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helomech

Catfish dying?

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I put 100 2-3 inch long catfish in my tank a week ago. For the first few days we only lost a couple fish right when they where put in. Now we seem to be loosing 5 or so a day. My Ammonia is 0, ph is high 8.2 not sure about the rest I can never get my nitrite, nitrate readings to match any color on the strip. Any ideas. I am very new to this, so I don't know how to safely lower my PH. But my system was running since January with Bass and Perch caught from my pond and I had zero loses of fish.

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I would get a Master freshwater test kit.. I don't place much faith in strips to be honest with you. To adjust your pH down to around 7.0 using hydrochloric acid (or similar) But we aware it's important that you don't get a combination of high ammonia levels and high pH......because the ammonia becomes more toxic.

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Hea Helo

that's a bummer about the catfish....

on your High Ph, it depends on what is making it high..... is it the water naturally high, or is your GB media making it high...?

I don't like the Test Strips they have never worked very well for me. I and most others use the API test kits for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and a swimming pool test kit for Ph and Chlorine Some use the API Master fresh water Test Kit, that includes Ph and all the other tests....

if the top up water is High, you can lower the ph slowly, by filling up a barrel with High ph water, and adding some Pool acid to it till the Ph is below 7, and then adding that water to the tank water as a top up, little by little to slowly bring the PH down..

If the grow bed media is the problem, than that media is not suitable, and has too much lime stone or sea shells or other Hi ph rocks keeping the water Ph High

if nitrite is the problem with the catfish, than a little Pool Salt will help negate that problem, something like a cup full or 2, for your amount of water, problem is catfish are more sensitive to salt then most other fish, so you don't want to over do the salt.....

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I would get a Master freshwater test kit.. I don't place much faith in strips to be honest with you. To adjust your pH down to around 7.0 using hydrochloric acid (or similar) But we aware it's important that you don't get a combination of high ammonia levels and high pH......because the ammonia becomes more toxic.

Thanks

Yeah, need to get one of those trying to find something locally but that is not going well. May just have to order online. I trust the ammonia test, it is a vial type, so the ammonia is 0.

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Hea Helo

that's a bummer about the catfish....

on your High Ph, it depends on what is making it high..... is it the water naturally high, or is your GB media making it high...?

I don't like the Test Strips they have never worked very well for me. I and most others use the API test kits for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and a swimming pool test kit for Ph and Chlorine Some use the API Master fresh water Test Kit, that includes Ph and all the other tests....

if the top up water is High, you can lower the ph slowly, by filling up a barrel with High ph water, and adding some Pool acid to it till the Ph is below 7, and then adding that water to the tank water as a top up, little by little to slowly bring the PH down..

If the grow bed media is the problem, than that media is not suitable, and has too much lime stone or sea shells or other Hi ph rocks keeping the water Ph High

if nitrite is the problem with the catfish, than a little Pool Salt will help negate that problem, something like a cup full or 2, for your amount of water, problem is catfish are more sensitive to salt then most other fish, so you don't want to over do the salt.....

It is naturally high, it is water from my well. It just doesn't seem to go down. Even though it has been out there for months. I hope the grow bed is not making it high. I am using river rocks and slag rocks.

Thanks going to try some salt. Is sea salt ok? I may not be able to get pool salt in this little town.

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if fish is not breed on Ph over 8, maybe that's it.

What was Ph of water they came ( transport)?

Ph of fish tank and transport water must be the same when you introduce fish to fish tank.

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pool salt and pool acid is a standard home depo / lows item and maybe a Ace hard ware item

The sea salt may be alright if it does not have a anti caking agent in it.....

Test some of your grow bed media in a jar with vinegar, or pool acid and see if it fizzes

if it is just the well water, then make up barrels or IBC with top off water, that has been treated with pool acid till below 7 ph, and add small amounts till you slowly bring the system water Ph down. The longer the system matures, and the more you feed the fish, the lower the system Ph should run by it's self.....

add cleched (sp) Iron, or i use the Green Light brand Liquid Iron acidifer for the plants, as the high Ph locks out the Iron from the plants......

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White vinegar will work in a pinch, but tends to bounce back up. You might get lucky at a local hardware store for the acid. I use to advocate the vinegar, but discovered it tended to come back up on its own as it combined with carbon dioxide from the air. Good for increasing KH, mediocre for ph adjustment. Another alternative I used was the ph down sold at wally world. It's sodium bisulfate, so wouldn't recommend it all the time, but it will work and add salt to your water as a side effect too. Keep in mind that a heavy amount of salt can hurt the plants.

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White vinegar will work in a pinch, but tends to bounce back up. You might get lucky at a local hardware store for the acid. I use to advocate the vinegar, but discovered it tended to come back up on its own as it combined with carbon dioxide from the air. Good for increasing KH, mediocre for ph adjustment. Another alternative I used was the ph down sold at wally world. It's sodium bisulfate, so wouldn't recommend it all the time, but it will work and add salt to your water as a side effect too. Keep in mind that a heavy amount of salt can hurt the plants.

Cool thanks, I got so much to learn.

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pool salt and pool acid is a standard home depo / lows item and maybe a Ace hard ware item

The sea salt may be alright if it does not have a anti caking agent in it.....

Test some of your grow bed media in a jar with vinegar, or pool acid and see if it fizzes

if it is just the well water, then make up barrels or IBC with top off water, that has been treated with pool acid till below 7 ph, and add small amounts till you slowly bring the system water Ph down. The longer the system matures, and the more you feed the fish, the lower the system Ph should run by it's self.....

add cleched (sp) Iron, or i use the Green Light brand Liquid Iron acidifer for the plants, as the high Ph locks out the Iron from the plants......

Okay I added some pool salt, and I also tested my media. I put some in a plastic container and poured vinegar in it. I may have seen a slight bubbling for a few seconds, but not sure it wasn't bubbles just coming up. After a minute or so there where zero bubbles. Does this mean my rocks are okay?\

Also since adding the salt the tilapia seem to be more active. They are swimming at all levels, even coming near the surface now. Before they where staying near the bottom all the time. No tilapia deaths so far, and only a couple catfish died today. Hopefully most of the deaths are behind me for now. Just seems so weird that I had bass and perch in there for 4 months and not a single one died.

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what is your oxygen level in your water? Do you have a filter system in your aquaponics? If not how long has it been sence your cleaned out your g/b's. With out a filter system to get rid of the solids you have to clean your g/b's every 3 to 6 months. with a filter system 1 to 2 years.

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Thanks

Yeah, need to get one of those trying to find something locally but that is not going well. May just have to order online. I trust the ammonia test, it is a vial type, so the ammonia is 0.

Walmart's aquarium section usually has an API Master test kit. Do you have a Walmart anywhere down there?

Did you cycle the system before adding fish?

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what is your oxygen level in your water? Do you have a filter system in your aquaponics? If not how long has it been sence your cleaned out your g/b's. With out a filter system to get rid of the solids you have to clean your g/b's every 3 to 6 months. with a filter system 1 to 2 years.

I have about 300 gallons of temporary grow beds. And they have only been running since January. The water is clear.

I don't have way to test my oxygen level, but it should be fine. The tank is 1550 gallons and both my grow beds dump into the tank, and I also have one of my pumps spraying water back into the tank. Everything seemed fine with the bass and perch and they where MUCH bigger than the fish I have now.

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Walmart's aquarium section usually has an API Master test kit. Do you have a Walmart anywhere down there?

Did you cycle the system before adding fish?

Didn't see one at the walmart near us. Went to the two closest ones and they don't have the ones that test for nitrites and nitrates.

System was running for 4 months with bass and perch with no dead fish. Now almost all my catfish are dead. I took out all the bass and perch and put in 100 small channel cats 2-3 inches long. Plant growth has been and still is great, and the tilapia seem to be doing good. But my total fish catfish dead last night is over 50 and still climbing.

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It was most likely oxygen and ammonia levels. I have seen several times when I put fish from the indoor setup to an outdoor setup that there is a temporary spike due to sudden increased fish load(biomass). Don't feed for a few days, until you can check your levels. Catfish are very susceptable to ammonia and nitrite levels. While tilapia are almost immune to nitrite levels. I would try to get more air in the system if possible and not feed for 3-4 days. It won't kill your fish.

I doubt you will find an api test kit at walmart. They used to carry the ph test, but don't do it at my local walmart. I had to go to a petsmart or petco to find one. Most pet shops that sell fish carry them too, but hard to find in a small town. Best to head to nearest major city.

What ph is your water at now?

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It was most likely oxygen and ammonia levels. I have seen several times when I put fish from the indoor setup to an outdoor setup that there is a temporary spike due to sudden increased fish load(biomass). Don't feed for a few days, until you can check your levels. Catfish are very susceptable to ammonia and nitrite levels. While tilapia are almost immune to nitrite levels. I would try to get more air in the system if possible and not feed for 3-4 days. It won't kill your fish.

I doubt you will find an api test kit at walmart. They used to carry the ph test, but don't do it at my local walmart. I had to go to a petsmart or petco to find one. Most pet shops that sell fish carry them too, but hard to find in a small town. Best to head to nearest major city.

What ph is your water at now?

Thanks, just tested my PH and it is 7.6 and my ammonia is 0. Water temp is 68 F. I can try the strips to see if they read any nitrates or nitrites, but I never get a reading off those strips. I did a partial water change, and not sure if I have any catfish left alive. None of the fish are at the top trying to get air, they are again hanging out on the bottom.

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Catfish are very susceptable to ammonia and nitrite levels. While tilapia are almost immune to nitrite levels.

Very true. Catfish are very suspectible to brown blood disease (excess nitrites.) Largemouth bass are also almost immune to nitrite as in they don't readily uptake nitrites. Even more so than tilapia, believe or not.

I doubt you will find an api test kit at walmart.

I found one at a Walmart but perhaps they have discontinued them. If they didn't sell enough of them, or the supplier wasn't willing to drive their wholesale price to the basement, Walmart probably discontinued them at all their stores.

What color are the gills on the catfish that are still alive?

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Pulled a old 12 volt tire inflator out of my shed and put it in the tank. It is making fairly good bubbles, can't hurt anything. Going to go to a wal mart in a little while in another town to see if I can find a better air pump. Only bad part is, that is needs to pump down 6 feet of water depth.

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oxygen test kit or tester, but I do it by watching the fish. If they sit on bottom and dont move during daylight hours(normal not to move at night) or hover at the surface , I begins suspecting oxygen. Given the size of your system, I'm leaning more towards nitrite poisoning. WHen I tried the test strips they would turn brown instead of pink if the nitrite levels were really high.

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oxygen test kit or tester, but I do it by watching the fish. If they sit on bottom and dont move during daylight hours(normal not to move at night) or hover at the surface , I begins suspecting oxygen. Given the size of your system, I'm leaning more towards nitrite poisoning. WHen I tried the test strips they would turn brown instead of pink if the nitrite levels were really high.

My strips are a light brown. What can I do to lower my nitrites? Other than more plants, and changing the water. I did a partial water change, but can't add more grow beds till I get my cinder block retaining walls in place.

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I'm afraid , other than water change and adding salt, time is the only thing now. Don't feed for a few days. What you are waiting on is bacteria growth to catch up. Not much you can do to increase that. Make sure you have a high kh or carbonate hardness. You can generally find that type of test kit in a pool chemical section if you cant source the api test kit. 100 or higher is best. I really think you have done what you need to and only thing left is wait.

You can get between a rock and hard place with catfish, as salt helps them fight off nitrite poisoning, but too high salt levels will kill them too. I'm not sure how high they can go on salt levels.

Side note, you are not the first ap member to add catfish to an already running system and have this problem. Another guy had this problem when I was first starting ap, and stopped me from getting them. The hatchery that was local would not even sell fingerlings to me when I told them they were going in an ap system, saying they will just die. Not sure if he knew what he was talking about or not, but sounds like catfish can be difficult in ap. There have been others that had success with them though.

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