Dissolved Oxygen Saturation

Like terrestrial animals, fish and other aquatic organisms need oxygen to live. Low dissolved oxygen levels leave aquatic organisms in a weakened physical state and more susceptible to disease, parasites, and other pollutants. Oxygen levels can be reduced by run-off containing phosphates and nitrates (the ingredients in fertilizers). Dissolved oxygen is typically expressed as a percentage of the oxygen that would dissolve in the water at the prevailing temperature and salinity (both of which affect the solubility of oxygen in water). An aquatic system lacking dissolved oxygen (0% saturation) is termed anaerobic, reducing, or anoxic; a system with low concentration, in the range between 1 and 30% saturation, is called hypoxic or dysoxic. Most fish cannot live below 30% saturation. A "healthy" aquatic environment should seldom experience less than 80%.