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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was doing a little research and I came upon this:

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Freshwater-Aquarium-3216/Guppies-5.htm

Now, needless to say, the 1.015 specific gravity surprised me. I thought it was a typo but he has it in all of his responses. (FYI, marine specific gravity is 1.020-1.025, and brackish can be anywhere between 1.002 to 1.025)

Here was his email response:

Well, Jim, I have a tank of cardinal tetra with enough salt to house a tang or a lion... temperature and pH high enough for most salt water adventures too, so I'm confident that if done properly, just about any fish can be acclimated for salt water. I've changed a lot of my advise and toned things down quite significantly, however, in all the followups and emails i've received, I've yet to hear one complaint that ill advise killed someone fish. In fact, I've had people singing praises over how my advise saved a fish all others said to euthanise. Things like late stage dropsy, severe stress, and advanced swim bladder infections have been resolved without fatality with a little care and planning and advise on my end. not everyone uses the same treatment patterns, or medication types, and everyone believes in different water conditions. My theory is whatever works is whats best. The things i suggest work for me, so thats what i'll continue to use.

Now, I've never seen anything like this being mentioned anywhere, but I am always open to new ideas as they appear in the aquarium hobby. Thoughts?

Btw, here is my response:

Hi Darryl

Hmm, that is very interesting. However, I am curious as to how you decided on adding such high salt concentrations? I'll admit that I have no experience in housing cardinal tetras in marine environments, simply because the thought never even occurred to me and I have seen any material anywhere ever stating so (All sites stating the recommended dose is 1 tbs per 5-10 gallons - significantly lower than the 1.007-1.015 specific gravity). It seems it goes against everything we know about the conditions that cardinal tetras came from, as the majority are wild caught (ie low total dissolved solids, soft, acidic water) I'm aware that fish can adapt to different water conditions much more than we would think, and I have kept cardinal tetras in mildly hard, 7.6 pH water with no issues, but I am still highly skeptical that millions of years of evolution and development can be changed in a single generation of acclimation when it comes to such drastic salinity. Tetras (and catfish/loaches, etc) seem to be particularly sensitive to salt. As for the "proper" method, I am assuming you mean to just add it slowly? As in 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons every other day?

And I am not attacking your advice. In fact, the vast majority of it is quite sound, and exactly what I would say. Like I said, I admire how you are giving back to the community. I do the same, but through forums. It's just the salt issues (and those nit picky things like chlorine mentioned in the first email) that got my attention and were not really addressed in your la
st email.
 

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If you acclimate fish to higher levels slowly, it can be done.

I'll take the reverse approach, I can acclimate Damsels to freshwater as well...........

But I think you have to ask why and are they really better off, looks right etc.

I think the answer is no.
Over time etc, see how it goes.

I never bothered with the Damsels for more than a couple of months.
So I cannot say there, but FW try to retain salts, Marine fish have no such need(unless placed in a FW environment).

Plants on the other hand, they do not like salt unless they are seagrasses.
Did not read the PO4 stuff, but it's somewhat true in Marine systems, not applicable one bit in a FW planted system however.

You see attached algae reduce dramatically with addition of PO4, see Gaiser et al, 2004.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you acclimate fish to higher levels slowly, it can be done.

I'll take the reverse approach, I can acclimate Damsels to freshwater as well...........

But I think you have to ask why and are they really better off, looks right etc.

I think the answer is no.
Over time etc, see how it goes.

I never bothered with the Damsels for more than a couple of months.
So I cannot say there, but FW try to retain salts, Marine fish have no such need(unless placed in a FW environment).

Plants on the other hand, they do not like salt unless they are seagrasses.
Did not read the PO4 stuff, but it's somewhat true in Marine systems, not applicable one bit in a FW planted system however.

You see attached algae reduce dramatically with addition of PO4, see Gaiser et al, 2004.

Regards,
Tom Barr
Thanks Tom! I did definitely did not even thing freshwater fish could tolerate such high salinity. Good to know (though pointless like you said)
 

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Why would someone add cardinals to high salt water?
Tap is a lot cheaper and better.

Taking a colorful SW fish and placing it into a FW system seems like a better idea.

The other thing, this guy is a guppy person........I'm not sure did, I miss something else in the thread link etc?

I did not see much discussion about salt and fish there.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Why would someone add cardinals to high salt water?
Tap is a lot cheaper and better.

Taking a colorful SW fish and placing it into a FW system seems like a better idea.

The other thing, this guy is a guppy person........I'm not sure did, I miss something else in the thread link etc?

I did not see much discussion about salt and fish there.

Regards,
Tom Barr
Well, I thought the salinity advice with regards to the guppy was a bit off (from the first link), so I emailed him about it and that was his response. He seems to have told most people who asked him about adding salt to bring their specific gravity to 1.007 - 1.015, which seems a little odd to me, but he defended the approach by saying he had kept cardinals in what is basically salt-water without any issues. In a subsequent email (below), he says he has bred cardinals in such conditions too :rolleyes:

Couple of other things wrong that I noticed too, which leads me to doubt the whole breeding cardinal in saltwater thing, namely, his claims about various chemicals ;)

He hasn't given me a concrete reason why he puts so much salt in, but I am led to believe he thinks it inhibits various diseases?

Hey Jim,

Particularly interesting setup there. Right now, I'm experimenting with mass breeding, so my conditions are far less... show quality. Funds will collect, and in due time, things will be upgraded though. I have to admit, cardinals in salt water does seem fishy (no pun intended), but it's really not as difficult as you'd think.

First off, this was not a single generation, and great care and planning was involved. Adding salt at a rate of a tablespoon a week, even, is far too rapid for a sensitive fish in regards to defeating evolution. I started out without salt completely, and would throw in extremely small amounts weekly, as to make the change more gradual and even, then steps of a ladder. Housed in a large show tank, with breeding in mind, i'd throw a quarter of a teaspoon in weeky until i hit some desired level. 1.003... 1.007... etc. Over the course of a few months, i noticed the fish seemed to increase and decrease in numbers based on genetic inability to survive different salt levels. In time (we're talking years, not days or weeks) these fish eventually bred and re-bred to a point where those inable to survive higher salt levels died, and those more suited to a saltier level survived to mate another day. as the population reached a point where the fry surviving the harsh conditions were very limited, i'd wait and watch to see if they'd grow up into adults. Eventually, a school of originally 12 tetra became 50...100... 200... 150... 120... 100... 70... 30... 10... and the few whom were able to survive reproduced and the cycle started over again. In a large tank, a quarter teaspoon is nothing of a change, but over time, even the plants significantly exceeded their "normal" range. Had i done things slower, and had patience in my scientific quest to see how much change a fish really can take, perhaps my numbers would not have been so very dramatic, however, survival of the fittest really, truely does effectively eliminate those not fit for a desired goal. However since then, I've moved on to breeding other fish for different reasons. My current study is guppies. My goal is to increase body and fin size, to that of something like a small cat, sword, or molly. As i stand at the moment, 8 months into the project, i've managed an average of half an inch extra length per male, and moderately more color per female. Things seem to be working well, and yes, these guppies are in water of about 1,008 salinity. I practice what i preach.

as for the chlorine /chloride, bare in mind, ferric chloride is devistatingly toxic, and commonly result of chloride- and fe+. Two common found chemicals from aquariums. Also, potassium chloride is another pretty devistating chemical i happened to find in one of my personal tanks in levels that could be fatal to elderly, children, and those of weak immune systems. Cat drank some of the tank water and had a week in a vet to recover. These things may be oddly rare, and particularly hard to re-create, but wounds fresh in mind are often of great concern.
oh, and lets not mention that california water has chlorine in concentrations large enough to be fatal to many different forms of life, yet the adaptation of humans to it in a single generation (against all laws of nature, mind you) is just further proof that things are not always what text books tell us they should be. Where extraction of chlorine from water may not exactly be "easy" or "beneficial"; if done correctly, a 55 gallon fish tank could become fatal to a child of 3 years of age in as little as a month. Of course, this means that the tank would have to be stagnant, horribly neglected, and quite oddly prepared to become a time bomb, and under normal conditions this would be impossibly difficult to come about, but without that sense of urgency, people typically wont really act.

If you have a better method of getting people to do the right thing, without leaving out small details like "well, its not going to happen, but..." or "...but the chances of that realistically happening are a bazillion to one.." by all means, let me know. When i first joined forum aid, people would tell me that they didnt think my explinations were valid enough to warrent immediate action, and thus, terrible things happened. I spoke with several teachers i've had over the last few years, and they all agreed on one thing: If a student refuses to actively take steps to demonstrate understanding, care, and intellegence, scare the hell out of them, and make them think it's for the best... because it usually is.

Where we may disagree on the exact levels of salt, we both agree it's desirable. Where we may not agree on how to entice people into getting conditioners, and solvants to cure their woes, we do agree they're beneficial. So long as the end result is people have happy, healthy pets, whom live a long life, the ends justify the means, right? Again, since i joined allexperts, i've had nothing but praises sung of the amazing results, and fast recoveries, even from severe things like late stage dropsy. The only people who complain are other experts. Just recently, I had a woman with a 2 year old goldfish with dropsy comment on how everyone wanted her to euthanize, but Vanilla, her beloved pet, has since fully recovered and even learned a new trick! He is trained to be spoon fed, and will "sit pretty" as she put it, waiting for you to prepare his dish.

A Lionfish at work was impaled by a peice of rock, and where others wanted to put him in a freezer, I sat patiently with thich leather gloves and removed the rock, clotted the wound and had the prickly king back in the water, swimming. He was adopted after a long recovery and so far, he's survived. Some times, we have to have high hopes, and great expectations to find out how much we (and our pets) are truely capable of!

Interesting things happen when you seek outside the known box. Am I mistaken in assuming you've already done your share of exploring, and finding out things arent always as people tell you?
 
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