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Ammonia injuries in long term imports

Discussion in 'Dwarf Cichlid Health' started by Refael Hdr., Aug 27, 2006.

  1. Refael Hdr.

    Refael Hdr. Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi,
    I wanted to ask about the fatal effects of Ammonia on fish that have been imported from long distance areas and spent a lot of time in the shipping bag (approx. 78 hours), like imports from Peru (Iquitos) to Israel in my case.
    The fish arrive in little bags with a small amount of water and although they don't get any food at shipment day they still defecates a non small amount of ammonia in those three long days in the bag.
    After the arrival, when we acclimate them to our tanks that contain water in their original parameters (the same pH, temp. and µS) we can see that some of them are ok, some are dead and some are in a state between. Usually the majority is fine. The problem is that a couple of days after, we can see a small amount of dead fish that seemed to be well when we first got them.
    It happens every time, sometimes more and sometimes less. We figured out that it caused by an irreversible damage of Ammonia that includes gill injuries and retraction of the immune system as a result of continuous hypoxia.
    My question is (finally ) if there is anything we can do when acclimating, in order to help the fish overcome those injuries or is it really an irreversible situation? How many days approx. fish can survive this fatal injuries?

    Thank you all,
  2. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I wrote an article in the Apisto-gram on this subject (shipping deaths) in 1985. I had a veterinarian/discus breeder necropsy newly arrived apistos just to see what caused their death. Surprisingly very few had fatal bacterial or parasitic ailments. All had gill membrane erosion from ammonia burns. I am sorry to say that once the gill filaments are damaged by ammonia burns (they are chemical burns) only clean water and ample oxygen will heal them. If they cannot heal fast enough, they die of oxygen deprivation.
  3. Refael Hdr.

    Refael Hdr. Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you Mike,
    That's about what I thought, but still I wanted to be sure that there is nothing else we can do...

    Can you please direct me to the location of this article? thanks,
  4. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I just looked it up:

    Wise, Mike, 1987, THE "DELICATE" WILD-CAUGHT APISTO - WHY?. The Apisto-gram. 5(2): 5-7.

    I sent you a PM.