Backyard Aquaponics

Pop Eye
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Author:  Los Angeles Will [ Oct 1st, '20, 11:34 ]
Post subject:  Pop Eye

Ok, We've all heard of spinach causing Popeye's arms to swell, but can Longevity Spinach do this to a fish??? It grows so well.....
Here's my question: How do you treat Pop Eye?

File comment: This is the one, you know, the one with the eyes....
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I searched, and saw it mentioned in a few threads, but didn't find much in terms of treating it, besides salting and water changes.
Funny thing is, I did both of these things a few days ago, pre Pop Eye, and now here I am...

I hadn't checked ammonia for a while, found one floater in my main tank, which hadn't been dead for long, The skin was in good condition, but the ammonia was at 8.......eek.

Fish was removed, RFF was checked, which had been cleaned daily, by draining until clear water came out. But, I built this when I knew a lot less, and I added a cone to the inside, from a game feeder, with a 25-30% slope, before I knew that the slope needed to be more than it is, so it is acting as a shelf for crud. It had a couple of inches down there......So it was drained and cleaned.

The two of the Sunfish in the sump had a few of what looked like whitish fungal patches, so I removed them and salted them for about an hour while I did other cleaning, in 5ppm salt bath.
File comment: When the fish were dipped, they behaved normally.
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Good news, the patches have cleared up pretty well. I salted the whole system to about 2.5-3 ppm as well.
The PH is low, hanging out at 6 on the API test. for many months now, I've tested with a low PH test, and it's right at 6 there as well. Ammonia has gone down to between .25 and .5, nitrites have been at 0, and Nitrates are around 20-30. So I assume the biofilter hasn't crashed......But, I have been adding small amounts of sodium bicarbonate to try to bring the PH up a little, but it hasn't budged.

File comment: I believe this is the same fish, there are only 4 in there, and this one is the one that would hang out where Mr. Pop Eye is hanging out.
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Gee these guys grow slow. He is somewhere around 6- 6.5 inches, and over a year old. Each one probably eats 6 to 8 pellets a day, and the occasional pill bug or half of a black soldier fly larvae. The sump does stay cooler though because it's in the ground without insulation. So that probably slows their metabolism.

Yes, this system is severely overstocked, and relief is in the works, but has been slow coming. I know that a lower stocking density would improve water conditions, and cause less stress...

This is in my IBC system, with a 900 liter 32 cubic ft gb. Plants are growing relatively well. Fish seem to be coming along okay too....well, there is always the exception!

The sump, where the sunfish stays, had a lot of 3/4- 1 inch gravel that my daughter threw in before I covered it.

A visible amount of waste had settled among the rocks. The rocks were removed, and the bottom was cleaned. I agitated the solids and pumped them out.

I used a stronger strength of Neem oil than I had used before, since I was having another outbreak of spider mites. But I don't think this caused it.

I just find it funny that this happened after a pretty big water change/ about 1/4 of the system water, and a good cleaning and salting. When people say these things help to clear this up.

I read in other threads that it can be caused by a myriad of causes.

Someone on the ol' U tube used epsom salt to clear it up.

Both eyes got it going on, and quite drastically!

What has worked for you????

Author:  Los Angeles Will [ Oct 2nd, '20, 12:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pop Eye

OOPS.My should last post should have read ppt for the salting.

Sadly, The issue didn't have a chance for me to solve it. The fish was gone by the morning. :(

BSFL knew what to do with him.

The eyes did appear to have an infection, but it came on very fast. I'm surprised at how much they swelled. I can only wonder if the salt bath could have had anything to do with it?? Thinking of edema...or water swelling in skin, I think it's called edema anyways.

The fish was a little bigger than I had thought originally, but still didn't weigh too much. I assume he was a male. A smaller one would hang out with him, which I assume was a female. I'm not sure how big these guys can get, but I've never seen one much bigger than this one was. He weighed in at 4.3 ounces.

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The larvae made quick work of the fish, the photos show eight hours after adding the fish, this afternoon.

Author:  scotty435 [ Oct 2nd, '20, 23:06 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pop Eye

Sorry to hear about the fish. You need to be careful about raising the pH. With the ammonia levels where they are raising the pH too much could be lethal. Usually the ammonia levels will come down as the pH goes up but keep your eyes on it. Here's an ammonia toxicity chart you can use to check your levels - You do need to get the pH back up - The API kit only reads down to 6 so your pH could be much lower - too low and the fish are affected and also the biofiltration may shut down. Here's how I would do the adjustment -

First take a bucket and fill it with a know volume of system water. Adjust the water in the bucket to the desired pH (keeping track of the amount of base needed to do this). Let the water sit for a couple of hours and check the pH again. If it's stable you're done adjusting the water in the bucket, if not, then adjust the water to where you want it again repeat until the pH is steady and where you want it. Once you know how much base it takes for a known volume of system water you can solve for how much it takes to adjust the rest of the system.

It's a simple ratio x mls base/ bucket water volume = X mls base/ system volume or X = x(system volume)/bucket volume.
x= mls (or gms if a solid) needed to adjust bucket water to correct pH
X= mls (or gms if a solid) needed to adjust system water to correct pH

Once you know the amount you need to do the system, you can do this adjustment slowly over several days to avoid killing the fish (try to change the pH by no more than 0.4 pH units each time or less if the ammonia looks like it could go into the danger zone). If the ammonia is not going down you might need to stop feeding and let it's reading fall before adjusting the pH higher. It's a good idea to mix the base in a good volume of water before adding to the system and when you do add, make certain it has time to mix before it gets to the fish so they don't get a pH spike before it fully mixes (adding slowly is also a good idea).

Author:  Los Angeles Will [ Oct 9th, '20, 10:55 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pop Eye

Thanks Scotty.

I ordered some Calcium Carbonate and Potassium bicarbonate.
Ok, so I took 5 gallons of water, and added a tablespoon, mixed thoroughly, and tested the PH again. It still tested at 6. I added another tablespoon, and it rose to 6.4. I checked it about 2 hours later and it was still 6.4

So, does this seem correct?

2 tbsp calcium bicarbonate/ 5 gallons system water

425gallons total system volume/5 gallons =85

85x2 tablespoons= 170 tablespoons

then, I converted tablespoons to cups with an online calculator, which gave me 10.625 cups.

I don't have nearly that much calcium bicarb. I ordered a pound of each. I don't know if one would be stronger than the other though.

I've never used calcium hydroxide to buffer the system, though I have considered it, as it is probably cheaper.

I did use both calcium carbonate and potassium carbonate earlier in the system's journey, though I never needed 10 cups. I alternated between the two. Would it be okay to use both at the same time, or would I risk some kind of nutrient lockout?

But 10 cups might be necessary now that the system is more mature. :dontknow: It still seems like a lot to me, but maybe it is needed.

Author:  Los Angeles Will [ Oct 9th, '20, 10:58 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pop Eye

I forgot about the ammonia, it took a few days, but it got down to .25, and it had held at .25 a few months ago. I really need to get the rest of the other system running so I can transfer the bulk of the fish to it.

Author:  scotty435 [ Oct 10th, '20, 08:36 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pop Eye

Hmm, well I usually work in grams but your calculations seem correct to me . Was it calcium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate - your order seems like it mentions one thing and the calculations mention another - make sure you know what you used. Obviously you want to take the adjustment slowly when you start doing it as mentioned before. I'd start with potassium bicarbonate (assuming that's what it is you tested)...

Yes it will take different amount of the two chemicals. What you can do is make the adjustment first with one of the chemicals and then once you've used that up figure the amount of the other you need to finish the job by using the 5 gallon bucket method as before. Probably don't have enough of both to get the job completely done but test before you take the chance that you'll mess it up - better to be safe on this.

I usually use calcium carbonate in the form of coral or oyster shell in a mesh bag under a spigot to keep the pH higher - once it can't keep up I'll add potassium bicarbonate but since your pH is already way low use the potassium bicarbonate. This has the benefit that it adds both potassium and calcium during the pH adjustment process.

Author:  Los Angeles Will [ Oct 10th, '20, 10:26 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pop Eye

Haha, good catch on the mixed Calcium/ Bicarbonate in my math... Sorry!

These days, my brain is fried when I have time to post anything, and my three young children always seem to want to make the most noise anytime I try to think! :? It's a right of passage, I'm sure! I definitely mixed the calcium carbonate in the water for the test with the 5 gallons.

I ordered both, but wanted to try the calcium first, since some of the newer pepper leaves are wrinkled and cupped.

I think your method of working with grams is definitely more precise and scientific. I do have a cheapo scale, and I suppose I could give it a try...

I also have a few cups of oyster shell hanging in the sump, right above an air stone. I had it in there since early on in the system's existence. I changed it out for fresh shell.
I attribute the system holding at a ph of 6 for so long to the shell.

Has anyone used builder's lime to adjust ph?
I thought I had read about that somewhere in a thread a while back.

Also, I remember reading a thread about someone adding, or wanting to add, glacial rock dust or something along those lines.
I do have quite a bit of that stuff laying around, as I added some to some raised beds a couple of years ago. But I think it was brought up that it might cause some kind of lockout.

Anyhow, thanks for the help. I've cut back on the feed again in the meantime, and I have started slowly adjusting the ph.

Thanks again,

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