parameters seem OK but algae & fish not great - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, @Deanna!

I tested my tap water last night (I've done so before but figured updated info would be good). Nitrates were 0, Ph was 8.4! I'm pretty sure that's higher than it's been when I've tested in the past. Ph in the tank has been stable at 7.0 for a couple years, so the 6.8 reading was a change since last time I tested. Alas, I don't have a TDS meter

In case either are part of the mystery: I've been dosing with NilocG Aquatics Thrive twice a week (more like 1.5 times a week because I don't always remember) on the advice of folks here a year or so ago -- that has really helped stabilize my plants. But do you think the dose is too high?

I'm also adding Seachem Equilibrium each water change.

I'd say yes, decent surface rippling, from the filter plus an air stone.

@Discusluv The General Cure package recommends removing the filter cartridge during the treatment time. That scares me a little because I can see when I clean it how much productive it is, all the stuff it's sucked up. Do you agree I should have the filter running with nothing in it for a few days?

Also, if I can't get the fish to eat enough of the gelatin feed in my second try (tomorrow), should I go ahead the dose the water next time?

(Deanne, I welcome your thoughts on these questions, too.)
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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 09:53 PM
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It is actually just any activated carbon (chemical media) that needs to be removed. This is because it will take any medication out of water column. The mechanical ( sponge) and biological media can be left in.
Yes, if the fish refuse to eat food with General Cure, will need to dose in water column per instructions on package.


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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 12:46 AM
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Thanks, I tested my tap water last night (I've done so before but figured updated info would be good). Nitrates were 0, Ph was 8.4! I'm pretty sure that's higher than it's been when I've tested in the past. Ph in the tank has been stable at 7.0 for a couple years, so the 6.8 reading was a change since last time I tested. Alas, I don't have a TDS meter

In case either are part of the mystery: I've been dosing with NilocG Aquatics Thrive twice a week (more like 1.5 times a week because I don't always remember) on the advice of folks here a year or so ago -- that has really helped stabilize my plants. But do you think the dose is too high?

I'm also adding Seachem Equilibrium each water change.
As I mentioned, I think you have a touch of “old tank syndrome”, which may be why your NO3 is high, your pH is low (for your situation), you are getting algae and your fish are stressed enough to allow disease to appear. You can look OTS up on the web or here on TPT.

The daily 10-15% w/c’s I suggested are to gradually adapt your fish to a return to normalcy. If you have higher ammonia than you think you do, and your pH were to suddenly jump to 8+, you could kill your fish with an ammonia spike, so do this slowly, as per the directions you find.

I don’t know how much Thrive you are dosing, so I can’t say if it’s too much or not. Using this calculator, which many of us do, you can easily set your target doses for everything: https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php.

Between the Thrive, the Equilibrium, the tap water and the fish food, along with the somewhat low and infrequent w/c’s, I’m guessing that you have quite a load of dissolved solids in your tank, which contributes to OTS. This is the reason that I wanted to get a TDS reading: to see just how high it might be. TDS meters are cheap and can be a good overall indicator of when to change your water.
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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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Hi @Discusluv and @Deanna,

Thanks for all your help a few weeks back! I wanted to send you an update and a followup question.

Since I posted here's what I've done:

- 25% water changes every 3 days. A few hours after my most recent water change, nitrates were down to 15, the lowest they've been in over a year. My plan to to test 3 days from now to see how much they've risen, to see if I can shift to water changes every 4 days and gradually increase from there.

- Switched to NLS food plus Boyd's Vitachem daily.

- Treated with General Cure. Tried twice with a gelatin feed I made (I experimented with two different formulations), but they didn't seem to eat much of it, so I dosed directly into the water 3 more times, always 48 hours apart.

- Cut back the length the tank's light is on by 1 hour.

- Removed some algae manually (removing badly "infected" plant leaves, removing and scrubbing hardware that had a lot of algae).

The algae situation seems much improved. There have been no more fish deaths (just one in the last year, but that's what led me to post in the first place). One fish looked newly sick for a day (also, white poop for the first time!), but seemed to return to normal after the last two doses of General Cure.

However, one of my original concerns is unchanged: Some of our younger endlers look too thin (top to bottom), like they're missing the correct curve of the abdomens. These fish sometimes rest on the bottom substrate for long periods of time.

It seems to me these fish may have been born "deformed" in some way. None have died, but they don't look right or act like the others. They are a small percentage of all the endlers.

I guess maybe the best I can hope for is that now that the fish will be less stressed and healthier, there won't be more babies born like this?
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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dorian444 View Post
Hi @Discusluv and @Deanna,

Thanks for all your help a few weeks back! I wanted to send you an update and a followup question.

Since I posted here's what I've done:

- 25% water changes every 3 days. A few hours after my most recent water change, nitrates were down to 15, the lowest they've been in over a year. My plan to to test 3 days from now to see how much they've risen, to see if I can shift to water changes every 4 days and gradually increase from there.

- Switched to NLS food plus Boyd's Vitachem daily.

- Treated with General Cure. Tried twice with a gelatin feed I made (I experimented with two different formulations), but they didn't seem to eat much of it, so I dosed directly into the water 3 more times, always 48 hours apart.

- Cut back the length the tank's light is on by 1 hour.

- Removed some algae manually (removing badly "infected" plant leaves, removing and scrubbing hardware that had a lot of algae).

The algae situation seems much improved. There have been no more fish deaths (just one in the last year, but that's what led me to post in the first place). One fish looked newly sick for a day (also, white poop for the first time!), but seemed to return to normal after the last two doses of General Cure.

However, one of my original concerns is unchanged: Some of our younger endlers look too thin (top to bottom), like they're missing the correct curve of the abdomens. These fish sometimes rest on the bottom substrate for long periods of time.

It seems to me these fish may have been born "deformed" in some way. None have died, but they don't look right or act like the others. They are a small percentage of all the endlers.

I guess maybe the best I can hope for is that now that the fish will be less stressed and healthier, there won't be more babies born like this?
Thank you for updating- so many dont and we never know if something worked or not. It will take awhile for those fish that are malnourished due to parasite to begin gaining weight and filling out. So, you should see gradual improvements over the coming weeks.

It could definitely be a lack of nutrients on the mothers part that contributed to the deformities in babies. It could also be a lack of diversity in breeding stock. Also, there are a certain amount of deformities that will naturally occur over time.

You may need to cull the deformed fish out to ensure these deformities aren't carried on to future stock. I know thats hard, but it may be necessary.
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post #21 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-09-2020, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! (I haven't figured out how to "like" a post in this system!)

Edit: I figured it out!
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post #22 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-19-2020, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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HI @Discusluv and @Deanna,

OK, I've been doing water tests followed by 25% water changes every 3 days now for 4 weeks. I also gave away a lot of endler babies that had grown up during the lockdown time, so now I'm down to 4 adult endlers and assorted teensy babies. But every 3 days the nitrates level is back to 25-30 (which I've been using as an indicator that I need to do a water change).

One of the adult endlers still seems unhealthy (tail drifts downards sometimes, clamped dorsal fin sometimes), and it seems that now that the overall parameters are "healthier" two of my three amano shrimp have died (or at least I no longer see them in the tank). The tank is pretty well covered with plastic mesh over the openings so it seems unlikely they escaped.

One type of algae is almost entirely gone, but there's another entirely different new kind of algae growing on plants.

Am I correct that you believe I should do a water change if nitrates hit 25-30? If not, what level would you wait for?

Does it seem surprising/concerning that after 10 water changes 3 days apart and a significant reduction in stocking level, nitrates are still reaching 25-30 every 3 days?

Last edited by dorian444; 06-20-2020 at 05:14 PM. Reason: add tags
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post #23 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-20-2020, 07:43 PM
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It may not be all that surprising that still showing higher nitrates. Consistent with a tank with old-tank syndrome and the lower volume water changes you have been making. I would now be inclined to upping the volume of those water changes until get the nitrates under 10. It safe to do that now. 2 back to back water changes of 75% will do it.

Then test in a few days. Im sure you will see a big difference in nitrate levels. You will most likely be able to get on a schedule of 25-50% a week water changes after that.

I keep my nitrates at under 20ppm as a rule. Actually, mine stay under 10ppm. I have very sensitive fish. I have also learned throughout the years of keeping fish that frequent water changes are the single best thing you can do to keep fish healthy. No matter which type. There are circumstances where people have bad stuff in their water, however, so you do need to make sure you know what your dealing with in your water to ensure these frequent water changes are beneficial and not detrimental. Good idea to keep track of your yearly, local water report.
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post #24 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 12:45 AM
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I think that you can back off of the frequent water changes. If you had old tank syndrome, that many water changes, plus your cleaning regimen, should have taken care of it. Try @Discusluv's suggestion for double 75% w/c’s and see how rapidly it builds after that for a full week. What is your pH reading, now, before a water change?

You may not need as much fertilizer as you think, given the low-tech tank. What are your PO4 and GH levels? What type of light do you have and, ideally, if you know the PAR and PUR values it would be very helpful.

Nitrates will come from fish feeding (rotting food and fish waste), dead animals and plants, fertilizer and tap water. You’ve ruled out tap water and cleaning well should eliminate rotting plants and animals, although plants may be spewing organics if they are unhealthy. Go to the lowest possible dosing of Thrive and make sure that you are not over-feeding your fish.

Nitrate at 25-30 aren’t bad, but if they soar to 80, then you want to tame it. You can try going a week and see how high it builds and, yes; it is surprising that the nitrates build that rapidly, but there is an underlying reason for it that must be discovered.

Can you post a picture of that new algae? It is important to get your plants to a healthy point and algae growing on them is an indication of questionable health. I’m thinking that adding Excel and Purigen would be a good idea.
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post #25 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-03-2020, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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@Discusluv I just saw your message -- I must have missed the notification that it came in (or there was none?). "75% water changes back to back" -- how far apart? (Two consecutive days, 3 days apart, 1 week apart?)
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post #26 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-03-2020, 03:21 PM
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@Discusluv I just saw your message -- I must have missed the notification that it came in (or there was none?). "75% water changes back to back" -- how far apart? (Two consecutive days, 3 days apart, 1 week apart?)
Back to back as in on the same day. Finish one 75% water change and immediately do another.


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post #27 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-03-2020, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Oh wow, OK!
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