AC went out, Need Help HOT TANK
Ok, so I got home last night to a very HOT house. My central air unit had taken a dump and it just so happened it is currently the hottest week we have had so far. ( South Florida-came in at heat index of 110 today). I walked past my tank to get a look at my thermostat but before i got to that point i glanced into my tank to find about half of my fish at the top "breathing". Looked at the tank thermo and it read 86! Not knowing if they were at the top due to low oxygen levels, a spike in something, or just because of the temp i performed about a 40% water change to hopefully bring the temp down a few degrees. (i also turned off my lights and unplugged my heater to attempt to keep the temp lower) Unfortunately my tap water was no cooler and after the water change my tank was at 84.5 degrees. ( i saved a bit of the water to test later to see if anything was off, but i wanted to get the water change done asap). After testing my results i found some high Nitrate readings. Nitrate measured in at 10-20 and after the water change between 5-10. That was most likely PART of the reason why the poor lil fishies were swimming at the top. So now my question is "is my water temp ok for the time being until my AC gets going again? i know fish can withstand +/- a few degrees but i am worried. My current fish include
Pair of Blue Rams (one long finned)
School of Tetra (4 neon 4 cardinal)
School of 9 Furcata Rainbows
Shoal of 6 Sterbai Corys
4 marble hatchetfish (down from 8)
2 Bristlenose/Bushynose Pleco's
Assorted Ghost and Red/white shrimp
I know the rams/angels will be just fine, but I am worried about the rest. Anybody know if a temp around 86 is lethal to anything else? I am really worried about my red/white shrimp. They are so cool (and expensive) and I would hate to lose them. I will perform another waterchange in about 3-4 days to bring the 5-10 nitrate levels back down to 0-5.
Any suggestions would really help :)
The poor shrimps :(
Here is the tank (used GF's video camera to pull a still frame, horrible picture-i know)
I would not worry about the fish you have with the exception of the rainbows,hatchetfish and possibly the shrimp which I have no expierience with. The others,I have kept in Discus tank with everyday temps btween 84 and 86 degrees. Rams,sterbai,and cardinals,all will be fine in warm water. Ditto for bristlenose. The neons should not be kept in these temps for long. I might get some two litre jugs or milk jugs,and fill em with water and freeze them. You could then place one in the tank to help cool the water. Others have placed fans where they bloww acrosss the surface of the tank to help cool the water also. Hope your AC gets fixed soon.;-)
Except for the neons (they prefer temperatures below 78/79) and rainbows the fish (no idea on shrimp) you list can tolerate warmer water. But having said that, 86F is too warm. However, my point is that I would not expect to lose any of these fish (other than maybe the neons) due to the temp being 86F for a few days. I have had my tanks near 90F due to a hot spell [;-)yes, even in Vancouver Canada we do get 90+ temps in the summer, although fortunately for me and the fish not frequently] for a week and no fish losses. I would not expect the fish you have listed to expire on account of the temperature. Incidentally, I had a tank overheat to 86 or 87 due to a faulty heater, and while I lost the corys (all of them, being C. panda and C. pygmaeus) the hatchets, pencilfish and cardinals were none the worse as far as I could see.
On the nitrate, 10-20 is not high, but from what you've written I'm wondering if this was a sudden rise from the normal 5 to 10/20? That would be a concern. From your photos [I like your aquarium by the way, nicely arranged and planted, healthy looking plants, well done] I would expect nitrates to be consistently low. In both my aquaria, which are quite heavily stocked with fish and plants, the nitrate consistantly tests at 5ppm. Any decaying plant material, or maybe a dead fish? I would monitor and do the second partial water change as you indicate. But I would not lower the temp of the new water less than a degree of two from the tank if it is likely to rise again, as less fluctuation is preferable. Fish are adapted to some fluctuation, it is a fact of nature that tropical waters cool slightly during the night; but excessive fluctuations within 24 hours should be avoided in temp as in pH and hardness.
I'm assuming your pwc has eased the surface respiration of the fish? If yes, this is the right track to be on.
Thanks for all the great tips/information.
Yes, once i performed the waterchange the fish did seem to slowly go back down (except for my female ram, she is not doing to well(hope she is still around when i get back from work)
There was a hatchet which i never found, but i figured he was so small and the shrimps would make fast work of him. Decaying plant matter, YES-i have a decent amount which i do try to keep clean but with so many plants its a tough job.
Thanks for the complements on the tank. i just made a very quick video of my tank (poor quality but it still shows it off a bit)
YouTube - MaxsPlantedTank
Hatchets are found in very large shoals, and there are five different species within the genus Carniegella (which includes the two species of marbled hatchets, I couldn't see them in the video to ascertain which you have), all of which will interact nicely in an aquarium, and you would be well entertained with say 10 or more of them.
The Brazilian species of cardinals in their native waters (the Rio Negro) apparently swim in groups of 5-7 among plants, and in areas where the plants are non-existant they form larger shoals of up to 12 or more and remain among branches, vines hanging into the water, etc. This info I gathered from a resident of Brazil who does underwater scuba diving and photography in the rivers of Amazonia, and had an article in an issue of TFH a year or so back. I'm not sure about the Columbian species of cardinal, but I would suspect similar behaviour. I tried to see which you have but couldn't get a clear enough image.
I'm inclined to think the nitrate rise may have played a part in your temporary problem, combined with the increased temperature which was above what it should be for any of them. Partial water changes save many lives to be sure.
All the above is very good. Just a little 2 cents on my part, I have some australian rainbowfish in my 16g right now, my tank is usually around 82 during the day and about 79/78 at night. Big house with an underpowered AC =(
BUt my fish seem to be happy with it. Occasionally my tank will reach 86.. which is high, especially for my fish, but they seem to do ok, granted, its not 86 for a strait week. So for a few days at a time or so, they should be OK.
Thanks for the info!
My tank is a 55 gallon. I have filtration rated for about a 75-100 gallon.
I did some research on the hatchets before getting them and they suggested picking up no less then 6, so I started with 6. Unfortunately I have lost a few during the assimilation process and my next purchase is some more hatchets so they feel more at home. Poor lil guys are always hiding. You had mentioned they could school together. I cant find any marble hatchets locally but some stores do have some silver hatchets. Would they be welcomed as one of the same, or should I try to get the same species?
Regarding the Neons and Cardinals, I have a total of 8 about 4 of each. They are always schooling together so I thought it was ok, but if you are suggesting I pickup a few more of each (neons and cardinals) to make them happy I most certainly will!
I know I am getting close to my bio load for the tank, but with all of the plants and the extra filtration I think I could afford a few more small guys(hatchets for sure)
THANKS again for everything!
Do you have HOB filters? You may want to drop the water level a bit. The increased splash will help to aerate the water. Higher temps tend to cause a lower oxygen content in the water. This may be why your fish were near the surface.
Re the hatchets, there are three genera, Carnegiella, Gasteropelicus and Thoracocharax. The latter two are similar-looking silver hatchets, larger in size than those of the first genus, Carnegiella. Your marbles are Carnegiella, either C. strigata strigata or C. strigata fasciata. The difference is visible in the middle thoracic line running diagonally across the fish's keel. In C. strigata strigata this line divides very near where it starts (on the lower edge of the keel), whereas in C. strigata fasciata it is solid (and therefore looks much thicker) for about half of the distance at which point it then divides. I've attached a photo of C. strigata fasciata (first) and C. strigata strigata (second).
The non-marble species in this genus are C. marthae marthae, C. marthae schereri [both of these are almost identical] and the smaller (and much more delicate) C. myersi. Personally I prefer the species in this genus to the others, and these Carnegiella species will all shoal together and play continually. I have all of these except C. marthae schereri and attach a photo for your info; left to right the first six are C. marthae marthae, C. strigata fasciata, C. marthae marthae, C. myersi, C. marthae marthae, and C. strigata strigata. If you see hatchets labelled "silver hatchet" in a store, be careful, that common name can be used for the C. marthae but also the species in the other two genera. The Carnegiella species are all smaller (rarely much over an inch) than the species in the other genera that can attain two inches plus.
You have space in your 55g for more, provided you are regular with the weekly partial water changes. Having healthy plants is also a factor, as they are3 nature's filters. Interestingly i was reading Dr. Ted Coletti's article on filtration in the July issue of TFH, and he comments that in a planted aquarium there is more biological filtration carried out by plants (including their biological processes with the water chemistry and the bacteria on their leaves) than any filter we can have.
Thank you so much for your wonderful and informative post! i will be sure to capture some pics of my hatchets to determine what type i have. I also need to find a place to buy them (checked with my LFS and it seems they are not a common fish for them to get) so i guess its to the internet to purchase, once of course my AC is working again and my tank is not at 88 degrees
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