pH/Fish Gasping Mystery After 3x Waterchange - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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pH/Fish Gasping Mystery After 3x Waterchange

Okay, this one has me searching for an explanation. My tank is going through some changes (imagine that ). Here's the story...

I recently added two nice pieces of driftwood, and removed one smallish, highly creviced piece of driftwood, that had become my loach/nocturnal fish 'motel'. Within days, I noticed increased plant growth on glosso and stellatus, but I also seemed to have significant crypt die-off (wendtii and balansae). The wendtii was "bulldozed" back 2-4 inches for the dw, but the balansae wasn't touched. Anyway, thinking that that smallish driftwood was the key to my tank long being 'different' and assuming it had been leaching acids into my tank (which I had discovered 'related' driftwood did in the past!), I did a 3x 50% WC. One right after the other. I added 1/2 dose of Prime during the first WC, and a full dose of Prime during the last refill.

To add to this, I finally got fed up with my Milwaukee all-in-one, and suspecting it was a regulator issue, I went to a welding shop and got a replacement (yes, they did have to custom make an oxygen to "pipe" thread adapter for me...after an unsuccessful trip to HD to seek one). Well, the new regulator worked like a charm...for 3 hours! Then whoosh, something inside gave out. So, no CO2 going into the tank since before the WC. To compensate for this, I added 25 ml of Excel last night.

So, this morning upon waking, I find a slew of fish gasping at the top of the water. My rummynose have almost no color, the cardinals are looking pale. In addition, the cory's are looking listless. What gives?? My spraybar is angled upward, like always to create some surface movement. Then I note that my SMS122 shows a pH of 6.9! It was 6.7 before the WCs. It showed 7.2 after the WCs. So, out with the test kits! My KH=8, NH4=0, NO2=0, and pH=7.

With a KH=8, no injected CO2 and an 80+% WC, my pH should be around 7.8! Maybe all the CO2 hasn't outgassed yet, but the pH should be above 6.9! And what's up with the fish gasping? During a regular WC with my pH typically around 6.4-6.5, I hardly ever see this problem (though I have once in a while).

Anybody got any ideas? Stumped...
Brian.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 03:09 PM
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It's a stab in the dark here Brian, but do you think dosing the Excel could be anything to do with the fish gasping? I've seen reports of people testing O2 levels after dosing Excel and claiming it can cause a small drop in the available oxygen. Have your fish been ok with Excel before?

As for the strange ph/KH readings, could it be the new driftwood?
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy
It's a stab in the dark here Brian, but do you think dosing the Excel could be anything to do with the fish gasping? I've seen reports of people testing O2 levels after dosing Excel and claiming it can cause a small drop in the available oxygen. Have your fish been ok with Excel before?
I've done the Excel OD treatment a few times now. I've never noticed the direct correlation between fish gasping and Excel. Though, I'm frequently preplexed on mornings I wake up and find my fish gasping. It's gotta be something obvious, I'm just not seeing it.

[QUTOE]As for the strange ph/KH readings, could it be the new driftwood?[/QUOTE]
That wouldn't surprise me in the least. My first attempt with DW was pretty much a disaster. Maybe this one will be too .

Thanks for the ideas!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 03:56 PM
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My guess is that you added too much Excel or Prime or the combination of the two for your tank size.
You changed out a lot of water, if your tap is low on oxygen it could have contributed as well.

Quote:
Flourish Excel is a reducing agent, so are all dechlorinators. If they are over used they can bind to oxygen and make it unavailable for the fish to breath.
http://www.seachem.com/support/forum...read.php?t=188
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 04:14 PM
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if your tap is low on oxygen
I highly doubt that.
Quote:
I recently added two nice pieces of driftwood
Just 'cause they're nice doesn't mean they're aquarium safe. Where'd you get 'em and how did you treat them before addition?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 04:15 PM
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I'd like to know how much Excel you are dosing.

Mike

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Let's see. On the Prime, I added 1/2 a cap (~2.5 ml) as the first 50% WC was refilling. On the third WC refill, I added a full cap (5 ml), which is my normal dosage.

As to Excel, I added 2.5 capfuls (the 10 ml capful) or 25 ml, which I believe is the recommended dose per the bottle after a large water change. This is the first time I've added Excel to this tank in over a month. I mainly did it because my CO2 was out of commission.

As to the driftwood, I purchased it at an lfs while up in GR (don't you remember, Ernie ). I've been soaking it in a wash tub for about two months with hot water changes every 5 or so days. The tannin leaching had slowed way down, and per an append over at AB from Diana Walstad, it sounded like there might be good reasons for having some level of tannins in a tank (though she might be speaking from an 'El Natural' mindset).

Good suggestions, keep 'em comin'!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Well, things seem to be back to normal this evening (after 5+ hours of lights on) with everyone swimming as expected. I did lose one of my larger Rummynose tetras. Everyone else seems to be fine.

The pH is up to 7.2 and the KH was 8, once again.

I reattached my repaired CO2 regulator and stuffs, and am monitoring the bubble rate. As I believe I might have removed a bunch of acids, and per this thread throwing some doubt on the KH/PH/CO2 chart reliability (https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/wa...ph-chart.html), I'm bumping my SMS up to around 6.7-6.9. We'll see what happens come the AM.

Something still doesn't add up...oh well!
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