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Trouble with Apistogrammas

Discussion in 'Fish for Planted Tanks' started by douahe, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. douahe

    douahe Junior Poster

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    I recently lost all of my Apistogrammas. My male Fire Red and Cacatuoide died within 24 hours of each other with no visible signs of illness, physical trauma etc and both females followed shortly after. My water conditions are within good ranges: pH 6.4-6.5 during the day, dropping to 6.8-7 overnight while CO2 is off, Nitrates are sitting about 10 with EI dosing, ammonia and nitrites not registering on the test kit, KH is at 6, temperature is right at about 80 (on a warm day it might get up to 81 or so)

    This is not the first time I've lost Apistogrammas like this. I've had the one pair of Fire reds, and 3-4 pair of Cacatuoides over the last year and a half. I really like these fish and would appreciate any advice on how to keep them better. On average they will stay alive 6 months or so before I lose them. I'm doing EI dosing with 50% weekly water changes. The most recent batch I had was in a 210g heavily planted tank.

    I would really appreciate any advice before I make another attempt. I had someone at my LFS (Wet Spot Tropical Fish in Portland, OR) suggest that I should change from a gravel substrate to sand.

    Thanks!

    Helgi
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Dwarf Cichlids Can Become An Obsession—That Way Lies Madness!

    Hi Helgi,

    Sorry about your loss.:(

    Off hand the carbonate hardness seems high. I would definitely aim for a KH under 4.0, according to some, closer to zero.

    Large water changes (50% per week) are good; keep the organics in the water low.

    • How is your filtration? With the Dwarfs, you may wish to run activated charcoal, Purigen or Chemi-Pure as well.
    • How and what are you feeding them?
    • Are there plenty of hiding places?

    I have not seen any problems even at the high end of EI dosing.:)

    Soft acidic water, the wild caught are very sensitive but most of the captive bred are quite hardy (comparatively anyway). :gw

    Sand substrate would be better.

    Biollante
     
  3. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I keep Apistos and I have rarely seen one die, except because of old age. It might be a bacterial problem. Before introducing new ones, I'd use a generic antibiotic. Could there have a been a temporary high NH4 spike, like after working in the substrate without a water change afterwards?

    Apistos are mostly slow eaters, keep in mind that enough food is left for them to take. They are bad competitors with fast feeding fish.
     
    #3 dutchy, Jun 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2011
  4. Cyclesafe

    Cyclesafe Guru Class Expert

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    I've had success with apistos.

    I used reconsituted RO (to KH 1-2) with 50% weekly WC's. But don't think your KH or other stated parameters are problems. But are you sure that with EI your NO3 is 10 ppm? Have you used a known solution to calibrate your NO3 test kit? I'm not sure that very high nitrate isn't a problem for soft water fishes.

    Inbred stock?
    Chloramine in your water? Carbon fitration, part and parcel of my RO system, may have been the good guy here for me.
    Any other tank mates giving them stress?
     
  5. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I will share my experience struggling with apistos, (Biollante was helpful for me). I struggled keeping my electric blue rams alive, but continued to try with various changes: acid buffer to reduce kH and pH, a waste; I use RO now and this was a good decision. I played with my CO2 thinking this was a problem, I ran an airstone thinking oxygen was an issue, both these things helped, but did not fix my problem.

    Ultimately, after purchasing my final group from my original source quarantining them in an ideal setup without CO2, low kH, established filter, caves, 80 deg., etc they died within 24 hrs. I then tried again from another source; these guys are still around and doing well. So my conclusion was that my stock was poor. Either from some sort of disease or poor breeding, I don't know. I'm sure RO water helped, but the real difference was a good source for my fish.

    Apistos, especially those line bred for color can come from poor lines and their long term survivability and ability to deal with stresses poor.

    Feeding them is tough with fast and frenzy feeders. Its not easy to get the apistos enough food, while not over feeding my rasboras. I've found that holding the cube of frozen brine or blood worms with a tweezer in a single location helps. That way they don't need to look around for it because if they do other fish will find it before they do.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think poor stock.
    If you get them from someone who has had them for a few months, they eat well etc.........only then, do you buy.

    Cardinals sometimes die like flies, other batches? I only lose 1 out of 100 or so, other batches? 90-95% loss, all in quarantine tanks soft water etc.

    Same deal with Fire reds and others.

    I lost most of the electric blue rams, but this was due to aggressive behavior, I have two very large ones now.
     
  7. douahe

    douahe Junior Poster

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    There are plenty of hiding places. I have half a dozen breeder caves, multiple pieces of driftwood that provide places to hide, and the plants are dense enough that there are plenty of places to hide in there as well.

    I have run activated charcoal in my filter in the past, however that did not make any difference. For the latest batch of Apistogrammas that I had, I was not running charcoal in the filters and these actually lived longer than the other times I've tried to keep them. I am running two Rena XP3 filters with biological and mechanical filtration.

    I feed a combination of flake food (Omega One), frozen blood worms, and live brine shrimp when I've had the Apistogrammas.

    @dutchy - If there was a bacterial problem, would I not see other fish dying as well? Other than a couple guppies, the only fish I've lost in the last 4 months have been my Apistos. That is the reason I have not tried an antibiotic yet. If I was going to dose the tank, would something like Melafix work? Or should I use something different?

    I think they were getting plenty of food. I always put plenty of food in to make sure that everyone gets some. I never really saw them trying to compete with other fish for food. Except for some Zebra Loaches, I don't think I have anything in there that is particularly aggressive at feeding. (Cardinals, guppies, SAEs, Elegant Algae Eating Gobies and Bushy Nose Ancistrus. After losing the Apistos, that is all I have in the tank.)

    I doubt a temporary NH4 spike was the culprit. When they died I had not been working in the substrate at all for quite some time. I always test my water after I have a fish die, and did this time too. The NH4 levels were not anything out of the ordinary. That being said, if there was a spike for some other reason that rooting around in the substrate, I would think it would dissipate quickly so it likely would not show up anyway.

    @Cyclesafe - I don't think any of the fish I have in the tank would have been causing stress. In a 210g heavily planted tank, theoretically that should be enough space to keep more than one pair of Apistos. I never saw them be aggressive towards each other or any physical sign that it had happened when I did not see. Not a guarantee by any means, but this has happened when the only thing I've had in the tank is one pair of Cacatuoide Apistogramma, some Cardinals, guppies, and algae eaters. I use Prime every time I do a water change. I dose for the full 210g, not just for the water I pull out, as is suggest in the directions.

    @Shadowmac - I don't have anything against RO, but I have yet to see or hear of an efficient and cost effective way to do that when I do 50% water changes on a 210g every week.

    @Tom Barr - I have been getting my Apistos from The Wet Spot Tropical fish in Portland, OR. (Actually I get all my fish from them. The only fish I have ever had problems with are Rams and Apistos.) Where would you suggest is a good place to get them from?

    Thanks for all the input.

    Helgi
     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Falling In Love With a Valkyrie Will Come To Know Good End…

    Hi Helgi,

    Tell me about the Algae eater.:confused:

    NH4 is notoriously difficult to test for, particularly spikes, though in a 210-gallon, planted tank at neutral or mildly acidic water…:confused:

    How long has the tank been up and running?

    I still tend to think the carbonate hardness is high… However Apistogramma agassizi and Apistogramma cacatuoides should not be terribly sensitive. Still knocking the KH down won’t hurt.;)

    Dutchy’s NH4 spike may be just another way of saying high dissolved organic compounds (DOC), or organic compounds period. Until I understand the situation better, I will stick with advising activated charcoal, Purigen or Chemi-Pure. :)

    Generally the larger the tank the greater the stability, but there are times in a large planted tank, especially with lots of hiding places that organic material, plant material, remnants of uneaten food, even dead fish can escape us. Add to that the possibility of stagnant areas developing…:eek:

    Unexplained die-offs bother me a great deal :(, I will grant that Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are somewhat over bred, but generally captive bred (gold is the actual “wild” color) seem to adapt to aquarium life better than the wild caught.

    But Apistogramma cacatuoides are quite hardy. I assume the “Fire Red” is Apistogramma agassizii, another which in a mature tank should not be terribly difficult to keep and breed. Neither of these has the reputation of picky eater.:confused:

    Hang in there… :)

    Biollante
     
  9. douahe

    douahe Junior Poster

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    I have 4 SAEs, 2 flying foxes, 2 adult Ancistrus, and a handful of baby Ancistrus.

    I've had the tank set up and running since November. Before that, everything was in a 120g tank. I purchased the 210g and moved everything over. The 120g was set up for almost 2 years before I purchased the 210g.

    Do you think that a build up of organic matter would be sufficient to kill my Apistos but not other fish as well? I usually try to keep things pretty clean in there, but as you said, there are places where it is not visible until I get in there to do a good trimming.

    I've run charcoal in my filters before, but I lost the Apistos and Rams then as well. When you are running the activated charcoal in the filters, doesn't it pull out nutrients for the plants as well, and don't the plants remove the same impurities that the activated charcoal does?

    Thanks,

    Helgi
     
  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Slaying The King of the Saxons… Hmmmm

    Hi Helgi,

    More later…

    Short answer is yes, Apistogramma in general are quite sensitive to water quality and dissolved and particulate organic carbon can be quite a problem.

    It is difficult to measure DOC (or fine POC) directly. Many cheat (not me of course:eek:) and look to conductivity meters to give some indication. Were I to be the cheating kind, for Apistogramma spp., I would like conductivity somewhere in the 75-uS/cm (microSiemans per centimeter) range.:)

    Activated charcoal will not remove the salts, only the organic material.
    Though I am thinking there may be some territorial disputes among the bottom-dwellers going on and the Apistogramma tend to come out on the short end there as well.:(

    You didn’t just happen maybe to take a close look, perhaps cut them open and examine there organs, perhaps the condition of the gills, swim bladder, kidney, liver, contents of the gut? :eek::eek:

    You said there were no injuries, how was this determined?

    Biollante
     
  11. douahe

    douahe Junior Poster

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    If I'm doing 50% water changes weekly and keeping the detritus down, shouldn't that be enough to keep the DOC at a safe level? I don't have a conductivity meter, and am not aware of any other way to test. (I was not familiar with the conductivity meter either.)

    I did not dissect the fish. I don't know what to look for if I did. I did not see any marks on the body of any of the fish indicating that there had been an injury. Whenever one died I did look closely at that. Would Ancistrus and SAEs get into a territorial dispute with Apistos? Would I maybe have better luck if I got Otos instead?

    Thanks,

    Helgi
     
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Now as Helgi fared from the fight he met a many women right fair & worthy to look on

    Hi Helgi,

    Yes the weekly 50% water changes should keep everything in line. Assuming good maintenance practices and feeding discipline.:)

    It is just a troubleshooting process.:gw

    No need to get conductivity or any other meter or test set for that matter. I know others are reading this as well…

    While I cannot completely rule out poor circulation or other filter, maintenance issues, I doubt they are the primary cause.:)

    Many bottom dwellers are or can be very territorial. Sometimes the damage is obvious should you have the Chinese Algae Eater, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, actually as it matures it becomes a very aggressive fish eater.:eek:

    Some of the bottom dwellers may simply out compete Apistogramma or harass them so they never really settle down. The true SAE, Crossocheilus siamensis are simply quick and can annoy.

    The Flying Fox, Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus, though not as vicious as the CAE, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, will as they mature become quite territorial and can be rather hostile and aggressive. :(

    Even the generally good natured Ancistrus can become aggressive enough to harm or disrupt the lives of the Apistogramma.:(

    Otocinclus affinis as long as they are kept well fed are likely the better choice.:)

    Biollante
     
  13. Cyclesafe

    Cyclesafe Guru Class Expert

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    SAE's and Flying Foxes are aggressive when they get large. Ottos are good, but you'd need quite a few of them in a 210 if you'll trying to control algae.

    Activated carbon exhausts itself soon, but 50% WC per week cures most ills anyway.

    I think you need to find another source of apistos. They guy I bought mine from is no longer selling, but he would tell me that he culled more than half of his fry and only sold his better stock.
     
  14. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I have SAE's and Apistos and it has never been a problem. The only territorial disputes are Apisto -> Apisto. But as I said earlier, I had to be careful with feeding. Some of them would get very skinny because of food competition. If I hadn't done something about that, they wouldn't have survived.
     
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Völsungakviða, Helgakviða Hundingsbana I

    Hi Helgi,

    Food seems the important factor with the SAE’s and even Ottos getting along with bottom dwellers, may even be true with the Ancistrus.:gw

    I have not kept SAE’s with Apistogramma, though my experience is that the SAE’e also becomes territorial as they get older and can be difficult, not as pronounced as the Flying Fox. Of course there are variations among individuals.:)

    The Ottos are fine as long as they are well fed; I think this may also be the case with the Ancistrus. A good variety of veggies is called for. :)

    For our Norse hero, let me name my suspects in this heinous crime in order that he might be able to find peace in correcting the situation without avenging the deaths of the Apistogramma, Norse heroes are into all that avenging stuff.

    1. The Ancistrus
    2. SAE (we are sure they are Crossocheilus siamensis, right?)
    3. Perhaps a lack of hiding places (either contributing or primary factor)
    4. High carbonate hardness (contributing factor, I think)
    5. Possible circulation issue, Apistogramma are quite sensitive to build up of any organic material (if poor circulation it would appear to be contributing rather than primary cause)
    6. Possible water quality issue (possible contributing factor; the 50% weekly water changes tend to suggest this is not the case, unless the water itself is contaminated)

    If not to avenge, then what action should our Norse hero take?

    My ever-humble-potted-plant advice:
    Forget Apistogramma, you have a nice tank, my general advice is stick to plants and critters that match your water.:cool:

    If the madness is upon you and you must have Apistogramma:
    Seek immediate help for addiction, check into rehab

    • Run activated charcoal, Purigen or Chemi-Pure, all can be recharged
    • Find another home for your algae crew, the bottom dwellers
    • Lower your KH (not all at once)
      • do not bother with chemicals.
    • Reverse osmosis (RO), mixed with tap water to give you something around 2dKH
    • Check/improve your tank circulation
    • Potassium permanganate can help identify and destroy organic carbon (DOC and POC)
      • can also help identify circulation problems

    Whatever you do have fun, this is after all a hobby, not… well… golf. :eek:

    Biollante
    Ár var alda,
    þat er arar gullu,
    hnigu heilög vötn
    af Himinfjöllum;
    þá hafði Helga
    inn hugumstóra
    Borghildr borit
    í Brálundi.
     
  16. douahe

    douahe Junior Poster

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    I do have Apisto madness... :( The fish I want to have in the tank are Apistos and eventually discus. If I can't keep the Apistos and Rams alive I can't imagine I would have a prayer with discus.

    You said that "activated charcoal, Purigen or Chemi-Pure, all can be recharged" Are you meaning that you need to replace it? Or that you can reuse the same batch after some kind of treatment?

    I am going to relocate the algae crew. I am going to be doing a substantial re-scape in the next month or so, as soon as a new driftwood acquisition is properly treated. At that point in time I am going to remove some plants that I think are assisting in detritus buildup and the slowing of circulation. At that point it will be easier to remove the algae crew than attempting it with all the plants that are currently in there. I am sure that the SAEs are true SAEs. Back when I got them a few years ago, I mistakenly got some flying foxes and quickly realized the mistake. After that I made sure to verify that they were true SAEs.

    As for current circulation, the tank is heavily enough planted that I know there are areas that are not circulated as well as they could be. Aside from the 2 XP3s that I have running, I have 2 Hydor Koralias, one Evolution 1050 and a Nano 425. The nano is positioned on the far side tank from the filter outputs. It is towards the top of the water column and pushing water down and towards the opposite side of the tank. Each filter output is circulating in an opposite direction. The 1050 is at the middle of the water column on the opposite side of the tank and is pushing water towards the front wall. If you have any suggestions on how to better the circulation, I would appreciate it.

    How do you use Potassium permanganate to help identify and destroy organic carbon? I've been keeping tanks for a few years now, but I still have a lot to learn.

    Do you know of a practical way to do RO water while doing 50% water changes weekly since I'm doing EI dosing? All the RO filters I've seen are too slow to effectively do 50% water changes every week. Even to do a fraction of that appears to be quite a process. Also there is the expense of it. To put that much water through an RO filter is going to require frequent changes of the cartridges which are not cheap. Do you have any suggestions? Any specific RO units that you would recommend?

    Thanks,

    Helgi
     
  17. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Helgi wanted nothing if he could not have Sváfa herself

    Hi Helgi,

    I actually find Discus far easier than Mikrogeophagus ramirez, certainly and most Apistogramma.;)

    Purigen is typically recharged, Chemi-Pure needs to be replaced, activated charcoal can be recharged, and some of the high end activated charcoal may be worth the cleaning. All three work well. I am not a fan of using these products unless you have a problem, in your case a potential problem.:)

    More on Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) later, for now…
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/7753-Potassium-Permanganate-KMnO4-Treatment-Or-PP-In-The-Aquarium and http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/6980-The-Great-Potassium-Permanganate-KMnO4-Shortage-of-2010

    Later I will have more for now a question or eight.

    Is your tank drilled? If so how?

    General plumbing accessibility, is the tank tied into the house system?

    Do you have space for a sump? Do you have space water storage/preparation?

    Do you have a municipal water analysis? Some jurisdictions will provide information to the neighborhood level.

    What is your water temperature out of the tap? Year round?

    Biollante
    "Swords I know lying
    in Sigarsholm,
    Fifty there are
    save only four;
    One there is
    that is best of all,
    The shield-destroyer,
    with gold it shines.
     
  18. douahe

    douahe Junior Poster

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    My tank is not drilled.

    Unfortunately my tank is not tied into the house plumbing system. I have not decided whether or not to do that here or not since we are living in an apartment, and there is a possibility we might move next summer. In addition, unless I decide to do RO, it does not seem to me that there is much benefit. For my water changes I have a python that works very well.

    The only space I have for a sump is underneath the tank. If I was going to put one there, I would need to reinforce the bottom first. I currently do not have space for water storage or preparation. I could probably find a place in my garage for a couple barrels if I needed to though.

    I have a municipal water analysis as follows:

    Fluoride (ppm) 4 0 – 0.40
    Nitrate (ppm) 10 0 – 2.05
    Arsenic (ppb) 10 0 – 4.0
    1,1,1 – Trichloroethane (ppb)* 200 0 – 1.4
    1,1 – Dichloroethylene (ppb)* 7 0 – 1.2
    Toluene (ppb)* 1000 0 – 0.58
    Total Coliform 2.4% in March and 0.94% in September all other months 0%
    Trihalomethane (ppb) 80 0.34 – 3.05
    Lead (ppm) (2010) 0.015 (AL) 0.003 – 0.011
    Copper (ppm) (2010) 1.3 (AL) 0.006 – 0.524
    Sodium (ppm) 7.0 – 13.0 average = 9.9
    Calcium (ppm) 9.65 – 46.9average = 21.9
    Hardness (ppm) 51 – 179 average = 97.4


    I called them today and they are going to mail me a report that is more specific to the well that I actually get water from. I will post that once I receive it.

    I assume when you are asking for water temperature out of the tap you are asking about just the cold water. It is 61.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

    I read your thread on Potassium Permanganate and I had a couple of questions.

    First, are there going to be any problems using PP with the additives I'm using to fertilize the plants? I am using KNO3, MGSO4, KH2PO4, and K2SO4, Plantex CSM+B and Iron Chelate. (All ordered from greenleafaquariums.com)

    Second, in one of the threads you stated that the "commodity" grade is sufficient for the purposes of most aquarists. If I'm able to find this stuff say at Lowe's, I assume that would fall into the "commodity" grade category?

    Third, once added, how long does it take the color to fade? You mentioned that if it changes to a yellow-dark brown range inside four hours to continue adding at 2mg/l until it is four hours in the pink. Will it take a few more hours, or days before it clears completely?

    Also, is it best to do this right after a water change? Does it matter if I have started adding the fertilizers for the week? And, how often should I do this? Is it a weekly treatment? Or monthly? Less?

    Finally, as I am one of those people that is mathematically challenged, can you verify if this is correct?

    210g*.0038*2mg/l=1.596g PP

    For my information, where does the .0038 number come from? As I said, I am mathematically challenged.

    I have used activated charcoal in the past. However, it did not increase the longevity of my Apistos... As such, I stopped using it again.

    Thanks so much for all the advice. I really appreciate it.

    Helgi
     
    #18 douahe, Jun 27, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2011
  19. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    And best of princes ever to be

    Hi Helgi,

    The water looks good and sounds about as you described, the hardness both general hardness and more importantly the carbonate hardness, seem not only a bit high for Apistogramma, but the larger problem may be the fluctuation that the report implies.:)

    The Potassium permanganate will not affect the “salts”, it oxidizes organic material.:)

    Yes the “Filter-Mate” or any of the KMnO4 for regenerating iron filters for water systems is wonderful. This stuff used to available everywhere.

    Generally we use four hour increments for PP dosing. The color will have completely faded in four hours with reasonable levels of organic materials.

    Somewhere I posted a thing on the “other” colors; it gives us a reasonable qualitative guide to the organic material in the water.

    • As with any “colorimetric” system it can be rather subjective and at the risk of profanity laced responses from Guru Team types, I have found that ORP values follow and I will say that this method gives us a reasonable quantitative guide.
    • Should your tank go “muddy-yellow” another dose and restart the “four-hour clock” at that point. Yes, should your tank be really gooey you may need to repeat the process a couple of times.
    To anticipate another question, no the PP at these levels will not kill off the bacteria in your bio-filters. You need something above 15 or 20-ppm PP to harm the filters.

    As a matter of effectiveness dosing PP immediately water change would be best. In your case I think it would be interesting to see what the results are before a water change.

    For people doing regular large water changes, not having any problems or serious questions about water quality, once a year is fine. There is no reason that this could not be done every week, this might be a bit of a problem for primitive plants, and I would not do this more than once a month.:)

    The “0.0038” is a conversion factor “gallons to grams” (grams/gallons), it assumes 1 liter of water equals 1 kilogram and that there are 3.8 liters to the US gallon. The conversion is required since we all want the dimensionless value of parts per million, actually we get milligrams per liter, since we are dealing with highly dilute solutions it all works out,:confused: it is a mystery!:D

    Here is a nice PP calculator http://www.cnykoi.com/calculators/calcpp.asp. The calculator uses a somewhat more accurate 3.785411784 liters per gallon so it ends up being 1.590 grams instead of 1.596 grams for your 210 gallons.:rolleyes:

    In real life no way I am going to weigh out 1.596 or even 1.590 grams of KMnO4.:)


    • I mix 10 grams KMnO4 into 750-ml of distilled water then add enough distilled water to make a one liter. Now I have a one percent solution (anything under 4% is not considered a hazardous material and can even be sent by USPS), of course one percent is one part per hundred therefore .01/.000001=10,000-ppm.

    In a 210-gallon aquarium I would add 150 milliliters of the one percent PP solution; of course that is 1.5 grams of KMnO4.


    • I do not really want to get into a long discussion about activated charcoal
    • but how do you know the activated charcoal did not help?
    • How often were changing/recharging the activated charcoal?
    • Could the activated charcoal been helping then just “get full?”

    I am not trying to be pain, it comes naturally, see disclaimer.:eek: Since I cannot see, feel, smell your tank I do not know anything beyond what you tell me.:cool:

    Biollante
    Nótt varð í bæ,
    nornir kómu,
    þær er öðlingi
    aldr of skópu;
    þann báðu fylki
    frægstan verða
    ok buðlunga
    beztan þykkja
     
  20. douahe

    douahe Junior Poster

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    1:26 AM
    Stating that the charcoal did not help was to big a jump. Let me retract that and say that I think that it was likely not helping. The first time I had Apistos they were in a 120 with 4 SAEs, Green Rasbora, Scarlet Badis, and another type of Rasbora and Elegant Algae Eating Gobies. I was not EI dosing at that time, KH was still about 6, and I changed out the activated carbon every four weeks, 6 at most and that was only a couple of times. Those lasted four months. It was a single pair of Cacatuoide Apistogramma.

    After those died I did not get anymore for a few months, and in the interim I stopped running the activated charcoal. When I got the next pair, they lasted 6 months. I lost a bunch of my Rasbora in the meantime (not entirely sure why, went in to trim some Wysteria, and found a bunch of fish dead in the floating roots...) Other than that, nothing had changed in my water parameters etc. At that time I had only had my tank running for about 8 months so I was testing more often then I do now. I have a tendency to test now every couple of months, and if I lose fish.

    I've never heard of "recharging" the activated charcoal until you mentioned it. How is that done and how effective is it? I am not opposed to running it again, however it did not seem likely that was the issue. If I assumed in error I am happy to be enlightened :)

    And you are not being a pain... Far from it. You are providing someone with far less experience with extremely valuable information! Thanks!!

    I am going to try and track down some KMnO4 today, mix up the solution and give it a shot. I will post the results once I am done.

    As far as the water report, I saw that variation. I remember a little before I got the last batch of Apistogrammas that the KH out of the tap dropped from about 8 to 6. As I did not have Apistos and everything else in the tank didn't mind, I didn't worry about it until I decided to give the Apistos a shot again. I am curious to see if that same variation is present when I get the more detailed report in the mail for the well that my water actually comes from.

    Would you recommend plumbing the tank into the house's plumbing system? And then starting with RO? It would seem like if the Apistos are ok with a KH of 6 then that would not be necessary. Would you disagree?

    Thanks,

    Helgi
     
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