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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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

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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.
 

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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:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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.

Charles
 

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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.
 

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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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My 125. gal tank right now has a ph of 7.9 and it is doing great. I have peacock cichilids in it. They love the high ph. It is because of the sand, just to let you know. You can also try live bearers because they also like the high ph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, i bought a freshwater test kit, which tests for ph, and high ph, nitrite, nitrate and ammonia.

Here are my numbers,

Ammonia, 0ppm
Nitrite, 0ppm
Nitrate, 0-1ppm
PH, 8.0

Ive since removed the big rock, it looks like it might be a calcium based rock. Im gonna take a couple of pics of my tank and the "rock".

The last water change was done two days ago, roughly 25%. Another water change will be done Wednesday.

I had two cichlids, and both died.

The plants i have are;
1.5 batches Hygrophila polysperma PH range- 5-9 These are doing well, about 15"tall
1 Echinodorus 'rubin' PH range- 5.5-8 This plant has stayed small since day one.
2 Nymphae lotus (zenkeri) PH range- 5-8

The water temperature is 75-76 Deg F.

How do i change the sand (Actually there is blue and pink gravel mixed in, maybe 40%). If the sand is my problem, then i want it out.

I have two filters, my filter/pump is the marineland unit the tank kit came with.
My flourescent light is 24" 7000K daylight, on for 10hrs a day. "Lightning rod" brand.

Am i missing any info?
I want to keep a few cichlids and swordtails, and some shrimp. But if i have remove the sand, i need to figure out what to do.
I still think i should be trying to shoot for a lower PH.

Thanks for the space,

Charles
 

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pH must have spiked (probably because of sand) to cause the fish to die Our tap water here is very alkaline--8.2 pH, but the fish all seem to be fine with it, probably because it does not flucuate. I do a 25% water change every 1-2 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ive removed the sand.

I bought a 5gal tank, to temporarily transfer out the fish and plants.
Ive have since rinsed out the original gravel, and bought some new gravel to compensate for the sand removal. I dont know how long the fish alone will last in the 5gal with no filtration.

I put them in the tank using water from the 38gal in which they were living in. I had done a water change two days b4 beginning the transfer.
The water temp has dropped considerably over the period of 24hrs. Roughly 10deg Celsius. I hope they make it. I forgot to leave the furnace's stat set to one set temp, it usually drops 2deg F during the day while were out at work.

Now im not too sure when to add the fish back to the 38gal.

It's been One full day now, and ive reset the tank again, old and new gravel(rinsed thoroughly), i didnt touch the two filters in the pump(hoping to keep the bacteria from b4), I did however clean the glass a bit with a sea sponge. Ive added the plants too. I hope they will hold up right off the bat.

Any suggestions for when to add the fish. (recap, ive got two swordtail, m&f, one barb, and five shrimp? And should i transfer the same water they are in, all 5 gal, or just 2 or 3 gal into the reno'd 38gal.

Thanks in advance for any input.

Charles
 
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