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Swimming and ammonia toxicity in salmonids: the effect of sub lethal ammonia exposure on the swimming performance of coho salmon and the acute toxicity of ammonia in swimming and resting rainbow trout
Wicks, B.J.; Joensen, R.; Tang, Q.; Randall, D.J. (2002). Swimming and ammonia toxicity in salmonids: the effect of sub lethal ammonia exposure on the swimming performance of coho salmon and the acute toxicity of ammonia in swimming and resting rainbow trout. Aquat. Toxicol. 59(1-2): 55-69
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Ammonia; Coho salmon; Rainbow trout; Sublethal effects; Swimming; Toxicity

Authors  Top 
  • Wicks, B.J., correspondent
  • Joensen, R.
  • Tang, Q.
  • Randall, D.J.

Abstract
    This study tested the hypothesis that swimming exacerbates ammonia toxicity in fish. Both sub-lethal and acute toxicity testing was conducted in a swim tunnel on swimming and resting coho salmon and rainbow trout, respectively. The sub lethal tests on coho salmon also considered the compartmentalization of ammonia within the fish. Coho salmon showed a significant linear decrease in Ucrit both with increasing water ammonia (0, 0.02, 0.04 and 0.08 mg per l NH3) and increasing plasma ammonia. Data collected included plasma pH and ammonia, muscle pH and ammonia and muscle membrane potential. Based on results found in these experiments it was concluded that the reduction in swimming performance was due to both metabolic challenges as well as depolarization of white muscle. Acute toxicity testing on swimming and resting rainbow trout revealed that swimming at (60% Ucrit or approximately 2.2 body lengths/s) decreased the LC50 level from 207 ± 21.99 mg N per l in resting fish to 32.38 ± 10.81. The LC50 for resting fish was significantly higher than that for swimming fish. The acute value set forth by the US EPA at the same pH is 36.1 mg N per l and may not protect swimming fish. In addition the effect of water hardness on ammonia toxicity was considered. It was found that increased water calcium ameliorates ammonia toxicity in fish living in high pH water.

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