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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-22-2009, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Water changes with pH

Hello folks it would appear my fish are gasping right now, because of what I believe is osmosis shock... I did a 60% water change (normally 50% over did it) yesterday (every saturday night) when co2 and lights were on... My pH was 6.5... so when I introduced back 60% of new hard tap water 7.6, my fish started gasping a hour later..so I got worried.

Do you guys think it hit them a little bit..? Or nah, it's not that serious.. Forgot to mention, I am using ADA aquasoil amazonia II, this substrate lowers pH and kH, and so far I am having excellent results with it;no cloudiness of the sort (I got a good batch!). Should I water change when the lights and co2 are off hours later lol like the next day when pH rises to 7.0 D: Heh, the thing is should I even worry about it? Does it matter? Can the fish tolerate it? D: Thankfully, they are returning to normal at the moment.

Should I slowly acclimate them using the python water changer?

A lot of info or anything will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!

-William
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 02:04 AM
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Osmotic shock is related to a difference in mineral content, the hardness and TDS of water. Do you know the gH/TDS of the water that you removed and the water you used to replace it? Yes there was a difference in pH but IME, that isn't as important as the TDS of the water.

Any time fish start gasping it is serious. They may live but the stress leaves them more suseptible to other problems.

Yes maybe doing big water changes when the pH is closer would be better. But I would still expect the fish would be stressed if the hardness, salinity and TDS are significantly different. I would look at that first.

Don't know what kind of fish you have. some can handle changes in the mineral content of water better than other. Fish shouldn't look worse after a WC. If mine don't look thrilled by the fresh water I start looking for what is wrong.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 03:05 AM
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Did you treat the tank with Prime or similar dechlorinator? I have never seen fish be unhappy with water changes, even when I have changed twice in an hour at 75% of the water. The fish normally appear delighted with the new water.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bannh View Post
Osmotic shock is related to a difference in mineral content, the hardness and TDS of water. Do you know the gH/TDS of the water that you removed and the water you used to replace it? Yes there was a difference in pH but IME, that isn't as important as the TDS of the water.

Any time fish start gasping it is serious. They may live but the stress leaves them more suseptible to other problems.

Yes maybe doing big water changes when the pH is closer would be better. But I would still expect the fish would be stressed if the hardness, salinity and TDS are significantly different. I would look at that first.

Don't know what kind of fish you have. some can handle changes in the mineral content of water better than other. Fish shouldn't look worse after a WC. If mine don't look thrilled by the fresh water I start looking for what is wrong.
My gH is normally 16-18 I believe and since I introduced ADA aquasoil amazonia II last week, all hardness parameters dropped dramatically as suspected.

pH 6.5 when usually 7.0,
kH used to be 18 now only 3,
gH is about 12 now...before it was 18 or more

I am not sure about total dissolved solids...I cleaned my filters a few weeks ago. Too much silicates..

The fishes I have...
Bosemani rainbowfish, congo tetras, rummynose tetras, cardinal tetras, red line torpedo barbs, golden white clouds, and sterbai corydoras.

My rainbows seemed to be unhappy about it, just gasping. Tetras went along fine. White clouds were worse, they were gasping and gasping at the surface. Red line torp barb was unhappyingly gasping as well.

Thank goodness all of them are alive right now.

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Did you treat the tank with Prime or similar dechlorinator? I have never seen fish be unhappy with water changes, even when I have changed twice in an hour at 75% of the water. The fish normally appear delighted with the new water.
Yep, I use prime all the time.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 04:26 PM
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Because the substrate change is new, you don't have a history of what will happen. But from what you have described, each week the fish will get a bunch of new water with a high gH & kH, over the course of the week it will drop significantly, especially the kH. Then you do another WC and they get hit with crunchy water AGAIN and have gH & kH drop AGAIN during the week.

Don't think you will see much difference between 50% and 60% WCs.

If you are doing a fertilization schedule which requires you to do the 50% change to *reset* the water, I don't know how long the fish are going to be able to take it. If you don't HAVE to do such big waterchanges, a lower % much more frequently should be easier on the fish. Or prepare and alter your water to be closer to what is being replaced before doing the waterchange.

I love my plants but when there is a conflict between the care of the plants and the care of the fish... the fish win, they are a higher organism which can feel acute distress.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by NeonFlux View Post
kH used to be 18 now only 3,
Are you sure about this? This seems really extreme!

Also, are you adding water of the same temp? This could cause fish problems too.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bannh View Post
Because the substrate change is new, you don't have a history of what will happen. But from what you have described, each week the fish will get a bunch of new water with a high gH & kH, over the course of the week it will drop significantly, especially the kH. Then you do another WC and they get hit with crunchy water AGAIN and have gH & kH drop AGAIN during the week.

Don't think you will see much difference between 50% and 60% WCs.

If you are doing a fertilization schedule which requires you to do the 50% change to *reset* the water, I don't know how long the fish are going to be able to take it. If you don't HAVE to do such big waterchanges, a lower % much more frequently should be easier on the fish. Or prepare and alter your water to be closer to what is being replaced before doing the waterchange.

I love my plants but when there is a conflict between the care of the plants and the care of the fish... the fish win, they are a higher organism which can feel acute distress.
I am no longer doing the fertilization schedule, I am doing it the el natural way by using topsoil and feeding the plants via water column nothing but excel;and while still have very high tech tank . I can go 2 weeks without water changes, I only water changed because I believed there was a ammonia spike in the initial setup and that is probably why I have excess nitrates when usually I don't. I am probably going to do 40% water changes every 2 weeks siphoning back SLOWLY, that is when my co2 and lights are off. And but of course, my precious fish! I wouldn't dare do anything to defy them!
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Originally Posted by helgymatt View Post
Are you sure about this? This seems really extreme!

Also, are you adding water of the same temp? This could cause fish problems too.
They are in 80 degrees, when I introduce new water it goes up a tad to 85 and then back to 80. And yes the kH went extremely down, even I couldn't believe it...but thats, that; 3 degrees
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 08:49 PM
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As long as the fresh water is very different from the tank water, I would still go with smaller more frequent waterchanges. 15% - 20% a couple of times a week is going to be less of a shock than 40% once every two weeks. Just my 2 cents.

If you refill slowly enough for them to begin to adjust you are talking about hours.

I don't remember the formula for the percentage, but water at 85F has less capability to hold dissolved oxygen than water at 80F. If anything I would go a little on the cool side rather than warmer. White clouds are not exactly a tropical fish, 80F is high for them, 85F is very high. If they were among the most affected fish I would say temperature was very much part of the problem.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 09:36 PM
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If you start with 13 dKH water and replace half of it with 1 dKH water, the result will be 7 dKH water. If you do that again, you get 4 dKH, and again gives you 2.5 dKH. But, there is no physical way to drop the KH from 13 to 3 degrees with a 50% water change. Something is happening.......

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
If you start with 13 dKH water and replace half of it with 1 dKH water, the result will be 7 dKH water. If you do that again, you get 4 dKH, and again gives you 2.5 dKH. But, there is no physical way to drop the KH from 13 to 3 degrees with a 50% water change. Something is happening.......
I agree as my experience has been 50% changes cause ruffly what Hoppy listed. to drop from 8 50% change = 5, 50% change = 3
R O used had 2dKH, weak change ie; very light color on adding the first drop of reagent and color changed almost before the tube was capped to mix it upon adding the second drop of reagent.


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Last edited by wkndracer; 05-07-2009 at 12:20 PM.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 11:55 PM
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Are you sure about this? This seems really extreme!
This sounds normal for aqua soil, I had pretty much the same drop in both the tanks I set up recently using regular amazonia. KH went from 17 to 4. There is no problem for your fish with doing weekly 50% water changes with an aqua soil tank. It is very common to dose EI and do weekly water changes when using aqua soil.

William.... Glad to hear that you got a good bunch of amazonia II. I think your problem may be that the tank has only been set up a week. Initially aqua soil leaches a lot of ammonia. Your fish may be gasping from the ammonia. Have you been testing for ammonia? When you did your weekly water change did you disturb the substrate at all? If your tank is completely packed with fast growing plants (one every inch or so) you don't need as many water changes but it is not uncommon with a new aqua soil tank to do at least bi-weekly water changes. I did daily 50% water changes on both of my aqua soil tanks and it took 2 weeks to get an ammonia reading of zero and the tanks were packed with plants. Despite the daily water changes the ammonia levels were really high each day for the first week and a half. I started my tanks with an established filter and still waited for 2 weeks before introducing any fish.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 01:36 AM
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I agree with temperature being a factor here. Especially with the white clouds showing the most distress, and the rummies/cardinals showing the least. 5 degrees can be a pretty drastic change, especially when dealing with higher temperatures like that.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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This sounds normal for aqua soil, I had pretty much the same drop in both the tanks I set up recently using regular amazonia. KH went from 17 to 4. There is no problem for your fish with doing weekly 50% water changes with an aqua soil tank. It is very common to dose EI and do weekly water changes when using aqua soil.

William.... Glad to hear that you got a good bunch of amazonia II. I think your problem may be that the tank has only been set up a week. Initially aqua soil leaches a lot of ammonia. Your fish may be gasping from the ammonia. Have you been testing for ammonia? When you did your weekly water change did you disturb the substrate at all? If your tank is completely packed with fast growing plants (one every inch or so) you don't need as many water changes but it is not uncommon with a new aqua soil tank to do at least bi-weekly water changes. I did daily 50% water changes on both of my aqua soil tanks and it took 2 weeks to get an ammonia reading of zero and the tanks were packed with plants. Despite the daily water changes the ammonia levels were really high each day for the first week and a half. I started my tanks with an established filter and still waited for 2 weeks before introducing any fish.
Thanks for the advice.

I tested for nitrate before I did the 60% water change and surprisingly, I got a pretty high reading of 20ppm of nitrate instead of 10 or 5ppm, that's when it hit me that it is probably the aquasoil that is giving this odd result. I have a loot of fast growing plants everywhere and everything in the tank is top-notch balanced, matured, and cycled, been a year for this tank when I return new water, I use my driftwood to totally avoid disturbing the substrate.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2009, 04:20 AM
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I had some issues with my newly setup tank, sort of similar I guess. While doing a water change I decided to rearrange the scape. I have Amazonia also and I noticed my nitrites spike instantly, my kh plummetted too. I lost some cherry shrimps and Neon Tetras, but learned to not do so much at one time...the hard way.
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