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Ok well I've got a question (as usual :P)

My African tank ATM is perfect. Water parameters don't move. Temp is steady and ph is perfect. And to boot the fish look fantastic. All I do to maintain the tank is fortnightly water changes.

Same goes for my American set up however I can't seem to keep the ph down and some of the fish seem to breathe heavily as a rule. They eat and act normal but just seem to be sucking that water in. Could it be stress? If so how do I de- stress a fish? How do I keep the ph in a good range for ca Americans? Is there a better way than using buffers?

Thanks in advance for your advice guys. Just sort of confused atm

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Gravel is a dark finer mix i got from LFS, there is just drift wood and volcanic rock in the tank and No idea what the parametres are out of the tap. Might have a look :) I also have some leaves in the tank to apparently keep the ph down

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Ph sits between 6.8 and 7

6.8 - 7 is perfect for Americans.

Most LFS keep americans on 6.8 - 7.

The LFS i work at does and our Americans are that amazing!

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I thought as much. Just have no idea why my fish breathe so heavily. Might try stress guard ay :)

Anyone got any ideas why they wouldn't be happy when all water parametres are fine if not perfect?

Edited by samo
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Well first of all I'd be checking ammonia and nitrite.

Old is the tank? Eg: when did u set you filter up?

What type of filter?

Stress guard should help.

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Well first of all I'd be checking ammonia and nitrite.

Old is the tank? Eg: when did u set you filter up?

What type of filter?

Stress guard should help.

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ok well its a 5x2x2 with a SGJD, a firemouth, a Riv, a jag, two salmon tail catties, one largish plec and a ghost knife. Filter is 1400l/h canister with a 1800l/h power head and two sponges. Tank has been set up for about a month.

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1. You want to filter your water volume x4 every hour. So the tank is under filtered by a couple of hundred litres and hours.

2. Cat fish, especially plecos are a very high creator of poo, and poo = ammonia.

3. The tank is way to over stocked for its age, the biological filter is not yet properly established. I'm about 99% sure you'll get a reading for at least 1.0 of nitrite which means your tank is trying to cycle, but the amount of waste is makin it harder.

4. Powerheads are good, but the sponge in it will just store all that poop is the tank largest body of water.

If the poo is going in the canister that is okay, that's where bacteria lives, live bacteria needs ammonia "poo" to live and

Feed on

Hope this helps :)

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SFJ I live in southport and yeah I'm looking at getting an aqua one 2700. I have also thought my test kit might be off I'll run some water into the LFS tomorrow.

Just checked the fish then and they all seem ok. Correct me if I'm wrong but stress can cause heavy breathing as well yeah? There is a constant tussle going on between the 4 cichlids in the tank, no serious stuff just chasing each other around the tank. Could that be the cause?

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I dont agree with taking the spoges off the powerheads. Those chew and spew cichlids are so messy, you really need all the mechanical (sponges in powerheads) filtration you can get. Just squeeze them out in a bucket of water taken from the aquariums to clear the sponge of gunk any time you notice the flow rate starting to slow down. Having sponges on powerheads means you will have less waste chunks going into cannisters AND that means you clean cannisters less often (YAY!).

The big problem you have is likely not having the water surface disturbed enough. Try to angle cannister filter output AND the powerheads, so they all ripple the water surface.

Because bacteria need lots of oxygen to convert fish waste into nitrates, a good trick is too change over to doing more frequent BUT smaller feeds.

this way the oxygen demand doesnt spike so suddenly.

As far as testing goes.

get nitrite test

always nice to know what that is

especially when you are in a prime time for NTS

my thoughts anyway.

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Good advice mate! The sponges aren't on the power heads they're just sitting on the substrate attached to air pumps. If this is the wrong way to set them up PLEASE let me know :) as far as disturbing the water surface I'll give that a go and see. I have a 'complete' test kit, does ph, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and all the readings came up 0 so yeah, still confused.

Also the kit does give readings, I crashed my african tank when I bought the 5ft and yeah read about the same as the LFS

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