Surprisingly, the natural habitat of many ornamental fish is originally very hostile to life. The water of blackwater rivers such as the Rio Negro in Amazonia is very poor in minerals and very acidly. Many areas of these waters have pH-values below 4. Not a good starting point for the existence of aquatic life forms.
For a long time, it was unclear how discus and other fish, shrimp and other aquatic organisms can exist there successfully at all. In the meantime, it has been scientifically proven that it is the humic substances dissolved in the water that enable survival in such an extreme environment. Humic substances are omnipresent on Earth. But what are humic substances, how do they originate, how do they work and above all, what are the benefits of humic substances in aquaristics?
What are humic substances, how do they originate?
Everyone knows humus, which ensures the growth of plants in nature or in garden. The humus layer is the fertile, usually dark soil layer through which plants are supplied with nutrients. During the decomposition of organic masses by microorganisms, humic substances are produced in large quantities. Not only humus contains humic substances, but moor soil, peat or brown coal do the same. Humic substances are also found in bread, beer, coffee or tea and are responsible for the brown coloring. They have long been part of human nutrition. The effects on human and animal health have only been investigated detailed in recent decades.
Humic substances are a very heterogeneous mixture of substances. They consist of humins, fulvo and humic acids. Their solubility in water and their effect on organisms is very different. All natural waters contain humic substances in varying concentrations. Particularly high concentrations of humic substances are found in black water rivers or lakes, from which large parts of our ornamental fish and shrimp originate. Animals from natural black water are adapted to humic substances since very long time.
How do humic substances work?
Humic substances have various effects on organisms. The best known is its anti-inflammatory potential. During application, a fine protective film is formed on the skin and mucous membrane. The effect of the protective film is not limited to the exterior. This protective function also works in the gastro-intestinal tract.
Humic substances occupy the attachment points for infectious pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. Used as a preventive measure, they help to prevent microbial attacks. In the case of an acute infection, they can alleviate the course of the disease by binding the toxins of the pathogen in the intestine and inhibiting its proliferation.
In addition, humic substances bolster the production of mucus and support a healthy metabolism. They help to boost the intestinal flora and bind harmful substances such as heavy metals or residues of pesticides ingested with food. Humic substances protect the intestinal surface well from chemical and microbial irritations. In a healthy intestine, nourishment can be broken down optimally and nutrients are easier available for the body. In the long term, humic substances strengthen the immune system of all fish and all other aquatic organisms.
What are the benefits of humic substances in aquaristics?
The main known positive activities and effects are:
- pollutant binding, especially of heavy metals in water and animal
- protection of the mucous membrane and intestinal walls
- optimization of food intake and utilization
- support of the calcium balance especially in soft water biotopes
- improvement of growth
- stress management
- strengthening of the immune system
- prevention of spawning fungus
- increase in spawning readiness of discus fish, invertebrates and all other fish
- support of healing processes at lesions and wounds
- decrease of the infection pressure caused by parasites, algae and fungi
- yellow/brown coloring, the black water effect
The activities and effects mentioned above have been scientifically researched and documented. There are no known negative effects of humic substances in water. Without humic substances, all biotopes with soft acidic water would be significantly poorer in species diversity, as recent research by the Humboldt University of Berlin has shown. Conversely, this means that a certain concentration of humic substances in the aquarium water is absolutely necessary for a species-appropriate keeping of all soft water animals.
Which humic substances are suitable, which compounding achieves the best results?
Not all humic substances are capable of the health-promoting effects described above. Only special humic substances can be used, especially for internal use. Natural Humin by the company Discusfood contains high-purity humic substances, especially made for aquariums and ponds. Here the effects are guaranteed. The raw products used for Natural Humin are subject to constant controls and quality checks. They are characterized by highest purity, stability and safety. The raw materials are approved for pharmaceutical use, i.e. they are approved for manufacture and use as medicinal products.
Allegedly comparable products from other manufacturers often contain questionable additives. However, substances such as the carcinogenic formaldehyde or inorganic acids (mostly phosphoric acid) have no place in the aquarium. In contrast, Natural Humin contains high-purity natural humic substances. Natural Humin is also completely pH-neutral.
One of the main tasks of aquaristics is to create natural habitats behind glass which are species-appropriate. Humic substances compensate for many deficiencies and create a natural environment especially in soft water. Natural Humin by Discusfood is the purest product of its kind offered worldwide. All ornamental fish from soft water habitats require humic substances in order to stay healthy for a long time. Without them, the body’s defenses are weakened and life expectancy decreases. With Natural Humin, simple tap water becomes natural fish water.
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