Yes, all fish drink water. Some fish drink more water compared to other fish depending on their surrounding environment. The main reason fish drink water is to extract dissolved oxygen which is essential for their survival. Apart from getting oxygen, some fish have to drink to keep their internal body state balanced with external conditions. Fish mainly get needed water through their mouth and by absorbing through gills and skin by osmosis. Saltwater fish have to drink frequently and more water to stay hydrated while freshwater fish have to urinate more often to lose water. Some fish such as salmon have the capability to change their physiological process to adapt to different surroundings.
Can fish drink water?
We all know that the fish live in water but have you ever wondered do fish drink as humans do. Well, the answer is yes, fish can drink water. It is one of the essential things similar to food to stay alive. It is so important that if you take fish out of the water, it will die. Some fish drink more water than other fish depending on their surrounding conditions. All fish drink water to breathe and extract dissolved oxygen from the water. For some fish, it is important to drink water to balance their internal state with external conditions.
Do fish need to drink water?
Like all other living organisms, fish also need water for survival. We know that humans can only breathe in air, similarly fish can only breathe inside the water. Fish drink water through their mouth and extract dissolved oxygen from the water. This water exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide and forced out of the body through the gills. Therefore, water acts as a supply of oxygen and also helps to get rid of waste products out of their body. Fish living in the ocean (saltwater) have to drink water frequently in order to stay hydrated.
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Let’s understand how fish drink water and get oxygen out of it.
How do fish drink water?
Fish can get water by drinking through their mouth, absorbing water through their skin and gills. One of the primary reasons for fish to drink water is to get oxygen. The surrounding water enters into the fish body through the mouth. Then, this water passes through the filaments of the gills. Filaments are protein-like structures that have a capillary network. This capillary network provides a large surface area to absorb oxygen and get rid of waste products such as carbon dioxide. The absorbed oxygen is circulated and pumped throughout the body while the waste products dissolved in the water exit the fish body through the gill flaps.
The other reason fish drink water is to prevent dehydration. Fish living in the sea lose water continuously to their surrounding water by osmosis. Osmosis is a process by which a solvent passes through a permeable membrane in the direction of a high concentration of solute. The concentration of salt in the ocean is more than the concentration in the fish body. Due to which fish loses its water to the surrounding water through their skin. Therefore, fish living in saltwater have to drink water frequently.
In the case of freshwater fish, the situation is the reverse of saltwater fish. The concentration of salt in the river and lake water is low compared to the fish body. Due to which their body gets swollen by osmosis process. Therefore, these freshwater fish have to urinate more often than the saltwater fish.
Now, we know that how fish drink or get the required water. Let us understand why and how saltwater fish drink water. How saltwater fish is evolved according to its external conditions.
Do saltwater fish drink water?
By now we know that saltwater fish drink water.
All saltwater fish have to drink water to absorb dissolved oxygen. The process of breathing in saltwater fish is similar to other fish living in different surroundings. The water enters through the mouth and exits through the gills. While passing through the fish body, water exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide in the filaments of the gill.
The second most important reason for saltwater fish to drink water is to avoid dehydration. Fish such as striped bass live in surrounding conditions where the surrounding salt concentration is more than the body’s concentration. This difference in concentration causes the movement of water from the fish body to surrounding by osmosis. To make up for the loss of water, saltwater fish have to drink more water to stay hydrated. In this way, drinking helps saltwater fish to keep the internal body balanced with the surrounding water.
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Do freshwater fish drink water?
Freshwater fish do require water but they need to drink less water compared to saltwater fish. These freshwater fish not only get their water through their mouth but also absorb water through their gills and skin. Similar to most of the fish, freshwater fish also drink water through their mouth to breathe and get oxygen.
We know that the salt concentration in the river and lake water is less as compared to seawater. This salt concentration is even less than the concentration inside the fish body which causes the external water to get absorbed through the skin by the process of osmosis. Therefore, these fish have to urinate frequently to lose water otherwise they will get swollen and explode.
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How do sharks drink water?
The body of the shark have mechanism compared to other ocean fishes. You will be surprised to know that the salt concentration in the shark body is actually more than the surrounding water. Therefore, sharks don’t have to worry about the problem of dehydration. Sharks also produce waste such as urea like other saltwater fish do. However, they don’t remove these waste products as fish do. Instead, they keep them to make their body saltier compared to its surrounding. Therefore, instead of losing water, sharks absorb water from the surrounding water by the osmosis process. Also, note that sharks have salt glands that can help to get rid of excess salt without losing excess water.
Do goldfish drink water?
Yes, similar to other fish, goldfish also need to drink water to survive.
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