I killed half of my fish...scared of water changes - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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I killed half of my fish...scared of water changes

Yup..I killed about 3 out of 5 of my ember tetras after my last water change.

Long story short, my guess is that I overdid it with some PH buffer (I know this is a big no no) and I think my little tetras suffered from PH shock

My tank water has a tendency to be more acidic, but the tap water that I use from my home is very alkaline. My confusion is figuring out a safe way to raise the PH of my tap water before completing my water change...anyone else deal with this? If so, how do you manage your water changes?

The weird thing about it is that I've successfully done water changes for the last few months, but this one instance went way south. I've also had a 20 gallon freshwater tank growing up so I'm not new to the hobby, but geeze are nano tanks really as complicated as the say. Help!

Pictured below-- Left tube is my tank water (acidic)...right tube is my tap water
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:42 AM
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How big is the tank?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:45 AM
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If its a 5 gallon or smaller id start picking up 2 99cent gallons of distilled on water change day..... and introduce thrive if you aren't currently using it

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:47 AM
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I would age the water in a secondary container instead of putting it directly into your tank - rubbermaid 30+ gallon trashcans work well.
Treat, heat, and age it for 24 hours and then do the WC.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:53 AM
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Stop using chemical buffering agents and the problem is solved. Leave your ph alone, stable is best.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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A whopping 6 gallons..fluval edge

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If its a 5 gallon or smaller id start picking up 2 99cent gallons of distilled on water change day..... and introduce thrive if you aren't currently using it

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Thanks. I'll look at picking some up from the grocery store and give that a try. I currently don't use thrive but I'll make an order tonight.

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I would age the water in a secondary container instead of putting it directly into your tank - rubbermaid 30+ gallon trashcans work well.
Treat, heat, and age it for 24 hours and then do the WC.
Forgot to mention that but I'm actually doing this method now. I have my bucket filled with water that's been sitting for about two days. I haven't gone back and tested it just yet but I'll test it in a few. Does this method typically show a drastic change in the PH levels? At what reading would it be safe for me to use it (with my current PH level)?

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Stop using chemical buffering agents and the problem is solved. Leave your ph alone, stable is best.
Yea I realize that now and won't be using it anymore. But with that being said, is it safe for me to add this alkaline water to my tank? I assumed that this would change the PH too rapidly.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 04:38 AM
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A whopping 6 gallons..fluval edge

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Thanks. I'll look at picking some up from the grocery store and give that a try. I currently don't use thrive but I'll make an order tonight.

Bump:

Forgot to mention that but I'm actually doing this method now. I have my bucket filled with water that's been sitting for about two days. I haven't gone back and tested it just yet but I'll test it in a few. Does this method typically show a drastic change in the PH levels? At what reading would it be safe for me to use it (with my current PH level)?

Bump:

Yea I realize that now and won't be using it anymore. But with that being said, is it safe for me to add this alkaline water to my tank? I assumed that this would change the PH too rapidly.
It will raise the ph but only as much as you make it. By that I mean larger water change higher change and so forth. Do smaller water changes until it levels out closer to what your tap water is.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 05:12 AM
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Second the do smaller water changes..
Chances are though it will never level out but it won't change much either..

Check your Kh.. if reasonable the tank will "resist" changes if not a large volume of new water..

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I haven't gone back and tested it just yet but I'll test it in a few. Does this method typically show a drastic change in the PH levels?
Not normally.. not that I'm aware of.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 05:59 AM
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After measuring KH, I would start by figuring out why your 7.6 tap turns into 6.6 tank water. That is a dramatic difference. (btw, try high range Ph test on your tap, it is probably higher then 7.6).

The usual suspects would be excessive co2 injection or something really rotting, like driftwood. Or a bottle of vinegar.

The probability of your tap going more acidic by just sitting in a bucket is close to none.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 09:40 AM
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I agree, small regular changes and work out why your tank is so different to your tap.

What's your water change schedule been so far - how much and how often?
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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I agree, small regular changes and work out why your tank is so different to your tap.

What's your water change schedule been so far - how much and how often?
It was weekly up until all of this happened--I have a 6 gallon tank so I'm guessing I stick pretty close to 20% water changes. It's been a few weeks since I've done a water change but everything has been pretty leveled since then. I guess having only 2 tiny fish in a 6 gallon has pretty low bio load. Last night I only added the new water, in stead of doing an actual water change since quite a bit evaporated. I'll wait it out a few days and will then do a regular small water change...and of course try to figure out why the water levels are way different from each other.

My tetras looked happy this morning so I guess that's a sign that the PH wasn't deadly. Testing again as soon as I get home.

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Second the do smaller water changes..
Chances are though it will never level out but it won't change much either..

Check your Kh.. if reasonable the tank will "resist" changes if not a large volume of new water..


Not normally.. not that I'm aware of.
Thanks and will do. Will be picking up a KH testing kit this weekend. I do a daily dose of flourish excel (not running c02) and also have a piece of driftwood in the tank. I'll take a closer look at it this weekend. Would you recommend cutting back in the excel dosage?

Last edited by eddiek_3; 02-16-2018 at 03:02 PM. Reason: grammar error
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 04:47 PM
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some say you can dose Excel up to 1ml/gallon..
What do you dose for metricide?

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0.25 mL / gallon / day: Amano/cherry Shrimp, community tank fish; No livestock deaths or Plant melts
0.34 mL / gallon / day: Unable to introduce invertebrates despite several attempts, Current livestock showed no signs of stress; No plant melts. Changing regime back to 0.25 in prep for shrimp introduction. -added June 12th, 2011
0.4 mL / gallon / day: a couple shrimp deaths, plants were fine, dropped back down to 0.25 soon after.
1.0 mL / gallon / day: Shrimp deaths. Used to kill a BBA outbreak over the course of 2 weeks.
met14 is 1.7X stronger than Excel.. multiply the above numbers by that.

THAT said 1ml/gallon is not MY recommendation..
.4ml Excel every other day would probably be my limit..

I'll keep you up on my 20gal which I am currently experimenting with w/ 10ml Met 14 per day..(equiv. to 16ml Excel/ 20 gal.)
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 04:49 AM
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What is your substrate?
Looks like a mix of Amazonia and white sand.

If that's correct, that's your answer. Amazonia buffers pH down to mid six. Eventually (6-9 mo) it will burn out and your pH will climb back to tap levels.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 04:58 AM
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PH swings

My tap comes out at 7.6... my tanks swing from between ~6.2 and ~7.2 daily. Hits 7.2 just before the co2 kicks and reaches down to 6.2 after 10 hours of injection. My ember tetras do fine... its not the swing its the rapid rate of change? I do a 50% water change weekly and they don't mind either....
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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What is your substrate?
Looks like a mix of Amazonia and white sand.

If that's correct, that's your answer. Amazonia buffers pH down to mid six. Eventually (6-9 mo) it will burn out and your pH will climb back to tap levels.
Yea that's pretty much what it is. A silly mistake on my part when I first setup the tank. I thought it would look cool since I was so set on sand...definitely regretted it after it was all set up. Such a PITA.
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