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Will too many ferts cause 'flashing'?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Carissa, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I've noticed lately that a couple of my mollies are 'flashing', or scraping themselves on rocks or plants or whatever. At first it was only one so I didn't think too much of it, but then I saw a different one doing it yesterday.

    The water all checks out except for a trace of nitrites, I'm still cycling that aspect of it (0 ammonia, using zeolite). But the nitrites were higher last week, up to about 0.1 and now it's actually dropped to just a trace, so it's strange that I would see the flashing issue now. Plus I've never heard of nitrites causing this, I know that it will cause damage to the gills etc. at higher levels but they don't seem stressed otherwise.

    This past week was when I really cracked down and did ei all week consistently. So I'm wondering if maybe I'm adding too many ferts, could this be causing this issue? I'm dosing the regular amounts suggested 3x/week for a tank with co2, doing 50% water changes. My nitrate kit is non functional right now and the lfs won't have a replacement kit until September sometime.

    The tank is 32g and has 4 mollies, one pleco, and one tetra. And maybe a couple fry depending on the day.

    This picture was taken about two weeks ago when I first set up...the three hygros have pretty much doubled in size since then, in fact I've removed cuttings to populate my other tank.
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Just to be the first with the news: you don't have enough plants in there! With that small plant mass you probably are dosing too much, but I doubt that bothering the fish.
     
  3. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Some say that "flashing" is caused by an external parasite on the fish, who is trying to rub it off. I don't know.

    I've had a few instances of "flashing" that I ignored, and it soon stopped.

    Vaughn is right. Get more plants and don't overdose.

    Bill
     
  4. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I'll cut back my dosing then. I ordered a bunch of plants at my lfs who doesn't stock them regularly, and that's all they could come up with for me. But like I said, the hygros are all double the size now.
     
  5. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Well, I woke up this morning to one dead fish and I figured out what was going on. I'm using zeolite in this tank, it's been in there for three weeks, and I guess it reached maximum capacity and there was an ammonia spike. I couldn't detect the ammonia before but it was probably there causing these issues with my fish. So I'm trying to figure out what to do here. I don't want to stop the cycle, but obviously I don't want ammonia in my tank (I saw some gsa forming on the glass this week too...I should have realized what was happening). So here's what I did:

    The filter used to have first a sponge, then biomedia, then zeolite. What I did was remove the biomedia and put it in the tank itself (there might be some bacteria on that and I don't want to remove it). So now I have sponge, old zeolite, new zeolite. This way hopefully the bacteria that has already formed on the old zeolite will be able to continue to grow. Does this make sense?

    I also did my regular 50% water change which brought the ammonia near 0 again. Nitrites were up last week but have dropped now so I know it is cycling somewhere.

    I forgot to mention, I'm going to start dosing only 1x/week for a while and see how that goes. If my hygros keep growing at the rate they are, hopefully I will have a well planted tank within a few months. I had to pay over $50 for what you see there and they didn't even bring in half of the stuff I asked them to bring in. Frustrating.
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,
    No, not really. Taking the biomedia out of the filter is not really a good idea. Biomedia is optimized by the constant flow of the filter delivering water all over the bacteria colony. The colonies are therefore delivered ammonia, nitrite and oxygen at a steady pace and at high enough volumes to maximize their population densities. Putting the media in the tank reduces this flow through rate, crippling the population and thus the effectiveness of the colony in the media.

    What you should have been doing is to do a 2X or 3X 50%-80% per week water change during the first 4-6 weeks of the tank being set up. This would directly remove a good percentage of any toxin buildup.

    The fertilization addition has nothing to do with the poor health, that's for sure. You seem to have completely ignored the possibility of a parasitic attack. Newly setup tanks need time to stabilize. They need time for all the various bacteria buildup and chemical reactions to take place and to find an equilibrium. This may take a few months.

    I don't mean to be harsh, but the money you spent on zeolite and test kits could easily have been spent on more plants, and as discussed, a few more water changes per week would have the same effect of reducing ammonia/nitrite buildup and you would never need to measure anything.

    It's not clear what other activity or experiments you are attempting with this tank but with all due respect, my advice would be to settle down, keep things simple and do more regular water changes. I would recommend to stop fiddling; get more plants by hook or by crook, settle on a dosing scheme, settle on a water change/maintenance schedule, settle on lighting and then chill out and enjoy watching your tank.http://www.barrreport.com/images/smilies/cool.gif
    :cool:

    Oh, and get that media back into the filter where it belongs, please.http://www.barrreport.com/images/smilies/eek.gif
    :eek:

    Cheers,
     
  7. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    What I was told on another post when asking about the best way to cycle a planted tank, was that when using zeolite, the majority of the good bacteria will populate the surface of the zeolite where the ammonia is trapped. Since there was little ammonia in the water due to the zeolite, I figured that more bacteria would form on the zeolite itself than the biomedia. That's why when I was faced with the choice of removing either the biomedia or the old zeolite, I removed the biomedia to preserve the hopefully larger colony on the zeolite.

    Yes this would have worked but the reason I went with the zeolite instead was because I wanted to avoid any possible ammonia buildup to avoid algae outbreaks, since I've had so much trouble with these in the past. Nothing else was buildling up other than a small amount of nitrites, until my zeolite ran out. The tank has only been up for three weeks by the way.

    I agree, parasites are a good possibility. The ammonia in the water likely weakened the immune systems of the fish making them sucsceptible to parasites. I was wondering why all of a sudden this would start, though, with no apparent ammonia readings, but the next day I got my answer.

    As I already mentioned, I ordered a large amount of plants through my lfs and that was all they brought in, and it cost me over $50. I looked into ordering plants online and with shipping costs, it worked out to be no cheaper. I figured at least this way, I would be able to look at them before I bought them. Planted tanks are not common here. Zeolite cost me about $3 and I already had the test kits.

    When I get some more money I may order in some more plants. In the meantime I have to make do. Other than the co2 thing I've been trying out, I don't think I've been fiddling at all, I stuck with my plan to use zeolite and have kept up with 50% water changes weekly, dosing with ei for the most part but like I said it was only last week that I got on a good schedule of dosing.

    If I do that I'll have to remove the zeolite. If I remove the new stuff, I will be back to ammonia readings leading to a possible algae outbreak and my plants cost me too much to risk. Plus I don't know if I have the time and energy to be hauling 20 gallons of water back and forth to my sink every couple of days. If I remove the old zeolite, I will be removing whatever bacterial colony I already have going for me. I'm not trying to argue or question what you're saying, but I'll need some logical reasoning first as to why this will benefit me more than what I'm already doing. By now, whatever is on the biomedia is probably partly dead anyway.
     
  8. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I think I'm going to start a new topic, since this has kind of turned into a different issue altogether.
     
  9. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    A python type water changing system is worth its weight in gold! You can either make one, using a jet pump usually sold for water bed use, and ordinary plastic plumbing, plus a garden hose, or you can buy a Python or cheaper knock off version. This lets you do water changes with far much less work and spillage than when you use a bucket. Water changes are so important, unless you do a non-CO2 tank, than spending money on a Python should be top priority. Here is one version: JBL Aqua In-out [761402] - £44.99 : Aqua Essentials
     
  10. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Right on, I'll probably be ordering one pretty soon, before I have to build any more biceps.
     
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