Problems with tank....lost on solution - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Problems with tank....lost on solution

I have a low tech 55 gallon planted tank that I use dry ferts on & root tabs every 1-2 months. I use the lower version of the ei and its been working great for over 3 months and then a month ago I ran into a problem...

All my swords started having leaves die (by die I mean thinning out, & getting clear)....over 50% of the leaves from each one all over the tank over a month's time...started adding more ferts...no difference...changed lighting...no different. Ammonia, Nitrite, nitrate are always kept in check and have not been an issue.

Along with the plants problems fish have been dying. 1-3 a week for the past month. I've used different illness treatments for the fish that are safe for plants, its not like the fish are showing signs though, they are just dying (not old fish either)

I'm just lost as to what the problem could be..something that doesn't show up on the basic tests.

I thought contamination, but I have done at least 5 50% water changes over the last month so I would think any contaminants would be diluted down to nothing by now, but still fish are dying and plants are dying.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 05:02 PM
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You have any foreign decorations in your tank. If so remove them. You can get away with doing a 75 to 8% water change as long as you treat the water. Something in your tank is toxic....doh! Sorry for your loss. You know your swords will be better off with root tabs. I do that and also do Ei. Best of luck


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 05:13 PM
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What type of water are you using...city, well...? It's possible the contamination is coming from the source, especially if well water. But I've also heard around this time of year that some cities will do big flushes of more than normal chlorine/chloramines because of the higher risk of bacteria and such in the summer.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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city water. gh and kh are 10-12 out of the tap. I don't know about the % of other stuff in it. They sent me a letter a few months ago that listed everything and I still have it at home, but didn't pay much attention to it.

The decorations that are in the tank have been in there for over a year.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 05:53 PM
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"Ammonia, Nitrite, nitrate are always kept in check and have not been an issue" - can you define the meaning of "in check"... Because what it sounds like to me is you may have a nitrogen deficiency, or phosphate deficiency that's causing this issue.

Can you list the dry fertilizers you're using, and the amount of each fertilizer because you may be under dosing your nitrate, or phosphates.

Now the fish may dying because you added medication to the water without diagnosing whether or not they had any disease/parasite, it's always best to have a quarantine tank just incase. This way you could of moved all your fish into the QT tank, and then started diagnosing the plants and fix the issue with the plants. Then separately diagnosing the fish for any issues they may have without harming plants.

15g Fluval Flex - Will be a planted shrimp tank
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxUnRaTeDxxRkOxx View Post
"Ammonia, Nitrite, nitrate are always kept in check and have not been an issue" - can you define the meaning of "in check"... Because what it sounds like to me is you may have a nitrogen deficiency, or phosphate deficiency that's causing this issue.

Can you list the dry fertilizers you're using, and the amount of each fertilizer because you may be under dosing your nitrate, or phosphates.

Now the fish may dying because you added medication to the water without diagnosing whether or not they had any disease/parasite, it's always best to have a quarantine tank just incase. This way you could of moved all your fish into the QT tank, and then started diagnosing the plants and fix the issue with the plants. Then separately diagnosing the fish for any issues they may have without harming plants.
It means ammonia and nitrite are always 0 and nitrate gets to 50+ on a weekly basis so a weekly water change is done.

I dose the KH2PO4 1/8 tsp 2x a week, 5ml csm+b liquid mix 3 times a week, 1 tsp potassium 2x a week.

I don't dose kno3 because nitrate goes up too high on its own...thus why I do weekly water changes.

This has worked for months and then all of a sudden the plants started having problems when no obvious changes had been made to the tank.


Fish had been dying so I started paying attention to their signs and symptoms and came to the conclusion maracyn 2 was the best medication to treat the symptoms. I did the treatment a few weeks ago, but fish are still dying.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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petsmart tested water, everything was good. chlorine was 0%

Fish start acting funny a few days before they die. they start staying in a small area platties near bottom of tank, guppies in the middle or top of tank...a few days later they are dead...no physical abnormalities other than that they aren't active and stay in one spot...no white spots, enflamed gills etc. they look completely normal.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 10:13 PM
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Here's what I'm getting for your tank using low light EI....

298 milligrams of KH2PO4 once a week
637 milligrams of Plantex CSM+B once a week
4.64 grams of Potassium Sulfate once a week
3.395 grams of KNO3


When doing EI dosing it requires a 50% water change once a week no matter if it's low light or hight light. Because EI dosing is based by supplying ample fertilizers for a planted tank it makes sure that there's enough fertilizer for each plant to utilize. And because of this it makes 50% water changes each week necessary...

In my opinion I would add the KNO3 to the dosing regime, as well as making sure you're supplying the correct amount of nutrients to the tank. When I started using fertilizers I would notice different deficiencies in the plants, and added SeaChem Flourish comprehensive to my dosing on top of the dry fertilizers I was dosing and noticed these deficiencies started to go away over time.

15g Fluval Flex - Will be a planted shrimp tank
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 12:57 AM
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Are you able to see which test kit the petsmart is using? Your params certainly look fine, but if you're seeing fish deaths I'd still be worried.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2013, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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to jpappy:
I don't know what kit they used. My wife took the water sample up there.

Did a good filter cleaning over the weekend, checked levels again after about 8 hours to double check everything was good and it was, but another fish dead today.

to unrated:
I will start adding kno3 again, I just may have to do water changes twice a week to keep nitrate down, but I am about to add a bunch of floating plants in hopes that they will eat up the nitrates.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2013, 05:26 PM
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Never use hobby test kits to determine how much fertilizers to add, unless you first calibrate the test kits. They are inaccurate, and possible totally wrong if you don't use the right technique. Your plants are probably dying from lack of nitrogen - nitrates. You won't get enough nitrates from a normal fish load in any planted tank to keep the plants growing. Nitrogen is the nutrient the plants need the most of, after carbon.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2013, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Never use hobby test kits to determine how much fertilizers to add, unless you first calibrate the test kits. They are inaccurate, and possible totally wrong if you don't use the right technique. Your plants are probably dying from lack of nitrogen - nitrates. You won't get enough nitrates from a normal fish load in any planted tank to keep the plants growing. Nitrogen is the nutrient the plants need the most of, after carbon.

Well the tank is overstocked by probably double the suggested amount and if I miss the weekly water change they will start acting crazy. I then test nitrates and they are normally 80-100 when the fish start acting funny. I then do the water change and the fish go back to normal.

So while I don't doubt what you are saying, what I have seen time and time again in my situation, shows that the nitrates are getting very high.

To add to this, I also use root tabs that contain kno3. I put them down about once a month and even the plants the are root feeders are dying.

Something my wife reminded me about is that she used algae killer a few months ago. She didn't realize that was a bad idea until she told me about it later. So I'm wondering even months later if that one treatment is still affecting the plants.
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