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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-14-2015, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Water Changing Woes

Water changing woes, or Why do my water changes seem to kill my fish?

See this thread for background: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=858585

Since starting that thread, I've suffered a few more losses. Some right after picking up the fish which I can attribute to bad stock from the store, another that seemingly had a genetic deformity. Most, however, seem to come right after water changes with the fish being fine at feeding time and when I go to sleep, but dead the next morning with no apparent signs of distress or illness.

I live in Florida and get city water. While it has fairly high values for PH, GH, KH, they have always been stable. The temperature in the tank now hovers between 79 -80.

I've been changing my water with the Python system recently and estimate that I remove about 10-15 gallons twice per week out of my 40 gallon tank. I measure the temperature with a digital thermometer coming out of the faucet which is accurate to tank water within a degree. Prime is always added per the instructions. I usually overdose Prime to two capsules every change, which is definitely overdoing it.

Bloodfin tetras seem to end up dead the most, however, I've lost two Celebes Rainbows after WC's. This leads me to believe some sort of stress as I know the tetras prefer colder and softer water, but why only after WC's?

Other fish seem to be doing fine, but I'm afraid it's just a matter of time. Until I figure this out, or if I ever do, I'll reduce water changes to once weekly, about 15 gallons, but at the rate I've been going that will still prove deadly.

Any questions, let me know.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 12:11 AM
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What fert method do you use ? Ei etc I mean.
Wonder if I would use one of those were I in that same situation of needing that much water changed as I only have 10g tanks and do what I think is 60-65%. Just saying a 10g likely has 8.5-9g of water actually so doing 4g would be close to 45% so I do 5g.
I'd likely do the Python thing also if I needed to change 20-30g of water.
The PH changes over the 24 hrs after you put it into the tank.
I use empty milk jugs so I can let it sit over night and the PH is stable the next day to
change the water with. With the Python you don't get that chance.
Also I don't use Prime or any dechlor that is any more than just a dechlor.
When faced/w a problem I can't figure, I do one thing at a time to change the outcome.
As sensitive as Neon's are to ammonia, I'm wondering if your choice of fish could be all or part of this.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 12:16 AM
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I have the same water as you do I've never had a issue doing water changes and I have mutable tanks going
I use prime I treat all my tanks the same I use one full capfull no matter the size of the water change my biggest tank as of now 75 g my smallest 10 g but 1 full cap is what I use across the board
Hope that helps u a bit really stinks losing fish
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 12:26 AM
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Bloodfin Tetras Should be OK in harder water than many other Tetras, so as long as conditions are stable, that should not be a problem.
http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/Spec...18&AT=Bloodfin

Celebes Rainbows also come from a wider range of habitats, and ought to be able to handle your water. I have had problems changing the water parameters on them, but water changes with matching parameters ought to be no problem.

Try this: Run the water into several 5 gallon buckets, or a 20 Gallon garbage can. Circulate it overnight, (fountain pump, bubbler... whatever- even stirring it by hand)
then use it for a water change. Perhaps there is some CO2 coming in with the water, or some other things that aerating it will take care of. I have lost fish with direct fill in cold weather. Cold water holds more gases than warm, and even if I blend it with some hot water, the cold faucet had so much dissolved gases that the fish died. I cannot do a direct fill in the winter.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 05:00 PM
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I found fish piping at the surface a couple times after water changes and suspect O2 low and CO2 high in tap water so I anchor the python so water splashes into the tank these days. I have a lot of sturdy ferns I generally have the water splash on so the substrate isn't disturbed at all.

I also dose dechlor to tank volume rather than water added since I am not treating new water outside the tank. Once I forgot and fish were in distress, quickly added it and fish seemed to recover quickly.


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 05:49 PM
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I suggest NOT over dosing prime. I treat the entire system when I use my python, as per the instructions. But I wouldn't go overboard for no reason.

Check the water parameters out of the tap. Then let some water sit in a bucket overnight and check it the next day. See if you have any issues.

Lastly, make sure you bang the nitrate test kit extensively prior to use. I tested water with it without shaking/banging it before dropping at it testing 10~ ppm nitrate. I shook it then testing and had over 80 ppm nitrate. One is alright, one is dangerous.

How established is the tank?


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 08:31 PM
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We have very high amounts of cloramine here in the water, water out of tap smells like a pool some days are worse then others I suspect that's must be days they treat the water at water company but like I mentioned above is what works fine for me not one issue and I have multable tanks
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnighttide102 View Post
We have very high amounts of cloramine here in the water, water out of tap smells like a pool some days are worse then others I suspect that's must be days they treat the water at water company but like I mentioned above is what works fine for me not one issue and I have multable tanks
I think this gets overlooked sometimes. I usually give the water coming out of the tap the old "sniff test". The difference in chlorine odor is to say the least noticeable some days. It obviously has something to do with the schedule or routine for injecting it into the water system, and it's one reason why I pre-treat my water before adding it to the tanks for WC. That's just my situation /routine and it's one of the variables in the hobby that's simply based on where you live.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 10:57 PM
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Stop using tap water. Anyone that is using tap water is risking everything sooner or later.

In this hobby most problems arise from not using common sense. The tap water of the 1980's was completely different from the puke that comes out of the tap today. One of my tanks has been without water changes for 1.5 years, just adding RO to compensate for evaporation. TDS is 430. Tap water is 460... A year ago tap water used to be 230... Either way it is not only about Chlorine and Chloramine any more. Or hardness. Tap water brings things that only your plants/animals will tell you are killing them. Only option - get and RO system, waste 3 parts water to get 1 part clean water, doctor it with the smallest amount of chemicals you can (Ca and Mg only, from clean sources, none of that MgSO4 and commercial products crap) and that is how you run a planted tank in today's America without any risks.

And since this is a subforum and a topic about chemicals you should know that there is another stupid thing going on with this hobby - the fascination with chemicals. Fertilizers will not make or break your tank no matter how many clowns tell you this on every forum. I know this sounds rude but it is the truth. Look at the endless posts about problems that people can't fix. Look at the levels of ferts that ADA mainains in their tanks - close to zero, but daily tiny additions of ferts. Unlike what you normally read on a US forum. No other proof needed.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 11:19 PM
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That's great advice if you were keeping 1 tank , bottom line is we don't keep fish we KEEP WATER and if you can get that under control you can keep anything you want in the water it's really not that complicated but everyones water across the country is diff so what might work for you will not work for me , alot of people I've noticed make it alot harder then it needs to be for the most part were not dealing with wild fish so trying to match there native water is a waste of time they don't know the difference The original poster has the same water co as I do so all I am saying is what works for me should work for him/her as we are dealing with the same water
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2015, 12:36 AM
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To take Midnighttide's point to a real life case, my incoming cold water line bottoms out in the low 40's in the dead of winter. I also get my water from a small community water system. So the combination of ice water coming out of the tap and so-so water pressure is a double whammy on running RO. I tried a Kent RO system a number of years ago. I vividly remember getting 1 gallon of product to 12 gallons of waste. It was completely unworkable when I just had a 29G SW tank. Booster pump, pre-heat the water? for a 29G? didn't happen.
I have about 1,000 gallons in the fish room and basement and I simply keep what works with what comes out of the tap with the help of a dechlorinator. Angels breed just fine, guppies do well and even Apistos and others do well. In time I'll dip my toes in other species and see how it goes, but they would have to fit the water supply I have to work with, and a water change routine that tries to get to each tank twice a week as a minimum.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone, I appreciate the replies. I haven't abandoned the thread but wanted to wait a while before trying out the suggestions. I'll provide a quick update before diving into answers to the questions posed.

First, I did a water change on Sunday as I felt it needed to be done. It's the first one done since Wednesday of last week. I'll wait another week before doing another to see how high nitrates get in that time.

Some tests I did pre-change to give everyone an idea of what my tap/tank looked like.

TAP:
196.9 ppm KH
> 214.8 ppm GH (16 drops before green)
PH 7.4
Nitrare: 0


Tank:
214.8 ppm KH
Same value GH
PH 7.4
Nitrate: 10

I tested GH/KH values to ensure they were stable between tank and tap. I'm unsure why there's a change in KH, but it was one drop difference when adding solution so it could just be error on my part. PH was the same. Nitrates were checked to ensure they were not so drastically different so as to shock the fish upon a water change. I believe this was suggested as a possible cause of death in another thread. I'll keep on checking these values upon water changes.

Nitrites in the tap were checked which read 0. Ammonia was not checked anywhere. Prime detoxifies it and I'm certain if it were there I would be noticing die offs in other species.

A 10 gallon change was done Sunday and I've seen no die offs as of this evening. I didn't have any clean buckets I trusted, so this was water straight from tap to tank with an addition of Prime. I didn't go crazy with the Prime dose; just one cap full. Even though this is still technically an overdose it was typical of what I've done on this tank in the past. The hose was dangled over the edge creating a splash as the water entered the tank. In case a dissolved gas was the problem I hoped the splashing as it entered would help to de-gas it to at least non-toxic levels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
What fert method do you use ? Ei etc I mean.
Wonder if I would use one of those were I in that same situation of needing that much water changed as I only have 10g tanks and do what I think is 60-65%. Just saying a 10g likely has 8.5-9g of water actually so doing 4g would be close to 45% so I do 5g.
I'd likely do the Python thing also if I needed to change 20-30g of water.
The PH changes over the 24 hrs after you put it into the tank.
I use empty milk jugs so I can let it sit over night and the PH is stable the next day to
change the water with. With the Python you don't get that chance.
Also I don't use Prime or any dechlor that is any more than just a dechlor.
When faced/w a problem I can't figure, I do one thing at a time to change the outcome.
As sensitive as Neon's are to ammonia, I'm wondering if your choice of fish could be all or part of this.
I use a modified EI fertilization routine. I picked up Maco/Micro solutions from this forum, but I dose Macro, then Micro, every other day rather than daily. My tank is not heavily planted with no injected C02 and a Planted+ to light the whole thing. Metricide is used as a CO2/Excel substitute @ 3 ML daily. I let water sit in milk jugs for a smaller 6 gallon tank I have. I haven't tested to see what the PH looks like after a day, will do that. I agree, change one thing until you have a solution. My one thing this week was letting the water splash, I guess. No deaths, but I'm not convinced this isn't a fluke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnighttide102 View Post
I have the same water as you do I've never had a issue doing water changes and I have mutable tanks going
I use prime I treat all my tanks the same I use one full capfull no matter the size of the water change my biggest tank as of now 75 g my smallest 10 g but 1 full cap is what I use across the board
Hope that helps u a bit really stinks losing fish
You sure do! Thanks for the reassurance in how I dose Prime. I usually throw in one cap full as well on my 6 gallon. I just moved to this house and switched from Pasco to NPR water, but I'm sure it's practically the same stuff. Never had a problem that I could attribute to water changes before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Bloodfin Tetras Should be OK in harder water than many other Tetras, so as long as conditions are stable, that should not be a problem.
http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/Spec...18&AT=Bloodfin

Celebes Rainbows also come from a wider range of habitats, and ought to be able to handle your water. I have had problems changing the water parameters on them, but water changes with matching parameters ought to be no problem.

Try this: Run the water into several 5 gallon buckets, or a 20 Gallon garbage can. Circulate it overnight, (fountain pump, bubbler... whatever- even stirring it by hand)
then use it for a water change. Perhaps there is some CO2 coming in with the water, or some other things that aerating it will take care of. I have lost fish with direct fill in cold weather. Cold water holds more gases than warm, and even if I blend it with some hot water, the cold faucet had so much dissolved gases that the fish died. I cannot do a direct fill in the winter.
You're right, of course. I had thought the blood fins would be alright. They were in tap at my LFS and I've seen them in tap at other places. This is my first time keeping Celebes, but I've found them to be rock solid for the most part. They don't seem terribly sensitive. Thanks for the knowledge re: dissolved gasses. I had not thought of that, but it makes perfect sense. I'm perpetually in warm climate and even our cold barely feels cold some days, but I'm sure it can still hold something. I'll try your solution once I can get my hands on something I think is clean enough. In the mean time, you'll see I tried to aerate/disturb the water as I was filling it which I hope helped. I also have the output for the canister creating more water movement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
I found fish piping at the surface a couple times after water changes and suspect O2 low and CO2 high in tap water so I anchor the python so water splashes into the tank these days. I have a lot of sturdy ferns I generally have the water splash on so the substrate isn't disturbed at all.

I also dose dechlor to tank volume rather than water added since I am not treating new water outside the tank. Once I forgot and fish were in distress, quickly added it and fish seemed to recover quickly.
As you'll see I gave your suggestion a try and let the Python splash into the tank. No deaths this week as of yet, so I'm hoping that works as I bought the Python specifically to do away with buckets and such. I've also added more water agitation via second canister and angling it at the surface.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
I suggest NOT over dosing prime. I treat the entire system when I use my python, as per the instructions. But I wouldn't go overboard for no reason.

Check the water parameters out of the tap. Then let some water sit in a bucket overnight and check it the next day. See if you have any issues.

Lastly, make sure you bang the nitrate test kit extensively prior to use. I tested water with it without shaking/banging it before dropping at it testing 10~ ppm nitrate. I shook it then testing and had over 80 ppm nitrate. One is alright, one is dangerous.

How established is the tank?
Not overdosing does make perfect sense, I always just have a hard time believing that such a small amount can treat such a large volume of water so I overdo it. Thanks for the tips regarding the nitrate solution. I though I shook it well enough, maybe I'll redo it. The tank has been up since Mid- March when I moved. It was up since September previously but I lost all fish when I moved because I'm stupid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushkill View Post
I think this gets overlooked sometimes. I usually give the water coming out of the tap the old "sniff test". The difference in chlorine odor is to say the least noticeable some days. It obviously has something to do with the schedule or routine for injecting it into the water system, and it's one reason why I pre-treat my water before adding it to the tanks for WC. That's just my situation /routine and it's one of the variables in the hobby that's simply based on where you live.
When I used buckets I would pre-treat and it worked well enough. I may have to go back to it if I can't figure this out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by niko View Post
Stop using tap water. Anyone that is using tap water is risking everything sooner or later.

In this hobby most problems arise from not using common sense. The tap water of the 1980's was completely different from the puke that comes out of the tap today. One of my tanks has been without water changes for 1.5 years, just adding RO to compensate for evaporation. TDS is 430. Tap water is 460... A year ago tap water used to be 230... Either way it is not only about Chlorine and Chloramine any more. Or hardness. Tap water brings things that only your plants/animals will tell you are killing them. Only option - get and RO system, waste 3 parts water to get 1 part clean water, doctor it with the smallest amount of chemicals you can (Ca and Mg only, from clean sources, none of that MgSO4 and commercial products crap) and that is how you run a planted tank in today's America without any risks.

And since this is a subforum and a topic about chemicals you should know that there is another stupid thing going on with this hobby - the fascination with chemicals. Fertilizers will not make or break your tank no matter how many clowns tell you this on every forum. I know this sounds rude but it is the truth. Look at the endless posts about problems that people can't fix. Look at the levels of ferts that ADA mainains in their tanks - close to zero, but daily tiny additions of ferts. Unlike what you normally read on a US forum. No other proof needed.
I appreciate your thoughts. Unfortunately, RO units seem expensive and mixing my own water when I can barely wrap my head around the chemicals involved in fertilization is basically sentencing my fish to death. Either way, I've been using tap for a while now and everyone usually does alright. If there were something inherently bad with it I would think other fish / other tanks wouldn't be doing alright.

Eventually I will likely try RO water and softening the liquid rock that comes out of my tank, unfortunately that time is not now. It may very well be easier once I get the hang of it to mix my own to the fish that I keep tolerance. In the mean time I'll have to be content trying to figure out why my water changes are killing them.

So far I've gotten through one change without a death. Hopefully that trend will continue. I'll keep monitoring nitrate to determine how frequently I should be changing water, but I'm hoping I can get by with once a week.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 02:43 AM
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Hey buddy glad to hear things are looking up
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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Hey buddy glad to hear things are looking up
Ha, somewhat I guess. I'll take whatever wins I can get with the luck I've been having lately.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Spoke too soon. I see another Celebes Rainbow upside down but still breathing. Needless to say he won't make it. Everyone else looks fine.

Next time I'll aerate the water in a bucket prior to the change as suggested and see if that makes a difference.

Question: This one didn't die until nearly 48 hours after the change. Does that say anything about what caused it, or if the two are even related? At this point I'm just assuming they are since there's nothing else to go on.

***Update***

I changed the water in a smaller tank for the first time since moving in and promptly found more dead fish. It's official, has to be the water changes.

Last edited by psych; 05-21-2015 at 02:45 AM. Reason: update
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