Would change in PH cause flashing?
I'm debating on whether or not to treat my aquarium with Rid Ich+ because I am not 100-percent sure my fish have the disease. I did have a sick Platy, who was lethargic from the minute I brought her home last week and she did not last long. Another hard lesson for a beginner about choosing fish, because I picked her based on color rather than behavior. I still have two vibrant Platies and a couple feisty White Clouds with fantastic appetites. The only reason I am concerned about Ich is that I saw the Platies flashing against plants a few times over the weekend. Of course, I started worrying about Ich and have gotten great information about how to treat that from people on the forum. However, before I risk the lives of my snail and live plants by using Rid Ich, I want to be sure the treatment is needed. The only other thing I can think of that would cause flashing would have been a drop in PH. I have been using coral and limestone to raise the level and it ascended very quickly (from 6.6 to 7.4 in a few days). I just checked again and it's dropped down between 6.8 and 7.0 (that's before a water change). So, now I wonder if the changing PH might have been irritating my fish. Is that possible?
While fluctuating pH over short periods is stressful and this itself can thus cause other health issues, I am inclined to think the "flashing" is due to a parasite or protozoan, and ich is a likely contender. However, without seeing spots I would not start dosing the tank with medications. I never treat for ich unless I see several spots on more than one fish. Fish that are healthy are usually able to fight off these things. But stress weakens their immune systems, which brings me back to the pH issue.
If this tank contains livebearers and white clouds, I would use a bit more coral to raise the pH higher. If water changes cause the pH to drop more than 2 or 3 decimal points, I would suggest changing less water volume at each change to maintain more stability, even if it means twice weekly changes rather than once; no more than 30% of the volume each time.
Thank you for the very helpful information Byron. I am breathing a sigh of relief here because I was really dreading the thought of putting my plants, snail, and newly cultivated bacteria bed in jeopardy unless absolutely necessary. Hopefully, the fishes' immune systems will overcome whatever is causing the occasional flashing. Probably some parasite that the sick Platy brought in. I'll also cut back on the water changes and try to add more coral and limestone soon. I have been changing about 50-percent of the water once a week and then changing 10 to 20-percent about every other day, which is probably too much.
Too many water changes in itself can cause flashing.
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