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Suspected Ammonia Burn

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by Falcor, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. Falcor

    Falcor PetForums Newbie

    Aug 9, 2013
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    I am fairly new to the keeping of aquatic pets and will admit to only have begun to get into the hobby three and a half months ago. I researched species, tanks, possible problems, etc and then purchased a starter tank with basic filter and some ornaments. In this tank I now have an axolotl (male), an African Clawed Frog (female), a Blackmoor (female) and the most recent addition, a Bubble Eye Goldfish (gender unknown).

    It is only recently that the Bubble Eye Goldfish has developed signs of what looks similar to Ammonia Burn but I cannot be sure as its tank mates have no symptoms or sign of this whatsoever. It started off being on its left anal fin but has since started to appear on the right anal fin, the caudal fin, and pectoral fin. The black streaks appeared suddenly over a period of only 2 weeks. I have had the fish for only 3 and a half weeks at most. Its gills and scales are healthy as far as I can tell and it is eating well, etc.

    In terms of tank maintenance, I use dechlorinator and Accuclear and do a 50% water change every two weeks, though today I had to clean the tank out completely as a thick slime had formed and the filter and Accuclear were having no effect. I rarely clean the whole tank out as I am aware this can stress the fish out. I am taking some water to the aquarium for testing tomorrow.

    Please help and give me some advice. Has anyone else had this issue?
  2. TheFamousGrouse

    TheFamousGrouse PetForums Newbie

    Aug 9, 2013
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    Hello there,

    First of all, do not panic! With some care and attention to said aquarium all will not be lost. The first thing I would do is get a sample of the aquarium's water to an aquatic store for testing, then buy yourself a liquid test kit while you're there. Whatever you do, don't be conned into buying and chemical stuff from the aquatic store - most of it's useless.

    Some more information on the tank would certainly be useful:

    Tank size?

    Was the filter fully cycled (without fish) before fish were added?

    Any other strange symptoms being shown by the fish?

    The black streaks you describe could simply be natural colour changes: releases of a black pigment called melanin.

    Also, about the slime you mentioned, what colour is this? A green slime would indicate slime algae, which is a result of high nutrient levels (high nitrate and phosphate) which are prominent in newly-established or overstocked aquariums.

    While not necessarily important just yet, I would look into re-homing your African Clawed Frog. The goldfish that you have now are a coldwater species and the frog prefers slightly warmer conditions which the goldfish might not appreciate.

    The Grouse
  3. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Sep 22, 2012
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    As FamousGrouse said, you need to get the water tested, and get yourself a test kit, as you'll need to keep doing daily tests for ammonia and nitrite until they both stabilise at 0. Also, we need to know your tank size - for the goldfish alone, they need a 140l+ tank, and I'm not sure about keeping an alolotl with fish, but I do know they also need plenty of space. The ACF will definitely need rehoming by itself, as it will start attacking the fish if they're kept together.

    I'm assuming you didn't do a fishless cycle before adding stock? (Something pet shops will very rarely tell customers about, but it's the best way to ensure fish health!) Basically it takes time to build up the good bacteria in the filter that get rid of harmful ammonia and nitrite from fish waste. The smaller the tank, the more concentrated the harmful substances in the water will be, and the worse the problems will be. It's worth googling the nitrogen cycle to get a better understanding of this process.

    If your tank and filter are sufficient sizes, you'll just need to keep doing daily water changes (probably around 50%) to keep on top of the ammonia/nitrite levels until the filter bacteria develop enough to cope.

    Good luck! :)
  4. Denise90

    Denise90 PetForums Junior

    Mar 27, 2013
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    Black streaks are usually a sign of ammonia burn.
    Goldfish produce a ton of ammonia and you really have to stay on top of it otherwise it will throw the tank out of balance and will create a dangerous environment for everything in the tank. A change every two weeks is not really sufficent for your specific tank.

    I know it may seem difficult but I really would recommend separating most of your animals. As said, the ACF will begin to attack your fish.
    If the ACF is small enough to be eaten by the axolotl, it will happen and if it's bigger, it will attack the axolotl so there's no winning there.
    The fish may nibble on the axies gills, they stress very easily and it's detrimental to their health, as is ammonia.
    I don't know much about frogs but I know the general rule for axolotls is to keep them in their own tanks, either on their own or with other same sized axies (about 50L per axolotl)

    Hope you get it sorted :)
  5. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

    Apr 6, 2013
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    Just a few questions: when you cleaned out your tank, did you wash the filter out in the aquarium water or tap water? Did you dechlorinate the water before you put it in the tank?

    You really should not mix amphibians with fish. Aside from what has already been mentioned, amphibians are extremely sensitive to water quality, and some of the medications and chemicals you may need to add for your fish may not be suitable/safe for the amphibians.

    The black moor may also be suffering but err black fins might not show it?

    What does accuclear do? What water conditioner do you use? Prime is without a doubt the best, it deals with chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, ammonia and nitrites.

    You need to test your water, get the API master test kit if you can, don't both with paper strips they're not very accurate.

    Also how much are you feeding, and how often? Is the tank in full sun, or has lighting (and how long is it on for?).
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