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GARGAS: Water and the Aquarium                Page 7

        included in their products are chloride and sodium. It is the chloride ion then the sodium
        ion that are taken in by the freshwater fish due to their water solubility. When these
        ions are so numerous and are the chief cations and anions in an aquarium, the freshwater
        fish is under much stress osmoregulating thus spending much energy as chloride and
        sodium are being taken up.
                Freshwater fish are hyperosmotic, which means that they have to maintain a
        higher concentration of salts in their body then the surrounding water. If that fish
        is moved to waters with lower chloride and lower sodium and naturally a lower
        conductivity, then it is stressed further as water naturally moves to the higher ionic
        concentration (4).
                When I was with Wardley/Hartz, we analyzed competitor’s products as we
        were looking for products to compete with other conditioners. We tested them by
        analyzing blood work on fish after using specific products. We saw that after 72 hours
        the Cortisol (Cortisol is an indicator of stress it is found in the blood. It is released as a
        response to stress) levels started to increase rapidly. One of the most characteristic
        aspects of stress in fish is osmoregulatory disturbance, which is related to the effects of
        both catecholamine and cortisol hormones. The extent of the disturbance following
        stress depends upon the ionic and osmotic differences (gradients) between the internal
        fluids of the fish and its surrounding environment (water). If the stress is persistent and
        of sufficient intensity, changes in the cellular structure of the gills may occur under the
        influence of cortisol. In this situation, increased death and turnover rates of branchial
        epithelial cells leads to accelerated aging of the gills. These degenerating and newly-
        formed gill cells do not function normally, which further limits the fish’s ability to
        maintain water and ion homeostasis under stressful conditions. Thus, acute stress limits
        the fish’s capacity to osmoregulate, and prolonged periods of extreme stress may result
        in osmotic shock and death. This is especially true if the chloride and sodium ions are
        present in such abundance that they become the major anions and cations in the water
        superseding calcium, magnesium  as the cations  and alkalinity/carbonate/bicarbonate and
        sulfates as the anions Even though the conductivity will always increase in an enclosed
        environment it is the chloride ion then the sodium ion that are usually the culprits. That
        is especially true if the chloride anion along with the sodium cation increase to the point
        that they are now the most abundant of both the cations and anions.
                I would get call. When stores where having problems with aquarium fish
        stock they always called me. The first thing the stores would do would be to blame it on the
        supplier without looking at their own aquarium set up.
                There was an issue with a Wal-Mart store in Fayetteville, Arkansas back in
        1996.  They had major die offs with a week after receiving the shipment. I requested 2
        samples of their water. The first sample was to have been from the tap water and the
        second from the aquariums (they were on a central system). Below is the analysis:
        Tap Water Wal-Mart, Fayetteville Arkansas

        Conductivity:  174 μS (MicroSiemens) (GREAT WATER FROM THE TAP!)
        TDS:    (174) x (.64) = 111.36 mg/l or ppm
        Osmotic Pressure:                                         lbs per square inch

        Total Hardness 80 mg/l ppm
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