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Freshwater Aquarium/cichlids and brackish water


Hello Michael, I have a 36 gallon tank that have African Cichlids. Unfortunately one died of bloat so I only have two left. i wanted to add another fish and thought I'd try something new. I added a Silvertip catfish which is a brackish water fish. I'm slowly adding salt a teaspoon at a time until the mix is right. How will this effect my cichlids? They are mature fish and pretty hardy from what I can tell. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

How long has the tank been set up? Temp correct? 78-80 area. Ph should be around 8.2 depending on what type of africans you have and what rift lake they came from, however this ph will be fine for any of them. With africans crowded is good, can;t establish a territory that way cuts down on aggression, perhaps your dead one had been beat up some as well.
Many ways to buffer ph, some dolomite in the gravel is an easy way. As for adding salt, use actual seasalt mix. Not the aquarium salt they sell, its just table salt. Get a general hardness kit and use that to test. Hydrometers are calibrated for sea water and brackish will not give you an accurate reading. In a nut shell, add real sea salt, or african cichlid salt mix. Either will work. If your ph is correct, and the hardness in a ballpark range of 160-320ppm. You should be good to go, remember that the buffers etc are not permanent and regular water changes once a week of about 10gals max depending on the tank load will keep things as they should be. You will get a feel for whats right just by looking at the fish. Make sure they get some greens, as the inshore cichlids browse on algae.If you don;t have any in your tank, supplement with baby peas or piece of lettuce etc. If you only have a couple in the tank, or if they are large, rearrange the tank to break up established territorys and add new fish, make sure there are hiding places. When the tank is "alive" with cruising fish, you are at the balance point.At that point it looks peacefull and aggression is minimal as there are no territorys established. So I am saying that a bit of crowding is good. That said and due to that fact the water changes become essential to the long term survival of the tank. Good Luck with your Aquarium.

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michael mccorry


I can answer questions concerning tanks, setup, display, maintence,filters, heaters, substrates, CO2 Systems, lighting, arrangements. Also water quality, chemical makeup and altering water parameters. I can advise on fish selection, how to arrange the tank to minimize aggression, water parameters for specific fish, breeding and raisning fry. Feeding and nutrition. Lighting both flourescent and metal halide and everything in between Plants, selection, lighting and feeding requirements, CO2 Systems, and substrate selection as well as what plants will work with what fish. Heating, and cooling the tank. Automating certain functions and what maintenence is necesssary to keep things looking good. Fish diseases their diagnosis and treatment. As well as other topics related to the hobby.


I have been involved in Tropical Fish for over 30 years having bred or kept most everything that was out there at one time or annother. I have worked in several shops and managed several more, I have owned my own shop for over 12 years and currently maintain more than 3000gals of fresh water and saltwater fish, plants and invertabrates. I service tanks and respond to emergency calls. I advise on design, placement and impact of displays and custom design and install whatever the client wishes. I had a business within a business servicing systems for Dr;s,Offices, Restaurants, Hospitals, and private individuals.

TFH FAMA American Cichlid Association

I attended Clinton Comm. College and then went to work for the State of New York. I also recieved training in the unrelated field of Law Enforcement. I am a certified fish specialist both fresh and saltwater having attended seminars at the Backer Trade Shows in Atlantic City sanctioned by PPAC.

Awards and Honors
I have won awards from the New York State Dept of Education and from the Govenors Office for Business of the Year in the Northern Tier. I work as a consultant with the State assisting people who are starting a business.

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