Aquaponics Health: Understanding Ammonia, Water Temperature and pH Balance | Ecofilms
pH, salinity and temperature are all critical to the survival of most aquatic plants Water temperature affects nearly every other water quality parameter. pH is a determined value based on a defined scale, similar to temperature. This means that pH of water is not a physical parameter that can be measured as a. Hence, if you increase the temperature of the water, the equilibrium will You can see that the pH of pure water decreases as the temperature.
Posted by Ecofilms on Aug 4, in AquaponicsChemistry 2 comments Dead Fish in a Tank There is nothing worse in Aquaponics than to see your fish suddenly go belly up and die without any apparent reason.
People sometimes remark that their perfectly good fish that were fine yesterday — suddenly looked sick and died this morning.
They are left scratching their head — wondering what happened? One point that many people overlook in Aquaponics is the relationship between Ammonia levels, Water Temperature and pH. There is a relationship between these three things that are hardly ever noticed by most people and if their inter-relationships are not understood — it can lead to impending disaster. Lets have a closer look.
High Ammonia Ammonia All fish give off ammonia. It comes off their gills and waste. Uneaten fish food turns into ammonia as it breaks down. If left to build up over time without nitrifying bacteria to convert it into Nitrates that the plants ingest — it will cripple your system and kill your fish. Ammonia is toxic to fish. Fortunately we have our little friends — bacteria — doing a lot of the heavy lifting for us — fixing the imbalance.
This is known as the Nitrogen Cycle, but it can take a new Aquaponics system some time to fully cycle. But at what point should you get worried about Ammonia levels becoming a threat to your fish given that ammonia is constantly being produced? The answer to this question will depend on the temperature of your tank water and the pH of your water, how heavily you stock your fish and how much uneaten fish food remains floating in the system. It gets more complicated with warmer water and a pH that is out of balance sitting at extreme levels.
The pH scale ranges from with a pH of 7 being neutral. A pH below 7 is acidic and a pH of above 7 as basic. An optimal pH range for aquaponics is between 6 and 7 and can vary slightly depending on fish species. Here at Ecofilms our tap water was a pH of 8 when we started out filling up our tank. Its too high for our fish. So when we first established our system we brought the pH down with a little acid.
A pH of 7 is considered neutral. The logarithmic scale means that each number below 7 is 10 times more acidic than the previous number when counting down. At a pH of 7, this decreases to 0. At a pH of 14, there is only 0. As an operational definition, an acid is a substance that will decrease pH when added to pure water. However, there are some substances that fit the operational definition altering pHwithout fitting the Arrhenius definition releasing an ion.
This means that acids and bases can cancel each other out, as shown in the water equation to the right. Alkali salts are very common and dissolve easily. Due to the hydroxide ions they produce which increase pHall alkalis are bases.
However, insoluble bases such as copper oxide should only be described as basic, not alkaline. While alkalinity and pH are closely related, there are distinct differences. The alkalinity of water or a solution is the quantitative capacity of that solution to buffer or neutralize an acid. The alkalinity of a stream or other body of water is increased by carbonate-rich soils carbonates and bicarbonates such as limestone, and decreased by sewage outflow and aerobic respiration.
Due to the presence of carbonates, alkalinity is more closely related to hardness than to pH though there are still distinct differences. The alkalinity of water also plays an important role in daily pH levels. Likewise, respiration and decomposition can lower pH levels.
Depending on the accuracy of the measurement, the pH value can be carried out to one or two decimal places. However, because the pH scale is logarithmic, attempting to average two pH values would be mathematically incorrect. The optimum pH levels for fish are from 6. Outside of optimum ranges, organisms can become stressed or die. If the pH of water is too high or too low, the aquatic organisms living within it will die.
The majority of aquatic creatures prefer a pH range of 6. As pH levels move away from this range up or down it can stress animal systems and reduce hatching and survival rates.
The further outside of the optimum pH range a value is, the higher the mortality rates. The more sensitive a species, the more affected it is by changes in pH.
The Effects of Temperature on the pH of Water | Sciencing
Aquatic species are not the only ones affected by pH. A pH value below 2. Lower pH levels increase the risk of mobilized toxic metals that can be absorbed, even by humans, and levels above 8. In addition, pH levels outside of 6. An minor increase in pH levels can cause a oligotrophic rich in dissolved oxygen lake to become eutrophic lacking dissolved oxygen.
Even minor pH changes can have long-term effects. In an oligotrophic lake, or a lake low in plant nutrients and high in dissolved oxygen levels, this can cause a chain reaction.
With more accessible nutrients, aquatic plants and algae thrive, increasing the demand for dissolved oxygen. This creates a eutrophic lake, rich in nutrients and plant life but low in dissolved oxygen concentrations. Factors that Influence the pH of Water There are many factors that can affect pH in water, both natural and man-made. Most natural changes occur due to interactions with surrounding rock particularly carbonate forms and other materials. In addition, CO2 concentrations can influence pH levels.
Carbon Dioxide and pH pH levels can fluctuate daily due to photosynthesis and respiration in the water. The degree of change depends on the alkalinity of the water.
Photosynthesis, respiration and decomposition all contribute to pH fluctuations due to their influences on CO2 levels.
This influence is more measurable in bodies of water with high rates of respiration and decomposition. While carbon dioxide exists in water in a dissolved state like oxygenit can also react with water to form carbonic acid: However, this equation can operate in both directions depending on the current pH level, working as its own buffering system.
However, as CO2 levels increase around the world, the amount of dissolved CO2 also increases, and the equation will be carried out from left to right. This increases H2CO3, which decreases pH. The effect is becoming more evident in oceanic pH studies over time. Total change in annual oceanic pH levels from s to s. World Ocean Atlas ; photo credit: Plumbago; Wikipedia Commons Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere decreases the pH of precipitation. The above equations also explain why rain has a pH of approximately 5.
As raindrops fall through the air, they interact with carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere. A pH level of 5. Natural, unpolluted rain or snow is expected to have pH levels near 5.
Aquaponics Health: Understanding Ammonia, Water Temperature and pH Balance
Acid rain requires a pH below 5. Natural pH Influences Carbonate materials and limestone are two elements that can buffer pH changes in water. When carbonate minerals are present in the soil, the buffering capacity alkalinity of water is increased, keeping the pH of water close to neutral even when acids or bases are added.
Additional carbonate materials beyond this can make neutral water slightly basic. Limestone quarries have higher pH levels due to the carbonate materials in the stone. Lightning can lower the pH of rain.
Water ionization,the ionic product (Kw) of water and pH
As mentioned earlier, unpolluted rain is slightly acidic pH of 5. If rain falls on a poorly buffered water source, it can decrease the pH of nearby water through runoff.
Decomposing pine needles can decrease pH. Anthropogenic causes of pH fluctuations are usually related to pollution. Acid rain is one of the best known examples of human influence on the pH of water. Any form of precipitation with a pH level less than 5.