Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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wwright12401 01-15-2014 09:34 PM

Need some advice
I have had tropical fish all of my life. I recently had a 55 gallon with a large ornate bichir, two large blood parrots and another common bichir. We moved and I lost all but the ornate and one blood parrot in the move. I lost the other parrot a month ago and I was left with the Bichir. He did fine in the tank. I had tried putting a few other things in the tank with him like some african cichlids, another blood parrot, and I would always wake up to find the other fish dead. I figured he was killing them overnight. I decided to get rid of the remaining bichir and my kids wanted some fun tropical fish. I got some guppies, and they all died within hours. I tested the water and my nitrates are high, around 80 ppm and my alkalinity and ph tested high also (ph tested toward acid). I am at a loss. I dont know whether to start over and drain the tank and start fresh or just treat the tank. What should I do?

keepsmiling 01-15-2014 10:01 PM

I would look at the possibility of something being wrong with your water, or source of water. How long has it been since you moved and what process did you go through there? Disturbing old substrate could have cause the tank to cycle again. Do you test the water yourself, and what type of test kits do you use? What do you use to dechlor your water, and are you sure if the water available has chlorine or chloramines? Acidic PH is on the low end of the scale. High PH is considered alkaline. Welcome to the forum.

wwright12401 01-15-2014 10:08 PM

It has been two months since I moved. I test the water myself using an API kit. I use stress coat to treat my water. I just don't understand how everything in there will die, but my bichir was perfectly fine and active. If my levels are deadly, why did he flourish?

rsskylight04 01-16-2014 02:34 AM

Good question.
Different fish tolerate nitrate differently. For example, many loaches are sensetive to nitrate and will not survive much more than 20-40 while other fish , like paradise fish and some gar, are more tolerant and can survive levels over 80.
What is deadly to one fish may be survivable to another.
You probaly already know that high nitrate is always harmful to fish even if it doesn't kill them. Best way to keep nitrate low is with frequent water changes.
Good luck!

keepsmiling 01-16-2014 03:36 AM

I suggest you switch to Seachem Prime. I believe it is the best product to eliminate chlorine,chloramines. It will also make nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia so it is not harmful for one day.This is good when you test, see your nitrate is rising, and need to prepare for a water change. Or if there were an ammonia spike for some reason{fish dies as an example}

wwright12401 01-17-2014 09:08 AM

I emptied the tank yesterday cleaned all of the equipment and driftwood, and filled it back up. I used seachem prime to treat the water and a safestart solution to get bacteria going. I tested levels today and so far my nitrites are 0, nitrates are 0, but my ph is still low. What can I do to raise it. It was 6.2 according to the kit.

keepsmiling 01-17-2014 09:32 AM

You can add an airstone and air pump. Get some surface turbulence using your filter. Products to raise PH are not good. You will chase the dragon constantly. The PH will rise and fall. It is better to have a stable PH than a fluctuating one. Test the PH from your tap, see what it is.
Another method is adding some crushed coral to your filter.

wwright12401 01-17-2014 11:08 AM

PH from the tap is the same, around 6.4. Isn't that super harmful for fish though? How much will the crushed coral raise the Ph?

rsskylight04 01-17-2014 01:29 PM

It will be only a small rise in ph, but if you include a piece of limestone as decoration, it will gradually leach into the water and raise both ph and kh a little. Keepsmiling is correct though in saying that STABLE ph is better than trying to fix it.
I have the opposite issue- my ph is 8.2 out of the tap, and my fish and plants are fine. I worried for a long time and searched for products to lower it, but the impossibility of constantly doctoring my water set in and I decided to research the effects of less than perfect ph. Turns out that fish are great at adapting to a wide range of ph as long as it is stable.
The real danger of water like yours- low ph and soft(low kh)- is the danger of ammomia swings.
I could explain more about the science of ammonia swings if you would like, but what it boils down to is that you will have to do regular water changes to protect your fish.
Good luck!

wwright12401 01-17-2014 03:06 PM

ANy thoughts on using fish to cycle versus using ammonia? I have always done it with fish, but am curious about using household ammonia.

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