Sorry to hear that your heater was stuck on but glad that you caught it before the temperature got too hot. I hate when that happens.
You really don’t have to worry about if they are pure or not, as long as you like them. After all, the fancy swords and platies that you see in stores are all hybrids and people really like their red swords, Mickey Mouse platies and other colorful livebearers. It has long been an accepted practice to develop new strains of livebearers and I don’t really understand why Endler’s Livebearers would be any different. Just sell your fry as Endler’s Livebearer hybrids. Most people care what a fish looks like not what the actual genetics of the fish is.
You rarely see scientific names on those fancy livebearers in stores because they are hybrids. The same is true of Endler’s Livebearers. If you don’t see the scientific name, P. wingei, then it is a hybrid (I don’t care what letter they say it is as those letters have absolutely no scientific support). If you buy from a reputable seller and they use the name P. wingei then it should be a pure strain of fish.
Fry should take about two months to start developing good color.
Thanks Thriftyfisher. I did get lucky and catch the heater issue in time but I think my tank is tanked so to speak...my ph keeps dropping (and I do have five clam shells in the tank to try and counter it but it isn't working...but I did notice the fish seem to hover over the shells) and I can't maintain stability in the tank. My water parameters are shot now (doing daily 80% water changes just to keep the ammonia and ph at reasonable levels) and for some reason the gh and kh are also down to 1 in the tank (my params in the other tanks are fine and gh kh in those is 2). I think I need to move the females and fry into my other tanks and just break down the 10g, clean it and start from scratch...I don't know what else to do...unless I try removing the driftwood. I know driftwood can lower ph but this wood has been in tanks so long I wouldn't have expected it to have any effect.
I am feeling for you iwrmom. I sounds much like what I go through when I want to keep soft water fish. In your case you are trying to keep hard water fish but have soft tap water. The option that leaves you is to either use some kind of corrective chemical additive like "RO Right" or to use very large amounts of calcium carbonate in the filter. The calcium carbonate can be added in many forms including crushed coral or crushed shell. A small count of individual shells will have almost no effect on your water, especially when you are doing huge water changes to control ammonia. Note that your local fish shop sell crushed shell but they don't call it that. They call it reef sand or some similar name that indicates it is appropriate as a substrate for a reef tank.
"You rarely see scientific names on those fancy livebearers in stores because they are hybrids. The same is true of Endler’s Livebearers. If you don’t see the scientific name, P. wingei, then it is a hybrid (I don’t care what letter they say it is as those letters have absolutely no scientific support). If you buy from a reputable seller and they use the name P. wingei then it should be a pure strain of fish."
I couldn't have said it any better Thriftyfisher!
Sorry I missed your program on ponds at the last SWMAS meeting, I heard it was a good one.
Oldman...I know the kh and gh of my other tanks being a 2 makes my water pretty soft but the ph in the other tanks is stable and very close to neutral. For some reason, this particular tank is just goofy. I didn't start doing large water changes until the parameters all crashed, before that it was only 15-20% weekly.
I have done countless hours of reading on diffent sites about ph and hardness since this problem started last week. The reason I started with several small shells is because I didn't want to spike the ph back up and shock my fish...and I was really trying to avoid "additives" or swapping out the substrate for crushed coral. I did try one other suggestion I read...baking soda. I understand that it, like all water additives, it a "temporary" fix. What I read said 1 tsp per 5g but again, wanting to go slow, I added 1 dissolved tsp to the whole tank instead. I tested the ph three time since then and it is holding steady.
On a happier note...I moves my first fry from the ladies tank to the boys tank today...three weeks old, a faint hint of color...but what made me really notice him was the "school boy on spring break" behavior...chasing the adult females, wiggly dances in front of anything that moved...lol. There may be a few more boys in the fry tank but I can't be sure yet. And given that it has been 22 days since this group of fry came along...I should have more very soon
Fishpunk...I have been water testing obsessed for the last few days...checking params and trying to see if I can figure out why the drops in ph. I have tested the water from the tap (0 ammonia/nitrIte/nitrAte, ph 7.2, gh 1, kh 1). I also tested the tap but with water from the hot water heater...same params.
I have removed all my old driftwood just in case, I have done my regular water changes, I have pruned plants...and in the tanks the ph still drops like a bag of rocks. I spent a good deal of time at two of my lfs today and got very different advice on ph. One employee told me ph gh and kh are meaningless and that all fish will adjust to any parameters so testing and worrying is a waste and no products are needed to change it. Ummm...okay...? The other lfs had a different bit of advice...they still gave a thumbs down to water chemicals (good, because I want to avoid them anyway) but did agree with you that coral is a better solution because it will only raise the ph to no more than 7.5 but will definitely boost the hardness naturally. Their crushed coral was very expensive and they only had a 20lb bag. So, as an alternative he showed me coral rocks that I could hammer to pieces and put in the tank or filter. Then he disappeared. To my surprise, he came back 5 minutes later with a bag of live coral...told me it would serve the same purpose and would be better in the long run since it had good bacteria on it and my wacky fluctuating levels probably killed most of mine (my ammonia went up to .25ppm, 0 nitrItes and <2ppm nitrAtes ph 6.4 gh 1 kh 2 today so I did a 30% water change). He gave me a quarter pound of the live coral for my tanks and didn't charge me.
I have placed some in each tank...tested the water before and then 3 hours later...no noticable changes yet. How slow is the process of increasing gh kh and ph when you use coral? I would like to avoid any crazy spikes if possible.
With a GH and KH of only 1, you have no chemical buffering to your tap water at all. The slightest disturbance, like adding fish that produce a bit more waste than is usual in your tanks and the pH will drop on you. Sodium bicarbonate, baking soda, works fine but will move the pH as soon as it dissolves. I don't like to move the pH quite that fast which is why I suggested some calcium carbonate, in the form of shell or coral, in the filter as an alternative. It is very slow to dissolve into your water but will give you a consistent buffering. In order to control the pH at a desired level you end up balancing the amount of crushed shell and the size and frequency of water changes. The water changes will remove some of the dissolved calcium carbonate so size and frequency begin to matter more there.
Hi Oldman...checked my tanks today after adding the coral pieces given to me by the lfs on Sunday. My ph in both endler tanks has gone up by .2 (I figured that with the low gh and kh in both tanks it was wise to add it to each tank).
My gh was 3 in both tanks when I tested today (an increase of 2 since Sunday morning). The kh was a 2 in one tank and a 3 in the other (perhaps due to water volume...but either way, still an increase there as well). So, I think I am acheiving a slow creep in numbers. I did another water change today just to make sure that ther numbers don't go flying off the charts.
I have not seen any changes in behavior of my endlers or pygmy cories as of yet...perhaps because as you say, it goes slower with the coral than with baking soda or chemicals and they can adapt better (so behavioral changes might be slower to see as well?).
I really am grateful for all of the knowledge and experience you are all sharing with me. I am hoping to incorporate the wisdom into my fishkeeping to make my son and I better fishkeepers.
Endlers (and many other livebearers) can do pretty well in brackish water. This might be one possible way to a solution for you. You'll still need to buffer the water for pH, but adding marine salt to about 1.005 specific gravity could help keep the fish healthy.
Only thing is, this has to be done very gradually, you can't keep all plants in that environment, and you'll be fighting salt creep constantly, but it's one possibility to consider.
Oldman is right about the buffer. You need some total alkalinity to keep the pH from moving around. Either that, or keep soft/acid water fishes that match your tap water. But, even there you still need to keep the pH stable, so you'll still have to buffer.