I noticed my tank's pH is either 7.6 or off the chart when I was doing weekly tests. At first I wanted to ignore it since I figured Luigi and Snowy would adjust but it's been about a month and Luigi still has clumpy fins and Snowy has kinked rays. So I added IAL to see if that helps.
Now that the leaf is in there, I'm wondering is the tannins will throw off my Ammonia, NitrITE, and NitrATE tests? My tank has been cycled since August according to my test results, but I don't know if the tint that is caused by tannins will mess up the color codes. Does anyone else test tannin tinted water with the API liquid tests? It's only the first day so I can take them out if it can screw with my cycle or liquid test results.
This is my first time using IAL so I don't know if I'm doing it wrong. I assumed 1/4 of a large leaf would be good to float in 5 gallons.
IAL does help with the toxicity of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate believe it or not. But it won't throw off your readings.
IAL will help lower your ph, but honestly unless you are breeding there is really no need to lower it. The fish will adjust to the ph and do fine. Maybe the clampy one has something else going on or is not adjusted yet - did you acclimate well, say, over 24 hours if there was a huge difference in the ph of the two waters (when you brought him home, vs your tap water)
Kinked rays, I have heard, can be from harder water, not necessarily high ph, but generally the two go hand in hand. (high ph is due to high mineral content, which is what is described as hard water) But it's purely aesthetic and doesn't hurt the fish.
I guess I should have given a bit more background when I set up my question. I was trying to get to the point quickly. ^_^;
I doubt it's an acclimation issue at this point. Both of my fish are from pet stores so I will never know there real ages, but I've had Luigi for 2 years and Snowy for 1 year. I noticed the fin issues back when I moved from my Grandma's house to my apartment back in January and figured they would adjust. When they really became sluggish out of nowhere and my books wheren't give me any answers I joined this forum and learned that Bettas need heaters because they are tropical fish (when I re-read one of my books I notice this fact in tiny footnote type *facepalm*). I still have no idea how they survived 1 week in 68 degree water. So, I tossed in a 7.5watt heater to keep their 1 gallon tanks warm.
They were active but still had clumpy and kinked fins. So I upgraded their tanks from 1 gallon filtered and heated tanks to 5 gallon filter, heated, and cycled tanks and still noticed the clumpy fins and kinked rays I noticed in the 1 gallon. At first I thought it was acclimation or stress from the tank size and filter strength upgrade, but now they have been in their "new" homes for 2 months and still had the fin problems. Therefore, as a 3rd attempt to make their fins unclump and straighten, I figured I would toss in some IAL leaves and see what happens.
I already knew the kinked rays on Snowy are aesthetic, so I'm more worried about the clumpy fins on Luigi. I was worried about it being illness too, but I put my question in this section because I can't think of a single illness that wouldn't have killed a 2 + year old fish after 10 months of symptoms. I haven't ready anything about clumpy fins being an aesthetic problem so that's why I'm trying the leaves. Since it won't affect my test results, I'll leave the leaf in there for now unless it starts to bug them or something.
Can water be hard enough to poison fish? I don't mind Snowy being less than perfect, but I don't know if Luigi's fins are an aesthetic problem or genetics. After this I'm going to honestly give up unless a member has heard of "Chronically Clumped Fin Disease" or something. XD
Two of mine have curled/clumpy dorsal fins- had them since I got them. They have been in the ideal water conditions and they have never straightened out. And they have not suffered due to it. Unsure if it is from hard water or not. I got them from a LFS that has a breeder somewhere nearby. Unsure the type of water the breeder kept them in. Those are the only two I've seen with clumpy/curled fins from there.
GH or general hardness, is the amount of metal ion concentration in your water. Ideally, you would like to keep this under 140ppm, which is the high-end for soft water. Hard water makes it more difficult for males to build bubblenests, because the bubbles pop in hard water, and you may find mineral deposits in tanks and containers. High GH has also been liked to the all too familiar ray curling in Crowntails, although it is not the only factor involved with curling rays.
IAL tannins is great for them, even if it doesn't "fix" the hardness, so your money wasn't wasted. I would say not to try to mess with the chemistry if possible, as even if you had a water softener, you would still have to add in some trace elements that would be lost in the softening process.
I don't want to use any chemicals. I figured the IAL could be a good natural "suppliment" for lack of a better word. I'm not going to use any chemicals that could hurt my fish or the bacteria in my filter. I don't see any deposits like I did in the 1 gallon set up, so I doubt the hardness is as high as 140ppm. I'm going to let the leaf float and then leave well enough alone.
But at least I'm not the only one who has a healthy fish with curly fins. :)