The four experimental groups were carried out to test the response of grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella to ammonia toxicity and taurine: group 1 was injected with NaCl, group 2 was injected with ammonium acetate, group 3 was injected with ammonium acetate and taurine, and group 4 was injected taurine. Fish in group 2 had the highest ammonia content in the liver and brain, and alanine, arginine, glutamine, glutamate and glycine contents in liver. Brain alanine and glutamate of fish in group 2 were significantly higher than those of fish in group 1. Malondialdehyde content of fish in group 2 was the highest, but superoxide dismutase and glutathione activities were the lowest. Although fish in group 2 had the lowest red cell count and hemoglobin, the highest alkaline phosphatase, complement C3, C4 and total immunoglobulin contents appeared in this group. In addition, superoxide dismutase and glutathione activities, red cell count and hemoglobin of fish in group 3 were significantly higher than those of fish in group 2, but malondialdehyde content is the opposite. This study indicates that ammonia exerts its toxic effects by interfering with amino acid transport, inducing reactive oxygen species generation and malondialdehyde accumulation, leading to blood deterioration and over-activation of immune response. The exogenous taurine could mitigate the adverse effect of high ammonia level on fish physiological disorder.