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Old 07-07-2016, 12:30 PM   #1
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Plattie deaths

I'm posting this on behalf of a friend from a rugby league forum who has recently had some issues with their tank. I've given what (limited) advice i could offer, but I know there are people with better knowledge here than me so any help would be appreciated

"My tank is a 90 litre and I set it up late last year. It cycled perfectly and I had 6 neon tetras and a few platies. I had trouble keeping the platies alive and the way they would die would be that their bodies would start to thin out and change shape and then they would not be able to excrete waste but didn't get bloated. They would then die within 3 days. Only one would die at a time and the rest would be fine but then eventually it would happen again. I went to all the pet shops thinking it might be a parasite but no one was familiar with what happened. I introduced an algae eater and he didn't last long. He died suddenly overnight.

Then my water tested really high for pH and I figured that was my trouble. Our tap water had always been 7 neutral but for some reason has gone off the charts. I hadn't been testing for pH as our water has been neutral forever. I started to alter the balance of the pH slowly but I am not sure I am moving quickly enough. I just can't seem to make it balance. I am still having the same problems with the platies and now my neons are starting to look ragged and one has a growth on his mouth. All other parameters are fine. The only other thing is my tank has been getting less light both artificial and natural. My live plants look yucky and snail bitten and I have this horrible algae like green hair in my tank.

I've never had so much trouble before and not even when i was a kid and we had no such thing as gravel vacs or testing kits. This is my worst tank ever. I hate it when my fish are suffering and dying because I am the one that has created their environment.....and I like them.....and feel sorry for them.

Any advice would be wonderful."

So basically i've recommended a couple of natural remedies for lowering PH
- Driftwood
- Peat Moss. I suggested that in the short term adding a stocking with peat moss to either the top up water prior to adding to the tank or inside the tank might help in the short term, and suggested that long term a thin layer of peat moss beneath the substrate may be helpful.

I discussed that some types of stone can alter PH. I don't know what (if any) stones may be added to lower PH, regardless of this the tank in question only has an artificial submarine decoration and no natural stones so there is nothing in the tank that should be raising the PH.

later on in the discussion about this I found out that this was only happening to one fish at a time which made me think that an aggressive fish may be bullying the currently sick looking fish, but this was ruled out.

It would be great to know if this is likely top be caused by anything other than high PH
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Old 07-08-2016, 01:27 PM   #2
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I'm not really sure but i'd be suspicious of the sudden water conditions change. Perhaps their area changed source water and there's something new and nasty in your water?

Any chance water changes could be done from a different source or from purchased water for a bit, just to see if it helps? Do they have a local fish store probably on the same water source, maybe ask them and see if they've had any problems.

Also I would check a second ph test kit. In case your treating a problem that doesn't exist. Maybe the test kit just went bad. High is one thing, off the chart suggests bad test kit to me.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for replying Librtybelle. I was told that the PH there was a stable 7 until the council did some large scale replacement of the pipes in the area. The problems weren't occurring until that point in time.

The possibly of worn out test kits is something I hadn't contemplated. I will suggest they look into that. And I'll also see if they can even try to collect some refill water from another source. Either s friend or family member could probably supply them with water for a week or two to see if it makes a difference. I'll also ask then to buy a small bottle of water from one of their local sites to compare measurements with their test kit.

The only reason I'm not totally convinced it was the PH issue is because the fish were dieing in sequence rather than altogether. Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:42 AM   #4
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I've tried platies here and they just don't seem to work for some reason. It would be worth getting a kh / gh test kit as I have found these can pick up changes to tap water that ph doesn't show.


For the algae I would cut back the lights.


The other fish sound like they have a bacterial infection.
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:55 AM   #5
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Thanks Delapool. I'll recommend the kh gh test kit. There could be a lot going on with the water. They have new pipes in the neighbourhood. Hopefully it settles over time. For the moment the ph is over 9. The tests have been compared to bottled water and the test kit has no problems.

One of the neon tetras had a growth on it's lip that just busted. It's being treated now for fungus that is now growing.

From other reading my friend has done they're thinking that the platies might have tuberculosis. Hopefully that can be ruled out.
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