Chemists address a water sanitation chemical that is harmful to aquarium fish

The water department is working to notify businesses who are affected by the added chemicals, while staying in-line with EPA standards
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:15 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The city of Toledo Water Department is warning fish owners to monitor the amount of aluminum sulfate added to the tap water as it can harm fish.

While aluminum sulfate is completely safe for human consumption and commonly used in pickles and water sanitation, it is potentially deadly to fish.

Alex Parent, the owner of Method Aquatics, said he noticed an issue when he changed the water in his tanks.

“I was lucky in the regard I kinda caught it early. I think most of my customers were hurt more than I was,” Parent said.

Parent told 13abc that after he lost some fish due to changing their tank water, he called the water department. The department told Parent that they added higher-than-normal levels of aluminum sulfate.

“I did some research and found out it was really toxic for fish in high levels,” Parent said.

Jeff Mertin, Chief Chemist for the Toledo Water Department, said the city had good reason.

“We had to add more than the usual amount to remove all of the dirt,” Mertin said.

Mertin said the increase is due to more water from Lake Erie than in past years.

“Normally, we don’t have the alum anywhere near high enough to interfere with aquarium levels. When we go above two grains per gallon, we have an email list we send out to people. It’s primarily hospital dialysis centers and a few other similar places where they also have to deal with higher aluminum levels.”

The water department is working to notify businesses that are affected by the added chemicals while staying aligned with EPA standards.

If you want to be added to the aluminum sulfate contact list, you can call Engage Toledo at 419-936-2020

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