Warning For People Keeping South Americans
Posted 06 December 2008 - 10:04 PM
A while ago I posted up some warnings in relation to plant fertilisers and Earth eaters.
About 2-3years ago I lost about 10 very beautiful and very healthy young adult Red head Topago's after I added a liquid plant fertilizer that contained chelated iron, looks like rusty water (and Im told thats what it basically is), the dose I added to the tank was small, in fact from memory I added less than 50% of the recommended dose on bottle.
I added the fertilser to the tank and then left the room and came back an hour later to find every single one of my perfectly healthy Topagos stone cold dead, the other geos in the tank iI think were Leucos, Hecks & Rio Pindares which were gasping with breathing problems and I immediately did a water change and managed to save them(I think I may have also added some airstones), but it was close, other species of fish in the tank such as tetras appeared unaffected, except a paki loach which also died. The Leucos never seemed to completely recover, they continually seemed to sulk for years.
I have used this fertiliser without incident from same bottle with other types of fish in other tanks and in the same tank before the geos were added.
Perhaps some fish species are sensitive to iron or one of the other minerals in the fertilizer? Cant imagine much iron in the Amazon river? Or it could be some kind of reaction between the fertilizer and phosphates or high nitrates present in the water, but why did other species in the tank seem uneffected, whatever the cause is I just want to make sure people are aware and careful about using plant fertilisers.
I bring this up again because of the new popularity of geos and I just had a call from a fellow Geo keeper whom I strongly suspect has just experienced the same/similar problem.
If you've experienced a similar problem or you are using fertilisers without problems it would be good if you can post up your experiences.
Posted 07 December 2008 - 04:48 PM
Posted 07 December 2008 - 07:41 PM
chelated iron is iron in an organic form for plants to take it up so in theory it shouldnt be toxic like rust/oxide. my theory is the chelated iron interacts with a physiological pathway unique to geos.
symptoms included the development of hole in head and "sulking". some that died also showed no external symptoms. water quality was as normal with routine water changes and water treatment, so i suspect it was the addition of the pot
Posted 07 December 2008 - 08:37 PM
We have moderate amounts of Iron in our tap water, and most water conditioners contain EDTA... so I would like to know what else or what level or what form of Iron (Fe++ or Fe+++) is involved or is there a combination of problems here.
Once metals are attached to EDTA, it cannot be absorbed into the blood stream of the fish, so in its chelated form, the iron could not affect the fish. But plants can break the bond and some bacteria will break down the EDTA eventually.....
maybe Sydad can shed some light on this one??
Posted 07 December 2008 - 10:45 PM
Im not sure if it effects other species other than what I have mentioned.
Posted 08 December 2008 - 06:21 PM
Posted 08 December 2008 - 07:10 PM
I added 8ml to a 680 lt tank, recommended dosage is 5ml per 250lt.
For the complete analysis of product see below link.
The fish effected are G.abalios & G.altifron Rio Tocatins, these stressed out so much that most developed severe White spot.
To date I have made several W/C, pushed temp up to 30°C, treated with medication, dropped water level by 7cm to get more water agitation and have added 5 airstones.. Have lost 1 fish to date but others not looking too good.
There are 3 x 20cm S.eupterus, 4 x 5cm Gold Sev's, 6 x 12 cm C.erythrurus & 3 x 12 cm A.heckelii which don't seem to be effected.
Posted 08 December 2008 - 11:09 PM
Posted 09 December 2008 - 06:24 AM
Now 3 dead (out of 6) and all G.abalios. Now letting temp drop to 29 °C. Checked water yet again.
Update 7am...No more dead fish and the others all seem better in as much as they are not flashing or sitting in the stream of bubbles.
Lets hope it keeps good.
Posted 09 December 2008 - 08:27 AM
Really beautiful fish, hope they get well soon
Posted 09 December 2008 - 09:03 AM
Posted 11 December 2008 - 09:10 AM
I have now lost all 6 x 9cm G.altifrons Rio Tocatins, all 6x 8cm G.abalios & 1 of 3 A.heckelii.
The remaining fish are all ok. Including 2 x 12cm A.heckelii, 3 x 20cm S.eupterus, 4 x 5cm Gold severums & 6 x 11cm Chalceus erythrurus.
I haven't done a W/C or added anything for the past 3 days & all is back to normal....I hope.
After discussion with a couple of members (who I really respect) I have come to the conclusion that the altifrons & abalios are allergic to one or more of the ingredients in Seachem Flourish.
Yet another expensive lesson learned...
Posted 11 December 2008 - 03:40 PM
I recommend keeping most geo tanks warm around 29-30C, by doing this you prevent whitespot taking hold if they get stressed by other factors, although they are a reasonably hardy fish, white spot seems to wipe them out. If you do get whitespot with these fish crank the tank to 30C-32C ASAP and get those airstones cranking (but avoid too much current) for me its been more important in saving these guys than any medication.
Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:48 PM
It is possible that the fertiliser could have contributed, after seeing the posts by others here in this thread. I had a quick discussion with Sydad, and I would agree that Iron levels could be a problem. Not necessarily the chelated form, but Iron in general. The waters of the Amazon region are Iron poor, though the substrate my contain sufficient Iron to sustain plant growth, there is a definite lack of soluble Iron in the water. Depending on a number of factors (pH, other salts in the water etc) the Iron could reach levels and/or forms that are toxic to some south American fish. More research needs to be done to determine exactly what chemistry is going on here, and what physiological differences are in such susceptible fish.
In the meantime, there are a couple of options that could be placed here to prevent this occurring again:
Only use fertilisers that are tablet based, and placed deep within the substrate.
Test the iron levels of the tank regularly, do not go above 0.1ppm for such fish species.
Dose the tank with smaller doses more regularly..... rather than large doses weekly for example.
Maintain a slightly alkaline pH, Iron is more soluble in lower pH, particularly in the presence of phosphoric acid (pH down Powder / some pH buffers).
Maintain a high dissolved oxygen level.
Hope this info will help.
Posted 16 March 2009 - 06:25 AM
the link is for Flourish Excel being used for something off label.
Not the Iron being discussed.
this is Heiko Bleher and I just saw this thread.
I am amazed simply because eartheater, Geophagus, Stanoperca Biotodoma and the sorts are EARTHEATERS as the name sais it (as well as discus, which some do not know) and therefore should NOT be placed in aquariums with plants. No place where they live in nature they have aquatic vegetation (except for some floating ones in some areas).
Have a look on my biotopes Bleher's Biotopes and see how I decorate the aquariums for those - and they love it and spawn almost immediately (as they feel at home).
Try to think fish and give your fishes what they are used to to. Fish are not much different than Man and if you give them the environment they know (and the mates they know), you will see and have a complete different aquarium.
Just give it some thought, a suggestion from one who should know...
Posted 20 April 2009 - 05:51 PM
Thanks for the info, biotype aquariums are still catching on here, I think part of the problem is that we dont get alot of information on habitats so there is a lack of guidance and inspiration within the hobby to lead us. Writers usually describe water parameters but in many cases fail to provide details or photos of the environment where the fish are found, I guess this is because many articles are written by hobbiests describing their artificial environments as they are not getting out into the field.
We are lucky to have a few people like you who get out into the field and share the vital information we need in order to improve the ways we keep and house our fish, hopefully the number of people who bring field experience and knowledge into the hobby continues to grow.
Weidners Eartheater book provides some great info on species distribution and habitat, thats part of the reason why I say his book is a must for Geo enthusiasts, additionally Im sure we would all appreciate if have any other recommendations where hobbiests can source this kind of info.
Perhaps a biotype aquariums section is worthy of its own topic on the forum? an area where hobbiests can share info on creating biotype aquariums, maybe it will help to reduce the number of aquariums with pink flourecent gravel full of stressed and confused fish?
Posted 20 April 2009 - 06:06 PM
Great idea Den, I can honestly say, I know what it's like to try and replicate an environment with minimal knowledge and guidance.
There really isn't too much info on the net on specific regions where certain fish come from.
The only thing that concerns me about a topic like that is the number of members who could actually contribute valuable info.
I don't think many of us have actually gone to the areas where our fish are from to give first hand advice on a biotope.
But then, I could be totally wrong...
Anyways, I definately support the idea. there are quite a few posts requesting info on how to set up a tank according to the conditions fish are from, it could be very handy and aid alot of the noobs when setting up and selecting fish for their tank.
Posted 20 April 2009 - 06:08 PM
Plants however, are documented by Weidner as being part of some Eartheaters habitat. South American Eartheaters discusses under many species that the juveniles can be found closer to shore in amongst heavily vegetated areas which they use as cover. As I'm sure you're aware many species also prefer dimly lit conditions as they live in heavily tanned waters or shaded waters, lillies and long flowing plants such as Valisneria can provide this shade from your aquarium light (although some could suggest not running lighting at all to achieve this).
Fully planted aquariums are obviously not ideal as Eartheaters require large open surfaces of substrate, but condemning plants as unnatural is taking it a little too far. I keep an Orange Head tank that is lightly planted with a couple of swords and mostly Valisneria for surface coverage while still maintaining large surfaces of sand for sifting, however my Satanoperca setup is purely sand with a few small unobtrusive tangles of driftwood.
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