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[APD] Electrolytes (was Re: [cynolebias] TOTW: Aphyolebias care andmaintenance)

Hi Lee,

Lee Van Hyfte wrote:

Hello All,

I thought I would share a few of my experiences with Aphyolebias sp. Peru
Rio Itaya Wild collected and the f-1 generation

Snip... Great description of this fish, thanks.

They died due to a bacterial (skin film) infection after 2 months I am not certain what happened Treatment was unsuccessful. I had kept 1/4 tsp per gallon of salt in the aquarium to resist such a problem but very well could have been the cause. I am not using the salt on the fry. And have had no bacterial problems.

Salt is a two-pronged sword. It can do good or bad, depending on what it is with. I lived in relatively hard-water areas, where tds was 300-450 ppm and GH was about 2/3 of the total. I was always amazed at folks who said that salt killed their plants or that they had fish that were sensitive to salt. Mine never showed any sensitivity at all.

John F. Kuhns, the inventor of "Amquel" has argued with me that salt is always an extreme irritant to fresh-water fishes, and any perceived benefits were due to the fish trying to fight off the irritation by building more slime coat, etc. [It was some years ago, so I'm probably not quoting him too accurately.]

It took me years to realize that John, and others, were probably basing their comments on the results of adding salt to very low hardness water. The seriousness of this came home to me when I moved to Modesto and killed all my Java moss and nearly killed my fish. The 50ppm (but 0 GH) Sierra snow-melt water was fine until I added a little NaCl. Blooey! Things went downhill fast. I was adjusting the tds up a bit, toward 100, by adding salt in extremely tiny amounts.

Java moss and Java fern are both found wild in brackish estuaries, but a tiny bit of salt was killing them in my tanks!

Normal physiological processes require a balance of "electrolytes" (dissolved ionic components) for maintaining fluid pressure and balance. The needs for cellular fluids, intercellular fluids and blood are often quite different, and the combination is critical when we drink a lot or immerse our fish and plants. If you do a web search, you will quickly find that it is a complex process, indeed. To get a taste, try:


[It's for humans, but the basics apply to most living organisms.]

Anyway, Lee, I'm just guessing that you may have very soft water (low in Ca++ and Mg++) and that might be why the salt was harmful.

Barry Cooper had a similar experience when he moved from NY to OR, and we both, independently, discovered the benefits of adding some SeaChem "Equilibrium" to our water to give the fish and plants a more favorable balance of electrolytes. Plants and fish immediately flourished and adding some salt suddenly was no problem.

I wonder if Ringer's Lactate would have been even better? :-)


PS. Apologies for cross-posting, to those on two or three of the lists. This is a subject that comes up at APD and the Killy list, from time to time.

Wright Huntley -- 760 872-3995 -- Rt. 001 Box K36, Bishop CA 93514

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