Ich: Finding My Truth (amidst the gazillion philosophies, schools of thought and approaches)

Discussion in 'Fish and Invertebrates' started by dmhinsf, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. ReefLove

    ReefLove Guest

    Well, we need to educate the LFS on best practices. They should be the one to stop spreading the ich. We have more than few LFS sponcers. We should start skin scraping their live stock and help them not spread it more. I heard certain store in Milpitas had huge really bad ich outbreak last year, but we need to ask them following.

    Was All the water changed?
    Did you keep system without fish for 8 weeks ?

    I bet answers to above is NO. so ich would be present today in those tanks and will be spread to your tanks.

    Now, I think we should have a certification agency that routinely checks these stores for infections and give LFS ratings, just like food industry. And if standards are not met then revoke the license until they fix the problem.

    It's a common sense to stop the source from spreading than finding cures. 8 weeks QT is a must too.
  2. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    ReefLove, I'm not exactly sure what you expect LFSs to do. Do you want them to QT every fish for 8 weeks? The volume of creatures they deal with would require a HUGE system of independent tanks. If you think fish are expensive now, just imagine what they would cost having been held and fed and medicated for 8 weeks by the LFS!

    Even if a LFS did QT, would you trust them? I wouldn't. I'm not saying they are idiots, thieves, dishonest or cheaters. It's just in a busy operation things can be missed. Mistakes happen. I would rather take the responsibility to QT all the creatures. As is said at all frag swaps, "Assume everything here is infested with every bad thing. Treat accordingly"

    Keep up the good work. This is a great discussion and your input will keep us on the path to skepticism.
  3. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Agree - that is where it generally comes from, and that is who "should" stop it.

    But I think it would only work at the wholesaler level, not the LFS store.
    There are too many stores, and they cannot compete with those that do not follow those practices.

    It is not conceptually hard.
    Require licensing, inspections, for ALL wholesalers.
    Require standardized batch QT for a minimum period, treatment, bleaching of tanks after use, and so on.
    Possibly random purchases, with dissection, and big fines if ich is found.
    As a bonus, also inspect for rare/endangered fish as well.

    Unfortunately, it will never happen. $$$$
  4. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Or you could just qt your fish
  5. Thales

    Thales Past President

    And that is some of the major problems with the chain of custody in a nutshell (though I am not sure that we care about all the water being changed...the water isn't the major issue in the spreading of the parasite). All that you have outlined costs money, and many stores that try to implement such procedures are forced to pass that cost along to the customers who, in general, seem to be more concerned about cost than quality. These stores generally go out of business because they can't compete with stores that skip these procedures.
    A governing agency has been tried a few times, but this industry can't seem to get all the players on the same page. IMO, some kind of voluntary standards are overdue, but I am not holding my breath that anything like that will happen. And again, a governing agency costs money, and this hobby/industry seems to be fickle in that respect.
    All that said, even if stores would all do QT and necessary treatment, people should still QT new acquisitions. Even stuff from Divers Den, which has great procedures should be QT'd.
  6. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    Considering the costs of the livestock, I just don't think it's financially feasible to run 8-week QT's on fish that are less than $10. It'll end up being a much costlier fish that will obviously pass costs on to the customer. If we were to require LFS's to take that responsibility, I'm pretty confident that many of them will simply go out of the business like many others have in the past. It's really not worth governing when it's cost prohibitive. All you can really do is accept that it's a task that you must take upon yourself to ensure the rest of your tank remains safe and healthy.
  7. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Fwiw, I am all for livestock being more expensive due to better handling and qt procedures. It seems that we should treat live animals as if they were widgets.
    There is also the idea that people don't want to spend the time and money on qt at home, so if there does it for you the cost might actually end up being all around similar.
  8. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    Yeah, I'm all for it too but it's really just a matter of training the rest of the customers to this frame of mind. Once this is more common, only then I think it will be accepted and financially feasible.
  9. Thales

    Thales Past President

    It's pretty complicated - training the customers is a fine idea, but unless all stores are committed a customer that is refused at one store can go to another. Part of the issue is that since the animals are so cheap in the first place that people that haven't done their homework can cheaply give the whole thing a go.

    Back to ich - there is not consensus about actually being able to eradicate the protozoan completely from a system. It may be the case that the cysts can last a long time without a host, or that they can be around at sub clinical and undetectable levels.
  10. ReefLove

    ReefLove Guest

    John, the point isn't that if I trust a LFS or not. I would still QT my fishes but I won't be worried to death and fish in general would be in much better condition to not have parasites and that would stop a spread up to a certain level.

    I do not think it will increase the cost if you see there will be less death and more people would be joining hobby because certainly less death means cheaper hobby. Think about all medicines and stuff we spend. LFS can't just spread stuff they must do things to stop spread, take some responsibility... like change tanks every 3rd day and disinfect the tanks, start here and see if it increases the price tag and how much. If it increases price 10% then it's fine I would pay $11 instead of $10 or really good quality fish.
  11. Thales

    Thales Past President

    I think the price would go up at least 50% if not 100% or more (I actually think more). Floor space needed is a huge ongoing cost, as is paying staff to do the continual work of QT and treatment.
  12. dmhinsf

    dmhinsf Guest

    So...please allow me to throw in another opinion that I ran across in my online meanderings (seeking the evasive truth about ich).

    Someone pointed out to me that they tried the QT method and had terrible luck with it. The fish would go in to the QT tank and be stressed out and not eat and would then slowly worsen in condition until the person (who shall remain nameless) would simply transfer the fish over to save it (and usually with success).

    I personally have tried the QT method in the past and found it to be stressful for me and the fish.

    I acknowledge that the QT method - by description - need not be that complicated. Have a smallish tank, no substrate with a sponge filter, temperature controlled, excellent parameters established, a few pieces of PVC for fish shelter, etc. Have this ready to pull out and throw together at a moment's notice when you find that fish you were looking for for however long. Keep an extra set of each: net, hydrometer, thermometer, ....

    Then one needs to try to effectively feed the bored, sad fish. Here's me: put few msysis bits in to QT. Fish misses it completely. Put a few more...another miss. Put a few more...oh another but he's paying attention. Another...floats on by. OK...Oh...here goes...he EATS it! Well, now I have a bunch of stray food polluting an already small, confined, sponge filtered space. Water change.

    Just thought I'd bring this opinion (not necessarily the opinion of the poster - who is still trying to establish his ;-) in to the discussion.

    Let the debate/dialogue continue...
  13. dmhinsf

    dmhinsf Guest

    Oh...and let me add...if you want to QT your corals, you might have to have an invert only QT tank. This would be needed in the event you ran any kind of copper treatment on your fish QT. Then it gets really crazy trying to keep anything that touched copper separate. When I did this, I would put a red "C" on with a sharpie on anything that ever went near copper.
  14. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    As a past store owner that did have the best livestock in the Bay Area, I closed when the lease was up. I had over 7000 gals of livestock: fresh and salt. My downfall was the expense of maintaining healthy livestock. My animals were not quarrenteed per say but they were medicated for bugs and fed the finest of foods and weekly 30% water changes. It cost a lot of money!!
    The best thing is to QT cheap fish. Or pay what is asked for fish that are healthy, feeding and clean.
  15. bondolo

    bondolo Supporting Member

    Methoprene and other insect growth regulators work great for breaking the flea life cycle and is, as far as these things go, are pretty safe. Things have gotten creative with bed bug control as well. Is there any chance that a treatment that could be added to fish feed that would cause the ich to fail to reproduce?

    I think Brandie is right--if some treatment doesn't kill ich or prevent them from reproducing then it's not really worth talking about. Ginger and garlic belong with seafood only at Thanh Long. ;-)

    Are the current treatments the result of formal research or observational practice? Has their effectiveness even been measured? Is there any research being done on new treatments? Is it time for a kickstarter campaign or other fundraising effort to fund researchers working on the problem?
  16. denzil

    denzil Webmaster

    Without doing any hard numbers, I'm fairly certain that it'll easily exceed a 10% increase. There are multiple factors to consider: time, capital spent on staff (unless they're really idle most of the time), cost of water, cost of salt, cost of space (which mind you could be better used for displaying more fish to sell), lights(?), misc. equipment... you get the point.

    I can safely say that'll increase costs of fish by more than 10%. The question is, how large of a QT are LFS's going to run for each and every fish? Are they going to share the same tank, separate tanks, or are they going to be partitioned in those tiny acrylic boxes that share the same water? That overhead will certainly vary on these variables.
  17. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    So a LFS has a few fish, 50 or so, in individual tanks so they don't cross contaminate. Assuming 10G/fish, that's 500 gal. of water. If the move every three days that's 5000 gal/month and at least two sets of tanks. Now there will be shop space taken up by these unsellable (QT) fish along with heating costs and the labor to move all these fish from one system to another every three days. The effort to maintain all the filters would be more than I want to even contemplate! Let's assume the LFS decides it's going to treat for Ich and internal parasites. I'd bet the EPA would not want this LFS to pour all those chemicals down the drain so they might need HAZMAT disposal. I'd guess Rich's estimate of 100% increase in cost to be a minimum. That $50 yellow tang just became a $100 YT!

    At the end of this I would still QT fish. Not only because I have doubts about the LFS being able to keep all the fish free of diseases, but it also allows the new fish a rest from the stress of shipping and living in a LFS.

    The sad truth is most of our fish are wild caught. They come into the supply pipeline with all the bad beasties that are in the ocean. The longer they pause in any part of the pipeline the more expensive they are going to be. Unless treated and cared for individually there will be more losses. All this will drive up the cost and drive more people out of the hobby.
  18. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    They are not going to set up QT systems. We here are of the relatively few. We pay to be members of this! Most hobbyists won't, and don't care. "Fish is cheap, buy another one when I'd dies."
    Again...QT your own inexpensive fish or pay the price for cleaned and conditioned livestock.
  19. Thales

    Thales Past President

    I don't QT with a sponge filter and some PVC pipe for the fish to hide in. I use rock to create structure for the fish to hide in and around and at work we put FRP grate up on stands to create naturalistic reef like structures in larger QT systems. We do this for the reasons you suggest - fish get stressed out in sterile environments. I/we also do water changes liberally and monitor water parameters closely, often siphoning the bottom of the tank daily. Low or no tank lighting at first and sometimes cover the windows of the tank so the fish can see anything to stress it out.
  20. Thales

    Thales Past President

    There is also debate as to where more disease comes from - wild or holding facilities.

    The treatments we know to work, we know work because of research - hypo and copper. Chloriquine seems to be working too. IIRC, there is also real data on the transfer method, but would want to check this.

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