As with many arcane hobbies and industries, of which I definitely include fishkeeping, there is always a great deal of “lore.” By this I mean “tricks of the trade” or other ways of doing things that you never see in books or magazine articles—or even on the Internet. Some of the best things you learn by word of mouth from other hobbyists or industry professionals.
It reminds me how dogs teach each other to lick the dishes in the dishwasher tray when it is being loaded. Our beloved “Gessy,” who was a wonderful Weimaraner, never licked the dishes being loaded into the dishwasher—until some friends with their Weimaraner came to visit. Gretchen went right to the dishwasher and Gessy immediately learned. Gessy then passed it on to the dog of some friends when we visited them.
Anyway, the above is somewhat in the manner of a disclaimer. What I am about to discuss here is something I learned from Harold Cheng of Always Quality Aquatics, the transshipper of Far East fish I bought from for years. I was bitching and moaning to Harold one day that I had a lot of trouble with the last batch of guppies from him. He asked me if I was using System Saver II. I told him I had never heard of the stuff.
Harold told me that System Saver II is a water softening product from Morton Salt—yes, the little girl with the umbrella. Harold said to go to Home Depot and buy some, and to use it with my guppies and other livebearers from the Far East. I did. It worked. I strongly suggest you try it.
Morton Salt states that:
- Morton System Saver II Formula Pellets are made from a very high-purity salt combined with the patented System Saver II formula to make your water softener work better;
- atented formula contains softener resin cleaning additives; and
- Salt and cleaning additives are thoroughly flushed from the system during resin regeneration.
It comes in 40-pound bags and you can get it at any Home Depot or similar store. It won’t cost you an arm or a leg. I used it at the rate of about five or six pellets per 10 gallons of water, which for my 30 and 40 gallon breeder tanks meant a small handful for the 30s and a large handful for the 40s. It literally solved all problems with livebearers, and I even started using it with some of the fish I brought in from Florida. I have no idea what is in the product—but it worked for me. If you feel like licking the dishes going into the dishwasher because you saw this old dog doing it, please try it out. And please let me know your results.