Help needed - fish dying

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by ted.vanh, 24 Nov 2008.

  1. ted.vanh

    ted.vanh

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    Hi Guys

    I need some help because something strange is happening in my tank. Last Sunday my PH was as low as 7.8 and so I dosed the tank with Koek Soda 1 tsp tested water 3/4 hour later added 1 tsp tested and so on until I added 6 tsp's and my PH was at 8.4.
    On Tuesday evening my Flame Angel had bitten the dust and on Wednesday morning my Coral Beauty. Both fish had no external signs of disese or stress in fact but for the fact that they were dead looked quite healthy.
    I immediately tested the PH (8.2), Ammonia (0), NO2 (0) & NO3 (+/-15).
    On Saturday I did a 15% water change(my weekly task), yesterday I tested my parameters and they were as follows:-
    PH = 8.3
    NO2 = 0
    PO4 = 0
    NO3 = 15
    Calcium = 375
    SG = 1.022
    KH = 9
    Salinity = Normal
    My test Eqipment is
    for PH = PH pen (brand new)
    for PO4 & KH = API
    for the rest Red Sea
    During Yesterday morning my Yellow Tang bit the dust and my Biclour Angel is starting to go the same way. It looks as though he is battling to breathe.

    Any ideas what the problem can be and what to do to fix it?

    PS my corals do not look tyo be in any trouble nor the remaining fish 1 x Pyjama Cardinal & 3 x Damsels
     
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  3. Storm

    Storm

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    How many Liters is this system? and how old?
     
  4. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    What is your temp?
    What do you use for flow/water circulation?
    Do you have pictures of your setup?
    How old is your tank?
     
  5. ted.vanh

    ted.vanh Thread Starter

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    300 litres display tank & 90 litres. Tank is 9 months old.

    The temp is 25 and Ihave the following water flow/circulation.

    2 x Seio M1500's = 12000 litres per hour
    1 x Wavemaker = 6000 litres per hour as well as a return pump from the sump.

    Skimmer is working okay.
     
  6. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    The pH of 7.8, was that with lights on or off? Although new, did you check if your pH pen is calibrated? Sometimes new pH measuring equipment can be out too.
     
  7. Storm

    Storm

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    mmm your parameters seem fine. And tank is large enough so not a CO2 issue since Tangs and Angels suffocate quickely. Only thing I can think of is a rogue virus in your water ;(
     
  8. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Could possibly be a disease that is killing your fish.

    Has anything happened outside the tank, like household cleaners that could have accidentally gotten into the water? Air freshener being sprayed in the room? Even spraying deodorant on while standing in front of the tank is a possible risk of contaminating the water. Any painting going on inside the house? Fumes from certain chemicals like paint and creosote can also enter the water.
     
  9. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    That's why I asked about the flow and circulation since he mentioned that the one angel looks like it's battling to breath. Temp is also OK, so no oxygen depletion there.
     
  10. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Wow those are quite some losses, sorry to hear. If all parameters are correct then there should be no problem with the water even a ph of 7.8.
    Couple of things
    Are you sure it was baking soda that you dosed?
    Has anything been sprayed around the tank, insecticides, polish etc?
    Has anybody in the area had their house or garden fumigated recently?
    Any painting been done at home?
    I would add carbon to the filtration to try clear any toxins in the water just for safe measure.
     
  11. ted.vanh

    ted.vanh Thread Starter

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    Hi Guys

    No painting, fumigating etc. - only possibility that I can think of is a virus of some sort but so far nothing has happened to my Scopus Tang, Cardinal or Damsels. It is very weird and disconcerting.
     
  12. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    ??
     
  13. ted.vanh

    ted.vanh Thread Starter

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    Sorry Tobes never saw your query. The 7.8 was with lights off & the now 8.3 is with the lights on. I calibrtaed the PH Pen on taking delivery last week, checked caliobration on Friday evening.
     
  14. Apollo

    Apollo

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    Mhhmm... Difficult problem indeed.

    IMO there are two aspects to your problem.
    1. Why the pH has dropped to below 8.0 ?
    2. Why your fish are having difficulty in breathing ?

    Let's tackle the first one:
    The pH is closely linked to both the amount of dissolved Co2 in the water , as well as the alkalinity.
    If you are running a carbonate/carbon dioxide reactor ( CaCo3/Co2), it is possible that not all of the Co2 that is used to dissolve the CaCo3 is released from the water. The result is that you end up with acidic Co2 ( Koolsuur) in the water. This can substantially lower the pH.
    Another possible cause is the presence of large amounts of Co2 in the air around the tank, due to respiration by pets,humans etc.

    An easy test to do is an aeration test:
    Take some of the aquarium water and measure the pH. Take container outside the house and aerate the water for an hour by means of an airstone and then measure the pH again. Repeat the test again, but this time keep the container of water inside the house(close to the tank) and again measure the pH after aerating for an hour.
    Now : If in the first test, the pH rises significantly but does not do so in the second test, it means your tank may contain excess levels of Co2 and simply aerating the tank should improve the situation.

    Insofar your fish are concerned: May be a problem because of the high levels of Co2 in the water. May also be due to a parasitic disease such as Ich or Fluke(flagelites). These diseases normally cause respiratory distress due to the fact that they attach to the gill area , causing the gill tissue to be less effective in gas exchanges.

    It is also possible that you have had a build up of toxins in the tank or that some form of heavy metal contamination ( copper, iron) has ocurred.

    IMO , I would do an aeration test and aerate the tank water. You have nothing to lose in doing so. When aerating the tank, be mindful not to use an airstone with too fine bubbles. This could lead to gas embolisms for some of your tank inhabitants.

    A longer term solution to the Co2 problem is to grow some macroalgea in your sump.The algea will help control the Co2 by absorbing some of it from the water.

    Here is a link to a very useful article dealing with pH related issues :

    Low pH: Causes and Cures by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com

    I am sure there are more knowledgeable members on the site that are able to give a further explanation and assistance.

    Hope this will help a bit . Good luck with your fish !
     
  15. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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  16. CaCO3

    CaCO3

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    The problem could be how quickly you brought up the ph. A ph of 7.8 is 6* more acidic than a ph of 8.4. You raised the ph by .6 in only 45mins. Thay is way to quick, fish take a long time to acclimatise to ph differences, certainly longer than 45 mins. That could have been a serious determining factor in the demise. Could have been pure shock. The others may be a bit more healthy and were able to withstand the sharp increase in ph. My 5c worth
     
  17. Jaak

    Jaak

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    Sorry to hear about your losses...
     
  18. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Uhm, not true. You can raise the PH quickly with very little ill affect on live stock, as long as there is no ammonia in the tank. However do not lower the ph quickly as this does cause stress and in some cases acid burn. Opposite to SG, you can lower SG fairly rapidly but do not raise it too quickly.;)
     
  19. CaCO3

    CaCO3

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    Cool Alan did not know that it only works the one way, thanks. Did not know that sg could be lowered but not raised quickly.
     
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