Fish behaving strangely after H20 change
My 55g planted loach tank is freaking me out. After the last 3 water changes I've lost a couple of Ghost Shrimp after each change. The first couple of times I wrote it off to them being in a new tank, but now they've been in there for a month and should have acclimated. This morning most of my fish were at the surface as well as 3 dead Ghost Shrimp at the bottom (did a 50% water change last night). I have very little surface movement for gas exchange, but the tank is well planted.
I've done the same thing the last 3 water changes, is there a flaw in my process?
50% water change -water drained, water treatment chemical mixed in a gallon of water and added to tank as it fills with warm water 78 degrees, same as tank temp.
Nutrients added -1 cap Flourish Complete, 1 cap flourish Iron, 2 caps flourish potasium, 5 caps flourish excel. All as per instructions on the bottles.
The next morning, dead shrimp and fish at surface.
Do you use water conditioner with each newly filled bucket of fresh water, if so which one?
What are you NO2, NO3 & Ammonia readings?
My bad, the 'chemicals' are just the water conditioner. I use Pond Solutions Ultimate made by Hikari.
The water is filled from my faucet in the bathtub through a hose to the tank, for a warm water mix. The Pond Solutions Ultimate is mixed in a gallon of water and poured into the tank as it is filling.
Unfortunately I can't afford a good test kit as of yet and I understand that the cheap test strips give false readings. So at this point I can't tell you what my levels are. I do take samples to my LFS every couple of weeks. The last was 12/23/09 and the levels were:
NH3/NH4 = 0
NO2 = 0
pH = 7.8
KH = 6 degrees
After posting the original post - about an hour ago-, I diverted my Koralia2 so that it is rippling the surface, although it did not revive my dead shrimp :) , my White Clouds have left the surface and are swimming around mid tank as they normally do.
I'm wondering if it's possible that the oxygen is being depleted overnight after the high doses of excel.
Why are you adding so many nutrients, and in such quantities? This could be a large part of the problem, so I'll comment on this aspect first.
Plants require a combination of 17 nutrients in proportion to each other. Some nutrients in excess (excess compared to the balance of other nutrients) can cause plants to "shut down" certain other nutrients. Nutrients must be balanced. Flourish Comprehensive Supplement [which I am assuming is what you mean by "Flourish Complete"] provides almost all of what is needed with respect to minerals. Carbon comes from the fish and biological processes, as does nitrogen (ammonia/ammonium taken up by the plants directly). You certainly do not need to add iron in addition to Flourish Comprehensive and if you do, you may throw something out of whack. Which brings me to the fish problem.
Iron is a heavy metal, and all heavy metals are toxic to all life, plant and fish. If the plants can assimilate the iron you are adding--and this will only happen if all the other nutrients including carbon and nitrogen from the fish are sufficient to balance along with the light intensity/duration--no problem. But if any one of the light, carbon, certain other minerals are not sufficient, the excess iron is toxic and will harm if not kill fish and plants. Different fish and plants have different responses to toxic metals.
Aside from the above, the water conditioner has to be good; what are you using? And another issue could be something now in the tap water that wasn't there before. Test the tap water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate if you can. The conditioner, if a good one, should handle chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals [not sure how this may interact with deliberate dosing of heavy metals?] and possibly ammonia. Let us know some of the test results. But first I would definitely get the nutrients under control. All of that is going to affect the tank's biological equilibrium without question, and may be the direct cause of, or may be indirectly affecting something that is causing, the fish deaths.
Im using Hikari Pond Solutions Ultimate for a water conditioner. The label reads:
A full-function water conditioner
-Removes Chlorine & ammonia
-Detoxifies nitrite and heavy metals including copper
-replaces skin slime coat
As for the high doses, it is what is recommended on the Flourish bottles after a 40%+ water change. The Iron was recommended by my LFS when my plant leaves began to turn yellow. It brought them back to green and my Temple Green is beginning to color red through the leaves -which I'm told is a sign they are very healthy-. I have suspected the Iron of being the problem with the shrimp and will quit using it until I get a good test kit. On a side not, Iron is an essential element to strong healthy grass. I've used it for many, many years on lawns and growing bamboo. I'm sure too much is a bad thing, but in small quantities it will give you the greenest grass in town.
My LFS doses their tanks heavy in grasses with Iron 3x's a week and their plants are very healthy. So I'm a little confused on this one.
I will try to get to my LFS with a sample today and post the levels.
IMO having had shrimp & cray for many many yrs: All the stuff you're adding there is simply too much for them.
Another thing I don't fancy in this set up: You're adding pure tap water to the tank and THEN mix in the conditioner - Pers I'd not wanna do that at all, if you have Ammonia or Nitrate in the tap water, when you put that in there, even the 10 mins it takes for the conditioner to work, that will do it for sensitive fish right there.
I'm a big outdoors person too: But let's face it outdoor gardening and aqua scaping have things in common yes, but they're not the same.
Not having a test kit is extremely unfortunate, in this situation testing at your LFS every 4 weeks is as good as non really. You gotta test your tap and your tank!
Here's a kit I found you for $15...maybe you have a chance safe this up and get it Walmart.com: Tetra Laborett Master Aquarium Water Test Kit: Fish
Three times over the past year I have gone from twice to once a week applications of Flourish Comprehensive, and in every case after about 2 weeks the sword leaves began yellowing, so I went back to twice and within another 2 weeks the new growth was green again. There is nothing in my tap water mineral-wise, GH and KH are 0 or less than 1 at the highest, so I am confident that mineral nutrients are only entering my tank via fish food and fertilizer. I can't say if iron or something else caused the yellowing, only that increasing the balance of nutrients improved it.
As Angel mentioned, land plants require different proportions of nutrients than aquatic. And even more importantly, one must never forget that adding chemicals to an aquarium is vastly different from using them in the garden. You could overdose any fertilizer on your lawn, to a certain extent, and the watering and rain would wash some of it down into the soil. But in the aquarium it goes in the water and there it stays until the next pwc, and the fish cannot escape it. For this reason one should always be very cautious before adding any chemicals or fertilizers to a tank containing fish. For interest there was a recent thread on this issue of over-dosing nutrients that I and others posted in, may help a bit: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...ul-fish-34183/
I had a look at Seachem's website. They say Excel does not alter pH like CO2 diffusion, so one would assume it is safe in that regard. The fact that these problems always follow a pwc would cause me to dispense with any additives one week except the water conditioner and see. You can always add the fertilizer a day or two later that week.
One suggestion on the pwc. I use a Python connected to the tap, so I fill the tanks directly. I change 50% or more each week. I squirt the conditioner in the tank as the water enters. One squirt at the start, a second squirt when the tank is 3/4 full. This may be overkill, but...better safe than sorry, given the high chlorine level in my tap water. Never had a problem. I've used Kordon's NovAqua now for 15 years. From the info, I can't think your Hikari is any less effective. I would add it directly to the tank with the new water coming in though, not mix it in a pail and pour that in; I'm not saying this could make a difference, but something tells me the conditioner should go in the water and not become active in one gallon first.
Last thoughts. What did you change that caused these issues? That may clue you in to what it is. Example, if this started the same week you began adding the iron, or potassium, or whatever.
I can't contribute much here and I think Byron and Angel079 said it all but what do you mean by this:
"water treatment chemical mixed in a gallon of water and added to tank as it fills with warm water"
is it filling as it's draining into the tank?
I fill the tank from a hose attached to my bath faucet with warm water as I pour the conditioner -already mixed with water in a 1 gallon pitcher- into the tank where it is filling.
In the process of working this out I found a couple of very handy little devices for measuring liquids. In the baby aisle at most drugstores they have syringes and eyedroppers used for giving babies meds. They are scaled in ml and tsp and work perfectly for metering dosages in my tanks. WooHoo! I prefer the eyedropper because it's easier to fill one handed, just squeeze the ball and release as opposed to trying to hold the syringe and pull the plunger. The eyedropper/turkey baster style came with a separate measuring spoon type device and the package costs around $3. Very handy.
About not filling directly from the hose, the only problem I've had has been recently when I started the high fert doses, never a problem from just filling. Do you mix everything in a bucket, then add it to the tank?? I'm doing water changes on 2-55g, 1-30g and 1-10g every week. @ 50% that's 75 gallons of water. I'm backing it down to 30% changes, but that's still 50 gallons of water.
Ideally I would like to be able to store 50 gallons and treat it days ahead, then add it to the tank when needed, but who has room to store 50 gallons of water?? Not to mention the 110g and 75 gallon tanks I'm resealing and prepping to set-up. That will bring my water changes to 100 gallons. WOW! Maybe I just need a pond. :)
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