Hiding cardinals

dutchy

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Hi all,

I copied some posts from Gerry's thread to make a journal trying to find the problem of my hiding cardinals.

Me to Gerry:

I like your cardinals, always out in the open. I have a 100 now but they're always hiding, I'm lucky if I can see 20. A bit disappointing....
 
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Gerryd

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dutchy;88150 said:
I like your cardinals, always out in the open. I have a 100 now but they're always hiding, I'm lucky if I can see 20. A bit disappointing....

Re: your cardinals. In my 180 it was the same. I had 150-200 but saw 10 :) Personally, I think there was NOT ENOUGH 02 and they were c02 stressed and thus hid. I see that since I swapped to the sump and wet/dry that this is not an issue. My scape may hep as well as most plants are lower in height and are more like carpets.

I know that when c02 is too high, they show stress less by rapid breathing than by disappearing into the plant thickets. They do the same if they are sick...

I would investigate perhaps a bit more 02 or surface ripple during the c02 period and see if it helps.

OR, turn off the c02 for 30 mins during the photoperiod and see if they act any differently.

Remember too that my twin eheims retained a LOT of c02 where even 12 hours after c02 was off, I saw signs of c02 stress. Not an issue with the wet/dry.

Just a thought as I know how annoying not seeing your fish can be....
 
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dutchy

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Hi Gerry,

Thnx for the advice, I will surely do some effort to see if this is the cause, it's easy to turn up the Vortech for a day :)
 

Gerryd

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Hi HJ,

Be sure to add surface ripple and thus 02 and not just increase the in tank flow.....

I also think that cards like lush tall stems like yours so they can hide easier :)

Maybe remove EVERYTHING from the tank, start with bare bottom, and work your way back up adding a plant or hardscape and see how they react..When they start hiding, you know you put too much back in LOL
 

dutchy

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You're right, I might temporarily add a spraybar just under the water surface and see how that works.

Of course there's always the option of a more open scape, and I might just do that after the NBAT competition if everything else fails. I never thought that much cardinals could hide in such a small amount of space. They are really packed together.

Thnx :)
 

Gerryd

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dutchy;88158 said:
You're right, I might temporarily add a spraybar just under the water surface and see how that works.

Of course there's always the option of a more open scape, and I might just do that after the NBAT competition if everything else fails. I never thought that much cardinals could hide in such a small amount of space. They are really packed together.

Thnx :)

Yes, amazing how so many fish can simply vanish :)

Please note that although I have not increased c02 rate for over 2 weeks, I noticed yesterday during the c02 period that a few rummies were panting...

I increased the surface ripple on one side and within 15 minutes those look visibly relieved. The whole school was a bit more active as well though you had to really watch to see. So things change over time w/o us realizing it..

That said, I think my fish would prefer I not use c02 at all :)

You did a trim or removed plants but did not lower c02 did you? Perhaps you have more than you did b4 and the fish feel it?

I know that now my rummies and cards will hide if c02 is too high. I don't want to say that is it for sure in your tank but something to check on.
 

dutchy

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Gerryd;88159 said:
That said, I think my fish would prefer I not use c02 at all :)

You did a trim or removed plants but did not lower c02 did you? Perhaps you have more than you did b4 and the fish feel it?

No, nothing of those. The pH controller keeps CO2 at the same level, even if I trim etc. I had this as long as I can remember. When I had 30 of them, I saw 10, now I have a 100, I see 20. There is a paper about breeding cardinals that says they are photophobic. They do come out when the light decreases, but this is also the moment the CO2 level gets less. I'll try some things.
 
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Gerryd

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dutchy;88190 said:
No, nothing of those. The pH controller keeps CO2 at the same level, even if I trim etc. I had this as long as I can remember. When I had 30 of them, I saw 10, now I have a 100, I see 20. There is a paper about breeding cardinals that says they are photofobic. They do come out when the light decreases, but this is also the moment the CO2 level gets less. I'll try some things.

I think it is the fry and eggs that are more light sensitive...

I have very high light (200 mmoles) at midwater and the cardinals do not seem shy at all. I really think it may be c02 OR they are scared.

I remember years ago I had little 'dawn' tetra approx 20 and about 80 cards. Well, the dawn tetras bullied the cards whenever they came out, so they hid all the time. Took me awhile to catch them at it and then actually believe it. The cards were twice the size lol

So, maybe something else is bothering them that is not readily apparent?

I know you will hate me for this but here goes anyway... I think you should investigate a wet/dry sump setup. Simply for the better 02 rate and degassing overnight when c02 is off.

I had much the same issue as you with cardinals since I got serious about c02 over the last few years. I would look at Tom's school and think, he has high c02, why are his fish out all the time? I knew B4 I used c02 I saw my cardinals more often.

I think they may be affected by c02 more than they show or we think.

Just a thought. You know I have gone around the world and tried many filtration setups over the last several years, from wet/dry sump to closed canister loop, and now back again lol

That said, the wet/dry seems to give the best success for me and easiest maintenance using c02 or not.
 
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dutchy

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You made a very strong point, Gerry. Of course I will keep it in mind but will try the simple things first. And no hate, just gratefulness ;)

Today I did a big waterchange and moved the Vortech powerhead up to 0,5 inch under the water surface, increasing the pump rpm. There's a serious ripple now. Let's see if this has some effect.

I also made a list of possible causes, although sometimes related.
1. Low O2
2. High CO2
3. High light, in tank
4. High light, ambient
5. Disturbance (people walking around)
6. Other inhabitants

I've also thought about sound, because the Vortech makes sound. Sound waves can be stressful to fish, but you and Tom also use a Vortech without problems, so I left that one out.

6. Other inhabitants: I just have some hatchets, they are small, static and surface dwellers. There seem to be no problems here. A few amanons but I don't see problems when they pass the cardinals. So 6 can be removed from the list right away.

5 left. Let's see how it goes.
 
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Tom Barr

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Dutchy, the reason is they have plenty of places to lounge and hide.
In the 350 Gal and in Gerry's and my 180, there's not a lot of hiding places in the plants. So they are out and about.
 

dutchy

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So that means a scape change I'm afraid. Well, maybe in a few weeks, after the NBAT competition. In the meantime I can try some other things to see if it does something.

But take the 350G for example. They could hide between the wood, behind it. That's where typically mine would be....
 

Gerryd

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HJ,

Too MUCH current/flow perhaps? Do they come out more if the vortech and/or eheims are OFF?

I just know that mine will hunker down low when c02 is too high regardless of scape....My scape is open but is how they react in my tank to too much c02. Rummies are the same. They tend to stay motionless almost on the substrate....
 

dutchy

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Hi Gerry,

I thought about that, so I changed the position of the vortech to the other side of the tank. This gives less flow in the area where they want to be, around the main wood scape. I'm curious what I see when I get home.

Thnx again.
 

dutchy

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When I got home, I was kond of happy because around 60 were swimming around. But of course it was feeding time. They always come out at the same time and wait in the same spot. Like real pets ;)

After feeding....gone. I can see 10 now. So far for more O2. Anyway it doesn't seem like they are breathing too fast, but there's no comparison material.

I'm going to see if I can estimate what the CO2 level is, maybe I can elevate pH with 0,2 for a day and see what happens, but I have to do that when I'm at home, not at work, so maybe on the weekend.

More as things develop.
 

dutchy

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Nr. 4 on my list. High light, ambient. and 5. High light in tank.

I let it get dark in the living room and didn't turn on the room lights. This makes a difference, I could see an estimated 40. After that the tank lights cut down to 50%, there were an estimated 60 swimming around.

Seems like it's actually true that cardinal tetras are kind of photofobic,

I can't have my house dark all day to see the fish, but I can reduce the light in the tank. I did a PAR measurement which was 45 micromols. So what I will try is reduce the light to this value during the weekend and see what happens.

More after that.
 
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hbosman

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My Cardinals tend to congregate at the front of the tank most of the time when I'm in the room. I think its because its not directly under the light bulbs and they want to be fed. The back of the tank has more flow so it's not a great place for them to hang out. They do start gathering together in the center under the plants at about 9:40 PM anticipating the lights going off at 10:00 PM. There are hengels and Espei Rasbora's hanging at the surface most of the time so maybe that makes them more confident to stay out in the open. I have to provide plenty of surface movement with a Hydor since my drop checker is rather yellow.
 
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dutchy

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Today there are a LOT more cardinals visible than yesterday. They are swimming around and trying to find food on the substrate, not schooling very tight, so they seem to be ok. I did lower CO2 yesterday with in increase of 0,1 pH. So maybe more surface ripple and around 10 ppm CO2 less did the trick...

Gerry might be right after all LOL ;) Thnx Gerry :)

Let's see what happens over the next days.
 
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Gerryd

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dutchy;88339 said:
Today there are a LOT more cardinals visible than yesterday. They are swimming around and trying to find food on the substrate, not schooling very tight, so they seem to be ok

Hey HJ,

Sounds promising......Is the more active substrate behaviour new to your fish in your tank? Or have you witnessed this previously but not lately? These are good signs as active fish spend a lot of time foraging. Cardinals will eat from all water layers, top, bottom, middle.. they are active feeders...

Fins crossed for you but this root cause feels right in my gut.. Mine behaved very differently with the wet/dry than the canisters during periods when c02 was on and high....

At one point I know I turned off c02 for 2 days over a weekend so I could benchmark the fish behaviour w/o c02 at various timeframes. I added lots of surface ripple and did what I could to oxygenate the water as well. The fish were clearly more active w/0 co2 and that provided a clear contrast in behaviour. Card do not pant as visibly as rummies do. It may be due to their coloration.

They should only school tightly when doing their shoaling for exercise, when they are stressed or sick, or frightened IME.

Since you have no predators and only docile other fish and they are otherwise healthy. I go for stressed and c02 is a big stressor for fish...Think Occam's razor theory. The simplest explanation may be the correct one....
 
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dutchy

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Today the cardinals are swimming around as normal. No hiding, no stress, I can even approach the tank and they still don't hide. The flow from the vortech doesn't seem to bother them now.

Seems like this problem is solved. Little bit short of O2, little bit too much CO2. Well, I learned something :)
 

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dutchy;88421 said:
Today the cardinals are swimming around as normal. No hiding, no stress, I can even approach the tank and they still don't hide. The flow from the vortech doesn't seem to bother them now.

Seems like this problem is solved. Little bit short of O2, little bit too much CO2. Well, I learned something :)


This is a good thing since you can gauge by behavior and less by gasping fish. O2 and current : fish love this.