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how sensitive are small fish, neon, pencil, white cloud, ottos to kh?

Discussion in 'Fish for Planted Tanks' started by Davejt, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. Davejt

    Davejt Junior Poster

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    In an otherwise healthy tank I keep loosing small fish to attrition. Larger fish are quite healthy Cory's, angles, betta, frogs, loaches, south american cichlad's

    but two types of tetras, white clouds, pencil fish, I've been losing about 80% out of any group over periods of several weeks.

    I'm wondering if adjusting the KH has anything to do with this?

    some basic parameters:

    Ammonia 0
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate 5-10ppm

    CO2 currently around 30ppm per drop checker. ph 6.6 at dKH 4

    KH = 8.5

    GH = 9

    Ph = 6.5

    Thanks
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Not KH

    Hi,

    I seriously doubt KH has anything to do with your loses.

    An odd mix of critters.

    How are they dying? Any strange behavior? Are they intact?

    What does your tank smell like?

    Can you tell us more about your set up?

    Biollante
     
  3. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    80% of everything? How fast do they die? What are the symptoms. I agree with Biollante that it's not the KH. Pencil fish may not spawn well in that KH, but they wouldn't die; they get stocked here at LFS's with those sort of params all the time.

    If the body is going clear in patches, death within 24 hours (often overnight), messed up swimming, odds are you're facing neon tetra disease (Pleistophora). The common name is a misonomer; all small fish get it, even angels now and then. I may be thinking of it because I just lost 21/27 rainbow fish to it, but the restriction and mortality rate minus you providing any real details makes it seem like it's worth mentioning. Pleistophora looks like a splotchy stress discoloration and little less only hours before it kills.

    The other big candidate may be CO2 gassing. I've noticed smaller characins tend to stress faster than larger fish, but only slightly. By the time you hit toxicity from something like tetras or pencil fish, usually the other fish are up to the surface already.

    Anyhow, symptoms would be helpfull; behavior, color (or discoloration), or strange behavior (disorientation, gasping, red gills, staying at the surface, etc.) is important.
     
  4. Davejt

    Davejt Junior Poster

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    It's pretty heavily planted tank so I haven't realized right away when I loose them. More like the school gets smaller and smaller. Since losing all of the diamond head tetras and all but two of the white clouds I have been trying to watch more closely. The only possible symptoms I have seen are fish that occasionally twitch, schooling fish that go off on their own deep in the plants and just kind of sit there not swimming much, these last some days to weeks. I've seen one that lost orientation and died a few hours later, another that was again hiding but close to the surface, dead next morning.

    No red gills, gasping at the surface, parasites, bloating etc. Baffles me a bit. mortality has only been on the little tetra like fish, everything else is fine.

    This is my first CO2 tank and some of the fish do seem to breath a little harder then normal, but I haven't kept fish in a long time so I may be wrong on that.


    Also rereading my OP I was misleading with the title a bit. It should be how sensitive are they to a CHANGE in KH?


    Several months ago I was using one of SeaChems non-phosphate buffers to help with KH-PH no CO2 at that time. After this the diamond head tetras then the white clouds started dropping. 1-2 every 2-3 days as an estimate, I didn't find many bodies. Big fish or snails must have gotten them.

    This go round I put in a new batch of tetras (don't know the exact type) 9 of them did fine for 2 weeks, So I added another dozen. Soon after I noticed my PH was going down about 6.0 and KH was down about 1/2 it's normal. I added enough baking soda for about a 2dKH lift.

    Next day the tetras seemed to be hanging out in the plants more then schooling around looking at me for food...

    So I am hypothesizing they didn't like the increase in the KH. At least this is the only thing I can come up with. Read about tetra disease, but didn't think that was it for some reason.

    What would be a good increment to raise the KH in? I'm assuming that too low a KH will produce a rather low PH with the CO2 injection and contribute to larger PH swings?

    What water parameters does one check/try to match up for water changes these days - aside from temp and de-chloraminer?

    thanks
     
  5. cryptichmind

    cryptichmind Lifetime Charter Member
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    Ph and Kh has not been as much of a problem for sensitive fish that I have kept as much as rapid changes in water chemistry. Baking soda can bounce your Ph. Better steady quality, or at least as steady as you can maintain with good water changes than chasing different additives trying to achieve any precise, set number. One question not yet answered is about bodies....How many actual corpses are you finding and when? You have an interesting mixture of predators and prey in this tank. What angels cannot fit into their mouths, they will harass into hiding once they get a taste for fresh fillet. An adult angel can snack down on a rather large neon (though the preference really becomes apparent for cardinals---candy!) Smaller neons would easily be a target and a natural source of entertainment for an adult angel. Large angels by their size alone can intimidate smaller tetras into seeking cover. Clawed Frogs will take whatever they can fit in their faces by feeding in the dark when other fish go quiescent. Are you keeping clawed frogs or dwarfs? There is a difference in fish eating potential there....

    If you are worried about a disease endemic to your system, try setting up a small quarantine tank and keep all new additions a minimum of two weeks before releasing into your show tank--always a good idea, anyway. Even though your chemical parameters will not be precisely the same, you will be able to closely observe the fish for problems not apparent at time of purchase and allow anything incubating to show itself. You also get the opportunity to beef them up before placing them into the potential stress of the "angel's den".

    Cryptichmind
     
  6. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    In my case, smaller fish is more immune to CO2 (except the Otto's).

    My Black Neon Tetras (also a characin) and my Angelfish had never shown obvious sign of stress from CO2,
    until I fed them. The Black Neons ate normally. But the Angelfish didn't show interest or didn't know
    how to eat. In the end I had to readjust CO2.

    My Angelfish will show brain-dead symptom before the Otto's die.
    So it's the indicator in my tank.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    One of the memebrs in a local plant club has had Cards in a KH of 8 for a logn time and they are huge and healthy.
    Once adapted, they do well.

    For CO2 toxicity, larger fish should be more sensitive, this has been shown in CO2 toxicty studies.
    So angels and Discus should have more issues than say cards etc, or large plecos vs smaller species.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Fast changes are not usually good.

    How many of what kinds of fish are in there? The fact that you put in 21 tetras within two weeks and then noticed the pH diving could point to a couple of things. pH droppingcould be due to increased CO2 in the water from the fish. You may just be overstocked and the ammonia/nitrite levels and such are high enough to kill off the weaker fish. How big is your tank? What dimensions? The wandering off on their own to die is at least a symptom of neon tetra disease, but usually I've seen it with a deformed spine and several other symptoms as well. Predation is definitely a possibility if you aren't finding the carcasses. I've watched one angel in the past tear through a school of 8 new black neons in just a minute or two.

    What kind of substrate are you using? I'm curious as to why your pH keeps dropping that you need to add something for the kH.

    When you go to add new fish to the tank do quarantine them. Better yet, after you're sure they're good, take a couple of "hero" fish out of the display tank and put them in with the others in the QT tank. Leave them together for a few weeks and see what happens. This should at least tell you if you've got something in the main tank that can/will kill them and also lets you know if there's something the new ones have that might infect the existing fish.

    -
    S

     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Can You Say Predation

    Hi,

    The lack of bodies is significant. I also have watched a single Angel tear through 20 Neon Tetras in a couple of days. Most well fed Angels only take the occasional Tetra or other small fish, every now and then you just end up with one that is a natural born killer.

    Fish hiding in the plants, remaining as still as possible are scared fish. With the possible exception of the Ottos, none in the group you list is very sensitive; while I agree sudden changes in just about any water parameter, is undesirable I find it hard to conceive of a set of parameters that would not also affect the larger fish. :confused:

    In addition to the Angelfish, the frogs concern me; frogs tend to be predators with voracious appetites. I think frogs probably need their own separate environment. You do not specify the type of frog so it is hard to know. :eek:

    I am pretty sure I know what you mean by South American Cichlid, but since Angelfish and Discus fish are also South American Cichlids it leaves room for doubt.

    I am also curious about the Loaches, that covers a lot of territory.

    I would also suggest, “Re-homing” (I love that made up word) the Betta. ;)

    Any way I hope this helps.

    Biollante
     
    #9 Biollante, Mar 5, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2010
  10. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    African dwarf frogs wouldn't be an issue. African clawed frogs, however..

    Bullfrogs would obviously be a seperate issue entirely.:rolleyes:
     
  11. Davejt

    Davejt Junior Poster

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    Frogs are dwarfs and are smaller then the tetras. Never seen them bother anything but a shrimp pellets or a blood worm. Betta loves the tank and doesn't bother with anyone. Angles aren't big enough to eat anyone. Loaches I can't recall the breed but they only grow to 2-3 inches. and as far as snails go they are lazy loaches!

    The lack of corpses isn't a lack of corpses it is a matter of me not finding the corpses! The tank at times is solid plants and the snails and cat fish can make a corpse disappear in 1-2 days. I have trimmed the plants back recently and have been diligently pawing through them for corpses and they are their, so I am not suspecting cannibalism at this point.

    KH isn't 'dropping' in the tank. My tap is KH 1.0. Lots of water changes = low KH. For some reason I was ignoring that and correcting in the tank. New procedure, set the tap water to the same KH as the tank... we'll see if that helps.

    KH=1 at 30ppm CO2 gives a ph of 6.0 on a good day who knows at night. That in my book puts things in the dangerous range. So I need to add KH 6-8 dKH seems about right?

    tank is 65gal. Overstocked? opinions vary widely but I don't consider it overstocked. Ammonia and Nitrites are 0.0

    I am still searching for the article I am sure I saw about Neons and too quick a change in KH. I am sure I read something about it some months back and the fish would die, but not right away, days or weeks later...
     
  12. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Good clarifications. I would like to read the article if you find it. What's interesting is that I do 85% changes or so weekly and then fill with extremely soft tap water and then throw in some GH booster which then takes a while to dissolve. That's got to bounce the GH in large and interesting ways. However, it's not KH so that may be why I get away with it.

    -
    S
     
  13. Davejt

    Davejt Junior Poster

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    Baking soda so many uses

    I guess every house should keep a few pounds of baking soda around... Deoderant... hair wash... mouth wash... even a cure for cancer... Still looking for the article on killing fish, though I have found several that mention not raising KH more then 1dkh per day or it will kill your fish... of course they went on to say add 1tsp per 5 gal, which is what, about 10dkh?

    http://fakeplasticfish.com/2009/11/baking-soda-so-many-uses-so-little-money-and-plastic/

    http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=15130

    :cool:
     
  14. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    I had a similar issue when I first started keeping tropicals (before CO2), when I had Rosy Barbs and Tiger Barbs. Everything was OK at first, then I slowly started losing the Barbs. The more I lost, the faster the rest died off. The Cardinals and Otos were not affected by the die off, so I did not excpect water parameters. Although I was more of a Noob than I am now, so who knows. But I suspect the agression they showed toward each other did them in and this became worse with smaller numbers, since there were fewer fish to absorb the agression. Too bad, since I really enjoyed the colour and activity of these fish. I'll be trying Rosy Barbs again in a couple of months, when it warms up enough to ship them.
     
  15. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    No. I mean yes. No, I mean stop

    I'm still a little confused as to what the levels are from your tap. Sounds like you are adding to the problem by increasing the KH of your tap water. My two cents... with weekly water changes 1dKH is not something to worry about even when injecting CO2. Here is a thread with someone having the same problem.
    Maybe PM them to see how it's worked for them. If you still wish to fool with the KH then 4 dKH should be enough to keep your pH around 6.4 or so. No need to raise it above 4.5 dKH, if at all.
     
  16. ibnozn

    ibnozn Member

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    I've had an oto in my planted tangy tank for a couple of years now. kh runs between 12-20dkh. Had some Yo-Yo Loaches in there for nearly a year working on the snails and they handled it ok too.

    Although my tap kh is fairly high, my CO2 dissolves aragonite sand I use in the non-planted areas of the tank which maintains the higher kh levels.
     
    #16 ibnozn, Jun 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2010
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