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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Need Help

Okay, I've had a planted tank (125 gal) for a little while that a very knowledgeable person set up. We started it with a few guppies and darters and snails and some grasses and other plants. Everything went great for months. Then a couple of months ago, I got a brown algae slime (similiar to what we get on our rocks on our koi pond). I manually got rid of it by siphoning it out with a gravel cleaner. Ever since then I can't get rid of algae. I scrape it off and clean it and now I have the type that is like a carpet.

I also added 3 angelfish, 2 blue paradise gourami's, some algae eaters(ottocinchlis sp?), and 3 red tetras, a sword plant that had huge leaves on it and a banana plant. All of this was last August and from local breeders that put on the aquarium show in Indy.

I do water changes faithfully (25%) every week. I have 0 nitrites, ammonia, and high ph of 8.8. My kH and gH tests don't do it in degrees, it does it in ppm. Will need to retest, but know that both are high (in 300 range).

In the past couple of months (gradually) I have lost a couple of darters, a couple of guppies, am losing a gourami, have lost all of my snails. I now have a mauvish colored film on the inside of the tank on the back. My plants aren't growing and the little leaved ones are losing the leaves. All the rest of my fish are fine.

I've read Rex's guide, but am not that great with Chemistry. I can water test koi ponds with the best of them and know what to do, but I guess I'm not testing the right stuff with the aquarium.

So now the questions,

Any idea what is causing my tank to go downhill? (only 14 fish in 125 gal)

What exactly do I need to test for in the aquarium that is different in the pond?

I know I need CO2 but am not sure how to use them and can't afford the $225 price tag I was quoted from around here. Sure I can't it cheaper but not sure what I need. don't have the time to mess with DIY stuff (I teach, have 3 young kids, a koi pond, and am working on my master's)

Any advice would be helpful because I sure haven't been able to figure out what is going on.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 12:53 AM
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Couple questions...

What kind/size/watts of lighting do you have?
How long do you leave them on for?
What water conditioner do you use?
You mention 0 nitrites, but right before your water change, what is your Nitrate getting up to?

Without using CO2 to bring that pH down a bit, I would say that is sounds a bit high for what you are keeping in it. If you really don't want to go for the CO2, you might want to get that pH down by other means, but that won't help the plants.

Also, I don't know what CO2 system you say for $225, but they do not have to cost that much! Maybe tops, about $150. And systems can be had for cheaper if you are willing to build one.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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I don't know what my nitrates are, my test kit (a regeant test kit) doesn't have that in there, just ammonia, nitrites, ph, salt, kH, and gH. We use Prime (same thing we use on the pond (12,000 gal)) to condition the water after water changes.

The lights are on from 6:30 am to 10:00 pm and are just the standard flourescent light bulbs from when we bought the tank. I know they need changed just don't know what to buy.

It's not that I don't want to go with a CO2; it's just the cost, not knowing what to buy or how to work it. I didn't want to go DIY with the 2 liter bottles, etc because I just don't have the time to make it.

Also, the blue gourami that isn't making it seems to have blisters on its head and face. I've searched everywhere for an illness with that symptom and can't find anything? Any clues there?

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 03:09 AM
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Here is some basic info, then others can chime in with more experience.

It is an excellent starting guide. Once you get the basics you can go back and keep learning.

- 10-12 hours photo period. (you have 5.5 hours too much)
- bulbs should be in the 5500 - 6500k range.
- Many people suggest replacing the bulbs about once a year. They say they lose their effectiveness...and could cause algae. I've seen that debated too. Point is, if the bulbs are old or not in the right Kelvin range, you might ought to change them.
- Generally speaking, should be looking at 1-3 watts per gallon. See Rex's guide for more info on this topic too.
- early on, I've tried unsuccessfully to keep Gouramis in high ph water. None have survived. I think your water is out of the range of most fish you have. I won't try it again. In those conditions, they are prone to sickness.

Planted tanks are labors of love.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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I'm used to keeping Japanese koi (27" is our biggest). We are adding a water softner to our house for the pond. The water source I use to change out my aquarium would run off of that too. A benefit from what we understand is that our pH could lower also. The only fish that don't seem to have any problems at all are our Angelfish.

Any suggestions on what fish I can keep in high pH?

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 02:48 PM
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I could be incorrect, but I don't believe a home water softener is good for fish water. I think the water is 'softened' via salt, so this may not be right for the fish. You'll need to do some research there. Generally, people who's tap water specs aren't right for fish usually use a reverse osmosis unit to remove the impurities, minerals, etc. The water then would have a pH of around 7, 0 gH, 0 kH...and this water would not be good for fish either. You would either mix it with your tap water to get the right consistency, or purchase a product specifically for remineralizing the reverse osmosis water.

And just to be clear, for the water parameters in your case, you would mainly benefit from adjusting them if you intend to keep "soft-water" fish.

As for which fish would thrive in a higher pH water? Normally you would go with platies, guppies, swordtails. Cichlids also thrive in relatively hard, relatively high pH water, but plants and cichlids can be tricky to keep together.

A couple good sites for reading up on some of these topics include:

Fish specs:

General articles:

Various topics

I frequent them all the time. Very helpful.

Hope that helps a bit.
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