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Old Yesterday, 02:30 PM   #1 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Spoiling Our Fish To Death?

A new topic to discuss.....

I recently read an article that stated that fish keepers are literally spoiling they're fish to death.
It said that fish keepers and breeders, are constantly changing the water and spoiling the fish, giving it extremely pristine conditions, and not giving it a chance to build up an immunity. Therefore, when the fish is sick, it almost always will die.
This man conducted an experiment with some guppies. He thought that breeders kept the guppies in too pristine conditions causing them to not be hardy as guppies used to be.
He got some guppies, bred them in room temperature, and maybe changed the water twice a year. His tank for the baby guppies was a 2.5g that kept hundreds at a time. He never cleaned the tank, let algae grow on the walls, and left a constant supply of food for the babies. The few that died... Well, they died. But most survived, and those, in the summer, were placed in a barrel outside until they grew up. There food source was a cow patty that he put in the barrel to grow algae and food and whatnot. In the winter he put them in a ~29g and again, let the algae grow freely and didn't change the water. Here, he culled those that weren't fit to live a happy healthy life.

I thought "Whoa... That's a little extensive.."

But his result?? Very Hardy Guppies!!!
Then I began to think.....
One of my fish tanks I cleaned constantly, and the fish kept dying, but the other tank that was given to me was only changed about once very two months, and had three 4 1/2 year old black skirt tetras and a 3 year old Molly. So, I began to change the water less, and what do you know? No more fish died! And it's been like that for 1 1/2 years!

So, do you guys think it's true? That you can actually spoil a fish to the point where it dies if anything whatsoever goes wrong?? I think it may be true! And it also might be the reason so many fish have lost their hardiness!!

Please do not yell at me for my opinion. Everyone is entitled to one, and this is mine :)
Also, I'm not insisting that you should stop cleaning the water in your tanks and that bettas are going to be ok in a little bowl in order to "make them hardier" No. I'm saying maybe it's possible to be keeping your water "Too Pristine" as some may put it, and that it may actually be hurting the fish in ways we never considered.

Feel free to share you opinions and experience on this topic!
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Old Yesterday, 02:38 PM   #2 
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Location: U.S.A.
I definitely understand what you mean. I personally agree with you but I still change my fish tanks a lot because im scared :p
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Old Yesterday, 02:40 PM   #3 
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I think changing the fishes water too much can lead to sress
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Old Yesterday, 03:05 PM   #4 
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you are probably right. i just read an article about the same thing happening to pet parrots. the owners are keeping their conditions too pristine and they aren't building immunities because of it.
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Old Yesterday, 03:35 PM   #5 
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That's pretty much every species, even humans. Keeping conditions too clean for anyone won't allow their systems to develop the resistances they need to stay healthy.

I personally don't go crazy with WCs on the 20gL. It's cycled and planted and I test regularly, but don't have a set schedule that I keep to. It's got IAL in there and Prime, and occasionally I toss in some Quick Start.

The 2g and the 2.5g I was a lot more neurotic about because I'm not comfortable with smaller tanks, but I can honestly say that it stressed Eliot out to no end. Toward the end of his tenure in the 2.5g all I had to do was look at him and he striped, as I believe he was relating my presence with the disruption of a water change.
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Old Yesterday, 03:58 PM   #6 
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Location: Ontario, CA
I think there is some merit to this theory.
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Old Yesterday, 04:11 PM   #7 
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With my first 4 betta - I'm ashamed to say they lived their lives in .25g "betta bowls" in the 90's with weekly water changes, 'cause that's what the petstore said was what they needed. Before we moved, one guy taught us that our water wasn't fit for consumption - but after we moved the other 3 lived 3-4 years. I don't know *HOW* they didn't die of ammonia poisoning - but I do know that the last two guys had a whole lot of problems in their last year.

There may be some merit, but knowing what we know about the nitrogen cycle and the like it's not something I would suggest anyone attempt to try until they some experience fishkeeping and have a cycled, established tank.

Also, though - keep in mind that this would be more successful with fish that are bred and grown in these conditions that and older adult put there. The younger the fish, the more time it has to adapt and develop immunities. An older, mature fish is probably more prone to having something go wrong if it hasn't already had an immunity built up.
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Old Yesterday, 08:57 PM   #8 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Rhode Island
I do agree to the above but I personally feel that the tank should at least be cycled and best of all; planted. Honestly, I hardly do water changes to my 29 gallon that is full of nano fish (49 to be exact, most are under an inch though so less bioload to factor) but it's (usually) heavily planted. In fact, with my water being SO soft at pH of 5.0 that I physically can't change water too much and too quickly, what happens is that my pH will fluctuate all the way up to 7.0 in about 36 hours which can seriously cause stress to my fish. So little changes not as often and it keeps things more stable and keeps the fish less stressed.

So there are things needed to learn of course in order for this to actually help you; 1) know your water and what it does, 2) cycle your tank, 3) preferably plant your tank to help keep ammonia and nitrate at bay, 4) know your fish too! Not all of them can handle the same water conditions and if you can't accommodate that like I can't accommodate hard water fish; just don't do it unless you're willing to go to some extreme measures

Telling this to a person who is new to the fish world might give them the wrong idea though, but if they know about the Nitrogen cycle and all that jazz, then great! Everything has it's place for sure! Thanks for sharing OP!
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Old Yesterday, 09:35 PM   #9 
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Location: Kingston, Ontario
This is interesting, but I think there is a flaw in this logic...
As many water changes as you do, your aquarium is never close to sterile... In fact I am pretty much certain that all of your tanks contain pathogens to many diseases, everything from ich to the dreaded and much feared Mycobaterium marinuum. Water changes don't make this stuff go away because it is found in the water or stays in the system of the fish through its life, and a fish that is not overly stressed will not succumb to such things because of its immune system.

Of course, changing the water excessively has varying levels of effect when it comes to stressing out individual fish. In this sense, if fish are stressed by water changes, they can get sick.

In regards to dirty water (and perhaps something along the lines of why betta can live so long in those tiny bowls), an older member here (Oldfishlady) would always say that after a certain point the water can become so toxic that the pathogens themselves begin to die off from high nitrogen and the fish somehow remains. This makes sense, especially considering that fish can often get sick when moved from a toxic environment to a cleaner one. Often times after living in bad conditions so long, and suddenly having a clean environment (even after being gradually introduced to clean water), a fish will have a weakened immune system from less pathogens going through the system, and is unable to deal with the natural biota found in a clean tank....

This is another reason why I think it is so important to have live plants in the aquarium... increasing the amount of microscopic life found in your water is just so vital for the well being of the animal...

I am a firm believer that stress is what makes any living being ill, not the pathogen itself (unless it is a more aggressive pathogen able to attack a healthy host which is far less common)...
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Old Yesterday, 09:37 PM   #10 
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+1 to you Oly! That's a fantastic point, thank you for that ^_^
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