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 Post subject: Fish Stress and Disease
PostPosted: Feb 26th, '09, 08:17 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Here is a point I've seen talked about quite a bit.

Many fish diseases are opportunistic and exist in most all systems (even if a fish has never had the illness in the system, many of the spoors or whatever exist in the air and get in the water that way.) You can't make a system with a bio-filter that is pristine of all possible opportunistic infections.

(Quarantine of new fish is still a good idea because there are parasites and infections that can be brought into a system which would be best treated in a smaller isolated system rater than in with other fish in a big system.)

I have experienced fish becoming sick due to stress. Catfish become stressed easily due to handling or poor water quality. Not long ago I had a large catfish die and several others were looking quite bad after we had done some harvesting (netting out) of the larger fish. I may need to find a better way to net out several larger fish without stressing them all to death.

When getting new fish, it is rather common for a few of them (usually the weaker ones) to get sick and die. The stress of the transport even under good conditions often gets a couple of them. When transport conditions are not good, you can be lucky if any survive.

Another culprit that causes fish stress and therefore the diseases is water quality. In a new system that is not yet cycled up, this stress can be the Ammonia spike, the nitrite spike, bouncing pH, HSM when something goes wrong with a new system or new system operator.

With some species temperature plays a key role in stress/immune function (tilapia for example.) Other fish need high DO to stay healthy.

Finally, any dangerous contamination often causes fish stress letting infections take hold and kill the fish.

The key point here is that stress causes the fish immune systems to weaken allowing the disease to take hold.

So everyone get out there and teach your fish some meditation so they can release some stress..... Oh wait, it's us that goes out to watch our fish and release stress, I guess it's good all around other than the HSM.

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PostPosted: Feb 26th, '09, 09:07 
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It seems like we should be able to establish a straightforward new-fish protocol to recommend to the AP nation.

Something like:

A. Research
1. Temperature range
2. DO requirements
3. Stocking densities (make sure your quarantine is big enough)
4. Salinity tolerances
B. Prep
1. Have circulating water ready w/ necessary aeration & temperature
2. Salt quarantine system (1 ppt if A4 not done)
C. Quarantine
1. Put new fish in quarantine system
2. Don't feed for x days
3. Ramp up feed
4. Check water conditions and fish conditions
D. Add to main system after y days of symptom free fish

... or something like that
Some alterations would be needed if you don't have a separate quarantine system.


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PostPosted: Feb 26th, '09, 22:53 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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I was figuring that at least 3 weeks if not over a month in quarantine was good.

Providing the fish are tolerant of salt, I would have the quarantine system at 3 ppt (I know of no fresh water fish that are not happy with 3ppt but I'm no expert.) Make a point of planting only salt tolerant plants in the quarantine system beds since if salting to 6 ppt is needed to treat diseased fish, it is easier to do in quarantine than in the main system unless the system itself needs to be treated to get rid of the infection (like itch).

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PostPosted: Mar 12th, '09, 22:23 
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I have a suspicion that since new fish were added to my school system last week (by myself from Pet Smart)we are dealing with itch or ick or ich, and 2 fish have died, and a 3rd I observed today scraping along the bottom at several spots....the kids just planted their plants....do they have to be remove or can I treat with Mericyn Plus with plants in the system? Need quick answer. I do not have a spare tank as med tank.


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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 00:59 
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I think the usual recommendation is 4-6 ppt salt all at once, not a gradual build up. Search for ich, and you should find plenty.


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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 01:03 
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ich can be treated by keeping the tank temp up and salting to 6ppt for several weeks. The trick is the sudden change of salt levels and keeping the temp up shortens the cycle so you can make the treatment happen faster. What kind of fish? Is there any salt already in the system (you want a sudden change of salt level by 3ppt.) Some plants may suffer from that much salt but it is probably the easiest way to take care of the ich. I don't know about using any other treatments within a food system.

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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 11:35 
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It's Koi and gold fish....nothing substantial but they're the kids' fish and the kids' project. I am disappointed for the delay. The plants are seedlings just put in in the last week. I saw them today when I checked the system.

There is salt in the system. I don't have any salinity tester right now. Originally I put in about 1/3 cup to 110 gals. of water....however, we have been adding water every few days due to evaporation over the last month. I know the salt does not evaporate, but certainly the additional water reduces it's strength.

the full story: I had 4 fish in a 4 gallon mini tank....overstocked. High Nitrite levels for a couple of days. Then I moved 2 of those fish, to reduce the stockin the mini system, over to the school system. At that time they were active and looked ok. One died the next day at the school tank, and I found another one two days ago....they had not been in there a week yet. I also lost the two at home. so the mini tank is empty of fish right now. It might not be ich at all but some other issue. I'm at fault here and I am really sad.....some things are just not smart to do.....i know that now. Is salt a good treatment for most fish ailments, or just ich in particular? is there some spread sheet that would give me an idea of an amount I could put in the tank? (I also have no way of heating it up. There is no heater in this tank).


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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 11:46 
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According to my calcs, in Imperial measurements, 1 ppt of salt is 3.5 tsp for 1 gallon. So 6 ppt would be 21 tsp per gallon, or 7 Tbsp per gallon, or .4375 cup for 1 gallon. For 110 gallons, it'd be 48 cups of salt, which is 3 gallons of salt!

I'm pretty sure my calcs are right, but by weight it'd be ...

8.34 lbs per gallon of water * 110 gallons of water = 917 lbs
917 lbs = 416 kg
416 / 1000 * 6 = 2.5 kg salt
2.5 kg salt = 5.5 lbs salt

Either way, it's a lot of salt.


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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 12:12 
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WOW. that is A LOT OF SALT!!! Thank you, Tamo42, for that calculation. I'll be looking for salt then, buy the bucket!


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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 12:14 
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Don't be shy for the salt.....it's like an antibiotic..... you can bucket it out later...

Fish First.....plants only when fish are comfortable :wink:

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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 12:15 
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Sunray pool salt. $7 per 25kg.
Threw 150kg ish in my system. Fishies love the stuff. :shark:

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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 22:21 
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OK I won't be shy....you are all the experts...not me....i'm a newbie. I need to learn as much as I can. I suspect if you were in any kind of production mode....which is what I would like to be involved in someday.....then you would have a spare tank just for these purposes and redirect your lines.


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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 22:38 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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The solar pool salt or solar water softener salt that comes in the big bags is probably the best bet for price but you can't really go measuring that by the teaspoon since it is in large crystals. Ya need to figure out the weight of salt needed to bring the salt up the desired amount in your given weight of water. This is when we wish we worked in metric. Make sure the salt you use is plain salt and not pelletized also make sure it is not iodized salt as that can be hard on your bacteria colony.

Salt can help against fish stress. Most garden pond experts seem to recommend a salt level of 2 ppt if you have plants and 4 ppt if you don't have plants. I automatically salt to 3 ppt for the quarantine system when getting ready to put new fish in. I'll even salt to 3 ppt in the main system if there seems to be a problem with the fish. 3 ppt is generally safe for most plants. 6 ppt will take out all but the salt tolerant plants.

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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 22:54 
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Oh, and salt can treat more than just ich. Other diseases can be treated with it, however the concentrations vary and some fish and many plants might not be able to be treated for all diseases that way. (I have channel catfish that don't tolerate more than 5ppt of salt very well but 3ppt is fine for them)

It seems to promote healing of injuries, fin rot and tail rot. Salt helps fish maintain proper balance as well as promoting a healthy slime coat.

Higher concentrations can be used for short dips or baths to treat fish with injuries but one must never leave a fish in a concentrated salt bath unattended since they should not be left in it for long and must be removed immediately if they start to float sideways or upside down. One would have to look up the proper concentrations to use with different types of fish as some fish are more tolerant of salt than others.

Another thing to note about solar dried sea salt, it often has trace nutrients that can help out a system some. The Chloride ions in salt can help fish past the nitrite spike, 1ppt of salt is all that is needed there.

Salt doesn't evaporate, however some will get taken up by plants so over time the concentration of salt in a system will lessen to an extent. You can get salt test kits from pond or aquarium suppliers. They are kinda tedious tests at least the ones I've tried since it involves adding drops then waiting then adding more drops and comparing and counting the drops and comparing until something matches. There are other ways to test for salt levels but I don't know that much about it. I've kinda sort of used my Blue Lab Truncheon to test my salt levels but that requires diluting a sample in order to get a reading since 3ppt of salt is off the scale, I've been using the x500 reading to get ppt.

Good Luck.

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PostPosted: Mar 13th, '09, 23:44 
Cheap, amazingly accurate... and easy to use.... everyone should have one...

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Salinity-Refrac ... 7C294%3A50


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