Hey all

LeenBeth

Member
Hey all...Long time no see/post! I confess I have been a slacker and haven't been around lately but hope you and your fishies are all doing well. I hate to have been a stranger and then show up asking for advice...but here goes!

I am sadly here with a problem...out of the blue my tank had an ammonia spike. I tested the water last week and all was within normal limits so this was a new thing. It had to be 1.0 or more. I was so worried I did an immediate water change. Its a 29 gallon tank and changed out about 4 gallons so 10% ish. I would say about 2 weeks ago we did a cleaning and water change because we had to medicate the tank. Ill explain that in a sec. . I check the tank parameters weekly and they are always stable. I have never even seen ammonia in this tank and it is a year old now. The worst I have had to deal with is adding some salt. Once or twice adding some ph buffer. Not quite sure why but over the last week maybe I have noticed that they are not eating as much. So I have been really on top of the tank and everything always checks out ok. Today I noticed my yellow fin damsel had pop eye...wow....what the heck! so I checked the stats and the ammonia was wayyyyy up. 1.0 or more .Some of the other fish appeared in distress. so here is the thing....

I did not have water sitting waiting for me to do an emergency change...I do not have a hospital tank either. So I made the decision that it was better to do a 10% water change with tap water and stress coat added then it was to wait over night for water to sit while the fish swam in ammonia water all night in distress. Was that the right assumption? I mean what's done is done and I just couldnt see them having to suffer in such high ammonia. I felt so bad.

There are some other factors that may or may not be related. I had to treat the whole tank with penicillin because of a fish with fin rot. As I mentioned I don't have a hospital tank to have reated her seperately. After the 3 or 4 days of treatment we did a water change...replaced all the filters ( the charcoal was taken out during the rx treatment ) and we washed off all the decor.

then.....the ph has ben low so the last few days I have been adding buffer daily. Its right on as of now.

so that's the situation. Any advice?
I think as the fish are growing its getting a bit crowded and I might need to give up a fish or two.

Anyway...I reallly appreciate any input and advice!
thanks again
Alicia ( lee )
 

cerianthus

Member
How low was pH? It can be the culpit for not just ammonia but also fin rot.
Penicillin can disturbed bio-activity. Would not have added Marine Buffer until NH3 was under control which may have contributed to more distress. How is nitrite (NO2)?

If fish are getting too big, at least you are doing good job but maybe slack off on their much needed maintenance recently.

Like I said what was and is pH, NH3, NO2?
 
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LeenBeth

Member
oh let me think. I think the PH was 7.4 last week? Its usually normal. So it wasn't low for to long. Everything is usually normal. BUt it has been brought up to 8.3 or 8.4 over the course of a few days to a week. Followed the directions to a T. I always log everything when I do it on the weekend. We really do regular maintenance and I log everything I ever do to the tank...which Is why I am so confused. Id have to look at my log book for specific numbers but they were always within the normal limits when I tested them tonight aside from the amonian being off the wall. I have been having to add buffer more in the last month Ive noticed however.
Nitrates and nitrites were o. I am going to recheck everything in the morning and Ill let you know what it shows.

Like I said I am worried that I did the water change with right from the tap water.

Thanks so much for the reply....we have no kids so it puts that much more pressure of the fish and our cats. They are all our babies!
 
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LeenBeth

Member
I just did retest this morning.
Nitrites are 0
Nitrates 5? Hard to tell
Ammonia 0...which amazes me since it was so high yesterday. I'm glad I did the water change even if it was tap water ( about a 10% change )
Appears the ph came down again.....so I added buffer
Everyone is alive which is a wonderful thing
Just not sure what to do about the pop eye damsel.....does the eye pop back in or is he igor forever? or...sadly is he going to die?
 

Aquarist

Member
Good morning LeenBeth. Glad to see that your readings are back to normal. The best medicine for pop eye (at least in fresh water tanks) is keeping your water as pristine as possible. I'd recommend several water changes a week for the next couple of weeks. It should heal. Now I don't have first hand experience with salt tanks.

I don't recommend pH adjusters for fresh water tanks because they are too unreliable and you'll more than likely have to add it for the life of the tank. (Remember I'm talking from fresh water experience here). They can cause a sudden drop in pH and can even cause the pH levels to crash.

Let's see what some other salt members have to say.
Best of luck
Ken
 
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LeenBeth

Member
so without ph adjusters....how to do you fix and correct ph levels?

and the one question that still remains is how horrible was it that I did the water change with right from the tap water? I added stress coat because that's all I had in terms of water conditioner....I just didnt want them to be sitting in the levels of ammonia the tank had gotten to!

Thanks
Lee
 

Aquarist

Member
Leen we'll have to wait and see what some salt members say concerning fresh water tap directly into a salt tank.

I can't speak specifically about salt tanks but most fresh water fish will adapt to the pH levels that we have to offer right from the tap. There is also Reverse Osmosis (RO) water, distilled, spring that can be mixed to as well. Drift wood can lower pH levels over time. Crushed Coral can raise pH levels. Quiet a few ways to adjust pH naturally.

Ken
 
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LeenBeth

Member
Ive just looked back over som eolder photos of my tank and fish. And after the whole ammonia catastrophe my wrasse has his mouth in an open weird looking position. He is fine otherwise. Hes acting the same, fins look good, coloring is fine...but this morning I thought gee was he always doing that? His mouth is in like an open rounded position....and looking back at old pics it wasn't like that. So I am wondering if he got messed up somehow....it almost seems like his lower jaw is swollen if I had to try to describe it....hmmmmmm
 

harpua2002

Member
Is it possible that this is a faulty test kit? Looking at the aquarium info, it would be very hard to believe the test readings with that amount/those types of fish in there, unless the fish were very small. As the tank has been up for a year, I'd expect that not all the fish would be very small. I don't mean to offend, just offering up a suggestion.
 
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LeenBeth

Member
I test my tank weekly....and I do not think the kit is faulty or the tube was contaminated. It was redone twice and well rinsed. But who knows. I am very careful about testing and making sure bottles are put away once used. Its become a nice routine. I also have a log book I record everything in. FYI, I have no reason to make things up so as far as I know what I am saying is true....I couldnt expect accurate help if I was not giving you accurate information. So I will provide it to the best of my ability. If I did something wrong well than I will learn from my errors.

As far as the pop eye, its only on one side and he has had a rough patch/scratch on the top of his head...that's how it started. I do not notice any streaking. The spot was there for about a week I guess? Just a spot that got bigger...like he scratched it on a rock in the tank...but then it developed into pop eye. I noticed the tomato clown is pushing him around so it could be a result of an altercation? I'm not feeling too good about him....hes just chilling out and that's not like him at all.

As far as the wrasse....I don't know what's going on...I will surely be keeping an eye on it and watching for any changes in color...fins....eating and general behavior etc. So far hes acting the same..I don't think there is anything in his mouth...that I can see anyway. I did not notice him eat this evening. I will pay close attention to his stomach. I have been trying to get a pic of him but its hard...hes fast and usually hides. The pics I have gotten don't really show much. But I will still try.

I only did a 10 % water change so fast with tap because of the ammonia levels..the book I have says to do a 20% change when ammonia levels are high. Since I was using tap I only did 10% and made sure I added stress coat in. I have suspected something was off as they seemed to be eating less....The tank is always so stable so we didnt see anything coming or suspect anything. When we do water changes the water is left out over night in a clean container....we use stress coat ...do 3-4 gallon changes and wash off the ornaments. No chemicals used in cleaning. Filter was recently cleaned. Everything replace but the bio balls....as mentioned I had treated the tank with penicillin with the charcoal removed so after a few days as recommended by my lfs...we did a change and replaced the filter media.

Let me know what conclusive facts you are looking for and I will do my best to provide.
I will be retesting the water in the morning. In fact I might even bring a sample to my lfs and see what they say too.

Thanks for the guidance and help.

About a month or 2 ago I switched food brands....same food but different maker ...the spirulina ( sp ) brine and they were not happy but my lfs didnt have in the same brand in. I finally got them back on it...mixed the two for a bit and then slowly weened them off the other stuff.
 
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LeenBeth

Member
I will definitly say the fish have grown and its becoming an issue. The tank was not started with all those fish by the way. I don't think any of them were too big when they were introduced to the tank...but they have been healthy and growing and I think its time to give some up. I have a friend with a huge tank who would be happy to take in some refugees if they "go well" with what he has.

Harpua what would you expect the readings to be? as far as my log book goes we have been right on track and on target with perameters...the Ph and salinity have only been the things we have had to deal with really...and they were adjusted when needed.

thanks
Lee
 

harpua2002

Member
Oh, I never meant to imply that you were making up information; just that you could have gotten a bad test kit. It does happen from time to time that a test kit is just no good. But you seem to have ruled that out since you do lots of testing and logging of results.

I don't know what I would expect the readings to be as far as exact numbers, but I would have expected a high nitrate reading at least. This isn't because I think your maintenance routine is lacking, but instead because you have several fish that grow very large, especially for a 29 gallon. It appears to be quite a heavy fish load, but then again, I am not familiar with the current sizes of your fish. Again, I was just offering this up as a possibility and did not mean to offend you, just trying to figure out your issue because it certainly has me stumped!
 

Shawnie

Member
Ceranthis
EVERY member on fishlore is here to help to the best of their ability....and who says anyone is "seasoned" or not? The OP was asking for help and NO sw "seasoned or someone with on hand experiences" were posting with replies to her second set of questions......not to mentioned it was stated many times that "waiting for sw members " was best...Please refrain from such comments as they contributed nothing to the OP's issues and any member who feels they can help, has every right as you do, to do so ....thank you!
 
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LeenBeth

Member
I'm still drinking my coffee but as soon as I am done I will go do a test and see where we are at this morning.
Harpua I didnt think you thought I was making up info...I think there was another post in the mix that seems to not be there anymore...

I really do appreciate all of the help here and I know in the end its all advice. If there is one thing I have learned, there is a lot in the fish world that is just that...advice and guidance and that's all I am seeking. Even the experienced fish keepers have differences in opinions.

Ill be back with some numbers and observations
Thanks
Lee
 
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LeenBeth

Member
ok...morning status of the tank. Salt is at .024 ( very rarely has it gone low )
ammonia is 0
nitrites are 0
and nitrates about 5? As said in another its hard to pin that one as the 5 and 10 on the card are very close....
I broke my thermometer when we did the tank cleaning a few weeks ago but I will take a stab and say its where it should be. It always is...its not near heat or direct sunlight or anything.
I fed some flakes this morning. I dint notice the wrasse eating but that's not unusual for him. He hides a lot and was never one to just come out when I put food in. I didnt see any depressions in his stomach .....overall he looks the same aside from the weird mouth thing. I will still keep an eye on the eating situation with him. I did take some pics and will take the camera with me to my LFS today. I will try to post some but I am having a hard time with some other boards and my new mac. Its also not as easy to see in the pics...the damsel is alive amazingly. I'm still not having high hpes for the little guy ( george ) but I'm doing what I can do.
Thanks again.
Lee
 

harpua2002

Member
What kind of wrasse do you have? If you have a fairy wrasse it's possible IMO that it is intimidated by some of its more boisterous tank mates. If you have any wrasse from the genus thalassoma, I would expect it be one of the more boisterous tank mates, LOL. The mouth issue is definitely strange. I have never had that happen to a marine fish, but I did have an apistogramma whose mouth got stuck open. No one could tell me how to treat it, so I just let the fish try to heal on its own as it didn't seem to be suffering. Eventually, it got a little better, but the fish never was fully able to close its mouth again. I suspect aggression with his female was the cause, but I didn't see it happen so I will never know for sure what the reason was.

Your ammonia and nitrite readings are good, obviously, and 5-10 nitrate is definitely nothing to worry about in a FOWLR tank. I don't think there is much you can do as far as medicating the damsel, others may disagree though. Since your water quality appears to be good, I'm really at a loss as to any advice other than to just keep an eye on the fish and keep water quality good... but you're already doing that anyway.

Good luck with your fish, I hope they recover fully. FWIW, a fish can live perfectly fine with only one eye. I had a tetra lose an eye to popeye once and it lived for quite a long time afterwards.
 
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LeenBeth

Member
Its funny this little damsel "george" was one of 3 and he picked off the other 2 one at a time...thinking he was all tough....now hes not so much the tough guy. Just hanging out. Hopefully he hangs in there....

The wrasse, I'm not sure what kind he is. I don't remember what they told me when I got him and I have looked on various sites to ID him but Ill try to get a pic up. I have to say I don't think he is intimidated. He swims around with the rest of the fish and doesn't shy away from them in particular...He does like to hide a lot but it doesn't seem it is because of the other fish in the tank. I think its his "being".

If there was a disease or bateria or something like that in the tank how would I know?
Would my numbers still be showing up good? I would test for something else if I thought Id get an answer. Any ideas on other tests?
I still have to get to the LFS....
 
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LeenBeth

Member
ok I did some looking and the wrasse I have is a Rainbow wrasses. This is not a picture of my guy but looks very similar.
 

cerianthus

Member
Shawnie said:
Ceranthis
EVERY member on fishlore is here to help to the best of their ability....and who says anyone is "seasoned" or not? The OP was asking for help and NO sw "seasoned or someone with on hand experiences" were posting with replies to her second set of questions......not to mentioned it was stated many times that "waiting for sw members " was best...Please refrain from such comments as they contributed nothing to the OP's issues and any member who feels they can help, has every right as you do, to do so ....thank you!
No doubt all with good intentions. It was/is my belief that this forum and or any other forum main purpose is to assist and share knowledge but you should not try to share info/facts when never have tried.
By deleting my request for more info in order to attempt to assist other member's difficulty, (not that I can assist for sure), I am wondering if such behaviors(deleting important questions) served any purpose but to satify his/her ego.
I hope all is well with damsel and wrasse.
 

Carolina

Member
LeenBeth said:
I have a Rainbow wrasses.
Wow!! He is gorgeous. What did he cost? Did you only get 1? Does he school with the other fish?
 

sirdarksol

Member
cerianthus said:
No doubt all with good intentions. It was/is my belief that this forum and or any other forum main purpose is to assist and share knowledge but you should not try to share info/facts when never have tried.
By deleting my request for more info in order to attempt to assist other member's difficulty, (not that I can assist for sure), I am wondering if such behaviors(deleting important questions) served any purpose but to satify his/her ego.
The post was not meant to be deleted. A mod was attempting to edit out a rude comment and accidentally deleted the post. It's a fairly easy mistake to make, and we've all made it at one point or another. We're sorry that it happened.
It's usually best to ask why in private when something like that happens rather than make a presumption and start throwing accusations.

As far as the "should not share info/facts when never have tried," if we go by this, we would have plateaued in our ability to learn long ago. There's only so much time in the human life to test everything for one's self.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with book/magazine/website/secondhand knowledge. In fact, there are advantages that such knowledge has over personal experience, such as the fact that a book written by a person who maintained the reefs at a large aquarium for a few decades carries that person's experience with it.

The person who says "I've done it this way, and my fish were fine, therefore the way I did it is the right way" has fallen into two traps of logic:
First of all, they presume that a single scenario proves a point. It doesn't. There are so many variables in an aquarium that it is possible that there's some factor that the aquarist hasn't seen. (Take, for example, the idea of cycling with pure ammonia. It works for some, not for others. Neither group can say for certainty that it does/doesn't work... just that it does/doesn't work for them) Further, with all of these variables, there is the possibility that the fish merely survived, rather than thrived.
Second of all, they are presuming that there's only one answer.
 

Carolina

Member
sirdarksol said:
As far as the "should not share info/facts when never have tried," if we go by this, we would have plateaued in our ability to learn long ago. There's only so much time in the human life to test everything for one's self.
Also there is the cost of all testing. Just beware that in real life nothing is set in granite. For example I read that many use Red bag kitty litter topped with sand. I am using it but having 1 issue with it. Everytime I move plants I loose a few fish.
 

beachcomber

Member
as far as ph adjusters go, you should be checking the water that you add to the tank before you add it, thus never having to try to adjust the tank. Good ph is between 8.0 and 8.4 generally for a reef, the best way to control ammonia is with regular water changes, but no more than 20% per week. good luck, don't give up! You could also add some ammonia absorbing chips in a mesh bag or slotted box to your filtration system, change them every two to three weeks until you get it down to zero. BC
 
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LeenBeth

Member
we did lose the damsel....we had hime for a year now Started the tank with him. Otherwise the tank is stable. Since my issue the numbers are all good. No amonian, no nitrites, nitrates around 5-10 ( hard to tell ) , salinity is fine. I spoke with my guy at the LFS and he explained that I need to be better at testing Ph at the same time of day as it will fluctuate from night to day and depending on when I fed the fish. The wrasse is eating. Everyone else is good!

anyway...I wil be keeping my eyes wide open! Doing lots of inspection.....
Thanks for the help you guys
 

sirdarksol

Member
Carolina said:
Also there is the cost of all testing. Just beware that in real life nothing is set in granite.
Precisely. As the rules of logical argument dictate, nothing can be proven, because to be able to prove something you need to remove the possibility of disproving it at a later date, a feat which is impossible. Now, for the extra-special bonus headache-inducing philosophy concept: Yes, it is possible for this rule of logical argument to be disproven, thus invalidating it. ;D

LeenBeth said:
we did lose the damsel....we had hime for a year now Started the tank with him. Otherwise the tank is stable. Since my issue the numbers are all good. No amonian, no nitrites, nitrates around 5-10 ( hard to tell ) , salinity is fine. I spoke with my guy at the LFS and he explained that I need to be better at testing Ph at the same time of day as it will fluctuate from night to day and depending on when I fed the fish. The wrasse is eating. Everyone else is good!

anyway...I wil be keeping my eyes wide open! Doing lots of inspection.....
Thanks for the help you guys
Sorry you lost the damsel. It's possible that it just picked up an infection at some point. It happens. Keep an eye on your parameters, keep the tank clean, keep the salinity stable (in other words, keep doing the things you're doing) and things should be okay.
 
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LeenBeth

Member
Thanks for the headache..LOLOLOL...had to read that a few times. But its all good!
Tank appears to be doing fine. I am also guessing there was some kind of infection or something....I mean I tested and re tested and all looks well in terms of the numbers. LFS suggested some stuff called "fishkeeper" its a blue liquid that is more on the natural side rather than the medicine side to help the overall health of the fishies. So we will see what happens. Keeping my eyes super wide open and being the investigator every time I look at the tank. Thanks again for all the help.
 

beachcomber

Member
If your lfs has reverse osmosis water available for sale, you could get a couple of pails with lids and keep pre treated water on hand. Even most ro water has a low ph of around 6.? but easily corrected with reef builder (actually increases carbonate alkalinity, which helps ph stay where it should) to 8.2-8.4. If you have to use tap water, then pick up a good all purpose water conditioner that removes chlorine and chloramine etc., stil don't forget to correct the ph of this water. Reef Builder is a Sea Chem product that Ihave had a lot of luck with over the past few years. Try to remeber when your at the lfs, there are a lot of products on the shelf, not all necessary, in fact not many at all.
 
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LeenBeth

Member
Yeah the one guy that I try to stick to asking for advice and info at my LFS is not into treating tanks chemically....hes more of a holistic attitude about things. I'm cool with that.
 

beachcomber

Member
That's good, sticking to one person if possible. Here in Toronto, you get a different answer in every store, and very few of them are correct. I still put too much faith in these people, and repeatedly feel foolish, when I recite something that someone told me, and I didn't confirm for myself, so... (there's a lesson here), I'm sure I'll get it anytime now!
 

Carolina

Member
After being on vacation I came back home to a tank with some dead fish. The automatic feed had gotten stuck, the house temp was 85 F and the water test were fine, thus thought I would be okay to just add some more fish. The new fish died too. Never found the cause. After I medicated with parasite fizz I added new fish and they survived.

I would probably to expensive to do different test water until I found the culprit.
 
  • Thread Starter

LeenBeth

Member
can you take a water sample to be tested for parasites before treating the whole tank?
 
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