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Page 50
Freshwater Tropical Fish
  If you enjoy reading the Comments and Replies on this page, you may also enjoy listening to The Bailey Brothers, DrTom and Nevin, discuss similar questions on Pet Fish Talk.

Click here to see the list of all the Pet Fish Talk Shows.


Customer Comments

i have noticed that you are selling a needle nose gar as a brackish water fish, i have been keeping one in a ph7 community tank for about 1 1/2 years with no salt.
I understand that brackish fish can usually be acclimatized to both fresh and saline water. My question is, what ph and degree hardness should i use if i am going to be keeping a community brackish tank including most of the fish you have for sale (monos, scats, puffers, ...)
also, if you have any knowledge about certain saltwater fish that would do equally as well in a brackish tank i would like to hear about them.
thank you for your time
Reply. Hello Hagan. First I'll give you the answer that I usually give to your question, then I'll give you my newly improved answer.

Brackish Water Fish live in both freshwater and marine water. Freshwater has very little salt, but marine water has about seven tablespoons of salt per each gallon of water, which is much more salt than fresh water has.

So it is remarkable that Brackish Water Fish can gradually adapt to both types of water that differ so greatly in the amount of salt that they contain.

Generally, it is recommended that Brackish Water Fish be kept in water with about one tablespoon of Aquarium Salt per each five gallons of water.

So for example a 50-gallon aquarium would get ten tablespoons of Aquarium Salt.

Click here for more information about Aquarium Salt.

Most freshwater Tropical Fish can tolerate brackish water with one tablespoon of Aquarium Salt per each five gallons of water.

Even Neon Tetras, Clown Loaches, and many other fish will tolerate this amount of Aquarium Salt. So this water is OK for almost all freshwater Tropical Fish.

Now for my improved answer. I have talked with many collectors and observers of Brackish Water Fish, and they reported something interesting. Brackish Water Fish move back and forth from freshwater to salted water.

They do not stay in a particular area, where the water has a certain specific concentration of salt.

Why would brackish water fish move back and forth from freshwater to salted water? Probably because the change in salinity reduces the amount of pathogens on the fish.

Click here for more about how changing the salinity will reduce the pathogens.

So here is what I think might be an improved way to keep Brackish Water Fish.

Starting with an aquarium with freshwater, like yours, add one Tablespoon of Aquarium Salt per each five gallons of aquarium water, then twice a week remove 20% of the water and replace it with fresh tap water.

In about three weeks most of the salt will be gone, then add one Tablespoon of Aquarium Salt for each five gallons and continue this process each three weeks or so.

Our tap water here in San Diego, California, is hard and alkaline. The pH is about 7.8 with about 350 ppm of minerals, and this water seems ideal for most Brackish Water Fish.

For a long time our general philosophy has been to do as little as possible to the water.

Many aquarium hobbyists spend too much of their time and energy trying to get the pH just right, and they interpret that to be pH 7.0.

But there is nothing sacred about pH 7.0, as far as living fish are concerned.

However it is very important to have excellent bio-filtration to digest the fish waste, and then to change lots of water to dilute away the products of the bio-filtration.

If the bio-filter is not working efficiently, healthy fish will soon not be healthy. But if the bio-filter is working efficiently, unhealthy fish will often soon recover and become healthy fish.

So efficient bio-filtration is the place to focus, while pH and water hardness are secondary considerations.

Click here to read some more comments about keeping Brackish Water Fish.


Customer Comments

Hi guys!
First of all I must say that your site is great, you do a great job, and it's a shame that I haven't found you earlier.  Anyway, I live in a pretty warm climate, I have a 29 gallon tank, and I don't have a water heater and the temperature of my water never fluctuates lower than 76 degrees and never goes higher than 80 degrees.
There are never any sudden temerature changes and the two tetra's I have (I believe they are serpae tetras) seem to be doing just fine.
My question is: Do you think it is still necessary to use a water heater for my tank?  Do miniscule temperature changes attribute to the stress level of my fish?  Also, I plan on breeding mollys down the road, and was wondering what other advice you could offer me on the above question in regards to breeding mollys.
Thanks in advance, for I know that your help will be useful and much appreciated.
Paul G.
Reply. Hello Paul. Thank you for your complimentary comments.

Click here to read about Bigger Tetras, which includes Serpae Tetras, which you will read should live in water that has a temperature between 78 and 80 degrees F.

To read more about Mollies click here where it recommends a water temperature of 78 to 82 for Mollies.

You wrote that the temperature of the water in your aquarium sometimes goes down to 76 degrees, so you should add a heater to your aquarium and adjust the temperature on the heater to 78.

If the temperature of your aquarium water drops below 78 degrees, the aquarium heater will automatically come on and  heat the water.

When the temperature of the water is above 78, the heater will automatically turn off and not draw any electrical current.

Most fish can easily tolerate a temperature change of about 2 degrees. So a miniscule change in temperature will not harm your fish.

You should try not to subject your fish to an increase or to a degrease in the water temperature of more than 4 degrees within a 24 hour period.

A good quality aquarium heater will easily reduce the amount of temperature change to less than 2 degrees, unless you change the temperature by adjusting the temperature of the heater.

Click here for more information about aquarium heaters and how to adjust the temperature setting on an aquarium heater.


Customer Comments

I have been given two little goldfish looking things with lumpy heads and don't know what to do. I'm in China and can't speak the language. I bought a bigger tank 60 x 20 x 30 cm and a heater (seems to be the wrong thing) and two air blower things ... and the water's gone cloudy, I don't think the fish are happy and I'm definitely not happy because I don't know what I'm doing ... could you please help?
Zibo City
Shan Dong China 255033
Reply. Hello David. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to help you. Your Goldfish don't need the heater.

First click here to read about keeping Fancy Goldfish, which is apparently what your fish are.

Second click here to read about Cool Water Aquariums, which is where your Fancy Goldfish should live.

Third, click here to read about how to get rid of Cloudy Water, which is a serious threat to your fish's health.

Finally I know that 10 cm is approximately 4 inches. So your new 60 x 20 x 30 cm aquarium is about 24 x 8 x 12 inches, which has a volume of 24 x 8 x 12 = 2304 cubic inches.

Click here to go a page in this website called "Aquarium Arithmetic" to find the conversion factor from cubic inches to gallons, and you'll find the factor is 0.00433.

So your aquarium has about 2304 x 0.00433 gallons, which is almost 10-gallons. This is good because each Goldfish that is under 3" long needs about five gallons of water.

So your two small Goldfish will each have five gallons of water in the 10-gallon aquarium. When they grow to be 3", you will need to get them a bigger aquarium.

Finally, it's fun and exciting to get an email from China. I would be very interested in reading about the market where you bought the two Goldfish, and I'll post it here, if you send me a description.


Customer Comments

I was wondering what other fish I should get, or if I should get a bigger aquarium first. Please E-mail me with any help.
Eric B.

Your aquarium has a total of 46" of fish. If we use the rule-of-thumb that, "one inch of fish needs one gallon of water", we conclude that these fish need an aquarium with at least 46 gallons of water.

Actually a bigger fish like your Sucker Mouth, which is probably what we call a Plecostomus Catfish, needs additional water. So you need at least a 50-gallon aquarium.

Click here now to read about Tiger Barbs, where you will learn that they live best in a group with at least six Tiger Barbs.

There is no information about Rosy Barbs on this website, but they also live best in a group with six Rosy Barbs.

Click here to go to our Search Page, where you can search for each of your fish and find the minimum size group that is recommended for that species.

Now there are 87 inches of fish, and you need an aquarium with at least 87 gallons of water to keep these fish.

All of these fish will grow larger, and this combination of fish will soon need a much bigger aquarium.

Click here to continue on to another page with more Customer Comments and our Replies about Freshwater Tropical Fish.
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