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Possible nitrite poisoning?


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Here are the details:

10 gal tank set-up on 8/18 with a HOB Top Fin filter that came with starter kit
1 Ryukin added 9/1 after 2 positive water tests
1st water change Sun 9/8 10% aged with Top Fin water conditioner
Since my 1st water change, I have had elevated nitrItes. I have done 25% water change between Sept 8-9. The last 10% I did was with Prime rather than Top Fin water conditioner. Recently (since 9/9 after work) Golden has been hanging out near the bottom of the tank behind the plant where she sleeps. (We only have 3 artificial plants, no live) I watched her from 10:30a - 2p yesterday and she will swim around occasionally (but vigorously) only to return to the corner near the bottom. She also seems to have shallow breathing.
I don't think I've been overfeeding her as we feed her once per day 3-4 sinking pellets. I gave her peas on 9/4 (pellets every other day) and have only given her peas since she started this lethargic episode. She eats everything readily and does not leave food at the bottom of the tank. She will still swim over to eat and find food even with this lethargic episode.
Other than elevated NitrItes (Ammonia and Nitrate levels, pH has been normal) my other concern is the temperature of the tank. It stays 75-80 degrees. We have air conditioning, but her tank is on the top floor where is stays warmer. I have closed the blinds to reduce heat during the day and her tank is not near a window. Right now as I type I am floating a frozen bottle of spring water with Prime in the tank and removed the hood. I have the standard incandescent lights that came with the starter kit and noticed yesterday that the hood gets pretty hot on top. I will go later today and buy some fluorescent lights.
So my questions:
- Should I keep the light off during the day on hot days? (i.e. which is worse for her overheating or not having a light?)
- Should I keep performing daily 10% water changes until the nitrItes normalize or will I mess up the nitrogen cycle? Or should I add 1mL of prime to the aquarium daily?
- Should I feed her? I was thinking I would fast her today just in case the elevated nitrItes are due to overfeeding
- Any other recommendations???
I hope this forum can help! The pet store people are of limited help and many forums & websites contradict each other. I found Koko's to have the most consistent advice. I have read 3 Goldfish care books based on postings in your forum. I have not been able to sleep and have been running around town getting twice daily water tests (last night I purchased the API master freshwater kit so I can do my own testing). Attached is the result of the nitrIte test as of 4:30a today. I added 1 mL of prime directly to the water this morning.
Thank you,
Golden's Grandma


**UPDATE**

Haven't slept! After reading your article on cycling, I did a 40% (only had 4 gallons prepared) water change at 6:30a. Golden swam around quite a bit and scavenged for food (more typical behavior). I noticed she did go up to the top a few times as if looking for more oxygen. I did not turn on the aquarium lights today, but left lights on in the room. After about 30 minutes she was back bottom sitting in her corner with clamped fins, but her gills were opening quite a bit more than last night when it almost looked as if she wasn't breathing at all. I will test the water again in a few hours.
I forgot to ask earlier about bacteria supplement. I used 10 mL Top Fin to start my tank and the bottle says use 5 mL with each water change. People/ forums say do not use it again, one guy in pet store said only use it when I change the filter cartridge (my filter is all one piece so I can't save any good bacteria). I don't know what to do, but my logic would say if my nitrItes are high and I need bacteria to convert it to nitrAte, perhaps I should be adding it???
Thanks so much!
Golden's Grandma
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12:15p she came out of the corner to eat 1 pea. She ate it all right away. She is back bottom sitting and her fins are still clamped. I've gotten the water temp down to about 72 degrees and left the hood off and only room light all day today. Just tested for ammonia, 0. nitrites remarkably are between 0-0.25 (blueish on the API master test).

So what do I do now to nurse her back to health? Things I have read include keeping the water cool and adding a pond pump to increase oxygenation. Thoughts?

I will keep testing the water (probably need to keep check on nitrAtes if I have cleared the nitrIte hurdle, huh?) Do I only perform a water change if the levels go off the charts again or do I keep doing large daily water changes?

Does anyone recommend the API aquarium salt as mentioned in the master test pamphlet for high nitrItes?

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What is the current nitrite concentration? Adding 1tsp salt per 10 gallons reduces the toxicity of nitrites...better yet increase the size and frequency of your water changes. Prime is a good product for temporarilydetoxifying low levels of ammonia and nitrates (less than 1ppm combined)...as well as detoxifying hypochlorite and chloramine

Edited by schoolie
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Just to confirm this is a tank that is in the process of being cycled?

Did you qt this fish and treat for parasites before adding it?

What is the size of the fish?

As a quick fix you can add 0.1 % salt (see the link in my siggy about salt or go to the pinned topic in the D&D forum)

If a fish is bottom sitting you need to stir up the substrate or wipe down the bottom daily so it doesn't get sores.

Since you have a fish producing ammonia and are already at the nitrite stage(thank you for reading the article!) then you can do a larger water change. The goal is to keep your nitrites around 0.25-0.5.

When there is a sick fish I would always do larger water changes more often even if it meant my cycle would take longer to finish. The goal is always a healthy fish over a uncycled tank.

Test your params daily and post them here in this thread. :hug

Edited by bodoba
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I just tested nitrItes at 12:15p and it came out blue! So it's less than .25ppm, hopefully it's really 0. Ammonia is still 0. (Not sure how to attach pictures to this forum)

She was up and swimming around for awhile ~20 min and has now returned to bottom sitting. I don't know if fish are like humans (this is my first fish EVER!) when we start feeling better, we get active, then our bodies say rest??

bodoba, I thought the tank was already cycled since I had 2 tests with ammonia, nitritem nitrate all 0, but now that I have read that cycling can take 4-6 weeks, I'm not sure it was finished before I brought her home.

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Sorry bodoba, you had other questions.

No I didn't quarantine the fish or treat it. I am not experienced in either and have just this 1 fish, so did not think to quarantine it (vs. adding a new fish to other fish)

The fish is about 1" long body with maybe 1/2" more tail fan.

Thanks for the hug! I NEED EM!! This fish is awesome (and no offense but I am a dog lover so fish have not been my thing)...she has great personality...I hope we don't lose her.

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Whether it is a bump or still in cycle. The treatment is the same. Although I checked once salt link and the salt instructions are 10 teaspoons per 10 gallons to get 0.1%

She may be bottom sitting for parasites or another reason though so if the water change and salt doesn't perk her up it may be prudent to start a D&D thread for her. There is another link in my siggy about posting photos :)

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You need to understand the term "cycling." When you set up your tank, your water test was perfect, because you were just testing your tap water. When you added your fish, it produced ammonia as a waste product. Ammonia is toxic to fish, but there are bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrite (also toxic) and others that convert nitrite to nitrate (toxic only at high levels). When these bacteria are grown to a large enough population that ammonia and nitrite always read zero, your tank is cycled. But they cannot start growing without any ammonia in the water, so no cycling had occurred when you added your fish. These bacteria don't grow fast, so cycling can take a few weeks.

In order to keep down the ammonia, and later the nitrite, we do large daily water changes (like 30-50%). You appear to have grown a good population of ammonia-eating bacteria quickly, and are waiting for the nitrite-eaters to grow. To keep your fish healthy until cycling is complete, do a large enough water change each day to get that nitrite test aqua, and add aquarium salt in the amounts dnalex recommended.

Edited by shakaho
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Thanks everyone for the input! I may need a bit more hand holding on what to do next. Do I add the salt for the fish's benefit if my nitrite test says 0 after performing the water change and adding Prime?

And general care for a sick fish:

- Should I keep the light off during the day on hot days? (i.e. which is worse for her overheating or not having a light?) Is 75-80 degrees too hot for her? (maybe that's how I got the ammonia eating bacteria)

- Should I feed her? She definitely still has an appetite?

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You can feed her but I would feed lightly--once or twice a day and not much at a time.

The light is more for our enjoyment than the fish, unless you have live plants. My tanks typically run around 76* in the summer and it's not a problem. Ammonia is more toxic at higher temps so as long as you stay on top of your WCs and keep ammonia low, that temp range should be fine.

We love holding hands. :rofl3

If you're adding Prime, keep ammonia + nitrites under 1, and do daily WCs, you probably won't need to add salt. I would be especially careful right now as if you are getting any ammonia, salt makes ammonia poisoning worse. Once you are completely through the ammonia phase and nitrites are rising more quickly would be a better time for salt. :D

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The temperature is fine. Yes, you should add the salt after the water change, since the nitrite will increase before the next water change. Yes, feed her lightly, and what you described in your first post qualifies as light feeding.

A picture or a video of your fish would be helpful.

Since flukes are a common cause of illness in fish and most fish come from the store infected with flukes, we recommend treating all new fish with Prazipro. You should get some so that you can start the treatment. With just one fish you only need a small bottle.

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Thanks FantailFan1 and Shakaho! I am going to set up a photobucket account so I can post some pictures. I have a short video of her in action when she first arrived home. She is usually pretty active and always searching...it's tough watching her just sit in the corner. But my spirits are lifted when she takes the aquarium for a spin every few hours...she goes all in, not even worried about the bubbly filter action...regular ol' Michael Phelps!

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Some pictures of Golden from today. I tested for ammonia around 6:30p & added 1 tsp of salt to her aquarium. She swam around pretty vigorously, although a few times she seemed to be going head down or head up and/ or floating backwards :ill , but then settled back into her corner. I made a little video of her swimming today which is definitely different than normal (SBD?). Once I get the video off my phone, I will post. I was planning to test for nitrIte one more time tonight. I've changed a total of 6 gal today (4 gal @ 6:30a & 2 gal @ 3p). If nitrIte is higher than .25 ppm, should I use Prime or do another water change? If the latter, how much should I change? And if I change water, do I add more salt in proportion to what I change?

Most recent test results:

Ammonia 0 ppm

NitrIte .25 ppm

NitrAte 0 ppm

pH 7.6

IMAG2043_zps134d5c21.jpg

IMAG2049_zpsd2c25228.jpg

She's making a little poo in this pic, excuse her :yikes

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Our little friends are always making a poop, so no apologies necessary. ;)

During this phase of your cycling adventure, I'd like to urge you to switch your water conditioner. The Top Fin water conditioner does nothing for nitrite toxicity, nor (if I'm not mistaken) does it help with any metals that may be lurking in your water. Seachem makes "Prime", which is amazing, and also makes something called "Safe", which is just a dry version of Prime water conditioner. These will detoxify anything that your cycling tank can throw at it, and can be dosed up to 5x, in the even of an emergency, without affecting you pH. Amquel Plus is another option, but can have a nasty effect on your tank pH, if dosed more than once.

For a cycling tank, I'd rather see you start out with Prime, or Safe. :)

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Thanks Yafashelli. I am using Prime.

Golden the day she came home

GoldenSept1_zps0b52b6c8.jpg

Video of Golden eating a pea on Sept 4

http://s838.photobucket.com/user/amayalambert/media/GoldeneatingpeasSept4_zps3c5a6a1b.mp4.html

I did notice her going up to the top periodically

Goldengoingupforair_zpsb797f819.jpg

Golden's unbalanced swimming today

http://s838.photobucket.com/user/amayalambert/media/GoldenswimmingSept11_zpsbc6eccb5.mp4.html

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Prime is active for about 24 hours and will detoxify 1 ppm of ammonia and/or nitrite. So if you test and it's under 1, you do not need to do a WC. If it's 1 or higher, do at least a 50% WC and dose Prime and replace the salt that you change out.

What are your tap parameters?

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Aha! I will post all of the details and pictures once I get my daughter to school but I think we are on to something FF1. I tested my tap water today. No ammonia but the nitrItes were just about 5.0 ppm!! I then tested the water we drink for nitrIte (filtered in a Brita pitcher) and it was .25 ppm.

When Golden came home my tank had been prepared with a Comet feeder fish and everything tested fine. When I did the water change on Sunday 9/8 that's when nitrItes spiked. The prepared water I'd used on Sunday was conditioned with Top Fin. I didn't start using Prime until Monday 9/9 when I had the water tested at the pet store.

Golden was fine before Sunday. Her fins were erect and she was happy until I changed the water. I think my tap water may be the issue. I will post pictures of the test kits and all the details later but even after a 40% water change and 5 mL of Prime at 7am today, my nitrItes were at .25. It was .5 before the water change at 4:30a today.

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Back home and Golden is just floating near the top, occasionally wiggling her body. I have seen her take a swim a couple times but if I couldn't see her breathing, and if she didn't wiggle her fins, I would swear she is gone. I don't know if she'll recover. I don't think we are fit for the life of aquatics. My dog isn't nearly this hard to keep alive. I haven't done this much staying awake, sleeping on the floor next to the aquarium, documenting notes, and interventions since my Dad passed away last year. I'm tired. I don't think we'll get anymore fish. Does anyone know a website where I can sell all of this stuff I've bought?

12 noon test results:

Ammonia 0 ppm

NitrIte 0 ppm

NitrAte 0 ppm



Thanks KJ! My daughter is almost 5-- I'm sure you can tell <3

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You know, it's quite possible that you bought a sick fish. I have had three fish that died during quarantine, in spite of looking healthy in the store and receiving the best treatment I knew of. Sometimes nothing will work. I suggest you try with another fish, particularly since you now have a cycled filter. We can help you from the start.

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