Cichlid Fish Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So about 3 or 4 weeks ago one day out of the blue I noticed that my venestus appeared to have his skin peeling off. It was very strange, but it was late at night when I noticed, so I figured I'd deal with it the next morning. I came in the next morning and he was dead. I did another water change, checked my levels and the Nitrate levels were elevated.

No one else seemed to have any problems though so I thought it was an isolated incident. About two weeks later my prized beautiful peacock exhibited the same skin peeling and was hiding under a rock. The next day he was on his last leg as his fin was still flapping but he was otherwise unable to move. When I removed him from the tank I noticed one of his eyes was missing and had either been pecked out or it was related to the illness. Again everyone else seemed fine.

Then yesterday another little young peacock had the same skin peeling and today he was dead. Now I'm seeing that my small blue acei has some peeling on his one side.

I'm heading to petco later today to do another water test.

I have a 40g breeder with a marineland c-220 canister filter and a bubbler. I perform weekly 20% water changes and use prime brand water conditioner. Also in the tank are two yellow labs, one convict, `a blue johanni, 2 random marbled cichlids, 2 small loaches and a catfish, oh and an albino algae eater and a galaxis pleco. No one is more than 2 inches in length. The tank has been set up for about 6 months. I had ich back in the beginning but treated it quickly and never had any further problems. Please help!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
while you're at Petco, bring home your own test kit... when your fish are sick, you need to test your water constantly. Typically, 20% water changes are too small, but you can't say for sure without your own test kit. Most use the API - the one with the drops and the test tubes... Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay guys, I've lost two more fish since the original post and another one is swimming sideways. I did a very very thorough cleaning today (removed all the rocks, scrubbed them, stirred up the sand, removed around 8 gallons of water) Below are the current levels
Nitrites are a zero
Nitrates are through the roof... around 160
ammonia is clear
PH is very low, like below a 6.2 (lowest my test measures)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
I agree, that pH reading is alarming. Have you been using a buffer for pH in the past? Granted, that mix of fish is sort of ecclectic and probably won't work long term, but you've got other problems to deal with first. I would either buy a buffer or look into homemade recipes and get your pH up to the mid 7s, but do it slowly. Also, continue with daily water changes (around 50%) and double-dose Prime until the nitrates are below 20ppm.

What are the "random marbled cichlids?"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
cichlid guy - I bet he means some kind of OB peacock... :) Everyone that sees mine refers to them as the "marbled" ones...

Italiiano - +1 on everything cichlid guy says, but to be clear, double-dose that Prime for the entire tank volume. Nitrates over 40 are bad. 20 or less is acceptable.

Just to be clear - are you able to do your own testing now, or are you still having the pet store do it for you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've got my own testing kit now. I'm doing daily levels. They suggested not doing water changes any more than 25% every three days.

I'm sorry guys what do you mean by a buffer?

I'm using Prime and aquarium salt. I hadn't been using the salt lately, but Petco recommended adding that back in to help reduce the stress.

What's the best way to bring the pH back up safely? (Other than more frequent water changes which I'll now do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
Well, for starters, what is your tap water pH & kH? (you might want to check your nitrates just for giggles, too...)

Best way to measure that is get a 5 gallon bucket, fill it with water, add some Prime, wait a minute or two, and check your pH. Is that lower or higher than what's in your tank?

There are buffer recipes in the library here on the forum. How much you use will depend on how much buffer you need to raise the pH in your 5 gallon bucket to the desired level.

What is the desired level you want to reach in that 5 gallon bucket? Get out your calculator... there will likely be some math involved...

You have a 40 gallon tank. Your pH is 6.2. You want to do a 50% water change (20 gallons). You want the end result in your tank to be (baby steps here in case we miscalculate some) say, 6.4. Now, back to your 5 gallon bucket. Let's say that from wherever the pH is (assuming your tap is the same as your tank, which may NOT be) you want to get that 5 gallon bucket up to pH 6.6. It might take a 1/2 teaspoon of buffer or it might take much more. This is why you're adding it to the bucket first... :) Mix it in the bucket, wait 30 minutes or so, and then measure the pH. So if we really screw something up, we don't hurt the fish...

So, let's say that you have determined that "x" amount of buffer raises 5 gallons of your source water from 6.2 to 6.6. Then "x times 4" will be the approximate amount needed for a 20 gallon water change. Why do I say approximate? Because kH affects how easily pH can change. At least this will give you a place to start. The higher the kH, the more resistant pH is to change. Yes, black magic & voodoo seem to be involved, which is why you must experiment. I don't think anyone can tell you for sure exactly how much to use.

And to be even safer, use half the amount the first time to be sure.

I never understand people recommending not to do larger water changes if the water is bad... I do two 60-70% water changes per week. Bad water needs to go. 40 nitrates is too high. Although, there are two things that can get you into trouble with bigger water changes - primarily big swings in pH and kH... which can contribute to swings in pH...

But please! BEFORE you take my advice... wait for someone with more experience than me to chime in and verify that this is a sane course of action. Here is the buffer recipe - http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/buffer_recipe.php

Hope this helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay, I'm going to work on a bigger water change following your instructions. One more question. I'm running a marineland C220 for about 2 months. Do I need to replace the active carbon bags? One guy told me not to touch the canister for 3 months but I've replaced the polishing pads twice already but nothing else. The box recommends new carbon bags every three weeks. Thoughts? Could this be contributing to my problem?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
Italiano - 3 things:

1.) WAIT until someone smarter than me tells you that my plan for you is sane before proceeding.
2.) On the carbon... I don't use it. You'll find that many on the forum do not. There is an interesting article on the forum, however, that says it's not using carbon per se that causes problems, but basically not changing it enough is what causes the problems. Yours is overdue for a change, it would seem.
3.) I don't change the polishing pads until they are nearly disintegrated - bacteria you want lives there, but that's just me.

Read the following article - http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/marineland_carbon.php
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,296 Posts
I do not think the carbon is causing the problems, however I do not use it though I do have it on hand in case I do need it.

Could you test the pH of your tap water for us? Run two tests, one from the tap about room temperature and the other test, let the tap water sit in a clean glass cup for 24 hours before testing. I'm curious if the pH problems are related to your source water or tank set up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I just ran a test of the tap, after adding a little prime, and it's a 7.0 on the pH. Zero kH though, which is the same thing the tank is showing. I pulled about 10 gallons out of the tank tonight, filled up a 5g bottle with tap, treated it with the Prime and some box aquarium salt, and I'm going to let it sit overnight before adding it in the morning. Thanks for all the help guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
I have zero KH out of the tap, so it's quite possible. This makes your pH unstable, and without a buffer it will slowly creep into acidic territory, which is unhealthy for African cichlids.

In regards to other things mentioned, I think the "25% water changes every 3 days" is bad advice. In an emergency, 50% daily is really what you need.

I also don't think you need carbon, though that's not really relevant right now.

I would start looking into purchasing or mixing your own buffer as soon as possible, as your tap water is unstable. Keep us posted!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What's the best option for a store bought buffer that I can do quickly, versus taking the time to experiment around and do the home made approach which I'll obviously have to do for the future since I'll need it with every water change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
I use Seachem Malawi/Victoria Buffer, which raises pH and KH, about one teaspoon for every 10-20 gallons. I get it from my LFS, haven't seen it at the big box stores. There are other products like API pH UP and pH Down, but I haven't used them, and can't say whether they are effective.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
API makes the one I use - called Buffer Max. However, if you can use anything Seachem, that'd be my first choice.

Seriously though, you will still have to experiment. But just to be clear... The experimenting I am referring to is to make sure exactly what a certain amount of buffer will do with your water, not experimenting with the buffer recipe ingredients/ratios themselves.

I would imagine that the buffer recipe on the forum is probably the most bulletproof recipe there is, and definitely cheaper.

Let us know!
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top