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Elevated P04 levels

Discussion in 'Talk to Tom Barr' started by susantroy1, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. susantroy1

    susantroy1 Junior Poster

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    Hey Tom,

    Glad to hear you had a good trip over here to Fl. sorry I missed meeting you in person. I am currently suffering significant losses of my 2 week old cardinal tetras and was wondering if you may be able to help me in identifying the cause for a seemingly elevated P04 levels. I read that test kits are unreliable but the API kit I just bought shows my P04 level at 10+ ppm. could you explain where these levels can come from and if these levels may harm my now dwindling school of Cards? the tank is 2.5 months old and is fully cycled my params are:

    KH 3 (R/0)
    GH 4-5
    PH 7
    NH4 0
    N02 0
    N03 10-15
    P04 10 +
    Temp 81-82
    Sump is a tidepool 2 bio wheel
    supplemented filtration is XL Vortex DE
    I currently have not been EI dosing as I read it was not in the best interest of the cards being introduced. I do run Press C02 @ 10-15ppm (sump has allot of off gassing) I added worm castings in with my old flourite substrate and caped it with 2" of pool sand. I diagnosed an Ich outbreak about 4 days ago and have treated with this
    Wardley Wellness Ick Out Sensitive at PETCO

    I have no visible algae other than the normal Diatoms for a newly setup tank which is diminishing almost daily. Mostly mosses and micro swords in the tank other than floating Ricca/Spirodela. Any evidence that high P04 may be an issue? and do you believe that the Worm casings may be the source? Thanks again and welcome back...

    Troy
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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  3. susantroy1

    susantroy1 Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the link Vaughn,
    I really don't have a concern about what level my P04 is if elevated levels are not a concern for livestock. that being said the only time I'd look into it further is if they are and at what levels that is ? Again i believe that it could be the results of the Ich outbreak + normal loss % with these #s. I am curious to see if in fact that the worm castings may have contributed in elevating P04 levels....

    Thanks

    Troy
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The WC's are much more likely the cause of the high PO4, which are not to be of concern, the acute toxic and chronic toxic levels for us, for fish and inverts is extremely high, they do not even worry about in most studies(so it's well past that of NO3's and K+ etc- basically till it starts being a larger contributor to the overall salt and TDS content of the water or when it starts to act as a mild acid- which is wayy past 10ppm and the ranges we will ever see).

    The reason for the issues is more rooted in the NH4 in the WC, not the PO4.
    New tank, not good NH4=> NO3 conversion, poor plant growth that could not mitigate the NH4 influx from the WC's and so forth.......

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. susantroy1

    susantroy1 Junior Poster

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    Tom, I use solely R/O with your GH booster to bring my GH back up....I heat/aerate the 45 gal at least 24 hrs prior to Wc and also treat with Prime (habit) all my NH4 tests show no NH4 what so ever with 0 N02 as well. only reason why I tested P04 was because I was at a loss for an explanation.... I really am not bothered by elevated levels of P04 after reading your answer. I have slow but decent growth from my dwarf swords and mosses but its understandable that my growth is slow as I'm only running maybe 1.5 Wpg (trying to save on expenses with the larger tank so I figure I'll throttle this one down). After my tank cycled it was consuming 4-5ppm NH4 in 6-12 hrs and N02 followed closely in the same time frame. when you referenced "new Tank" would this lead one to believe that because this is a new setup that the fluctuations in
    H20 quality may be an issue. I assume that the Ich outbreak took a large toll as I have read that this species simply cannot tolerate it. On a brighter note, I just checked my tank and have had no losses in a 12 hrs period, which is a milestone in itself.:) Just out of curiosity...I tested my R/O for P04 and it reads zip. Glad I can put away that stupid P04 test kit.

    Thanks Troy,
    I'll resume EI dosing @ next WC. any suggestions as far as amount with a lower tech setup? I've been cutting the dosage when I first dosed anyway because of the lower light levels... last test showed 10-15 ppm N03.
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    In Tom's post "WC" did not mean "water closet", nor "western civilization", nor "Wesley Clark", but it did mean "worm casings". Some times our use of abreviations, "abs", causes more confusion than is worth the typing convenience.
     
  7. susantroy1

    susantroy1 Junior Poster

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    Thanks Vaughn, and here I thought H20 changes:eek:

    I wonder why whenever I test I don't pick anything up as far as elevated NH4? The whole reason why I went with the Worm castings was because I wanted a lower maint type of tank, as compared to a high tech constant dosing type of setup. I'm really quite satisfied with plant growth my mosses are really coming along nicely Micro swords have bounced back from initial melt and seem to be sending out runners. I really want this tank to house a healthy large school of Cards and rummies before I add my 4 Discus I have them is a BB 55g and have time to get this tank established and matured.

    Troy
     
  8. rich815

    rich815 Guru Class Expert

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    >>>> I assume that the Ich outbreak took a large toll as I have read that this species simply cannot tolerate it.

    This has not been my experience. I have a school of 39 Cards in my 72 gal that have experienced two ich outbreaks over the past 10 months. Neither got very severe but the Cards were the only ones in my community tank that showed any sign of ich. At least 6-8 had definite signs of ich, maybe a few others with just a speck or two. First time was when the school was about 2 months old in my tank. I treated with Malichite Green for 4-5 days and it was gone in no time. Not a single Card lost. Then again about 2 months ago another outbreak, again only evidenced on the Cards, about the same severity, maybe a little less, than the outbreak 8 months prior. This time I treated only by temporarily raising the temp in the tank. I raised the tank's temp to 84 F for a week (normally I'm at 78 F or so). Again the ich disappeared and no loss of any Cards. In fact just last week I was congratulating myself on no loss whatsoever of any of my Cards for almost a year and a half that I've had this school (even through a MAJOR rescaping in which I did lose a few jae barbs, a pair of German Rams, couple of espei's and a couple of female bettas). The Cards have been shimmering and rich in their blue/red coloration and seem very happy, sometimes schooling semi-loosely, sometimes breaking up into 2-3 schools in various places in my highly planted tank, and almost always feeding well. Then 2 days ago I finally found a single dead Card in amongst my myrio forest. It was one in which I noticed a bit of cataract in one eye and he seemed a bit older than most of the others. Oh well.

    Last thing I'd mention is my phosphate levels (mostly due to high fishload) is pretty high. Based on my cheapo API testing kit it's at least 4-5 ppm. But since I've been getting some GSA lately I've been actually adding in 2 ml of Fleet as part of my EI regime (with the 50% weekly water changes) anyway. So I have some pretty high phosphates going the whole time this school has been around.

    Just how long have you had this school of Cards? Where did you get them? If not long I suspect you may simply have a newly imported batch that may have been sold off fairly quickly before the weaker ones were culled out. I buy my fish from a place that generally keeps all his new arrival fish for at least 2 weeks before selling to make sure there's not diseases or weakness in the bunch. Good, reputable place that actually, if he senses you're new or your tank is new, will not sell you any fish unless you bring in a sample for him to test first for NH4 and Nitrites. Any idea the quarantine policy of the place you bought these Cards from?
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I do not think you will find with this many fish in a small 55 gallon tank that it's going to be a low tech easy to care for tank.

    This is not really a reasonable goal with the fish, plants and methods outlined.

    If you removed the Discus etc, perhaps.

    I'm not clear if the 55 gal is just a grow out tank etc and you have another planted tank or?? In a 90 Gal or larger, then yes.

    You are not getting enough CO2 and need to address that sump, use a Bioball tower and seal the lid so no air can exchange, you can keep the sump and the overflow, just remove the wheel.

    You can also increase the CO2 in the tank by adding more flow through a CO2 system that is not connected to the sump(eg in the tank).

    The filter is really an issue here.

    Using WC's, worm castings, is not going to help you vs dosing the water column.
    You feed the fish each day, may as well feed the plants at the same time.
    Should not be hard to do.

    I'd do that and large water changes personally, toss the test kits for now.
    Prune /garden and get the algae and poor plant leaves that look bad out.

    Consider 2x a week 50% water changes if you plan on the discus in there.
    Dose thereafter or doa daily type of routine.
    Fix the filter situation and get the CO2 2x what you now have it at.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Good points also.
    The Temp is a big issue, they do not eat nearly as well are cooler temps, they are ravenous at 82-86F, I target 83-84F.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. susantroy1

    susantroy1 Junior Poster

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    Rich,

    I got two groups 1, from a distributor out of Miami (shipped overnight)and the other through a farm in Applo Beach Fl. through my local Pet store (he ordered them for me arrived same day) Well I have to tell you that I have read statements that are quite frankly all over the map as far as the requirements and am somewhat discouraged at the broad spectrum of advice in which the species can be kept. I have tried to adhere to the advice that makes the most sense to me and the writers experience levels on the species (hence why I posted here as well) I suspect that Tom, is right when he mentioned my substrate. it was a gamble that I thought would pay off...Jury still out on the effectiveness of this type of amendment. quite possibly I had overlooked something in preparing it.... Not sure.., as there is little on the subject. I am not going to dismantle the tank as of yet as I will continue to monitor the prams of the H20 and wait it out. thanks for the info.

    Troy
     
  12. susantroy1

    susantroy1 Junior Poster

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    Tom,
    I meant that I currently have the 55G housing only my Discus as I try and bring the 135G on line before I move the Discus into the 135. right now only the cards and rummies are in the 135. I want to make sure I get this 135 under control before introducing the Discus.

    Troy
     
  13. rich815

    rich815 Guru Class Expert

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    So your local guy ordered them, they arrived, you took them home. The other by mail from someplace. How long ago now was this? I still suspect weak fish that were not adequately quarantined. I'll bet your die off will slow and once you have things balanced you'll have them for years with nary a die off. Whether that means they were weak to begin with, or your present issues made even the slightly weaker ones to die off still, will be hard to tell. In the end the strongest will survive though there is some theories out there I've read that say that issues that put the fish through a lot (large spikes of NH4 and such) weaken them from that point onward.
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Okay, I fell much better about this now.This will do nicely with the goal you have in mind.

    I'd suggest changing out the biomedia part of the Tidepool, great filter for non planted tanks.

    Bad for planted tanks though.
    You can live with it, and amplify the CO2 system, or switch it out entirely, or modify it.

    No matter what, you have some significant changes to make to get the tank under control and to reduce the amount of labor required and to help the plants grow well.

    We used WC's extensively in our local club some years back.
    Not bad, but they where used in a few folk's tanks, mostly in Brazil, where they did not have access to KNO3, KH2PO4 and so forth, all they had where traces and the WC did pretty good with large frequent water changes, CO2.

    But it was because they had little choice, not because it was better, great etc.
    I'd say ADA AS is the best sediment overall for growing and keeping plants over time. You can do 50% EI and be perfectly fine with the 135gal I'd suspect.

    10 hours of light, try for about 2 W/gal of PC lighting, 2 x 50% weekly water changes till things settle in, then 1x a week.

    Did you boil the WC for 10-15 minutes in water prior to use?
    That is part of the protocol for their use.
    This oxidizes then NH4 and mineralizes the WC's.

    Alternatively, you can soak it in a shallow pan with about 1/4" of water covering and keep it saturated with water for 2-3 weeks also.

    I think dosing of the water column is not going to be really avoided, but a sediment rich like ADA or the WC addition is wise, it takes the strain off the water column and at lower light, does pretty good if you space out and do not dose.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. susantroy1

    susantroy1 Junior Poster

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    Rich,

    I've had em in the 135 for 2 weeks, this is going on week 3 for the first group. I think I will restock but wait until I have the Discus in the 135 and then can use the BB55g as my quarantine tank for them...

    Troy
     
  16. susantroy1

    susantroy1 Junior Poster

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    Tom,
    Well lesson learned..... I now realize I should of asked more ?? as far as WC preperations.... as it is right now, I did not prepare it in the ways that you have mentioned. I pretty much sun dried it and mixed it.... Hope your recommendation is not to tear it down and reset but if that is the case it will be a painful lesson learned:( Just trying to figure out how I can break this to the Wife:rolleyes:

    Thanks for the expert advice....Thats why I subscribed... speaking of which I think my annual membership fee is due :) let me know OK?

    Thanks Troy
     

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