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CO2 toxicity



I started my plant tank last November, everything I know I learned from this
list.

The posts on sickly SAEs and high CO2 was a painful reminder of my disaster
last month, so here is my sad story.  Ever tweaking, I tried to raise my CO2
level by raising KH from 4.5 to 6 while keeping pH at 6.8.  Somehow the KH
got up to 8 (not quite sure how cause its very stable in my tank).  Despite
the advice of this excellent mailing list, I hadnít calibrated my pH
controller/electrode for a long time.  The pH was actually 6.5, though the
meter read 6.8.  Doesnít seem like a big deal but CO2 tested at 60 ppm.

Things died in this order:
Monday  1 Whiptail cat (I think:  gosh these things are delicate)
Tuesday  1 SAE (I think:  Algae eaters starving to death?)
Weds      1 hatchetfish, 1 SAE  (I think:  Whatís going on?)
Thurs      trio of Apisto. agassizi (they had eggs!), 2 SAE, all the
hatchetfish
(I think:  Something poisoning my fish, why is the CO2 always on?)

My school of silver tipped tetras, AES, and ottos seem to be ok, though Iím
wondering if their gills may be damaged.  One of a nice pair of ramirezi
died two days later.  Also saw a trace (0.06 ppm) of ammonia in the tank for
the first time ever (killed the filter too?).  I loved those double reds and
I let them down.

Moral:  Technology has its limits.  Calibrate the pH controller every two
weeks.

Observation:  SAE/Whiptails are Canaries for CO2 excess.