pH?

Monzon

Established Member
Search on "pH" yielded zero. Specifically, I am interested in keeper's thoughts on water pH. I have seen some of the threads on RO vs. tap water vs. rainwater. It occurs to me that the issue here may not be about contaminants or trace compounds, but rather pH. Rainwater pH is approx. 5.5. If we are drenching our animals with 8.2 pH water, then we are almost certainly affecting delicate membranes not designed for this significant variation from "in nature normal" range. Lesser variations than that can crash amphibians and fish over time. Immediate, acute effect? No, not that I have seen. Longer term effect? Susceptibility to eye/URI? Anyone explore this? What is your pH? I know logical conjecture is not scientific. Still, interesting...
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
i do wonder if higher ph water would cause a reptile to have a hard time shedding.

sorry this is not about ph......8 years ago i stayed in a town called surf side, Tx. big oil refineries everywhere!! people all over the place getting brain cancer in particular. only of two things or even both can cause such a wide spread problem in that area (air and/or water). personally thought it was water. i would walk the beach and it would be littered with death.

in some areas we have severely polluted our living necessities. im sure these same water/air conditions would be detrimental to any living animal.
 
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kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
This is a very interesting topic!

If I remember correctly pure water has a pH of about 7 so rain water at 5.5 is slightly acidic. From what I have read slight acidity in water doesn't affect human health directly but the things/contaminents in the water that make it acidic can depending on what they are.

One question that comes to mind, since you started me thinking about this, is has the change in rain water pH over the years/centuries changed much and could that have already had an affect? Has wild chameleon health suffered from any changes that did occur?

Then, is the difference in pH levels in the water we are giving them compared to rain water or dew that they would drink in the wild having an effect or it it too little to be a problem?

It also made me wonder what the pH level of their natural diet would be and how that compares to the diet we provide them....and whether that makes a difference too.

Here are some interesting articles but be aware that they are not scientific papers so I don't know how valid they are...
http://www.earthtym.net/ph-intro.htm
http://www.mcvitamins.com/is-your-body-too-acid.htm
 

JFodera

Member
The pH scale is a system of measurement that measures a substance's acidic or basic qualities. 0 being the most acidic, 7 being neutral, and 14 being the most basic. As far as harming the chameleon, remember, they ingest all sorts of liquids at all sorts of basic and acidic levels. The range of pH levels in prey must vary drastically. Their bodies are designed to convert these substances into chemicals usable for the animal's body. As long as the substance is not so far to either side of the scale that it causes immediate harm to the animal, I would doubt that it is a concern. But, this is merely my assumption.
 

Monzon

Established Member
Yes, "pure" water is pH 7. Rainwater is ~5.5 because of atmospheric CO2. Distilled water and RO water is around 5.5 also. Rainwater around heavily industrialized areas can become very acidic but that is a different topic.

I agree that all organisms have to deal with variations in pH in their environment.

Not all organisms have evolved to utilize only rainwater as their drinking source.

Chameleons seem to take it one step further by using rainwater to clean and rinse their eyes and possibly their sinuses. Also, their lungs seem to be a simple and fairly underdeveloped organ that must remain moist. But mainly I am thinking about the eyes and eye washing.

We, ourselves, can drink a wide range of pH liquids without incident, but try to snort some unbuffered water into your sinuses, or swim in a pool that has pH way out of whack....Redness, irritation, inflammation.

Food for thought?
 

JFodera

Member
Yes I see what you mean. I guess the question should be, then, when does pH variation become irritable? Or, in other words, how drastic is a 1, 2, or 3 value change in pH in either direction? Perhaps changing from 6 to 8 isn't much of a difference for the animal's body, or perhaps it is. Maybe this is an experiment already performed? Someone might know...
 

jpm995

Member
Remember we humans used to drink and bath with rainwater also, now "tap" water. It doesn't seem to affect us why should reptiles be different? I think we tend to overanalize things sometimes. The amount of minerials in the water probably has some affect though. I've read thhat people on the west cost live slightly longer due to less minerals in the water.
 

Monzon

Established Member
@JFodera: that is what I am getting at. I would bet that no one has studied the pH of chameleon mucous membranes, nor will it soon be undertaken. In the absence of that information I have thought through it as follows:

1) Internal membranes, eye tissue, sinuses are complex, sensitive structures.

2) Organisms evolve towards harmony and balance with respect to their environment - particularly the more static, abiotic components.

3) Personally, In the absence of good data, I would rather carefully consider the species life history and the "biotrue" elements of their environment and husbandry needs rather than follow the unscientific "conventional" thinking (some of which is correct but much of which is probably wrong).

I don't know what is "ideal" for my animals, but I feel that it is my responsibility to continually think about, research, and improve my husbandry. Complacency = decline, in my experience.
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Interesting.
I cant add much except to say my tap water is close to 7, and I've been living here for all the years I've had panther chameleons. They live long healthy lives, so I presume water with a neutral pH is satisfactory for their needs. and mine.
 

kgallego

Member
Just an interesting observation on this:

I was having trouble with plant growth in my vivariums. I decided to test the pH of my tap water. It's around 8.5. Two weeks ago I began treating the water in my mistking reservoir to bring the pH down to 5.5-6.0. I've noticed new plant growth, where I haven't seen growth in 8 months.

I've also noticed that my male's have an increased appetite and are showing brighter colors. Coincidence? I don't know.
 
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