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Possible Copper Poisoning?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Illness and Disease' started by BlazeitChris, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. BlazeitChris

    BlazeitChris AC Members

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    Hey everyone,
    So I've recently gone back to live plants but cannot afford a co2 system at the moment so I've been using Seachem Excel as a supplement. Now ever since I started using this fertilizer some strange things have been happening and the only factor I can connect this behavior to could be the possible presence of copper in the water (I'm waiting on a test kit). I found a product called Seachem cuprisorb but I could use any suggestions at this point:

    20 gallon hex: all the mts mysteriously disappeared, angelfish have become lethargic and refuse to eat, and mystery snails have been "hibernating" for literally months now without eating and their normally white bodies have a sort of orange tint now. I know the mystery snails aren't dead because they still recoil when touched and they don't stink.

    29 gallon: mts are also dying off, mystery snails still won't wake up. Other fish are fine.

    Water parameters in both tanks:
    Ammonia- .25 ppm (water change overdue)
    Nitrite- 0 ppm
    Nitrate- Never above 20 ppm
    pH- 7.4-8.0
     
  2. myswtsins

    myswtsins Global Moderator
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    How long have the tanks been set up? In a fully cycled tank there should be no ammonia ever (water change overdue is not a reason for ammonia, high nitrates yes but not ammonia) but if snails are dying that could be the source of the ammonia. Left unchecked dead snails can lead to other dead snails just from the ammonia they give off.

    pH 7.4-8.0 is a big difference, when are these fluctuations happening? Having a high pH also makes ammonia more toxic. You need to get the ammonia to 0 asap and keep it there through water changes, prime, fast growing plants whatever you like.

    Have you stopped using the excel? How much are/were you dosing?

    The MTS disappearing could be them burrowing in the substrate to get away from the ammonia or other irritant. Just like the mystery snails shutting themselves in.
     
  3. BlazeitChris

    BlazeitChris AC Members

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    The hex has been set up for months. I recently set up the 29 gallon but seeded it with media from a larger tank to accelerate the cycle. My best guess for the ammonia reading is dead snails in the gravel that I can't see. Fluctuations happen with water changes due to my tap water being very hard and alkaline. My fertilizer is actually Flourish (NOT Excel), my bad, but I was just following the directions on the bottle for dosage.
     
  4. myswtsins

    myswtsins Global Moderator
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    So is the tank 7.4 before a WC and 8.0 right after? Or is it 7.4 right after WC and climbs up to 8.0?

    Did you stop dosing it yet? And you are 100% certain you followed the dosing correctly? Need to eliminate as many things as possible here, user errors happens.

    Still pretty sure it sounds like ammonia is the problem though because dosed properly flourish should be absolutely 100% fine for fish, inverts can be sensitive although it takes a higher than recommended dose for adverse effects usually.
     
  5. BlazeitChris

    BlazeitChris AC Members

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    I don't take readings until at least an hour after water changes. I say 7.4-8.0 because on some days it's 7.4 and on some days it's higher, just depends on the tap on the day of the water change.
    Last dose was a few days ago before I figured out there was copper in it. I'm not 100% sure anything was exact but it was definitely close to it. How do you suggest I reduce ammonia levels? I was under the impression that plants and bacteria handle that factor.
     
  6. BlazeitChris

    BlazeitChris AC Members

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    Another thing I'd like to mention is I've noticed some kind of orange-spotted rash on the flesh of my mystery snails when they poke out of their shells occasionally. Could this be due to the trace of ammonia in the tank?
     
  7. myswtsins

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    Having a constant changing pH is a major problem in of itself. Stability is possibly the most crucial thing for a healthy tank, everything we do is to maintain that stability. You have to figure out what is going on with your source water and/or change your source water entirely. Sure it is the source water making these changes? Do you a lot of driftwood or any possible limestone rocks in the tank? Have you tested your source water for ammonia? Since you are having such issues you should start monitoring your tank parameters daily with every test you have to get a better understanding of what might really be going on.

    You may have copper poisoning but you definitely have ammonia issues and pH issues and who knows what else going on too. Something has to be causing the pH changes and whatever that cause is could be a whole other problem,

    Are you on a well? What is your KH and GH? TDS? Any further info?

    To deal with ammonia you could like I said increase water changes, add prime, add more fast growing plants or whichever other method you like (adding different products etc.)
     
  8. BlazeitChris

    BlazeitChris AC Members

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    I was under the impression that as long as it stays in the "high range" then it's considered stable :confused:. In the tank that I'm having problems with there is no limestone present although there is some driftwood. In all my other tanks I have a mix of both driftwood and limestone. I'm not on a well, the last time I checked KH and GH (tap and tank water) they were both very hard. I'll let you know what the parameters of my tap and tanks currently are when I do a water change today.
     
  9. BlazeitChris

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    Just tested my tap/source water:
    pH: either 7.4 or 7.6
    Ammonia: either 0 or .25 ppm, kinda hard to tell
    Nitrates: 0 ppm
    Nitrites: 0ppm
     
  10. myswtsins

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    Do you test at the same time? In a planted aquarium in particular the pH does change throughout the day too(light cycle).

    What type of water conditioner do you use? Having a small amount of ammonia in your source water shouldn't be an issue for a well planted tank and if you use a conditioner that neutralizes ammonia you should be golden.

    How are the fish acting now? Get those copper results yet?
     

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