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Old 11-03-2006, 05:09 PM   #1
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Fish stores and ick

OK... after reading a couple posts here about someones local fish stores not keeping up on "fishless cycling", and another post about cleaner wrasses on tangs with ick, well... I've got to relay something that I ran into at a local fish place that really bothered me.

I went into a shop - that has really good people - and was looking at the stock they'd got in the day before. A blue tang caught my eye because he was doing laps in the tank, flashing himself on the gravel in the bottom on each lap. When I looked at him closer, the thing looked like it was heavily sprinkled with salt. I'm a newbie, have never seen ick, but it sure looked like what I'd heard described before. When it turned sideways, you could see the "salt" granules sticking out from the fish body - it just wasn't discoloration.

Just then an employee came over and asked if I needed help. I asked him how long they'd had the tang. He mentioned they'd had it for several weeks. (They don't quarantine their new arrivals.) I told him that he looked a little "salted" and was flashing the bottom. He looked at it and quickly said, "Yup. I'll go tell [insert owner's name here] and get a cleaner wrasse in there with him. Thanks for pointing that out to us!" and left to go find the owner.

I left shortly after that - vowing that I wouldn't be buying anymore fish from there since they have a common supply system to all their tanks!

So I guess that episode left me with several questions...

1. Seems like most fish stores have common supply lines to all their tanks. How do they deal with disease when it does happen?

2. Am I right in thinking that the store now has ick flowing through every tank there? So what good is a cleaner wrasse going to do? Maybe it'll help that one tang for the moment, but what about long term?

3. Since most fish stores around me don't quarantine for anything over a couple days, do they just do a medicated dip and hope that does the trick? Is this why there are some people out there that say that every single tank has ick and it's just a matter of whether or not your fish is stressed enough for it to take hold?

I'm not trying to point fingers at a particular fish store or anything, but the incident really made me wonder how the business really works when it comes to disease prevention. Any insight folks might have would be appreciated.
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Old 11-03-2006, 05:57 PM   #2
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Re: Fish stores and ick

Most stores do share tanks due to economical reasons and for greater water volume (easier to maintain). My lfs never shares more then 2 tanks and all their tanks are 20+ gal tanks with many 100+ gal tanks on display. They also QT everything in separate tanks.

Most lfs should QT for their own stocks health but do not. Iíve seen one lfs loose thousands of dollars due to a bad ick attack and now do practice QT.

Still in the same lfs I watched a new person dump 20+ peppermint shrimp into the QT without acclimating them last month. All were dead within 4 hours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt_Nelson
Is this why there are some people out there that say that every single tank has ick and it's just a matter of whether or not your fish is stressed enough for it to take hold?
This is false. ick is a parasite that has to be introduced to a tank. It's introduced to peopleís tanks and the lfs through fish who had it in the wild.

That is why it's critical to QT EVERYTHING before adding to the main tanks.
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Old 11-03-2006, 06:07 PM   #3
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I agree with your experience as I have seen this first hand at some places. And yes most places have most of their tanks using the same water. The cleaner wrasse idea is pretty messed up in that a cleaner wrasse cannot keep up with parasite production. Each parasite that falls off a fish will release over 200 tomites that will start the cycle all over.I`m not sure if any LFS QT there fish. I`ve never had mine Dip mine nor do I want them too. What is the answer? The answer is to QT your fish when you get home so as to observe them and treat if needed. That way it is in your control what gets in your tank. That is a good observation Kurt.
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Old 11-03-2006, 06:29 PM   #4
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Re: Fish stores and ick

Quote:
Originally Posted by tecwzrd
ick is a parasite that has to be introduced to a tank. It's introduced to peopleís tanks and the lfs through fish who had it in the wild.

That is why it's critical to QT EVERYTHING before adding to the main tanks.
I understand and agree, but this instance got me thinking...

Is it possible for a fish to have a few ick parasites clinging on for dear life, and the fish show no visible signs of infection? Even though we've all quarantined our fish for 4 weeks in a separate QT before going into the main, could it still have the parasite? If it's a strong/healthy fish maybe it just never lets the parasite get a stronghold. And since the parasite still has a fish to live off of, it just rides it out and enters the main.

Seems like the only way to truly rid themselves of that parasite is to drain their system and disinfect. From a business standpoint, we all know that's not going to happen.

When it gets down to it, I'm really disappointed in this store as I thought I'd found a good place to get my livestock. My first fish - that's now in my main after getting out of the QT last weekend - and both my shrimp came from that store. And that water. Granted, I never transfered their water into my QT, but it still seems like there's that possibility that some of the parasite was hitchhiking on the fish.

I suppose the "silver lining" of this is that I will NEVER skip quarantining after seeing this. It was nice to get this little lesson early on instead of when I was adding my last fish!
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Old 11-03-2006, 07:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt_Nelson
Is it possible for a fish to have a few ick parasites clinging on for dear life, and the fish show no visible signs of infection? Even though we've all quarantined our fish for 4 weeks in a separate QT before going into the main, could it still have the parasite? If it's a strong/healthy fish maybe it just never lets the parasite get a stronghold. And since the parasite still has a fish to live off of, it just rides it out and enters the main.
It is possible to have them, but you should be able to notice in the QT and treat accordingly. Remember, they will drop off and reproduce rather quickly, so they should be plainly visible.
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Old 11-03-2006, 08:34 PM   #6
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Re: Fish stores and ick

Thatís why most recommend doing Hyposalinity therapy in conjunction with QT to reduce that risk. Only do it with fish though, mobile inverts usually can't handle it.
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