Aquatic Information Center


MSU# 1390

Brown Blood Disease

Dr. Robert Durborow and Dr. M. David Crosby

Opening Paragraph:

Brown blood disease occurs in fish when water contains high nitrite concentrations. Nitrite enters a fish culture system after feed is digested by fish and the excess nitrogen is converted into ammonia, which is then excreted as waste into the water. Total ammonia nitrogen (TAN; NH3 and NH4+) is then converted to nitrite (NO2) that, under normal conditions, is quickly converted to nontoxic nitrate (NO3) by naturally occurring bacteria. Uneaten (wasted) feed and other organic material also break down into ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in a similar manner.
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