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Old 03-11-2019, 08:33 PM   #1
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Help trying to save fish

Well a year ago I took the plunge and started a 20 gallon tank with great success so stepped up to a corner tank 60 gallons. Fought hard water for a very long time with terrible success. So I went and decided to get a RO filter system and a new 1500 cascade canister filter. Did a 25% water change and used equilibrium to add the minerals back into the water. Water is clean and clear but parameters have went haywire and one panda fish has died and now it looks like all my fish are panting heavily and a few are at the top gasping. Very worried I will lose all the fish or several. They are all original from a year ago and I thought I was doing well investing in better consistent tools to get them healthy and perfect water. I have two large discuss, one medium angel fish, quite a few barbs and glow fish, algae eater, one blue lobster I havenít seen in weeks, and a couple others. Here are the measurements I just took of the tank. Any help to save them would be very appreciated. I am a novice at adjusting parameters but willing to learn quickly and buy whatever is needed. Please help.

60 gallon tank
Brand new canister 1500 penn with all new filters
Fish are all fed once a day Tetra Color tropical granules only
Lobster gets aquatic shrimp pellets
Algae eater gets algae wafers occasionally
Water changes have never been with RO filter before but 20-25% done every 3 months.
I know spikes and changes are bad for fish so I want to do healthy water changes from now on. Anything I did or didnít do thatís horribly wrong?
Really donít want any more dead fish.
Current numbers
PH 6.6
Ammonia .5 PPM
Nitrite .25ppm
Nitrate 80ppm might be 40ppm but red liquid hard to tell which matches best but figure both are bad
TDS tester read 1394 PPM
Temp still remains 82.3 on TDS tester but 79.4 on in tank thermometer.
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Old 03-11-2019, 09:01 PM   #2
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My wife came home and said she thinks the Nitrate is closer to the 160ppm color.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:55 AM   #3
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You got a lot going on.

I'm not sure why you adjusted your water to RO. What was the pH before you decided to use RO?

You stuck a new filter in your tank and removed the old filter that had most of your beneficial bacteria in it?

Ammonia and nitrites needs to be taken out with water changes. Seachem Prime should be used every couple days until you can get the water parameters under control. You also need water changes to lower the nitrates.

It appears you don't have a lot of water movement in your tank based on the picture. Your temperature is on the higher side for tropical so you want good water movement. I'd add airstones and/or an air driven sponge filter. The sponge filter will also help add to your BB colony.

I'd test your TDS again. That is extremely high even for tap water let alone an RO mixture.

You are doing water changes every 3 months? This isn't enough. More like every week or two and 50%. If you are keeping discus I'd do 50% weekly.

I'd up your filtration. You're sitting at 6x tank turnover. I'd aim for 10x.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:50 AM   #4
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Almost 1400 on tds with RO water how much equilibrium are you adding? That's insane, I agree with the above, never just replace a filter you should of ran both filters at the same time until the new one got established so you didn't throw out your beneficial bacteria, do you use prime to treat your water with?

What are your tap water readings
Nitrite, ammonia, nitrate, Ph.

As far as what you can do right now, do small water changes every day (10%-20%) treated with prime to detoxify the ammonia/nitrite, remember with prime you're only treating the amount of water you're putting back into the tank, example on a 20 gallon if you remove 10 gallons you use 1 ml before adding it to the tank , this does not work if you use a python auto changer then you just treat for the whole tank so 2 ml.


Once your new filter becomes established with beneficial bacteria your levels will deminish ammonia and nitrite will become zero and nitrate will also lower from what I've been told by I lower the nitrate in my tank (very established) via water changes if 50% a week but my tank is planted and I dose ferts, you won't need to do 50%, 30% is fine for your tank.

That tds is very high I doubt your tap water is even that high, again please tell us how much equilibrium your adding.
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:35 AM   #5
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King fisher,
Let me start out by saying I really appreciate your help and spending your time helping me out with my newbie issues. I will do what it takes to make this right and get past this learning curve.


I switched to RO because I could never get the GH down to a good level consitantly and the PH would change often and I was afraid I was adding too many chemicals to try to keep the PH level. Read up a bit online and at least RO will allow me to have consistent water all the time and I can manually adjust the numbers to what the fish need more consistently.



Yes I replaced the old small filter with a large canister filter.
So it looks like YES I did goof up and removed the BB with the old filter.
Newbie mistake. Should I bring back the old filter for a while until things settle down?


I appologize I wanted to get a good picture of the water calm and clear. The large filter really pushes water and it has a decent current to it, also I have two 18" bubbler tubes in a V shape on the back walls of the aquarium that were shuit off for the photo. Also that large clam and barrel also have air bubbles coming from them. Is that enough or is a corner sponge another great addition?


Yes I tested the TDS two more times with the same results almost the exact numbers.
But I have only done one water change with RO water two days ago and it was only 10 gallons. I plan to do some smaller water changes over the next few days to get the nitrates down to a safe level.


As far as adding filters.
I used to have a quietflow 55 Aqueon and changed to this canister 1500.
Your saying that this 1500 Penn Plax isn't enough of a filter for my tank as in 1 like you said meaning 600GPH filter is optimal and mine is 350?
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:42 AM   #6
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potluck I added 5G for every 5 gallons of RO water.
I was not aware of using prime for the water change.
I was told by a local fish store all I needed was equilibrium and RO water.
I can definitely take some new numbers on my tap water specs as I dont have the paper I had logged these on before.
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pimpintacoma View Post
potluck I added 5G for every 5 gallons of RO water.
I was not aware of using prime for the water change.
I was told by a local fish store all I needed was equilibrium and RO water.
I can definitely take some new numbers on my tap water specs as I dont have the paper I had logged these on before.
I'm not really experienced with remineralizing RO water but by looking at the result of what you are dosing it seems extremely high.

From what I've read people say to use something like salty shrimp to reminerialize not equilibrium, this is for every 5 gallons you dose with 5 grams.

Your addition of*5 g*(equivalent to less than 1/64 tsp)*Seachem Equilibrium*to your 5gal aquarium adds
K2O - 60.76
K - 51.51
CA - 21.29
MG - 6.37
Fe - 0.29
MN - 0.16
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Old 03-12-2019, 09:03 AM   #8
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potluck you may have found one of my issues.
when searching online I found 5G = 1 teaspoon.
So I was adding 1 teaspoon of equilibrium for every 5 gallons.
So total for 10 gallons I added 2 teaspoons of equilibrium.
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Old 03-12-2019, 09:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pimpintacoma View Post
potluck you may have found one of my issues.
when searching online I found 5G = 1 teaspoon.
So I was adding 1 teaspoon of equilibrium for every 5 gallons.
So total for 10 gallons I added 2 teaspoons of equilibrium.
Tds isn't really important unless you're keeping shrimp, if keeping shrimp tds is very important, with just fish you want tds to be on the lower side, tds = total dissolved solids, right now your water is super hard, in my 55 gallon I was adding about 1/2 tablespoons to reach a target K value of 10 (for my plants) and it increased my gh from 7 to 11 (hard) if you're not into shrimp what you're doing is fine but it's overkill if your tap is decent, you want kh about 3-5, gh (depends), kh is what keeps your pH stable which is more important than lowering/raising pH as a fluctuatating pH will kill fish where as most fish will acclimate to stable pH as long as its within reason. Equilibrium raises gh which is the opposite of what you were trying to accomplish as you said your tap water is hard, you're just increasing the hardness.

Prime is essential when doing water changes as it detoxifies ammonia into ammonium (non toxic) and nitrite its a must have for fish keeping as with my Distilled water I use to mix my ferts has ammonia so your RO could have as well

There's 5 tests that you essentially need
Ammonia
Nitrite
Ph
Nitrate
Kh/gh (if you're worried about hardness/buffering capabilities)
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Old 03-12-2019, 09:35 AM   #10
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But since you added the RO system you have to reminerialize but I have no experience with it so hopefully someone can help you with that.
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