The first of two prob­lems one must solve: the water

The pro­vi­sion of the right water is one of the two prob­lems for which any­one inter­ested in these fish must have a solu­tion. Suit­able water will rarely flow directly from the water tap. Tap­wa­ter usu­ally con­tains too many car­bon­ates and bicar­bon­ates, salts of dif­fer­ent kinds and are much too “hard” for Parosphromenus. But even where very “soft” water flows from the tap, it is adapted to pro­tect the sen­si­tive water pipes by ele­vat­ing the pH. We will there­fore have to make pro­vi­sions to get the right water.

Either a good fresh­wa­ter spring close to us, or clean rain­wa­ter may be used. Because of an impact from pos­si­ble air pol­lu­tants one has to be care­ful, but after a longer rainy period, this should be not an issue. For those depen­dent on their tap water. one of sev­eral, well known and indus­tri­ally offered meth­ods to bring it to the appro­pri­ate water qual­ity must be used. These are a con­duc­tiv­ity between about 20 and 100 micro Siemens /​cm, a car­bon­ate hard­ness of (almost) 0 degrees KH and a total hard­ness of less than 2 degrees GH. In par­tic­u­lar, the car­bon­ates must be removed. There­fore, some other salts (e.g. sodium chlo­ride) may be present in a small extent.

Which method of soft­en­ing the water cho­sen is irrel­e­vant. Many use small reverse osmo­sis sys­tems. Desali­na­tion by resins is also pos­si­ble. A mixed-​bed fil­ter in which anion and cation exchange resins are mixed, is par­tic­u­larly con­ve­nient, since it allows a flow rate sim­i­lar to that from a tap. For resin regen­er­a­tion, they have to be sep­a­rated from each other, which has to be done by a con­tract com­pany. Today there are many, even mobile, com­pa­nies, which come and bring a replace­ment cartridge.

The pH value should def­i­nitely be below the neu­tral point of 7.0, in the acidic range. In many cases, a value between 5.0 and 6.5 is suit­able, how­ever, in some ones not. Espe­cially for wild caught fish and the species with the most del­i­cate eggs. pH val­ues​of 4.0 and even less are often required . A water with the required low con­duc­tiv­ity can be acid­i­fied well using acidic peat, but good results can be achieved with alder cones, and even with care­ful, con­trolled (!), drop­wise addi­tion of acid­i­fy­ing water addi­tives (“oak extracts” or phos­phoric acid). The bio­log­i­cal func­tion of these low pH val­ues​is not yet fully under­stood, but it is likely that it mainly is to sup­press harm­ful bac­te­ria which may attack the eggs of the fish. In fact, the bac­te­r­ial load in highly acidic water is much lower than in less acidic or even alka­line water. Today you can buy good, easy-​to-​use bac­te­ria test sets — for a friend of Parosphromenus a good acquisition.

It should not be ignored that the low pH val­ues​of nat­ural water, in which Parosphromenus live, are mainly caused by humid acids. While there are some­times breed­ing suc­cesses of Parosphromenus in plain water, usu­ally the addi­tion of mate­ri­als that release humid sub­stances is rec­om­mended (fresh bog wood, almond leaves soaked beech and oak leaves, alder cones).

Again, the water prob­lem must be indi­vid­u­ally solved for each friend of Parosphromenus but whichever is chosen,it must be per­ma­nently avail­able. How­ever for small Parosphromenus aquar­i­ums, you need no huge quantities.



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