Baffled??

robhill1965

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Hi everyone. It's been awhile since I posted anything. I have a strange problem and it's probably too late already but maybe someone can think of something I haven't done.
Last Saturday I added a blue crawfish/lobster to my cichlid tank. I also got some "Jungle" brand ph decreaser. I am on well water and it's always fairly high (at least 8.4) I treated all three of my tanks, used my api master test kit and noticed the ph DID drop slightly. I figured I'd let the fish acclimate slowly so even though the ph was high still, I left it.
My problem is my two Convicts are very listless and just hanging out under a lean-to flat rock cave I set up for them. The female laid eggs about 3 or 4 weeks ago and they disappeared, (figured the male ate them).
Last night I noticed the female was hanging out near the top like she wanted out. The male was acting similar. I checked the water and the nitrates were on the high side so I did a 80% water change. The rest of the fish are happy, quick, eating well etc. It's just the convicts. I see no evidence of the crawfish attacking them and with the water change, most of the ph decreaser should be gone. The female died this morning. The male looks on his way. I have a 5 inch Blood Parrot in this tank as well. I know cichlids like or tolerate a higher ph. The Blood Parrot is fine and in fact, two weeks ago I put all these guys in a bigger tank and The Parrot seems happier than ever.
Any ideas? No sign of disease, ick, fungus, tail rot, discoloration. I'm forced to guess either too big of a swing in the ph (although it was pretty small), or is there something about the crawfish that Convicts can't deal with? I'm at a loss.
 

Shawnie

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oh no! im sorry for the loss
what are you ammonia/nitrite readings? nitrates have to be super high to kill that fast are you using salt in this tank? cons are usually very tough buggers so somethings up other than the cray(although he will kill eventually)

ph as long as stable, is fine....using products to change it, most often happen to fast and ph shock can set in .....once we know the readings for your ammonia/nitrites, that will help allot.....
 
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robhill1965

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Ammonia is basically zero.
Nitrites are .2 mg/l.
Nitrates almost zero but were a little high yesterday(I used a test strip yesterday instead of the master test kit cuz I was in a hurry to know and they have proved reliable when I've tested them against the master test kit).
GH 14.
KH 13.
PH was 8.3 but went to 7.8 after the treatment, now back up to 8.2.

When she (the female convict) was stressing at the top of the tank wanting out, I did a 80% water change to get as much of the ph lowering chemical out of there as I could. She died this morning. I found the male convict dead when I got home from work tonight.
These two convicts had eggs and were voracious about defending their nest just 3 weeks ago. The other fish are happy, swimming around quickly and normal, even the Parrot is fine who I thought might be next if the problem is I lowered the ph too much.
One other possible symptom...this is my roommates tank. He had a lot of snails that came out on occasion (over feeding probably). Most of them are dead now for some unknown reason and laying in the gravel (they've been dead for about a month).
I keep up on water changes so any extra ammonia from the snails that the filter can't handle should be in check?
Still baffled....I'm guessing ph lowering too drastic and the big Parrot is more able to withstand?
Snails......unknown? I have used aquarium salt. The LFS claims it helps with the high ph in the wells around here. I added it to the tank and not the filter so maybe it sat on the gravel/snails in a higher dose than when it dissolved completely into the water???
 
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jetajockey

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how long have you had elevated nitrite levels? even low levels of nitrites over a long period of time can lead to poisoning issues like the ones you've described
 

Nate McFin

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how long have you had elevated nitrite levels? even low levels of nitrites over a long period of time can lead to poisoning issues like the ones you've described
Agree...in fact to certain fish Nitrites are more lethal than ammonia.
Messing with your Ph is also not a great idea...
 
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robhill1965

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https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/ph/62720-ph.html
You may want to read that thread and the links in it.

When you say the ammonia is basically zero, what do you mean by that? I'm surprised that with dead snails littering the tank for a month, the ammonia would be so low. And last question: why the salt?
Ammonia is zero and as I said I keep up with water changes.

As I stated above, the local LFS claimed she used salt to keep her ph tolerable due to the well water here. I've also read that online in numerous places so...
 
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robhill1965

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how long have you had elevated nitrite levels? even low levels of nitrites over a long period of time can lead to poisoning issues like the ones you've described

Acording to my tester, that level of nitrites is not elevated. It was considered in the "safe" zone.
 
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robhill1965

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I appreciate everyone's attempt at help.
You are all missing a big piece of the puzzle...
Why just the convicts?

Aside from the high PH, (which it seems might be better than lowering it), water quality is within safe parameters according to the test.
All three tanks are just about clones of each other when it comes to water quality. That's 43 fish all together.
I found a spike in the Nitrates, and did a water change. So, water quality aside, none of the other fish are having any problems whatsoever. Why the convicts?
 

bass master

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the convicts may just be the most sensitive out of all your fish, should you continue to have ammonia and nitrites in the water, you might start to notice more fish dying in a similar way. A nitrate spike isnt really as concerning as having even a tiny bit of nitrite or ammonia. Your aquarium info says that your tanks all have nitrate "less that zero", really you should be getting at least a reading of around 5-10 just so you can know your tank is in fact cycled. Nitrates really arent very toxic to fish (when compared to nitrite) and a small nitrate reading is really a sign of a healthy tank. Im concerned that for whatever reason your tank isnt cycled or you are going into a mini cycle. Doing daily water changes with prime or amquel+ will probably be needed for the next several days until you start getting nitrate readings.

As for the pH, Im not sure its nearly as big a problem as the nitrite/ammonia, but if you are really concerned about it, adding peat moss to your filter can lower your pH safely. Your water is pretty hard and has a pretty high KH value and so mixing in rain water or RO water along with your treated tap water could also help the pH. Ive never heard of anyone using salt to lower pH, I believe saline solutions typically have a pH over 7 so that probably wont help lower the pH, it might help stabilize the pH if you had extremely soft water, but I dont think that is the problem. I would stop adding the salt as there is a chance it could be harming your fish
 

bass master

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I agree, there really is no safe zone for nitrite, many of the strip tests available have "safe zones" that are completely off base... really the only acceptable values for your parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5-20 nitrate, although nitrate really doesnt become fatal until it reaches 40+ for most fish IMO, it all depends on what fish you are keeping and it is definitely better to keep your nitrates on the low end, e.g. 5-20.
 
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