Water filtration question
Hi. I have a 150-gallon fish tank full of 25 African Cichlids (the most peaceful - yellow labs, acei, rustys, peacocks, etc.), and I'm tired of seeing 1 fish die every 2-3 months. One time it will be eye cloud, another will start to get internally-looking bloody/torn fins, and yet others have no physical signs at all and just perish. The PH is always 8.0 (monitored twice/day), the temperature is always 80 degrees, I have a built-in filtration system at the back of the tank, plus an external canister filter going. I use a de-chlorinator, cichlid salt, cichlid minerals, dry aragonite, texas holey rocks, etc. I feed them the purest food available - Omega One veggie line, plus seaweed flakes, and do a water change every 10 days. I believe the reason they are dying is because our water is very rusty. We use a $6 monthly whole-house filter cartridge which removes rust, chlorine, etc., but we don't believe it's enough, so now we would like to strip the water completely of all its qualities. So here's my question... What can I buy so that I can strip out every property of water from my tap (and of course treat the water myself later), while at the same time still have the same heavy water flow coming out of the sink's faucet, so I can still use my 30 foot python siphon tube between the sink and the fish tank? I basically don't want to sit here for 3 hours while doing a water change because I can only buy something that has a little trickle of water coming out of a separate small spout on the sink. I still want to use the main sink faucet (full pressure), with my python tube, with whatever you can recommend I buy. Is it some sort of reverse osmosis system? Also to mention - I do not want to store water. Is what I want to do impossible? If not, please send suggestions and/or links of what I can buy. Any help would be greatly appreciated! :) Thank you.
How much water are you changing? What are your water parameters? What kind of test kit are you using? Most on here use api liquid master kit.
If you have tap water quality issues that are significant enough to be the root of the demise of the fish you lost then I can think of two options.
Option 1: RO/DI Unit and additional compents. This will strip out all of the impurities of your water. You also require a large water container (large enough to equal or surpass the amount of water you remove during water changes, some sort of Malawi Salts (to reconstitute essential trace elements, minerals, and keep the pH and alkalinity of the replacement water to where it needs to be), heater if required to match tank temperature, a power head to generate circulations in this water container. Finally, a hose that can extend from this container with an attached pump so that you can pump this water to the tank. You will have to prepare the water a day or two in advance, because creating and reconstituting RO/DI water can take some time, but the pump at the end of the hose will allow you to fill the tank with the new water fairly quickly.
Option 2: Usage of High-quality carbon and perhaps lots of it (2 to 4 cups of high grade carbon for a 150gal as an example), placed in your filters (carbon is more effecient and effective in a canister filter or reactor than an HOB). The carbon will adsorb the impurities of your water. This media will have to be changed out on a recurring basis.
But before you do any of this, how certain are you that it is indeed your tap water? It's odd that you're losing one fish every 2 or 3 months instead of all of them during the same time frame. It is entirely possible that something else may be a factor to the casualties you've been incurring.
The cloudy eye sounds like a disease, the bloody torn fins are most likely due to aggression (the least aggressive lake malawi cichlids are still capable of dishing out aggression). How many of the ones you lost did not exhibit any physical signs of damage or ailment?
the deaths sound like they can all be attributed to bad water quality. I would get another large canister. I think you're underfiltered.
What you want is not impossible but I'm not confident that your solution lies with a change in your tap water.
What is the filtration on that tank? What are your nitrAte readings when you do your water changes? How much water do you change?
8 tanks running now:
1x 220 gallon, 2x55 gallon, 1x40 gallon long, 1x29 gallon, 1x20 gallon long, 1x5.5 gallon, 1x2 gallon
Gouramis, barbs, rasboras, plecos, corys, tetras, fancy guppies, swordtails, ottos, rainbow shark, upside-down catfish, snails, and Max and Sparkles the bettas.
I would try putting Boyd's chemi-pure in the filter and seeing if that helps.
Liters to Gallons conversion calculator
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Thank you for your responses. :) We do 30% water changes. I have all the separate API home tests kits - PH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, GH/KH, etc. and everything always reads great. On my 2nd example, technically the fins were more weathered down/disintegrating like from a disease, and not ripped. We've had 3 that perished in a period of over 2 years that showed no signs of disease. Most of the time the rest are doing great, until 1 dies every 2-3 months. Yes, although the fish are only fed once/day with what they can consume within 2 minutes of flakes, pellets and seaweed flakes, I agree in thinking that we're under-filtered, too. Since their feces are heavy and lays on top of the dry aragonite and doesn't get sucked up by the filters and causes ammonia, I remove it nightly with a turkey baster (my thumb gets so sore by the time I'm done - lol). How does everyone else get rid of it? We have one of those Tenecor tanks from 18 years ago that has a built-in light blue background and all kinds of hidden chambers in the back where we put the carbon bag, chemi-pure, de-nitrate pellets, bio balls, heater, water pump, etc.
Have you observed any fish being more aggressive than the others? You just may have an ass in there that takes a dislike to a particluar fish then pursues it til it dies. Then it picks the next fish that it sees as a threat and continues the purge.
If that's not the case, I'm leaning towards there just being too many fish in the tank. I know overstocking is an accepted method of controlling aggression, but if they are pressed for space and not enough hidey holes, they will kill each other off to make room.
Mbuna are pretty tolerant of water conditions, the water would have to be pretty bad to kill fish, and then you would see more than just one fish every couple months dying. Especially seeing as you are siphoning nightly. You could certainly use more filtration, and bigger water changes, but I don't honestly think thats causing the deaths.
I've seen a peacock just roll over and give up from being chased constantly - no mark on him when he died, tho I did observe the behavior. I upgraded the tank shortly after.
My tank is only a 120 gal, but I believe its the same foot print as yours. I only have 18 fish, and I've not lost a fish in almsot a year. The last one I lost was due to bullying.
My advice is to watch the tank for an individual that may be more aggressive than the others. Not to replace any lost fish, perhaps remove a couple of your least favourites.
I'd also increase the volume of water changes to 50% if you think water quality is an issue.