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Re: Question about salt
Karen, it isn't a chemical process, but a mechanical one, sort of...
The effect probably is to fill the gills with a material much like ground
glass, which doesn't seem to do the fish much good. Silica gel is just
used as a micronized powder made up mostly of silicon dioxide. It is quite
poorly soluble in water, so tends to form a dim cloud. Silica-aluminate
means it is a mixture of glass and clay, but same problem -- it is the
insoluble silicon compounds.
Too fine to bother our tissue, the delicate gills can be abraded or
clogged enough to cause distress.
When it harmed fish, some bright jumpers-to-conclusions read the box and
said "Aha! It is the iodides!" The persistence of that myth is killing
fish to this day. Iodides are no more harmful than chlorides. Much higher
doses (100X) are routinely used to treat fish goiter.
Iodized table salt seems perfectly harmless, if you use the cheaper brands
that use "Yellow Prussiate of Soda" as free-running agent. It is pretty
soluble and chemically harmless, despite its real name, sodium ferrocyanide.
Now for the extra credit question. What is the agent used to "weaponize"
and make anthrax powder free-running and easy to disperse? ;-)
Karen Perdue wrote:
> Hi all,
> There are so many knowledgeable people on this list, I figured it might be a
> good place to get some information. Specifically about anti-caking agents in
> table salt, and their potential to cause harm in an aquarium. A friend was
> adding table salt containing silicaluminate to her FW live bearer tank, and
> the fish failed to thrive, ultimately ending in the deaths of 2 out of 3
> fish. Can any of you chemistry types out there let me know what this
> particular agent might do to fish in an aquarium? Is aluminum toxicity in
> fish as dangerous as it is in humans? Do fish suffer from healy metal
> toxicity? Is the silica component dangerous to aquarium life, and why/what
> adverse effects might one expect to see?
> I've always used plain old pickling salt, or aquarium salt, so am totally
> clueless about the chemistry involved in these agents, any info at all is
> gratefully accepted!
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