Afraid to change my water! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2011, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Afraid to change my water!

Hello everyone,

About a month ago I did a water change. Before the water change, the ammonia and nitrites were 0ppm, and the nitrates were, if I recall, a bit high, 5 ppm maybe? The pH was 6.8. This tank has been established for quite awhile, since April or so of this year. Up until the water change, there had been no deaths or illness for months and months.

The day after the water changed I noticed 3 of my 5 guppies were missing. I thought they were dead, but 2 of them came out of hiding and were acting super strange. Hovering near the bottom of the tank and shimmying.
See videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7ibAtj0jv0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7ibAtj0jv0

3 days later, one of the missing guppies returned. The other two died behind the driftwood somewhere. Initially, I only thought the guppies had been affected, but I noticed my corydoras habrosus had taken a hit as well, with several of them having disappeared.

The water was conditioned before putting it in and it felt like the right temperature although I did not check. Nothing really was done out of the normal compared to all of the other water changes I've done.

The next week, I did another water change and ALL of the guppies disappeared for a day, and all eventually reappeared the next day.

Now, it's water change time tomorrow and afraid to do it! I -think- the water change that started all of this was done with a new dechlorinator than I had previously used. Could that have done it? Perhaps I didn't let it mix in well enough or something?

Does anyone have any idea what I can do tomorrow to prevent more fish from dying during my water change? Thanks in advance, hope you guys have some ideas!


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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2011, 11:26 PM
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Water changes if done right do not kill fish. They LOVE them.

The only thing that matters is that you are using a quality dechlorinator/chloramine treatment.

I do not match temp, or anything. As a matter of fact, my input water is usually near 55 degrees.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-14-2011, 11:40 PM
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when was the last time you did a water change before that one? Sometimes, if you go too long between water changes, the sudden change in TDS from the old tank water to the new clean water can shock the fish to death. They get used to the water and the sudden change is too much for them.


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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IWANNAGOFAST View Post
when was the last time you did a water change before that one? Sometimes, if you go too long between water changes, the sudden change in TDS from the old tank water to the new clean water can shock the fish to death. They get used to the water and the sudden change is too much for them.
It may have been longer than what I normally do, but I've been slack about water changes in the past with the same tank. Usually I do every week, sometimes I'll miss a week, and it'll be a two week interval. It was definitely no more than 3 weeks though. The tank is at work so if work is too busy sometimes I don't get to the tank!

I'm using a water dechlorinator from Aqueon, this stuff: http://www.aqueonproducts.com/produc...ioner74704.htm


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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 12:19 AM
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What substrate are you using? Weird but whenever I had playsand as a substrate and I did a water change I would lose fish. Since switching I have never had the problem again.


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 01:28 AM
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I'd make sure my declorinator was fresh/new. What brand is it? How old is it? Does it neutralize both chlorine and chloramines? You say that you condition water before intro into tank... Something nasty in the conditioning bucket/container? What percentage water are you changing? Like Tactus^^ implies, are you stirring up potential "contaminants" in your substrate (aka sulfur sand death).
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post
I'd make sure my declorinator was fresh/new. What brand is it? How old is it? Does it neutralize both chlorine and chloramines? You say that you condition water before intro into tank... Something nasty in the conditioning bucket/container? What percentage water are you changing? Like Tactus^^ implies, are you stirring up potential "contaminants" in your substrate (aka sulfur sand death).
Using eco-complete substrate with some normal gravel on top for appearances sake. I siphon the water back into the tank to minimize things being stirred up in the tank.

See my previous post for the type of dechlorinator, and the bottle was brand new when I started using it.

The bucket I used is stored in a cabinet that is constantly frequented by our office mouse problem. I even found mouse turds in the siphon tube thing, I guess they were hiding in it. There are poison mouse traps in the building. I usually give the bucket a swish of water to rinse it before I start filling it up. Perhaps I should get some vinegar and wash it out with that first just in case?


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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 02:15 AM
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You also are not mentioning how much water you're changing (unless its mentioned in the videos which I didn't click).

I would not change more than 50% of your tank volume as this could drastically change the living conditions in the tank. Temp variations don't usually matter with small changes (I never check my temp even though I do 50% water changes) but with >50%, you will see the incoming water temp effect the fish.

Also when you do water changes, do you clean your substrate? Otherwise, you could be hitting your substrate and throwing up a ton of debris and such which could induce an ammonia spike (though not likely).

Lastly, like others said, check your dechlorinator to make sure it's doing its job.

Like overstocked said, fish usually love water changes. Don't forget that most of the fish species we keep are used to flowing water where the water column is constantly changed out.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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Mmm, good question, forgot to mention! I usually change 1.5 to 2 bucketfuls. Which, visually, looks to be 30% of the water? 20 gallon tank.

However, I just googled to see how much water an average bucket holds, and it's telling me 5 gallons. Which would put me closer to 50% of the water. Perhaps I shall do only 1 bucket this time.


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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 02:57 AM
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While it may not be a factor, tap water can vary a lot in quality over time. For example in my area there has recently been some heavy flooding over the last couple of weeks. I can smell the much higher amount of chlorine compounds in it.

Your average bucket holds 2 1/2 gal of water, but you can get some that hold 5 gal. Check the bucket. Most plastic ones have markings on the side some place.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 04:45 PM
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One more possibility:

The water company might have a bunch of extra chemical in the water, flushing the pipes after the hurricane and rains and stuff. Could be that's the problem.

My 2c on a solution: age the water overnight before you put in the tank with bubbles. Put in the DE-clorinator right away, start the bubble, and leave overnight.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 06:19 PM
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ask ur water company if they use chloramines? it takes extra dechlorinator..

i personally prefer dechlorinator only conditioners. ones like prime do too much to change water chemistry. i prefer to leave my water alone and just have the chlorine taken care of

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
ask ur water company if they use chloramines? it takes extra dechlorinator..

i personally prefer dechlorinator only conditioners. ones like prime do too much to change water chemistry. i prefer to leave my water alone and just have the chlorine taken care of
This is wrong, most dechlorinators will not touch chloramines. But prime is a great product that does work on chloramines.


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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 11:52 PM
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no one has said anything about the rat droppings or for that matter rat urine in the bucket or the tube itself

if i were you i would get a 5 gallon bucket with a lid ( 5 to 10 bucks homedepot or walmart) that way you can store everything in there away from the rat problem as that will have a huge impact on chemicals in the water

not sure what it would be or whats in rat dropping or urine but i wouldnt even think about putting a tube or filling up a bucket that has had those 2 things in them
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
ask ur water company if they use chloramines? it takes extra dechlorinator..

i personally prefer dechlorinator only conditioners. ones like prime do too much to change water chemistry. i prefer to leave my water alone and just have the chlorine taken care of
What exactly is it that you think prime changes? Ph/kh/gh will remain unchanged. Ammonia is always bound in any water treatment that handles chloramines.

Pretty sure the other effects(such as detoxifying heavy metals) is something every water treatment that handles chloramines will do, too.
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