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Old 08-25-2013, 03:59 PM   #1
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Chemistry, angelfish

I've posted similar questions in the past, and done enough research that I should be an expert. However, when I start seeing my angelfish losing color, getting pinholes in their top fins, etc...I can't ever figure out the problem.
Here are my questions:
Could nitrates be causing my angelfish to get pinholes in their fins? I thought they were just picking at each other, causing little indents here and there on each others sides. But, now my favorite has a tiny hole in his dorsal. It started as a black dot, and a hole appeared in the center. My purigen always kept my nitrates at 5. After a recharge during medication, I can't get the nitrates under 10.

Could copper cause the problems in question 1? I stupidly used coppersafe a month ago for ich. I changed the water and put the recharged purigen back after 10 days. I've done weekly water changes since. The fish never had any reaction to the coppersafe, but could it be hurting them now?

Do others use carbon in their filters? I used an ammonia/carbon after the coppersafe, while the purigen was charging (they are in 2 different filters on the tank). I just realized its still in there. I've heard horror stories about carbon, and just wanted different people's opinions.
I understand that my kh will fluctuate, but it's never been so low. Is there a certain number that is too low? I know my ph is determined by kh/gh, so at what point do I need to worry about a crash?

I've tried many different methods to soften my water for the angelfish. I have driftwood (but the purigen takes out the tannins). I use barely any tap water because mine is so hard. I use 1/3 tap, 1/3 distilled, 1/3 drinking RO. Frankly, the fish were all growing and happy with this mix, so Im not worried that its still quite hard. My question is: if I match any replacement water, then why do my numbers keep changing? For instance, how can the mineral content of my water change, if all other variables remained the same? I'm not stupid, I just can't seem to grasp how all of the water variables come together, and I'm afraid I will miss something that will harm my fish.

My rams tried to mate, in spite of the hard water, about 3 weeks ago. I assume their eggs were eaten. Why haven't they tried again?

Sorry for the long post. I'm just hoping that anyone with knowledge about any of these matters might help. I really love this hobby, and hope to learn as much as I can to keep my fish friends happy and healthy!
My 55g has:
0 ammonia/nitrites
10-20 nitrates
7.4 ph
5 kh
10 gh
The following fish occupy the tank:
5 adolescent angelfish
2 (pair) German blue rams
1 Bolivian ram
2 denison barbs
1 bala shark (yes, I know he will have to be re-homed in the future)
As of now, the angels are all under 3", the dbarbs are 2", rams are under2", and the bala is 2-3".
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:22 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly5978 View Post
I've posted similar questions in the past, and done enough research that I should be an expert. However, when I start seeing my angelfish losing color, getting pinholes in their top fins, etc...I can't ever figure out the problem.
Here are my questions:
Could nitrates be causing my angelfish to get pinholes in their fins? I thought they were just picking at each other, causing little indents here and there on each others sides. But, now my favorite has a tiny hole in his dorsal. It started as a black dot, and a hole appeared in the center. My purigen always kept my nitrates at 5. After a recharge during medication, I can't get the nitrates under 10.

Could copper cause the problems in question 1? I stupidly used coppersafe a month ago for ich. I changed the water and put the recharged purigen back after 10 days. I've done weekly water changes since. The fish never had any reaction to the coppersafe, but could it be hurting them now?

Do others use carbon in their filters? I used an ammonia/carbon after the coppersafe, while the purigen was charging (they are in 2 different filters on the tank). I just realized its still in there. I've heard horror stories about carbon, and just wanted different people's opinions.
I understand that my kh will fluctuate, but it's never been so low. Is there a certain number that is too low? I know my ph is determined by kh/gh, so at what point do I need to worry about a crash?

I've tried many different methods to soften my water for the angelfish. I have driftwood (but the purigen takes out the tannins). I use barely any tap water because mine is so hard. I use 1/3 tap, 1/3 distilled, 1/3 drinking RO. Frankly, the fish were all growing and happy with this mix, so Im not worried that its still quite hard. My question is: if I match any replacement water, then why do my numbers keep changing? For instance, how can the mineral content of my water change, if all other variables remained the same? I'm not stupid, I just can't seem to grasp how all of the water variables come together, and I'm afraid I will miss something that will harm my fish.

My rams tried to mate, in spite of the hard water, about 3 weeks ago. I assume their eggs were eaten. Why haven't they tried again?

Sorry for the long post. I'm just hoping that anyone with knowledge about any of these matters might help. I really love this hobby, and hope to learn as much as I can to keep my fish friends happy and healthy!
My 55g has:
0 ammonia/nitrites
10-20 nitrates
7.4 ph
5 kh
10 gh
The following fish occupy the tank:
5 adolescent angelfish
2 (pair) German blue rams
1 Bolivian ram
2 denison barbs
1 bala shark (yes, I know he will have to be re-homed in the future)
As of now, the angels are all under 3", the dbarbs are 2", rams are under2", and the bala is 2-3".
I can only answer some of your questions... sorry! i'll help with what i can!
Nitrates cause deformities in fish, but at 10-20 I wouldn't think that's the problem. I would think the pairing rams would be the culprits. They get highly aggressive while mating. I would suggest putting a divider in the tank to separate them.
Another culprit could be the barbs! If i'm not mistaken, all barbs need to be schooling. Barbs are fin nippers. They need a school of at least 7 to keep the aggression amongst themselves. I personally have no experience with those barbs, but I'm pretty sure even if they don't need to school they are still going to be fin nipping.

Is your tank cycled? You are reading 0 nitrite correct?
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:52 PM   #3
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I've never heard of either nitrates or copper causing a pinhole in any fish's fins. Also, the horror studies about exhausted carbon are vastly overstated. It will basically become extra filter media after its exhausted.

I am in agreement that the rams are likely the culprit. Both angels and rams are scrappy fish and will get banged up now and again. Just keep an eye on the hole and if it starts to spread towards the fish then its possibly fin rot. Keep in mine though that a hole in a fin will usually end up with the fin tearing all the way to the outside edge.

I can't answer why your rams haven't tried breeding again but they might just be taking some time before trying again. They can be a finicky fish.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:10 PM   #4
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Thank so much! I'm getting a tank divider today! That's the perfect advice! Then the rams may try to breed again, and the angels can heal! Again, I love the great help I get here! Thx! Oh, do I have to leave the rams much room? They never left the little corner when they were defending the castle. But I don't want them scrunched!
I really hope my fav angel doesn't lose his dorsal fin. Wouldn't he die? The other one had a hole about 2 months ago, but I just kept the water clean and it healed!
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:32 PM   #5
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someone's angel on here (forgot who it was :/) who lost its dorsal fin due to extremely rough breeding angels. They will survive. It grows back.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:16 PM   #6
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Fins thankfully repair very quickly
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:51 PM   #7
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If you're really concerned, I believe Melafix fixes damaged fins. You could QT and dose Melafix, but IMO, it's not necessary since they will grow back on their own with clean water.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:57 AM   #8
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Angel girl and everyone else...now I'm actually worried! One of my angels didn't come up for food. She was sleeping, but it's still unusual. Then, I noticed her bottom fin is torn a little, and she has either peck marks, or something worse on both sides of her. I already divided the tank. This has developed since then! I'm going to put pictures on my profile under the title: sassy (her name). I've read that ph can crash after a purigen recharge. I'm out of liquid ph test til morning. The recharge of the purigen is the only recent thing aside from the tank divider to keep the rams at bay! I'm so disappointed, as I thought I finally had a great fish tank. Now....
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kelly5978 View Post
Angel girl and everyone else...now I'm actually worried! One of my angels didn't come up for food. She was sleeping, but it's still unusual. Then, I noticed her bottom fin is torn a little, and she has either peck marks, or something worse on both sides of her. I already divided the tank. This has developed since then! I'm going to put pictures on my profile under the title: sassy (her name). I've read that ph can crash after a purigen recharge. I'm out of liquid ph test til morning. The recharge of the purigen is the only recent thing aside from the tank divider to keep the rams at bay! I'm so disappointed, as I thought I finally had a great fish tank. Now....
The pH crash of purigen is an old product flaw caused by soaking it in a buffering solution which used to be part of the instructions that came with it. It has since been remedied and the directions telling you to use a buffering solution has been removed and there are no longer any issues with pH crashes caused by purigen.

They are likely just peck marks from fighting. I saw my friend's angels that are usually best friends get into a huge fight and beat each other half to death and then went right back to being best buds.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:02 AM   #10
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Okay. I will just watch her closely. Her and the one with the pin hole in top fin started using their long bottom fins to kinda flick ot their regular bottom fin (like their trying to wipe something off. Angelfish are finicky and weird! Wish I didn't love them so much! None of my other tanks give me so much trouble . This was my dream tank, and I've had such good luck so far....I'm probably just over-worrying. What's new. I don't think I'll ever really understand the ph thing, but as long as no ones dead, I won't mess with it. If there was a point where the fish were acting weird, and I tested water, and the ph had really jumped (up or down), what is the best way to deal with it. (That's the reason for my ph questions. I get that stability is more important than the number, so I worried last week when it jumped from 7.6 to 8.2, the down to 7.4 in a 3 day period. I test replacement water. I match it perfectly. I'll never understand how or why it fluctuates, but I just want to know what to do in an urgent situation. I heard baking soda would make the water harder...which I DON'T want. Just wondered what the best way to handle an emergency is). Thx!
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