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re: E. coli

At 03:48 PM 4/14/2000 -0400, Karen wrote:
+AD4-Yes, I do know that we all have E. coli in our systems, but I also know
+AD4-there is a very low tolerance for E. coli levels in municipal drinking
+AD4-water, so I would assume it's something we don't really want to swallow.+ADw-g+AD4-

Dave Gomberg wrote:
+AD4-No, Karen, that is not the reason.   The reason is that high levels of E
+AD4-coli are considered prima facae evidence of fecal contamination.   And
+AD4-human feces are terrible carriers of human disease (cholera springs to mind
+AD4-as one of the worst).

I think the point being missed about E. coli is that there are many strains.
It's not just plain old E. coli.  This is why there are certain strains that
can cause extremely bad cases of food poisoning and death.  (Recall:  the
hamburger chain that sold contaminated burgers.  The E. coli in those
burgers did not originate from human waste but from animal waste.)  E. coli
has a tendancy to pick up bits of DNA from other broken down bacteria
wherever they live.  They have a way of checking this DNA to see if it's
already present in their genome.  If it is, they toss it.  If not, they
incorporate it.  Other bacteria do the same.  This is one of the reasons for
the development of antibiotic resistant strains of all sorts of bacteria and
why it is always essential for patients who have been prescribed medication
to take it all, not just when they are starting to feel better.

The contents of the bowels (and the mouth for that matter) are literally
bacterial soups with live and broken down bacteria.  DNA is available in
these liquids and readily exchangable by different genus and species of

In an aquarium or more specifically in fish breeders' ponds the bioload is
very high, fish are crowded and stressed.  The usage of antibiotics and
other chemotherapeutic agents is very common.  Just check on what's
available from the Florida Tropical Fish Farmers Association.  In order to
produce enough fish for sale, the famers have to maintain good cost ratios.
In order to do this the fish are not always fed the best diet.  In exchange
for this, the fish are constantly being medicated to prevent disease and
death.  When these same fish are stressed via preshipping starvation and the
shipping process itself, they arrive at the stores in poor condition and
very often break out in ick, velvet etc.

These situations really cause one to stop and pause when one checks the sale
price listing for fish from breeders.  When medium sized cichlids that cost
a hobbyist several dollars to raise to the point where have reached a
sufficiently large size are being sold for only 45 cents, one must wonder
what kind of conditions and what type of food these fish are being fed+ADs-  or
various tetras and danios that are less than 10 cents each. It's no wonder
that the end purchasers find themselves with fish that have TB or Neon Tetra
Disease or worse.

The only way around this is to purchase locally bred fish from a reputable
source.  They may cost more, but you have a much better chance of obtaining
fish that have been raised in clean tanks with good food.  They won't die
after the first few days in your tank and they won't come in with all sorts
of nasties.  Hobbyists don't breed fish for profit but just for the sheer
pleasure of watching fish thrive in their tanks.  This is why joining a
local club or attending auctions at other clubs in your vicinity is

My cousin and I have been breeding various species of fish for the past
three years.  The managers of all the local stores know that when we've got
a shipment ready to go, they don't have to worry about delivery of
substandard specimens.  They also don't have to worry that people who buy
them will be back the next day with a corpse in a bag.  We get enough for
the fish to keep us in fishfood and filter equipment.  Sometimes enough to
buy a new tank etc.  So it's not all just a masochistic exercise of major
water changing. :)

Gabriella Kadar