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Water Chemistry question
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MichaelOverHere
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Joined: 19 Feb 2012
Location: N. Ireland

PostPosted: 2012.04.11(Wed)9:43    Post subject: Water Chemistry question Reply with quote

I bought a testing kit to keep track of ammonia nitrates nitrite etc a while ago and recently one of my molly (marble Poecili) died and after a water test my results were;

pH <6.4 (doesn't give any other colour scale below this)
KH 100mg/l
GH 250mg/l
Nitrate - slight trace
Nitrite - slight trace
Ammonia - 0

Temperature is approx 27degrees C

This test was taken after the fish died and was removed, a day before my weekly water change.
A couple days after a 10-20% water change I got more or less the same results, apart from KH which dropped to 75.
Before the fish died the last test was taken 5 days previous which showed the pH was 6.8-7.2 range and was wondering why would it have dropped and is this a cause of concern.
As its is a colour pad type test so its judged on eye and there would be a margin of error in the results.

All tap water is treated with "Tetra Aqua Safe" to remove chlorine and "heavy metals"

The tank details:
approx 50 litre (about 12 uk gallons?)
population: 2 male guppies - put in 18th feb
4 female mollys (poecili) (now 3) - put in 28th feb
5 (unplanned) fry in a breeding net
has been running since 11th feb

Thanks for any suggestions/changes. Google isnt being too helpful about this.
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Darkblade48
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Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Location: Yokohama, Japan

PostPosted: 2012.04.12(Thu)3:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

What kind of test kit are you using? If it is a strip-type test kit, I would take the results with a degree of skepticism, as they are notoriously inaccurate.

I would suggest you retest your water using a liquid based test kit for more accurate results.

However, the presence of nitrites suggests that something is amiss; this could be the reason that your fish has died.

In addition, the low pH may be an issue (but it is hard to say...)
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MichaelOverHere
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Joined: 19 Feb 2012
Location: N. Ireland

PostPosted: 2012.05.05(Sat)6:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry forgot to update you after I got the water tested by the fish shop a few weeks ago using a liquid based kit, and they said there was a very slight touch of ammonia to the water (but pH came back fine, 7 ish), another molly died, as well as a baby (molly) fry then died, I discovered just after I came home from getting the water checked

Started daily water changes, 10%/day for just over a week, reduced feeding, and couple days after I stopped another fry and another molly died. Once again returned to the fish shop and they couldnt fault the water so not sure whats going on.

Now, (2 weeks since) and I've had another baby fry die but remaining 2 guppys and one molly are fine, as well as 1 unknown breed of fry and a molly fry

(Tank has been running for over 4 months)

Really don't know where to go from here, have been wanting to put in more guppies and maybe some tetra (neon/cardinal?). Fish shop said to go on ahead but I don't know if its genuine or them wanting some fish should.
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2012.05.05(Sat)10:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

What filter do you have?
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MichaelOverHere
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Joined: 19 Feb 2012
Location: N. Ireland

PostPosted: 2012.05.05(Sat)15:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.petplanet.CO2.uk/product.asp?dept_id=1301&pf_id=54455&CO2=fr&gclid=CNfkquCD6q8CFcohfAod31wt0A

I'm not 100% sure if its that exact model but looks exactly like it and is definitely the Eheim brand, internal.
It was inherited when I got the fish tank (formerly our late goldfish) but I asked pet shop if the same filter would do and he said yeah. Tank 49 litres aprox and did come for tropical set up, but typically I lost the heater and had to fork out a new one. (sorry I'm rambling now)...

Anyway, It is just scheduled for its monthly clean this weekend and will do it tomorrow morning (in old water from tank, no tap water etc)
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2012.05.05(Sat)15:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right. Your tank is not properly cycled and I think the low KH is stalling the cycle. Try adding a quarter teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (you should have some in the kitchen) to the new water when you add it.

The bacteria that convert nitrite to nitrate use carbonates during the process. In your soft water they don't have any so your nitrates aren't rising.
Mollies are a poor choice for your tank - they need harder water and grow too large.

One the cycle is complete and the nitrite reading is zero with nitrates rising you could have some black neons or harlequin rasboras (tougher than neons or cardinals)
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MichaelOverHere
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Joined: 19 Feb 2012
Location: N. Ireland

PostPosted: 2012.05.06(Sun)5:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Need to take another test again away from tank at the minute and see if KH is still same. What do you recon would be an adequate level?

Last water check (using pet shops proper liquid tests) the nitrates/nitrites were zero.
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2012.05.06(Sun)5:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zero nitrates indicates something not right.
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MichaelOverHere
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Joined: 19 Feb 2012
Location: N. Ireland

PostPosted: 2012.05.07(Mon)15:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Took another sample in today and he said everything was "normal"

Still clueless of what happened and really don't know whats going on. There hasn't been any more fatalities in a while (2 and half weeks) thank god.

Going to continue being vigilant and taking note if any fish start acting weird but currently all seem healthy (touch wood).

Thanks for advise + suggestions, and will keep you up to date
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2012.05.07(Mon)15:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next time ask for the actual readings.

Normal is useless.
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