Water acidification causes death of marine ornamental fish (Perciformes: Pomacentridae) during transport: contributing to the conservation of wild populations

ABSTRACT Pomacentridae is a common family in the aquarium fish trade. Most species are harvested from nature. Here we evaluate the following water parameters in the pomacentrid sergeant major, Abudefduf saxatilis (Linnaeus, 1758), to assess their stress level during a 24, 48, and 72 hours transport: dissolved oxygen (DO), total ammonia, and pH. In addition, we evaluated the following physiological parameters: plasma osmolality, muscle water content, blood glucose, and the enzyme activities of the branchial carbonic anhydrase (CA), the hepatic glutathione S-transferase (GST), catalase (CAT), and superoxide dismutase (SOD). The mortality of fish measuring >6 cm total length was 22%, while no mortality was observed for fish measuring <6 cm. The pH of the water was significantly correlated with fish mortality, especially for the initial 24 hours of transport. Hypoxia after 24-48 hours also led to fish mortality, but build up ammonia was not a problem even after 72 hours. We suggest that a minimum water volume of 125 ml/g fish is necessary for safe and cost-effective transport of the sergeant major, preferably with <6 cm in total length.