Skip to main content

How to Treat Nitrate Poisoning in Goldfish

Fredrick is a supplier of pet food and care products, and he’s a true animal lover. He loves to write about dogs, bettas, bees, and pigeons.

Goldfish Nitrate Poisoning

Goldfish Nitrate Poisoning

In goldfish, nitrate poisoning occurs when the fish is exposed to a high level of nitrate over a period of time. Some symptoms of this chronic condition include lethargy, breathing problems, abnormal swimming or movements, fading color, and curled body.

If your goldfish shows these symptoms, you need to test the water for the nitrate level. If the level is above 20 ppm, you can be sure that the symptoms are due to nitrate poisoning, and you need to start looking for a solution. Read on to learn how to lower the nitrate level in your tank or pond and cure your goldfish.

1. Change the Water Immediately and Accordingly

Changing the water immediately after noticing the symptoms of nitrate poisoning can really help revive your fish. It is recommended to change 40 percent of the water on the first day and do gradual changes in the next days until you achieve an optimum nitrate level.

The gradual changes in the water will keep your fish free from shock and stress, which can really harm them. As for the new water, you can go for the one that has undergone reverse osmosis. This water usually has no nitrate, chlorine, or minerals; and comes with an optimum pH. If you can't find nitrate-free water, I recommend you use a water conditioner like API Conditioner to neutralize the chemical compound. This conditioner is quite effective in optimizing water and can also reduce inflammation and many other health conditions that affect fish.

2. Use Filter Media to Remove Nitrate

Filter media are used to purify water and can be used to remove chemical compounds like nitrate and ammonia from the water. Some filter media use bacteria to reduce nitrate in the water while others absorb the compound thus removing it from the water.

You can therefore use these systems to get rid of excess nitrate and cure your fish. If you can spend more money on these filters, you can go for the denitrators or filter liquids which are really effective in removing the chemical compound.

3. Clean Up the Tank to Prevent Nitrate Generation

Waste particles are some of the main sources of nitrate in fish tanks and ponds. Things like decomposing food, dead plants, and fish fecal matter generate a lot of nitrates, and they should be removed from the water as soon as possible.

When these unwanted materials are removed from the tank, the nitrate level can reduce to a level that is safe for your goldfish. As far as cleaning up is concerned, you can vacuum the bottom of the tank or pond and clean other parts like filters and pumps.

Vacuuming Fish Tank

Vacuuming Fish Tank

4. Shift Your Goldfish to a Refugium

In case you didn’t know, a refugium is a small aquarium tank that is placed beside the main tank to hold young, new, or sick fish. It is a useful vivarium that is recommended to every fishkeeper.

The auxiliary tank has the right aquarium conditions and you can therefore use it to revive a nitrate-poisoned fish. While the fish is recovering in the refugium, you can clean the main tank, change the water, and install systems that can keep the nitrate level low.

5. Add Microbes That Consume Nitrate

These microbes are either aerobic or anaerobic and convert nitrate into nitrogen gas. The aerobic microbes use a lot of oxygen during this denitrification process and can deplete the oxygen in the tank. The anaerobic ones do not use oxygen and can effectively remove nitrate after they establish well in the water.

You can therefore use the anaerobic microbes to break down excess nitrate in the water and keep your fish alive. You can introduce them to your tank or pond through a growth medium or microbial culture. You can also get them from the gravel or biofilter of a mature aquarium.

6. Grow Plants That Use Large Amounts of Nitrate

Some aquarium plants extract large amounts of nitrate from the water and can be used as natural filters for the chemical compound. These plants use the compound as a nutrient and they can therefore keep its level low thus helping your fish.

It is recommended to go for plants that grow rapidly because they can absorb large amounts of nitrate in a short period of time. According to my own experience, these plants can significantly lower the level of nitrate in your water within days.

Aquarium Plants and Fish

Aquarium Plants and Fish

In conclusion, whether your nitrate-poisoned goldfish is in an aquarium tank or garden pond, I am hopeful that you can treat them with the help of this article. Other chemical compounds like nitrite and ammonia (in high levels) have the same effects as nitrate and can be dealt with through the methods discussed above.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Frederick S Januaries