Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Kuhli » Mon Dec 07, 2015 7:01 pm

Bas Pels wrote:I would suggest you start with a bicket of water from the tank. Measure the pH

To this you add something which would acidify the water, such as oak leaf extract. A little, such as 1 ml. Then measure the pH again. Most likely, the pH is a lot lower, perhaps it went from 7.5 to 6.5. If it is more or less 1 point, calculate how much larger your tank is, and add this amount. Diluted, off course

if it is not more or less 1 point, calculate how much more you would need for the bucket, and add this.

Obviously, you get the point: find out how much of the extract you need to lower the pH 1 point and add this to the tank

Measure the pH and the next day do so again. In almost all cases the pH is back to what it used to be.

That is, the water in the tank is in pH equilibrium with the tank itself, and when the water becomes a bit more acidic, the tank will compensate. Therefore you will need to add more extract the next day. The same amount as the day before.

Were you to lower the pH more than 1 point, the fish might be harmed, so you cannot lower the water pH more than 1 point. Therefore lowering the pH in a tank is Always something which will take time. Lots of time.

I will be turning a tank for South American cichlids into a tank for Tanganjica cichlids soon - pH will raise from 6.5 to 8.0, and although I can do this without any fishes, I assume the pH laise will take me a week. After which the algea will start dying, so it might take a month to repopulate the tank.

So, good question - inquiring how to lower pH. I't's a lot more complicated than most people, including most chemists, would think (I'm a chemist myself, and found out the above about the tank pH equilibrium myself)


Thank you for the reply.

I will do this as soon as possible. Instead of oak leaf extract, could I use something like this? http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=4085

As for the nitrates, I posted the tap water issue to my tumblr fish blog and everyone is telling me to get an RO/DI unit. I'm very hesitant to do this as messing around with water chemistry is very unknown to me and I fear I will mess up and kill everything, not to mention all those things that can go wrong during a water change. Speaking of, eventually I will upgrade to a 55g which will be in the basement. That will allow me to use a python hose for water changes. How would I even go about using a RO/DI unit with a python hose? How would I be able to add the buffer salts like this? Not to mention the exorbitant price of these units and their upkeep.

What about a something like this product? http://www.amazon.com/NYOS-Zeo-1000ml/dp/B00SX18VRW

I have plants in my current 20g, but I plan on making the 55g a jungle with a huge amount of plants. Would this help to lower nitrates?
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby atmichaels » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:06 pm

RO/DI is great because it gives you a blank slate (very nearly pure water) to work with but the problem is you then have to add everything back to it. Lots of work involved. You'd also need a large storage tank for the RO/DI water to accumulate in, it's not an instant process.

Plants are very useful at removing nitrates from the water, especially floaters like hornwort and duckweed. I also use emersed Pothos in a few of my tanks.


I'm not familiar with the black water extract as I usually try to go the natural (cheap) route. You can collect fallen hardwood leaves like oak and beach and make your own extract by boiling them. Don't go the peat route as it can get messy and peat harvesting is unsustainable.

The nitrate reducer on Amazon is for saltwater tanks. You're looking for something like Seachem's purigen as a nitrate remover.

Hope this helps.

Austen
Currently keeping: gastromyzon spp., hypergastromyzon humilis, pseudogastromyzon sp., sewellia spp., ambastaia sidthimunki, homaloptera spp., serpenticobitis octozona, Yaoshania pachychilus. As well as various catfish, loricarids, livebearers and tetras.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Kuhli » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:48 pm

atmichaels wrote:RO/DI is great because it gives you a blank slate (very nearly pure water) to work with but the problem is you then have to add everything back to it. Lots of work involved. You'd also need a large storage tank for the RO/DI water to accumulate in, it's not an instant process.

Plants are very useful at removing nitrates from the water, especially floaters like hornwort and duckweed. I also use emersed Pothos in a few of my tanks.


I'm not familiar with the black water extract as I usually try to go the natural (cheap) route. You can collect fallen hardwood leaves like oak and beach and make your own extract by boiling them. Don't go the peat route as it can get messy and peat harvesting is unsustainable.

The nitrate reducer on Amazon is for saltwater tanks. You're looking for something like Seachem's purigen as a nitrate remover.

Hope this helps.

Austen


It definitely helps. Thank you for all your help.

I have Brazilian Pennywort that grows a mile a day, and I've heard those are good at absorbing nitrate. I really like hornwort but I heard Flourish Excel melts it? I was also going to get Amazonian Frogbit eventually.

I wish I could do RO/DI but I, like previously stated, have absolutely no space to store something like a big water vat.

I'm always a little hesitant to go collect oak leaves because I am afraid I might accidentally collect something toxic or the leaf may have a contaminant that ends up killing my fish. I live in the woods so there is plenty of leaves to go around but I couldn't tell you what was an oak leaf compared to a birch or similar. I never planned on peat because of the environmental damage their collection causes.

I already have a Purigen in the filter which I am always recharging. I was thinking about Seachem's Hypersorb or Renew as well.

Also the API Water Softening Pillow but I read that it is adverse for plants as it removes the minerals that raise gH and instead pumps in sodium ions.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Bas Pels » Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:48 am

@ blackwater extract - I would not know, I never saw it here, in Europe, for sale

With regard to water softening, the very idea of hard water comes from the laundry business. Calcium and magnesium - the stuff which make water hard - inhibit the action of soap, and thus make it hard to clean clothes.

Replacing them for sodium is easy and cheap, while replacing them for H+ (and the anions for OH-, which combines als H2O, aka water) is more expensive, and uses dangerous acid and leaches.

Still, plants living in soft water are adapted to cope with it. Mostly by growing slowly. So even in soft water one can keep plants. Wheter the water is soft due to remouving Mg and Ca, or because it is just comes soft from its well
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Greek » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:15 am

Bas Pels, with all due respect, trying to acidify such buffered water with tannins from some extracts is innefective. The KH buffer must be about 6n while pH being at tha value. To acidify such a water effectively we firstly have to lower the buffer.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Kuhli » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:31 am

Greek wrote:Bas Pels, with all due respect, trying to acidify such buffered water with tannins from some extracts is innefective. The KH buffer must be about 6n while pH being at tha value. To acidify such a water effectively we firstly have to lower the buffer.



You keep saying I need to lower the kH but you have yet to give a method or solution. Would a water softening pillow do the trick or will it be too adverse for my plants?
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Bas Pels » Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:58 pm

Adding acid will reduce the KH.

What hapens is the following:

1 acid will lower the KH
2 as lowering the pH will help CO3-- -> HCO3- -> H2O and CO2 (a gas, which will leave the water) lowering the pH (that is, adding acid) will lower the KH

However, a high KH will imply the need of a lot of acid

In case of a high KH I can imagine the desire of using a strong acid, such as hydrochloric acid. However, it is better to refrain from using it. Firstly, the stuff is very potent. So potent it can, given time, dissolve a human body. I would not want such stuff in my house, even though I know what it is, and I don´t have children.

A drop in your eye can destroy it. Frankly put, if you get a frop of hydrochloric acid (over 1 % proof) in both your eyes, take the time to look one more time at your fish, as it will be the last time: docters can do a lot, but they cannot repair the damage hydrochloric acid does.

Secondly, being this potent, you will need only a very little of it. Imagine the situation when you need 1 drop of it to lower the pH of a 2 gallon bucket of water from 7.5 to 5. How much drops will you need for your tank? Can´t tell

So you go and find a 20 gallon bucket, and fill it with water. 1 drop now lowers the pH to 6.8. Accetable, and you decide to add 10 drops into your 200 gallon tank.

Unfortunately, the acid did not mix very well, and therefore you had a bit of water pH 4.5 in the tank, killing 1 or 2 fishes.

With this kind of acid, one will need to take more safety measures, both for oneself and the fishes one cares about.

I am not going to explain these, not because I want to deny anyone the knowledge, but because one might thing this knowledge is an invitation to trying. And without a proper sense of what is going on, one should not be working with this hazzardous chemicals
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Greek » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:01 am

@Kuhil, I don't want to try explaining it very precisely, because the specialistic language will be necessary in that situation. English is not my first language, so I don't want to mislead You because of some vocabulary mistake. But that topic is so popular and there's no difficulty in finding some information about it the web. It's clearly explained in, i'm sure, lots of discussions.

Bas Pels wrote:Adding acid will reduce the KH.

What hapens is the following:

1 acid will lower the KH
2 as lowering the pH will help CO3-- -> HCO3- -> H2O and CO2 (a gas, which will leave the water) lowering the pH (that is, adding acid) will lower the KH

However, a high KH will imply the need of a lot of acid

In case of a high KH I can imagine the desire of using a strong acid, such as hydrochloric acid. However, it is better to refrain from using it. Firstly, the stuff is very potent. So potent it can, given time, dissolve a human body. I would not want such stuff in my house, even though I know what it is, and I don´t have children.

A drop in your eye can destroy it. Frankly put, if you get a frop of hydrochloric acid (over 1 % proof) in both your eyes, take the time to look one more time at your fish, as it will be the last time: docters can do a lot, but they cannot repair the damage hydrochloric acid does.

Secondly, being this potent, you will need only a very little of it. Imagine the situation when you need 1 drop of it to lower the pH of a 2 gallon bucket of water from 7.5 to 5. How much drops will you need for your tank? Can´t tell

So you go and find a 20 gallon bucket, and fill it with water. 1 drop now lowers the pH to 6.8. Accetable, and you decide to add 10 drops into your 200 gallon tank.

Unfortunately, the acid did not mix very well, and therefore you had a bit of water pH 4.5 in the tank, killing 1 or 2 fishes.

With this kind of acid, one will need to take more safety measures, both for oneself and the fishes one cares about.

I am not going to explain these, not because I want to deny anyone the knowledge, but because one might thing this knowledge is an invitation to trying. And without a proper sense of what is going on, one should not be working with this hazzardous chemicals


I use this method from the long time and I can't see a huge hazard of that. First what we have to do, is to dilute a concentrated acid to exact and lower concentration. I reccomend <10%. And i also reccomend using sulfuric acid which doesn't smokes (I don't know if it is a good word for that effect), and doesn't arouse an unpleasant reaction of eyes and nose. Diluted acid won't be dangerous.
You wrote that high KH will imply a lot of acid - so imagine how much tannins You will need to do that. It would be only possible using peat.
And to be honest - that's not a big need of acid to lower KH. To lower it for 4 dH (so from 6 to 2dH) in 20US gal of water, we will need only 48 mililitres of 10% sulfuric acid. That equals 3 mililitres of concentrated acid. That shows how cheap this method is.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Kuhli » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:18 pm

I lost another one this morning. The juvenile sumatranus I bought a week ago. Same as before.


While I understand the chemistry behind adding such strong acids to water to lower pH, I don't think I can do this. I simply do not feel safe adding such powerful and deadly substances into a setting with live organisms. Nor do I feel safe keeping such strong acids in the house and handling it, even. Accidents happen, and with such corrosive acids, these could be fatal accidents. I wouldn't even know where to buy them.

Are these truly my only options? RO/DI or acid?

Are you sure the water softening pillow wouldn't help? I could add that, then add IAL, blackwater tea, etc and slowly bring pH down. Though, I could see issues with the pH rising every water change.....

This is really frustrating.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Greek » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:14 pm

Kuhli wrote:
Are you sure the water softening pillow wouldn't help?

If You mean: ion-exchange resin - yes. But not used in the tank, but by filtering water before adding it to aquarium. And You have to know that to regenerate it, You need... acids - You were afraid of using them.
To be honest - the simplest and cheapest method, when we need to lower only carbonate hardness - is using acids.

Of course we don't use them by adding straight to the aquarium, but adding them to the water, which we pour to our tanks.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby atmichaels » Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:19 pm

Honestly, I would be more concerned with the high nitrates rather than the high pH right now. (By the way, there are several pH reducers sold for aquariums with the main ingredient being....sulfuric acid. It only sounds scary).

Another thought on the unexplained deaths- could be low dissolved oxygen. Do you have any kind of aeration? Looking at the picture of your tank it looks like your filter return is well below the surface so there's no surface agitation. Has anything about your setup changed in the past few months?
Currently keeping: gastromyzon spp., hypergastromyzon humilis, pseudogastromyzon sp., sewellia spp., ambastaia sidthimunki, homaloptera spp., serpenticobitis octozona, Yaoshania pachychilus. As well as various catfish, loricarids, livebearers and tetras.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Diana » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:29 am

pH is not a stand alone value.
The minerals and salts in the water control the pH.
By controlling the minerals and salts in the water you can control the pH.

Carbonates (measured by the KH test) are the most common buffers in aquariums, but water companies often add something to the water to keep it alkaline because acidic water can harm the pipes. The pH can be up into the 7s, even if the KH is quite low.

The first step in attempting to control the pH is to test the KH, see what you are dealing with.

Adding acid can lower the pH, but it works better if there are less minerals etc to fight, first. I would sure try adding the leaves, peat moss or wood to your current tap water. Easiest. If the high pH is because of something the water company added, then this might lower the pH just enough.
Black water extract is the same material as you would get by adding peat moss, leaves or wood to the tank. Any of these will work slowly, and add organic materials to the water that are natural in many rivers and streams. The trick will be to add these to the water before the water is in the tank. Prepare the water the day before a water change. I do this by filling a garbage can with a knee hi stocking full of peat moss then circulating the water with a fountain pump. For a 20 gallon tank this would just require a 5 gallon bucket (25% water change). Keeping wood in the tank, or leaves can also help the fish, it gives them more hiding places. Adding peat moss to the filter (in a nylon stocking) can help with this, too. Continuing to soften the water. If it works at all.

If the pH is due to high carbonates, then adding the leaves, wood or peat moss will not help very much. Try it, but if the pH does not shift, then you will have to lower the carbonates before trying it again. Sometimes peat moss will help. It is worth trying.

Another way to deal with this:
Buy several gallons of reverse osmosis water or distilled water the day before a water change, and allow them to come to room temperature. Then refill the tank with a combination of RO and warmed tap water.

When you get into this whole can of worms, there are a few things to think about.

1) To initiate a change in water chemistry go slow. Start with using a small amount of reverse osmosis water, peat moss or other material. This changes the water slowly so the fish can adapt.

2) Once the tank has been changed over you need to prepare replacement water before the water change so that when you refill the tank there is not a change in water chemistry.

Find out what you need to do, then decide if you can do this or not. If not, then keep other fish that will thrive in your water.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Greek » Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:00 am

Diana wrote:
Adding acid can lower the pH, but it works better if there are less minerals etc to fight, first. I would sure try adding the leaves, peat moss or wood to your current tap water. Easiest.

Thats exactly reverse :D Natural acids from leaves etc. are too weak to remove a substantial amount of minerals. Mineral acids are stronger and more efficient. If we have a low amount of minerals we don't have to remove them, and we can use tannins. If not - we firstly have to remove them, and then acidify with tannins.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Diana » Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:40 pm

"...the reverse..." How so? You just reworded what I said:
Organic matter might help, but is better if you reduce the mineral levels first. Then the organic acids will work, and are a better option.

Peat moss can lower the KH.
Not always, some peat moss seems to be more active than others. The only way to know is to try it.

When the KH is lower, the pH is easier to change. This does happen with peat moss. Peat moss has excess H+ that it will give off to the water.

Here is what I would do:
Get a gallon of RO or distilled water from the store.
Make up a couple of blends of tap + RO. Make 2 samples of each recipe, perhaps a cup or two of each:
25% RO + 75% tap
50/50
75% RO + 25% tap

See what the GH, KH and pH and NO3 of these blends are, and if these parameters are stable over 24-48 hours.

To one of each recipe, add a handful of peat moss, and test all the parameters. Daily for 2-3 days, then continue the tests out for a week. You are looking for several things:
How fast the reaction happens and if it is stable, that is, if the lowered values stay lower over time.
By keeping some of each recipe with no peat moss you are seeing what simply adding RO (or distilled) will do for you.

Since one of the problems seems to be nitrate in the tap water you may end up needing to do something like this anyway, to get rid of the nitrate. If you have to go this route to get away from the NO3, then you might as well make the appropriate GH, KH and pH for your fish, too.
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Re: Kuhli Loaches Keep Dying Suddenly

Postby Greek » Fri Dec 11, 2015 2:36 pm

Diana wrote:"...the reverse..." How so? You just reworded what I said:
Organic matter might help, but is better if you reduce the mineral levels first. Then the organic acids will work, and are a better option.


Oh, so I really don't understand why You present two opposing statements in one message?


Diana wrote:Peat moss can lower the KH.
Not always, some peat moss seems to be more active than others. The only way to know is to try it.

Yes, You are right. It's the most natural (so IMO the best) method to lower pH. But we're not talking here about peat, but about tannins from leaves, cones or sth like that. And those are many times less concentrated than in the water filtrated through a peat, and are not very useful while KH is that high.
I would of course reccomend Kuhli to filtrate water through a peat, but if using acid is complicated, building a filtration column is decidedly more difficult.


Diana wrote:
See what the GH, KH and pH and NO3 of these blends are, and if these parameters are stable over 24-48 hours.


The water movement is important. After leaving water for 48h, but without movement, pH value can be faked because of lack of balance between concentration of CO2 in water and in the air. ;)
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