Latin name: Other names: Pathogen: Symptoms:
Fish itch (fish scratch on the rocks and other objects),
Fish jump out of the water,
Brightening (lighting) of body colors,
Fins are spread apart,
Heavy slime production
Fish suffering from Acute alkalosis will have a turbid, milky appearance. Other symptoms include spread fins, rapid breathing, mucous secretions from the gills. Fish show erratic swimming and try to jump out of the aquarium.
In case of chronic Alkalosis, symptoms will be less pronounced. Signs to look out for include laboured breathing, coughing, excessive mucous production, irritation on the gills caused by increased acidity and alkalinity of the water. Osmoregulation problems may cause abdomen deflation.
This problem shows up in water with pH levels that exceed the normal range. This disease does not necessarily affect all fish in the aquarium, as different species need various pH levels. Disease may become acute, if pH levels change rapidly, and chronic, if they take place gradually, within a definite period of time. Alkaline water causes irritation on the skin and the gills and may cause unfavorable physical changes.
Acidosis is not a common disease, as mineral substances dissolved in water, which make water more alkaline, help stabilize pH. At the same time, fish’s metabolic processes make water more acidic, which prevents an increase in water alkalinity.
It should be mentioned that ammonia, present in the water, is more toxic at high pH levels, whereas heavy metals are more toxic at low pH levels. Acute alkalosis can only occur if fish are moved from one aquarium into another without a consideration of differences in pH levels or in case of an overdose of substances that will shift the water's pH toward the alkaline side. Chromic alkalosis can develop if fish are kept in the water with pH levels higher than appropriate for a particular species; if evaporated water is replaced with fresh, mineral-rich water (water replacement does not substitute water change); if aquarium decorations (for example, limestone) constantly discharge dissolved minerals.
How to cure:
It is necessary to ensure the acceptable pH range. This can be done with a pH buffer which can be purchases in a pet-shop. To slowly change pH, regularly perform a partial water change (fresh water should have pH close to neutral). This is the best way of managing problems with pH, as a regular partial water change will solve the main problem: it will reduce a high concentration of minerals which usually cause chronic alkalosis.
PH-buffer Timely water change
Alkalosis can be prevented by selecting fish compatible to the pH in the aquarium or by modifying the pH to the levels required for the species you are going to introduce. Keep species compatible to the same pH of the water. Choose decorations which would not adversely affect the chemical composition of the water. Regularly measure pH so at to notice the first signs of acidification, caused by Calcium present in aquarium decorations.
Acute alkalosis: if sudden drastic changes in pH occur, survival is unlikely, unless pH is immediately restored to normal. If pH is changed gradually, fish will be affected by the inappropriate pH for a long time.
However, acute alkalosis is usually fatal, even if causes are eliminated quickly. Therefore, it is vital to establish the cause of the problem and take necessary preventive measures.
Chronic alkalosis: it is necessary to stabilize pH making it appropriate for the particular species.
The recommended maximum pH change per day is 0.3 units per day as this enables fish to slowly adjust to changes.
There is a risk of infection that can occur concurrently with alkalosis or come afterwards. This infection is possible as a result of the weakened immune system caused by stress (especially if the disease is chronic). The inappropriate pH causes damage to the gills and the skin that become vulnerable to secondary infections.
Fish susceptible to the disease/disorder: