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Old 03-26-2010, 11:45 AM   #1
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Nitrite poisoning

I tested my water today and my itrite was a bit high, most fish are showing signs of nitrite poisoning. One fish has red gills and the rest are hovering near the top. I just did a 60-70% pwc and added alittle more prime that was called for, no change in fish behaviour. All but one ate food this morning, the one with red gills did not. He is now in a trap for closer observation. I was wondering an invert safe treatment?
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:13 PM   #2
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Not much you can at this point but continue to monitor the levels and do PWCs as necessary to keep them down.
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:41 PM   #3
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you can prevent nitrite poisoning by adding a low level of salt .... around 0.05% will do. The Cl- in salt competes with the NO2 to decrease its absorption across the gills. However, removing the nitrites is even better, so large pwc's are good, perhaps in conjunction with salt if the levels are really high. <Eg. A 70% pwc might drop NO2 from 2 to 0.6, still a lethal level.>

Nitrites binds to hemoglobin to prevent oxygen uptake. The binding cause the blood to be brownish. The red gills does not fit nitrite poisoning. What is your ammonia level? The red gills might be the result of ammonia burns (either now or some time in the past.) There is not much you can do with fried gills, except keeping oxygen levels high & hope the fish recovers. <Ie. cooler water, lots of agitation, airstones, etc.>
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:16 PM   #4
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Ntrites bind to hemoglobin to prevent oxygen uptake. The binding cause the blood to be brownish.
I am wondering... this *might* have been the cause of my guppies brains darkening. Maybe there wasn't enough oxygen in the water (as my nitrites were fine) hmm, just interesting you should say that.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:31 PM   #5
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My ammonia level was at 0.50ppm nitrite was around 5ppm (which is why I freaked) and nitrate was 80ppm. I did a 50% pwc on tuesday, so I dont know what the heck is going on. The tank has been cycled for around a month.

I know salt will help but is it snail safe? I do not over feed, the only thig I did different was a piece of cucumber for the snails and that was left in just overnight.

How much cooler would you suggest? I have my tank running at 80. I have already cranked the air up. I need to get this figured out because 3 females are most likely to drop next week.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:37 PM   #6
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Ok, do water changes to get the ammonia down to at least .25. That can be the red gill culprit right there. Keep doing changes until your water balances out. How long has the tank been up and running? What kind of filtration? Any new decor? What size tank and how many fish?
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:38 PM   #7
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Ok, a month, sorry didn't see that till now. You've had it set up a month and how many fish?
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Old 03-27-2010, 08:32 AM   #8
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Well 2 months really, one month for the cycle and one with fish. There are 5 guppies and 4 ramshorn. Right now I have a whisper ex20, I will be upgrading to an ac30 once its done cycling. I have no new decor. Its a 15g.

I may have spotted the problem. I watched my wife feed them just now, I said that was enough (flakes) and she said she wanted to put some on the other side too. I am going to do another pwc to correct the over feeding.

I did notice that the other 4 fish are back to their guppy ways, the alpha male is having an orgy lol. The one with red gills just hides in the plants (fake), not eating. He just lays there almost on the substrate, he doesnt seem like he is gasping anymore, just stressed.

I find it hard to gauge by guppy behaviour whats wrong, imo they are a strange fish.
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:41 AM   #9
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nitrite of 5! Do lots of pwc's. Nitrites at 0.25 is dangerous, so you need something like a 99% pwc just to get it down to some half decent level. <At least 2-3 70% pwc's if you are keeping the fish in the tank, or remove fish & change all the water! >

That nitrite has to come through ammonia, so there was prob an ammonia spike before you caught the nitrite spike. That was prob the cause of the red gills. Major overfeeding might have caused the "mini" cycle, or may be something had died & decomposed. <Mini in time frame, not in spike levels in your case.> I would do a major gravel vac to get rid of any possible stuff hiding in the gravel.

Snails should be OK with the low level of salt needed, as long as the salt is well dissolved & you don't get grains on the snails. I wouldn't go much higher tho. <Treating nitrite, you only need something like 4-8 x the nitrite level, so even at 5 ppm, that is only ~50 ppm of salt = 0.005%, so you can go even lower than the recommended 0.05%.>

With goldfish, I drop all the way to 68-70 to increase oxygenation. You prob can't go that low with guppies! May be 76-78. I would only drop 1-2 degrees a day, or the fish may be shocked. But it is good that the sickest fish is no longer gasping. If you just keep the water quality pristine with pwc's, she might just turn around.
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Old 03-27-2010, 12:04 PM   #10
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I just did a pwc and left just enoough water for the fish to be covered, did that 2x. I see alot of pwc's in my near furture.
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