I got a little too excited!

I tested my tank when I got home from work. It looks like my pH is a 7.2 (I must have read it incorrectly the other night), and my ammonia and nitrites are stable at zero. Also, my kH was 4-5 and my gH was 7 (does that sound right to you?). I'll probably start up my CO2 a little later. It's not a pressurized setup, though... it's a Hagen Nutrafin CO2 system with a homebrew formula.

#6 Laura Lee

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:19 PM

Heheh, oops! ^.^;;; I guess I got a little too excited!

I tested my tank when I got home from work. It looks like my pH is a 7.2 (I must have read it incorrectly the other night), and my ammonia and nitrites are stable at zero. Also, my kH was 4-5 and my gH was 7 (does that sound right to you?). I'll probably start up my CO2 a little later. It's not a pressurized setup, though... it's a Hagen Nutrafin CO2 system with a homebrew formula.


Parameters sound great to me. Like I said, I'd check them for a few days just to monitor that you don't get any spikes with the increased bioload.

Once you add CO2 your pH will drop some, but don't really pay attention to that; gas-induced CO2 fluctuations have proven to have little to no impact at all on fish. It's pH fluctuations from dissolved solids (kH and gH) that can be problematic, so as long as your kH and gH parameters stay stable over time (a regular water change schedule should maintain that) your fish should be fine.




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