Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Diana » Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:29 pm

Peat moss is a form of organic matter that is very fine. Fine enough to act like a sodium exchange water filter.
Not all peat moss does this (I do not know why).
I have seen reports from some fish people that when the filtered their water through peat moss both the GH and KH came down.
In my own experience it has not helped very much with reducing the GH and KH. But the pH of my tap water does go down.

Other forms of organic matter that we are discussing here include coarser materials like leaves, alder cones and wood.
With a large chunk of something, or smaller surface area, they are less likely to do much ion exchange.

All these materials can release tannic and other acids into the water. If there is not a lot of carbonates or other buffers then the pH can drop from these organic acids. But if the carbonates are high, then the pH will not drop so much.

The best thing to do is to set up a few experiments. Set up perhaps half a dozen jars of water each with a different treatment.
1) No treatment
2, 3, 4) different blends of tap water plus reverse osmosis water (or distilled)
Run this, then decide if one recipe is coming closest to what you want or can do. Then go on...
5, 6, 7...) Starting with the optimum blend of tap + RO, and add 1 of the organic materials to each container. Since we are talking about a small container (perhaps half a liter to a liter, or a pint to a quart) I would not try to set up a pump to circulate the water. I would just swirl the water around every time I walked by.
If you think you are getting somewhere, but want to refine it, then go further with the set up, larger volume of water, carefully measure whatever you are adding and so on. You probably do not need to, though. Once you have a recipe for the water, and how to treat it, just go for it.

You do not need anything complex at all to 'filter the water through peat moss'.
I have done it in a couple of VERY simple ways:
Simplest: Put the peat moss in the water loose. Stir it every time I walk past. Filter out the peat moss when it is time to use the water. (Fine sponge over the intake of the pump or siphon)
Almost as simple, and the way I do it most: Put the peat moss into a knee-hi stocking. (for a garbage can with 20-40 gallons of water). Run a fountain pump in the water set up with the water rising from the bottom of the can, hitting the surface and circulating back down. I used to set it up a bit more complex by attaching a bit of vinyl tubing to the outlet of the pump and use a rubber band to make it flow through the stocking. I gave up on this when the results were no better than with the stocking of peat moss drifting loose in the can.
More complex: Set up a canister filter with peat moss and any other media you want. Run this on the garbage can of water. For a 5 gallon bucket a hang on back filter would be fine. The Aquaclear product line has a large chamber for whatever kind of media you want.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Kuhli » Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:40 pm

Okay, pH aside....I'm going to just use IAL/bark and Seachem's Acid Buffer to lower it, but not now.


I still haven't figured out the deaths of my kuhlis.


It's no low O2, as none of my other fish are dying or breathing at the surface or being stressed. I can control the nitrate with my purigen, plants, and I'll get some Seachem Renew or Nitrate remover.

i don't think it's the nitrates because I've had this tank for three years and I've been using the same tap. And no other fish are acting stressed, sick or unwell.

Just sudden, unexplained deaths of my kuhlis, all triggered by the death of one of my mature adults. And the deaths of each subsequent addition.


Nitrate, O2, pH aside, what is killing my kuhlis? Is it a virus perhaps? Like herpes? Stays dormant until the immune system is weakened?
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Greek » Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:30 pm

Diana wrote:
Other forms of organic matter that we are discussing here include coarser materials like leaves, alder cones and wood.
With a large chunk of something, or smaller surface area, they are less likely to do much ion exchange.



That's not true. Humic acids doesn't do any ion exchange - they only neutralize acid salts, which determines an alkalinity of water (which we measue as "carbonate hardness" - what name is incorrect) and salts which determines a general hardness. And those acids also adds to the water hydroniums, what lowers pH (they form a really useful pH buffer).

And I remind - we're not talking here about using peat, but decidedly weaker methods. Kuhli wrote anything only about leaves and bark...
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Kuhli » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:23 pm

I lost the Pangio anguillaris.

This is getting to be very frustrating.



Could we stop bickering over the pH and acids right now? It's not relevant. I haven't had a single explanation for the sudden deaths. Yes, the ideal pH for kuhlis is below 7 but these guys have been living in my tank for three years. I can lower the pH but not now! The kuhlis had all been in the tank too long to have been affected by a pH difference (not to mention my LFS has them at the same pH level). They were in there too long for KUSS.

I'm trying to scrape together funds for a decent UV filter but it is the holiday season and money is tight. I've added two IAL and two bark pieces. I add a cap full of Kordon Fish Protector after every 50% water change.

Again, there is no obvious sign of stress or sickness. No other fish are affected, only the kuhlis.

Please tell me what is killing my loaches and how I can stop them from dropping like flies.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Greek » Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:03 pm

Kuhli wrote:Could we stop bickering over the pH and acids right now? It's not relevant. I haven't had a single explanation for the sudden deaths. Yes, the ideal pH for kuhlis is below 7 but these guys have been living in my tank for three years. I can lower the pH but not now! The kuhlis had all been in the tank too long to have been affected by a pH difference (not to mention my LFS has them at the same pH level). They were in there too long for KUSS.

Sorry, but this is very relevant. Read about osmotic regulation and You'll realize why.
But ok, as You wish.

You said that You keep them for 3 years. So how old can they be - maybe 4 years old. Pangios' average lifespan is about 10 years. When kept in bad conditions (like Your pH), their life can be shorten dramatically. So Yours can be relatively old. Of course I don't suggest that they die of old age, but when fish is old, it is less resistant and a little problem with water can kill it.
Did You add something to the tank before those deaths? I mean: some rocks, decorations, wood, plants.

There's one more problem I see:
Kuhli wrote: I add a cap full of Kordon Fish Protector after every 50% water change.

Your water changes are regularly 50%? That's definitely too much. Firstly it destabilize the biology of Your tank, secondly it causes a sudden changes of water parameters, what can kill Your pangios.

Kuhli wrote:Again, there is no obvious sign of stress or sickness. No other fish are affected, only the kuhlis.

Those are really sensitive and probably that's the point.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Kuhli » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:47 pm

Greek wrote:
Kuhli wrote:Could we stop bickering over the pH and acids right now? It's not relevant. I haven't had a single explanation for the sudden deaths. Yes, the ideal pH for kuhlis is below 7 but these guys have been living in my tank for three years. I can lower the pH but not now! The kuhlis had all been in the tank too long to have been affected by a pH difference (not to mention my LFS has them at the same pH level). They were in there too long for KUSS.

Sorry, but this is very relevant. Read about osmotic regulation and You'll realize why.
But ok, as You wish.

You said that You keep them for 3 years. So how old can they be - maybe 4 years old. Pangios' average lifespan is about 10 years. When kept in bad conditions (like Your pH), their life can be shorten dramatically. So Yours can be relatively old. Of course I don't suggest that they die of old age, but when fish is old, it is less resistant and a little problem with water can kill it.
Did You add something to the tank before those deaths? I mean: some rocks, decorations, wood, plants.

There's one more problem I see:
Kuhli wrote: I add a cap full of Kordon Fish Protector after every 50% water change.

Your water changes are regularly 50%? That's definitely too much. Firstly it destabilize the biology of Your tank, secondly it causes a sudden changes of water parameters, what can kill Your pangios.

Kuhli wrote:Again, there is no obvious sign of stress or sickness. No other fish are affected, only the kuhlis.

Those are really sensitive and probably that's the point.


Osmotic regulation is tied to the mineral content of the water, as in the gH, not the pH. I'm very slowly lowering my pH but I cannot do it quickly or I'll wipe out my whole tank.

I have not added anything new to the tank. I do 50% water changes because of the high nitrate levels. I've been doing 50% water changes for three years.
My pH is not "bad". It may not be ideal for the kuhlis, but it's not causing sudden overnight deaths.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Greek » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:52 am

Kuhli wrote:
Osmotic regulation is tied to the mineral content of the water, as in the gH, not the pH.


You're of course wrong. It's all about ions. And what is pH? Concentration of H+ ions (H3O+ to be precise).

Kuhli wrote:I'm very slowly lowering my pH but I cannot do it quickly or I'll wipe out my whole tank.

That's impossible to lower pH quickly using that methods :P You'll need kilos of leaves 8)

Kuhli wrote: I do 50% water changes because of the high nitrate levels. I've been doing 50% water changes for three years.

So You were stressing them after every water change during those three years.

Kuhli wrote:My pH is not "bad". It may not be ideal for the kuhlis, but it's not causing sudden overnight deaths.

Sorry, but it is starting to be a little bit funny for me. Do You know anything about the habitat of fishes we are talking about? Pangios come from rivers highly enriched with tannins. pH over 7 is an absurd for those species. They are also find in BW.
Look at the sentence You have written one more time and think if it does make any sense. It's like saying: "My diet is not bad. It may be not ideal for me, but it's not causing sudden overnight deaths. I just like to eat 3 bars of chocolate, follow up with French fries and than tipple a few bottles of beer, but I feel really good!"

You have to understand how weak are now Your fishes after 3 years in the water with too high pH, too low temperature and sudden parameters changes while every water change. Their immunity is just poor.
You cannot continue those heavy water changes. If You really have to, You must do two smaller water changes with a few days gap. So not 1x50% but 2x25%.
But I would firstly thing about a reason why the level of nitrates is too high. The tank is not overstocked and have some plants so problems like that are very strange to me. Maybe You are just overfeeding and the leftovers decays and pollutes the water. And the second option can be too high level of nitrates in Your tap water. I would check it.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby toastifosho » Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:11 pm

Greek wrote:
Kuhli wrote:
Osmotic regulation is tied to the mineral content of the water, as in the gH, not the pH.


You're of course wrong. It's all about ions. And what is pH? Concentration of H+ ions (H3O+ to be precise).




pH is determined by hydrogen cations [H+] and hydroxide or hydroxil anions [OH-]. It’s not just the hydronium ions that determine pH levels.

A pH below 7 indicates an increase of Hydrogen cations [H+] - making the water more acidic. Reversely, a pH above 7 would mean an increase of hydroxide anions [OH -] - making the water more alkaline/basic.

The presence of these + - ions is how we measure the pH of our water. Hydronium is a acidity indicator as it is a cation +. pH simply measures how basic or acid something is.


Osmoregulation in freshwater fish is more closely related to general hardness (GH) because the fish must use the levels of minerals in the water to regulate their own internal body water (think blood).

General hardness, or total hardness measures the total other minerals in the water such as Magnesium, Sodium ,Sulfur , Chlorine, Potassium, etc. High GH corresponds to “Hard “ water, while low GH is “soft” water.

Freshwater osmoregulators absorbs salts (usually these have essential trace elements such as magnesium) in the water to help bring their internal water salinities to slightly higher than the water surrounding them.

This is why some people give sick saltwater fish “freshwater” baths. Saltwater fish need the opposite, more water - less salt. When we put a buffer into the water it dissolves into + and - ions , and these are more readily passed through the fish’s gill membranes.

Hard water fish require more minerals in the water to assist in bone growth, of course breathing, and it contributes to their overall immunity. Minerals in hard water absorb some heavy metals thus reducing the toxicity of them.

Soft water fishes do not require these extra minerals and it’s difficult for them to acclimate to hard water conditions as quickly as hard water fish can to soft water conditions.

The thing though is once a fish is acclimated to a harder water source they do adapt and end up using those minerals in the water. Taking them out of that hard water source and putting them into a soft water source without proper acclimation can be detrimental to their health.

KH is the measure of bicarbonate and carbonate ions in water, or "carbonate hardness". These prevent the pH from budging at all.

It’s a pH stabilizer and is essential to the science of pH.

To lower pH one must lower the mineral content (KH or KH+GH) in the water which can be dangerous and difficult to do by an Aquarist not well informed. The safest and easiest way to lower pH of course is through the addition of R/O reverse osmosis water + slight buffers. But not everyone can do that and my recommendation is to not try to lower pH at all if the Aquarist does not have R/O access.

The main issue with lowering is KH which keeps the pH from crashing. KH is great for a stable aquarium but when you want to lower pH it can be a real hassle. It is possible to lower pH and keep it there (more important than lowering pH itself) without use of R/O by using chemical buffers, peat moss, C02 dosing, driftwood etc etc but this again can be difficult to control and very dangerous. The thing that the Aquarist must keep in mind fish do not tolerate wide swings in pH. KH, if not reduced properly, can swing the PH right back to where it originally was overnight and potentially cause mass casualties. That's why, again, it is not recommend to tinker with pH because it's incredibly dangerous. A Stable pH is more important.



Fish are really interesting in their amazing capabilities to adapt to change. Sudden change is not recommended for raising or lowering any pH GH or KH parameter.







Anyway please be kind to others.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Greek » Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:01 pm

toastifosho wrote:pH is determined by hydrogen cations [H+] and hydroxide or hydroxil anions [OH-]. It’s not just the hydronium ions that determine pH levels.

A pH below 7 indicates an increase of Hydrogen cations [H+] - making the water more acidic. Reversely, a pH above 7 would mean an increase of hydroxide anions [OH -] - making the water more alkaline/basic.

Nope. pH - from definition (quick look at the name "pH") - is based on an activity of hydronium (not hydrogen) ions. That's true what You are writing about OH- ions but I am writing about definition.
toastifosho wrote:Osmoregulation in freshwater fish is more closely related to general hardness (GH) because the fish must use the levels of minerals in the water to regulate their own internal body water (think blood).

Oh, so imagine how bad pH can disrupt the osmoregulation. Unsuitable pH deprivates the functions of skin and makes osmoregulation very ineffective. Just think - people just eat or drink products with bad pH, and our body is doing everything to make the pH of our blood appropriate. Fishes swim in that water for all their life - how can it be regulated? Permanently? Nope - it's just bad for their health.

toastifosho wrote:KH is the measure of bicarbonate and carbonate ions in water, or "carbonate hardness". These prevent the pH from budging at all.

No - the parameter which we measure is alkalinity. It's the same what "pH buffer" is. Carbonate hardness is not the same. As we see, our "KH" is sometimes higher than "GH". Of course it is impossible from chemical viewpont - but this KH is not KH, but an alkalinity. It's easy recipe for water like that - just add a sodium bicarbonate to "zero" water. You'll receive GH=0 and KH>0.


toastifosho wrote:The main issue with lowering is KH which keeps the pH from crashing. KH is great for a stable aquarium but when you want to lower pH it can be a real hassle. It is possible to lower pH and keep it there (more important than lowering pH itself) without use of R/O by using chemical buffers, peat moss, C02 dosing, driftwood etc etc but this again can be difficult to control and very dangerous. The thing that the Aquarist must keep in mind fish do not tolerate wide swings in pH. KH, if not reduced properly, can swing the PH right back to where it originally was overnight and potentially cause mass casualties. That's why, again, it is not recommend to tinker with pH because it's incredibly dangerous. A Stable pH is more important.

If we want to simulate natural conditions we have to keep very (ridiculously) low buffer - that's the only way to imitate natural conditions.


toastifosho wrote:Fish are really interesting in their amazing capabilities to adapt to change. Sudden change is not recommended for raising or lowering any pH GH or KH parameter.

I can't see anything interesting in keeping fish in improper conditions. I, as a human, want to breath with clear air without any pollution - despite I can adapt to polluted environment.


toastifosho wrote:Anyway please be kind to others.

If You mean I am unkind... You are just wrong. Just look at Kuhli's posts - He's shouting, I am calm.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Diana » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:38 pm

...Kordon Fish Protector...


Do your fish need all the things this does?
I am always suspicious of a product that enhances the slime coat. Healthy fish make just the right amount of slime coat. Adding extra may be helpful if the fish have been handled, but not all the time.
Has anyone proven that fish need vitamin B-12? (and why not all the other vitamins?) or can make any use of Echinacea?
The only feature that is useful is the benefit of locking up heavy metals, and this only if your water has high levels. You can get this feature in a separate product if needed.

I think this product is just picking up on some of the nonsense that is common.

Most people that I know use Prime or similar dechlorinator that will break the chlorine-ammonia bond, then lock up the chlorine and ammonia. No more added things that the fish cannot use.

I do not know what is going on with your Kuhli Loaches. They should not be that sensitive to pH levels.
You can see if something simple like adding some peat moss to the filter (I cut up nylon stockings to make media bags) will help, without trying to do any of the other things to the water. Reducing the mineral levels (GH, KH, TDS) is a bit more work, and not something I would really want to get into if the conditions are not too far off.
The peat moss should add some tannic acid to the water and many fish from soft water rivers and streams benefit from the organic acids in the water.

If you get any more Kuhlie Loaches or any other fish use a quarantine tank to monitor them for a month before adding them to your display tank. Make sure they are healthy.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Bas Pels » Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:51 am

Greek wrote:KH is the measure of bicarbonate and carbonate ions in water, or "carbonate hardness". These prevent the pH from budging at all.

No - the parameter which we measure is alkalinity. It's the same what "pH buffer" is. Carbonate hardness is not the same. As we see, our "KH" is sometimes higher than "GH". Of course it is impossible from chemical viewpont - but this KH is not KH, but an alkalinity. It's easy recipe for water like that - just add a sodium bicarbonate to "zero" water. You'll receive GH=0 and KH>0.
[/quote]

I'm afraid you are mixing things

As you wrote, adding sodium carbonate to water will increase the KH, but not the GH. That's right

The problem is, GH is general hardness, measuring both calcium and magnesium. Not potassium, sodium and other ions, just the 2 I mentioned. Therefore, the name General hardness is a wrong one, unless one realizes hardness is just referring to magnesium and calcium, and no other ions.

Water with only sodiumcarbonate dissolved, does have 0 GH, can have a high KH, and will in that case have a firm buffer

But when one would only dissolve sodiumphosphate, the water will be buffered too, without any KH.

KH measures carbonate and biarbonate. What it does not measure is dissolved carbonacid

CO2 + H2O <-> H2CO3* <-> H+ HCO3- <-> 2 H+ CO3--

* this compound is instable, and will form either CO2 and water or H+ and HCO3-, both very rapidly. Still, it must be formed in oprder to have carbonacid form bicarbonate

Water with free access to air will always have the same amount of CO2 dissolved, because the amount of CO2 in the air is the same everywhere. But in acidic water, the free H+ (I should write H3O+, but will keep matters simple) will steer the H2CO3 into forming CO2 and not HCO3-.

Better put, any HCO3- will react with H+ forming H2CO3, which has another chance of forming CO2

Therefore, in acidic water the concentrations HCO3 are very low, and therefore the equilibrium HCO3/CO2 is low.

In basic water, the HCO3 will not be able to react with the scarce H+, so it will remain, and therefore HCO3/CO2 is high

When the water is, therefore, basic, the HCO3 will have to be formed into CO2, and removed from the water. No other way exists for acidifying the water
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Greek » Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:48 am

You didn't add anything new ;) You just didn't understand me and that's the reason.

Sure, KH (so alkalinity) is not the same as "buffer capacity", but we call it as buffer, because it's our protection to keep pH stable. Of course we can use other buffers as citric, acetic, phosphate or tannic (others, as hydrochloric or sulphuric acid can't buffer as we want, because of their too low dissociation constant).
Bas Pels wrote:The problem is, GH is general hardness, measuring both calcium and magnesium. Not potassium, sodium and other ions, just the 2 I mentioned. Therefore, the name General hardness is a wrong one, unless one realizes hardness is just referring to magnesium and calcium, and no other ions.

No - not only calcium and magnesium ions are included to GH. Also some other elements with valence=2. And that's good name, cause those are most important for health of animals - it's just most useful. If we want to measure others, we can measure conductivity or TDS.
And what's important - KH testers measures all buffer capacity connected with ions, not only connected with Ca2+ and Mg2+. Then convert it for calcium and magnesium.
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