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Phosphates in the aquarium and there affect on African Cichlids.

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Hi Guys,

Still having a problem with a fish dying every now and again. (once a week)

Water quality is spot on, loads of water surface friction for oxygen.

Only thing we have found is elevated phosphates in the water. What affects does this have on the fish??

The tank is 8x2x2 with a 4x1.5x1.5 sump.

Fish consist of 5-10 cm africians (yellows, blues, frontosa, white knights and hump heads). About 30 in total including a few bristlenose.

Have treated for everything i can think of, but the fish keep dropping off.

Syptoms include heavy breathing/gasping prior to death. Occasional rub on the gravel.

No white spot, no velvet.

Any help would be appreciated, even prepraed to throw some beer a fish guru to come and have a look.

I have kept fish for years without a problem. Only difference is a sump on this system.

Cheers Dale

Edited by spider
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Hi All, Thanks for your input.

Just did another water test with the following results.

PH 7.8-8

Ammonia 0ppm

Nitrite 0ppm

Nitrate 0ppm

Sump is clean, nothing being put in it.

Fish feed well and are healthy looking (until they die)

Can you see gill or skin flukes with the naked eye???

Dead fish floating, will test for nitrites again right now.

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well that's your problem.

How long as the tank been setup?

You shouldn't have 0 Nitrates... are you sure the test kit read 0? what test kit are you using?

Nitrates are the bi-product of the nitrification process and you should always have a readable amount on a cycled tank.

you say you found elevated phosphates? what was the reading?

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Tank has been up and going for nearly 1 year now...... all was good till i brought a fish home from the auction and this is where things went south.

Have re done Nitrite test and still shows 0ppm, using API freshwater master test kit. Have also had water tested at 3 other fish shops and all said water was fine.

Cant say what the phosphates were as test was done at the aquarium.

Dont know what else to do to treat the tank.

Keep the info coming please..... i really need to solve this problem :)

Cheers Dale

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having a problem uploading pics...... keeps coming up with an error.

Anyways can email pics to anyone who might be interested.

Basically water comes into sump from both end of the 8x2x2.

1 end goes into filter wool, then drip try, then filter foam, then coral, than noddles, than matrix. other end goes through filter wool, onto drip tray, through bio balls.

The water is then feed back to the tank via 1 pump.

An imporatant note is that the bristlenose/plecos dont seem to be worried about the issue and dont die.

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Shon: i get that its perfectly fine to have 0 nitrates but i very much doubt this tank would have 0 nitrates in its current state.

a high phosphate level goes hand in hand with high nitrates. The only way (in my mind) that you could have high phosphates and no nitrates is if the tank was cycling.

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Sounds like it could be some sort of parasite, theres plenty of weird ones out there.

I had a somewhat similar problem. Have a look at this and see if it helps.

In the case of Trichodina, the fish will flash from time to time and they build up an extra thick slime coat to help protect themselves. This affects the gills and can cause heavy breathing / gasping




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