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

Paul B

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Madonia, thank you for posting. I think you are misunderstanding my theory. I never meant to let our tanks go unkempt. My own tank is pristine with no signs of any dirt or detritus.



I also advise, and I do it myself using a diatom filter a few times a year to blow out detritus from the pores in rocks so new, living bacteria can take up residence.


I am proposing two types of bacterial methods, one for tank and water health and one for fish health.

I feel we need to feed our fish something with living bacteria in it at least a few times a week. The more the better. I think to stay healthy and immune they also need viruses, fungi and parasites in the same relationship as they occur in the sea as much as possible.

Feeding a fresh seafood which are also filter feeders will do that. Not frozen commercially available food exclusively. Clams are my favorite food for that but I also use live worms. The worms are fresh water creatures so I assume clams would add a more natural diet for salt water fish.

I also add bacteria in the form of either mud or seaweed directly to the tank, mostly behind corals and rocks or in my tank, under the UG filter. I can collect that on a beach.

That is only a couple of tablespoons and disappears instantly as it is mostly organic matter and sand.
This bacteria I feel is beneficial for water conditions, but I am guessing.
If some parasites are inadvertently added thats fine as I want them.
In the 40+ years I have been doing that, I have never had any communicable diseases in the tank and never lost not even one fish to any of those diseases, how bad could it be? :)
 
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Rjmul

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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.


Very refreshing. My tank just crashed after a tank upgrade.
 
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Paul B

Paul B

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Why did your tank crash?

snowflakes are beautiful things
ill-mannered useless people that know less about anything than my cat are not

How much does your cat know?
 

Madonia

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Madonia, thank you for posting. I think you are misunderstanding my theory. I never meant to let our tanks go unkempt. My own tank is pristine with no signs of any dirt or detritus.



I also advise, and I do it myself using a diatom filter a few times a year to blow out detritus from the pores in rocks so new, living bacteria can take up residence.


I am proposing two types of bacterial methods, one for tank and water health and one for fish health.

I feel we need to feed our fish something with living bacteria in it at least a few times a week. The more the better. I think to stay healthy and immune they also need viruses, fungi and parasites in the same relationship as they occur in the sea as much as possible.

Feeding a fresh seafood which are also filter feeders will do that. Not frozen commercially available food exclusively. Clams are my favorite food for that but I also use live worms. The worms are fresh water creatures so I assume clams would add a more natural diet for salt water fish.

I also add bacteria in the form of either mud or seaweed directly to the tank, mostly behind corals and rocks or in my tank, under the UG filter. I can collect that on a beach.

That is only a couple of tablespoons and disappears instantly as it is mostly organic matter and sand.
This bacteria I feel is beneficial for water conditions, but I am guessing.
If some parasites are inadvertently added thats fine as I want them.
In the 40+ years I have been doing that, I have never had any communicable diseases in the tank and never lost not even one fish to any of those diseases, how bad could it be? :)
 
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Rjmul

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Why did your tank crash?


Think you are replying to me ? I made a few stupid mistakes. First I switched out my black box lighting to hydras without a par meter. (You guessed it, the black boxes were stronger. I shouldn't have used acclimation mode, I should have known my par, and my alk sky rocketed)

Secondly I removed all of my old sand and replaced it with new. Thirdly, even though I matched the alk in my new water, I don't think the tank liked a 50% water change


How much does your cat know?
 
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Paul B

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Where do you find the worms? On the beach? Or are these earth worms?

I live close by the ocean on Long Island- and May take a trip this weekend to see what I can scavenge.

I raise white worms by the thousands. I have a culture going for 10 years. They live 6 days in salt water.



 
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Paul B

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I can give you some but for like $15.00 you can buy a culture. They live in damp potting soil and eat bread with yogurt on it.

You can Google "White Worm started culture". Thats how I got them
 
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Madonia

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I can give you some but for like $15.00 you can buy a culture. They live in damp potting soil and eat bread with yogurt on it.

You can Google "White Worm started culture". Thats how I got them
I just got a starter culture.

what is your recommended feeding instruction? How many worms a day/at a time?

are these a staple in your fish’ diet or is this a treat?
 
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Paul B

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Wow, you got them quick.
Keep them damp, under 80 degrees. Feed them whole wheat bread, I use stale bread and put some full fatted, no sugar, no flavor yogurt on it. It will take a month or more to get enough to harvest.
Make sure to completely cover the food in soil or it will grow "hair" very shortly.

Keep them pretty wet but not waterlogged. Replace the food when they finish it.
When you get a lot of them, put a piece of plastic on the dirt and put the food under it. The worms will cling to the plastic so you can harvest them.

I feed them a few times a week and as long as each fish gets a couple of worms, thats good.
You don't need or want the worms to be their entire food. And don't worry if you get some dirt in your tank. You want the bacteria on ans in the worms and dirt.
Good Luck
 

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Paul,
Was wondering if these bi-valves would be beneficial.
They are about 3/4" long. Either the waves wash them up on the beach or the waves washes the sand off of them. When exposed, they flip on end and bury into the sand.

20200901_164053.jpg
20200901_164001.jpg
20200901_164149.jpg
 
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Paul B

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I never tried them, but if your fish will eat them, I think they would be a good and free food.
 
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pseudorand

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First, what's the orange, yellow and blue fish in the OP. It's beautiful!

Second, what natural diet do you feed? A brine shrimp hatchery is a PITA, as is live stuff shipped to me all the time. Most seafood meant for humans is also quite expensive (at least here in Colorado). Shrimp are cheap enough, but are the ones for humans really any different than the mysis and brine meant for fish? Any suggestions for easy and affordable options beyond flake, pellets and frozen?
 
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Pseudorand, your fish don't care if getting the correct food is a PITA. IMO flakes, pellets and frozen is not fish food fit for any creature and if that is what you feed, I feel your fish will always have problems and will be susceptible to all sorts of diseases and problems. Sorry.
Clams are the best food, but not the ones you find frozen made for fish food.
If you mean the orange and blue fish in my first post, it's a blue stripe pipefish. Very cool but they won't eat flakes, pellets or freeze dried anything.
 
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I see questions about mandarins every day. Can I keep a Mandarin in a Coke bottle? Can I get it to eat Cheerios?
How many pods do they eat in 7 1'2 hours? Will Mandarins live with moray eels and swordfish? etc.

A mandarin is the easiest, least problem, no disease, no maintenance fish there is. You throw it in a tank it they live about ten years. Eleven if you don't listen to Rap music. But it has to be in the right tank! The right tank is not a 15 gallon tank stated Tuesday with dry rock and fake, bottled bacteria I don't care if you put a wheelbarrow of pods in there every 5 minutes.

A mature, natural tank that makes it's own food is what it needs. I have been keeping and spawning mandarins since they invented the things during Noah's flood. They were swimming underneath the thing.

Wait until your "large enough" tank is "mature enough" which will take years, not weeks or months.
A natural tank will grow it's own food but you can't just be feeding flakes, pellets or freeze dried watermelon.
Feed the tank clams along with the clam juice. If you live in Idaho and can't get that, keep guppies or tangs and feed them avocados.

Pods will reproduce on their own and you can't stop them from reproducing. Forget about buying them. They will double in numbers in a couple of weeks but they need to eat. Stop cleaning every bit of detritus and algae.
See this mandarin? he was about 10 years old in this picture and spawned many times.

OK forget the fish, look at the rock he is on. See the mulm and stuff growing? Thats what pods love. They think they are in central park without the pigeons. If you have that stuff growing, mandarins will take an Uber to your house and do the macarana without buying pods. Forget buying anything. Most of the stuff in this hobby we don't need to buy.



Take your girlfriend out to a nice Italian restaurant so she don't think you are a cheap you know what. Your Mandarin is a fish. Your girlfriend is more important, trust me you will be happier if your girlfriend is happier than your fish. The mandarin will be fine if you do as I just said.
 
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