The Effects of Temperature on Ventilation and Oxygen
Consumption in
Carassius auratus(Goldfish)

Biology 102, Professor Grigoryev
Xander Xue
May 5, 2015


To intake oxygen from their environment, animals require some form of as respiratory system. Many aquatic animals, for example, utilize gills to consume dissolved oxygen from the water around them. However, there are factors affecting the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, as well as intake of oxygen. In this study, we sought to detect the effects of temperature on the ventilation and oxygen consumption of Carassius auratus (goldfish). Given, that as the temperature of water increases, the ventilation and oxygen consumption in C. auratus also increases. To test this, we used two water baths, one cold and one warm, in which we placed the goldfish. After measuring the initial dissolved oxygen in each bath, we recorded the ventilation rate and oxygen consumption of the fish over one hour. We were able to calculate ventilation rate by analyzing the operculum movement of the fish. We calculated oxygen consumption relative to the weight of the fish in milliliters of oxygen per liter of water per gram of fish (mL/L/g). To analyze our results from the cold and warm water baths, we used graph trends, t-tests, and rate of reaction value Q10. The trends showed increased values of ventilation and oxygen consumption for the higher temperature.


Oxygen is a necessity for all living organisms. It is required for the production of ATP and must always be available to the cells. ATP, or Adenosine triphosphate, is storage of energy produced by mitochondria in cells that powers the chemical reactions of an organism, thus it is crucial for life. Organisms obtain oxygen from their environment through either air or water. Most organisms have respiratory organs that can draw air or water containing oxygen (Richard et al 2012). These organs work with circulatory systems to deliver oxygen to the cells in the body. Unlike animals living on land, animals in water are reliant on the available amount of oxygen dissolved in the water surrounding them. The amount of dissolved oxygen relies on a multitude of factors, one of which is temperature (Geng et al 2010). In Carassius auratus, or goldfish, the exchange of gases happens across the gills where water flows over the gills. Through this system, carbon dioxide is extracted from the body, while water-containing oxygen enters the body.
The metabolic rate of C. auratus depends on the temperature. For example at higher temperatures, the metabolic rate and there will be more oxygen consumption (Debelius et al 2009). However, as the temperature increases, the amount of oxygen available in the water decreases (Lab manual). This is a double problem. Furthermore, C. auratus is an ectothermic organism, or a cold-blooded, that relies on external heat sources, in this case the water, to regulate its body temperature (Debelius et al 2009).
In this study, we wanted to test the relationship between respiration (ventilation and oxygen consumption) and the affects of temperature on dissolved oxygen. as the temperature of water that the fishes are in increases, the ventilation and oxygen consumption in C. auratus also increases. To assess our hypothesis, we will perform the study using both cold and hot water temperatures for comparison. We performed this study on goldfish because we can easily measure ventilation rate by observing the movement of the operculum, which signifies water leaving the gills.

Methods and Materials
Carassius auratus of similar sizes were obtained and then weighed. Then, we prepared 250 mL half filled jars of water obtained from the aquarium where the fish were housed. Individual fish were placed into an individual jar, and those jars were placed into our separate water baths. One water bath was at room temperature (approximately 25 degrees Celsius), while the other was at 15 degrees Celsius. After allowing the fish to become accustom to its new environment, we placed a sponge halfway down each jar to limit the movement the fish. We then capped the jars with our calibrated oxygen probes to get an initial oxygen concentration and temperature. Over the next hour, at 15-minutes intervals, the oxygen concentration was recorded. The ventilation rate was also recorded by counting the movements of the operculum, or gill covers, over the course of 1 minute.
After collecting data over one hour, oxygen concentration