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Re: pH-hardness

Hey Mike,

Take all wisdom in small bites or it can bite you. :-)

Yes. pH "shock" is mythology.

It is often propagated by the mysteries encountered at your LFS when 
they get in new fish. Hardness isn't the only important factor, though.

Farm fish cannot always be adequately starved, like we do our killies, 
before transporting them across country. The ammonium has built up like 
mad in their big bags with hundreds of fish. That nice, semi-soft FL 
water has probably run out of buffers, too, so the pH has dropped. That 
stops the ammonium ions from becoming toxic ammonia.

When that water is diluted with local harder, alkaline water, a sudden 
burst of ammonia is released when the pH is increased. The fish die like 
mad. Even without a big tds difference (though there often is one) the 
ammonia has given the "pH shock" myth another shot in the arm. An 
initial tiny squirt of "Amquel" would have stopped the problem cold.

It pays to understand all of the lethal things we can do to our fish. 
Fortunately, simple pH shift, alone isn't one of them. When it induces 
release of a toxin, like ammonia, it might just as well be, though. We 
should treat it for what it is, and not for what it is not.


Mike Jacobs wrote:
> Folks.........I agree with Allen.  There have been people trying to get rid
> of the "old pH" myth for years and we aren't listening.  It took Wright a
> hammer and a baseball bat and a lot of personal e-mail and a phone
> conversation or two to get through to me but he never got mad at me and it
> all finally paid off, I went to the Chemistry books, and the Chemistry
> teacher at the high school I teach at, and did a little studying and he
> (Wright) is absolutely right (Wright...?????...;-) ).
> I have also seen the demonstration Allen spoke of but it was totally at a
> different time and with a different person.  I was having a pH discussion
> with a friend of mine so to prove the point he took a tank of baby discus
> the size of about a silver dollar (from one of his 20 pair of breeder
> discus)........maybe 25-30 of the baby discus and lowered the pH from about
> 7 to about 4 in maybe 15 seconds (liquid pH down)...........the pH bounced
> around a bit but eventually was stabilized pretty well about 4.5
> ..............they never stopped eating their BBrine
> shrimp.................after about 20-25 minutes in that water he dipped
> them out and put them into a tank where the water was like the original
> water..........back up to pH of about 7 as I recall, instantly.........we
> put in some more brine shrimp and they resumed eating as though nothing had
> ever happened............................the only thing that remained
> constant was the hardness of the water as read by a TDS meter.  I was
> instantly converted........................I then really began listening
> very closely to Wright...............and wasted a great deal of his time
> making him tell my why and why and why..............now I think I have
> it........................Forget it folks, there is no such thing as pH
> shock....................I say that excluding some such drastic change as
> something like a pH of 11 to a pH of 2 but within the confines of our
> aquariums the critical factor is hardness and it's effect on the body as
> related to the osmotic pressure.....particularly on the gills.
> Mike
> Mike Jacobs
> J&M Tropicals
> Wild Peruvian Imports...Plus
> http://www.southernapistos.com
>>Date: Sun, 28 Jul 2002 16:32:34 -0400
>>From: "Allen and Sandra" <allensandra at boatmans_com>
>>Subject: Re: musings on water changes:  pH change and Osmotic stress
>>I have witnessed some of what has been discussed here in person.
>>An acquaintance of mine, Joe Gargas, demonstrated to me a pH change of
>>almost 4 POINTS!!  He maintained the conductivity at a constant range but
>>took the water down four points, waited a few minutes and brought it back
>>up.  The whole time the fish seemed to be unscathed.  HE maintained that
> if
>>the osmotic pressure stayed constant then the pH change won't stress the
>>fish.  However, if there were ammonia in the tank of a large enough
>>concentration, and you raised the pH 3 points, you could scald the gills
> of
>>nearly every fish in the tank.
>>While Joe might not be the least abrasive person in explaining these
> things
>>to the layman, There is no proof like being there to see it.  Mike Jacobs
>>might be able to chime in here, and someone else wrote an article on this
> in
>>a JAKA a year or two ago.  (yes?  No?)   Anyhoo, pretty neat fishy
> science.
>>For what it's worth,
>>Allen "Boat" Boatman
>>Lutz, FL
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