Are water changes bad for cardinals??
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Are water changes bad for cardinals??

This is a discussion on Are water changes bad for cardinals?? within the Characins forums, part of the Freshwater and Tropical Fish category; --> I have had a much tougher time keeping cardinal tetras alive than neons or glowlights. I had 12 cardinals, 5 neons and 6 glowlights ...

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Are water changes bad for cardinals??
Old 02-21-2007, 12:23 AM   #1
 
Are water changes bad for cardinals??

I have had a much tougher time keeping cardinal tetras alive than neons or glowlights. I had 12 cardinals, 5 neons and 6 glowlights in my tank before I decided to change my gravel. After the change I lost all the cardinals but lost no neons or glowlights. I thought the loss was due to my nitrites skyrocketing after the gravel change. Interestingly, they didn't die all at once, usually 1 per day. I did 50% water changes once/week until the tank cycled again, which took about 5 weeks.

Curiously, the dying cardinals all followed the same pattern. First, the whole cardinal shoal would look perfectly fine. Then, maybe just an hour later, I would see one cardinal off by itself, away from the school, but still looking fine. Then, maybe an hour or two later the loner would be up near the surface, swimming weakly. Then, soon after - kaput.

So, w/ my tank chemistry right again I bought 2 new cardinals. The next day was water change day and w/in 6 hours both cardinals were dead. Same behavioral pattern as above. I tested the water and ammonia = 0, nitrites = 0, nitrates = 10, pH =7.0. My discus are happy, so my water must be at least alright.

Also, being new at this, prior to the gravel change (and buying discus) I seldom did water changes and never lost a cardinal.

Cardinal tetras are one of my favorites and I look forward to having a nice school of 10-20 again. Any advice on this problem would be appreciated!
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:40 AM   #2
 
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Although this would tend to affect the discus as well which apparently is not the case I would look to differences in the water being added to the tank vs the water already in the tank. ie pH and temp. The shifts could cause death in your fish..especially if the water changes are done abruptly..such as dumping in a bucket of water all of a sudden. Theoretically the discus would be much more likely to suffer from this but its where I would look first for problems.
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:41 AM   #3
 
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That is indeed very weird. What size is your tank?:) Pls post the full list of tank inhabitants.:) What test kit do you use? There are times when discus prove to be hardier than the rest of their tankmates. The more details there are, the better.:) I have no problems keeping cardinals at all despite the fact that I do daily water changes.:)
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:44 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FDStation152
Although this would tend to affect the discus as well which apparently is not the case I would look to differences in the water being added to the tank vs the water already in the tank. ie pH and temp.
This one is possible.
Quote:
The shifts could cause death in your fish..especially if the water changes are done abruptly..such as dumping in a bucket of water all of a sudden. Theoretically the discus would be much more likely to suffer from this but its where I would look first for problems.
And if it did, wouldn't the rest of the cardinals' tankmates died the same way as the cardinals? I highly doubt it especially when he mentioned the discus are doing very well despite the deaths of the cardinals. A big difference of pH and temp from the lfs tank to the owner's tank water is most likely the cause.
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:50 AM   #5
 
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I didn't quite follow that last post blue. I meant as in terms of the sudden change in temp or pH caused by quickly adding water of drastically different water. For example adding a large volume of water that was significantly different (say dumping in 2 gallons of water that is 10 degrees colder in a small tank) would have a far more drastic effect on the fish than adding that same 2 gallons of water slowly over a period of say a half hour. The same would apply to pH. Testing of the water being used for the water changes will likely lead to source of the problem here, be it pH, temp, or perhaps some other toxin that affects the smaller fish more so than it does the larger discus.
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Old 02-21-2007, 02:06 AM   #6
 
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I was meaning to say that if such large changes happened during water changes, the other tetras and discus would have become ill and died which is quite unusual as only the cardinals were said to be the ones affected. What I did find valid is the fact that it could be a large pH difference, etc as you mentioned which in my understanding, you were referring between the lfs' tank and the owner's tank.:)

Hmmm...It's worth asking if the owner has observed any unusual behavior on the case of neons and glowlights. If they weren't, then I will likely draw my conclusion to the large differences you stated.:)
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:05 PM   #7
 
Thanks all for the responses.

The pH out of my tap is 7.6, but I add Wardley's 3-in-1 6.5 pH conditioner to it before adding it to the tank. This yields a 6.8 to 7.0 reading in the tank. Temp could be an issue since I only feel the water as it runs out of the faucet to see if it is not too hot or cold, usually erring on the cool side. Also, I have always just dumped 2.5 gal at a time in the tank. Thus, when I do a weekly 33% water change the whole process takes less than an hour.

I use an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc (API) Freshwater Master Test Kit

I have 44 gal hexagon tank which houses:
6 discus
4 neon tetra
6 glowlight tetra
4 whiteskirt tetra
6 harlequin rasbora
2 peppered cory
2 green cory
1 spotted cory
2 gold mystus catfish
1 hoplosternum catfish
4 Otocinclus (sp) cat

I can very safely say that I have detected no difference in the neons and glowlights during this entire period, except that they've grown. My confidence stems from spending way too much time w/ my face inches from my aquarium glass contemplating things like differences in physiology, shoaling behavior, and feeding techniques between tetra species.

Another trait I've noticed in the cardinals is that after the individual has separated from the rest of the shoal, the breathing is VERY rapid. Also, the rate of fin flicking seems greatly pronounced.

Again, many thanks.

Advice on better water change techniques would be appreciated. I sense that I may have horrified some readers by my temperature check and water dumping description!
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Old 02-22-2007, 12:15 AM   #8
 
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I would definitely start checking the water you are putting into the tank with a thermometer, the finger test could yield water that is 10 degrees or more different from tank water. A 33% water change with water ten degrees colder than the tank water would be a big shock for the fish. Although it seems like the discus would be the first affected.

Also, I hate to be the one to tell you this since I can't stand fish people being jerks and criticizing what everyone else does--but that tank is badly over-stocked. Sorry.
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