Optimum conditions for Malawi Cichlids

Discussion in 'Great Rift Valley Cichlids' started by CraigMiles, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. CraigMiles
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    CraigMiles Green fingers

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    Hey All

    So I am setting up a tank at my dads house for Malawi Cichlids, and was wondering if anyone could assist. He gets borehole water, the pH from 1 test was 7.6, but will use a buffer to control this.

    But the sodium levels are well moderately high, Sodium - 192 - Moderately high. I don't know what the sodium amount is over, or how to read it. I am assuming it's Mg/L. Should I be using a Seachem CichlidLakeSalt or is there anyway to lower the Sodium level, if that is too high for the fish to live in?

    If anyone could assist that would be great.

    Thanks
     
  2. wearsbunnyslippers
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    wearsbunnyslippers Administrator Staff Member

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    Not a malawi expert. But they do like hard water, people often use sodium bicarb to buffer their water with malawis, but i have no idea what is high or too high.. best way to take out sodium is to dilute with tap or RO..
     
  3. Ryan
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    Ryan Green fingers

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    Here's something that might help:

    http://malawicichlids.com/mw01011.htm

    It lists the sodium in Lake Malawi as being 21 Mg/L. It seems like your borehole water is around 10 times higher, I don't know how well cichlids will adapt to that. You might need to use tap water for the tank, but perhaps someone with more biochemistry understanding than me can comment.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Jack Stone
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    Jack Stone Algae harvester

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    Howzit,

    Just thought I'd add a few cent.
    There doesn't seem to be a heck of a lot of info on sodium in the aquarium but some do suggest that excess sodium is not desired, they don't define excess....
    Have you got means to dilute the water with tap or RO water? If so do it.

    Who did the testing?
    Sodium level of 192mg/l is just under the World Health Organisations guidelines for drinking water, 200mg/l.
    From what I read borehole water parameters do fluctuate over time.

    I'd say the fish will survive. Most African cichlids are tougher than anything else I've seen in an aquarium.

    You could opt for Lake Tanganyika cichlids given that the lake has 3 times the amount of sodium per litre than that of Lake Malawi.
    Your sodium parameters are 3 times higher than their natural parameters, my pH is 100 times less alkaline.
    I'm sure they can adapt but what the repercussions of it will be I can't say.

    I would not add Rift Lake Salts at all - they will most likely contain sodium is some form or another - rely on water changes to keep your parameters up.
    May want to test the nitrate levels of the borehole water before you get going - people run into that problem now and then as well.
     
  5. Chongkie
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    Chongkie Aquascaper

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    Here's some info on the water conditions and recipes for "cichlid salts" you are looking for.

    http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/aquarium_salts.php
    http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/buffer_recipe.php

    IMO, the key to keeping Malawi's is to keep the pH / hardness stable in the long run. And especially critical during water changes. This being said, these guys are very tough and will / should survive a wide range of water parameters. But I'm guessing that you want the cichlids to thrive :icon_thumright:

    You could say that the harder the water the better.

    To keep the hardness stable, I found that adding crushed oyster shells or even whole oyster shells in the filter helps a lot. You can get that from your LFS, at the birds section :p

    You mentioned that your Sodium level is 192mg/l? :eek: that is very very high! but I'm not sure if that will effect the fish. As shown in the articles, the general conditions in the actual lakes for Sodium is around 10 - 60 Mg/l, depending on which lake.

    My suggestion is to push up the pH to around 8 and try get the GH to 15 and KH to around the same. My GH and KH are about 20+, will give you exact figures when I'm back home, but the cichlids are thriving! :hello2:

    Hope this helps :thumb:
     

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