Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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drcolt 01-16-2007 08:39 PM

PH higher than 7.6
Hi all, this is my first post here, I will make it quick.

I have a 38gal, still have plants fairing well. It was established 6 months ago. About 1 month ago , fish started dieing.
I had 2 dwarf cychlids, 2 gourami, 4 barbs, 3 swordtail, 5 shrimp, 1 ruby tail shark.
The 1 cychlid was last to die. All that is left is one barb, two swordtail, and the shrimp.

I have white silica like sand, and one pourous boulder, which is full of green algae.
Could my high ph level be because of the rock or the sand. Tank has no gravel, sand only. ( I got it like that from a friend two years ago).

This was the second attempt at maintaining a tank.
20% water change every two weeks. Feeding once daily at 4pm, and light is on 10hrs a day, 10am-8pm.

Thanks for the space.

musho3210 01-16-2007 08:44 PM

you need to make a 25% water change once a week. What were your water params and did you cycle?

herefishy 01-16-2007 09:00 PM

Is the sand a coral sand. If so, it is acting as a buffer to increase your pH. Try tangenyikan cichlids, they would love that pH.

Lupin 01-16-2007 09:34 PM

Hi and welcome aboard.:wave:

What are your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates? Otherwise, it could be a sudden increase of pH. pH swings will not be tolerated by fish and such change can eventually kill them. I'm surprised your swordtails also died from the high pH. This led me to suspect pH fluctuation, ammonia and nitrites spike and nitrates exceeding more than 40.

What dwarf cichlids do you have? Most of them are very sensitive to water conditions. Let alone a pH fluctuation if it did happen.

herefishy 01-16-2007 11:16 PM

Blue, usually if water conditions deteriorate, ammonia and nitogen levels elevated, ph drops. Higher ph shows problems other than the ones you noted.

Lupin 01-17-2007 12:21 AM

Let me get this right. If there is any deterioration, nitrates will, of course, elevate to a very dangerous level. But why you include ammonia and nitrites is beyond me.:dunno: By the time the tank has established, there is enough bacteria to break down ammonia unless the author overfed his fish. Ammonia and nitrite spikes are caused only when there is not enough bacteria to break down wastes and ammonia, interference of tank ecosystem using medications that harm the bacteria and the fact that the tank has not cycled at first due to the absence or insufficient beneficial bacteria.

Before I make any more conclusions, let the author post more information.

Lupin 01-17-2007 12:24 AM

By the way, I will add that every two weeks is not enough and IMO very insufficient. Dwarf cichlids are far too sensitive to water conditions and without the plants, nitrates will have already elevated dangerously as they have accumulated. Do a 30% weekly or 10% daily water change but whatever works is fine. Two weeks is too drastic for the dwarf cichlids.:shake:

drcolt 01-18-2007 12:25 PM

When i restarted the tank, i had water only in there for two weeks, with the filter running, i then added five plants, i dont recall the names, but can post later when i get home.

I buy plants and fish thru big al's, if that helps, they do free water testing.
After another two weeks of having plants, i was told i could introduce fish. so i added four barbs, my remaining shrimp which i kept in a 3 gal for a few months with a goldfish. I also bought three swordtails at that time. Another month after that, having done water change every two weeks, 25% each time, i had gone back to big al's to look into water quality, and introduce more fish.
I was told the water looked 'good'. So i bought two dwarf cychlids (purple colour near the gills, blue eyed), and bought two gourami, M & Fem. along with a ruby tail shark.

All did well for months, and slowly algae began to grow on the one rock, and on the back aquarium glass wall.
Slowly ph levels rose to where they are now.

I dont know what type of sand it is.

Im at the point, where im considering restarting the tank again, get rid of the sand and replace it with 2-5mm gravel, and load in more plants.
Im not to knowledgeable with this hobby, but it cant be that hard. Something is going on. It seems that everyone has a different opinion.

On a 38gal, how much and how often should i water change, and feed.

Im going to buy a proper test kit, i only have a ph test hit up to 7.6.
Any suggestions of what else i should look into to meter the water myself. Its becoming a pain to go to big al's every two weeks to get water tested.

My tap water tests out to be 7.2ph level, brita water is 6.8(tested it for curiousity).

My 2 goldfish are doing great in their 3 gallon. 40-50% water change twice a week, feeding every two days, and lots of snails in there for them to suck on. No plants.

Why is my big tank harder to keep, i still bet its the sand and rock.

thanks for the space, and sorry for the lengthy post.


Lupin 01-18-2007 06:23 PM

Tell your lfs to jot down the exact figures, not words like 'fine' or 'good'.:shake: There is probably something wrong with your water parameters. Check for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.

A strip down of tank will result into mini cycles which can harm most of your fish.

musho3210 01-18-2007 09:46 PM

Wait, you take care of goldfish in a 3 gallon? Bad move, they will grow out of it quickly and if they dont grow out of it, it means there growth is stunted which is very bad. Try getting at least a 30 gallon for them

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