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Old 12-08-2021, 08:22 PM   #1
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Can't understand what's wrong in my tank.. Please Help..

Hi
I joined this forum newly but I am reading the posts for almost a month and got a lot of help in setting up my new aquarium.

I just finished cycling my new 72 liter (18 gallon) aquarium (finsh-in cycling using Seachem Prime, Seachem stability, Biodigest Prodibio and water changes).



The water parameters are here


pH : 7.2
GH : 3 - 8 (this is how my test kit shows)
Temp : 25 deg C (77 deg F) (there is a 25W thermostat heater and thermometer, thermometer is in another side of the tank and never seen it going below 25deg. Thermostat is set to 27 deg)

Ammonia : 0
Nitrite : 0
Nitrate : < 5 ppm


I have a mini canister filter 450 L / Hour (acrylic wool, carbon, sponge , ceramic rings and balls)


There is an air pump which generates bubbles.


There are 3 female bettas, 2 dwarf gouramis, 1 sunset gourami, 1 honey gourami, 2 small black neon tetras and 3 mystery snails in the tank.

The problem i am facing is when I add a fish from the store it is very active until the night falls, next day it becomes lethargic and stops in one place of the aquarium. All the existing fishes are doing the same. The 3 female bettas sleep blow the stones always. Sometimes they go up to breathe and return back to the same place back to sleep. In the morning hours before I feed them they are active and very responsive. But just for few hours. If I feed them or not they become lethargic anyway.



Another important thing is when i do water change all of them come near to the water tube as if they really feel good with the new water and stick around it until I finish. Even sometimes they fight to be close to the water tube. After a water change they remain active for 2 - 3 hours and become lethargic again.



I tried with 4 different kinds of food (different company, also with flakes) but the result is always the same. I feed them once a day (morning) average 3 balls per fish. They eat all the food before falling on the gravel.





All the parameters look normal so I can not understand what is going on. Is it the dissolved oxygen ? I never tested it as i have a air pump running 24 hours.



Please someone give some direction. I will be grateful.


Thanks

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Old 12-08-2021, 10:06 PM   #2
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Do you run the air pump 24/7? Have you brought a water sample to the lfs for another opinion or tried multiple types of tests?

If the fish are fighting to get Into to the fresh water during a change, it’s pretty likely to say there’s a water quality issue

How often are you doing water changes and how long has it been since you’ve had positive results on an ammonia test? Is the tank live planted?
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Old 12-09-2021, 05:27 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot for responding. I really need some guidance...

Do you run the air pump 24/7?

Yes it runs 24/7

Have you brought a water sample to the lfs for another opinion or tried multiple types of tests?

I live in Brazil, we don't have lfs here. The shop I deal here is called Cobasi and they are quite big and famous in whole Brazil. They use the same test kit as I use. Just put "Kit Testes Alcon Labcon Amonia Toxica Doce E Nitrito" in google. These kits are the most reliable kit in Brazil, everyone uses them. Also during the cyclig process (until last week) these kits were showing the results accurately.

If the fish are fighting to get Into to the fresh water during a change, it’s pretty likely to say there’s a water quality issue

Yes that's for sure. Just trying to figure it out what is it

How often are you doing water changes?

As the tank was cycling I was changing the water in every 24 - 48 hours and adding double dose of Seachem Prime. Even with double dose of Prime the same symptoms were there as I mentioned in the thread. Only this week I did a water change in 72 hours

how long has it been since you’ve had positive results on an ammonia test?

The ammonia zeroed out 3 weeks ago and was never more than 0 ppm after that. Nitrite zeroed out last week Saturday

Is the tank live planted?

Yes the tank has 7 Anubias Nana and 2 normal Anubias. They are on stones and drift wood, they are doing well. The tank has full spectrum light that runs for 8 hours a day


Also the 3 mystery snails are doing well. During high nitrite period they were bit sluggish. But now they are happy and doing all kids of cute things.
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Old 12-09-2021, 05:37 AM   #4
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Did you cycle the tank before adding your fish (fishless cycle) or did you cycle the tank with fish in it (fish in cycle)?
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Old 12-10-2021, 01:58 AM   #5
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How is the air quality in the house (that the air pump is pushing into the tank)?

If you’ve got cigarette smoke, cleaning supply fumes, even scented candles and that type of thing are said to cause issues when youve got an air pump blowing it into the tank.

With a planted tank you generally have a rise in co2 during the night as the plants expel co2 once the lights go out. It’s usually not a problem other than extreme cases though, in your case if the air pump runs all night it would help remove that co2 so I doubt it’s an issue from the plants.
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Old 12-10-2021, 03:06 AM   #6
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Did you cycle the tank before adding your fish (fishless cycle) or did you cycle the tank with fish in it (fish in cycle)?



I did fish-in cycleing. There were 8 fishes during the cycling and the mystery snails too.
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Old 12-10-2021, 03:08 AM   #7
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Are any of the fish showing symptoms new? ie added after you finished your cycle?
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Old 12-10-2021, 03:29 AM   #8
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How is the air quality in the house (that the air pump is pushing into the tank)?
If you’ve got cigarette smoke, cleaning supply fumes, even scented candles and that type of thing are said to cause issues when youve got an air pump blowing it into the tank.



The air quality is good. I never smoke, no cigarette or any kind of weed. The aquarium is in the living room and there is no chemical or anything in the air. I am a very sensitive person and only use chemicals or cleaning products only when really necessary. There is no scented candle too.




With a planted tank you generally have a rise in co2 during the night as the plants expel co2 once the lights go out. It’s usually not a problem other than extreme cases though, in your case if the air pump runs all night it would help remove that co2 so I doubt it’s an issue from the plants.



Yes I was thinking about that too, ti's the dark reaction of the photosynthesis process. But as the air pump is running all the time I don't think that is an issue. And the tank is not that much heavily planted either. Also the outlet of the canister filter has a tube with small holes which also generates surface agitation.


The only thing I can think of the the center part of the cover of the tank. The cover is divided in to 3 parts. two removable sides parts and a fixed center piece The center piece of the cover is a fixed piece of class plate which covers almost 20% of the total cover. I removed other removable parts and left it open to allow easy flow of oxygen. Do you think the center piece can be the culprit ? It's fixed as a part of the tank and supports it's structure, I don't think there is any way to remove it.
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Old 12-10-2021, 08:59 AM   #9
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I don’t think your cover is an issue. You’d have to have a nearly airtight lid to cause any issues and since you’re using an air pump it’s even less of a concern as it will force a draft out the lid and has steady supply of fresh air
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Old 12-12-2021, 10:48 AM   #10
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What are the symptoms of low water hardness ?
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Old 12-12-2021, 11:55 AM   #11
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There are different types of water hardness.

General hardness (GH), is what you have provided a test result for. Yours shows the water is soft and is ideal for most commonly kept aquarium fish. Your fish will be fine with that.

Carbonate hardness (KH) is different, and is a measure of how much acid your water can absorb before your pH crashes, also known as buffering capacity and alkalinity (don't confuse with alkaline pH, they are different). Symptoms of low KH will be pH swinging about all over the place as the buffering capacity is used up and then replenished with water changes. KH is also needed for the nitrogen cycle to work. Once KH is gone, your bacterias ability to convert ammonia and nitrite disappears so this is sometimes the cause of ammonia appearing where it previously wasnt there, and this is called old tank syndrome. Regular water changes should replenish KH/Alkalinity, so if you are doing these KH shouldnt be an issue.

There is also total disolved solids (TDS).

I dont think low measures of these will be an issue. Its possible the initial lethargy is a big difference in these measures comparing your water and the stores water. Good acclimating the fish to your tank water should solve this. Perhaps you should ask your store and see if there is a big difference between your home and the water they use, either they have harder or softer water than yours.
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Old 12-12-2021, 12:03 PM   #12
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Severely low gh can cause several issues. It would typically mean that the kh is also low allowing possible ph fluctuations in the tank that is most definitely hard on the fish. Low gh itself can hinder the fish’s ability to ward off sickness as well as not having the necessary electrolytes for basic growth and body function.

It’s too bad that test kit isn’t more accurate for the gh test. I would think that you’d have to be right at the lower end of the test result (or lower than 3) to see such immediate reactions in the fish.

If the gh was severely low you should be seeing some symptoms on the snails also. They use a lot of calcium (gh) for their shells. If they have good thick, healthy looking shells I doubt the gh is anywhere near low enough to be causing issues with the fish

Another thing to consider is that the kh may be really low which is basically the waters buffering capacity or resistance to ph fluctuations. Have you done a ph test of just the tap water? Then the tank water an hour or 2 after a water change? Same thing again a while after feeding the fish?

If you don’t have a test for kh, your next best thing would be to monitor the ph closely and make sure it is stable.
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Old 12-13-2021, 05:17 AM   #13
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Hello
Thanks for all explanations.



Actually the water that comes in my tap has Gh below 3. Ite's very soft. I use Seachem Equilibrium to rise the Gh 2 degrees more. Then it comes between 3-8. As you said, when Gh is low the snails also get affected. They almost did not move for days. Also something else happens to them and the fishes continue to nip them all day. Even they fall down from the water surface nipped by the fishes. It was very hard for them. But as the Gh rose they became really good. They move around, float around, eat and the fishes don't nip them at all.



As per the Ph, everything looks normal. Everyday I do a test for it 2 times. All the time it's 7.2 . Yes, when I did a big water change (60%) the Ph rose a bit (7.4) for few hours and then went back to 7.2. I think it's because of Seachem Equilibrium. But afterwards it never changed, which makes me think the Kh is quite good. A small water change of 30% (which I do in every 3-4 days now) never swings the Ph. The tap water comes with Ph 7.2 so I think it's fine.

During the cycling process the fishes were in low Gh (3 degrees) for some time. The Ammonia was high too. I used Seachem Prime double dose and was doing water change (with 3 degrees Gh) in every 36-48 hours. Do you think being in low Gh for 1 week would have done something bad to them ? And the current symptoms are a consequence of it ?



The snails recovered for sure as soon as the Gh rose to 3-8
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Old 12-13-2021, 05:26 AM   #14
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Another thing, is it possible that the Ca ions and Mg ions get consumed in some days but the test still show normal Gh ?
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Old 12-13-2021, 11:25 AM   #15
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Ok so you’ve got extremely soft tap water. And as I read it you just add enough equilibrium that it’s supposed to raise it 2° and the test shows you’re in the 3-8° range?

I doubt the minerals are getting depleted within a day and the test should reflect this. But it’s possible you are still at a pretty low gh of only 3-4. I would add some more equilibrium, enough to raise the tank 1° at a time and let it run for a while and test again and add another degree and repeat the process a couple times (just to slowly raise the gh as well as make sure you don’t get above 8 too far or the plants aren’t going to like it)

If you started with tap water of 1-2° and only raised it 2° you should only be at 3-4°. You should be able to raise the gh 2 more degree and get it up at least in that 6° range and see how the fish react.

According to some fishkeeping info on the gourami they should be kept in a kh of 3-8°. Gh and kh typically go hand in hand so if your tap water is extremely low gh your kh will likely be pretty low and the equilibrium doesn’t raise kh. If you can get a test for kh it would probably be a good idea to be able to check it and likely bring it up a few degree also
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Old 12-14-2021, 03:22 PM   #16
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Do you think a electronic TDS meter will show the real ppm value?


I don't want to take the risk of rising Gh high ignorantly. The fishes are already not feeling good I don't want to push them too much.



I will get a KH test kit and have a look at it.
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Old 12-14-2021, 04:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandip View Post
Do you think a electronic TDS meter will show the real ppm value?


I don't want to take the risk of rising Gh high ignorantly. The fishes are already not feeling good I don't want to push them too much.



I will get a KH test kit and have a look at it.

The fish are not feeling unwell due to the GH or KH. I think you need to move away from this line of thinking or it may lead you away from the true cause. Millions of people around the world are successfully keeping all kinds of fish that are said to be from water conditions completely opposite from what they are found in in nature. Most commonly parameters will be GH, KH and pH.

Constantly adding and removing ions trying to find the ‘optimal’ values could cause distress. The only other real issues fish face are suboptimal oxygen levels, high ammonia levels and disease and stress caused by environmental factors such as overstocking, bullying, extreme flow rates etc.

The TDS meter will measure all conductive ions but not tell you what they are.
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Old 12-15-2021, 08:22 AM   #18
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As I said above the Ammonia and Nitrite are all zero and Nitrate is less than 5 ppm and PH is 7.2 (stable).

As the tank is cycled I am not doing water changes so often, only once in a week (30%- 40%), even though Nitrate is low. So there is no constant adding of ions, only once a week and the water is same as the fishes are already used to so I don't believe there is any kind of shock.

I don't believe the change in GH did not do any good. At least from the snails prospective I can see, it did a lot good to them.


As per the oxygen level as the re is a air pump running 24 hours I don't think it's also the cause. We had quite a bit of talk about it already.


So what can be the reason the fishes feeling not happy and active??
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