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My goldfish is gasping for air at PH 7.6

This is a discussion on My goldfish is gasping for air at PH 7.6 within the Freshwater and Tropical Fish forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Virginia, given what you tell us in posts #6 and #8, my surmise in post #3 was spot on. The problem is definitely all ...

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My goldfish is gasping for air at PH 7.6
Old 06-20-2013, 11:19 AM   #11
 
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Virginia, given what you tell us in posts #6 and #8, my surmise in post #3 was spot on. The problem is definitely all the chemicals and stuff being added.

[BTW, I didn't get any PM or whatever you refer to in your post #7.]

The pH adjuster is not going to work because the KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) is high (300 is the number you give). KH acts as a buffer to resist pH changes, so the more "acid" you add to lower the pH, the harder the KH acts to bring it back. This continues until the point when the buffering capability of the KH is exhausted [I don't know how much acid has to be added, it depends, but if you just kept adding it this point would be reached at some time], and when that happens the pH will very suddenly "crash" and this would without question kill the fish as it would be very great. So stop using any pH adjusters.

Second, the salt (sodium chloride, or common salt). This is making things worse too, because salt affects fish metabolism and physiology; the more salt added, the worse it becomes. The fish have trouble respirating because the salt burns the gills, hence the gasping. Add to this the gill damage being done by the increasing pH acid, and you can imagine what the fish is feeling. Don't use salt. If it is marine salt, it is adding hard mineral salts as well as sodium salts, so this is just countering the effect of the softener and any attempts to lower the GH. I trust you can see what a merry-go-round this becomes. And again to repeat, because it is so critical in any fish tank, never add substances to mess with water chemistry until you have determined all the chemistry issues, because they all interact.

Water softener. This is probably adding sodium salt to replace the calcium and magnesium salts. If you can use water before it goes through this, I would.

So, to the well water on its own (no softener, no substances being added). This will probably work fine for goldfish. In our goldfish profile, which was written by Lupin who has considerable experience with goldfish, he recommends a pH of 7.4 and above (no upper limit) and moderate hardness and harder (he says not soft water because of its effect on the goldfish scales). So I would just get to your well water and leave it.

Mixing with RO a bit would not hurt, and for some fish this would be necessary, but here I would not bother.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 06-20-2013 at 11:21 AM..
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Old 06-20-2013, 02:53 PM   #12
 
Thank you Byron.

Sorry about recalling post #7. I wasn't complaining of you not responding, but I was testing why the post was placed at the end rather than under your post.

I use sea salt water for fresh water fish tanks. I use it because it says that improves the gills function. I can discontinue. I thought I was doing a good to the fish by adding it to directions.

I do not understand much the KH, and GH and I do not know how to measure it. The pet store only sells PH-Alcalinity- Nitrate-Nitrite-Chlorine strips and Ammonia strips.

If you know the ideal numbers for a comet goldfish tank. Could you provide them for me, please?. PH range, KH or GH.

Finally, the buffers they sell: I purchased a PH controller that claims to keep a PH 7.2 - 7.8 and that works no matter the initial water PH (be low or high). I tried it. It holds the PH for longer ( almost 2 days) but then the PH is back high. It claims to add escential electrolites and salts the fish needs. So, I stopped the sea salt as this buffer claims to add salts also. What do you think of this buffer product?. I agree, I do not want to keep adding acid to lower PH.

Thank you so much.
Virginia Holmes
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Old 06-20-2013, 03:35 PM   #13
 
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I use sea salt water for fresh water fish tanks. I use it because it says that improves the gills function. I can discontinue. I thought I was doing a good to the fish by adding it to directions.
I accept that there is a difference of opinion among freshwater fish aquarists on the use of salt. I am in the camp that says never use it, except to specifically treat a problem and then only with certain fish that can tolerate it. The majority of aquarists hold this view, but more importantly is the fact that the scientific community follows it. You can read more on salt in my article:
Salt and the Freshwater Aquarium

Quote:
I do not understand much the KH, and GH and I do not know how to measure it. The pet store only sells PH-Alcalinity- Nitrate-Nitrite-Chlorine strips and Ammonia strips.
Unless one is adjusting the GH or KH, there is no need to be testing it, once you know the GH and KH of your source water (tap, well) because these values will not change much in an aquarium unless they are being targeted specifically (meaning, you are doing something to increase or lower them deliberately).

Quote:
If you know the ideal numbers for a comet goldfish tank. Could you provide them for me, please?. PH range, KH or GH.
I answered this in my previous post, at least partly. As it notes in our profile, the pH is fine above 7.4 and the GH is fine as long as it is moderately hard or harder. And yours is. KH has no impact on fish at all, but it does "buffer" pH. With your KH, the pH is not going to shift.

Quote:
Finally, the buffers they sell: I purchased a PH controller that claims to keep a PH 7.2 - 7.8 and that works no matter the initial water PH (be low or high). I tried it. It holds the PH for longer ( almost 2 days) but then the PH is back high. It claims to add essential electrolytes and salts the fish needs. So, I stopped the sea salt as this buffer claims to add salts also. What do you think of this buffer product?. I agree, I do not want to keep adding acid to lower PH.
I do not recommend any of these products. The reason they are not working in your situation is the high KH/Alkalinity which is preventing the pH from lowering, as I explained previously. Leave it alone. I am not a chemist so I won't try to explain electrolytes and such, but believe me when I say that those that occur in your water are sufficient.

There is only one safe and effective way to adjust the pH, and that is by dealing with the GH and KH first. The pH is related to these. My article on this may help:
Water Hardness and pH in the Freshwater Aquarium

But as your goldfish will be fine in the water you have pre-softener, leave it alone. Messing with water chemistry is fraught with difficulties, and this fluctuating GH and pH will harm fish.

Byron.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:20 PM   #14
 
Thank you.

I'm trying this water pre softener with the water conditioner only (the one that eliminate heavy metals) and the nitrifying bacteria per directions. I have placed my fish in it.

Do you recommend to do not use water conditioner either?. This is well water straight from the well. It has no chlorine but it is PH 9 and Alcalinity 300 as the strip reading. (These are the highest readings the strip can read). I can not tell if the reading is higher.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:49 PM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by virginiaholmes View Post
Thank you.

I'm trying this water pre softener with the water conditioner only (the one that eliminate heavy metals) and the nitrifying bacteria per directions. I have placed my fish in it.

Do you recommend to do not use water conditioner either?. This is well water straight from the well. It has no chlorine but it is PH 9 and Alcalinity 300 as the strip reading. (These are the highest readings the strip can read). I can not tell if the reading is higher.
The water conditioner (which I believe is Prime, from earlier) will have no effect on the "hard minerals" that make the water hard, and a high KH and pH. Prime will detoxify heavy metals (irton, copper, etc) if any are present, along with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Assuming you drink the well water, it is probably not contaminated with these. So, in this case, I would not waste Prime.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:11 PM   #16
 
Just for the record, the water conditioner I have and use for the fish: NovAqua Plus (Water Conditioner) - for fresh and salt water (KORDON brand). It says:
NovAqua Plus adds:
Protective skin slime coating, echinacea and natural electrolites and vitamins.
Also DEtoxifies water by:
Removing chlorine, Braking down chloriamines, Removing copper and other toxic heavy metals.

Thanks for all the help and advice.

Virginia Holmes
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:45 PM   #17
 
Thanks Jeff !!

I had been discussing the topic of the well water and the soft water with Byron. You both are right. I am working right now with the well water before the softener and evaluating how the fish do. On a sad note. One of my 2 fish died today.

2 days ago I used a new PH buffer stabilizers powder (7.2- 7.8) range. It said it would keep the PH stable and it was a water conditioner also all in one product. I treated the whole tank and the one fish I had in it was letargic the next day. I moved it to a smaller tank without this product but he did not improve. Did not eat. Today, he died.

Ny other fish is ok since I am treating him for tail rot. He is in another smaller tank. So, this is my last fish. I have placed him in the Well water tank and I am not using the PH buffer stabilizer ever again. I am evaluating him to see how he does.

I wish I had never thought on trying to fix the PH. I remember I was using soft water mixed with RO water for a while and both fish were ok. It just happens that I have to take a trip to get this water and I thought I could just treat my water at home with products, that althought expensive, would last a long time.

Thank for all advice Jeff, and Byron.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:16 AM   #18
 
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You have learned the hard way that these quick fix chemicals rarely work, and even worse, they hurt the fish even so far as to kill them. There are so many products available for this hobby that are completely unnecessary; several are making a fortune at our expense.

Again, just in case it was not clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your water if you intend keeping goldfish, or any tropical hard water fish either. It is only if you decide to have soft water fish that something will be necessary.

On the tail rot, this is not likely fin/tail rot but more likely due to the chemical issues. Fraying fins results from a number of things. I would not use any medications (more chemicals) but just clean water. Regular water changes are the best cure for so much.

NovAqwua+ is a good conditioner, I used to use it and did so for years. But as I said before, with straight well water (assuming it is drinkable) this isn't needed. The less chemicals entering a tank, the better.

Byron.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:53 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
NovAqwua+ is a good conditioner, I used to use it and did so for years. But as I said before, with straight well water (assuming it is drinkable) this isn't needed. The less chemicals entering a tank, the better.

Byron.
Virgina is concerned about the heavy metals enough that they don't drink the water. I doubt that the levels are high enough to affect the fish but I don't know what their tolerances are and don't know what the levels actually are either.

Even so, I might suggest trying with no conditioners at all.

Jeff.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:09 PM   #20
 
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Virgina is concerned about the heavy metals enough that they don't drink the water. I doubt that the levels are high enough to affect the fish but I don't know what their tolerances are and don't know what the levels actually are either.

Even so, I might suggest trying with no conditioners at all.

Jeff.
Yes, this is the crucial issue, what exactly are the levels of any heavy metals. Fish have a lower level of toleranc e than humans when it comes to copper and such. But conditioners like Prime only work for 36-48 hours, then the toxicity returns, according to Seachem. Plants help as they can take up these metals.
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