Q: Water are you water parameters and temperature?
A: I am frequently asked about the water and temperature parameters in my facility. While I can understand why this may be of concern or this is what you have been told to ask. I feel in general it is not necessary to know or recreate my water parameters and that it is more important to focus on your water parameters instead.
My facility is a full-time working import/ export and wholesale facility. This means the fish are here temporarily. Usually only a few weeks and they are sold and then restocked again. My job here is to stabilize the species to a condition they are comfortable, active, eating normally, and are healthy enough to be shipped to a permanent home.
Knowing your parameters is far more important as this will be the permanent, long-term home for the new fish. This will also help us identify if the species you are interested in is something that can be easily acclimated to your home aquarium water type. This is especially true for the more sensitive wild fish than it is to the much more forgiving tank or farm cultured livestock.
However, as a baseline I am happy to provide you with the specs here in my facility.
Tank Water Temperature(s): Range from 74/75°F to 82/83°F +/- a degree seasonally.
pH: 7.6 (untreated)
dGH: 300-305 / 17 ppm (untreated)
My facility is a large, overhead-heated warehouse. Tanks are not heated individually. Tanks are racked 3 high in a 10’ vertical span. Bottom row tanks are cool (74/75) and top row tanks are the warmest (82/83). Species are placed in the level most appropriate to the temperature requirements of the species. Example: South American species such as altums or ramirezi, are at the top level and most central American species such as Herichthys or Vieja are on the bottom. Most all else can fit into the middle level holding tanks.
Water changes are on an automatic daily watering system that adds water to each tank individually. Essentially, it flushes old water out as it adds new water into each aquarium that overflows out and into a common drain. This water is treated with a large commercial Catalytic Carbon filter, UV sterilizer, and then passes through a tankless water heater that maintains the water at 78°F during water changes. This is also the same water system (in separate room) that is used for packing fish. They are not packed in used tank water. For species that are more temperature sensitive, I will often float a freshly filled bag in the tank the fish being shipped is coming out of so that at time of bagging the temperature is exactly the same. However, in general the minor change is not drastic enough to harm or stress most species. Realistically, there is no way to exactly match tank water and shipping bag water to every individual species on hand at the time of packing daily orders.
On many tanks in my facility, I use botanicals such has peat moss, catappa leaves/bark, and recenlty coconut fiber. These are beneficial to acclimating many of the South American species that I import that come from soft, low pH or blackwater environments. Besides slightly softening and lowering pH, these botanicals are extremely helpful in preventing (or eliminating) harmful bacteria that can live in higher pH, harder, alkaline water but cannot establish a foothold in the acid, low pH environments. Fish that come from these natural environments often have no natural defense against many bacteria that are otherwise harmless to neutral to hardwater native species. The tanks that I utilize these botanicals also receive smaller water changes. Same frequency, just smaller amounts to help lessen drastic pH and hardness swings. It is also because of the use of these botanicals that I often to do not share facility tank photos. Simply because, you can barely see in them!
If you are looking to keep a species that you are unfamiliar with and would like to be sure you can properly accommodate it. Please do not hesitate to ask questions so we can get you set up properly!