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FAQs on Marine Freshwater Quality involving Nitrates: Importance

Related Articles: Nitrates in Freshwater Aquariums, Establishing Cycling, Freshwater Filtration, Know Your Filter Media, A Concise Guide to Your Options by Neale Monks, Setting up a Freshwater Aquarium, Tips for BeginnersWater Quality and Freshwater Aquariums

Related FAQs: Nitrates 1, Nitrates 2, & FAQs on FW Nitrates: Science, Measure, Sources, Control, Chemical Filtrants, Troubleshooting/Fixing, & Ammonia, FW Nitrites, Biological Filtration, Freshwater Nutrient Cycling, Establishing Cycling 1,

Too much Nitrate is toxic... to aquatic life, and you. Best to keep your tap (drinking, cooking) water under a few ppm total, and your FW systems under 20 ppm, though some species (e.g. Discus) prefer zip. It's not just the NO3 conc. that is toxic, but what it indicates otherwise (accumulation of other metabolites). Even some NO3 presence reduces health, growth, colour...

For Neale Monks, Nitrates      1/8/16
Hello Neale, and my best wishes for the New Year to you and yours.
<Thank you.>
I will be emailing separately my observations on the flashing/bacterial issue you helped me resolve (thank you so very much) but now I would like to discuss nitrates a bit if you would be so kind. I have frequently read your advice on keeping nitrates below 20 ppm, and naturally I recommend the same when I respond to members of the forum I am now on. I am being questioned on this, so I would like to understand it better.
<Sure thing.>
First thing to get sorted is the unit being used. The scientific community tends to use NO3 N-n, whereas most hobby test kits use total nitrates. I understand the conversion factor is 4.43, so for example the US EPA limit of 10 ppm allowable nitrate in drinking water which is NO3 N-n would equate to 44.3 ppm NO3 with our test kits. When you are recommending 20ppm as max for nitrates, is this the hobby test kit unit (I assume so)?
<Correct. No point citing something people can't (easily) measure at home.
In fact it doesn't usually matter what numbers you choose to use. Most of the nitrate kits I've seen will have some sort of card with them, and that card will be have on it a scale made up of a few coloured patches. The API one for example has seven coloured patches, from yellow (low) to red-brown (high). So long as you aim to keep nitrates closer to the low end of that scale where sensitive fish are being kept, and certainly below the medium colour/number on that scale, you're laughing. Actually knowing what the numbers are is not important. So for that API kit, yellow or orange are fine, red not good for sensitive species like dwarf cichlids, and red-brown probably too much, long term, for anything, at the very least a triggering factor for algae. Make sense?>
To the nitrates, then. Natural habitat waters of all of our fish (so far as I know) have nitrates so low it would probably be impossible to measure them with our kits.
<More or less, yes.>
In the fish, nitrate will act much like nitrite, making it more difficult for the blood to carry oxygen.
<So they say.>
I have come across studies, admittedly on mainly commercial fish and not ornamental, suggesting nitrate levels of 2 to 4 ppm NO3 N-N would affect the development of fry, and many fish and invertebrates will have difficulty with nitrate at 10 ppm NO3 N-N. This study is here:
You have mentioned cichlids likely being affected at levels above 20 ppm, and on the cichlid site it is suggested that nitrate above this may be the true cause of Malawi Bloat.
<Correct. That said, nitrate is complicated. The lethal level of nitrate for some fish experimented on (in labs) seems to be high, supposedly 100 mg/l or more. On the other hand, scientists have only tested a very few (big) species, farmed trout for example, and often their experiments are shorter term things, like how many of the fish die across, say, a week or a month. We're keeping a hundred different species often for years if not decades, so our experiences (and expectations) are different.>
The above is just so you have an idea of where I am with this issue. I guess at this point, I would be interested very much in your thoughts on this, and any evidence, studies, etc., to support our position [I have certainly taken yours ] on keeping nitrates low.
<It's complex. Nitrate isn't something I worry about too much keeping the sorts of fish I like to keep, such as catfish and freshwater livebearers.
Provided other parameters are good, fast-growing plants keep nitrate levels low enough risk of toxicity isn't an issue, and water changes can be carried out as/when required. But if I was keeping species like Dwarf Cichlids or Mollies (in freshwater) that are known to be sensitive to nitrate, in the sense that high nitrate has been associated with disease (bloat, shimmies, etc.) than I'd make more of an effort to monitor nitrate and pre-empt any high nitrate situations using low stocking, low food input, and frequent water changes. Most freshwater aquarists can, I think,
ignore nitrate unless they're (a) struggling to keep a possibly sensitive species; or (b) dealing with an algae problem.>
As always, looking forward to your wisdom, and with sincere appreciation.
<Hope this helps; by no means an expert! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: For Neale Monks, Nitrates      1/8/16

This is great, thank you Neale. Now I have some follow-up, concerning the effects/symptoms of nitrate on fish.
Many if not all of your answers to questions on PFK where nitrates are mentioned as being high involve lowering to no more than 20 ppm. From this I would assume that the effect of nitrate is much like so many things--a source of stress, weakening the fish, opening up opportunities for more serious problems.
<Correct, so far as I can tell. Nitrate isn't immediately toxic like
ammonia or nitrite. On the other hand, because high nitrate levels often go hand-in-hand with things like overstocking and infrequent water changes, it's hard to pick out any problems nitrate is causing from things like lack of oxygen and background acidification cause by nitrate and phosphate accumulation. Tanks with high nitrate levels tend to be neglected tanks, in the sense that the fish keeper has too many fish in them and does too few water changes. So there can be all sorts of reasons fish in those tanks are stressed, not just the nitrate. Make sense?>
One obvious that I assume would occur would be a shortened lifespan from the stress if nothing else. But are there any signs along the way that nitrate may be causing issues?
<None that I'm aware of, but some diseases have been associated with high nitrate level, such as Hexamita and HITH/HLLE in cichlids.>
A member on the forum today mentioned his fish being "fine" with 80 ppm nitrate (which is way into the red on the API card you mentioned) but his Firemouths remained quite pale, and he wondered if this was due to the nitrates. I would think this likely, do you agree?
<It's certainly a possibility. But I'd also observe that Firemouths are widely kept badly. Though territorial, they're bluffers, not fighters, and do badly with genuine fighting cichlids (pretty much all the Central Americans beyond Rainbow Cichlids) and are really best kept on their own with dissimilar tankmates (catfish, loaches, characins, etc.). They're also sand-sifters, so a tank with gravel would be wrong. Finally, like all cichlids, their colours will become paler if they're exposed to bright light from above and/or below. A dark, shady aquarium is better.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Is it Columnaris? Likely NO3, Melafix poisoning      4/25/13
Hi all, I need your help/reassurance please. I have a 250 litre planted tank with 11 danios, 7 penguin tetras, 6 platys (+handful of fry), 2 Opaline gouramis, 2 gold gouramis, 2 Bristlenose Plecos (juvenile) and an assortment of hitch hiking snails. Yesterday I saw one of the danios had a huge fluffy white patch on its back. Immediately I removed him into a tub and checked the water. After many weeks of pristine water, I found my nitrates were through the roof (red on the api master test kit so between 40-80). Changed 50% of the water, dosed with prime, and MelaFix
<This product can be much more trouble than anything of value. See WWM re>

which was the only medication I had to hand. Poor Danio didn't make it. Today, one of my platys has the same 'fuzz' growing on one eyeball. It completely covers the eye surface. Another 2 danios are behaving strangely, swimming erratically and have 'floppy' torn fins (one seems to tend to use the pectoral fin only on one side and has trouble remaining upright - tends to roll sideways or tail down if she stops moving). I tested the water today and my ph has dropped some (from 7.6 to 7.2 - from meds?),
<Could be... the tea... leaf extract>

 and my nitrates are much better - 10-20). Did a further 25% water change and redosed the MelaFix.  Is this Columnaris? A fungus? Something else?
<Can't tell from the images alone... but you're right to be worried. I'd change the water out again now and tomorrow and leave off w/ the phony API product>

I include a photo of the Danio who died and the platy with the fuzzy eye.
Any help would be massively appreciated.
Thank you in advance!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Great pix!
Re: Is it Columnaris?     4/26/13
Thank you for your response. Seems no-one is getting sicker (the fuzz on the eye is almost gone) and apart from the Danio which looks like it's having some swim bladder issues (rolling a little - not maintaining an upright position unless actively swimming),
<... likely mainly environmental in origin>

 all is beginning to look calm and peaceful once more. No-one else seems affected in any way. My nitrates are down to healthy levels again. I really wonder what happened. I'll be back in touch with any new developments
should they arise. Thanks again!
<Cheers, BobF>

Swordtail head discolouration/fungus, Nitrate    11/26/11
my Odessa barb population has stabilised well after I euthanised the swollen female. I've now ten Odessas swarming around my 180 litre tank, a lovely species, curious and outgoing. They are probably 4 months old, the males have not yet developed very strong red stripes.
<Sounds great.>
Three weeks after the latest Odessa health problem I thought it safe to add four young Red Swordtails to the tank. I now worry I might have been rushing it, and there's some problem left in the tank.
<Indeed. I always recommend waiting at least a month before adding new or replacement fish. Ideally, wait six weeks. It takes several weeks for some diseases to "germinate" so the longer you wait, the better.>
The swordtails, one male and three females, are all swimming around, eating well and generally appearing in good spirit, but two of the females have developed a gray/white discolouration on the head (right between the eyes on the top side). Possibly a little fungus-like in texture, kind of rough.
<My guess would be Columnaris, primarily because this problem is so common among livebearers generally. Antibiotic and anti-bacterial medications can work extremely well here, but you do need to be quick.>
Hard to tell but I think it's slowly getting worse. The smallest of them has also become paler in colour, and her fins are a wee bit frayed. She is eating and swimming around, but stays near the bottom if she's not up chasing food.
The male and the biggest female appear totally healthy. Have not seen any aggressive behaviour.
I upgraded to my Rio 180 mid-September, used the water and gravel from my old 60 l, had a Nitrite spike the first week. Added the Odessas about three weeks later, after the Nitrite had settled at 0. My current water parameters are 25ºC, pH 8, GH 180, KH 240, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate consistently 40. Doing weekly 30% water changes, adding JBL Ferropol plant fertiliser and a little aquarium salt.
What could be wrong with my Swordtails? Could there be some residual problem left from my first batch of six Odessas (four of which died with swollen stomachs) -- some parasite, fungal or bacterial problem?
<If you can, medicate with something that treats Finrot and Columnaris, e.g., in the UK and Europe, eSHa 2000.>
Any tips on treatment of the Swordtails?
<Nothing specific, except to note that they dislike oxygen-poor water, so when you add medications, be prepared to increase aeration and/or circulation to compensate.>
Also, why isn't my Nitrate value coming down?
<It won't. Nitrate is lowered through water changes. Nitrate accumulates between water changes as the end product of biological filtration. Unless you have masses of rapid plant growth, there's nothing to use up that nitrate. So, if you have 40 mg/l at the end of the week, and replace half the water with tap water that has zero mg/l, you'll still end up with 20 mg/l. Realistically, much tap water contains much higher levels of nitrate -- in London for example, 40-50 mg/l in the tap water isn't uncommon.>
I've cut my feedings down to once a day six days a week. Have got 1350 l/h filtration. Is my tank overstocked (2 x Elliotis, 10 x Juvenile Odessas, 4 x juvenile swordtails, 2 x bumblebee gobies, 1 x Bristlenose Pleco)?
Have bought some API StressCoat, not sure whether to use it.
<Doesn't have much use either way. It's useful when shipping fish, and perhaps if a fish has been roughed up a little but not seriously damaged.>
As always, many thanks for your care and help!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Swordtail head discolouration/fungus, Nitrate    11/27/11

Thank you Neale,
I have started a course of eSHa2000 now. Will keep a close eye on those Swordtails.
<Sounds like a plan.>
Will be more patient next time I re-stock after disease, I just got too impatient!
<Quite so.>
Checked my tap water for Nitrates too, it's showing 25 mg/l, consistent with the report I got from my local council. So at least I know it's never going to go below that as you so rightly pointed out.
Have a good weekend,
<Likewise, and good luck. Cheers, Neale.>

Extremely lethargic Cory, high nitrates   2/21/11
<Hello Angela>
I wrote about a week ago on another issue, and never received a reply.
<?! We respond to all>
I'm hoping I didn't do anything wrong and my message was just overlooked!
<More likely some "computer glitch"... As the WWM "doorkeeper" ala LeGuin's Earthsea double trilogy, I see, post all>
As it is, that issue seems to have resolved itself for the most part. Now I'm dealing with something in my other tank, and I'm hoping for some insight from more experienced hobbyists than myself.
Tank: 14gal (functionally about 11-12gal with substrate and lowered water level), Aqueon filter that came with the "starter kit", temp steady at 75*F, fully cycled and has been set up since early December 2010. The pH runs pretty steady at around 8.
<For what species of Corydoras? This is too high... I'd mix in some water of lower pH... likely RO>
I always treat new water with Prime.
<Likely not necessary, but...>
Residents: 3 peppered Cory cats, 4 albino Cory cats, 2 juvenile mystery snails. The Corys are being quarantined here, their eventual home is a 55gal. I've had them for about 2 weeks.
Tank stats last night, with API test kit:
Ammonia: 0
NitrItes: 0
NitrAtes: over 80 (YIKES!!!)
<Needs to be addressed... Have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwnitrates.htm
and the linked files above?>
I performed my usual 30% water change, all I had time for, with plans to do another this morning.
This morning, I tested again:
Ammonia: 0
NitrItes: 0
Nitrates: over 40, close to 80 on test kit
Performed nearly 70% water change. Retested.
NitrAtes: less than 40, but close
<You need to do something in addition to simple dilution for NO3 here>
Now for the main problem: One of the albino Cory cats has been acting lethargic for the last couple of days, is not eating well, and after last night's water change floated belly-up for a few minutes despite all my attempts to match temperature, etc. with the new water. I was afraid we would lose him, but this morning he's better. Not great, since he's still spending most of his time resting on the bottom or swimming *very* slowly a few inches, but he's not floating. Everyone else in the tank, including a new baby balloon molly that hitchhiked home with the Corys, is acting and looking fine. Even the snails, which I thought would be the first indicators of poor water quality.
<Much more likely due to the vagaries of the water changes>
The only thing that changed recently is my husband taking over morning feedings for both tanks for the last week. I think he's been overfeeding this one, because I don't know what else would have caused such a large nitrAte spike in such a short time. There was a lot of "gunk" when I cleaned the tank, which isn't normal. I've taken over feeding again.
<Ah good>
Most of the reading I've done (Google is my friend, yes?) suggests that nitrAtes aren't *that* toxic over the short term, but these levels are pretty high and I've seen people mention again and again that Cory cats are "sensitive" fish. Could the nitrAtes spike alone be the cause of this little guy's problem?
<Mmm, yes>
If so, will continued water changes and much reduced feeding be enough to resolve it? If not, what else would cause an otherwise healthy-seeming fish to be lethargic and go off its food with no other sign of disease? I'm a loss on this one!
<Please read the above citations>
Thank you so much, I appreciate your willingness to help out newbies like myself with your amazing wealth of experience!
--Angela S.--
P.S. Is it just me, or are Cory cats just the funniest/cutest little fish ever?
<Are indeed comical, and faves. I keep them as well>
I was rolling with laughter after their first "feeding frenzy" over a shrimp pellet!! I'd buy a whole swarm of these guys if I could, but hubby says no room for more aquariums...
<Mmm, maybe... Bob Fenner>
Re: Extremely lethargic Cory, high nitrates    2/21/11

Thank you so much for the reply!
<Welcome Angela>
These are albino and peppered Corys (Corydoras aeneus and Corydoras paleatus). The lethargic one is an albino.
<The C. paleatus need much lower pH... the Albinos may be either C. aeneus or paleatus>
I'm in the middle of Kansas, so our water tends to run hard with a higher pH. Even the "expert" at the local store where I purchased these guys admitted it's hard to keep soft/acidic setups here without a LOT of work, <Not so much... easy to mix some tap w/ some RO... Read here:
and the linked files above>
so I stuck with platies for our main fish. I was told that with careful acclimation the Corys would be ok, and honestly the other 6 look perfectly fine. I'll look into the RO water option, but if I can't get the pH down enough, should I find a new home for these fish?
I'm not sure what I'd replace them with. (My 7yo son wanted a school of glass catfish, but there's no way we'd be able to keep them healthy. The Corys were a compromise, since most other catfish types he liked get too big.)
<There are many tools that can/will help you identify fishes, other aquatic life that enjoys your quality water>
I use the Prime instead of whatever brand dechlorinator came with my starter kit because we have copper piping in my house. I wanted to be extra careful to avoid getting copper in my aquariums and killing snails/fish.
<Real good>
The albino Cory is still alive, but he's pretty much the same as yesterday -- not swimming much, resting on a rock most of the time. I haven't seen him eat. I did one more water change last night, being careful to get the rest of the "gunk" out of the gravel. The nitrates are now reading between 10-20ppm, which is where the tank was before its regular water change the previous week. I'm going to be feeding lightly and testing the nitrates daily for the week, I think. I'll also be buying some more plants soon, so that will probably help a bit.
<Will help>
I read as much as I could about Corys/nitrates/etc. on WWM and the 'net in general before I posted, but I probably missed something. I'll go back and check out the links again. Thank you again for the response!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Jellybean Parrot has bumps/white spots, please help me identify
Jellybean Parrot Cichlid With HITH   11/21/10

I have a jellybean parrot fish that is about 7 years old. It has recently developed white bumps/spots on its head. My husband thought the change in her appearance was due to age and so he dismissed it. He thinks he first noticed them about a week ago. I've attached two photos. The large bump in the center of her head is actually a cluster of bumps. It is white on the surface and somewhat fluffy in appearance with a red coloring underneath. As I'm hoping you can see in the photo, it is a protruding growth. There is a line of smaller white spots along the back of her head.
The top of the fin on the left side of the second photo also appears to be abnormal in shape/color. The pale areas of the body are her normal coloring. She is eating and behaving normally.
She is in a 55 gal tank with a rainbow, a catfish (I don't remember what breed) and several tetras. The last water change was 5 days ago and may have been a little overdue but not much. We do not have a quality test kit, only the simple strips. The water had not been tested in a long time and when I tested tonight the levels were not good. The nitrate level was 80, nitrite 3, pH 7.2, alkalinity 80 and the water was hard 150. My husband is doing a 25% water change now. The temperature of the tank is 76 degrees.
I've tried to research the problem online but have only become more confused. I do not want to treat her for the wrong thing and cause more problems. I'd greatly appreciate your opinions.
Thank you! Kim
< Your cichlid has Hole-In-The-Head Disease. First get a nitrate test kit.
Get the nitrates down to under 20 ppm with water changes. The lower the nitrates the better your fish will be. In a hospital tank treat with a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. If you fish is still eating
then start feeding medicated foods with these medicines in it. I would still treat the water too. The key to a full recovery is an early treatment.-Chuck>

Re: Sick Betta. Happened all of a sudden :-(, NO3 input f'  9/2/2009
Oh, no! I had already disposed of the body before reading the email :-(
Not squeamish, but I must admit I would have not been that keen on performing a post mortem on my poor pet after (potentially) killing him with less than adequate water conditions. I had become attached to him :-(
<I understand>
My sister in law, who is an haematologist would have jumped with delight at the prospect of an autopsy but she is away now, where is family when you need them?
<About somewheres>
Anyway, body is gone, so unfortunately no luck here. Sorry, I agree it would have been an interesting thing to do to rule out the poisoning.
I was not sure about what you mentioned about EPA standard so I researched and I have found out that this is a US government guideline.
<It is... at the Fed. level a limit of 10 ppm...>
I live in the UK and here these things are, to an extent, up to the local councils. Looks like the government regulations state the following with regard to nitrates "that the water satisfies the formula [nitrate]/50 + [nitrite]/3 1, where the square brackets signify the concentrations in mg/1 for nitrate (NO3) and nitrite (NO2)."
<Too much... I really do strongly suggest you employ an RO device for your potable (drinking, cooking) and pet-fish needs>
Thames Water, the water company states 50 mg/l as standard. See link, if at all interested.
For my area in particular, the 2008 water quality results state
Nitrate as NO3 mg/l Standards =50
Minimum =33
Max = 35.7
My results came up as 40 but it might be an inaccuracy in the testing.
Ph standards from 6.5 to 9.5
<Wow! This is some range... 1,000 times>
Ph for the area in average is 7.5. In my tests it comes up as 8.00. Again, the differences might be coming from the testing process. I use API master kit.
<Are reasonable quality... accurate, and precise "enough" for home hobbyist use>
Maybe you have got better drinking water in the US.
<In NO3 respect, yes in about 9 out of 10 places... but is highly variable in quality, getting worse and more scarce most everywhere. Let me be blunt: there are too many humans on this planet>
Funnily enough the report concludes that the quality of the drinking water is very good although there is one infringement as Coliform bacteria was found.
do you realise I am giving this to my family to drink? From tomorrow onwards, bottled water for everyone.
<Mmmm, okay; but RO is cheaper by far and more convenient. Please peruse WWM, the broader Net re.>
Anyway, I am keeping the tank cycled but empty for a couple of weeks to kill any potential nastiness and then I am not sure what to do. This tank is only 20 l (about 5 gallons) so, really only suitable for Bettas, too small for other species, but if the water hardness is going to kill them little beauties I would have to reconsider... Any ideas of what to keep in 20 l of hard water :-?
<There are some "quite small" invertebrates, plants... not many fishes really...>
What would you use to disinfect the siphon and the nets?
<Chlorine bleach, air exposure, time going by>
The shop told me to wash them with hot water but that does not sound radical enough, somehow.
Maybe I should just dismantle the whole thing, disinfect the whole tank and
cycle again?
<I would not... but I would do what you choose to get, keep Nitrate concentration below 20 ppm maximum. Please read here re:
and the linked FAQs file above>
Thanks so much again for your attention to this case.
Kindest regards
<Maria, there are MANY folks who have similar circumstances (small volumes, issues consequent...) to yours here... Let's keep discussing your experience, thoughts, and progress... for the edification of all. Bob Fenner>

FW Nitrate confusion? Ongoing goldfish disease/system   2/9/06 Hi      Thanks for the speedy reply. I was told that the nitrates were ok up to 40 by the pet store, so I am now confused... Thanks for the advice.      Paula <Please see WWM... there's a bunch... re nitrates, their implications, consequences. No need to be confused... educate yourself. Bob Fenner>

Silver Dollars, Environmental Disease - 10/12/05 My silver dollar fish have had on-going fungus that I can't get rid of. It eats up their fins and spreads across their body. I have tried all different Meds for this, and have since stopped treating them to keep from poisoning the tank with many different Meds. The various Meds would seem to cure the fungus, but it comes right back when I stop treating them.  <I imagine this is environmental, not pathogenic.... Let's read on about your system....> I have a 55 Gal with 5 fairly large silver dollars, 4 fairly large angels, 2 clown Plecos, and 2 neon tetras with a knack for survival.  <Too many big fish for this tank.> My water is very hard and I've been using peat moss to soften it in a storage container. I'm concerned because my nitrate level has climbed quite high (160), <Disturbing, and toxic if not deadly at this level.> hardness was at 115ppm, ph 7.6, ammonia=0 and nitrite=0. The submersible transfer pump from the storage tank is turned off until I'm ready to transfer water to the fish tank, I first run the water for a short time to clear the pump of the standing water in the pump and tubes so as to run only fresh water into the tank. The storage tank is circulated by an external Emperor filter that I put the peat into. The peat I bought at a Lowe's garden department, doesn't list any additives that I thought would add to Nitrate increase. The 55 Gal. fish tank also uses an Emperor filter for general filtration (but no peat added), and an undergravel filter.  <Consider removing the undergravel filtration - often this is a MAJOR contributor to very high nitrate due to accumulated organic material under the filter plate(s).> All the fish seem to be doing ok except for the silver dollars, although I'm guessing they all may be uncomfortable with the high nitrate level.  <Yes, this level is absolutely staggering. Should be maintained below 20ppm. All the fishes will be affected with time and exposure. This must be rectified.> Very high algae growth also.  <Another bad side affect of high nitrate, overstocking....> I guess I'm questioning if my problems are related to my water storage tank, transfer set-up, or softening process, or something else. <As above, I fear the UGF is the culprit. Test your make-up water storage tank; always be sure to aerate and/or circulate your make-up water if you store it for any length of time (hours, even).> Thanks, John Rogers <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Body slime and eye cloud 10/7/05 I have a 2 Sorubim lima, an Oscar, a Pleco, and a Synodontis nigrita. The 2 Sorubims have a body slime infection (the color of the slime is clear). One of the Sorubims has eye cloud. <What cause/s?> The Oscar I haven't noticed a body slime infection yet but he only moves when there is food (not feeders) in the water. The Pleco and the Syno. seem to be unaffected. Also there was an albino Pictus cat in the tank and a tire track eel in the tank as well but they died (I think from the body slime). <These fishes were/are not compatible> The fish who have been affected by the body slime appear to have a problem keeping buoyancy (the fish almost have to swim upside down), they swim near the top of the tank, and a few days later die. Can you offer any advice/treatments. Thanks CJ <You're joking? What about the system? Its history? Water quality tests? Please read through WWM FW Subweb re disease... Bob Fenner>
Re: body slime and eye cloud 10/9/05
A 55 gallon tank <Too small> ...with some bog- wood and no plants (know it's small but a 110 gallon tank is going to be ordered from a local dealer a Monday). PH. 7.6, <Too high for Sorubim> nitrite 0,ammonia 8.0, <What? Toxic!> and my nitrate is a constant 80ppm. <Way too high... s/b below 20 ppm> The ammonia is high because of the medication I am using. The only disease that has been in this tank was septicemia {septicemia?} which happened 5 years ago. <I do hope you're joking here... fix this environment, quick. Bob Fenner> 

Tank clean enough? Hi, I went to another city for the treatment you recommended as there is none available here.  I treated the tank with Metronidazole.  I question the Ick treatment, as I used Ick Away 10 days ago when I changed the tank.  Is it your recommendation to treat it again? < The rid-ich will take care of some external parasites. The twitching and scratching are signs of ich so it may have come back.> While I was at a more qualified pet store I purchased the water testing kit and a gravel vacuum. The water readings are Ammonia 0, PH 7.6, PH high 7.8, Nitrate 10 (is that high??), Nitrite, 0.   I am interested in your thoughts, Jessica   < Everything looks good. When the nitrates get above 25 ppm is when many problems begin.-Chuck>

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