Re: Innoculation

> This is probably a naive and idiotic question but if one were keeping fish
> from the Amazon shouldn't one then be injecting micro organisims from that
> environment and not those from the local pond or river?

Absolutely.  This is a classic point in favor of quarantine tanks
for fish (or even plants) to better control what you want to add.  
You take time to see which of the "free riders" are going to do 
well in your setups (population explosion, or growth large enough
for minimal identification), and you can then choose to add or not.

Of course, the quarantine process is also established to kill many of
these "free riders":  if these micro-organisms are dependant on a host,
a food supply, or some portion of a cycle not present in your quarantine
tank, they die.  Or, these organisms may live just fine, but the mere
act of reproduction is limited by some factor; they complete their
micro-scopic life cycle in hours, days, or weeks, and there is nothing
left to introduce to your tank.

Many of the fish wholesalers or distributors quarantine and even
actively treat many of their charges, so I would guess that most
of what came out of the water with the fish is dead or gone by the
time it gets to you (except those nasty symbiotic organisms that
LIKE living on fish; but they probably won't help my substrate 

Further, many of the bacteria we are talking about working in the 
substrate aren't riding on the fish:  they are found and survive
only in benthic soils.  These may never be riders on our fish.

Even today, there is a big difference between touching a sick
(or contaminated) something and being in the same room with a sick
(or contaminated) something.  Many of the species we may want to
consider are not easily established, do not migrate even through
aqueous solutions with ease, or live in very narrow environmental

If you only had a one-celled body, don't you think a very brief
exposure to solar radiation could kill you?  A spoonful of muck
from the pond to the tank in fifteen minutes with minimal 
temperature change would retain significantly more species than
a fish cought, treated, and shipped over a two-week period.
My guess would be somewhere close to 99.99%.

> I'm just wondering if the fish and their native invironment
> are closely linked to survive together and putting organisims in the tank
> that they are not linked to would cause problems.

Ah, but yes:  that is always a possibility.  You are describing
exactly that issue we attribute to species that we call "sensitive".
A three-line pencil fish doesn't really want any deviation from its
natural environment, and we can't successfully keep or breed many
fish (or plant) species.

Further, there is a chance that introducing a tablespoon of muck 
from down the street will expose you to a lethal (previously 
unknown) disease that causes deterioration of the brain stem in 
humans.  :-)

cbay at jeppesen_com