We have recently lost a large Black Moor, then a Ryunkin and now our mature shabunkin is just sitting at he bottom of

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Customer: Hi, We have recently lost a large Black Moor, then a Ryunkin and now our mature shabunkin is just sitting at he bottom of the tank, under the filter. This has been "the place" for the other fish as well. We thought it was feeding (and now use long term blocks), we thought it was the carbon we used in our filter, and bought new cartridges, we thought it was water, but the PH is perfect. What is going wrong??????? HELP please..
Answered by CYBERCALL in 5 hours 13 years ago
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CYBERCALL
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Specialities include: Dog Veterinary, Cat Veterinary, Bird Veterinary, Reptile Veterinary, Exotic Animal Veterinary

How long has the tank been up and running with fish in it?

 

How many gallons/liters of water does the tank hold?

 

Have you changed some or all of the water recently? If so how much?

 

.

Customer

Hi and thanks for coming back to us.

 

This tank has been up and running for in excess of three years, and the fish have been around a bit longer. We moved them from a 2' * 18" * 12" tank to their new 3' * 2' * 12" (l*h*b) tank then. There were seven fish (now five). A tank of these dimensions holds around 65 or so gallons I guess.

 

We change 20% of the water regularly, the last time after our moor went ill. (We quarantined him). We believe he had dropsy (his body puffed up, his scales seem to stand out and then he ended up with loss of balance, and died)

Just to make sure I understand correctly the fish were moved to the new tank 3 years ago so this particular tank has been up and running since then. Please correct me if I've misunderstood.

 

Although you've been taking good care of the fish and have been changing 20% of the water regularly the symptoms the fish are displaying are a definite indication of a problem with the water parameters.

 

So what I'd like you to do is have the water tested for levels of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. If you don't have a test kit handy then you can bring a water sample to your local pet store and they will usually test for free as a courtesy.

 

I'd like to give a quick and speedy answer but I need a foundation so as to be able to make a correct diagnosis. Without water test results I'd be guessing if it's this or that etc., etc.

 

I do have some other ideas as to what might be causing the problem but they would be invalid if it did indeed turned out to be a water quality issue.

 

Please have the water tested as soon as possible and communicate to me the exact results. Relaying test results that say everything is fine or within acceptable levels will not help.

 

I shall await the results. Thank you.

TROPICAL FISH AFICIONADO39876.1991671644
Customer

Hello folks

 

Will take a sample to our local aquarium provider and bring back the results. Thanks for the help so far. Hopefully it is water quality only and there is a way to fix this.

Cheers

Hi again and thank you for planning to get the tests done.

 

The results will most definitely help determine what's going on.

 

I look foward to hearing about them.

 

Have a good day.

 

.

Customer
You too, cheers
Customer

Hi there,

 

We took a sample of our water to our local aquarium guys. They checked the water for ammoniua (0), pH (7.5) and hardness (> 300). They recommended that we immediately change 1/3 of our water to soften the water. (We did this last night).

 

Canberra has soft water and we have been using Neutraliser blocks to keep our oH in balance (for some reason with our large fish - and possibly overfeeding based on a new food we use - Balance pellets) our water was going acidic quite quickly. Our aquarium guy says that this is so, but that we may have been adding other elements that was raising the hardness factor.

 

So, from here, we have bought some pH balancing product, and when we have the pH stabilised (he says to give it a week) we'll take back another water sample.

 

Any other clues?

 

Cheers

Do you have results for nitrites and nitrates?
Customer

No sorry, this is all they said they could test for.

 

We could go to our local Water Utility and pay them for an analysis, but this is the standard composition of Canberra Water.

Typical physical and chemical composition of Canberra drinking water

TestTypical valueUnit

pH

90% of values between 7.5 and 8.5

pH units

Alkalinity (total)

35.8

mg/L as CaCO3

Colour (true)

2.38

Pt-Co units

Turbidity

0.47

NTU

Fluoride

0.91

mg/L

Total Hardness

39.6

mg/L as CaCO3

Iron

0.033

mg/L

Manganese

0.010

mg/L

Aluminium

0.033

mg/L

Copper

0.018

mg/L

Lead

0.0004

mg/L

 

This they supply on their website, but it is from 2005-6. It would take more that 10 days and a considerable fee to get a direct analysis from them.

 

Cheers

Without test results for nitrites and nitrates I will only be able to give you a conjecture of what I think has/is happening. Incidentally test kits for nitrites and nitrates should be available in your local pet store.

 

Ammonia tested at -0- so that rules out ammonia poisoning as a cause. Keep in mind ammonia at any level is harmful and often lethal to fish.

 

The first scenario I'll discuss will be one in which either or both nitrites or nitrates are the problem. Again without test results we won't know if they are actually the cause.

The presence of nitrites, like ammonia, in any amount is quite harmful and often deadly to fish which is why the first thing I suspected, when you first contacted me, was ammonia and/or nitrite poisoning.

 

Nitrates are almost always present in an aquarium and only begin to harm fish at a level of 40ppm or higher. Low nitrate levels are normal in an established aquarium.

 

The way to lower both of them is via 15%-25% partial water changes. Cutting down on feedings also helps to lower the amounts of both as does keeping the fish stocking level at a normal level and that is to say not putting 4 goldfish in a 10 gallon tank.

 

Sufficient filtration is also important in keeping ammonia and nitrites at -0-. So in essence you'd need a filter equipped to handle the amount of water in your tank, a properly sized filter.

 

So I strongly urge you to try and have the water tested for nitrites and nitrates particularily nitrites as if they are present you can be sure that that's what's causing the fish deaths.

 

So as not to make this response too long I will immediately begin to cover the ph question in my next post.

 

 

Before I begin discussing ph I'd like to cover some ph basics so that we are all on the same wave length.

 

Ph is the measurement of the amount of acidity/alkalinity in water. A ph of 7.0 is neutral so that is to say that a ph below 7 is acidic and a ph above 7.0 is alkaline.

 

Water hardness is the measurement used to describe the mineral content of water.

Hard water has a higher concentration of dissolved mineral content and soft water has a low concentration of dissolved mineral content.

 

Ok this is where it gets a little tricky. There's a relationship between ph and water hardness that many fishkeepers do not realize or understand. A majority of the time water that has a high(er) ph will also be hard water and this happens because the high mineral content (hard water) will buffer the water thus keeping its ph at the high level that it is at. So in essence if you have hard water it will be very difficult to successfully maintain an acidic ph for any length of time. You'll be able to lower the ph temporarily but the high mineral content will just bump it right back up.

 

Re: Soft water, the reverse of what I wrote in the prior paragraph holds true for soft water. Soft water is usually acidic (below 7.0) in ph and this is because of the low dissolved mineral content of the water. It's difficult to maintain an alkaline ph (above 7.0) when there is soft water.

 

Now let's apply all this to your aquarium. To start off--goldfish need a ph that's in a range of 7.2-7.4. Water hardness is not of a particular concern when it comes to goldfish but it's better to not have it at either extreme although they are fairly tolerant of most ranges of water hardness.

 

What I believe has happened in your aquarium is that in your struggle to maintain a higher ph whilst battlling soft water conditions (remember the conflict between the two-high ph versus soft water) the ph has fluctuated too soon and too much thus shocking the fish.

 

Please note that the pH scale is logarithmic. To put it into mathmatical terms a ph level of 5 is 10 times more acidic than a ph of 6 and a ph of 4 is 100 times more acidic than a pH of 6 so you can see that what might appear to be a small rise/decline in ph is actually a very big one particularily for fish.

 

The current ph of your fish tank, 7.5, is fine. The questions is has it been a stable 7.5 or has it been subjected to rapid and steep declines and subsequent rises. If so then this would most definitely explain the fish deaths.

 

As for the water hardness in your tank, >300, not an ideal level for goldfish but certanly not deadly or harmful.

 

So keep in mind that every time you soften the water you are most certainly lowering the ph. If you then subsequently raise the ph the fish are being subjected to a "roller coaster" ph ride which they will not take kindly too.

 

In summary, the deaths you are seeing could possibly be caused by a nitrite/nitrate problem in conjunction with a ph fluctuation problem or either one of the two.

 

The best thing to do here would be to confirm the status of nitrites and nitrates and keep a steady stable ph. If ph changes must be made they should be made gradually and only when necessary.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

.

Customer

Hi there,

 

This confirms what our aquarium guy said, but we do not have the capacity to learn about nitrites/nitrates. Is there a simple test?

Yes there are simple test kits sold in most pet stores.

 

Listed below is link which will show you what the test kits look like. This particular link is to an American pet supply company but I assume these same test kits would be readily available in Austrailian pet stores.

 

 

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+4345+13524&pcatid=13524

 

 

.

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