Plants are Causing Popeye
My fish has had popeye for about a month now. I noticed it about a week after placing him in his new tank - the tank is fully cycled and water quality is not a problem.
Otherwise he acts very healthy. His color is great. He has stopped biting his fins and they have grown a lot. He is a healthy eater and normal pooper.
I tried epsom salt at 1 tsp per gallon for 3 weeks and it has not worked. For about the last week I have been feeding Kanaplex, which has not worked either. I wanted to use IAL but it hasn't arrived yet..
This tank is unique to me in that it is the first time I have added live plants, other than moss balls. It has *a lot* of elodea in it. It also has a regular filter, turned to low and is also prefiltered and sponge baffled. In addition to this there is an air stone placed under the heater to circulate the water, but it's controlled with two valves and turned into barely a spray mist.
Normally my ph is about 7.0-7.4, and my water has a kh and gh of about 3. However, I notcied after I was done cycling (a few weeks after adding plants), my ph had jumped to around 8.4-8.6 or so and my gh and kh had hit zero. I figured something happened during cycling, put it aside, did basically a 99% water change, and added my fish.
During my last water change I noticed this happened again.. 0 gh, 0 kh, ph had sky rocketed.
I did a lot of research and found out that if there is not enough carbon dioxide in a tank the plants will convert salts into food for them to survive, hense lowering the gh and kh.. oh.. well, I guess that makes sense because my one little betta probably can't supply them enough CO2. I also read that the extra oxygen can cause the rise in ph, in spite of the lack of gh and kh.
I also read that excess oxygen and low gh/kh can cause popeye.
Is this what is going on? I don't want to have to remove the plants.. but I got to say the 4 hours my betta spent cupped today.. his popeye seemed to go down a lot :S Maybe it was my imagination..
Has anyone ever had this happen before?
I'm afraid of injecting co2 because I don't want to cause more ph swings.. should I buffer my water higher so there is more gh and kh? I would have thought the excess epsom salts might have fixed the problem..
In his old tank he did not have these plants, just the moss balls, and he did not have this issue.. For those of you with planted tanks, how do you fix this?
Last edited by callistra; 02-28-2013 at 10:34 PM.