HITH problem, tried everything

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UNC-CH replied the topic: HITH problem, tried everything

My oscar is the same age as yours, give or take a month. He's also about the same size. I've thought that mine had been stunted due to living in poor water conditions the first few months I had him. I'm not sure if that could be the case with yours or if he's just a smaller body type. Normally, in a 90 gallon tank I would think your oscar would be around 12" at this point. But again, oscars vary in size.
Can you get the api master test kit (freshwater)? I'm not familiar with the one you're using and I'd expect the nitrate levels to be higher since your oscar is developing HITH. I'm wondering if it's giving you accurate nitrate readings.
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VonDutch replied the topic: HITH problem, tried everything

UNC-CH wrote: My oscar is the same age as yours, give or take a month. He's also about the same size. I've thought that mine had been stunted due to living in poor water conditions the first few months I had him. I'm not sure if that could be the case with yours or if he's just a smaller body type. Normally, in a 90 gallon tank I would think your oscar would be around 12" at this point. But again, oscars vary in size.
Can you get the api master test kit (freshwater)? I'm not familiar with the one you're using and I'd expect the nitrate levels to be higher since your oscar is developing HITH. I'm wondering if it's giving you accurate nitrate readings.


It's a testkit from Tetra. They sell it in every LFS in Holland. Trust me, it's accurate. Bought this one 5 weeks ago so it isn't expired or anything. Always have been using this brand, also with my other tanks. I have 2 LFS's that I visit frequently, they use the same tests from tetra for their water.

Nitrates might have been higher 6 montsh ago when it started? can't imagine why because I haven't changed my WC schedule. From now on I am going to do 75% water changes twice a week instead of 50% changes, I just want to make absolutely sure that it's not because of the water quality.
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Goranothos replied the topic: HITH problem, tried everything

Hi. Probably nothing wrong with the test kit you are using. Liquid test kits are far superior to test strips. Just make sure you follow the directions closely when doing the Nitrate test, as you need to do a lot of agitation in order to get accurate results.

One Oscar in a 90 gallon tank is good.

Your water change schedule is good.

10-20 ppm Nitrates in your tap water is not good. I'm in the same situation. I suggest you consider a denitrator. This is a different sort of filter that uses a slow water flow and anaerobic bacteria to remove nitrates from your tank water. It is particularly beneficial, IMO, for those of us who have nitrates in our tap water.

The one I use is made by Aquaripure, a USA company. My results with this filter have been very good. I believe there is at least one European company that offers something similar, or, if you are handy, you can make a DIY filter.

aquaripure.com/

Another option is a large HOB filter full of Pothos.

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” -Mike Tyson
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Darth Nandopsis replied the topic: HITH problem, tried everything

Not sure where you obtained the info that Oscar will do well in harder water ("7.2 being ideal")...7.5 is an ideal PH for Rift Lake cichlids.....that's very high for Oscars. Oscars are an Amazonian cichlid ancestrally, & should be kept in the same water as Discus, Angels, Severums....soft acidic water. It's the same as keeping Rift Lake cichlids in soft water....long term, they will get stressed & not do well if not given the proper conditions. I am a firm believer in proper water chemistry for fish, & keeping fish in H2O that isn't right for them long-term will definitely stress them out....& stress can lead to all sorts of maladies, including HITH. I've kept Oscars on & off for decades....never had one get HITH/LLE...ever. I keep my Red Oscar in "Blackwater" conditions....& he thrives. I would suggest you try peat in your filter, because it can't hurt.

That being said, you do have high nitrates....I would suggest a de-nitrator or perhaps even a Pothos filter....one of our members Goranothos has a de-nitrator, & it works well for him.

Also, try & get Boyd's Vita-Chem......best vitamin on the market....I've had people cure HITH strictly from frequent WC's & Boyd's. I feed FD krill soaked in Boyd's as a regular part of all my cichlids diet.

EDIT: WOW, D, you beat me to it. B)

THOSE WHO REFUSE KNOWLEDGE ARE DOOMED TO FAIL.

WATER CHANGES ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF THIS HOBBY. IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE SO OR SIMPLY DON'T FEEL LIKE DOING THEM, RE-HOME YOUR FISH, SELL YOUR AQUARIUM & FIND ANOTHER HOBBY, AS YOU WILL FAIL UTTERLY, COMPLETELY, & MISERABLY.
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Goranothos replied the topic: HITH problem, tried everything

Darth Nandopsis wrote: EDIT: WOW, D, you beat me to it. B)


Just using my Jedi powers. :P

Actually, I have the day off. B)

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” -Mike Tyson
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VonDutch replied the topic: HITH problem, tried everything

Goranothos wrote: Hi. Probably nothing wrong with the test kit you are using. Liquid test kits are far superior to test strips. Just make sure you follow the directions closely when doing the Nitrate test, as you need to do a lot of agitation in order to get accurate results.

One Oscar in a 90 gallon tank is good.

Your water change schedule is good.

10-20 ppm Nitrates in your tap water is not good. I'm in the same situation. I suggest you consider a denitrator. This is a different sort of filter that uses a slow water flow and anaerobic bacteria to remove nitrates from your tank water. It is particularly beneficial, IMO, for those of us who have nitrates in our tap water.

The one I use is made by Aquaripure, a USA company. My results with this filter have been very good. I believe there is at least one European company that offers something similar, or, if you are handy, you can make a DIY filter.

aquaripure.com/

Another option is a large HOB filter full of Pothos.


Thanks for the help man. Keeping tropical fish is common here so no shortage of big stores. I already found a couple of places where they sell denitrators for a reasonable price. Will definitely look into that since I didn’t know that my friggin tapwater contains around 12.5ppm. Thought it would be 0 but when I search on the internet, I see that nitrate levels in tap water can go from 0 to 50ppm in my country depending on your location. Will buy one if all the other tips do not help. So a denitrator is pretty much a normal filter with special media in it with a very poor flow to promote anaerobic bacteria activity, which converts nitrate into nitrogen.
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Darth Nandopsis wrote: Not sure where you obtained the info that Oscar will do well in harder water ("7.2 being ideal")...7.5 is an ideal PH for Rift Lake cichlids.....that's very high for Oscars. Oscars are an Amazonian cichlid ancestrally, & should be kept in the same water as Discus, Angels, Severums....soft acidic water. It's the same as keeping Rift Lake cichlids in soft water....long term, they will get stressed & not do well if not given the proper conditions. I am a firm believer in proper water chemistry for fish, & keeping fish in H2O that isn't right for them long-term will definitely stress them out....& stress can lead to all sorts of maladies, including HITH. I've kept Oscars on & off for decades....never had one get HITH/LLE...ever. I keep my Red Oscar in "Blackwater" conditions....& he thrives. I would suggest you try peat in your filter, because it can't hurt.

That being said, you do have high nitrates....I would suggest a de-nitrator or perhaps even a Pothos filter....one of our members Goranothos has a de-nitrator, & it works well for him.

Also, try & get Boyd's Vita-Chem......best vitamin on the market....I've had people cure HITH strictly from frequent WC's & Boyd's. I feed FD krill soaked in Boyd's as a regular part of all my cichlids diet.

EDIT: WOW, D, you beat me to it. B)


I wasn’t trying to be a smartass or anything like that, since you obviously know a lot more about water chemistry, but that’s information I found on this website (not the forum, the main page). It says that PH 6-8 is ideal for oscars. The specific ‘7.2 being ideal’ information is from aquariuminfo.org/oscar.html and www.ehow.com/way_5868488_proper-ph-oscar-fish.html
I also read a while back that forum member Rocksor said that 7.2 is fine (in another thread) and that moderator Suprd71 has a ph of 7.2 in all of his tanks. So that’s why I thought 7.5 wouldn’t be an issue. www.oscarfishlover.com/forum/53-water-chemistry/303210-hard-alkaline-water
Apart from the PH, is there anything else you could think of that I might be doing wrong or could be doing better? Thanks for sharing your knowledge, I really do appreciate it. Actions I am going to take now: 75% WC's twice a week instead of 50%, testing nitrates more often so I can sort of find out the rate of production and adjust my wc's to it, add liquid vitamin to his frozen cubes (alongside the soaked pellets)
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Darth Nandopsis replied the topic: HITH problem, tried everything

I didn't take it as being a "smart-ass" or anything like that.....I just have always kept Oscars in "Blackwater"...& it works. 6.8 or below is great for Oscars....but 7.5 is far too high....honestly, that's Lake Malawi.

Oscars do need Vitamin C in their diet...w/out it, they will contract HITH........I do highly recommend Boyd's...not sure about JBL, but try the Boyd's....consistent use will help to close the holes.

THOSE WHO REFUSE KNOWLEDGE ARE DOOMED TO FAIL.

WATER CHANGES ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF THIS HOBBY. IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE SO OR SIMPLY DON'T FEEL LIKE DOING THEM, RE-HOME YOUR FISH, SELL YOUR AQUARIUM & FIND ANOTHER HOBBY, AS YOU WILL FAIL UTTERLY, COMPLETELY, & MISERABLY.
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Goranothos replied the topic: HITH problem, tried everything

VonDutch wrote:
Thanks for the help man. Keeping tropical fish is common here so no shortage of big stores. I already found a couple of places where they sell denitrators for a reasonable price. Will definitely look into that since I didn’t know that my friggin tapwater contains around 12.5ppm. Thought it would be 0 but when I search on the internet, I see that nitrate levels in tap water can go from 0 to 50ppm in my country depending on your location. Will buy one if all the other tips do not help. So a denitrator is pretty much a normal filter with special media in it with a very poor flow to promote anaerobic bacteria activity, which converts nitrate into nitrogen.


Basically, yes. The byproducts are nitrogen and a slimy mucus.

Nitrates in tapwater seems to me to be related to agricultural regions, because of fertilizers.

I have resigned myself to using a denitrator on all my tanks.

Edit: Also, denitrators have the potential benefit of lowering the pH of your tank water, though I haven't noticed a difference in my 150 gallon tank given my current water change schedule.

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VonDutch replied the topic: HITH problem, tried everything

Darth Nandopsis wrote: I didn't take it as being a "smart-ass" or anything like that.....I just have always kept Oscars in "Blackwater"...& it works. 6.8 or below is great for Oscars....but 7.5 is far too high....honestly, that's Lake Malawi.

Oscars do need Vitamin C in their diet...w/out it, they will contract HITH........I do highly recommend Boyd's...not sure about JBL, but try the Boyd's....consistent use will help to close the holes.

They don’t sell boyds here. JBL should be good. They are all water soluble vitamins so brand should not matter. I will continue to give it to him.
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Goranothos wrote: Basically, yes. The byproducts are nitrogen and a slimy mucus.

Nitrates in tapwater seems to me to be related to agricultural regions, because of fertilizers.

I have resigned myself to using a denitrator on all my tanks.

Edit: Also, denitrators have the potential benefit of lowering the pH of your tank water, though I haven't noticed a difference in my 150 gallon tank given my current water change schedule.


Yeah, a lot of agricultural activity around here. What are your thoughts on 'nitrate absorbers' (an ion exchanging material/media which traps nitrates) A LFS here sells 'nitrate reductor' which you can put in bags and put into your filter. Once a month you need to regenerate the product using salt, then you can place it back in the tank so it can soak up the nitrates again. A lot of guys from a big piranha forum in my country use it and promote it, saw some pics that nitrates went from 50 ppm to <10ppm in a few days and stayed there. I found some english info about the process because I couldn't translate it myself that well.

The ion exchange process for the removal of nitrates is both simple and effective. It operates in the same manner as a common water softener and can easily remove well over 90 percent of the nitrates. The process uses a strong-base anion exchange resin, which is regenerated with common salt (NaCl) or potassium chloride (KCl) The chloride ion of the salt is utilized by the resin. The sodium ion passes right through the resin bed and does not affect the process.

It's alot cheaper (little more work though) than a denitrator so it's worth a try imo, especially since i've seen a lot of proof of it working. Any thoughts on this?
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Goranothos replied the topic: HITH problem, tried everything

VonDutch wrote:
Yeah, a lot of agricultural activity around here. What are your thoughts on 'nitrate absorbers' (an ion exchanging material/media which traps nitrates) A LFS here sells 'nitrate reductor' which you can put in bags and put into your filter. Once a month you need to regenerate the product using salt, then you can place it back in the tank so it can soak up the nitrates again. A lot of guys from a big piranha forum in my country use it and promote it, saw some pics that nitrates went from 50 ppm to <10ppm in a few days and stayed there. I found some english info about the process because I couldn't translate it myself that well.

The ion exchange process for the removal of nitrates is both simple and effective. It operates in the same manner as a common water softener and can easily remove well over 90 percent of the nitrates. The process uses a strong-base anion exchange resin, which is regenerated with common salt (NaCl) or potassium chloride (KCl) The chloride ion of the salt is utilized by the resin. The sodium ion passes right through the resin bed and does not affect the process.

It's alot cheaper (little more work though) than a denitrator so it's worth a try imo, especially since i've seen a lot of proof of it working. Any thoughts on this?


What are my thoughts? Seems like some sort of nitrate "sponge" that needs to be recharged fairly often.

Not sure why you think that is cheaper than a denitrator. A denitrator is very simple and inexpensive to operate, once established. I doubt I spend more than ten minutes a week maintaining my denitrator, and a pint of cheap vodka lasts me several months as a nutrient source.

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