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paul b

A discussion of immunity

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I have been thinking about this for seven or eight years and finally, through scientific research and my experimentation I think I have figured out something that may change the way we run aquariums. For many years I have been feeding live blackworms, live amphipods and live new born brine shrimp to my tank and I always assumed the excellent health of my fish was a result of that. My fish seem immune from just about everything including bacterial infections and parasites. Although live food seems to be the reason for their immunity, I think I found out the exact mechanism for the immunity. It's not so much that the food is live, but that the bacteria inside the guts of the food is also live. Many of our fish are quarantined for 72 days, then put in a sterile tank and fed things like freeze dried worms, pellets, flakes and frozen food. Almost all of that food is sterile although frozen food "may" have some living bacteria, albeit weak. Fish in the sea eat nothing but live food along with it's associated gut and skin bacteria. New reasearch indicates that a fishes immune system, while vastly different from ours still depends on the fish meeting an infectious agent to impart immunity to the animal. Our immune system is mainly concentrated in our bone marrow but fish have no bone marrow and instead produce antibodies in their kidney and spleen. The bacteria on the food the fish eat filters through the kidney which helps the immune system recognize a threat. The immune response of fish is to produce slime which completely covers the fish and the slime contains "activated macrophages"

 

 

Following are just "partial" quotes of this informative article that I have found which makes good reading especially to the many aquarists that don't believe fish can become immune from disease and parasites. I quoted some parts of the article that I thought were more suited to this post but it is incomplete and can be read in full if you Google the link starting with (ISRN ImmunologyVolume 2012 Maria Angeles

 

Ref:

 

Copyright © 2012 María Ángeles Esteban. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

 

 

 

(ISRN ImmunologyVolume 2012 (2012), Article ID 853470, 29 pageshttp://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/853470

 

 

Review Article

 

An Overview of the Immunological Defenses in Fish Skin

 

 

 

María Ángeles Esteban)

 

Quote: Immunity associated with the parasites depends on the inhabiting discrete sites in the host. Especially important for this paper are the ectoparasites, those habiting in or on the skin. Until recently there had been little direct evidence of innate immune mechanisms against parasites associated with mucosal epithelium [285]. The active immunological role of skin against parasitic infection has been shown recently [286288], and now mucosal immunity against them start to be elucidated.

 

 

 

Non-parasitic fishes usually die following infection, but animals surviving sublethal parasite exposure become resistant to subsequent challenge. This resistance correlates with the presence of humoral antibodies in the sera and cutaneous mucus of immune fishes.

 

According to these authors "probiotic for aquaculture is a live, dead or component of a microbial cell that, when administered via the feed or to the rearing water, benefits the host by improving either disease resistance, health status, growth performance, feed utilisation, stress response or general vigour, which is achieved at least in part via improving the hosts or the environmental microbial balance."

 

 

The first demonstration that probiotics can protect fishes against surface infections was against Aeromonas bestiarum and Ichthyophthirius multifiliis in rainbow trout [330]. The research on this topic is considered of high priority at present because enriched diets could be used as preventive or curative therapies for farmed fishes. End Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another interesting fact found in a recent issue of Scientific American By Ferris Jabr | September 12, 2012 |

 

 

States that zebra fish whose guts were rich in bacteria absorbed more fats from their food as compared to fish in a germ free envirnment which in turn increased the number of energy-rich fat bubbles stored within the fish's intestinal cells for later use.

 

I also discovered while researching is that fish fed a vaired diet actualy had less bacterial diversity in their gut than fish fed only one or two different types of food. I have always said that fish do not need a vaired diet, they need what they were designed to eat and nothing more. My fish are normally fed only three types of food. Live worms, frozen clams and frozen mysis. The smaller fish are only given live new born brine shrimp. I sometimes increase the diversity of their diet as an experiment but when that is over, they go back to their normal diet.

 

Coincidently in this months "Popular Science" (August 2015) there is an article about this very topic. The author states that the most germ free envirnment today is on the International Space Station. Everything is sterilized including the air. All the surfaces are coated with bacteria limiting coatings, even the water is treated with iodine and biocidal nano silver so the only bacteria prsent are the ones coming from the astronauts themselves. They can't open a window or send out for Pizza so there is no fresh influx of microbes to balance the ecosystem. Sounds like quarantining doesn't it? He also states that a loss of gut bacteria correlates with many diseases and could impede longer space travel. If we lose our gut bacteria, our immune system goes dormant.

 

In the real world bacteria, viruses and parasites evolved right along with other organisms that help keep each organism in check. They have their enemies and friends. When we mess with the system by using antibiotics or extended periods of quarantine, or remove living bacteria from their food, we are dooming the fish to a life where they are on the verge of getting a fatal disease.

 

This is also the reason so many diseases are contracted in hospitals, a place where great pains are taken to keep the place clean. They are clean, so the only bacteria present are from sick people with no other bacteria or viruses to counteract them. It is now thought that people using those hand sanitizers from very young are at a higher risk of becomming an allergic toddler.

 

Human babies born normally pick up Lactobacillus in the birth canal which helps them digest milk and lowers the gut's pH to the normal range. but babies born by C-section miss out and could be born with Staphlococcus and sometimes antibiotic resistant bacteria. (Rinku Patel Popular Science August 2015)

 

So after researching all of this I have come to the conclusion that quarantining fish for an extended amount of time is actually very bad for our fishes health. In my opinion, if we want to quarantine I would do it using drugs such as copper in the theory that doing so will kill any parasites present in about 10 days while keeping the immunity the fish intact. Then I would feed at least some live food every day not just for the vitamins that come from live food, but for the bacteria. I am not sure how long a fishes immunity lasts but in the sea, it was immune, or almost immune for it's entire life. When a fish is collected, stored, starved and shipped it is in a very weakened state and their immune system is hardly functioning so even though the immune response to parasites, viruses and bacteria is there. It isn't strong enough to protect the fish, but if we can get it out of stress, fed live bacteria laden food and in a stable envirnment as soon as possable, it will recover and sustain some of their immunity.

 

How many times do we read that a tank full of quarantined fish suddenly crashes and all the fish are lost to a parasite? It happens daily and all you have to do is go on any fish forum and search for it. Fish quarantined for extended amounts of time and fed sterile foods "have no immune system what so ever". I didn't make this up as you can read the articles I referenced or just Google "Fish Immunity" where you will find a plethora of new research which suggests that keeping fish sterile is the complete wrong thing to do. I rarely put references in my posts because I normally do my own research. But I realize I am not a fish doctor, researcher or marine biologist. What I am is an aquarist with immune fish. How do I know they are immune? I know because some of them have been in my tank for over 20 years, I add fish from many stores and even the sea. I can add fish with obvious parasites and in no case will anything else become infected. Many times during the year I add mud from the sea for the bacteria I always thought it was a good idea, now I know why. My fish get some live food every day and always have. I even think that the fish infected with parasites that I add strengthn the immune system so they never become infected. Of course we can't add parasite infected fish to a system that is not already immune and that is where the problem starts.

 

. If this is not immunity I am an extreamly lucky individual and should go out and buy lottery tickets today.

 

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I think your theory has a lot going for it, given the amount of knowledge and research on fish diseases out there.  I'm no expert on diseases because I could never afford those $300 books that are written for the aquaculture community, but it only makes sense that in a balanced environment the beneficial bacteria almost always out-compete the bad bacteria.  

 

At first I was thrown off by your assertion that QT was not good for fish, but then I realized that it is the sterile foods in a sterile environment which you put down and not the QT itself.  I think your argument that if live foods are given throughout QT the fish will be more healthy and that also makes good sense.

 

I remember something that Copps kept stressing about QT:  that it wasn't necessarily meant to drug up the fish, but more to get the fish used to a new environment, to get it started eating again, and fatten it up so it can take the stress of the display tank when finally introduced.   That makes good sense too.

 

However I am a little too timid to go to the extent of "exposing fish to ectoparasites in order to build up their resistance".  I'm not trying to quote you exactly because you didn't say exactly that.  But in such a small and closed environment as an aquarium, with high fish load and nutrient levels, I'd be reluctant to deliberately expose fish to any of the diseases.  I just don't feel comfortable yet with that idea.  I may need a little more time, like your 43 years.

 

I once explained a similar theory to my father about food.  I sometimes deliberately ate food that was old on the theory that sterile food made people less healthy than keeping a variety of bacteria in the stomach, even up to the point that the body rejected the bad food.  My father said "you had me---right up to the bit about food poisoning!".

 

I guess I'm just saying that to me there's too fine a line between balancing the fish's immunity and possibly allowing ectoparasites to run rampant in such a small system.

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Dave, thanks for posting.  I didn't post this as a "Do this" kind of thing, just a discussion of ideas.  I realize many people quarantine and I don't have a problem with that.  I have a problem with very long quarantining like 2 months which is often advised.  I think besides the obvious stress on a fish for that long I would assume their immune system would suffer greatly with no input of pathogens.  I don't know how long the immunity on wild fish lasts so I wouldn't want to do that.  I am not sure how we can expose our fish to parasites after we quarantine them to strengthen their immunity or even if that is needed.  We could probably use weak parasites (if there is such a thing) just like we are inoculated with weak viruses and bacterias to give us immunity.  I know I get a flu shot every year and when I was young, we all had to have shots for Polio.  My Grand Kids also have to get shots for measles and Chicken Pox.  It seems to work on us, so why not on fish?  How many times do we read that an entire tank died from parasites?  All the time.  I think we can prevent that by focusing more on the immune system and less on curing things.  I don't even have any medications except copper for when I buy a fish covered in parasites that I get for practically free. 

Just a thought.

Edited by paul b

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I like your discussion of ideas because your viewpoint is valid and not many people approach holistic fish health.  The fish industry tends to be oriented toward solutions that feed money into the business (expensive new types of filters, RO/DI water, denitrators, etc).  But you and I are old timers and we remember when it was even worse.  I think in the 1990's or so it was recommended to sterilize and UV the water with a large array of technology.  Thank goodness that live rock and bright lighting and live corals have taken over the industry in the last 15 years.  And with this revolution the fish have changed to -- from dinner plate sized beauties swimming through dead coral skeletons to what we have now -- small, colorful fish that are reef compatible.

 

Your holistic approach doesn't need a lot of expensive equipment so it probably doesn't have a proponent out there advertising in magazines.  But it is a good viewpoint.

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I've followed all your threads closely.  Your methods are common sense, yet unconventional.  It's hard to stay away from your posts and your sense of humor.

 

However in an effort to try and extend the discussion a bit, can I ask you things from another angle?  I think we all generally agree that probiotics are good, but which ones?  I've heard good things about alicium, although I'm probably spelling it incorrectly.  It is isolated from the garlic family (allium is a common garden flower related to garlic and onions).  But there are dozens of probiotics out there and I have no idea which ones work best for fish.  Most of the supplements are cheap and only small amounts are needed, so maybe it would be best to go to a health food store and buy a dozen different types.  Would you agree?

 

I'd also like your opinion of the best way to get the probiotics to the fish.  I can think of two options.  First, break open the little capsules and mix the powder directly into your DIY frozen food mash.  Second, add a fine powder to your brine shrimp tank or a sinking pellet to your blackworm tray and pack them before feeding to your fish.  I would guess that both methods could work.

 

When I look up probiotics on the internet I see how innacurate the industry is.  Here is a quote from a company that tested the top 30 probiotics "The tested products recorded large label claim variances, averaging viable bacteria at 206% off their stated label claims. 21 of 30 products recorded total viable bacteria at least 50% off their label claims, 7 products measured probiotic bacteria at least 100% off their claims, and 2 products exceeded a 1000% label claim variance.  "

 

It is probably unavoidable to see such wide variation.  Many "health food" fads are based on folk remedies with weaker links to human health than to corporate profits.  I remember 20 years ago shark cartilage was put in pills and sold by the millions.  The theory was that sharks never got cancer so if you took shark cartilage pills it would magically help your cancer prevention.  More recently, POM and other drinks came out with the rumor that their antioxidants have cancer prevention properties.  The products earn many millions for the big food companies but there is a lag of a few years before the anticancer rumors are completely refuted.  About the same amount of time to expose that things labelled as pomegranite/blueberry juice have only something like 3% of pomegranite and blueberry juice, the rest is pear and grape juice.  I think there was a recent Supreme Court case about this type of labelling.

 

OK, so I digress.  To get back to the point Paul, would you recommend any specific probiotics or as a general rule mix in a bit of everything?

Edited by dave w

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Dave. I have never used Probiotics that you could buy because I get the bacteria into the fish through natural things like live worms and mud from the sea.  I figure I have to feed the fish anyway so why not use the free probiotics that already come in natural, live foods that are good for the fish anyway.  After all, fish in the sea don't normally buy probiotics but they eat live foods every meal.  I also think that commercial probiotics would not necessarily have the exact bacteria that come in natural food, but I am only guessing as I normally do, me not being a fish and all.  I am trying to take the best guesses I can :cool:

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I just dumped 20 gallons of water from the Long Island Sound into my tank as I have been doing for decades.  I just strained out the seaweed and jellyfish as these things will rot and turn into nitrate which I already have enough of. The natural water also has some bacteria in it.  Not much in the water itself but on the microscopic particles that are always associated with NSW.  many people ask me if I am afraid of introducing parasites and diseases and I always say something like "Do I look afraid?"  As years go by my thinking has changed and now I am afraid to use water that does not have some bacteria and parasites in it because I feel it enhances the fishes immunity.   Of course I couldn't do that to a tank where everything was quarantined and the fish were eating sterile food or I would kill everything.   I am so surprised the hobby has not at least tried to think about keeping fish a natural way and instead insist on trying to keep everything out then curing them when they get sick.  To me, it is mind boggling and my mind is boggled enough without worrying that my fish will get sick.  I can't imagine buying a fish than stressing it out for 2 months in quarantine then when it has virtually no immune system and is stressed beyond belief, introduce it to a mixed community of fish.  It must be very hard on such a fish.

I can't even mention this on some forums or they would (and have) closed the thread.  That is unfortunate.

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Paul, as you know, the aquarium industry would make very little money with your natural method, so there is nobody in the industry to advertise or push it.  It's a little like algae scrubbers.  Many years ago Dr. Adey introduced them but they never took off because there wasn't an industry incentive to push it.  Only in recent years has someone (I think his screen name is SDguy) been pushing the concept on forums again and it's becoming more popular.  

 

I agree that some forum people would strongly disagree with you because your method flies in the face of what they have trained on.  But your 43 years of success would cause most people to refrain from criticism and at least give it serious thought.  Even the most narrow minded have respect for an elder statesman like you.

 

Personally, I agree with what you say.  But to use the human analogy again, I go the natural way in my own health right up to the point that I feel REALLY sick with something and then I get straight to the doctor for emergency treatment.  I know that the antivirals and antibiotics the doc prescribes will throw my system out of whack for a while, but at that point even an over-treatment is probably better than the alternative.   

 

Relating this analogy to aquariums, I think there are good reasons to stay with your natural method right up to the point that one day you (might) see ich appear on your fish and realize that an emergency is about to happen, then go the "scorched earth" method by treating every fish.  In your personal experience you would say that in a natural system this wouldn't happen, and I hope you're right.  But in the back of my mind I would still be prepared for an emergency.  I just can't help but think that our tanks are so much more crowded than the ocean, and these loaded ecosystems are ripe for an ectoparasite to get out of hand.

 

Another challenge to your method is the small sample size.  Even with your experience, you are the only one (or one of the few) that have tried and succeeded with this method.  More timid people like me would have an easier time going natural if someone like Sanjay at Penn State ran a controlled experiment with a number of identical natural tanks, then introduced crypto/ich laden fish to see if the healthy tank inhabitants make it.  Although I'm not saying I don't trust your experience, I would feel more comfortable after such an experiment.  It's possible that your high level of knowledge is what's keeping your tank healthy more than the natural method.  One lesson I learned from reading Mike Paletta's book on ultimate aquariums -- he found a wide range of methods that were successful but every great tank had in common the fact that it's keeper was extremely smart and dedicated.

 

Your points make a great deal of sense.  It's logical that natural systems keep healthier fish and should better fight off normal diseases and parasites.  With my next QT system I will try to cover both bases by keeping fish in an isolated natural tank until they eat well, but still be able to remove them for special drug treatments if it looks like they need it.  You can call me a chicken and you'll probably be right.  But while I like everything that you say I still have a hard time overcoming the fear of a full blown outbreak of ich.  

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Paul's method doesn't scale is the problem it doesn't get more play, I think.  It also doesn't get new people in to the hobby because new people can't do what he does, for the most part. 

 

He can do some of the things he does because he has a lot of knowledge, has access to the sea, and also has a very mature tank which he started, no doubt, to take his mind off Richard Nixon's presidency.  8)

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Dave, very nice post and I agree with most of it.  Remember I am not advocating my methods nor do I advocate using a reverse UG filter as I do.  But my methods are not controversial.  Everyone else's are because when the hobby started, we all went by the methods I still use.  Because of the internet, and as you pointed out the aquarium industry doesn't make much with my methods and I am sure they all hate me and wish I would get stung by urchins and disappear to an Island run by Supermodels with no means of escape.  :tongue: I can't help it that I feel natural methods are the way to go.  I am sorry for the industry but I am not here to keep anyone in business.  (I even invented and hold the patent for the Majano Wand)  If I find a product I like, I will mention it as there are plenty of good devices, skimmers, pumps, powerheads etc.  I don't push them because I rarely buy anything as mine have lasted for decades so I have no experience with most of them.    I am not an advocate of dead foods and I never was.  I am sorry, I just have problems with the fact that oils and bacteria are missing.  I have used flakes and pellets for years and they have their place.  I just think fresh is better.   Tomatoes are an excellent food (for us) and are full of vitamin C, but there are no major tomato growers so they are not pushed as a source of vitamin C.  But there are a few very large orange growers so oranges are advertised as a great source of vitamin C even though tomatoes have more of that vitamin than oranges.

 

I love this hobby and try to teach the methods that I know because I have been doing it so long that I have made all the mistakes and probably killed more fish than Starkist tuna.  I can now keep almost any fish for it's full normal lifespan and never have to worry about disease.  I realize my tank could crash from ich.  But how long do scientific experiments last?  A few months, a couple of years?  My tank has been running disease free for probably 35 years.  I can't really prove it because there were no computers then and I have few pictures.  Information just wasn't shared then but my tank did appear in a few aquarium magazines 20 years ago. 

I rarely go on a certain fish forum that I won't mention any more because they don't believe in immunity at all and they would delete this thread.  But, even though they don't agree with me I gave them a challenge a few times.  I asked them to send me a parasite infected fish and I would put it in my reef as a test.  They wouldn't do it because (I think) that would prove my point and they would have no explanation.   They just tout quarantine everything for 2 months or cure them when they get sick.  I don't think fish should "ever" get sick and I "think" I have found out why. 

 

I think if you start a tank with fish that were only quarantined a short while maybe with copper, or not at all into a mature, healthy tank.  Not just started with ASW.  They would probably become covered in some sort of parasites.  But if you start out feeding nothing but live foods and if you can, run a diatom filter, I feel in a few days, those fish would eliminate the parasites and become immune.  Of course some of them may die as I have never tried this, I am just  thinking out loud.  (I also have no way of knowing how long along the disease is)

Sometimes when I put in a new fish it will exhibit some spots, but they always lose them in a day or so as they become healthy in my tank with the live food and I assume their immune system starts working soon because they still have their immunity from the sea. 

I know that at least 782 people will disagree with me and that's fine.  No one has to use my methods and I am not saying to.  What I am asking is to just think about the mechanism that keeps our fish healthy.  Why do your fish get sick and what can we do to prevent it.  :cool:

Greta%20on%20boat%20with%20glasses_zpssc

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In my tank now are these fish, none of which were quarantined and some are in their 20.  All the paired fish are spawning

Copperband

pair of mandarins

Pair of ruby red dragonettes

watchman gobi and a few other gobies

clown gobi.

marine betta

pair of bluestriped pipefish

pair of bangai cardinals.

3 or 4 unknown cardinals

4 or 45 wrasses including a possum wrasse.

Pair of fireclowns

red scooter dragonette

pair of pistol shrimp

long spined urchin and unknown number of snails and crabs.

I am sure I missed some but not many.

 

None of those fish has ever been sick and the fireclowns are about 24 years old.

Edited by paul b

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Paul, as you can tell I agree with most of what you say and my experience of most WAMAS people is that we are open to hear from those with much more experience than we have.   

 

I have no doubt that enriched live food will go a long way toward keeping marine fish healthy and able to fight off disease.  In particular I love blackworms.  Back in the mid 1980's my Block Island seahorse friend (Walt, he says he's talked with you a bunch of times)  helped me build a 250 gallon fiberglass and plywood tank in his woodshed.  I put in some harems of pygmy angels and they just did so, so, nothing special.  Then one day I started feeding them live blackworms and within weeks they got fatter and started nightly spawning.  Without doubt, something in those blackworms induced the angels to spawn.  Maybe the fat calories, maybe bacteria or enzymes from the gut, who knows?  But it worked.  I would guess that your buckets full of amphipods have the same effect.  

 

Down here in the Chesapeake we have a lot of grass shrimp and if you have a buddy and a net you can collect hundreds in a short period of time.  I haven't done it yet, but would like to do that when I get some more tanks going.  

 

And judging by the picture of your granddaughter, it looks like you have already been abandoned in a boat with a supermodel.  She sure is a cutie!

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There are so many of those grass shrimp in my marina that I think they could hold my boat out of the water. I don't use them for food now because i don't have any fish large enough to eat them except the watchman and he lives fine on clams and worms. I do sometimes collect them for people with larger fish. They are great for frogfish, moray eels, lionfish, and groupers. Here is a pregnant one

 

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Edited by paul b

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Thank you s2nhle.  Today I am going out in my boat to a tide pool to collect grass shrimp, amphipods and mud.  The summer is slowly ending and I want to get more mud as I don't like to dig under the ice to collect it.  I am not sure if mud does anything for the tank, but what the heck.

The grass shrimp I give away and only add a few to my tank.  They jump out when the fish chase them and my fish are all to small to eat them.

My book is almost out but it doesn't contain this thought about immunity as I did not publish it at the time I finished the book.  I am going to submit it to the publisher tomorrow to see if it can be included being the book is not quite printed yet.  I believe fish immunity, which has been around since there was fish, is a very important aspect of this hobby and just about zero is written about it.  Maybe less than zero as I have never read about it on a forum.  All I read about is diseases and trying to cure them.  I don't go on those threads because I believe it is silly for our fish to be sick.   I have a bottle of copper/formalin that is almost full but I can't hardly read the label.  That is because I bought it in the 70s.  I only use it if I purposely buy a fish covered in parasites very cheap so I can cure it in a couple of days and have a great fish.  My fish don't get sick so no one's fish should ever get sick.  It is not that difficult and just involves feeding fish properly and maybe changing the way we quarantine or eliminating it all together eventually. 

People will throw bricks at me on some forums for saying that and I will get nasty letters.  They are from people who don't get immunity and have no idea how to keep their fish healthy.   They can't explain how my fish stay healthy except to say it is not duplicable or I am lucky.  Like Really!.  That is the scientific answer I "always" get. 

Tidepool I will be at today.  At high tide there is 8' of water here.

 

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My LFS runs copper profalacticly which seems to help. The other fish store does not and I can tell a difference with fish health. I keep black worms and feed once a week with them. It seems to boost morale in the tank just like steak night at the firehouse.

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Paul great post about naturally occurring bacteria and the benefits to captive aquarium fish. Since 2013 we have been studying the research done in aquaculture for the finfish, scallops, shrimp etc which are farmed for us to consume. Typically bacteria is added to the water, but also aquaculture feeds are often supplemented with bacteria as well.  We began adding active cultures of probiotic bacteria to our foods in 2013 and the results have been very positive with numerous aquaculture facilities using our foods for breeding delicate species, some of which have not been bred before in captivity. The probiotics was a big reason many folks were drawn to our foods and the Testimonials on our site are starting to stack up from breeding projects so it is making many folks take notice.

 

Rather than cut and paste I'll just share the link to the page where the benefits are explained and there is a link to an article on raising clownfish with added bacteria.  http://www.larrysreefservices.com/probiotics.html

 

Sorry for the shameless plug, but this topic has been one which we have been very passionate about and it likely will becoming in the spotlight as more and more foods begin to add bacteria. A trip to my LFS recently revealed another frozen food maker is adding "probiotics" to  their frozen food available in cube form. Our newest "Fertility Frenzy" broodstock diet has two additional strains of bacteria not found in our other blends. A couple hundred packs have been in circulation with breeders posting very positive results. 

 

Recently at the Marine Breeding Initiative Workshop in Michigan the topic of supplementing foods with bacteria to benefit the host and larvae was discussed. We are watching closely as the Tropical Aquaculture Lab in Florida and also the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii recently introduced our foods into the blue hippo and yellow tang breeding projects. 

 

In January of this year we were welcomed into the Rising Tide Conservation project and many of the biologists were very interested in obtaining frozen food with "active" bacteria added.

 

Obviously, your OP was regarding the live bacteria in the pods and worms you are feeding, but absent of someone having access to the live foods as you do feeding a frozen food supplemented with bacteria is the next best thing.

 

Gotta finish packing for MACNA!

 

Larry

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Larry, I still have a little of your food left and am looking for more with the bacteria in it you mentioned.  I have been on this bacteria kick for about a year and we never read anything on it.  I have always added mud to my water for the bacteria.  People just seem content to let their fish get sick, then try to cure them.  I think that is a stupid idea as our fish should "never" get sick and I firmly believe bacteria is the key to keeping up their immunity.  Adding bacteria to your food is a great idea.  With the drought in California I am having trouble getting blackworms so a frozen food with bacteria would be the next best thing.  Especially your food with the blackworms already in it.  I still have some worms but not many. 

I think in the near future we will see added bacteria in all foods as that is the way to go and we have to get off this sterility kick.

Luckily, I can still get live clams, but I usually eat them myself so the fish don't get many. :tongue:

Who sells your food in my area on Long Island?  

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I was curious on how long that bacteria stays alive in frozen foods. I assume after you have had the frozen food in the freezer the effectiveness of it decreases. Like I said, this is just an assumption.  

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I really don't know, but if you defrost frozen food in your refrigerator and let it sit there to long, it will rot so I assume some bacteria survives the freezer

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That rotting could be from new bacteria being exposed to it too.

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Larry, I still have a little of your food left and am looking for more with the bacteria in it you mentioned.  I have been on this bacteria kick for about a year and we never read anything on it.  I have always added mud to my water for the bacteria.  People just seem content to let their fish get sick, then try to cure them.  I think that is a stupid idea as our fish should "never" get sick and I firmly believe bacteria is the key to keeping up their immunity.  Adding bacteria to your food is a great idea.  With the drought in California I am having trouble getting blackworms so a frozen food with bacteria would be the next best thing.  Especially your food with the blackworms already in it.  I still have some worms but not many. 

I think in the near future we will see added bacteria in all foods as that is the way to go and we have to get off this sterility kick.

Luckily, I can still get live clams, but I usually eat them myself so the fish don't get many. :tongue:

Who sells your food in my area on Long Island?  

 

Paul, trying to pack for MACNA but wanted to jump on real quick.  You can search our map here:  http://www.larrysreefservices.com/where-to-buy-lrs.html

We have several vendors on LI selling our food. Paul, I'll keep you updated on what progress is made as these research facilities move forward. 

 

I was curious on how long that bacteria stays alive in frozen foods. I assume after you have had the frozen food in the freezer the effectiveness of it decreases. Like I said, this is just an assumption.  

 

Bacteria actually stops replicating in the freezer and goes into a dormant state. When the foods are warmed up the bacteria actually will continue to be viable. Hence the reason we have to cook our foods before we eat them because freezing alone will not render them safe. You can actually google and find a ton of studies on bacteria (and probiotics in aquaculture going back a decade or more) and there is some data to indicate that bacteria will start to decrease it's effectiveness a little bit over time, month after month. That is of of the reasons we have abandoned the typical frozen food distribution model and "self distribute" our foods directly to stores. We don't keep any food here more than ten days and the average turnaround is typically 5-7 days after production.

 

By starting with over a million colony forming units per gram of food it ensures that even after the time sitting at a store (1-3 months based on our typical refill rate)  the product should still be beneficial when it arrives at your home.

 

Gotta run but happy to answer any more questions as time permits.

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