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paul b

A discussion of immunity

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A little more on immunity if anyone is interested. This stuff fascinates me almost as much as Supermodels.

A fishes epidermis consists of, besides other things, various types of unicellular glands some of which are goblet or mucous (slime) glands. These glands secrete slime. (other parts of fish also produce slime) Slime is a major part of the fishes immune system.


Besides secreting slime, the epidermis produces keratocytes. These motile keratocytes can cover the surface of a wound in hours after it's formation adding bacterial resistance to the wound and helping new cells to grow. This is the reason fish appendages, such as fins can re- grow.


Skin mucus evolved to trap and immobilize most bacteria and pathogens including parasites. This mucus is constantly shed, eliminating most pathogens and is immediately replaced.


The thickness of the slime is regulated in part by the stressers put on the animal such as temperature or stress. Copper, that we often use to treat fish would also cause the fish to produce more mucus there by helping the fish to eliminate the pest as well as to help kill it.


Interestingly a different type of mucus is produced for several days after a fish is stressed composed of a gel like material. It is unknown weather this gel has the same antibacterial and anti parasitic properties of the normal slime. This last statement has not been qualified on "all" types of fish as it has not been tested but it is interesting to me because I believe quarantining fish in a small tank would elicit this response making the fish more susceptical to infection. This is only a thought on my part and not something I discovered through research.


There are many more ways a fish has immunity to pathogens but they all have one thing in common. They require energy in the form of food. I know I have said it numerous times, but almost none of our fish are fed enough or correctly which is the reason for so many disease threads. With all the help fish get from their vast, complicated immune system, they should never get sick. If they do, it is our fault, not the store, not the wholesaler and not the fish.


We supply the living conditions, the stress and the food and most of us are not very good at it. Fish in our care should live out their normal lives, disease free and they should also be producing eggs, and if they are in the proper tank, spawning.


If our fish are not spawning, their immune system is not functioning and they are susceptible to all sorts of infections.


Feeding fish correctly is easy as I have mentioned many times. We have an obligation to keep these creatures in the state of health that they were living in, in the sea.


Just my opinion of course.




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

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There was a Doctor on TV this week who must have read this thread (yeah right) because he was talking about eating dirt to enhance your immunity and why so many people get sick now. Of course I related this to fish.


I read everything this man wrote then googled "Eat Dirt" and found a wealth of information on why eating dirt is good for you. No, don't go out and eat dirt, read the article first. But what he says and what I read on a few more places on the subject.


Also this from the American Medical Association a couple of months ago:




“Countless studies have found children who spend recess time in a green environment, rather than on cement or blacktop, perform better on tests in the classroom, have reduced symptoms of ADHD and stress, and lower risk of obesity,” she says. “They’re also more likely to have perfect vision than those who spend most of their time indoors.”


- See more at: http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/allergies/articles/dirt_can_give_kids_a_cleaner_bill_of_health.aspx#sthash.WOkFbtIv.dpuf






There are data that say our immune system and bodies in general, function best when exposed to not only microbes, or organisms, but also to diversity too. That has to come not only from a diverse diet, but also the environment. Quite simply, our kids need to go out and play in the dirt.






For example, regular use of bleach is associated with more – not fewer – infections in kids, according to a 2015 study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine. “Children aren’t as healthy as they once were or as they could be,” she says. “I’ve observed more incidences of chronic illness and health issues like allergies, diabetes and neuropsychiatric issues.” - See more at: http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/allergies/articles/dirt_can_give_kids_a_cleaner_bill_of_health.aspx#sthash.WOkFbtIv.dpuf "






The Data goes on and on. I feel and have always felt that we keep our tanks much to clean and our fish food much to sterile. New research suggests this and you can find it all over the place.


I believe it because I am an outdoor kind of a guy and always have been. I never believed you have to wash your hands every time you eat unless you just got off the New York City Subway system because that is not dirt. That is bubonic plague, typhoid, diphtheria and any number of social diseases, but if you were just working in the garden or you just helped a Supermodel jump start her car, those germs won't hurt you. (unless the Supermodel just got off the subway and that is not likely to happen because Supermodels would never ride in a subway)


As I have said numerous times feeding live worms and other foods that have not been sterilized is the reason my fish are immune from (so far) everything. It is the "dirt" and associated bacteria and parasites that are the secret.


I feel we should keep our fish away from foods that claim that they are free from parasites and harmful organisms.

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This morning my wife and I were discussing how we lived when we were much younger and how the world has changed. My Dad and her Dad had retail stores. My dad had a fish market and just like her dad and everyone with a food market there was piles of saw dust on the floor. The cutting boards were wood, the knife handles were wood and the fish, and meat came in wooden crates as plastic was not available then. I am talking about the fifties.


I used to play in the back yard of our fish market and shoot flies with a rubber band. We also had live carp and eels in old bath tubs.


At the end of the week my Dad would sweep the floor and throw out all the old, fish scale infested sawdust and put down clean sawdust. Every night he would clean, using soap and bleach the knives and cutting boards.





Today, you are not allowed to use saw dust, wooden handled knives or cutting boards probably because of lawyers. I am sure someone, some where got sick and saw dust was blamed just like coffee can't be hot any more.


But it was the saw dust, cutting boards and wooden knife handles as well as numerous other things that enhanced our immune systems.


I was always an out doors kid and cut myself many times. I would rinse it off in a puddle or pond and go about my business never thinking about it.


I had an uncle that worked at the docks in NYC, one of the roughest places on Earth at that time. He got stabbed in the belly twice when 3 guys tried to mug him. (the muggers didn't fare very well) My Uncle wrapped the wounds in the same rag he cleaned eels with and lived to be about 90 never seeing a doctor or dentist in his life.


When my Mom would get a cold as a kid, her Mother would make her sleep in the horse stables thinking the smell of horse poop would cure her. (my Mom was born in lower Manhattan in 1910) My Mother lived to be 99 years old, she died of old age and was never sick and never even took an aspirin. How many people today could say that?





The point of this is that today how many kids do you know with allergies? How many kids are allergic to peanuts? How many kids are home from school with colds?


How many people in their 60s or 70s can you name with allergies?


Probably very few. As a kid no one in my school had any allergies and we all ate peanuts. I always got an attendance award because I was never out sick. I think in the 40 years I worked as a construction worker in Manhattan I was out maybe 3 or 4 times from being sick and never for having a cold, allergy or anything else except maybe a broken bone or disk problem.


That is IMO because I was brought up in a natural environment surrounded by bacteria and never having access to that silly sterilizing hand spray that people today feel they have to take baths in.


I still almost never get a cold, flu or any silly infection.


The little kids in My Grand Daughter's school almost all have some sort of allergy. My Grand Daughter is allergic to everything and half the kids in her school are allergic to something. Peanuts are outlawed in many restaurants and schools.


Kids today, (Like fish) get all sorts of things and in some homes it is an adventure waking up to see if the kids have some sort of infection.





I feel this is a big problem in our fish tanks and the biggest cause of all the posts on disease threads.


This is also why I go to a muddy bay and collect mud to throw in my tank. If I didn't live by the sea, I would throw regular dirt in there as I did when I started my tank.


I also feel we have to start thinking of bacteria as a good thing instead of a bad thing.


Just my thoughts of course and not meant to be taken as fact. Just an observation that is obvious to anyone who is a lot older than most fish people.






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I am talking about the fifties.





The eighteen-fifties?  :tongue:


But seriously, I do think you're right about some of this, and I think some of these theories are catching up to the industry. I notice that WAMAS sponsor LRS specifically supplement their frozen food with bacteria, and I keep hearing about major success stories in getting fish to breed and getting their offspring to survive using this sort of food. 

Edited by MisterTang

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Too many people are cringing when they read about dirt. A few weeks ago we were at a bar be cue at my friends house and my Daughter's friend had here baby there. I saw the baby on the grass eating grass and dirt so I told her Mother who is a school principal. She surprised me by saying, I don't stop her from doing that because I want to boost her immune system. Now that Mom is 38 years old and I was so surprised to hear that answer. I mean, I believe it but most young people go crazy if they see a baby put something dirty in their mouth.

If you go to a museum, look at the cave Man exhibit and see if you can see any of them holding that sanitizing hand spray. In most cases you won't see that and cave men (and girls) got along just fine. The ones that died young was because of that saber tooth tiger problem they had and the fact that if they wanted a hamburger, they had to take down a 2,000lb mastodon using a stick and harsh language.


Kids growing up today are in big trouble which is why you can't get an appointment to see a doctor for 6 months. So many more people are sick these days and we didn't get any of this stuff.

It's hard to cut yourself or get dirty playing with an I Pad inside a sterile house or texting your friend about a new Net flex movie or computer game.


We used to go to this lot that had construction debris in it and throw 8' fluorescent tubes at each other. They smashed all over us and so far, no one got cancer or glows in the dark. We also had a rope swing there where most of us broke an arm or leg, but never got sick. I would wade through huge puddles in the mud catching tadpoles then drink the water from the lake. Never got sick.

I spent a year in the jungle in Nam, never got sick.

Every few months we would get hot ice cream and it would be melted in the bottom of the canvas that was slung below a helicopter. We would push away the gunpowder, bugs, mud, and lizzards and scoop out the ice cream with our helmts and drink it as that was a treat. Never got sick.

I did lose my hair but many real Men don't need hair. I'm bringing Sexy back.

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My wife and I just came back from a talk on MS by my wife's Neurologist who is touted as the best MS specialist on Long Island.  Anyway the talk was about the immune system and the MS treatments, especially the new ones.  There is a lot of interest now in gut bacteria and how it can change the immune system and how it can alter our immune system.  They can now take gut bacteria from a thin person and transfer it to an overweight person and the overweight person will lost some weight and if the bacteria stay viable by introducing new foods, that person can stay thin.  They have also had some success curing diabetes using the same procedure. 
I was discussing with him (he is also a friend of ours) how my fish are immune seemingly from everything and he agrees it could be from the live bacteria and pathogens in the clams and live worms guts that gets transferred to the fish.  This theory of changing gut bacteria is fairly new and even he said that that is the future of medicine.  I said, the main reason they are not doing to much of it is because it is not a big money maker for any drug company.  I mean Poop doesn't cost to much. :confused:
I am going to ask him if he will help me write an article because he specializes in the immune system and is very knowledgeable about T cells, white cells, macrophages etc.

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Humans have only been living in sterile environments for the last 100 years.  Before that, we basically pooped in the streets and ate filthy, half spoiled food.  People have been around living like that for millions of years and we had no prizapro.  The reason my fish are seemingly immune to everything IMO is the gut bacteria in the worms and clams I feed almost every day.  We will one day change our ideas on this hobby and embrace some types bacteria, viruses and parasites as valuable life forms that help us rather than kill us.   Without our gut bacteria we would die..   It is such a simple concept and fish are not at all delicate.  There is no need for them to have to be taught to eat and to make feeders for fish such as copperbands etc.  Almost all fish should ravish food and in a tank with no predators they should not be shy.

I always rinse my fish food in tap water and if it falls in the sink or the floor, I scoop it up and dump it in the tank.  I feed live worms with the dirt.  My fish won't get sick, it just can't happen.  When I move in a few weeks, that's another story.

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To be fair though, when people ate filthy half spoiled food the death rate among the human populace was very high. Having close to 10 children but only having a few survive to adulthood was not uncommon.


But in general I agree with you, I think it is the reason that LRS is doing so well because it's real (albeit frozen) food instead of triple processed flakes or pellets that destroy anything remotely natural about the food. Many of the recent successes in breeding salt water fish are in large part due to advances in raising live food for the fish when they are first born and then having good food like Fish and Reef Frenzy as they grow up.

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Matt, that is correct most people didn't live long. but don't forget, even an abscessed tooth will kill you along with appendicitis, tonsillitis, child birth, compound fractures and almost any cut.  I had an uncle who died from Tetanus after he was hit with a horse and buggy about 1920.  We didn't have immunity from everything but for more things than we are immune to now.  They had no refrigeration so many of them were poisoned by spoiled food.

Many jobs lost people every day like building bridges, dams and tunnels.


Some Egyptian Pharoes lived into their 90s as they had decent food.  I myself would have died multiple times from injuries if I had not had medical care.  


Fish come from pathogen infested water and have adapted to live in those conditions.  Humans were supposed to live in trees and eat fruit, now we eat Happy meals, beer, soda, pretzels and beef jerky, none of which is at the top of the food pyramid. We also get almost no exercise.  I know many of us "think" we get enough exercise, but we are wrong.  Just 80 years ago in Manhattan my Dad had a sea food business.  Actually it was a sea food bushel on his back which he carried fish, ice and a cutting board over the Brooklyn Bridge twice a day to peddle fish in Brooklyn.  Soon he made enough money to buy a push cart which weighed a few hundred pounds and he pushed that over the Brooklyn Bridge 6 days a week.  Most of us don't have jobs like that. Most people sit around and push buttons and the most exercise we get is brushing our teeth.  I worked industrial construction all my life but we had lunch and coffee breaks, only worked 7 hours a day and had a vacation.  People didn't get that 100 years AGO.

I have a good friend who thinks he has a physical job.  He owns a printing shop so a couple of times a day he has to carry a ream of paper and put it in a machine or bring in a delivery.  That is not a physical job because 90% of the time he is sitting down on the phone.  He recently had a quadruple coronary bypass. 


Brooklyn Bridge.  Try even walking over the thing twice a day.  It's a little over a mile long and half of that is up hill.  Then push a cart of a few hundred lbs over it in rain and show.



Edited by paul b

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