Ph Level Causing Fish to Die?
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Ph Level Causing Fish to Die?

This is a discussion on Ph Level Causing Fish to Die? within the Freshwater and Tropical Fish forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> My tank has been running sense this past Thanksgiving, so only about two months now. I've been monitoring Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels (I ...

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Ph Level Causing Fish to Die?
Old 01-25-2010, 04:47 PM   #1
 
Ph Level Causing Fish to Die?

My tank has been running sense this past Thanksgiving, so only about two months now. I've been monitoring Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels (I even just got them tested at my lfs today, with an API liquid test kit) and the guy there said the three levels were where they should be (he didn't give me the numbers, but I saw the cards next to the test tubes and they were all at the lowest level), but he also tested for Ph. I've known that my Ph is kind of high, he said it's probably about a 7.8 or even an 8, and that's what he got when he tested it earlier today.

I told him that I read online that levels like that can be ok for livebearers, but he said that most fish you buy at the store today don't come from the wild and are raised in Ph-neutral water, and that my Ph level could be what causes some of my fish to die. Should I do something about this? I really don't want to keep getting fish and just to have them die after a few weeks..I know (from reading some threads on here) that chemicals like Ph Down really aren't a good option, do I have any other options or might my tap water here just not be suitable for fish? If I bought water by the gallon at the grocery store, would that be better for the fish?
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
 
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Many will agree with me that selecting fish suited to your water is better than attempting to adjust your water to suit certain fish. Having said that, many fish are adaptable to some extent; all fish have a preferred range, determined by nature, but many fish are remarkably tolerant of wide-ranging differences [stable], others much less so. What specific fish were you considering?

Adjusting the pH of your water is not always simple and reliable. The carbonate hardness (expressed as dKH or ppm KH) acts as a buffer to maintain a steady pH, and the higher the carbonate hardness the more difficult it will be to adjust the pH. The pH adjuster chemicals are not recommended because they adjust the pH and within a few hours sometimes the KH buffers in the water move it back, and fluctuating pH is worse than a steady pH that may be a bit different from the preferred for a species. If you really want to go this route, there are safe ways to reduce hardness and pH, such as RO (reverse osmosis), peat filtration, and using rainwater. Long-term these would be preferable to the expense of buying bottled water. Each of these has pros and cons we can leave for later. The fish you want may be fine in your water.

Byron.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:09 PM   #3
 
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I"d also strongly recommend selecting your fish based of what water (ph&KH) you have there and the tank size rather then the other way around; whether you have soft or hard water in either case there's a BUNCH fish to choose from.
If you wanna have livebeares with a pH 7.8-8 excellent.

These chemicals you see at the store I'd def NOT recommend they will cause you up&down swings ALL the time and are VERY unreliable and these swings are very unhealthy for your fish and often cause more damage then having fish permanently housed in hard waters.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:16 PM   #4
 
All the fish that I am considering and have gotten are livebearers (I think at least..) I've had a couple mollies (which have died) two balloon mollies (one died) a couple platy's that have died, and 3 guppies, 1 of which has died. So right now I'm at one balloon molly, two fancy guppies, 1 platy and one baby dalmatian molly (It has just gotten it's spots in the past week or two) it's about 1/2 an inch big right now I'd say, and it has been in the tank for over a month, it started out very small.

The tank size is a 30 gallon. I had been getting live bearers because from what I've read online, they do tolerate a higher Ph like mine, so I was hoping that I would have success with them, but so far I've only been having 50/50 success/death..I really want to fix what ever is wrong, but I'm not sure where to go from here

Oh I forgot to mention, I did not add all those fish at the same time. I had 3 in initially, then almost a month later I added 4 and that caused some of them to die (I know, I added too many at once, something I really don't plan on doing again, sense then I haven't added more than 2 in one week). I realize the importance of stocking slowly, and I thought that adding all those fish at once was the issue, because before I added them those 3 original mollies didn't have any issues. But even though I'm stocking slowly now, about half of the fish I've added in the past month have died, sometimes within the first week of being in the tank, sometimes after a couple weeks.

I'm not sure what else might be important for you guys to know, but I'm sure that if I left something out you'll ask about it

Last edited by Major25; 01-25-2010 at 05:21 PM.. Reason: Forgot to mention something
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:31 PM   #5
 
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Molly, Swordtail, Platy, Guppy all these fish are fine with the pH you got there.
I VERY much so suspect or or tow reasons for you loss or a combo of both....Loosing fish when cycling the tank with fish is VERY common if you don't test 1-2 daily what your parameters are. From what you said up top they're now stable, but I"d keep checking them on/off and also WATCH your fish for abnormal signs; if it is the case make a instant large water exchange with a good conditioner.
Reason no 2 behind this could well be yur source you're getting these fish from..are they all from the same store? Livebearers are heavily over-bread fish and some are more prone to sicknesses and early death then other.

Was this my tank; I'd let this run now for several weeks so a sufficient amount of beneficial bacteria can built up in your filter and gravel (Do NOT clean filter!) and keep up weekly water exchanges (wit conditioner) and test your parameters on/off.
If all this goes well over the next weeks, then add more fish.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:51 PM   #6
 
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Agree with Angel, and next time you have water tested, ask them for the numbers, insist on it; "OK" doesn't tell you the specifics. Or save up for an API test kit that includes ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH, these are the tests worth having, since these can be fluctuating according to conditions in your tank. B.
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Old 01-25-2010, 05:52 PM   #7
 
i started with mollies when i was first setting my tank up as well, they have awesome personalities. a little fact about mollies is that they prefer brackish water. they will do fine for a bit without the salt, but eventually it wears on them and they end up sick or dying. i keep a small amount of aquarium salt in my tank now, 1 Tbls per 10 gallons. As soon as someone suggested the salt and i added it, i stopped having molly losses, their colors perked up, and they seemed more energetic and happy. just be careful if you plan on adding any scaleless fish to a tank with aquarium salt in it (such as some loaches) they don't do well.

anyone else have thoughts on this?
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:16 PM   #8
 
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I have a fairly strong stand on salt in freshwater aquaria--basically, no salt. But, having said that, Mollies are one fish that tolerates brackish water and fresh, and while many do use salt with mollies there are others who say it is unnecessary. I'll leave the mollies and move on to other fish, since I see from your aquaria lists under your signature that you have fish in all three tanks that should, in my view, never be subjected to salt. But one last thought, since I will mention it below, is that salt is sometimes recommended for water quality issues, such as nitrite, and it is possible that using it in your situation was more of a treatment for a water issue and the fish responded accordingly.

Here's a good article on salt in freshwater aquaria:
http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u...article_id=335
This is for later, as the website is offline for maintenance. A number of authorities are cited in that article, and all say the same thing, that salt should not be added to freshwater aquaria except as a medication.

To your fish: Corydoras, Farlowella, gourami and angelfish come from waters soft and acidic with absolutely no salt content. Salt can be detrimental to these fish, Corydoras and Farlowella in particular, both genera are very sensitive to chemical and mineral content in the water. To cite from an article by Laura Muha in the December 2006 issue of TFH, "When pH and/or salinity stray outside the ideal range for any given species, the fishes' bodies must work harder and use more energy to maintain their physiological equilibrium." This causes stress, and stress leads to immune system issues and less resistance to disease, just as in humans.

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Old 01-25-2010, 07:23 PM   #9
 
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Have to disagree on the salt-mollie view there.
At our previous location we also had hard water and I housed Mollies which I got from a hobby breeder, who himself never used salt and the Mollies I got from him beats ANY mollie from the store, by size, coloration and health. Any fry I got off of these Mollies always survived and were super healthy. I myself had these very 1st Mollies from my breeder w/out salt for 6yrs in a community set up 55g, upon our move they then moved in with a friend of mine, who's now also had them well over 2yrs almost and they're still EXCELLENT looking healthy lil buggers.

The only reason I'd use salt is for medicating...which may well be why you're magically did better, cause if they were sick from the store, you add salt and they heal up, then yea anyone would feel better wouldn't they!?
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:42 PM   #10
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
To your fish: Corydoras, Farlowella, gourami and angelfish come from waters soft and acidic with absolutely no salt content. Salt can be detrimental to these fish, Corydoras and Farlowella in particular, both genera are very sensitive to chemical and mineral content in the water. To cite from an article by Laura Muha in the December 2006 issue of TFH, "When pH and/or salinity stray outside the ideal range for any given species, the fishes' bodies must work harder and use more energy to maintain their physiological equilibrium." This causes stress, and stress leads to immune system issues and less resistance to disease, just as in humans.

Byron.
this was 2 years ago on a molly only tank. i now have community tanks with corys and balloon mollys that have no salt in them because of the corys. i mentioned in my post to be careful what fish you add in the salted environment.

the info i recieved was from a man who also bred mollies and said he always uses a light mix of aquarium salt for his molly tanks.
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