Ammonia Fish Toxicity: How long does it take?

mfollen

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Hey reefers,

I made the bonehead move of putting my prized angelfish (tough & thick 3-4” captive bred fish) into a new system which I thought was finished cycling.

I was under the impression based on the instructions of the ammonia kit that 0.5 ammonia was ok, not necessarily toxic for fish. Under this impression, I put the fish in the new tank tonight and noticed it breathing very heavily. I did some research and found that the 0.5 ppm ammonia level is toxic to fish.

I decided to take the fish out of the tank and put it back in it’s long cycled, established, but small 20 gallon holding tank (usually used as a coral quarantine tank). The fish was in the 0.5 ppm ammonia water of the newer tank for maybe 40 minutes, hour tops.

Is this enough time at 0.5 ppm to cause ammonia burn or serious damage to the fish, that would require treatment? It is back and hopefully resting and recovering now with the lights off so I can not ID it’s status till tomorrow morning. But I can confirm it is breathing heavily, but alert and moving like normal.

Thank you very much.
 
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allsite

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Yes, 0.5 is too high and drastically worse if you’re system is high ph and/or for any reason high temp. Both of these conditions will convert the ammonia in your tank to the far deadlier form that can quickly kill fish. In my experience, in proper conditions fish that suffered ammonia toxicity recover quickly and don’t belly up day/weeks later. Don’t forget to test your smaller tank too.
 
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mfollen

mfollen

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Yes thank you so much. Ammonia is 0 in the tank it is in now.

Today the fish is alive and active, but is still breathing very healthy. I worry ammonia burn likely may of happened, but the degree to of it I am unsure. I’m not sure if I should just let the fish rest or do any sort of preventative treatment to aid the fish in recovery.
 

Sam816

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Use something like api stress coat to help sooth the gills. Ammonia burn literally burns the gill tissue reducing its efficiency. Add an air stone and slow down the wavemaker. If the fish goes vertical or gasps close to the surface then it's bad news.
 
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rmurken

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Methylene blue is used to treat ammonia poisoning.

40 minutes at .5 doesn’t seem like enough to do your fish in, and if it’s improving I’d be circumspect about doing much more than you already are. But I’d read up on MB either way.
 
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mfollen

mfollen

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It did as I took it out shortly after the post! It’s doing fine now in the tank.

Thanks :)
 

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