Goldfish Ammonia Poisoning

Elevated Ammonia Levels
Ammonia poisoning is the result of elevated levels of ammonia in the goldfish tank water. Ammonia is introduced into the goldfish tank water by every goldfish that lives in it. 25% of it is produced by goldfish waste but the majority of it, %75, is secreted through osmosis in the gills. Ammonia moves from a high concentration in the goldfish to the low concentration in the tank water. When the concentration in the water builds to a higher level than the goldfish, the goldfish stops secreting it. With out this secretion, the goldfish will begin to suffer from ammonia poisoning.

Ammonia Poisoning Symptoms
Symptoms of ammonia poisoning include redness in the skin (ammonia burns), excessive mucus production, loss of appetite, clamping of fins, and inactivity. These symptoms are common in other types of goldfish illnesses so it is wise to do an ammonia test to accurately diagnose goldfish ammonia poisoning. High levels of ammonia are more problematic in a new un-cycled tank that hasn’t had the chance to grow beneficial bacteria for use in its biological filter. This is often called ‘new tank syndrome’. Ammonia spikes also occur when new goldfish are introduced into a cycled tank that have a zero ammonia level reading. That is why it is recommended to only ad a goldfish at a time; so your biological filter can keep up with the new stock levels.

Ammonia Poisoning Treatment
If you notice these symptoms and find that your ammonia levels are high, do a 50-75% water change and add a biological aquarium supplement to up your levels of beneficial bacteria. Consider lowering your stocking levels and reduce excess feeding. A small goldfish bowl or an aquarium less than 10 gallons will require a water change several times a week if not daily to avoid ammonia poisoning of the goldfish.

photo small: madprime

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