JeffH

Heredia, Costa Rica Prototype Build

70 posts in this topic

Ha, my dad's favorite line too... "do it now!" Very true.

In my iAVs news, I've had a couple of fish deaths recently. Added a couple of photos but to me it looks like they both have some lesions/inflammations that perhaps are a result of a bacterial infection? They had a stressful introduction to the system about a week ago now. Some have suggested salting my system although I'm reluctant to add salt to the main tank. I have one fish now that is looking a little off, so I've moved it to a quarantine tank and added salt to that. Was thinking of leaving it there for 48 hours, if it survives. Any thoughts?

 

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Forgot to say that these fish are supposed to be "mojarras", a river fish from Costa Rica. Anyone agree/disagree? 

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I added a bunch of seeds directly to the grow bed to see what would happen. Now a bunch have germinated but I'm noticing that many have cotyledons with yellow borders. This is especially noticeable on the cucumber and bok choi. Any thoughts on what might be the cause?

 

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Without some testing I can only guess. The yellowing of the leaves is likely low nutrient level in the water.   If the pH is still 8 that would cause nutrient lockout as well as make any ammonia in the system toxic to fish.

Salt has been reported to be helpful.  It does help reduce nitrite toxicity. 

Edited by Ravnis (see edit history)

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3 hours ago, JeffH said:

Ha, my dad's favorite line too... "do it now!" Very true.

In my iAVs news, I've had a couple of fish deaths recently. Added a couple of photos but to me it looks like they both have some lesions/inflammations that perhaps are a result of a bacterial infection? They had a stressful introduction to the system about a week ago now. Some have suggested salting my system although I'm reluctant to add salt to the main tank. I have one fish now that is looking a little off, so I've moved it to a quarantine tank and added salt to that. Was thinking of leaving it there for 48 hours, if it survives. Any thoughts?

 

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Hi Jeff,

+1 to Ravs post

I am by no means an expert on fish...The only thing I could suggest and could well be wrong BTW, as I do not know what the actual problem is...But I can see the lesions you speak of....The only thing I could suggest is this basic principle...As aquatic farmers we need to give our fish a stress free life, or as stress free as we can...Any stress on a fish is not good...You said your fish had a stressful introduction....If they had that kind of introduction and/or are still stressed The stress will lower their immune system...If the immune system is low they will not be as effective in fighting any type of unwanted additions, causing in the worst instances death...

It may also be the effects of high nitrite?...Which comes after high ammonia levels...But for 1 week I'm not sure that would be the case?

I also suggest going back to the basic water testing...What have been your water test readings including tank temps, over the last week, say the day before and the following days after? Did you have high ammonia after adding your fish? If you did for any length of time, I mean after the ammonia spike, if you got one that you could tell, for more than a day or two, that could be another reason why you may have issues now.

Like I say I don't know much about parasites or fish illnesses but, there's a couple of things I'd be checking if I were you...Others may well chime in with some other suggestions.

Cheers.

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Thanks Ravs and BD. Water tests have shown 0 for ammonia and nitrites. Nitrates are around 5ppm. The fish haven't been eating much - although there is some algae that they might be consuming? Mostly they are shy and don't come to the surface. When I crush the pellets to sink some of the food, they do eat at least some of it. I've read that mojarra juveniles are quite shy but become bolder with age.

The high pH (8.2) is problematic but my system has only had fish for 9 days so I'm hoping it will drop over time as the bacterial colonies get more established.

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Unless you have really low buffers in the system,  don't expect the pH to drop anytime soon from nitrification.  Typically takes months in a well stocked system.

Are the fish from a breeder or fished from  a lake/pond?   

Do take heart.  The first system is always the toughest one.

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Thanks Ravnis. We do get a significant amount of rainfall here - which has a lower pH. What about replacing a percentage of the tank's water (1/4?) on a regular basis for a while?

The fish are from a local acuario (aquarium store) but are likely sourced from a local river.

Edited by JeffH (see edit history)

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Hi Jeff,

I'd find out why the pH is high, then resolve that issue, then GRADUALLY drop the pH down...Notice the caps lock....AND I would do it in that order...No use dropping down the pH until you find out what is causing it to be high...Or you may well find you are fighting a losing battle keeping it down...I'd drop it down to about 7, remembering it will naturally drop down as a result of nitrification anyway..At 7, whilst it is a tad high for your plants, it should still be OK...8.2 pH is also too high for your fish.. As Rav says the increase in ammonia with very quickly make the water toxic for them. Given the water temp is as we presume, quite warm...What is the fish tank temp BTW.

When you add fish to a new uncycled system, you should get an increase in ammonia as the start of the initial cycling period. I added 20 x 2" barramundi fingerlings to a brand new 1000 litres worth of fish tank system and within a week they had started to increase the ammonia.

Regarding salt...Do a search on this forum for it also look up high nitrites...

I know that previously people have recommended how many parts per thousand you should keep your system if you wish to salt it and also how many parts per thousand you should have your hospital tanks and how long at that rate should you keep your fish in them.

If you want to salt your system...Salt your system to 1 part per thousand...Roughly 1kg/ 1000 litres... To help with high nitrites... For normal running...

I would dissolve the salt in a couple of buckets of water and gradually add it to the fish tank...If you do it in one big go like I did you may well find you will lose your crop very quickly.

Oh, and don't forget salt bathing is mainly used for fungals and parasites...Diseases are another story.

What's your hospital tank salt concentration reading?

Do you know what caused the stress of your fish at first?

There are other people on this forum who are more skilled in this area than me, I'm happy to hold the fort until they chime in.

Cheers.

 

 

Edited by bigdaddy (see edit history)

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Changing the water  out 10 to 20 percent probably won't  hurt the fish... but you'll be loosing whatever nutrients you have in the system as well as slowing down the cycling process.   Though at that high pH the plants are going to have a very tough time nutrient or not.  If  ammonia  and nitrite levels are staying 0 then it is more likely the stress from putting them in the system in the first place. It can take several days for damage to internal organs to translate fish mortality.   Just keep testing, I've read many posts where they had 0 readings and suddenly a spike.

There are several "salts".   I personally like either calcium chloride or potassium chloride.  Either of these are elements used by the  plants.  Low levels of salt won't harm plants and the level BD mentioned will provide some protection without harming anything.  Some parasites will be less likely to spread with salt in the water. 

Dr. McMurtry recommended sulfuric acid for bringing down the pH if you do add acid. I've used everything from vinegar to hydrochloric acid(muriatic) as it was easy to get.  Vinegar will "bounce"  and muriatic acid has been the  most reliable method for me.

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Several plusses to Ravnis and BDs thoughts.  Here is mine.

  Looking at the wide open mouth of the first pictured fish, I suspect low DO as the villain there. Do you have a DO meter to ascertain it?  Ciclids are hardy fish but do not like any power outage event especially when they are crowded.  What is your aeration arrangement?

 Looking at some literature of your fish, they are territorial.  They might attack/bite others that causes similar inflammation around small wounds leading to some death.  This I am experiencing with climbing perch.

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Hi all,

Thanks for your thoughtful ideas and advice.

BD, my quarantine bucket had about a tablespoon of salt in 4 litres but I think, as you point out, it was ineffective in this case as the fish likely had an infection. I believe the initial stress was a combination of ammonia toxicity and the pH difference from the acuario water to the tank. When I checked the tank before I added the fish, I was shocked to see it up around 8.5 or even a bit higher. In a bit of a panic, I drained half the water and added fresh rainwater. That brought the pH down to around 8.2 but that was still higher than the fish store water (I think it was 7.2). While doing that, I left the 20 fingerlings in a fairly small amount of water for too long so that didn't help either. I did try to introduce them to the tank water over a period of about 2 hours, but it was still likely quite a shock for them. Lesson 1: check tank water conditions before excitedly buying fish.

Since I added rainwater to my system initially, I can only conclude that my sand has enough buffers in it to raise the pH over time. In the week since I've added the fish, it fortunately hasn't crept up so perhaps it will stabilize now and even come down over the next while. I do hate my sand but until we move (next couple of months), I'm kind of stuck with it.

Here are the readings from today:

 

 

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Ravnis, I think you are right... I'll just monitor for a while and see what the pH does.

VK, here's the tank setup (photo). It's about 550 litres with only (now) 16 small fish plus one Plecko. It has both an air stone and that awesome oxygenated filtered water returning every couple of hours so I can't imagine that it is low in DO. What do you think? I don't yet have a DO meter.

 

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Also, an update on the plants. Yesterday I uploaded that especially yellow-tinged cucumber seedling. Check it out today:

 

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The seedling looks a lot better.  That tells me it's more lack of nutrients.   Do you know by chance what the rainwater pH is? 

   The fighting issue that VKN raised is a possibility.  Adding a few clay pots if you have them to give them a place to hide can diminish that factor. 

That's a nice size pleco.  Mine would bully the tilapia when i fed them.  They eat the algae, but will readily eat fish food too.

Looking at your readings I have a hunch your not even close to cycled, the nitrite is too blue for sudden fish introduction.  If your trying to be organic with this crop, you may want to find an organic way to lower the pH.  If your not worried about adding chemicals, a little acid to drop the pH a few points would likely help your fish and plants. I'd shoot for  a target of between 7.4 and 7.6 ish.  Don't want to drop it too fast and stress the fish.  I don't normally like making a lot of changes once in the middle of cycling, but that pH is very dangerous.   This   Chart will help you understand.  As you can seen on the 2nd chart, at pH of 8.4 no detectable amount of ammonia is safe.  At 7.4 pH your "safe" up to 2 ppm.  At 7.0 pH your "safe" to 5 ppm.   This is assuming room temp of 20 C.    At the very least if pH of rain water is below 7, then I would do all top ups with that water.

I do hope this helps and doesn't get too confusing.  It's easy to be overwhelmed at first. 

 

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Hi Ravnis,

Rainwater pH is 6.4 so I think I'll try to do some water replacement over the next couple of days. If I can get the pH down a bit and it stays down then I know my sand isn't buffering so much any more. I suspect it will still raise it a bit but over the last few days, the pH hasn't been rising at all, which is good. Steady at around 8.2.

In terms of the fish behavior, I haven't seen any fighting. My pleco seems to be quite retiring, at least when I'm looking. Most of the day he spends beside the pump but a few times I've caught him up on the tank sides or elsewhere on the bottom.

Today was notable though because it's the first time the fish (at least a few of them) have come to the surface at feeding time. So they are getting a little bolder as time goes on.

Here's today cucumber pic along with some good news about my sad tomato plants. They are coming back to life!

 

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Haven't posted for a while but I wanted to say that I'm still around and excited about continuing my build once we have moved to our new lot. My existing system proved to be problematic because of the wrong type of sand (too coarse and contains Calcium compounds that drive up the pH). The good news is that I have found a source (unverified as yet) that apparently has ASTM-33 sand. Once I have my new site setup, I'll be checking out this new source - am hoping for the best! I need to do some fencing/wall building and a bit of leveling on the new lot first, but hoping to complete that in the next month or so.

Cheers,
Jeff

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2 hours ago, JeffH said:

Haven't posted for a while but I wanted to say that I'm still around and excited about continuing my build once we have moved to our new lot. My existing system proved to be problematic because of the wrong type of sand (too coarse and contains Calcium compounds that drive up the pH). The good news is that I have found a source (unverified as yet) that apparently has ASTM-33 sand. Once I have my new site setup, I'll be checking out this new source - am hoping for the best! I need to do some fencing/wall building and a bit of leveling on the new lot first, but hoping to complete that in the next month or so.

Cheers,
Jeff

Its nice to see you around.  Have your fish and plants adapted to their new home by now?

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Well, one month turned into... 6 months?! At any rate, I'm finally getting started on fencing in our new lot where I'll be building a greenhouse, fish tanks, and a workshop. Hopefully will have more interesting stuff to post soon!

Cheers,
Jeff

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