• Suski, Cory D.
  • Kieffer, James
  • Killen, Shaun
  • Tufts, Bruce L.


Guidelines for ammonia toxicity in fish are often determined using static exposure tests with immature fish over a 96-h period. These results may not be relevant to aquaculture, hauling or angling tournament scenarios where mature fish can be exposed to ammonia for shorter durations, often following additional stressors such as handling. The current study sought to quantify (1) the impact of ambient ammonia on the ability of largemouth bass to recover from exercise, (2) the behavioural response of largemouth bass to elevated ambient ammonia and (3) the concentration of ammonia that can accumulate in a live-release vessel at an angling tournament. After approximately 3 h, total ammonia (Tamm) concentrations in a live-release vessel at an angling tournament were almost 200 μM. Exposure of fish to 1000 μM Tamm (a value approximately 80% below the criteria maximum concentration for largemouth bass) caused significant reductions in ventilation rates, and increases in erratic swimming and irregular ventilation. Exposure to 100 μM Tamm impaired the ability of largemouth bass to recover from exercise relative to fish recovering in fresh water. Therefore, sub-lethal ambient ammonia concentrations cause physiological disturbances that can impair the recovery of largemouth bass from exercise


Lab experiments with ammonia