Poor water quality is without a doubt a stressor. Saltwater fish depends on the salt water to live.
Saltwater fish and invertebrates can live for days without food, but with no clean water, they can die immediately.
Lets put it this way, what water to them is air to us!
Fish excretes waste in the water. Out in their natural habitat, that is not a problem. But in an closed saltwater aquarium, this is dangerous.
This is why you need to get the best filtration system for your aquarium. Also, a routine maintenance should be in place. This will help in maintaining an excellent quality of water.
Clean water and excellent water chemistry means healthy water and healthy saltwater fish.
When the saltwater is polluted with wastes:
- pH will drop
- ammonia and other nitrogenous compounds will increase
- the buffering capacity will decline
- carbon dioxide builds
- dissolve oxygen plummets
When this happens, the water will act as the stressor and your fishes will be stressed.
They will then experience:
- it will be hard for them to breathe
- heart rate will increase
- internal ion balance is interrupted
- internal pH drops
- their body will produce number of hormones as a natural reaction and will jeopardize their immune system
They will also tend to literally drown. We dont normally think of this when it comes to species that lives in the water. But it will happen if the level of pollution is extreme.
The fish will not be able to properly remove carbon dioxide in exchange for oxygen. This will kill them immediately.
To avoid this stressful condition, make sure that your filtration system is adequate to the size of your aquarium. You can also test your water parameters to look and diagnose signs of poor water quality.