Water change day and Cardinal tetras - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Water change day and Cardinal tetras

Hope this is generally helpful to others, as I've asked about my cardinals in other threads, just not this specific issue.

Tomorrow is water change day for me, which is a 50% change. New cardinal tetras were drip acclimated yesterday with tank water at pH 7.0, NH=0, NO2 = 0, NO3 = 10.

All are in French degrees. Supply water is Chicago tap with pH = 7.6/7.8, dKh 7.3, TDS 17.7, dGH (just Ca, Mg) 4.4.

With Chicago tap considerably more alkaline and harder, presumably, than the tank water (injected CO2, large mopani, substrate, etc.), I have a concern that weekly water changes at this rate may hurt them. I have also just read that hard water, over time, affects the tetra kidney tubuli with Ca buildup.

I do not have the means right now to acquire and use RO water and dial in my supply hardness. Anyone deal with this? Thoughts?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry to bump this so soon, but I just lost a cardinal. I'm very concerned I blew it on their choice, not knowing enough about their soft-water requirements. Given the Chicago parameters above, am I relegated to using RO water, and adding back in hardness?

If so, can anyone advise how to "move" these poor guys over to soft water, in terms of maintaining EI, and the cardinals?
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 09:54 PM
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I wouldn't worry too much about the PH & GH & TDS unless the cardinals are wild caught.. Farmed raised are used to the harder parameters... If you want, you can soften up your water a bit with RO water or distilled water from the grocery store.


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Mister. I guess I'm freaked because I lost one of these fish after such a short period, and though I know they can be sensitive, I wondered if I am about to kill them all off.

If I do want to move my entire tank over to RO, is there a recommendation for how to do it, in terms of percentages RO/existing supply, in order to "soften" the move over to softer water?
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 10:06 PM
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It depends what your target TDS is. I guess math is involved.
Say you have 18 TDS and you want 9 TDS, you add equal parts tap & RO.


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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
It depends what your target TDS is. I guess math is involved.
Say you have 18 TDS and you want 9 TDS, you add equal parts tap & RO.
Sorry, to clarify, I'm talking about suggestions on how slowly to move from one regime to another - e.g., if TDS = 17.7 is "bad" and I want to move them down to a pure RO with only Ca, MG, totalling dGH = 2 (for example) - is the 17.7 so "bad" I should do a 50% water change with entirely RO, or do only, say, two gallons RO at each change (for me, that would mean 8 gallons Chicago supply, 2 gallons RO weekly), incrementally increasing the percentage of RO. Am I posing it clearly, what I'm asking?
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 10:24 PM
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I've been keeping fishes for many many years but for some reasons I've never been able to keep Cardinals alive for long. I've bought 20 cardinals last week at $4 each and kept them in 100% RO water @ 78 degree. They all died within a week ! Never again!

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 11:02 PM
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Do smaller, more frequent water changes. The math won't be as easy, but if you do say 3x 25% water changes per week, you should be able to slowly get them acclimated to your tap parameters.





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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Laural.

Any suggestions on doing this with EI? (Bit lost on the math - I guess I can try to figure it out, going to Tom Barr's site, but afraid my head will mess it up).

As it stands, I do micros and traces 3x weekly - would this be a good day to do the changes, and then just do my regular EI micros?

Or, perhaps this? For a few weeks, go to 1/2 EI, with water changes 3X weekly - afraid of inducing some plant shock by doing a radical change, as I would be by a radical move to RO for these fish...so any advice would be appreciated, in terms of trying to manage the transition for both plant and fauna life.

Many thanks.

Paul
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 11:21 PM
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Cardinals are well known to be hard to get past the first couple of weeks, if not the first week, after you get them. My experience is that those that survive that first period of time will be hardy long lived fish, even if your water is hard. I'm not at all sure why they seem to always have a few individuals that die quickly. But, I doubt that it is anything to do with your water parameters. If it was because of your water, all of the fish would be showing distress even now. (I think.)

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 11:30 PM
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There's a pretty good chance you're going to find one dead every morning until they're all gone regardless of what you do. Cardinals are like that sometimes. Personally, I'd give them "sink or swim" orders and if they don't tolerate the normal 50% water change, then they're just not the right fish for your water conditions.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 12:09 AM
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I currently have 9 cardinals in a 20g. Been doing 50% water changes via a python with chicago tap and declor'ed with prime for over a year now. Havent lost any fish or shrimps so far.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 12:12 AM
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With slow acclimation often you can pull them through- but do keep in mind that sometimes there's only so much you can do.

I'd just do your EI dosing as normal, with the water changes right before you dose.





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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 12:36 AM
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I had a hell of a time keeping cardinals alive until I started using tetra blackwater extract. It has made a significant difference for all my SA fish.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, all, for the help. It kills me to lose a living thing in my care, and I especially loathe it when it's due to my ignorance, so as much as I know sometimes it's going to happen, I hope I can do what I can to forestall any more losses.

I also hope I'm not overthinking this. Is this reasonable?

My usual schedule is:
50% change day on Sunday, macros; excel at 4 ml for the tank
Monday, micros/traces/iron;excel at 2 ml
Tuesday, macros, excel at 2 ml
Wednesday, same as monday
Thursday, same as Tuesday
Friday, same as Monday
Saturday, nothing

(Thanks, Hoppy, on the water change % correction - neglected that I am using old water as well as new): So, planning a 1/4 water change Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and every morning doing 1/6 the weekly micros/traces/iron, 2 ml excel, and every afternoon 1/6 the weekly macros, for 3 weeks. Hoping this is a reasonable approach.

Also, Marrow, thanks for the extract notion - I've seen very little on this, but I'm intrigued. I also have to keep in mind the white clouds in there - don't know how these interact with the blackwater material, but will investigate. My hunch is that I will have to do what I can to gently coax these guys to work with my parameters, rather than trying to micro-manage the parameters to them, because without getting extremely precise, and monitoring constantly, I think I'm concerned more with variations in water chemistry on an ongoing basis than going with the one constant I do have, which is my water supply (absent RO and precise ion dosing, that is). Hope that makes sense.
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