Indicator fish / "Canary" fish - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 07-26-2009, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Indicator fish / "Canary" fish


I'm looking for a fish that's extremely sensitive to water quality. I would rest easier if I had a "canary" in with the other fish to show me when troubles a brewin.

Any ideas (besides comments of cruelty)?
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post #2 of 14 Old 07-26-2009, 04:22 PM
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Why is that even necessary? Won't a good water test kit tell you when trouble is "a-brewin"?

Just wondering why you would choose the other option.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #3 of 14 Old 07-26-2009, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, it will tell me water quality, but disease and bacteria problems as well. So...just an all around puny fish.
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post #4 of 14 Old 07-26-2009, 09:36 PM
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From my experienc, Head and tail light tetras -- seemed these guys always got sick early enough to tell me something was wrong with the water. They were a pain in the butt though, as they loved jumping into my h.o.b. filter (cover was on, but there is a small gap around the intake, and they'd just sneak on in).

I've heard that the snails -- the trumpet/cone shaped ones, when they aren't active in the gravel, that can be an indicator too. So if you already have these lovely things, they might help you out.

Snorkeling is a must for every fish lover!
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post #5 of 14 Old 07-27-2009, 12:39 AM
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IMO, a good test kit and knowing your fish should be enough of an indicator. A "canary" fish is quite unnecessary, and can even be cruel to said "canary" fish.
If you test your water weekly along with your PWC and know your fish well then thats all you need. If anything was amiss in my tank, I'd know right away even by my plattys.
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post #6 of 14 Old 07-27-2009, 02:50 AM
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I agree with others, A good water test kit should be all that is needed along with proper maint of the aquarium.
As for bacterial pathogens and or disease.,, The best preventitive is to quarantine new fish .

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #7 of 14 Old 07-27-2009, 04:02 AM
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i think the trouble with having a sensitive fish for that reason,may
not be the best option for you because of a couple of reasons.
the fish you introduce could have an infection already, die and
put you in a panic,it dosen't adjust to your tank properly and die,making you wonder again.
i think it would cause you more problems than you need,apart from perhaps
by the time the fish shows signs of being ill it's too late,say for example the
fish you chose was originally someone elses cycle fish,and lets face it
the shop wont tell you,it would have a shortened life span anyway.
the regualr water changes,quarentine,gravel vac,test kit,i feel would
be a much safer and reliable way to go.
good luck.
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post #8 of 14 Old 07-27-2009, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks love_my_fish! Just what I wanted to know. I like the snail idea!

Everyone else...thanks for suggesting a nice water test kit...but I don't need another.
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-27-2009, 02:23 PM
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No no, its not about getting another kit(provided your kit is a liquid test kit, not those horrible strips)its about having a decent kit that will give you proper readings. What we mean is, if you test your water regularly and know the behavior of your fish then even with the hardiest of fish you'll know if something is wrong in your tank.
I also agree with 1077, though I don't QT fish because I currently don't have the equipment or room to do so(working on it)this is really your best bet agents preventing disease in your aquarium.

Getting a sensitive fish and not being prepared or willing to offer it the right environment to keep it healthy and happy is just cruel, just as the use of the Canary was. Its all the same whether it be fish or bird.
Also being more sensitive and prone to disease, these "Canary" fish would likely become sick or die even if there is nothing wrong with your tank, just because they were mistreated at the pet store or not provided with the correct environment, sending you into an unnecessary panic(as Willow suggested).
At the end of the day its just a horrible idea, far more cons then pros(only pro being theres a small chance they may tell you if something is wrong. May.), and just plain unnecessary.
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post #10 of 14 Old 07-27-2009, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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I understand what you're saying DragonFish. But, like I said, it would be more of a"rest easy" type of indicator that would hopefully never"indicate".

And you're right...he would get sick first if something went wrong...and, if not him, then someone else, or multiple others! I like the idea of a known weakest link rather than a random one, or multiple links breaking at once. And yes it could be considered cruel to favor one fish over another...I should love them all equally...sure...but I DO favor some over the others, especially those that cost me more (and, are "cooler"in my opinion)..and I WOULD rather "cruelly" sacrifice one fish to save my more favorite, older, established fish. The goal would be to *keep* him alive NOT let him die, then change the water! I wouldn't treat him like a disposable, fish shaped, test strip!

And I know that good water conditions are the best way to help ensure that nothing bad happens to any of them...but what's wrong with "over testing" with a biological tester, in addition to partial water changes and frequent "water quality" checks? (in quotes, because if I went out and tested random puddles of water, in search for one to drink, using an aquarium test kit, I'd surely get sick or poisoned...they're limited in their scope...I'd like an ideal indicator...which would be one that indicates if life is sustainable).

But still, thanks for suggesting a quality test kit...

Anyways...I'll probably try out the snail idea...I don't have any as is...and I think they're very cool!

Last edited by nomel; 07-27-2009 at 11:42 PM. Reason: put in line breaks...where'd they go!?
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