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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, the first issue I have is Ich - my own fault, bought some loaches from the LFS and didn't have a quarantine setup. Not that difficult to fight and is usually gone in 2 weeks time.

However I'm having another issue and it all started after I did a 50% water change. Prior to doing that large of a water change I have been doing 20-30% changes 1-2 times a week and everything was fine doing the smaller ones.

Right after doing the 50% water change I noticed really labored breathing from all my fish, especially the male GT. I didn't know what caused this, figured something might have gotten into my tank during the large water change and immediately did another 20% water change. This didn't help matters and I decided to not touch anything for a few hours and let everything calm down. After 2-3 hours I went back to check my tank parameters - 0/0/0. I tossed in an extra air stone thinking that something must have changed with the oxygen levels and turned off the lights and left everything along as I didn't want to stress them out any further.

The next day I checked on everyone before leaving for work and the situation was still the same. Not being able to do much I left for work and came home for lunch and I wanted to test my tap water again. I hadn't tested my tap water for 2 or so months, again, my own fault, tested it once, it was fine, never had any issues until now so I didn't think anything of it. Low and behold my tap has ammonia of 1.0ppm.

Now, when I do my water changes before I put water back into the tank I always dose with Prime. My only thought on this is that this large of a WC spiked the ammonia hard in my tank, causing all my fish stress and that's why they're doing the heavy gasping.

Went back to work, came home that night and found my male GT dead but his stomach looked like he had bloat. Everyone else in the tank was starting to look fine so I mourned my loss and continued on.

Now, today I did a 30% water change and all 3 of my Sevs, my Nic and V. Regani are having the labored breathing. Only fish that look fine in the tank are the Silver Saum, Gold Saum, ZZ Eel, Giant Danios and Yoyo Loaches. I don't want to lose any more fish :(

I believe I have enough surface agitation as I have an air stone, 2 power heads, I positioned the outlets of my canister filters to break the surface of the water and today I added my emergency HOB filter.

Any insight on this would be great as I'm not entirely sure what to do. Tank parameters are all in check 0/0/0 and tonight after the water change everyone ate.
 

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Sounds scary and I have not had a similar experience; but, I might think that you may have serious chlorine/chloramine issues in your tap water? I don't have to pre-treat my tap before I fill the tank but I know a number of folks who do so.

The only other thing I can think of is a huge temp difference with the water you are filling the tank with that may be shocking the fish?

Let us know what you figure the issue out to be and good luck!
 

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When you say 0/0/0 I think you mean ammonia=0, nitrite=0 and nitrate=0. True?

You should not have a nitrate reading of zero, it is ideally between 10ppm and 20ppm. Lack of nitrate suggests a problem with the cycle of the tank? Or insufficient shaking (30 seconds before, 60 seconds after) of the nitrate tester bottle?

And I was trying to get the timeline right...after the 50% water change the test results were 0/0/0 but the next day ammonia=1? But you also say you had not tested the water for several months, so maybe I'm not getting the 0/0/0 from the day before?

I had a nitrite spike once and it took the fish a week or more to stop gasping after nitrites were returned to normal. Their gills are burned and the damage is permanent. They need to adapt to their new disability.

I would also test the tap water, maybe something bad in there or a change in your water supply. For example, locally we have had flooding and I understand some neighbors have nitrate in their tap water when this usually is not the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responses, I'll answer some questions as I wasn't very clear in my original post.

ammonia/nitrite/nitrate

Tank Parameters
Before water change: 0/0/10-20ppm
After water change: 0/0/0 (less then 10ppm, doesn't show up on the test)

Tap Water Parameters
1/0/0

Before I fill my tank back up with water I dose with Prime to take care of the chlorine/chloramine.

Is there a way to test the chlorine/chloramine in the tap water? I'd very much so like to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
DJRansome said:
I would also test the tap water, maybe something bad in there or a change in your water supply. For example, locally we have had flooding and I understand some neighbors have nitrate in their tap water when this usually is not the case.
Tap water is at 1/0/0

My area is experiencing flooding (my backyard is flooded and now frozen for example), think this has something to do with it?

Reading over the Tap Water article from this site and the fact that it started with a water change, I'm almost positive it has something to do with my tap water. Something is in there that I can't test for that is causing this. Is there something better then Prime or something that does more then Prime for tap water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I apologize for the triple posting, I would edit if I could.

After looking around at the different tap water conditioners I was thinking of trying out the combination of AmQuel+ Instant Water Detoxifier and NovAqua+ Plus Instant Conditioner

The AmQuel+ looks like it would be better at handling the ammonia that comes from the tap and the NovAqua+ looks like it would be better with the other stuff that's in the tap like heavy metals. Thoughts on this plan of action?
 

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The 1ppm ammonia is due to chloramine in your tap water, it will give a false positive.
From what I've read, the reading should be lower prior to adding dechlorinator as this separates the chloramine into chlorine and ammonia. Something to test perhaps.
Also, I would test GH and KH in both tap and tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I believe I have a hardness kit at home from when I was trying to reduce a 29g tank naturally to around 7.0 as I was trying my hand at live plants - if I don't still have it I'll pick one up tomorrow.

My water is basically perfect for rift cichlids, have had mbuna and victorians for years with no issues. When I moved and sold off my smaller tanks I wanted to try my hand at CA/SA with the 150g I bought as I wanted some bigger fish. All has been well for months, was slowly adding in stock adding the dithers/target fish first, then my loaches making sure my filtration can keep up with the bio load with each addition.

Kind of frustration to think that this is stemming from my tap, would have preferred it if it was something else as that could easily be fixed, but trying to fix the source of all your water for your tank is rather difficult.
 

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Someone local to me has nitrates in his tap now with all the flooding too. I'm going to test mine, LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I want to thank everyone for the help, I found a combination that works in my tank. When flooding is over I'll retest the tap water and then maybe pull back on the tap water conditioners.

Here is the combination I'm using with great success.

API Tap Water Conditioner
Prime
NovAqua Plus
AmQuel +

Kind of making water changes costly, but figure if I only have to do this for a month or so then it's not so bad.
 

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Ammonia is due to 1 ppm of chloramines in tap water, it will give a false positive.I read, the reading should be lower than before the addition of a chlorine because this distinction with chloramine into chlorine and ammonia.Something to try perhaps.I want to try the GH and KH, as well as tap and container.
 
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