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Old 02-28-2013, 11:31 PM   #1 
callistra
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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 11:34 PM.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:45 PM   #2 
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I have noticed that in planted tanks you do not need to do as many water changes. I once had a 150 gallon that was so balanced that I did not have to clean it for almost a year. The only thing I did was remove some plants as they grew too large. And replace water as it evaporated.

I did not know about the popeye thing. My suggestion would be to do less water changes and check parameters before doing such. You may need to just do a quick sweep of the top of the gravel and let it go with that replaceing only the water removed.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:54 PM   #3 
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I would be worried about less water changes because the plants are already eating all the salts out of my water faster than I'm replacing them.. if the low gh is causing the popeye, less changes would make it worse..

It's also not really planted.. just elodea.. which is one of the best ammonia eaters, but I have no real nitrate eaters.

Thanks though :)

My tank is 10g btw.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:55 PM   #4 
MattsBettas
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Callistra, I would remove him or the plants. Let him heal, and try again without as many plants. I have never heard of this being a problem, and would have never considered it.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:57 AM   #5 
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It is possible, however, it sounds like you need a buffer to help keep your pH stable-crushed coral works well for that.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:11 AM   #6 
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That's crazy. I've never heard of something like like. Obviously I don't know as much as OFL, and she knows what's best, lol.

I agree with louisvillelady, though. My planted has managed to balance itself out. Personally, like Matt said, I would remove the fish to treat it. In the tank, you could add in a snail or something to increase the bioload for your plants to feed off of. Maybe let some food dissolve in there. There is a liquid additive I use for my plants called Envy. It's really great and my plants are super healthy, without risk to my fish's health. This way I don't have to add in a CO2 booster.

I doubt this will really be of much help to you. I hope it can do something for you, though.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:34 PM   #7 
callistra
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I use Seachem Alkaline Buffer, which I think is basically baking soda.

How much crushed coral should I add?

Everything was totally stable without the plants. So with the crushed coral my ph, gh and kh will stop changing?
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:55 PM   #8 
MattsBettas
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I can't answer your question, but I know that you're one of the most qualified people to treat a fish. What fish is this?
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:05 PM   #9 
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I know, Matt! I was really shocked to see this thread too.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:55 PM   #10 
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what is your substrate? there are certain substrate that buffer te gH KH...
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