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What to do about water changes stressing fish out


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  • Regular Member

Hi all,

I've manage to get the water in my tank suitable for goldfish. With the addition of crushed coral, the pH is 7.5, the GH is about 60 ppm and the KH is 80 ppm.

However, my tap water is very very soft with a pH of maybe 6.

The difficulty now seems to be that if I do a water change of anything over 25% I wind up with VERY stressed fish. Over the holidays my friend caring for my fish didn't do a water change, or even top the tank up. After I did a water change and refilled the tank I probably had added 35-40% new water.

The next day my pearslcale was bottom sitting with very red-streaked fins. After a few days, he is improving. Last time my calico lionhead did the same thing. I like to do lots of frequent water changes, so the idea that water changes are effecting my fish in a negative way is...well, kind of stressful!

Is my only solution to do very frequent, but very small water changes? Should I try and reduce the hardness and pH just slightly?

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  • Admin

you need a Product like Buff it up from Goldfishconnection.com Or there is the GoldfishBuffer from Seacom (I think dnalex uses that one). This will get your KH up and bring your PH up to. You can add this to the water as your doing a water change, thus making the water safe for your fish :thumb:

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  • Regular Member

How big is your tank? Yours is one of those cases where large water changes are not going to work unless you age your water first to raise the pH.

Koko, do you know how fast Buff-It-Up works to raise the pH? I use Seachem Gold Buffer, but unfortunately I don't know how fast it works to raise the pH. In my system, the tap is 8.2, and without buffer, it slips down to 7. I add buffer so that the pH doesn't drop.

You could test this out, Niffarious. Fill a bucket with tap and then add buffer. Measure pH over the first 10 minutes to see what it does :)

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  • Regular Member

The tank is about 36 gallons. It's a weird, non-standard bowfront.

Anyway, so much for my glorious plan of not having to deal with adding a ton of crap to the water. Until this recent move, all I had was saltwater - but I sold them off and wanted something that was less of a balancing act. :rolleyes:

I'll hunt down some buffer this week and give it a shot.

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  • Regular Member

There's a very simple procedure you can use. When doing a water change, just replace the water stepwise, rather than all at once. So if you are doing a 50% change, remove the old water, replace 5 gallons, wait a couple of hours, add 5 gallons, and repeat until the tank is full.

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  • Regular Member

I feel for you :( Your water has virtually no mineral content :(. I would keep checking tap pH too as that is unusually low for a regular tap pH.

I hope between you and koko and Alex you can get this sorted.

I use coral gravel as a direct substrate (masses of it) to raise my mineral content. It's something to think about along with the Buff It Up. Whatever it takes.

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