Humblefish

Experienced Reefer
Disease management - This method involves just managing the presence of diseases, instead of eradicating them. You know you have Ich/velvet, etc. in your tank or are willing to risk it by forgoing QT. Despite how strongly I advocate disease eradication these days, I employed disease management for almost 30 years. I found the key to success was keeping the overall number of parasites down, while simultaneously boosting the fishes’ immune systems to deal with the parasites that survived. Let's examine some of the ways to accomplish this:
  • Utilize the biggest UV sterilizer you can fit/afford (and ensure the flow rate is slow enough to kill parasites). While a UV will probably never “zap” all of the nasties, it will keep their numbers down so fish can better cope with the ones remaining in the water.
  • There are several other tools which can be used for disease management purposes: A diatom filter, ozone, Oxydator, in-tank H2O2 dosing are all options to consider.
  • Boost your fishes’ gut microbiota and immune system through proper nutrition. There are many ways to do this:
    1. Primarily feed live foods & high quality frozen seafood, not just flake & pellets. Pods, rotifers, baby brine shrimp, blackworms and white worms are all good live food options. Frozen foods I recommend include: Mysis shrimp, clams, oysters, scallops, calanus, perch, whitefish and fish eggs. (A member of my local forum posted this homemade food recipe.) If you don't have access to these ingredients where you live then buying LRS Foods (or similar) might be a more practical option.
    2. Consider using foods with probiotics added to them (LRS wins here again), and/or food soak Beta-glucan + vitamin supplements such as Selcon, Zoecon and Vita-Chem to further enhance health. Omega 3 fish oil is a great (and cheap) soaking alternative.
    3. Feed nori, as that is loaded with vitamins (especially iodine).
  • Stay on top of your aquarium husbandry! Maintain pristine water conditions, stable parameters and avoid fish that are likely to fight. Poor water quality, fluctuating parameters and aggression from other fish may “stress” a fish out, lower his immune system and make him more susceptible to disease.
  • Choose your fish wisely. Avoid fish which are known to be more prone to disease (e.g. angels, butterflies, tangs) and instead stock fish which are typically more disease-resistant (e.g. blennies, cardinalfish, clownfish, gobies, rabbitfish, wrasses). Do your homework and research fish that have thick mucous/slime coats that protect their skin from attacking parasites. Also, only buy from reputable sources, and don’t buy fish that look diseased/damaged, won’t eat or who share water with diseased fish. (Remember most LFS have their tanks all plumbed together.)
  • No discussion of “disease management” can be had without mentioning garlic. This topic is often debated, and I honestly don’t know whether or not soaking garlic in fish food helps with Ich & other parasites. I have seen it work as an appetite stimulant, so that might help right there. However, I’m less confident in its ability to boost a fish’s immune system. Another theory is that garlic leaches back out of a fish’s pores, and that makes the fish an undesirable host for parasites/worms. While there is no scientific evidence supporting anything beneficial, studies have been done linking long-term garlic use with liver damage in fish. Therefore, I only use garlic on an as-needed basis when a fish refuses to eat.
A fine example of utilizing proper nutrition to keep the bugs away is Paul Baldassano’s (aka @Paul B) almost 50 year old aquarium. Paul keeps his fish in “breeding condition” by feeding live foods (blackworms, white worms), clams and other shellfish. Most of his livestock live to be a ripe old age and some of his fish spawn on a regular basis. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Paul and highly recommend this book written by him: The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist

Pros & cons (final thoughts):

One upside of practicing disease management is obvious: Not having to QT. I get it; I really do. It's exciting to make the rounds of the local fish shops, find that “perfect fish” and then add him to your DT. After all, having fun is what a hobby is supposed to be all about. What’s fun about adding a fish to a bare bottom QT with PVC elbows? :confused:

However, the downsides are numerous. All it takes is one “stressor event” to possibly undo years of disease management. By stressor event, I mean something like a prolonged power loss, ATO malfunction, heater sticks, fish fighting, etc. Anything that stresses a fish out and lowers the natural immune system. Sometimes Ich, velvet, brook, etc. will capitalize on these events by overwhelming a fish’s immune system, and fish start dying. Also, secondary bacterial infections are common in fish with preexisting parasitic or worm infestations. All it takes is a tiny hole left by a feeding parasite trophont or worm to be the "opening" harmful bacteria will need. These bacterial diseases sometimes prove to be more virulent than the parasites (especially if caused by gram-negative bacteria), and can ultimately be what kills the fish.

Disease management is more of a “learn as you go” process, which is why experienced hobbyists often fare better than newbies. There is also some anecdotal evidence that mature aquariums afford the fish better protection from diseases than newly setup ones. For me personally, disease management just got to be too stressful. The stress of seeing the white dots, wondering if today was going to be the day it finally caught up with me, or if the fish that just died was a result of Ich/velvet or something else. Losing too many fish under “mysterious” circumstances is what finally led me to choose disease eradication.
 

bvega789

Advanced Reefer
Location
Harlem
Disease management - This method involves just managing the presence of diseases, instead of eradicating them. You know you have Ich/velvet, etc. in your tank or are willing to risk it by forgoing QT. Despite how strongly I advocate disease eradication these days, I employed disease management for almost 30 years. I found the key to success was keeping the overall number of parasites down, while simultaneously boosting the fishes’ immune systems to deal with the parasites that survived. Let's examine some of the ways to accomplish this:
  • Utilize the biggest UV sterilizer you can fit/afford (and ensure the flow rate is slow enough to kill parasites). While a UV will probably never “zap” all of the nasties, it will keep their numbers down so fish can better cope with the ones remaining in the water.
  • There are several other tools which can be used for disease management purposes: A diatom filter, ozone, Oxydator, in-tank H2O2 dosing are all options to consider.
  • Boost your fishes’ gut microbiota and immune system through proper nutrition. There are many ways to do this:
    1. Primarily feed live foods & high quality frozen seafood, not just flake & pellets. Pods, rotifers, baby brine shrimp, blackworms and white worms are all good live food options. Frozen foods I recommend include: Mysis shrimp, clams, oysters, scallops, calanus, perch, whitefish and fish eggs. (A member of my local forum posted this homemade food recipe.) If you don't have access to these ingredients where you live then buying LRS Foods (or similar) might be a more practical option.
    2. Consider using foods with probiotics added to them (LRS wins here again), and/or food soak Beta-glucan + vitamin supplements such as Selcon, Zoecon and Vita-Chem to further enhance health. Omega 3 fish oil is a great (and cheap) soaking alternative.
    3. Feed nori, as that is loaded with vitamins (especially iodine).
  • Stay on top of your aquarium husbandry! Maintain pristine water conditions, stable parameters and avoid fish that are likely to fight. Poor water quality, fluctuating parameters and aggression from other fish may “stress” a fish out, lower his immune system and make him more susceptible to disease.
  • Choose your fish wisely. Avoid fish which are known to be more prone to disease (e.g. angels, butterflies, tangs) and instead stock fish which are typically more disease-resistant (e.g. blennies, cardinalfish, clownfish, gobies, rabbitfish, wrasses). Do your homework and research fish that have thick mucous/slime coats that protect their skin from attacking parasites. Also, only buy from reputable sources, and don’t buy fish that look diseased/damaged, won’t eat or who share water with diseased fish. (Remember most LFS have their tanks all plumbed together.)
  • No discussion of “disease management” can be had without mentioning garlic. This topic is often debated, and I honestly don’t know whether or not soaking garlic in fish food helps with Ich & other parasites. I have seen it work as an appetite stimulant, so that might help right there. However, I’m less confident in its ability to boost a fish’s immune system. Another theory is that garlic leaches back out of a fish’s pores, and that makes the fish an undesirable host for parasites/worms. While there is no scientific evidence supporting anything beneficial, studies have been done linking long-term garlic use with liver damage in fish. Therefore, I only use garlic on an as-needed basis when a fish refuses to eat.
A fine example of utilizing proper nutrition to keep the bugs away is Paul Baldassano’s (aka @Paul B) almost 50 year old aquarium. Paul keeps his fish in “breeding condition” by feeding live foods (blackworms, white worms), clams and other shellfish. Most of his livestock live to be a ripe old age and some of his fish spawn on a regular basis. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Paul and highly recommend this book written by him: The Avant-Garde Marine Aquarist

Pros & cons (final thoughts):

One upside of practicing disease management is obvious: Not having to QT. I get it; I really do. It's exciting to make the rounds of the local fish shops, find that “perfect fish” and then add him to your DT. After all, having fun is what a hobby is supposed to be all about. What’s fun about adding a fish to a bare bottom QT with PVC elbows? :confused:

However, the downsides are numerous. All it takes is one “stressor event” to possibly undo years of disease management. By stressor event, I mean something like a prolonged power loss, ATO malfunction, heater sticks, fish fighting, etc. Anything that stresses a fish out and lowers the natural immune system. Sometimes Ich, velvet, brook, etc. will capitalize on these events by overwhelming a fish’s immune system, and fish start dying. Also, secondary bacterial infections are common in fish with preexisting parasitic or worm infestations. All it takes is a tiny hole left by a feeding parasite trophont or worm to be the "opening" harmful bacteria will need. These bacterial diseases sometimes prove to be more virulent than the parasites (especially if caused by gram-negative bacteria), and can ultimately be what kills the fish.

Disease management is more of a “learn as you go” process, which is why experienced hobbyists often fare better than newbies. There is also some anecdotal evidence that mature aquariums afford the fish better protection from diseases than newly setup ones. For me personally, disease management just got to be too stressful. The stress of seeing the white dots, wondering if today was going to be the day it finally caught up with me, or if the fish that just died was a result of Ich/velvet or something else. Losing too many fish under “mysterious” circumstances is what finally led me to choose disease eradication.
How does (A diatom filter, ozone, Oxydator, in-tank H2O2 dosing are all options to consider.) help??
 

Humblefish

Experienced Reefer
How does (A diatom filter, ozone, Oxydator, in-tank H2O2 dosing are all options to consider.) help??
By filtering out free swimmers, which in turn protects a fish from reinfection. This only applies to Ich & velvet, however, and is far from 100% effective.

In-tank peroxide dosing oxidizes parasites, but again seems to be very hit-or-miss:
 

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