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Quarantine procedure. Thoughts?

Geoffrey Rea

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Chances are the fish we buy have already been treated for ich, internal parasites and/or fungus prior to them being purchased anyway. A moral argument as to whether fish should be exposed to such treatments is kind of moot if this is true.


The ‘hardy strain’ argument doesn’t sit well with me either unless someone in a lab, trained in identifying parasitic types can, to the best of their abilities, confirm the identity of a known resistant strain. (Not likely to happen, but better chance of it happening on UKAPS forums).


Also, it’s highly more probable that people don’t fully understand the desired environment for the species of fish they keep, leading to stress for that species once moved to a main aquarium.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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An example being people keeping CPD’s or green neons and saying they’re shy. Sure being shy is a natural behaviour, but in response to feeling threatened. Having a fishes sympathetic nervous system constantly being stimulated will only lead to health issues.

In my limited experience I’ve found that placing hatchetfish (or other surface dwellers) to occupy higher up in the water column completely changes behaviour between species. You can watch how CPD’s or green neons react to the cues of the hatchetfish, darting for cover when the hatchetfish engage fast twitch muscles to jerk in response to something that’s bothered them. Equally swimming confidently around the water column when the hatchetfish sit there bobbing up and down at the surface. Conversely hatchetfish seem to love things that interrupt flow like wood sticking out through the surface, creating an eddy in the current to sit in and wait for food to come to them increasing alertness when others look like they’re searching for food. Adding a floating plant like frogbit doesn’t seem to create the same behaviours. It’s not about cover but relationship in my humble opinion.


Now compare introducing CPD’s or green neons to a tank like above or into a Iwagumi. To me that’s the tipping point and a key variable.


Getting back on topic.... treating fish could get them ‘clear of problems’ but plunging them into an undesirable environment could just set the whole process right back, stressing them and making them vulnerable.
 

alto

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With fish, picking a treatment is a lot more based on anecdotal recommendations, we're talking about hundreds of species that can react differently and the environmental conditions play a part in the effectiveness. I'm not confident in what to give that's both effective and definitely not harmful so I err on the side of only treating when there is a visible issue.
There is loads of ornamental fish data but it tends to be buried in rather technical tomes (limited publications designed for veterinary programs, even most libraries are uninterested in investing) or non-open online research groups/journals

Noga’s book is much more affordable now
Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment, 2nd Edition
Edward J. Noga
(I’ve tried to encourage my local library to replace their (surprisingly useless) current book selection with this (more technical) book and the Manual Of Fish Health (general readership) :rolleyes:

Beginning with the very approachable Manual of Fish Health, then reading through the Fish Health & Aquaculture Articles available through University of Florida EDIS extension (and other American universities, though some only host UofF articles) will give a good background (included are basics of treating fish with antibiotics etc and what steps should be taken to minimize stress and maximize medication efficacy)


BUT

many of the proven medications are unavailable to hobby fish keepers - either through cost or regulations - and very few veterinary clinics are set up to handle ornamental fish enquires
Effective treatment of fish illness often depends on identification of the dominant pathogen (fish do secondary infections like nobody’s business :eek:) and at the stage when it’s early enough for effective treatment

Hobby fish keepers usually only really notice (ie begin active research) for fish illness after fish are no longer eating - at which point the disease is well advanced - or visible lesions/abnormalities are seen on fish fins/skin (these are often secondary infections)

Stress dramatically suppresses fish immune system (well documented if you want to go digging ;)) and pathogens that are part of their “normal flora” can transition very quickly to disease states
(As I recall the Manual of Fish Health has a decent chapter on fish stressors)

When selecting suitable online articles for treating fish, I suggest leaning towards those dealing with Zebra danios rather than Channel Catfish ;) (or salmonids :wideyed: )

Preventative treatments for common pathogens such as ich, tend to be reasonable treatments rather than unnecessary stress - again look at recent articles discussing ich prevalence on (ornamental) fish production farms of even wild caught South American fish species, then add in the stress of shipping & (possible multiple) temporary holding stations
(again there is data for pathogens present at the start of the journey, and then pathogens present at journey’s end)

Some wild caught fish species react adversely to medications, especially bath treatments, again there are alternate protocols discussions (trials)
 

alto

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That’s why I started this thread so others could share their experiences as I’ve found a lack of consensus surrounding what quarantine actually consisted of according to people within the hobby.
4-6 weeks minimum
It really depends upon suspected or observed pathogens, fish condition etc, etc
Many texts will recommend 8 -12 weeks as more suitable
One American angelfish breeder did 3 month quarantines (with suitable medications for wild fish, and microscopic examinations), and still managed to introduce some nasty surprises into breeding stock
Now his Bio Security is much stricter
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Thank you for your input Alto.

Lot’s of food for thought.

Unfortunately/fortunately I have access to online libraries through university. This means instead of doing what I should be doing, I shall probably go digging for research articles/peer reviewed journals on experiments conducted on Zebra Danios this week :lol:
 
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In my humble experience when getting new fish the most important thing is for them to be placed in a suitable low stress environment. Low stress means everything, from perfect water quality, size tank, suitable tank mates(r(preferably none), high quality fish food, well fed fish with the appropriate water changes to compensate, etc..I normally keep them in quarantine 2 to 3 months in quarantine..to have enough time for them to settle really well so a second move isn't stressful. It is not unusual for me to do daily water changes for that period of time...This method has worked really well for me and I truly believe in daily water changes for newly bought fish...Fish tanks are full of germs, pathogenic and not pathogenic. It's all about boosting the fish's immune system which deals with them. Transported fish, fish in crowded LFS tanks with hands chasing fish all the time or kids pointing at the glass, etc... can be very stressed...

If one is to treat with anything, I recommend anti-parasitic meds such as flubendazole, as long as there are no snails/shrimp in the same tank. Fish can carry parasites without outward signs and these can be a trigger for secondary diseases once the fish is exposed to stress. I would now routinely treat new fish with flubendazole. If I don't quarantine, I'd treat the "display" tank with flubendazole when the new fish are added. I wouldn't treat with anything else routinely but I know flubendazole is very safe.

And third, but not last, pick your fish properly. I'd sometimes delay the purchase by a couple of weeks to check if the fish is still fine in the shop itself. If I am to buy straight away, I'd spend quite a bit observing them in the shop. My LFS normally also tells me how long they've been there so I get an idea whether to wait or not. They're honest that way, whether they got the fish the day before or two months prior. I have also deliberately gotten sick fish but I had the time and the spare tank to treat them and this can be quite a journey time wise, and money spent on meds, without guaranteed success. It is a very rewarding experience though because if you succeed, you give that fish a chance to live a long and normal life which it certainly wouldn't have gotten otherwise, and you develop a special relationship with that fish...

With the exception of highly contagious deadly diseases, I don't believe in bio-security for fish and I also don't believe in bio-security for humans either. Two same people can be exposed to the same thing and the one with the low immune system is the only one that will develop the sickness. Same goes for fish.Sickly people and sickly fish are individuals with stressed immune system. Eat bad, live bad, out of your own choice or not, and the diseases will follow early or later...The journey of having healthy fish is never over, regardless of the time one has had the fish for....One needs to provide a healthy lifestyle...
 

PARAGUAY

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Not trying to demonise the fish shop market either.



As Paraguay highlighted, shops would end up with as many quarantine tanks as display tanks if they went down this road....And also out of business I should imagine as this method is not scalable or profitable compared to large scale treatment dosing.
Well a lot of shops,although retail is tough, got through on recommendation and the fact they were well run by enthusiastic fishkeepers of course there is the added competion of the internet these days ,so its a hard sell for them now to compete on items what can be delivered cheaply next day, councils were more reasonable in the day with grants and rates
 

alto

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Unfortunately/fortunately I have access to online libraries through university. This means instead of doing what I should be doing, I shall probably go digging for research articles/peer reviewed journals on experiments conducted on Zebra Danios this week :lol:

You should be able to find discus and angelfish articles as well
- if you use specific disease/pathogen as Search term, that should pull up more specific articles

“zebra danio” “zebra fish”
or it’s common Latin names Brachydanio rerio, B frankei, Danio rerio
will likely put you in way deep :wideyed: :geek:

Veterinary research articles often require a log in, depending upon country/associations
 

Geoffrey Rea

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When I was a kid I used to get taken along by my father when he bought fish. This was either some small store off the beaten track or someone’s private fish room, usually a converted garage or something similar. The one part that sticks in my mind is just how passionate these breeders/ shop keepers were.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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You should be able to find discus and angelfish articles as well
- if you use specific disease/pathogen as Search term, that should pull up more specific articles

“zebra danio” “zebra fish”
or it’s common Latin names Brachydanio rerio, B frankei, Danio rerio
will likely put you in way deep :wideyed: :geek:

Veterinary research articles often require a log in, depending upon country/associations

Time for a deep dive then Alto. Knowledge awaits! :thumbup:
 

alto

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No idea, I’ve only seen a hardcover edition (& at that time it retailed ~$400 USD)

Not sure how the photo plates would show in a reduced cost paperback edition

Obviously current journal etc articles will be specialized, Noga is basic foundation

You should be able to find some decent summary articles ... then wend your way through the extensive references for followup reading :twisted:
 
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