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Mythconceptions

Discussion in 'Freshwater Archives' started by valleyvampiress, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. valleyvampiress

    valleyvampiress AC Members

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    I see these posted all the time as advice to newbies and the advice is just not right.

    *A side note before reading this: When I refer to ammonia/nitrites being produced by fish, I don't mean fish can produce nitrites. I just mean the overall output of waste that's produced by fish.


    Myth: Doing too many water changes will slow down the fishy cycle.


    First of all, the bacteria will not grow faster if there is more ammonia/nitrites present in the tank. They will continue to grow at a steady rate in a tank that has 1ppm ammonia/nitrites as they would a tank that had .25ppm ammonia/nitrites. Making these levels higher does not increase the speed of the growth of the bacteria. As long as there is some trace of ammonia/nitrites they can't compensate for, the bacteria will continue to grow.

    Second, the bacteria are meant to be grown to have enough to match the amount of waste your fish you have in your tank can produce in one "sitting". Therefore, it is pointless to get the bacteria to grow to a certain point where they can eat a higher amount of ammonia/nitrites than the fish can produce in one "sitting". An example would be, lets say your fish combined produce a steady rate of .25ppm of ammonia/nitrites in one "sitting". Total in one day, they can produce 1ppm ammonia/nitrites. The bacteria that have already grown can match .25ppm of ammonia/nitrites. If this is true, than your tank is cycled. Why? Because the fish aren't going to produce 1ppm all in one "sitting". They are going to produce .25ppm of ammonia/nitrites at one "sitting". The bacteria that have grown to match .25ppm ammonia/nitrites would consume this right after it is produced by the fish, therefore not allowing the tank water to even reach the 1ppm that the fish can produce in a day. It will continue to consume that much 3 more times after the fish have produced it 3 more times. So if you tried to make your tank reach 1ppm, the bacteria that grew to compensate for .75ppm would die off because there wouldn't be enough ammonia/nitrites to keep them alive. So unless you plan on adding a lot more fish that can produce that much in one "sitting", doing this would be pointless.

    Thirdly, if you are allowing the ammonia/nitrites to reach really high levels you've created an oxymoron. You're trying to grow more bacteria to "help" the fish, and at the same time you're killing them. At such high toxic levels as 1ppm, you're guaranteed to cause some damage to your fish that would be permanent. And even though you may not physically see any damage, there definitly would have been. Their lives would most likely have been shortened.


    Myth: Overfeeding your fish if you are fishy cycling, will speed up the cycle.

    This is very similar to the first myth I posted. People say this because your fish will eat more, therefore producing more ammonia/nitrites, and the left over food will rot and produce more ammonia/nitrites. This would make more food for the bacteria, and therefore make them grow faster. This is wrong for the same reason the other myth was wrong. The bacteria will not grow faster if there is more ammonia/nitrites. The bacteria are always going to grow if there is atleast some trace of ammonia/nitrites they can't compensate for, but the amount of "food" available to them does not increase the speed at which they grow. The only thing this would do is #1: kill your fish or severely damage them by making them obese (when fish are obese, they are susceptible to other illnesses) and exposing them to high levels of toxins, and #2: create more bacteria (not at a faster rate) that will compensate for your overfeeding. Once you stop overfeeding them, all the bacteria that grew to compensate for that would die. You should never overfeed your fish for any reason. If anyone tells you this as "advice", I would question any other "advice" this person may have given you.

    If in doubt, RESEARCH! There's no better way to make sure that something is correct than to research it yourself. And by proving that something is/isn't true, I don't mean reading a bunch of stuff that says, "you do this because of this" or because so many people said it that it has to be true. I mean, someone REALLY explains to you why it is/isn't true, not just saying, "bacteria will grow faster!". Ask them why. Question the answer. If you do this, you'll almost always be armed with solid advice.


    If anyone has any other myths to add that they can thoroughly explain why it isn't true, I'll edit my post and add it to the top.

    More info added on Nitrification by RTR page 1.

    Myth: Adding salt continually to a freshwater tank keeps the fish healthy by daveedka page 1

    Myth: Sea salt in small amounts will kill of ICH eggs by Dahlia page 1

    Myth: Holding a fish will burn their skin by YoFishboy, OrionGirl, wataugachicken page 1
     
    #1 valleyvampiress, Apr 25, 2005
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2005
  2. ariston

    ariston AC Members

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    Great post, thanks!
     
  3. OrionGirl

    OrionGirl No freelancing!

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    Care if additional aquatic myths are added to this excellent start?
     
  4. RTR

    RTR AC Members

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    One clarification on the bacterial growth issue with nitrification bacteria. In fishless cycling, higher titers are used than can be supported without damage to the fish in cycling with fish. This is done not to change the rate of growth/multiplication - it is correct that the colony growth rate maximizes at low titers - but to insure larger colonies of each of the needed bacteria. The fish's production of nitrogenous waste is fairly steady. In fishless cycling this cannot be copied. What is copied is the accumualation of those wastes such that the largest practical colonies are produced to allow full stocking as soon as the cylce is complete. With conventional cycling, the colonies of bacteria are sufficient for the fish present at the time only. Additional fish must be added slowly to avoid re-cycling with detectable ammonia and nitrite from added fish. With higher titer fishless cycling, the colonies produced are larger than the tank's biological capacity, so are in excess of the requirement for the fully stocked tank. In this way the rate of growth has not been changed, but the total bacterial colony size at completion has been changed to one sufficient and a bit in excess for maximum tank stocking immediately after completion.
     
  5. valleyvampiress

    valleyvampiress AC Members

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    Thank you for that info RTR. I added a little blurb at the bottom of my post so people will see it at the top.

    Orion Girl, by all means add as many myths with explinations as you can. I will add the subject matter, page #, and author at the top with a link to the subject if it's not on page one.
     
  6. valleyvampiress

    valleyvampiress AC Members

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    Myth: Adding salt continually to a freshwater tank keeps the fish healthy

    Originally Posted by daveedka
    Salt is only contained in freshwater at extremely low levels. Salt in higher levels (those usually reccomended) with interfere with natural processes and shorten the life of your fish. Additionally salt contributes to the total dissolved solids levels of the tank this can lead to water quality problems and OTS (old tank syndrome)
    If we are talking about NaCl (freshwater aquarum salt, table salt, kosher salt etc.) then it does not contribute to our mineral base as it isn't something that the fish need at high levels. Salt will do a rough job of simulating hard water, because it adds a lot to TDS levels, but there are much better ways to go about this and make your fish healthier.

    If we are talking about cichlid salts or similar mixes then these are true mineral salts with very little NaCl, these mixes will produce hard water similar to natural environments for hard water fish, and should be looked at as an entirely different subject.

    Salt can be used short term as a treatment for ich, nitrite poisoning, and a few other ailments. It is not a cure all and should be treated like a med. It interferes with natural osmoregulation can reduce stress in some sick fish, but is not a wise thing to do with healthy fish.

    Lastly I'll just say that I have researched this very deeply, and have yet to find one single argument in favor of using solt beyond short term treatment of disease.
    Here are a couple of excellent articles you may wish to read as well:
    http://www.aquasource.org/CMS/modul...ns&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=54&page=1
    http://tcoletti.tripod.com/molly_salt_debate.html

    There really is more behind this than just personal opinion, but if you research it enough, you'll find the truth about the salt myth.
    HTH
    Dave
     
    #6 valleyvampiress, Jul 5, 2005
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2005
  7. Melvin Belton

    Melvin Belton AC Members

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    ya me again I only have one thing can we try not to make the posts To techical I under stand the majortiy of what you are saying and can look up explinations of the rest but if I read this correctly this is for beginners and the majority of them are looking for the straight dope but in a language that they can grasp abreviations like ppm or KPH or even Ph may mean nothing to them and they havent in their young lives had the oportunity to read and have questions answered that we who have been in the hobby a while longer have been privy to.

    Oh ya the reason I looked here in the first place. I had always read htat for live bearers and fish that live in slightly brackish water a small amount of sea salt 1/2 T-spoon Per Gallon (US) aided with resperation and in my own limited experiance that has proven it out and I have a large pile of baby guppies to prove it. also sea salt in small amounts will help to kill of any ICH eggs that come into your tank thru the water supply. I ask you to pardon some of my spelling as the hour is late and I seem to get digetel dislexia (my fingers seem to hit the wrong letters even when they know where the correct ones are.
     
  8. Kasakato

    Kasakato SatCan

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    Again, salt is great for killing ich, and treating other things, but using it all the time with non salt water fish isn't so great. In the long run it will cause more harm than good.
     
  9. RTR

    RTR AC Members

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    On the technical language barrier - it is quite real, that cannot be denied. But everything has its own specialized language, tank-keeping included. Certain measurement parameters such as tank volumes, ppm (or mg/l) titers of ions or minerals, Farenheit and Centigrade temperature scales, chemical classifications such as chlorine, chloramines, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and some chemical symbology such as CO2, NH3, etc. are part of the tank keeper's language. If novices are unfamiliar with the terminology used, they should ask. The terms will be explained and can be learned. If someone cares and wants to learn about how captive tank systems work and why we suggest and do the things that we do routinely, a little language study is necessary. You cannot study music with knowing scales and notation, nor chemistry without any math, nor fish tanks without some technical language applied to that practice. You don't read cookbooks without specialized measurement scales, we have the same in fishtanks - and the language is not that large or difficult.
     
  10. Dahlia

    Dahlia AC Members

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    Treatments Don't Work Unless You Use the Correct Dosage, and Ich Isn't Always Present

    In reading this thread I thought it should also be mentioned that salt in low dosages will not eliminate ich. Like the problem we now have with stronger, more resistant bacteria due to medical misuse of antibiotics, there are also stronger, more resistant ich strains due to improper medicating of this parasite.

    Also, ich does not have an egg stage, nor does it have spores, airborn particles, long-term dormant cysts independent of a fish host, or any way of getting into your aquarium without you introducing it. Without getting (I hope) too technical, ich is a single-celled parasite and has 3 life stages:

    Stage 1: a free-swimming tomite/theront, similar to a paramecium. In this stage it searches for a fish to attach itself to
    Stage 2: an immobile trophont embedded under your fish's skin, this is the eating stage
    Stage 3: the tomont is released from the fish's skin and mucus layer and swims for a brief period before settling in the gravel to make a protected cyst. This is the reproduction stage where as a single-celled organism it divides itself repeatedly, and from the cyst as many as 2000 new tomite/theronts can later errupt.

    If you treat it properly it will be eliminated entirely from your aquarium, until you accidentally introduce it again. Some examples of this are new fish, live plants, wet ornaments from other tanks, wet hands dipped in more than one tank, or wet nets shared with other tanks. Ich is killed if allowed to completely dry out, so dry nets and other objects shouldn't spread it. It may not show up visibly right away when newly introduced.

    Ich is not caused by temperature fluctuations, gravel vacuuming, or anything but inadvertently introducing it to your tank. It may do a good job of remaining invisible for a while after that introduction, giving the impression of spontaneously appearing in the tank. Stressed fish are more likely to get ich, but the stress didn't cause the ich.

    Many people will tell you differently than this, even many books and magazines will tell you differently than this. I've been thrown off in the past by aquarists I respect giving me false information as fact regarding ich. Research it yourself or find a source that provides scientific backing for their claims. Be wary of simply googling ich and finding articles written by amateurs repeating the popular theories. Here's a good article that points you to even more good articles on ich: The Skeptical Aquarist - Ich

    There is a popular urban legend that humans only use 10% of their brain. This myth has appeared as fact in all kinds of media from television programs to literature, not to mention spouted frequently by trivia fans. In actuality, you use all 100% of your brain, unless of course you believe everything you hear, and then repeat it to others as fact. :)

    And, in saying this I recognize that someone may come along and disprove what I've said here, which is a good reason to keep up to date with the latest developments in science, especially in this ever-changing hobby.
     

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