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!! Fish Emergency !!

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by bsnyder921, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Hi everyone -

    Just got my first pressurized CO2 setup. I had a DIY CO2 setup before that. I set the system up to go at about 3 bubbles per second this morning. I came home around noon (so the CO2 had been running for about 4 hours), and found that all of my cardinal tetras were near the surface of the water gasping. They're usually in the middle of the tank, vertically. I also found that my three adult clown loaches were practically motionless, and barely breathing at the bottom of the tank. They also weren't in their usual 'cave' hiding spot, they were out in front - not sure why. Anyway, I immediately shut off all CO2 and did a 75% water change. The cardinal tetras seem to have rebounded quickly. One of the clown loaches stopped moving completely (no mouth or gill movement) so I nudged him gently -- he moved a bit, but then settled back down on the floor of the tank. Another minute later and he started moving his mouth/gills again.

    A number of questions --

    1- Are my fish going to be ok?
    2- I've heard clown loaches are considered to be more 'difficult' fish to care for. I've never, ever had any problems with mine. Could it be that maybe they're more sensitive to high levels of CO2 than other fish?
    3- Did I add too much CO2 too soon? I'm guessing I did. If that's the case, how should I start my pressurized setup? One bubble per second or less for a week - then add more gradually?
    4- Any other tips? Is there anything else I should do for my fish? Should I do another water change this evening? Should I keep poking the loaches to try to get them to swim around more and keep moving?

    My wife will have my balls if I kill the clown loaches. She loves those guys.

    Thanks for the help, as always!
     
  2. lalmeida

    lalmeida New Member

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    Hi,

    There are some important rules to follow when we use co2. You shall inject co2 only with lights on. You must have a good water surface movement to promote a good oxigenation of water.You must keep you tank open.

    You have poor oxigen in the water due to some or all of the situations discribed behind. Thats why your fishes are having this behaviour.

    Cheers,

    LMA
     
  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    *cue south park song from the episode "Good Times with Weapons" that sings "protect my balls!" :)))

    You definitely added too much CO2 too quickly. What is your CO2 schedule like? CO2 should turn on one hour before lights are on, then about one hour before lights go off the CO2 should go off.

    When starting CO2, start slowly. And only do this when you can be home to observe. Since 3 bps was too much start with 1 bps, do you have a little surface movement? If not you should. CO2 is cheap and a little wasted for better oxygenation is worth it, IMO. If your fish are okay with the 1 bps for about a week. increase it slightly and observe.

    I have found fish have a range of tolerance to CO2 and this range varies between species. Think of it like a long distance runner who only ran at sea level. Now he is running in Denver...its tougher, so his body will adjust and it will get easier. Adjusting CO2 slowly over time allows for your fish to get used to it and ensures you don't gas them.

    Without doing a water change an emergency airstone will quickly alleviate the stress from CO2. Takes about 10 minutes.

    I wouldn't poke the fish to get them going, this may just add stress. They are conserving energy and probably have a low dissolved oxygen in their blood, hence the sluggish movement.

    :talkalot:CO2 inhibits the binding of O2 in hemoglobin. When O2 travels to your tissues from your lungs(or gills) it goes to low oxygen high CO2 tissue...the O2 is released and CO2 bound. This occurs because the CO2 creates a conformational change in the hemoglobin molecule making it have less affinity for O2 and a greater affinity for CO2...it then goes to the lungs(or gills) where O2 is higher than CO2 concentration and the conformational change is reversed, so CO2 is released and O2 is bound. SOOO, when we increase the level of CO2 in the water/air, it becomes more difficult for hemoglobin to release CO2 and bind oxygen within the lungs or gills. I think the fish will undergo physiological changes to compensate for this difficulty much like the runner from a low altitude to a high altitude, although with the runner the problem is air density... :talkalot:
     
  4. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Yikes, I feel overwhelmed. I had it in my head that as soon as I got this pressurized setup going, I'd be good to go, just "set it and forget it". I was so wrong!

    lalmeida - thanks for the tips.

    SM- Responses below to your comments:

    You definitely added too much CO2 too quickly. What is your CO2 schedule like?

    Well, I have no "schedule" since until this morning I've been doing the DIY route w/ the soda bottle. In other words, once I make a new batch of yeast/sugar/water mixture, I hook it all up and let it spurt out bubbles over the course of about 6-7 days. That was going on 24-7, but it was pretty little in terms of the amount of CO2 - maybe 1-2 bubbles per second for the first day or two, then one bubble per second (probably less) for the remaining few days -- then I'd make a new mixture and the process would repeat. I have my lights set to turn on at about 7:00AM and they turn off at 8:00pm or so.

    When starting CO2, start slowly. And only do this when you can be home to observe. Since 3 bps was too much start with 1 bps, do you have a little surface movement? If not you should. CO2 is cheap and a little wasted for better oxygenation is worth it, IMO.

    Good tip. I have very little surface movement, because I typically keep the water level filled right up to the level of the HOB AquaClear filter -- so the water flows directly from the filter into the tank, with very little disruption. I also have a hydro korilla nano which creates a very tiny bit of movement on the surface. Normally I have no real surface agitation though, and by that I mean nothing is making splashes or bubbles at the surface. The thing is though, I thought that if you were using CO2 that you DID NOT want surface agitation, because that allows the CO2 to be released from the water really fast. So which is it? And if I do need more agitation, what's a good (and cheap!) way of accomplishing that?

    Adjusting CO2 slowly over time allows for your fish to get used to it and ensures you don't gas them.
    Thanks, this makes sense. I'll go slowly for the sake of my clown loaches and balls.


    Without doing a water change an emergency airstone will quickly alleviate the stress from CO2. Takes about 10 minutes.
    Bah, I don't have an airpump or air stone - but I know those are pretty cheap and it might be good to have on hand just in case for the future. I'm back at work now, and unfortunately not able to check on the fish again for about another hour. When I do get home, I'll check on them and continue to keep the CO2 off. Perhaps another water change if they're still sluggish?

    I need to do a cleaning in my tank, including scrubbing glass and cleaning / taking apart filter. So here's an idea, let me know what you think...

    1. Assuming fish are okay, tonight I'll do nothing but keep an eye on them. CO2 will remain completely off.
    2. Tomorrow (Thursday) evening I'll do another water change (typically 50 - 75%) while I also scrub the glass and do a very thorough cleaning of all equipment.
    3. The following day (Friday) again, do nothing ... no CO2. I'll give them fish a chance to rest.
    4. Saturday I'll start CO2, an hour before lights come on. I'll only do 1 bubble per second, maybe even a little less. I'll also turn it off before the lights go off, as you suggested.
    5. I'll continue w/ 1 bubble per second for a week, then increase to 2 bubbles per second. Hopefully around this time I'll start noticing a change in my plants, but maybe not. I'll stick with 2 bubbles per second for another week, carefully monitoring the fish during the transition.

    One other question related to the atomic diffuser I have (bought from GLA). The instructions that GLA sent me for the regulator explained how to set it up. They basically said to open the main body valve up, open the tank's valve, and check to make sure that the tank's pressure was between 600-900 psi (it was a little under 900). Then, they said to open the needle valve (Fabco, in my case) and then adjust the main body valve until the low pressure gauge read 10 PSI. I did this .... and I adjusted the bubble rate then using the needle valve. However, when I did this, nothing happened inside the tank. No bubbles were coming out of the diffuser. I don't know if there was a leak somewhere or not (I doubt it). A real mystery to me! The bubbles were going in the counter, but nothing was coming out on the other end. Then I tried upping the pressure on the low gauge from the GLA reccomended 10 PSI to 30 PSI... and then I started to get a nice woosh of bubbles from the diffuser.

    So, questions:
    1- Does the diffuser I bought only work at higher PSI levels (above 10)?
    2- Am I causing any damage to the regulator or any of its parts by constantly keeping the low pressure gauge at 30 PSI? I noticed that the solenoid gets pretty warm, even kind of hot. Not sure if this has something to do with keeping the low pressure at 30 PSI instead of 10.

    Thanks. :)
     
  5. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    There is a difference between surface agitation and surface movement. You do not want the surface to be placid. You want the water moving, it doesn't need to bubble or have big ripples. If you have a little ripple and no still parts at the surface you are good to go.

    Your plan sounds good, I wouldn't try CO2 again until it would appear the loaches have recovered. Testing pH over time throughout the day can give you a little bit of an idea of how much CO2 you are getting into your tank. You would also need a kH test and use the pH, KH, CO2 ppm chart. Its not the best but can give you a rough idea without a drop checker.

    I run my atomizers at 30 psi. The require higher operating pressures. If the working pressure is too low to run the atomizer you will notice the bubble count slow then stop, basically the pressure isn't great enough to overcome the ceramic atomizer. You will not damage the regulator by having the psi at 30. When my CO2 starts when using an atomizer there is a fast bubble rate which eventually slows as the pressure in the line builds. Then when the pressure is great enough to over come the diffuser i get bubbles and a consistent bubble rate I can then adjust with the needle valve.

    Most solenoids do get hot and that is just fine. It won't damage the device.
     
  6. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Thanks again for the help.

    I do have good surface movement. When I look down into my tank from the top, the surface of the water is very rippled... but not so much that there are any bubbles or splashes. Just a lot of movement, mostly from the aquaclear filter but also from the korilla nano that's only about an inch below the surface of the water. Given this - do you think I need to get an airstone? Or any other equipment to make more movement?

    Sigh. Upon closer look of my tank (which I'm going to clean tonight) I noticed a decent build-up of green spot algae. I've had this before, but it was a long time ago. Took lots, lots, and lots of elbow grease to get that crap off. Not looking forward to a night of scrubbing!

    I think I'm understanding the CO2 system better. When the solenoid kicks on, the bubble counter starts going soon after... as to be expected. What was throwing me off before was that no bubbles were coming out of my diffuser, not even after a few minutes. What I think is happening is that during that time, the pressure in the CO2 tubing is building. And like you said, Shadow, those ceramic diffusers (Atomic) require a certain amount of pressure before they'll start spitting out bubbles. And since I have the rate at less than a bubble per second, it's going to take a long time for that amount of pressure to build up in all of my tubing (plus it has a check valve to get through). But once the pressure in the line equals the minimum required working pressure of the diffuser, I get bubbles.

    As of today, all fish seem totally normal/healthy, though I wouldn't be surprised if my clown loaches suffered some brain damage from the lack of O2 yesterday. :)
     
  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    brain damaged characteristics are often quite endearing in fish :)
     
  8. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Not sure if anyone is still following this thread, but I wanted to give an update.

    Last week I pretty much stuck to my recovery plan, though I ended up getting impatient and rushing a bit on starting up the CO2 again. I also did another 75% water change, thoroughly cleaned out the filter, and removed the green spot algae. More on that below.

    Since then, I've increased the CO2 flow rate twice. The first time I raised it from less than 1 bubble/sec to just about 1 bubble/sec. Now it's probably at about 1.5 bubbles per sec. It's pretty hard for me to count the bubbles as they go by though, so maybe I'm off. At the end of the week I'll probably increase it again, but I won't do it until the weekend so I can be home all day to monitor the fish during the process.

    The atomic diffuser seems to be working super well. I put in the back right corner of the tank, right behind a large mass of java fern. Some of the bubbles that come up from it get caught up in the leaves of the JF (which is probably great for the JF), and those that make it up get pulled right up and into my Hydor Korilla Nano pump, and then they get shot right out into the middle of the aquarium... and from there, they get swept around everywhere by the powerful currents of the AquaClear filter. I guess this is a good thing!

    I finally started noticing some effects of the CO2 yesterday. I was staring at my aquarium for a long time, and I realized that everything was a shade or two greener than it had been before. Next I hope to start seeing some extra growth.

    Now that I have good lighting, good substrate, good C02.. the only thing left to really tackle is the ferts. I'd like to try the E.I. method, but I have a couple of hesitations. First, the cost. But mostly, I'm concerned about the lazy side of me that would probably miss multiple days of dosing. I generally don't like doing maintenance on my tank, so the thought of doing something every day seems like a pain. Any thoughts?

    At some point this week I'm going to make a video showing my tank and the new CO2 setup. I'll post on here when it's up!

    -Brian
     
  9. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Glad to hear things are going well now.

    Dosing EI is easy and can be done 3 times a week. Generally people alternate macro and micro days for an every day dosing. You feed your fish everyday, right? Dosing is as easy as that. EI and a good substrate allow for some wiggle room since it provides nutrients in excess. Dosing is dirt cheap, literally...some dirt costs more. I just bought another round of ferts from Greenleaf and it ran like $27 with shipping. This will last me through the year...yes the year. I make solutions using Wets calculator and dose a macro solution and a micro solution according to EI. Very easy and very quick. I bought some solution containers from usplastics.com and another one from greenleaf to see which I like better. plastic bottles are dirt cheap too :) $6 for greenleafs bottle, and like $8 for a few different US plastics bottles with caps. I will make a solution, measure how much a capful is and then dose by capfuls. Easy peasy lemon squeezy
     
  10. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Hey SM,

    Yes, I do feed my fish daily. Actually my wife usually does because she loves doing it. And if dosing daily is really as simple as you say it is, I think I'll be fine with that.

    So honestly only $27 for a YEARS supply of fertilizers and that even includes shipping? Sign me up! I actually went to their site and read both of the articles they link to regarding dosing methods. I was sold on the EI method the second I read the words "easy" and "cheap". But cheap is a relative term in the world of aquascaping, I've found.

    Anyway, I saw on their site that it looks like they sell all of the individual nutrients and also some pre-mixed packages that contain everything you need. And I've read enough to know that you can either add the dry ferts to some aquarium water on a daily basis, then mix until dissolved, and then pour into the aquarium -- or you can make a big batch of pre-mixed solution that contains everything you want to dose with. The big batch of pre-mixed solution method sounds a lot easier to me, and it sounds like that's what you do as well.

    So what's the main difference between the solution you're using and something like Excel, or any other type of "all-in-one" fertilizer product? Does your mixture just have a higher concentration of each nutrient? Or does it contain a lot of nutrients that the store brands don't include in theirs?

    Another question -- (and after your reply I'm sure I'll have a lot more) -- do you need different amounts of nutrients depending on which types of plants you have? Does the amount of plants you have also matter? For example, if you have an over-grown dutch style aquarium would you need the same amount of ferts as someone with a few leaves of java fern?

    I'm learning so much!
    -Brian
     
  11. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Excel actually isn't fertilizer, it is a liquid source of carbon meant to be analogous to CO2. It isn't as good as CO2, however. It also works as a nice algae deterrent. There is a whole bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo on why it is not classified as an algaecide.

    The difference between the solutions I make and say Seachem flourish is the amount of nutrients in the dosage. For CO2 supplemented tanks, the rate of growth is much greater and so plants need more nutrients. Flourish just can't keep up at their standard dosing rates.

    EI dosing is meant to provide non-limiting nutrients to prevent deficiencies and ensure maximum growth can be maintained in higher light CO2 enriched tanks. The nutrients are all the same regardless of what plants you have. The plants rate of growth is usually what dictates how much is needed. This can sometimes change with how well a plant can compete for nutrients, but it seems this is mainly in regards to CO2. Some plants are poor CO2 competitors while others gobble it up easily.

    The amounts a tank need do vary by tank, but EI is an estimation and you shoot for a wide range, so you don't have to test or worry about anything like that. A tank with a lot of slow growers and lower light will require less than a tank with a lot of fast growing stems and high light. I have a non CO2 tank I dose with about a 1/3rd of EI.

    The amount of plants matters, but again because EI shoots for a range you shouldn't need to adjust. If you want to limit water changes then generally people reduce their dosages. EI depends on water changes to reset the high levels of nutrients to ensure they do not build to toxic levels. This takes sometime however or an extremely high dose compared to standard EI.

    When mixing solutions be sure not to mix a PO4 compound like KH2PO4 with an Iron (Fe) containing compound. The PO4 and Fe form a precipitate and you will lose both of those out of solution. That is why people make a macro solution with KNO3 and KH2PO4 (some add KH2SO4 for more Potassium) and a micro solution with CSM+B and chelated Fe (like Fe DTPA) with some excel. Excel is added to the micro solution because it will prevent fungus from forming. The micro solution should also be put into a dark bottle since light can degrade it and encourage growth of unwanted "stuff". A hydrogen peroxide bottle works good.

    does that answer everything?
     
  12. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Any more questions? Of course, you should know that about me by now. :)

    So is this what you bought from GLA?

    Micro & Macro | Aquarium Fertilizer | Green Leaf Aquariums

    That would fit the bill for the $27 you said that the ferts cost.

    I've seen a lot of calculators online for determining the right amount of ferts for your tank. So I'm guessing that if I had something like this 'kit' from GLA, I'd then use a calculator to estimate how much of the fertilizers I'd need for my tank, and then I could make a mixture with some water + the measured ferts, and then just add on a daily basis.... is that about it in a nutshell?
     
  13. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Those are the compounds I purchased, minus the CSM+B, that lasts forever. I have been using the same bag for 2 years now.

    Be sure to use distilled water. Use this calculator: Yet Another Nutrient Calculator

    When you calculate for EI it calculates for the EI schedule, 3 days a week, so you can cut that down for daily doses.
     
  14. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Hmm.. so what would I put in the field for "I am dosing with" since I don't see anything specifically for GLA's "Green Fertilizer Package: Micros & Macros"?

    Similarly, do I select "The Estimative Index" for the "I am calculating for" field?
     
  15. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    double post*
     
  16. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    the compounds are not all mixed together so just add each component, for example KNO3

    I like to add Fe DTPA to my CSM for added Iron. I add 1 part Fe DTPA to 3 parts CSM and use that as my trace mix.

    Yes use the estimative index choice.
     
  17. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Hey ShadowM -

    Going back to the EI method of dosing. More questions.

    It seems like you should only use the EI method of dosing if you have "strong" lighting along with good CO2. I'm definitely set with the CO2 now, but is my lighting enough?

    -Nova Extreme 2x T5HO 6,400K (each lamp is 24", 24watts for a total of 48watts)
    -Tank dimensions (29 gal / approx 110 liters) 30" long, 12" front to rear, 18" tall)

    If that isn't enough - what could happen if I try dosing? Massive algae bloom?

    Finally, I'd like to order GLA's 'complete package'. Is that in fact "everything" that I need? I'd also order one of their dosing/storage bottles, probably the smaller one. If there's anything else that I'd need I'd want to order it all at once.
    Micro & Macro | Aquarium Fertilizer | Green Leaf Aquariums
     
  18. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Excess nutrients do not cause algae. So no worries about dosing EI with your lighting. CO2 will improve your plants growth and nutrient consumption without a boost in lighting. Their uptake just might not be what it would be under higher lighting. That is perfectly okay.

    I think your lighting is sitting just right to give you the most manageable levels of growth.

    The only thing I would add would be the iron chelate. Like I mentioned above I increase my iron dosing by adding it to the CSM by a ratio of 4:1; CSM:Fe. That would work for you. You probably won't need to up the iron if you don't want to. I do, cuz it makes me feel safer. :) I take one tbs. of Fe DTPA, add it to a small container, then add 3 or 4 (depending on how heavy I want to dose Fe) of CSM, then mix. This then becomes what I use for trace dosing or making micro solutions.

    You will want 2 bottles for ferts. One for macros another for micros. Remember to mix in some excel with your micro solution.
     
  19. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Okay - so I'm not arguing with you, but I need to understand this concept of excess nutrients not causing algae. Because if you do google searches for what causes algae, most of them will say that it's either excess nutrients or excess light.

    On another note ...

    The GLA complete package looks like it would make sense since it has both micro & macro nutrients -- wow, it really is the complete package. :) And you're right about the two bottles... good idea there, thanks. The only reason I think getting the smaller bottle would be better for me is because I've heard that some of the nutrients (can't remember which ones) do have a bit of a shelf life, especially when mixed in with other nutrients. So for that reason it seems to me that it wouldn't be good to make a huge batch that will take me many months to get through. Also, I think of my aquarium as being on the smaller end, thus not really needing a huge bottle.
     
  20. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    google searches will come up with all kinds of things. Nutrients causing algae is something from the reefers that has appeared in planted tanks.

    Algae cannot be limited by nutrients because it needs so very little to grow. Plants are what end up being limited, which means the plants don't grow well so algae does.

    You don't have to take my word for it, ask plantbrain aka Tom Barr. He says grow plants and algae won't be a problem. The whole nutrients don't cause algae is from him. So you pick....google...or Tom.

    I use smaller bottles too. Micro mix has a bit of a shelf life. The macros not so much.
     

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