Angels and pH
So I've been readin around for a while, and asking at pet stores and seem to be getting mixed opinions everywhere. I understand angels like a pH of 6.8 or so, but have been reading that they will do fine in 7.2, especially since most are domesticated. I asked two stores about this, but they said my ph of 7.2 is probably the killer in my tank. I have lost a couple in the past, but my last batch has lasted a week, until 1 passed yesterday. I am kind of doubting that it is my pH, since most info online says they should be fine.
Infected swim bladded crossed my mind, but I've read that takes days or sometimes weeks for the fish to die or even sometimes recover, these die within a day of developing symptoms (stop eating, staying up top, and eventually becoming very weak and floating with the water current and laying down)
My first few didnt last this long, only 2-3 days at most. Also the other 3 still seem fine.
My ammonia is 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 10-15, ph ~7.2, 29g, live plants. I feed once a day, sometimes frozend blood worms, sometimes flakes. Speaking of flakes, I read that these might cause swim bladded issues if the angels eat too many and then they expand in their bellies, but I feed sparingly.
Since your angels weren't lasting long from the start I have to wonder how well they were acclimated. I use a slow drip method that over the course of a couple of hours slowly acclimates the fish to the water parameters of the tank.
whats the slow drip method?
I will describe the slow drip method I use . It's not very scientific or complicated but it works for me.
Upon bringing fish home or receiving them , I take a clean three gal bucket and gently pour the water from the bag of fish and fish into the bucket while letting the bag rest on the bottom of the bucket. Water should cover the fish. If not a small block of wood can be placed under one edge of the bucket to tilt it so that fish are covered with the water from the bag.
Next I take approx four feet of airline tubing that will reach from inside the tank that fish are going into ,to inside the bucket holding the new fish and the water they came in. I then tie a couple knots in the airline tubing about middle ways and then while sticking one end of the tube in the aquarium, I begin suction so that water from the aquarium is drawn into the tube and ultimately begins to drip into the bucket holding the new fish.(note) clothespin or other suitable clip will be needed to hold tube in place on the bucket or you can simply let the tube lay in the bucket while the lid on the aquarium will hold the other end.. If water is coming to fast from the tube into the bucket,I simply pull the two knots tighter,(needs to drip at two to three drops per second or there about).
Once the bucket is one fourth to one half full, I gently pour water from it into the sink taking care not to lose fish, and once again,, place the tube back in the bucket and repeat the process over a period of a couple hours. After an hour or two ,, I then net the fish from the bucket and gently release the fish into the aquarium. I mostly release fish into dark aquariums and withold food for up to twentyfour hours.
While this method is slower than adding water from the tank to the bag holding fish, I have found that there is better survival rate with many fishes.
Sometimes I cheat and toss half of the bag water and drip right into the bag until it contains 50% tank water.
Always net your fish out so that the LFS water gets tossed. Always introduce fish into an aquarium with low or no lights and withhold feeding for the first day. I usually feed the tank inhabitants about 30 minutes before introducing new fish.
I actually got into angels myself currently and have had good luck with most of mine. To directly answer your question, the ph is more important that it stays at a constant number rather than fluctuating. The fish (if acclimated properly) can deal with a higher ph as long as it stays constant. I have been successfully keeping my angels at a 7.6 ph, and my cousin has his at a 8.0 ph (most of his came from the same batch as most of mine did).
I too am very big on the drip method. I would suggest it on every fish, the hardier the fish the quicker you can drip/transition them. On angels i make sure to take my time. I leave the fish in the bag they came in and support it in something like a bowl or coffee container (something just bigger than the bag to keep it from tipping over). My method differs a little and may be overkill, but so far hasn't failed. I drip the water into the tank as mentioned, but i also have a separate hose dripping at the same rate taking the old water out of the fish bag and into a bucket. I start my dripping at one drop per 2 or 3 seconds for the first 30 minutes. Then i speed it up to about a drip per second for 30 minutes, then 2 to 3 drips per second for 30 minutes. It may be overkill but it's worked great so far.
Yea, I'm thinking my accumulation wasnt thorough enough, but 3 of the last 4 have made it this long, I would like to think they are ok now.
For information on fish habitats, this link proved to be very helpful when i was setting up my tank.
Aquarium Tropical Fish Experts-Aquariums-Coral
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