Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 307–316 | Cite as

Critical limits for acid neutralizing capacity of brown trout (Salmo trutta) in Norwegian lakes differing in organic carbon concentrations

  • Trygve Hesthagen
  • Peder Fiske
  • Brit Lisa Skjelkvåle


A regional data set on water chemistry from 1995 was used to set critical values for the survival of brown trout in Norwegian lakes (n = 790) in relation to pH, inorganic Al and acid neutralizing capacity (ANC). ANC was estimated both traditionally (ANCtrad) and modified by treating one-third of the dissolved organic matter as part of the strong acid anions (ANCmod). The threshold value to avoid fish damage (ANClimit) was compared with that found in a similar study from 1986. Brown trout populations were categorized as unaffected, damaged or extinct on the basis of questionnaires. In 1995, threshold values to avoid fish damage on the basis of ANCtrad and ANCmod were 67 and 48 μeq l−1, respectively, compared with 20 and 8 μeq l−1, respectively, in 1986. The higher ANClimit found for the data from 1995 is probably caused by a lower pH and a higher inorganic Al concentration at a given ANC value in 1995 than in the 1980s. ANClimit was highly related to organic carbon concentrations in the study lakes, being estimated at 33, 73 and >100 μeq l−1 for three different TOC categories (<2 mg C l−1, 2–5 mg C l−1 and >5 mg C l−1). These differences in ANClimit are due to lower pH and higher concentrations of inorganic Al in humic lakes than in clear water lakes at the same level of ANC. It is suggested that the change in ANClimit for fish in acidified lakes is linked to increased concentrations of TOC in recent years.


Fish Acidification Thresholds 



We thank Frode Kroglund, Ann Kristin Schartau and Richard Wright for commenting on a draft of this paper, and Stefan Löfgren for giving valuable comments in his review.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trygve Hesthagen
    • 1
  • Peder Fiske
    • 1
  • Brit Lisa Skjelkvåle
    • 2
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Institute for Water ResearchOsloNorway

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