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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, I recently got some cardinal tetra. The first couple of days everything was fine, but now they're breathing from the surface. I lowered the temperature and put on some extra oxygen. The nitrite is low and it's about 24celcius in the tank. Any idea what the problem might be? They don't do it all the time, but they've done it two mornings in a row now. The oxygen addition is off at night, so I can sleep. Got something to do with that? The other fishes seem unaffected.
 

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Is it heavily planted tank? The plants consume the oxygen at night. If it were me I would turn on the air at night. Other things to look at: How much flow do you get from filter, and is the output from your filter creating any surface agitation?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm using the filter output to agitate the surface and get oxygen into the tank. I also have a small O2 pump that is not in use right now. The tank is semi-planted. I can try leaving the oxygen on at night and see if it makes any difference.
 

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Test your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and let us know the results. How old is the tank? Am I right to assume that you aren't injecting CO2?

Air bubblers don't add oxygen. To get good gas exchange, you need to create strong rippling of the water's surface, but without breaking the surface. Your filter may be enough, but you also may need a small pump, like a Koralia, pointed up toward the surface.

Do a 30-50% water change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't have ammonia and nitrate tests right now, but I can buy. I'll adjust the filter so it agitates the surface more, and do a water change. I'm not injecting CO2 right now. Should I? I have a CO2 system waiting to be added to the tank.
 

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I'm not injecting CO2 right now. Should I? I have a CO2 system waiting to be added to the tank.
Well ...that's a whole other subject. If you want real good plant growth and the ability to grow a wider variety (more finnicky) plants, yes: CO2 injection is the way to do it. There are low-tech setups (no CO2 injection) and high-tech setups (CO2 injection). With high-tech setups, you also usually add quite a bit of light and need to fertilize at higher rates. Because the plants grow so much faster with CO2, you will also have to trim them weekly. In general, there is more maintenance and involvement with high-tech. It's not as much of a casual approach in the way that low-tech setups can be.

If you decide to do it, you can get all sorts of advice here on the forum. I'd also recommend this excellent guide that is sponsired by TPT: Planted Tank Guide. Make sure you get a good understanding of what a high-tech setup is before you plug the CO2 in.

Personally, I like high-tech now, but I also ran low-tech for many decades and was perfectly satisfied.
 

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'The nitrite is low' - but it should be zero, or your fish could be experiencing nitrite poisoning. Gasping and hanging at the surface is a symptom of this. It's possible you had a mini-cycle when you added the new fish; the bacteria have caught up and it is now resolved so your fish look better. I'd check your nitrite levels again to be sure and do a few partial wc if needed.
 
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