A Huge Problem IMO as to why tanks crash and we have so many problems with just about everything.

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Paul B

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I am not the smartest fish keeper in the world, but I am probably one of the oldest. Being one of the oldest, I have also had more time to study this stuff and more time to make mistakes. Mistakes are one way we learn. A very good way.

It's actually how they train you in basic training in the Army or Marines. By forcing you to do impossible tasks, knowing you can't do them, then punishing you for not doing it correctly. Eventually, you learn what they want you to do while never completing those tasks correctly.

Trust me, it works.

I was a Noob at one time and that time was the 1950s, yes the world as we know it was around then and so were fish. We had the same problems then as we do now but a few of us learned, after many dead fish what we were doing wrong and I think I got it.

Most people in this hobby do something and it works, and they think they found the secret, but we may be talking about a time frame of a few months or a couple of years. A common hermit crab lives over 12 years so if we keep one for a couple of years, it is not "Great Success". To have a reef tank for four or five years without crashing, although is an accomplishment that few people ever attain is also not a Great Success and we should strive for more. We should always strive for more.

IMO a reef tank should be immortal or "live" as long as it's owner. Of course fish are not immortal, but most of them live much longer than people stay in this hobby.

Corals are immortal and can keep living while growing new polyps on top of older ones. That’s how reefs grow.

I feel the biggest mistake we make (and us Geezers who started this hobby are the cause) is keeping our tanks to clean.

Our gravel or sand is to clean, and our food is to clean and our water is to clean.

I will get to clean water later as it even sounds weird to me.

Fish, birds, whales, lizzards, earthworms, Liberals, Conservatives and us all have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Viruses, bacteria and parasites have been here longer than us and will be here when we all go to Mars because this planet has nothing left but plastic.

In a tank, any tank, except a quarantined or medicated tank, bacteria run everything. We forget about them, but it is the bacteria that call the shots, not us.

Bacteria have their own problems as viruses also affect and kill them. Bacteria hate that.

Parasites are also infected by bacteria and viruses.

Probably funguses also, but I am guessing.

Anyway, we call those things “disease organisms” because they can make us sick, but we forget that without them, we couldn’t live.

Our stomach is loaded with both beneficial and harmful bacteria. They live in harmony along with the funguses and viruses. Seawater is loaded with all of those things and that is natural and the way it should be.

We have problems when we mess with that system. If we kill bacteria, the viruses can take over as can the parasites.

If we for instance use copper, we will kill the parasites and bacteria, but not the viruses.

We really can’t kill the viruses (as Covid 19 taught us) because viruses are not alive to start with but we can disintegrate them using UV light or ozone.

So if we kill one of the pathogens, we allow the remaining ones to thrive and cause problems.

We can of course kill everything by using drugs along with UV and Ozone but should we?

It sounds like a good plan but have you seen anyone who just had Chemo and radiation to kill cancer?

Those people have no immunity to anything and although they are kept in a sterile environment, many of them die anyway because we can’t live like that in the real world.

Neither can fish.

In some cases we do have to resort to that drastic measure and sometimes it works. But not usually and it could take years for that fish to regain its compliment of stomach flora where it could live a normal life free from disease with a functioning immune system.

The problem with killing everything is of course that the bacteria, parasites and viruses will all infect the fish at different times and whichever comes first can overwhelm the fishes immune system because those things no longer are living in harmony where they can all keep each other in check.

In nature none of those pathogens get the upper hand because they evolved to counteract each other.

If we disrupt the cycle, we cause problems and tank crashes.

I propose, and it has worked for decades for me and other successful aquarists with long lasting reefs, that instead of trying to limit or eliminate natural pathogens leaving the fish open to disease, we cultivate those things, "in proportion" with each other leaving the fish with a strong immune system that it evolved with.

Remember, in the sea the fish are living with every aquatic disease there is with no problem. They only have problems after they are collected, shipped and put in our tanks.

There is no reason for them to have problems as my fish realize including my almost 30 year olds.

I know many, or all the fish we buy don’t look very good and are all infected with something. But remember, they are “always” infected with something because fish eat and breathe pathogens as they live. In the sea their immune system has no problems dealing with those afflictions because the fish is not stressed and is eating there natural food which is loaded with bacteria.

It’s the pathogens that tell the fishes immune system what method to use to eradicate that organism.

Remember in the sea fish normally eat living prey. They rarely eat sterile pellets, flakes or freeze dried anything. The prey they eat is always loaded with bacteria, parasites and viruses in the same proportions as are already in the fishes gut. Fish and us can’t digest food without bacteria which is the reason so many fish die while being medicated with copper or other drugs. It kills their stomach bacteria. It’s simple.

I mentioned before that our water is to clean and that may sound counterproductive because coral reefs are thought to be pristine. But the difference in water from a coral reef and our tanks is that the water on a coral reef has been there long before Betty White was born and many of our tanks were started a week from last Tuesday. Seawater actually gets better with age, to an extent.

If new, clean seawater was so good, why do new tanks look lousy? Why do new tanks, with all new water have so many diseases? Why do Noobs lose so many fish?

It’s because bacteria, viruses, corals, seaweed, rocks, meteorites, shipwrecks, whales and waste water from frankfurter carts in New York City all end up in the sea and all of those things are what fish evolved in. OK, maybe not the frankfurter carts. But it takes time for those organisms to reach a point where they are in sync with each other and none of them out weigh or out perform each other.

I was also under the impression that we needed to keep everything sterile. I wouldn’t think to put my hands in the tank without rinsing many times to get every trace of soap off.

I tried very hard to keep dirt out of my tank and vacuumed up every last bit of un eaten food.

I was wrong.

Now I take mud from a salt water bay and throw it in. I take garden soil (without pesticides) and throw it in. I feed earthworms full of dirt. I feed clams, mussels and whiteworms with as much dirt attached as I can find.

I never quarantine or medicate unless I purposely buy a very sick fish that I know will not live through the night and I experiment with questionable results.

I never worry if a fish I buy is in the same tank as fish with spots.



What I do is take that fish home as soon as I can and after a short acclimation, place it in my tank and try to get natural food into it. Natural food with living bacteria in it which is not usually commercially purchased food.

That food is deep frozen or irradiated to kill bacteria. I do use that food but I always supplement it with the foods I mentioned because without fresh, living bacteria, fish will always be at risk of dying from just about anything.



If you don’t believe any of this, go and watch Oprah give away Cadillacs to stray cats.

 
Maxout

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Excellent, I have been trying to feed as little processed foods, ( flakes, freeze dried, etc. ) As possible. I have been feeding pods, fresh grated human shrimp, fresh hatched brine shrimp enriched with vitamins occasionally.
My biggest issue is high phosphate. But everything seems fine, even the toadstool leather I have is doing well. It's open and waving all day everyday.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

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Thanks for sharing, Paul! I always appreciate you sharing your perspective. There's definitely no arguing with the success you've had with your awesome reef!
 
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Paul B

Paul B

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Daniel, I am sure arguing will start on this thread at some time, but I hope not. :D
It is just my opinion of course and I try to post how I feel about the hobby that I really love.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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I feel the only way to test claims in reefing isn’t with our own tanks but with the tanks of others, logged, as a pattern set

Regarding fish disease, link us crypto tanks brought back from the brink from todays ich help threads in the disease forum, not from past works. All fresh nimble fixes live time with today’s actual tanks asking for help
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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somebody work this tank live time back to disease compliance using not fallow and quarantine. If nobody fixes that tank without fallow then I’ll have my answer.

I wouldn’t be able to help those fish. It’s a legit request to watch natural means get applied there but taken out to full follow up, true measure of success dedication stay until it’s fixed. somebody lead that tank back home live time. Name the feed, care regimen, substrate boosting required and predict how long it takes to earn compliance.
 
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I have to keep clean and organized or I start twitching.

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Paul B

Paul B

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Um, what about us Air Force and Navy lads?

Coast Guard doesn't count :D.


I don't know, I was in the Army. :cool:

Hey, was this an advertisement for “Paul B’s Miracle Reef Mud” hitting store shelves next week?

Yes it is, and you can have all you want for free. But the shipping is a killer. :p

I am newish to the hobby and I myself can even appreciate this kind of insight.

Good morning "Newish". Nice to meet you.

Brandon, I am old and don't exactly understand your question/post.

I see the tank has a Hippo tang that keeps getting infected but "my" theory is that fish should never get infected in the first place and in a natural tank, they won't.
Selcon and garlic won't do anything to boost the fishes immunity especially if it was lost after the fish was collected by not continually feeding it living bacteria and parasites that come from normal fish food.

Treatments like copper, and quarantine will remove parasites but like I mentioned it will still leave viruses and the fish will succumb to something else which is why we see on disease threads a fish gets ich, then it gets fungus or it stops eating and it keeps going until the fish dies or possibly gets cured, but it is only temporary.

I don't feel fish are these delicate creatures that we have to watch, coddle, medicate, baby, hand feed etc.

They are much more robust than we are. They have to be, living in a soup of infectious diseases.
Water is a great carrier of everything but air is not. Bacteria, parasites and viruses don't fly and most of us have a nose 5' off the ground. We don't constantly breathe diseases but fish do.

Everything that is in the water, is in the fish, and the water is an extension of the fishes circulatory system.
Everything that fish eats is infected with every disease in the sea because the sea is well mixed.

Most fish don't have facial expressions like Angelina Jolie so we can't read their emotions. But when we medicate a fish and it won't eat it is probably because it has a stomach ache. I don't know but I am sure they feel sick.

When we take antibiotics (like I have to do today for some dental work) :eek: it can make us sick.
It makes us sick because those antibiotics kill certain stomach flora while leaving others.
Our food is digested by that stuff and we short circuit the process so the food enters our intestines in a different state that it is supposed so the flora in our intestines react by grumbling and causing that food to make it's way through us in a rather uncomfortable way.

But we can complain like telling the doctor. "Hey you, are you freeking nuts! Did you go to medical school or plumbing school? This stuff is killing me".

Most fish can't say that.

When a fish stops eating it is because either it is scared or it doesn't feel good. Of course we can't tell what a fish is feeling but fish eat all the time so if it doesn't, something is wrong and it's probably not because it doesn't like the menu. Most fish will at least try just about anything even paper. But they really don't have a "tongue" like we have and I am not sure what kind of taste buds they do have but remember most of them will try "poop" so how critical do you think the taste of food has to be?

It's very hard to cure a fish or a tank of fish that has not been naturally cared for and not fed properly for the reasons I stated.

Remember, this is all my opinion and I am not nor have I ever been a fish. ;Meh

 
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Paul B

Paul B

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I have read Paul B's posts for years and was always intrigued by a guy who would go get some mud with god knows what in it and throw it in his reef tank. I have never questioned the reasoning or the results and a dirty tank has never bothered me.

I am not quite sure if the mud I add does anything for the fishes immunity (although I think it does) or if the mud is just helpful for water conditions like nitrate, phosphate etc.

After all the bacteria, viruses and possibly parasites in real ocean mud are also in sync with each other and I assume the same situation that happens in our fishes guts also happen in our substrait.
But I am totally guessing here. When I guess, I say I am guessing. :cool:

I do know that I have been adding mud since I started the tank and so far, it is still running with virtually no problems or diseases so I am not sure if the bacteria in the food is as important as bacteria in sand.
I wish I did but maybe someone smarter than me knows. :)

I won't say that my fish never die, thats ridiculous. But I can honestly say that none of my fish ever died from an infectious disease since probably when Reagan was President. But I don't remember when he was elected.

I have lost fish to jumping out, bullying, not being able to supply the correct food and a big one, egg bound.
Fish have a flaw in their anatomy and sometimes they produce more eggs than they can handle so they rot and the fish dies. That is common in mandarins and I have lost a few from that.

Unfortunately, healthy fish develop eggs constantly and being a tank is not always conducive to mating or if a male is not real good looking, the poor fish can't release her eggs.


 
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What is the best "cleaning product" or home recipe for cleaning reef tank equipment?

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