Part 1, Poor Water Chemistry Poisoning--Human Error
Ammonia poisoning is caused when organic waste is converted to Ammonia and other broken down compounds by beneficial bacteria. This is step one in the Ammonia to Nitrate Cycle.
The fish's gills turn Purple or red color and the fish gasp or gulp at the surface for breath and become inactive.
Loss of appetite, Fish lie on/near the bottom of the tank (sometimes with clamped fins), Red streaking on the fins and/or body, and in some cases rapid death.
25-50% water change, Use chemical to neutralize ammonia, discontinue or reduce feeding, and Lower pH below 7.0 (A source of controversy about the actual usefulness of this treatment exists, rely on treatments 1-3 with special focus on 1
Buy a test kit
, preferably an all in one master kit
(the test strips fail to detect many things at crucial times).
API make a good one. API Master Test Kits
Test and if ammonia levels rise above 1 ppm as measured by a standard test kit, immediately treat the tank with a water change and reduce feeding. Test again in a little while, 4-6 hours, if still high, do another water change, continue reduced feeding and do a chemical neutralizing agent “Tetra Ammonia Detox”, etc.
Do your regular tank maintenance and use a gravel vacuum to clean out your gravel. If you don’t have a gravel vacuum or even know what one is, go to the pet-store and buy one. Do ask the person in the pet-store for a demonstration on how to use it and practice using it in your dish sink beforehand. Perform regular water changes and maintain your filtration system. Make certain filter system is the correct size for your tank and livestock. Read Lady Hobbs’ articles on Fishless and Fish Tank Cycles, to ensure your tank is properly set up. Your tank is usually not cycled, if you have Ammonia levels or Nitrites detected in your water tests.
The Fishless Cycle:http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640
The Fish Cycle, Cycling with Fish:http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=36492
Nitrite develops right after having increased levels of Ammonia. This is the second chemical in the Ammonia to Nitrate Cycle. In fact, what you didn’t lose to death from the Ammonia Poisoning, maybe claimed by death to this.
Fish gasp/gulp for breath at the water surface, Fish hang near water outlets, Fish are listless, Tan or brown gills, Rapid gill movement, and sometimes rapid death. The blood of the fish turns a tannish brown color, due to an increase in methemoglobin, which in turn blocks the blood’s ability to carry O2. The fish suffocate, in a similar manner of that carbon monoxide poisons humans.
Large water change 50-75%, Reduce feeding, and Increase aeration.
Do your regular tank maintenance and use a gravel vacuum to clean out your gravel. If you don’t have a gravel vacuum or even know what one is, go to the pet-store and buy one. Do ask the person in the pet-store for a demonstration on how to use it and practice using it in your dish sink beforehand. Perform regular water changes and maintain your filtration system. Make certain filter system is the correct size for your tank and livestock. Read Lady Hobbs’ articles above on Fishless and Fish Tank Cycles, to ensure your tank is properly set up.
Nitrate, the third and final toxin in the Ammonia to Nitrate Cycle is a chemical that fish can tolerate at low levels, unlike Ammonia and Nitrite. However it is worth noting that some fish are more sensitive than others. This could be because of a genetic predisposition or life experience in exposure to high levels of it previously. High levels vary depending on predisposition of livestock. Some can tolerate ppm of 20, while others are near death at 10 ppm. Most incidents occur in excess of 20 pmm.
Bottom sitting, Loss of appetite, Pressed to bottom, Bent or Curled positioning, Crooked spine, Uncontrolled swimming, Swimming in circles, Spiraling, Spasms or twitching, and/or Concaved body. May create a condition called Methemoglobinemia, in which blood no longer can carry oxygen, with same results as Nitrite poisoning.
Reduce nitrate levels gradually to reduce the risk of further injury. If you can't obtain Nitrate Removing/detoxifying chemicals over the counter that converts nitrate to a safer form, then perform small (5% max) changing this 5% every few hours throughout the day until you believe 50% of the tank water/volume has been replaced. Repeat this in the next day.
A natural way of supplementing Tank Maintenance:
To reduce/maintain Nitrate Levels is to add Nitrate absorbing plants. Many true Aquatic Plants rely on fish wastes and Nitrates to grow healthy and they return the favor by providing many benefits in return. They give shelter to stressed fish, add hiding spaces, help aerate the water, and remove deadly toxins before they build up too far. This is only a meant to supplement your cleaning/water replenishment regiment and shouldn’t be taken as a way to avoid cleaning/water changes. Some examples of plants that excel at absorbing Nitrates include: Duckweed, Myrio Filgree and other Myrio types, and Moneywort.
Secondary Condition - Nitrate Shock
Many fish are injured/killed, because levels were allowed to climb to dangerous readings; over 40 ppm*, and to counter this, a water change is performed. This brings in fresh water back too quickly, injuring, and/or, shocking, and/or killing the fish.
Suffocation can be caused by too much of Carbon Dioxide.
Good aeration and frequent water changes are the best way to treat and prevent this problem. Adding an air pump, bubble stone/wall/or wand is an effective way to prevent/treat this and can be aided with adding live True Aquatic Plants, such as Myrio Filgree, Anacharis, Moneywort, and many others.
Poisoning may also occur by using untreated tap water, Chlorine/Chloramines/Heavy Metals.
These elements are typically found in the aftermath of municipal water treatment and delivery systems. Rule 1 is if you have water service, assume you have all of the above issues with your water until you know 100% otherwise. Chlorine is odorous and detectable by human sense of smell. Chlorine/Chloramines both can kill fish in 24 hours.
To Treat for Chlorine: age water in a pail/bucket/etc over 12-24 hour period.
To Treat for Chloramines/Heavy Metals: Purchase a water conditioning tablet/solution that specifically makes tap water safe. If you go this route, don't have to age your water in "To Treat for Chlorine" Section.
*PPM refers to parts per million, a common proportional measurement used in testing.