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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I've had 3 kuhli loaches living happily in my 55gal for the past 5-6 months. In the past few days they seem to be spasming, and unable to swim properly. They lie together at the bottom of the tank contorting their poor little bodies around on the substrate, sometimes on their backs, sometimes on their sides. This is not behavior I have seen from them before, and I'm sure something's wrong with them. They're camped out underneath some plants so it's hard for me to get a good look at them, but their gills don't seem inflamed or red, neither do they seem to be gasping.

This tank is established, but over the past 6 months I've gradually transitioned it from a low tech non-planted to a high tech planted tank. I started CO2 injection more than a month or so ago. I started with dry ferts and an EI dosing schedule about 10 days ago - just before this started to happen with the loaches. My plants are looking better than ever, but apparently at the expense of my fish! I can't figure out what exactly is wrong though, my parameters are:

Ammonia, nitrite = 0
nitrate = 40ppm
ph = 7
gh, kh = 13, 7
phosphate = 0.5ppm

The first symptom exhibited by one of the loaches was that it was hanging out by the surface one morning - I guessed that the issue was low O2 and have since added an airstone at night, but the situation hasn't got better. The loaches are no longer at the surface, but they're still suffering.

Any advice most gratefully received.
 

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i would slowly start ruling thing out by stopping the ferts and adding more air at night. dial back the co2 a bit as well. if they were fine before all this then something is causing it. they might be still being gassed at night just not as bad. loaches are more sensitive to things like ferts and meds being scaleless fish. even most meds say use at 1/2 dose for them so the ferts might just be to much for them. also what is the temp and nitrite.
 

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You didn't say if the CO2 was off at night. It should be turned off one hr before the light goes out since plants only use it when they have light on them.
Change in more than one thing at a time causes you to not know which did what you wanted it to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input. Sadly one of the loaches died during the night. I took a good look at it: there were no injuries/disease/parasites that I could see, barbels were intact etc.

CO2 is on 8hr during the day - it's on the same timer as the lights, do you think it's worth getting another timer so CO2 comes on/goes off a little sooner than the lights? CO2 in this tank has been stable for more than a month now and the loaches had been fine. It was when I started with the dry ferts about 10 days ago that things seemed to go down hill. I was dosing a pretty conservative (I thought!) EI:

<1/2 tsp KNO3
<1/8 tsp KH2PO4
1 cap flourish
twice per week

with the intention of ramping up if all went well. All the other fish seem fine.

Temp is 78F, nitrite = 0ppm.

From this experience I'm coming to think that loaches are intolerant of EI and dry fertilizing, though I haven't come across this anywhere in the interwebs. What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How high is the CO2? Any other fish affected?
Thanks mistergreen, I calculated CO2 at about 21ppm at lights out last night, though it varies over the day. The other fish seem fine - all behaving normally. I turned the airstone on when the lights went out last night, and left it on over night. Do you think one airstone is enough for a 55gal?
 

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Children Boogie
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What's your filter? Try pointing the output up to create ripples at the waterline. This will increase O2 a bit.
The behavior you're describing is classic loaches drunk on CO2. I've seen it with mine.

I wouldn't trust your CO2 'calculation'. I'm guessing it's up around 50-60ppm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok- this is really helpful, thanks. I've never had much faith in those CO2 charts either - seems there are other factors that can be important and just don't enter the calculation. Not that I know. Alright, I'll try turning down CO2 a bit and increasing to 3 airstones. Thanks everyone.
 

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Children Boogie
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Ok- this is really helpful, thanks. I've never had much faith in those CO2 charts either - seems there are other factors that can be important and just don't enter the calculation. Not that I know. Alright, I'll try turning down CO2 a bit and increasing to 3 airstones. Thanks everyone.
The co2 chart is correct. I don't trust the kh & ph test kit.


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