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Re: Salt

>Date: Wed, 8 Jul 1998 15:19:45 -0600 (MDT)
>From: George Booth <booth at lvld_hp.com>
>Subject: Re: Salt
>If sodium is the key, perhaps another sodium compound would do the trick
>without hurting plants. Is it chloride?  Or is it just an increase in
>Solids?  Perhaps increasing the Ca/Mg hardness would help. Or do the Na or
>ions combine with something else for a beneficial effect?  If we
understood the >"cure", perhaps we could think of a more plant-friendly

I was talking with Dustin Lawrence on FishRoom a few years ago when he told
me an interesting anecdote.  A friend of his in LA kept a temperate marine
tank as well as rift lake cichlids.  The marine tank failed
catastrophically, and he lost all of his fish except one temperate relative
of the damselfishes.  

Having nowhere to put this fish, he thought it would be more cruel to let
him die of dehydration, so he tossed his fish in with the african cichlids.

Despite the significant difference in water makeup between the two tanks,
the marine fish adjusted to the new environment and was quite capable in
dealing with the territorial cichlids.

On another side, I've noted that platies and mollies don't really care
whether you add salt to the water or calcium carbonate as long as you keep
the SG high enough for their needs.  I begin to think that the reason
behind the need for the high SG is mainly to prevent osmotic cellular
rupture in a species that whose makeup favors a higher SG.

>On the opposite side of the thought, what is it about salt that is bad for 
>plants?  I would guess it's not the sodium. If so, the addition of sodium 
>bicarbonate for buffering would have fallen from favor a long time ago. So
>do the Cl ions hurt plants? 

I've wondered the same question, and the only thing I have to-date that I
can begin to correlate is that I've read that chloride ions are bad for
plants.  It's also common knowledge that cuprous and cupric ions (Cu++ and
Cu+++) are bad for invertebrates.  This becomes interesting (at least to
me) when I put together that Chlorophyll uses a Chlorine atom at its
center, and that many invertebrates contain a molecule similar to
hemoglobin (but I forgot the name) that contains copper at the center.  For
that matter, we also know that Ferrous and Ferric concentrations greater
than .5 ppm can cause harm to fish.

I'm not trying to give any real answers here, just making a few
observations that I believe correlate.

David W. Webb
Live-Foods list administrator