Marine Questions, Plants and Diseases

Subject: rash of marine questions?

> Has somebody recently advertised this list to some marine-intere
> newsgroup?  It seems odd that we have questions about tridacna (
> clams and feather dusters within a weekend.  I don't recall ever
> seen a marine post here before.

I thought it was an April fools joke... I hope so!<g>


Subject: Plants and diseases, muriatic acid, iron levels

> Karen Randall wrote: 
> <"IMO, it is better to avoid illnesses in planted tanks.  I nve
> add medications to my planted tanks.  I quarantine new fish, and
> in the rarte instance that a fish _does_ become ill, it is remov
> from the tank if medication is warranted.  The introduction of 
> most diseases can be avoided with forethought.">
> Hygiene is unfortunately not a 100% guarantee.

There are very few of those in life. 

> The situation is not as cut and dry as you present it. The use o
> tanks is appropriate  when you are able to diagnose diseases wit
> transmission risk. If there is a reasonable chance that the whol
> infected, its whole treatment may be a very valid approach in ma
> Plants may or may not be affected by this treatments, and more i
> needed. 

It is as cut and dried as that for me.  I do not _ever_ medicate 
my planted tanks.  I'm not saying that is the right decision for 
everyone, but it is the right one for me.  My plants are far more 
valuable (from a financial perspective) than the fish in my tanks.
> <"the question is why were there sick fish in your tank to start
> with.  In my experience, healthy fish put into a healthy planted
> tank _rarely_ get sick.>

> The problem is to recognize healthy fish.It happens that the sic
> is (probably) wild-caught green discus, likely to be affected by
> transmissible parasites which may also colonize for a long time 
> no symptoms. There is no way to know if they all came in  all ca
> parasites, or if the problem spread in the planted tank. All fis
> had been quarantined for at least 3 weeks at the time of purchas
> prophylactically for the most common parasites.They were perfect
> about 6 months. 

In this sort of case you are right, that you need to make a 
decision whether the fish or the plants are more important to you. 
 I, personally, would not put wild caught Discus into a display 
tank after a 3 week quarantine.  These fish are well known for 
their inability to handle parasites.  I have turned down 
apparently healthy wild caught Discus that looked healthy after 6 
months in quarantine.

>  A complete elimination of all potential pathogens is  just wish
> and the concept of "sterilizing" the tank is quite exaggerated a
> improperly.
> Unless you destroyed all the fish and the plants that you had in
> tank, chances are that after you teared down everything, you re-
> the same fish and plants some potential pathogens in your new "s
> set-up. 

It _would_ be pretty silly to reintroduce infected animals and 
potentially infected plants wouldn't it?  The disease was 
resistant enough to enough medications that I was uneasy about the 
possiblity of it ever finding its way (via cuttings, fry from 
other fish, equipment etc.) into any other tank.  All fish were 
euthanized, the plants were thoroughly dried before disposal, the 
gravel was bleached and then used for winter ice control purposes 
on the driveway, and all equipment was washed with a strong bleach 
solution.  That's probably as close to sterilization as it's 
possible to get with an aquarium.  If you think that this is 
"exageration" I would be interested to hear what other procedure 
you would recommend.

> However, you must be very good at keeping stable, health
> and your tank's pathogens stay quiet most of the times. Equilibr

That is exactly the environment a well maintained planted tank 
should provide for its inhabitants.  I think if you speak to other 
long term aquatic gardeners you will find that my experiences 
aren't that far from the "norm" for this kind of system.

> A lot of stress to fish, plants and aquarists could be avoided i
> complete tank break-downs were replaced, at least initially, wit
> careful evaluation of the pathogen-host interaction, and of all 
> available for intervention.

Yes, and the best one is to avoid the introduction of fish that 
are very likely to be carriers of disease into a display system.

Incidentally, the tank that I _did_ "sterilize" had been 
specifically set up for the fish it contained.  They had not been 
added to a previously stable display tank.  It is also the only 
time I have ever had to dismantle a tank for health reasons.

> Every solution has its risks and ben
> The concept of fewer diseases in planted tanks is certainly fasc
> However, an association of facts does not necessarily imply a ca
> example, your fish may just benefit from the very good water con
> keep in your tanks for your plants. Equivalent water conditions 
> may be just as good. This is just an example, not an opinion.  I
> interesting for me to see some postings with reference to resear

I am also interested in the possibility of plants actually 
reducing the incidence of disease, but that's not what we are 
discussing here.  IMO, a properly stocked, properly maintained 
tank with PLASTIC plants shouldn't have a high incidence of 

> <"Muriatic (hydrochloric) acid. ">
> Would it be possible to know how should it be used in the aquari
> possible problems with it, etc.)? Thanks.

It should _not_ be used in the aquarium directly.  It should be 
used as a pre-treatment for water before it is introduced into the 
tank.  (remember again, that we want conditions within the tank 
itself to remain as stable as possible, so preferably no pH 
adjustment should go on within the tank unless it is via the 
steady introduction of CO2)

In a separate container, add small amounts of HCl over the course 
of several days, testing pH and KH regularly.  pH will drop 
dramatically with each introduction, because the HCl reacting with 
carbonates in the water will give off CO2.  But the pH will also 
quickly bounce back up.  At this point, you can measure how much 
KH you have lost so far. Keep adding more HCl until the KH is 
gone, and the pH is down where you want it.  You will end up with 
very soft, very "brittle" water however. 

> <"Maybe I missed 
> it, but I haven't seen enough information for me to hazard a gue
> why your iron levels are so high.  It doesn't sound right.">
> Exactly on the basis of what you said, couldn't it be thought no
> tablets are also the main reservoir of the Fe leaching in my tan

Yes, I suppose that could be the source.  If so, it might be worth 
trying to siphon them back out.


Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA