Ammonia Poisoning

Did you know a fishes waste can actually poison a fish?...

The key to avoiding fish death from ammonia poisoning is to not let the ammonia build up in the first place. Completely cycle the tank before adding fish. Even in an well established tank, avoid overstocking.

Online Diagnosis

What to Look For

  • Fish gasp for breath at the water surface
  • Purple or red gills
  • Fish is lethargic
  • Fins are torn & jagged
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fish lays at the bottom of the tank
  • Fish may appear darker in color
  • Red streaking on the fins or body

What's going on?

Ammonia poisoning is one of the biggest killers of aquarium fish. Ammonia irritates the fish by burning there gills and scales and sometimes the scales even fall off. It occurs most often when a tank is newly set up. However, it can also occur in an established tank when too many new fish have been added at one time, when the filter fails due to power or mechanical failure, or if bacterial colonies die off due to the use of medications or sudden change in water conditions.

Now when you see a fish that has Black edges on the fish some of the times this is do to the ammonia burning the fish and is in the healing end of it. Nothing to worry about just keep the levels in the tank in a clean environment.

How to Fix It?

Do daily water changes to reduce ammonia levels to 1-2 ppm for freshwater or below 1 ppm for saltwater. Aerate, and make sure pH is at or below 7.0 for freshwater tanks. In addition to or instead of changing water, you can also add a dose of something like AmQuel, but I prefer the water change method. Find out why ammonia is present and correct the problem.

How to Prevent this?

Stock new tanks slowly, proper cycling, Feed sparingly and remove uneaten food (I'm serious), Change water regularly 20% weekly, Test water regularly.

The key to avoiding fish death from ammonia poisoning is to not let the ammonia build up in the first place. Completely cycle the tank before adding fish. Even in an well established tank, avoid overstocking.

Feed fish very small quantities of foods. They really don't need much to eat. Gravel wash and change 20% of the water weekly, taking care of fish is a responsibility.

Disease & Tank Problems

Common Problems

(80% of all problems aquarium issues)
New Tank Syndrome - Is your tank new? Do you have cloudy water?
Ammonia Poisoning - Fins are torn, red steaking on body.
Vitamin Deficiencies - Scoliosis (Curved Spine), Reduced Growth, Lack or Loss of Appetite
Bad Water - Gravel washed this week? Add new water? See Ammonia Poisoning
Swim Bladder Problems - Erratic Swimming Position, Loss of equilibrium.
Physical Injury - From fighting, bumping into things, etc
Stress - Acting weird? Hiding all day? Not eating?
Walmart Syndrome - Did you buy your fish there?

Parasites

(Usually visual things/bugs)
Anchor Worms - Tiny white-green or red worms in wounds, Frequent rubbing or "flashing".
Black Spot - Small black speckles on body.
Ich - Small white "salt-like" pimples on fins & body.
Skin / Gill Flukes - Fish gasps for air at the water's surface, gills covered in mucus.
Oodinium (velvet) - Fine grey-gold to whitish 'dust' on the body.
Parasites (External) - Large ugly sores on body.
Planaria - Small White Hairlike Worms in the tank.

Bacterial Diseases

(Mostly Internal Problems or invisable problems)
Pop Eye - One or both eyes protrude from the head in an unusual fashion.
Dropsy - Huge, Fat, Bloated Belly, Lethargy and loss of appetite.
Fin Rot - Fins turn Jagged or whitish and die back.
Hole in the Head - Small holes in and around the head.

Fungal

(Usualy white foggy type things)
Cataracts - White or grey "foggy" eyes.
Cotton Mouth - White "Cotton like" fungus on the mouth.

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