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Discussion Starter #1
Today I woke up to find one of my fire eels dead and all other inhabitants are hanging up at the top of the tank pumping their gills like crazy. The remaining fire eel looks in really bad shape. The only fish not affected are the labyrinth fishes. From what I can find so far is it looks like it could be gill flukes. Has anyone ever dealt with that before and what kind of treatments are available. Please help!
 

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Were they fine one day and then struggling the next morning? If so do you inject CO2? Those seem like the symptoms of a CO2 overdose or lack of O2 to me. Can you give us more information on your set up and can you do a water change and add some aeration in case those are the issues. I'd turn any CO2 down or off too until the crisis is over.
 

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The best way to diagnose gill flukes is to look at the gills of the fish with a magnifying glass. Check out this site.
http://www.geocities.com/steevward/dactyls.html
If they have flukes dip them in 10ppm Potassium Permanganate for 10 minutes.
My feeling is that they do not have flukes but there is something causing a drop in the oxygen content of your tank. I'd jack up the aeration in your tank to the max., fast!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks ed seeley and ray the pilot,
To give a better run down of the situation. Yesterday everything was fine and normal but I did change one thing. I have been using a sugar/yeast co2 reactor for a few months which to my knowledge has not helped my tank what so ever since I was using HOB filters. So yesterday I hooked in a canister filter and ditched the HOB. I used a submerged spray bar to cut back any surface movement. I been using a drop indicator to measure co2 in the tank at all times since the beginning and it's always in the low, even this morning. I did a check on the water parameters and everything seems to be okay for what I check for.
I have done a 1/3 water change, turned the spray bar to the surface and add the strongest air pump I have with a air wand.
Do you know if Flourish Excel would show up on the co2 drop indicator?
Could it be possible that's how on O2 depletion could occur?
 

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I'm not sure there are any really good/reliable tests for CO2. What I do is just add a fixed amount of CO2 to my tank each morning.
As far as Flourish Excel, I stopped using it because of the human toxicity. After reading about the effects of gluteraldehyde on humans, I began thinking that some of the alergic problems I was having might have been exacerbated by Excel. Not scientific but why do I need any more chemicals in my life?

I'm happy your tank is back to something like normal. [-o<
 

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Thanks ed seeley and ray the pilot,
To give a better run down of the situation. Yesterday everything was fine and normal but I did change one thing. I have been using a sugar/yeast co2 reactor for a few months which to my knowledge has not helped my tank what so ever since I was using HOB filters. So yesterday I hooked in a canister filter and ditched the HOB. I used a submerged spray bar to cut back any surface movement. I been using a drop indicator to measure co2 in the tank at all times since the beginning and it's always in the low, even this morning. I did a check on the water parameters and everything seems to be okay for what I check for.
I have done a 1/3 water change, turned the spray bar to the surface and add the strongest air pump I have with a air wand.
Do you know if Flourish Excel would show up on the co2 drop indicator?
Could it be possible that's how on O2 depletion could occur?
I have caused CO2 overdoses with yeast generated CO2 in a small tank so I still think that was your problem (don't know for sure obviously but that's my gut feeling).

The best way to measure CO2 is to use a drop checker but make sure it is filled with water that has a KH of 4dKH. You can buy water of exactly 4dKH over here or make it yourself with baking soda. By using 4dKH water you know when it is green that you have 30ppm CO2 at that point in the tank. What is the KH of the water in your drop checker as that will effect the reading it gives you?

The only problem with it is that a drop checker takes a couple of hours to react so there's a delay on the reading when you make changes. Make sure you try it in a few different places as it's amazing how much difference in CO2 level there can be.

Excel and other Gluteraldehyde based products do not register on a drop checker and I've used them for a year or so now with no negative effects on my shrimp, snails or any fish, including some rather senstive wild caught fish. I don't go above a double dose though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh it was definitely excess co2. A few hours after heavy aeration and surface agitation all fish were back to normal and since then I've been trying to figure out why the drop checker didn't change color. Now I know, the instructions I read (or at least remember reading) said to use aquarium water. Mine which has much higher KH than 4dKH. I was sent a recipe for the mixture using baking soda but it didn't work for me so I'm attempting by trial and error now to see if I can get it.
Thanks for the help guys!
Also, is it okay to use both co2 injection as well as Excel? I have been using both but only because I didn't think co2 was getting in the tank.
 

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You can use Excel with CO2 but I don't recommend it. If you are using CO2 Excel is a waste and adding extra chemical to your tank.
I don't think there is any good way to know how much CO2 is in your tank except by what you put in. I add a fixed amount to my tank each day and check the pH and TDS frequnently.
 

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Sorry to disagree with Ray but you can safely add Excel and CO2 to a tank without issue and I do when doing water changes and when starting up a new tank or scape as the Excel helps knock back any algae in the tank. If you have good CO2 levels then you don't need to add it every day.

A drop checker will give you the best indication of CO2 without a very expensive meter. Working out CO2 levels based on pH and TDS does not take into account the effect on the pH of all the other acids generated or present in tank water such as humic acids. A drop checker with 4dKH water made using sodium bicarbonate means that the only thing changing the pH of the water in the drop checker and therefore changing the colour of the indicator is the CO2 dissolved in that water generating carbonic acid. At the end of the day you need a method that works for you - I go with the drop checker.
 

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Excel/No Excel

Sorry to disagree with Ray but you can safely add Excel and CO2 to a tank without issue and I do when doing water changes and when starting up a new tank or scape as the Excel helps knock back any algae in the tank. If you have good CO2 levels then you don't need to add it every day.A.
Excel is a polymerized form of glutaraldehyde and its effect is a result of it breaking down to that compound.

Here are some references. Decide for yourself if you want to use it our not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutaraldehyde
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/glutaraldehyde/
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So I finally got the water for the drop indicator corrected to 4dKH, It took a lot more dilution than I thought. When I put in the solution it turned the water green right away is that way it should work? Before it would turn blue. I am also going to try putting it directly over the co2 pump to see if I can get it to turn yellow. At least then I will feel a little more comfortable using it as a guide.

As for the Excel, I think I'm going to cut that back for use only when performing water changes and algae breakouts.

Ray, I gotta ask, how did you come across the ingredients for excel? there is no information on the bottle what so ever.
 
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