Seachem toxicity - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Seachem toxicity

So I measured my parameters last week because I had a little outburst of green spot algae and this hard brown algae on my anubias leaves an glass:

pH: 6.8
ammonia/nitrites: 0
nitrates: 0
phosphates: 10 ppm (tap water is slightly lower than 10 ppm)

10 gallon
Finnex Fugeray 20"
Java fern, anubias sp, microswords, stauro repens
5 rasporas, 5 cardinals, 5 sidthimunkis, 1 oto

I thought the nitrate deficiency might be the problem so I bought some Seachem Nitrogen and Potassium and started dosing my excel every day (normal dose). So I started dosing as recommended and my nitrates were still at zero. I used the Seachem calculator to raise my nitrogen up to 5 ppm and it said to use 2.5 caps which is like 7x the recommended dose. To make sure my test kit wasnt out of wack I tested the Seachem nitrogen with 2 parts water and 1 part nitrogen. It only got up to 80 ppm! I read that half of the product is not in nitrate form so that might be part of it but I still think thats pretty diluted.

So with that in mind I went ahead and treated with 3 caps to get a little over 5 ppm nitrates and a dose of my daily excel. This was the first time I put in excel with the lights off and I read that light detoxifies the active ingredient making it less toxic to inverts. This was the also the first time I added this much Seachem Nitrogen.

A couple hours later I found my 3 amano shrimp dead. Luckily everything else was ok. So long story short, I dont know if it was the Nitrogen or Excel that killed the shrimp. Prior to that they were fine with the excel and were eating good. Tank if fully cycled and I got them 2 weeks ago and were acclimated fine.

Any ideas?


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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 12:11 PM
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I can only tell you that I have maintained 4 amano shrimp for the past 4 months while dosing 2 caps of excel daily into a 125 gallon tank.
I also used to dose nitrogen regularly until my nitrate readings began hovering around 20 ppm from the fish load. I no longer need to dose the nitrogen.
Anyway, the point is that I have dosed both of these and my amanos are doing very well.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedTankRookie View Post
I can only tell you that I have maintained 4 amano shrimp for the past 4 months while dosing 2 caps of excel daily into a 125 gallon tank.
I also used to dose nitrogen regularly until my nitrate readings began hovering around 20 ppm from the fish load. I no longer need to dose the nitrogen.
Anyway, the point is that I have dosed both of these and my amanos are doing very well.
Do you dose the excel with the lights off or on?


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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 02:19 PM
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It may have been the excel treatment with lights off. When plants aren't receiving light, they emit co2 back into the water as part of their normal "breathing". If you added excel (liquid co2) in when the lights were off, there could have been a large spike in co2 in the water or a spike in ph due to the co2. They could have been overgassed. I would add excel when the lights are on at the beginning of the day so the plants have time to absorb it. I've heard of shrimp being sensitive to high co2 levels, and they are definitely sensitive to ph swings.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 02:29 PM
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according to fertilator (http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...fertilator.php)

for 10 gallons 3 caps, ~5mL per cap, 15mL total

fertilator puts you at 26.15 ppm, but that assumes 10gal volume and not including substrate and decorations that decrease volume so you may have dosed around 30+ppm

You might want to try calibrating your test kit to see how accurate it is measuring:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=83545

if it isn't reading correctly you could be adding more nitrates to a tank that already has nitrates.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 02:33 PM
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I lost 5 albino corys to Excel. I was spot treating for BBA. I dosed with lights of as well. Thanks Dolfan.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 02:54 PM
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125 gallons is a lot more water than 10 gallons. Stating the obvious but that would explain why there's been no issue there.

Excel is not liquid CO2. It's an algaecide, essentially.

Your shrimp probably kicked the bucket, OP, as a result of dramatically increased nitrates and because of the dosage of Excel - which can be toxic to inverts when it builds up in your tank. Others will say it's not toxic but it absolutely can be.


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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolfan View Post
It may have been the excel treatment with lights off. When plants aren't receiving light, they emit co2 back into the water as part of their normal "breathing". If you added excel (liquid co2) in when the lights were off, there could have been a large spike in co2 in the water or a spike in ph due to the co2. They could have been overgassed. I would add excel when the lights are on at the beginning of the day so the plants have time to absorb it. I've heard of shrimp being sensitive to high co2 levels, and they are definitely sensitive to ph swings.
Excel isn't liquid co2. It's a synthetic chemical that plants can use the same way as co2. It is also slightly toxic and can be used as an algaecide but I don't it killed your shrimp. I'm sure there are other chemicals in the nitrate supplement that the shrimp are sensitive to.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rygar126 View Post
Do you dose the excel with the lights off or on?
I've never really paid attention to whether I dose with the light on or off. I usually dose first thing in the morning so most times it is right at the beggining of a light cycle.
I'm sure there are plenty of times when I slept in and dosed after the morning light cycle (I run lights from 5-7 am and pm).
I will pay attention from here on. This is the first I've heard of dosing excel only with the lights on. If this is truely the case, shouldn't it be included in the dosing instructions?
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 03:19 PM
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I'm fairly certain that excel does not turn into CO2 and would not influence the pH

maybe you dosed the excel directly onto your shrimp, but from my experience i have dosed double recommended without any effect on my amanos or cherries

my guess is the nitrates, overdosing nitrates at night would also maintain high ppm levels over the course of the night, without your plants uptaking nitrates this makes an overdose worse, and exposes your inverts to sustained high levels of nitrates.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 03:27 PM
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[QUOTE=somewhatshocked;3519745]125 gallons is a lot more water than 10 gallons. Stating the obvious but that would explain why there's been no issue there.

Sure, but if we both followed the dosing instructions on the bottle then the concentration in the tank should be very similar.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 03:49 PM
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According to the dosing instructions on Dr Foster and Smith:
"To target a specific nitrogen increase, dose according to the following formula: 0.25vn=m, where v= volume of tank in gallons*, n=desired nitrogen increase (if using a "nitrate equivalent" value for "n" then use a factor of 0.05 instead of 0.25 in the formula) and m=volume of product to use in mL. For example, to raise 20 gallons* by 0.20 mg/L nitrogen, you would use: 0.25*20*0.20=1 mL.
Because one-half of the nitrogen in Flourish Nitrogen™ is from nitrate you can get a reasonable estimate of nitrogen levels by doubling a nitrate reading."



So, according to the equation above dosing 3 caps full (15 ml) would raise the nitrogen in 10 gallons by 6 ppm. This seems fairly harmless.
And going by this statement: "Because one-half of the nitrogen in Flourish Nitrogen™ is from nitrate you can get a reasonable estimate of nitrogen levels by doubling a nitrate reading." One would expect to see only a 3 ppm nitrate increase.

However, if you use 0.05 instead of 0.25 (for nitrate equivalent, see instructions above), the nitrate increase is 30 ppm (maybe not so harmless).


Something doesn't seem correct with these instructions.
Anybody have an opinion on this?
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 04:28 PM
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it seems that the fertilator uses the 0.05 value instead of the 0.25

which one is right I don't know


also: 2 parts water to 1 part flourish N should be well off the scale
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 05:29 PM
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Nitrate at 30ppm should be harmless. Mine runs about 20ppm consistently with no ill effects.

There's got to be something else at play here. Perhaps oxygen levels dropped at the floor level?
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 06:03 PM
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gSTITcH: Some shrimp - if not used to it - can be negatively impacted when nitrates instantly jump from some low number to 30+.

I've had Amanos react poorly (though, they haven't died) in tanks where I've added 10PPM nitrate where there previously was none. So now I do things gradually, over time.


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