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Why Can't Saltwater Fish Live in Freshwater?

By: Susanna Zhao, Sydney Van Wyck and Chris Yeung
by

Chris Yeung

on 9 January 2013

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Transcript of Why Can't Saltwater Fish Live in Freshwater?

Background photo by t.shigesa Application Definition/Statement Operation Why Can't Saltwater Fish Live in Freshwater? Components Special Features By: Sydney Van Wyck, Chris Yeung et Susanna Zhao Saltwater fish can only live in saltwater. Places like oceans and seas (ex. the Pacific Ocean and the Red Sea). The components that relate to the reason that saltwater fish cannot live in freshwater are: 1. Fish 2. Water 3. Sea Salt 4. Osmosis 5. Diffusion 6. Cells Saltwater fish need the process of osmosis to survive. Osmosis determines how much water enters the cell and how much goes out. Saltwater fish cannot live in freshwater because they have hypertonic cells which absorbs the water out of the cell, and keeps more salt inside the cell. Fresh water does not have enough salt concentration to satisfy the survival of saltwater fish.Therefore the fish’s hypertonic cells will become hypotonic which will not mix well with the body structure of salt water fish, and they will die. Osmosis helps even out the concentration inside and outside the fish’s body. The atomic theory and diffusion is also related with why saltwater fish cannot live in fresh water. Diffusion happens in water where the water particles try to separate equally from each other. Fresh water contains very little salt and once diffusion happens, the salt particles drift further away from one another. If saltwater fish lack salt, their body salt will leach out into the fresh water, and their hypertonic cells will be filled with a lot more water than needed and explode. Osmosis can also kill saltwater fish if not used properly. It is impossible for saltwater fish to live in freshwater because they have already adapted to salt water and high concentration of salt around them. Saltwater fish cannot live in freshwater, and if they are put in freshwater, they will die within a period of time (few hours to few days). Fish skin is a permeable membrane which allows water to flow in and out. Because of this phenomenon, fish have to regulate the amount of water in their body tissues so they won`t dehydrate or bloat to death. Freshwater fish tend to absorb water from their natural habitat while saltwater fish tend to be losing water from their environment. What happens if freshwater fish are put in saltwater?
In reality freshwater fish can tolerate a very small amount of salt, but generally, they cannot tolerate saltwater because they cannot properly osmoregulate in saltwater.

Osmoregulation is when the fish is maintaining an balance of salt and water in the fishes body. Imagine two sides of a fish (inside and out), the fishes membrane skin have different concentration of salt and water. Nature tries to maintain a balance on both sides.

The fish uses osmoregulation to fight the process of diffusion and osmosis. Conclusion : In conclusion, saltwater fish cannot, under any circumstances live in freshwater, except for the exception of euryhaline type fish. In this presentation, we explained why saltwater cannot live in freshwater; the answer for this statement is osmosis. This is the balance of high concentration and low concentration in the cells membrane. That is why saltwater fish cannot live in freshwater. This is a saltwater fish. This is a freshwater fish. Both fish are stenohaline types of fish. Salmons are able to live in freshwater AND saltwater which therefore makes them euryhaline types of fish.
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