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Old 09-28-2022, 11:29 AM   #1
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Emergency help with new fish/ammonia in established tank

Hi,

Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

3yo established freshwater, planted tank with two HOB filters. I have 6 new Sterba Corys and 12 neon tetras in a box that just arrived FedEx overnight. I had planned to put them in my 60G tank with some tetra and rasboras. BUT we had a water main break a couple days ago which seems to have affected the water - after these fish were on their way - and now the water has ammonia showing up in it. I did not put two and two together until after I had seen high ammonia, removed a dead plant, and done three water changes (initial ammonia reading was 4.0, now 1.0).

I have a QT tank but it has a fish in it that is either dying or has fish bladder disease - this also just developed 2 days ago and that fish is alternating between swimming and sitting on the bottom.

So I don't know what to do - do I chance putting the new fish into the main tank and hope for the best (yes, I've done many water changes and have used Prime each time), or ?? I know the neons are especially fragile and I'd waited to add them because this tank has been so stable -


Current parameters:
Ammonia 1.0 (was 4.0, so this is progress)
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 40-ish (normal)
PH 6.4-6.6

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Old 09-28-2022, 11:46 AM   #2
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What other option do you have with the fish?
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Old 09-28-2022, 11:51 AM   #3
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I'm in such a state dealing with them that I forgot to post that I also have a very stable 20G long nano tank, so I could put them in there - the problem with that is that it is already very full, with about 15 nano rasbbora, 6 Corys, and a dozen white cloud minnows. So adding all those new fish will very much overwhelm that system - but maybe not in just a few days?

Ugh. Best planning didn't work out.
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Old 09-28-2022, 12:15 PM   #4
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The water company probably treated the system with a big overdose of chloramine, and that will break down and show as ammonia in your test. Is your tap water still showing ammonia if you test it?

1ppm ammonia should cycle out pretty quickly, so assuming none of what happened crashed your cycle give it 24 hours and that should be cycled out.

One thing i will say is that 1ppm ammonia at such a low pH will have zero toxicity.
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Old 09-28-2022, 12:21 PM   #5
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Thanks - that helps. I'm still showing nitrates so I don't think the system totally crashed.

I appreciate the helpful, quick reply - it definitely helped my stress level with this!
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Old 09-28-2022, 12:41 PM   #6
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Just be careful if you do add the fish to your tank to acclimatise them thoroughly. While the water may not be very toxic, it could be different to the water you brought them home in and you dont want to shock them by moving without acclimating.
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Old 10-02-2022, 08:37 AM   #7
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If you can post some pictures and a 1 minute video of the sick fish, we might be able to confirm if it has a swim bladder problem or something else. upload videos to YouTube, then copy & paste the link here. We can view it at YouTube.

True swim bladder problems are rare and there is no cure. If a fish floats up when it stops swimming, it can be a swim bladder issue, or more commonly it is air in the fish's intestine. If you suspect this, stop feeding dry food for a week and feed frozen or live food instead. if the fish can swim normally after a week without dry food, then the problem is air in the intestine.

If a fish sinks when it stops swimming, similar to what your fish might be doing, then it has a swim bladder problem and you should euthanise it.

Before you do that, post the video and some pictures and we can check it for other diseases. poor water quality and some diseases will weaken a fish and cause it to sit on the bottom.

Check your water quality for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and make sure they are all on 0ppm.


----------------------

When water companies do work on water pipes, they usually increase the dose of chlorine/ chloramine in the water to kill anything that might have gotten into the water during the work/ repairs. If they overdose with ammonia, you get free ammonia in the tap water.

Unfortunately they don't normally tell you when they are going to do work or repairs on the water pipes and a lot of people lose fish within a day or two of work being done on pipes. this is caused by the extra chlorine/ chloramine that is added to the water supply after the work is done.

If you know there is going to be work done on the water pipes, do a water change before this happens, or wait a week after the work has been done. this will allow excess chlorine/ chloramine to flow through the system and you should be back to normal levels after a week.

Water companies can also increase chlorine/ chloramine levels during extremely hot weather or if there has been a flood or excessive rain.
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