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New Tank Syndrome?

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Maintenance' started by Arwen, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. Arwen New Member Member

    hi everyone,

    Here's a peep on the backdrop, have changed a brand new filter (previous) a canister type to a sump (68gallon/250l)

    All the medias used are new, it's been running for about 3/4 months now. The thing is I kept having having to scoop out newly added fishes - dead.

    The water parameters reading are
    Api test kits
    Nh3/4 reading 0
    No.2 reading 0
    No.3 reading 0 (very suspicious on this 1)
    Ph 6
    KH 0
    GH 0.25ppm

    What can we tell from these readings? Most of my fishes added doesn't make 1/2days. Not too sure if I should trust my test kits/filtration efficiency.

    I have a 200 litre spare water tank for containing aged water, the fishes do perfectly fine in it without filtration.

    Symptoms from dead fishes
    Struggling to stay afloat at the bottom of the tank.

    has anyone gone through this? Trying to learn a new expensive lesson here, thanks in advance

  2. TySabol Valued Member Member

    Could possibly be not enough oxygen in the water considering the pump is submerged and not forcing air into the water

  3. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    I see 2 red flags that equal one huge problem. Ph of 6.0 and 0 KH means big problems. Your ph could be even lower then that. Plus you have very little GH which means there is hardly any minerals for a fish osmotic process. Unless your set up as a black water tank, you will never cycle with your ph that low since bacteria can't live in ph below 6.0, and 6.2 they are so stunted that they hardly multiply.

    My recommendations are the purchase of Crushed Coral, Aragonite Sand, or Limestone to increase the kh and gh slowly. One tablespoon of Baking soda to increase the kh and ph temporally so the coral or Limestone can work. Get a cup of tank water, add the tablespoon on baking soda and mix well. Then add quarter of the cup every 15 minutes until all is added. Check PH and kh, and redose if ph is below 6.4 and kh is below 80ppm.

    Or you can turn your tank to a black water tank.

  4. Arwen New Member Member

    Thanks TySabol, will try that out.

    You seems to have hit the nail, just went to local fish shop earlier, he said the same thing too - PH. Will be attending the Gh & Kh for now. Keeping my fingers cross, at the same time will be resorting to getting a proper ph test kit. The previous one that were read, were off indicator sticks dip in tank & read off. However they do not show ph below 6. Let me get the water tested for Ph, if the red flags are in position I might just see some light at the end of the tunnel here...

    Cool stuffs
  5. LongIslandFishGuy Valued Member Member

    A great, inexpensive way to raise Gh/kh and stabilize the tank is Cuttlebone. They sell it for turtles and birds. Has completely changed my tank for the better. Lasts awhile too!
  6. Arwen New Member Member

    Thanks longislandfishguy! Sounds like as the filtration ages - water becomes acidic. It's actually an indicator of mature tank. The cuttlebone or any other source of calcium will react with water to counter balance (buffering) isn't it. In this case is it a norm practice for the acidic water to dissolve the cuttlebone completely? How does it work here... it's a very innovative choice too
  7. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    Cuttlebones are good in a tank, especially if your planning on having shrimp and snails. It will increase kh and calcium levels in the tank. Just break off a piece and toss in your filter. Down sides to a cuttlebone, it does nothing for your gh, and after about a month, they develop a coating on them and slowly stop working. Just take the piece out of your filter and add a new piece monthly.

    Now before we go further with fixing your ph, kh, and gh, what are you planning on having in your tank?
  8. Arwen New Member Member

    Yup that's the case with crush coral chips as buffer too. Some of us uses oystershell supposedly they work the same as coral chips & curdle bone - looks like replacement seems neccessary for most buffering medias.

    Thanks for the valuable insights, the intended residences will be masheer/plecos/flagtails/arowana. Been to the local fish shop today to grab the coral chips & supplies today. The PH seems to be going up with the aid of the baking soda. Keeping fingers crossed for the ph to stabilise. Was actually considering getting a ph probe however the cons of recalibration & additional power consumption puts me off for now.

    My ph measurement as of today was 6.8 that I think should find myself sitting in the safe zone for a moment - will be making checks these few days to keep it stable. A big thanks to everyone reading this, great forum, friendly members!
  9. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    For that stock you need 6.6 to 7.4 ph, 5 to 7° kh, and 6°to 8° gh. You will have to raise all your parameters. Coral chips will raise all of it, but slowly.

    You do know you need at least 150 gallon tank for an arowana? Bigger the better. They are 3 foot long fish. Plecos can grow a foot long. So I really hope this tank your having problems with is really really big.
  10. Arwen New Member Member

    Yup jotting them all down (in a good way), when they live in confine places chances are their growth will be stunned. A well aeration tank with enough room for their turning radius will be a good consideration for planning of their tank size, of course the bigger the better. In this particular issue I'm having now is my over looking of the ph below 6. As most normal ph kits test are from 6-8 . Probably a ph meter will religiously indicate here as they can read ph in better ranges. They are doing better now, arowannas do better in acidic waters. We have a common optional practice here to introduce ketapan leaf soaked water to create the natural environment for them.

    These fishes are generally friendly to keep, nice on feeding in my case. Thanks for pointing out a valuable lesson for me here, fishlore is awesome!
  11. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    Yes they do very well in soft acidic waters.

    Using the ketapang leaf will help as well, which will put you into a black water tank. Since the leaves soften the water and make it more acidic. Problem is, your water is extremely soft all ready at 0kh and 25gh. In hypothesis, say your tank just has the arowana and is 150 gallons. You can get away with 35ppm (3°) with the ph at 6.6. It should hold your ph stable since kh controls the ph. Kh (carbonated hardness) is mainly used by nitrifying bacteria and keeps your ph stable. To little, bacteria are stunted and can not multiply, not to mention the ph falls as well. So more water volume at lower kh can work as long as there is no huge bio load in the tank. Arowanas and plecos are huge poop machines, which means high bio loads. So if it's just the arowana in a 150 gallon, you could get away with 35ppm of kh, but add the Pleco, you either need larger volume of water, or higher kh to keep the bacteria thriving and ph stable.

    Now if you decide to go more black water using the ketapang leaves, then you need things different. Black water tanks are the tea colored tanks that have very soft water, and don't use the same bacteria that tropical aquariums use. They normally range in the 5.0 to 6.0 ph, little to no kh, and very little GH (between 17 and 50ppm) peat moss is used in the filters to work like tropical tanks nitrifying bacteria. Like I said, you have good water for a black water tank. I'm not black water tank expert, I only know what I've read about them.
  12. Arwen New Member Member

    Yup you are right, my tank do fall into the category of the black water tank. It's very interesting to to know that the KH relation with the nitrifying bacterias that is essential for effective biological filter. To explain the recent spike of dead fishes that I experience. Was very much due to ph shocks, it's the acclimatising part. The ph range was too much a difference for them to survive.

    The like what you said about the water volume & livestock ratio part. Having a bigger water volume does give me some free play in terms of water parameter. As the larger the volume of water the more time it takes to adjust them.

    I'm a begineer for a start & I'm very glad to hear your take on the many interesting points that I not know or may have forgotten. Low ph is very common for mature tanks without any buffering medias. Peat moss is one way to bring down the water ph gradually. Another way is introduce driftwoods to soften the water, you are very right on the tea coloured part.

    The bigger the live stock gets the more bio load it produces, some hobbyist induced by feeding regimes, some by additions of new fishes. Of which I'm guilty to both. Having said that I prefer to over load my filtration instead of bio load. The ph read today is of 6.8, my arowana is not too happy about it. The good thing is i believe there will be minimal losses due to the overly low ph that I was responsible for previously. Very informative of you
  13. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    Depending on how long you were at 6.0 or less will determine if you lost your cycle. Since you stated you are using all new filtering media, I'm going to assume you have no cycle between the two. So please test daily.

    I do not know if you can get SeaChem products in Asia, but it might be worth looking into. Especially products called Prime and Stability. If you can get those, I highly recommend them. With your cycle gone, prime will help detoxify ammonia and nitrite up to 1ppm for 24 hours. This will help keep your fish safe while you recycle. Stability will help cycle your tank faster. It can be cycled in as little as 8 days, normally 10 days though. With out using a good bacterial suppulment, it can take up to 16 weeks to cycle. For arowanas, who love really clean water, the ammonia and nitrite spikes during cycling can really harm them. So cycling fast is the better choice. If you can not get those products, then I highly recommend daily if not twice a day water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrite close to 0 as possible.
  14. Arwen New Member Member

    The lost count duration was about 2 weeks when I start facing the new tank syndrome. The live stocks that relies on higher ph are those that are mostly affected. They started by increased breathing that last for 2-3 days before they start to lose equilibrium & slime coat damage, the rest of the story shall leave it as it is here.

    Yup we have access to SeaChem product here, as a matter of fact it is quite well received here. For the bacteria boost I happen to have dosed micronbelift that has a really unique smell that favours bacteria. Have noticed whenever adding additives to the tank it's better to increase aeration as a precaution, most of the times the additives in this case micronbelift seems to have starve the tank water of dissolved oxygen that competes with tank inhabitants.

    The water change concept worked for me, during the earlier episodes when I started with the new tank syndrome & couldn't find what's wrong with the water. Changing water on 30-50% on once every 2 days basis managed to keep my live stock going. The frequency of water change was brought down gradually when the readings shows that the bacterias are working up on the tank.

    Actually on a lighter note arowanas are very hardly species that can do well in soft & hard waters. They just need simple filtration & a space big enough for them to survive. Yup you are right, will be keeping track of the no3/4 & no.2/3 readings on a closer rate till there are signs of stabilisation, will updated on the progress with lotsa thanks!
  15. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    The bacteria you use sounds more like organic waste removers then nitrifying bacteria. I could be wrong though. Can you tell me the name of the product you use?

    I wonder if the arowanas we have here that are captive bred are the reasons why they do not do so well with water quality issues. I personally have not owned one, so I can not say for sure, but I've read about people loosing them quickly over water quality quickly. Especially if they try to cycle their tanks with them. Also they are expensive fish to purchase, and not many want to risk it. Again I wonder if it has anything to do with where they are bred at.

    If I may make another suggestion since your having to recycle your tank, is to purchase Methylene Blue. It is a great first line of defence when something goes wrong with your tanks or fish. I've personally have used it for decades from injuries to egg hatching. It is great for ammonia poisoning and nitrite poisoning is it helps with the O2 saturation of blood. It is also good in stopping or slowing some bacteria and fungal infections. It is used in a bath form or quarantine tanks only, never in display tanks because it will kill your nitrifying bacteria. It can also be used topically for wound care. It also has very little drug interactions if you have to medicate your tank. So I highly recommend it in the first aid kit for aquariums. Matter of fact, that is always my first go to if anything goes wrong. I have even used it on my own shrimp when I hit a sludge pocket in my tank on accident, and it killed almost all my shrimp in minutes, but the 3 I caught and got them into a Methylene Blue quarantine tank. Now I have like 50 Red Cherry Shrimp from the original 3 I saved.
  16. Arwen New Member Member

    It's Microbe Lift special blend, the local fish shop guy highly recommended to me over sea chem stability. Was looking for stability initially however they were not in stock & I had to boost the filter as soon as possible.

    Most of the arowanas are captive bred nowadays those that are wild are probably "Saratoga" - Jardinis/pearl arowana natives to Australia waters just to name a few. I could be wrong too, in general captive bred specimens tends to do fairly well in acclimatised water conditions. If I were to do cycling again. That I would proabably go for a fishless cycle. Captive bred fish loses some of the primitive instinct wild ones carries. As there are numerous of arowana farms nowadays, it has become relatively affordable to own these majestic swimmers. Most of the times these fishes are best kept with minimal care, they are quite contend as long as they have space to swim around & little food to feed on. However they are best kept alone, as they tend to help themselves to any fish that fits into their mouth. Had cases of pleco size of 5-6" picked up a dessert. Having this in thought tank mates has to be chosen with care. Especially so of those pricely types.

    Had measured the parameters as of today was ph at 6.6
    nh3/4 0
    The water seems to be stabilising, will be checking the parameters again just to be sure. Of course you may suggest, in fact these are very good pointers. The methylene blue certainly made magic for you. Have kept a bottle handy just in case of emergency. Shrimps are very sensitive to water parameters, now I know where all the knowledge comes from, amazing. From the 3 that you manage to save to 50 pieces of them, that's a lot of hard work & patience, the effort paid off well indeed.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
  17. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    If your NH3 is at 4.0, that is highly toxic to fish. I recommend a 75% or more water change to get that back down below 1ppm, add prime, and 30 minutes later add your bacteria. Your in danger of ammonia poisoning.
  18. Arwen New Member Member

    It's must have been my typo nh3&4 fortunately is at 0, however it's quite a real episode for me during the cycling days. Yup you are right about the nh3&4 level - it's way too high. The remedy water change that I happen to read off from Fishlore works well for me, great advises!
  19. Dragones5150918 Well Known Member Member

    Ahhh, I'm glad to know it was a mistake. I read NH3 4 with no 0. It was early in the morning for me, so I could of misread it.

    A good rule of thumb is not to allow your ammonia or nitrite above 1ppm during the entire fish in cycle. Fishless should be no higher then 2ppm. Above that, bacteria can get stunted and stop working.
  20. Arwen New Member Member

    Yup me too, well registered with thanks