Ammonia poisoning...can my fish recover?
My black molly has not been doing well for a couple of days. He's been lethargic and has no appetite. He spends all his time in the house and I've had to force him out of it to make sure he's still alive a couple times.
I linked it back to ammonia poisoning. My ammonia level was 0.50 ppm. I did a 30% water change on Friday night. When I retested the water on Saturday, my ammonia level was about 0.20-0.25 ppm. I plan to check it again tonight when I get home from work.
I have 3 questions:
(1) Could overfeeding be a contributor? I give my 6 fish a pinch of flakes twice a day (6am/6pm) as directed on the food canister. They appear to gobble it all up with no problem but maybe they are pooping too much.
(2) Is there a way to save my fish or is he just suffering until he dies at this point? Can he recover if I correct the issue?
(3) Is it better to use an ammonia remover at this point or to perform another water change?
I don't know about the recovery issue, it may not be so much a case of a large poisoning as it is of the raised ammonia level just causing the fish to not feel so hot while it's high.
Overfeeding would be the only contributor initially, but not vacuuming the gravel thoroughly and regularly could be a cumulative problem as food and waste settles in between the grains and decomposes.
Change water, vacuum well and use something like Prime that detoxifies the ammonia, it lasts for a day or two.
How old is the tank?
I can change out more water/vacuum again biweekly instead if that will help.
Is "Prime" a brand name or a type of product?
Based on your readings I'd say that the tank is not cycled yet. I know that a tank can cycle in 7 days but that, apparently, is not typical.
Seachems Prime water conditioner.
Start changing the water daily, at least 50%. Seeing as you are on a well and wouldn't normally need to condition the water, just get a very small bottle of Prime as you may never need it again. I ended up buying one "just in case" as I am on well water as well. I ended up setting up an office tank on chlorinated water so I am using it over there now. If you can change the water large and often enough to keep the levels very low, you don't really NEED it, but it would be better on the fish.
The keys for knowing if the tank is cycled are that there was a nitrite spike and that nitrates are slowing increasing. With ammonia levels, no nitrite or nitrates, the tank is working on setting up the cycle still.
What did you do for the fishless cycling?
Thanks for the information.
For my fishless cycle I followed this Wikihow: How to Do a Fishless Cycle: 9 Steps - wikiHow
I have some Tetra brand Safe Start a friend gave me to help eat up the ammonia but I am not sure how it would affect my fish.
I would add live plants like anacharis to consume the ammonia.
And definately not use an ammonia lock like prime.
FWIW I have always had much better luck with mollys in saltwater then Fw. Or even just a little bit of salt.
But that was for a white cottony type fungus not the heavy breathing type stuff.
First off, I hope your fish recovers because your black molly is very pretty. I would agree don't use any product for reducing ammonia, just daily to every other day water changes until your ammonia comes down. I would check it every day with the liquid test kit. I would also agree a live plant may really help you out.
Platys and Mollys really create a lot of waste, so I would say that is a big part of your problem. Also with having all top swimming fish in your tank they may only eat food off the very top, or at least my platys and mollys do, and any that they don't consume off the top is sinking and creating more ammonia. Have you considered adding snails or a bottom feeder. Your size tank you could keep some ghost shrimp or other kinds of shrimp as well. Just think about it and research it as a possibility to help your tank out.
Gravel and artificial plants really trap in waste. Make sure you are moving things around and that every few days you pick up and shake around those plants because waste gets trapped in the plastic part that goes below the gravel too. We found that out when we had gravel and artificial plants just how much stuff gets down in the crevices.
In case some are misunderstanding the Prime product, it does nothing to reduce or remove ammonia, in fact if you were treating chlorinated water it INCREASES ammonia then renders it non-toxic for fish while leaving it available for the plants and micro organisms to consume. The idea being that while it is non-toxic for up to 48 hours, that time is sufficient for the system to consume or oxidize it... assuming that there is an already established cycle or plants... otherwise changing water is needed.
As much as I wouldn't choose to add a product if unnecessary, it can be used to just treat a short term ammonia or nitrite issue if you wanted to.
Thanks got all the suggestions. I am happy to say he did not hide away all day and is back to swimming in the open
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