Lost so many fish... PH too low??

capekate

Well, Ive just about lost all my fish in the 29 gallon community tank. That tank has been giving me nothing but problems since I started it in march. It seems that every group of fish I bring home from my LFS has died over time. Some last months.. others last weeks or even days. My water readings are great, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 10. Ph 6.0. With the acidic PH and soft water is the only possible thing I can think of that has killed off the fish over time. I change water and vacuum the gravel once a week. My two otos are still doing fine, and I know how sensitive they are. The last fish to die in the last week are 2 long fin black skirt tetras. Both seemed to gasp for air at the bottom of the tank. I lost a black neon that was doing just fine, but found him wedged between the breeder net and glass. ( had a weak LF **** tetra in there). So I'm assuming that's how he died. I did loose a oto last week and a serpae tetra. I am now down to two serpaes, one black neon, one longfin black skirt tetra and two otos. I lost all my tiger barbs over time along with dalmation mollies ( months ago) corys, bumblebee catfish, playties... Everytime I replaced the dead fish with more of the same they ended up not making it either.
So I can't think of anything that I did wrong with the tank, its been cycled since march, other than the very low PH. So no new fish in that tank for me. Will do the research on the SA dwarf cichlids and see which ones can take the low PH.
Any suggestions on other fish that prefer the lower ph of 6.0??
thanks so much, ~ kate
 

COBettaCouple

i'm sorry for all the bad luck that tank has given you. I believe there's a type of rock you can put in there to raise the pH gradually & naturally. I think Dino can tell you exactly.. limestone comes to mind, but I could be wrong.
 

capekate

i'm sorry for all the bad luck that tank has given you. I believe there's a type of rock you can put in there to raise the pH gradually & naturally. I think Dino can tell you exactly.. limestone comes to mind, but I could be wrong.

Thanks Dave. I could try the limestone but hoping that I can find some fish that will tolerate the lower PH on a regular basis. If not and if my selection is limited, I will definitely try the limestone. Guess I would have to add some gradually til the right PH is met? Maybe Dino can help me with this..
thanks, ~ kate
 

COBettaCouple

yea, he knows TONS more about it than I do for sure and that'd be a great idea. he could set you up i'm sure.
 

ewolfe315

Kate, I once had the same problem,but found out that the nitrates were high. I was getting low readings on the nitrates. As soon as I fixed that problem,everything was good.

Now if that is'nt the problem, try some crushed coral with the argoramite in it(hope I spelled that right,lol). I used it in all my tanks and have not had any problem with PH since.

I see you already have Discus, they are about the only ones I know of that can handle and need low PH. However if your doing water changes and cleaning the bottom like you are, they should be able to tolerate the PH you have even at low levels.

I just completed tests on all my tanks and with the crushed coral the Ph is always in the 7.0 to 7.2 range and the Discus I have love it. I would try the crushed coral as I said above. Good Luck
 

capekate

Kate, I once had the same problem,but found out that the nitrates were high. I was getting low readings on the nitrates. As soon as I fixed that problem,everything was good.

Now if that is'nt the problem, try some crushed coral with the argoramite in it(hope I spelled that right,lol). I used it in all my tanks and have not had any problem with PH since.

I see you already have Discus, they are about the only ones I know of that can handle and need low PH. However if your doing water changes and cleaning the bottom like you are, they should be able to tolerate the PH you have even at low levels.

I just completed tests on all my tanks and with the crushed coral the Ph is always in the 7.0 to 7.2 range and the Discus I have love it. I would try the crushed coral as I said above. Good Luck
HI Ewolf..
I use the API master water test kit for all my tanks and the nitrates have been at 10 and not any higher. So I don't think that the nitrates are off.
The Discus tank is fine with the low PH and I'm sure the Discus love it that way, its the community tank that I lost so many fish in that is giving me the problem, so maybe the fish there cannot tolerate the low PH.
Thanks for the tip on the crushed coral. Its good to know!
~ kate
 

ewolfe315

HI Ewolf..
I use the API master water test kit for all my tanks and the nitrates have been at 10 and not any higher. So I don't think that the nitrates are off.
The Discus tank is fine with the low PH and I'm sure the Discus love it that way, its the community tank that I lost so many fish in that is giving me the problem, so maybe the fish there cannot tolerate the low PH.
Thanks for the tip on the crushed coral. Its good to know!
~ kate


Kate,

I use the same exact Test Kit, but believe it or not but Bottle #2 in the nitrate test kit needs to be banged around a little to loosen up the liquid in it. That's how I found out that I was getting mixed readings on my nitrates. Just shaking the bottle is'nt enough, you really need to to tap it a few times off a table top or anything else that's hard. But then again my readings on nitrates were always coming out zero,then when I banged the bottle I finally got readings where I had to do just about empty the tank,not once but 2 times,the readings were over the colors on the test. I still wonder how fish survived??

Now as far as the crushed coral goes, just use a cup full at a time til you get readings of where you want your PH, as for me mine never got over 7.2 and has been steady now for over a year. It usually takes about 2 weeks til you see a change. I was told to just place it in one of those mesh bags and let it sit on the bottom. But I found it to be better to just mix it in with the gravel at the bottom of the tank. At first you'll see white cloudy water but it clears right up as soon as it has time to settle,usually within a day or 2. I used an 8 pound bag(I think,it's been to long,lol) on my 120,55,20,2 and half gallon tanks and I still have some left. For less than $15 you'll never have to do anything again. To me it was one of the best things I ever could have bought for the aquariums. BTW I do water changes once a week,sometimes twice of about 60 % per tank(the 120 and the 55 gallon). I was told to use this by one of the marine biologists from That Pet Place in Lancaster,Pa.

John

Keep us informed on how your doing.
 
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Callum The Cat

I find that "white rock" raises the pH and a dark preferably black substrate will also raise the pH

as for fish SA dwarfs would be perfect but I would raise the pH up a bit more to about 6.6

Peace Out Callum!
 
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capekate

Kate,

I use the same exact Test Kit, but believe it or not but Bottle #2 in the nitrate test kit needs to be banged around a little to loosen up the liquid in it. That's how I found out that I was getting mixed readings on my nitrates. Just shaking the bottle is'nt enough, you really need to to tap it a few times off a table top or anything else that's hard. But then again my readings on nitrates were always coming out zero,then when I banged the bottle I finally got readings where I had to do just about empty the tank,not once but 2 times,the readings were over the colors on the test. I still wonder how fish survived??

Now as far as the crushed coral goes, just use a cup full at a time til you get readings of where you want your PH, as for me mine never got over 7.2 and has been steady now for over a year. It usually takes about 2 weeks til you see a change. I was told to just place it in one of those mesh bags and let it sit on the bottom. But I found it to be better to just mix it in with the gravel at the bottom of the tank. At first you'll see white cloudy water but it clears right up as soon as it has time to settle,usually within a day or 2. I used an 8 pound bag(I think,it's been to long,lol) on my 120,55,20,2 and half gallon tanks and I still have some left. For less than $15 you'll never have to do anything again. To me it was one of the best things I ever could have bought for the aquariums. BTW I do water changes once a week,sometimes twice of about 60 % per tank(the 120 and the 55 gallon). I was told to use this by one of the marine biologists from That Pet Place in Lancaster,Pa.

John

Keep us informed on how your doing.
HI EWolf..
thanks for the advice on the crushed coral. If I raise my PH by that means I would be able to have a larger assortment of cichlids to choose from. I will have to give it some thought and figure out where to purchase this crushed coral, if I decide to use it. I heard that limestone raises the PH and yet I know that farmers use the limestone to lower their PH in the soil.. so.. not sure if that is conflicting information or not. I will have to research that.
As far as that nitrate bottle #2, I learned awhile back about it needing to be banged and shaken really well, as it clumps to the bottom of the bottle.
I do that when I use that tester.
thanks, ~ kate
 

capekate

I find that "white rock" raises the pH and a dark preferably black substrate will also raise the pH

as for fish SA dwarfs would be perfect but I would raise the pH up a bit more to about 6.6

Peace Out Callum!
Thanks Callum!
Is that white rock your talking about limestone?
~ kate
 

ewolfe315

Kate, So how are you doing with the PH .. Did you try anything yet..

John
 

armadillo

HI Kate. I had no idea you were having such trouble. I am so sorry to hear that. It must be heart breaking to loose fish after fish.

I guess noone had an answer on fish who naturally like a low pH, huh?

Here's a couple of links, but they're all so scientific...

'Cardinal, neon, and emperor tetras (Cheirodon axelrodi, Hyphessobrycon innesi, Nematobrycon palmeri), small South American characin fish often found in acidic blackwater rivers, have an unusual tolerance to sulfuric acid solutions of low pH. Most cardinal tetras withstand immediate transfer to water at pH 3.5 for an indefinite period. With gradual adjustment to further stepwise lowering of the pH, one individual survived at a pH of 3.1 for five weeks. This is by far the most acidic solution known to be tolerated for extended periods by any fish. The lower incipient lethal level (for 50% survival) is estimated to be about 3.35 for neon and cardinal tetras. On the other hand, common guppies (Poecilia reticulata), a species generally considered to be highly resistant to environmental change, all died after 11 days at pH 4.75. Both guppies and tetras lose large amounts of body sodium on exposure to lethal pH's.' (Journal of experimental zoology, Published Online: 23 May 2005
Copyright © 1977 Wiley-Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company
 

capekate

Kate, So how are you doing with the PH .. Did you try anything yet..

John
HI John
I didnt change the PH just went with fish that prefer the lower PH levels. Since I do so many water changes, I didnt want to have to play with the PH through chemicals on a continual basis. I am now keeping german blue rams in that tank. Right now I have two and I have one spotted cory in with them.
I plan on adding three more GBRs and am in search of females to add. I am also considering ordering a pair of cockatoo rams as well. I also plan on adding a few more cory cats. The end result will be moving a pair of cockatoo and a pair of GBRs to the 55 gallon Discus tank and leave a pair or two of the GBRs in the 29 gallon tank with the corys.
Thanks for asking!

~ kate
 

capekate

HI Kate. I had no idea you were having such trouble. I am so sorry to hear that. It must be heart breaking to loose fish after fish.

I guess noone had an answer on fish who naturally like a low pH, huh?

Here's a couple of links, but they're all so scientific...

'Cardinal, neon, and emperor tetras (Cheirodon axelrodi, Hyphessobrycon innesi, Nematobrycon palmeri), small South American characin fish often found in acidic blackwater rivers, have an unusual tolerance to sulfuric acid solutions of low pH. Most cardinal tetras withstand immediate transfer to water at pH 3.5 for an indefinite period. With gradual adjustment to further stepwise lowering of the pH, one individual survived at a pH of 3.1 for five weeks. This is by far the most acidic solution known to be tolerated for extended periods by any fish. The lower incipient lethal level (for 50% survival) is estimated to be about 3.35 for neon and cardinal tetras. On the other hand, common guppies (Poecilia reticulata), a species generally considered to be highly resistant to environmental change, all died after 11 days at pH 4.75. Both guppies and tetras lose large amounts of body sodium on exposure to lethal pH's.' (Journal of experimental zoology, Published Online: 23 May 2005
Copyright © 1977 Wiley-Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company

Thanks for the link Armadillo! as I just posted above, I'm sticking with GBRs in that tank for now, as they prefer the acidic waters. Looking for the female rams and cockatoo rams as well. I may also add some cardinals in the tank,they are doing fine in the 55 gallon and the ram that I had in there didnt bother them either.

~ kate
 

armadillo

Mmmmh, so your suspicions that the pH may have done it is reinforced. It's really scary that a drop in pH can do that, and that you have little means against it (I guess harder water would be a way to go, but that increases the pH too, doens't it?)
 

COBettaCouple

those are such beautiful fish!
 

capekate

Mmmmh, so your suspicions that the pH may have done it is reinforced. It's really scary that a drop in pH can do that, and that you have little means against it (I guess harder water would be a way to go, but that increases the pH too, doens't it?)
good morning Laure-Anne
Yes I believe that the Ph really establishes your water hardiness. If you have a low PH your water tends to be soft. And a higher PH your water tends to hard.
Figured the best thing to do is stick to what my normal PH is and just go with that on figuring what fish to stock. Its the only thing I can think of with the demise of most of the fish in that tank over the course of 6 months. It seems that the easy fish like the platy, the mollies, the tiger barbs, tetras all died in that tank and yet my Discus who you would think are much more sensitive have survived as well as my two original angelfish.
So I am betting that it was the low PH that did them in.
~ kate
 

capekate

those are such beautiful fish!
The GBRs are beautiful fish, but the cockatoo ram is something else!! And I am seriously giving it a lot of thought to spend the extra money on shipping for a pair of them, since it seems pretty hard to find them locally. I just feel bad about shipping fish. They get tossed and turned upside down in those packages in the total dark for about 24 hours or so. It seems so cruel. I really hate to do it. So I am still searching in my vicinity for them before resorting to shipment.
~ kate
 

armadillo

Oh, and Kate, I was researching loaches, and there's a whole bunch that can take, or even like, acidic water.
 

capekate

Oh, and Kate, I was researching loaches, and there's a whole bunch that can take, or even like, acidic water.

Thanks for the link! I just checked out the thread. I am interested in checking out the zebra and the polka dot loaches. Nice to see something else that can deal with the low PH. I will goggle them and see what photos come up! ;D

~ kate
 

COBettaCouple

yea, they are. i've not seen any in person myself but they're such beautiful fish! I know how you feel about shipping, but a good shipper will package them so the trip is as little stress to them as possible.

The GBRs are beautiful fish, but the cockatoo ram is something else!! And I am seriously giving it a lot of thought to spend the extra money on shipping for a pair of them, since it seems pretty hard to find them locally. I just feel bad about shipping fish. They get tossed and turned upside down in those packages in the total dark for about 24 hours or so. It seems so cruel. I really hate to do it. So I am still searching in my vicinity for them before resorting to shipment.
~ kate
 

TheEssigs

Kate, so sorry to hear you are losing your fish. That's terrible.

It may be possible that you may have something in the tank that is contaminating the water and over time killing your fish. It may be a chemical of some sort inadvertantly got into the tank, like an air freshener, hair spray, a cleaner, an oil or something like that that is causing your water to foul. If you keep having trouble with this tank, you might have to tear town, cleaning EVERYTHING, really well with a mild bleach solution and rebuild. If you do go this route, I woudnt reuse the substate or anything that you cannot clean without risk of recontaimination. Just remember to rinse, rinse and rinse and then use a really good decloranator when refilling the tank.

I have a 26 gallon bowfront that we just couldnt clear the water in, the water parameters were always ok, but it was always cloudy for some reason. We had to tear it down and rebuild it. Its fine now, but it was very fustrating. I don't know what happens sometimes, its just wierd.

Good luck Kate!
 

capekate

Kate, so sorry to hear you are losing your fish. That's terrible.

It may be possible that you may have something in the tank that is contaminating the water and over time killing your fish. It may be a chemical of some sort inadvertantly got into the tank, like an air freshener, hair spray, a cleaner, an oil or something like that that is causing your water to foul. If you keep having trouble with this tank, you might have to tear town, cleaning EVERYTHING, really well with a mild bleach solution and rebuild. If you do go this route, I woudnt reuse the substate or anything that you cannot clean without risk of recontaimination. Just remember to rinse, rinse and rinse and then use a really good decloranator when refilling the tank.

I have a 26 gallon bowfront that we just couldnt clear the water in, the water parameters were always ok, but it was always cloudy for some reason. We had to tear it down and rebuild it. Its fine now, but it was very fustrating. I don't know what happens sometimes, its just wierd.

Good luck Kate!
good morning Theessigs,
I had thought at one time to tear it down and start over, but after 7 months I finally lost all the diatoms that usually are present in new tanks and I really didnt want to start a cycle all over again. At one point I thought to tear it down and move the remaining fish to another tank and put this tank away. But decided not to. The fish that I have in there now are doing ok, tho there is only 2 GBRs and one cory cat. I am changing 50% water weekly and doing a thorough vacuuming at that time as well. So far, so good and I cannot believe how white the gravel is once again.
I hope that your tank is doing better now that you tore it down and started again. I realize sometimes that is the only option we have!
Good luck with your tank as well.

~ kate
 

TheEssigs

Glad to hear that things are looking up for your tank Kate! I hope that your success continues.

Happy Fishkeeping!
 

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