Indicator fish / "Canary" fish - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 14 Old 07-27-2009, 11:21 PM
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I understand where your coming from, I can see why one would favor the more expensive fish over another, believe me I am merely trying to make it a little clearer as to why its rather unnecessary, inaccurate, and, in my personal view, a bit cruel. It seems I must not be explaining it right....
I stress again, if you know your fish well then you know the 'weakest link' in your tank....but even then it could be a totally other fish that gets something. Its chance with disease really, you may have more sensitive fish that are fine yet loose a hardier fish to dropsy. What I'm trying to say is, there really is no sort of 'indicator fish' for disease. And what I mean by stressing the test kit is that if you know your levels then you should know your water quality, there really is no point in getting a fish to tell you this as that is, I would believe, far more unreliable then even a test strip. There is a high chance the fish will not tell you when your wanter is bad, where a test kit will no matter what. Your "Canary" fish may even thrive while your others dye out, it really depends.

Originally Posted by nomel View Post
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).
.....I'm unsure where your going with this. Of course going out to test puddles with an aquarium test kit to try and find one to drink would be ridiculous, humans are far different creatures from fish and have far different needs. A good liquid test kit like the API brand isn't 'limited in its scope'. It will tell you what you need to know and if your water is safe for your fish. You can never have a definite, ideal, 100% indicator if something is going wrong but a test kit will tell you more then any one fish or invert. Theres just that risk with fish keeping, you can never know for sure.

End decision is up to you of course, I'm only trying to explain things a little better.
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post #12 of 14 Old 07-28-2009, 01:04 AM
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I too feel that perhaps my meaning was unclear. If you have a reliable test kit and you use it between weekly water changes,, the results of those tests will speak volumes as to the water quality and in a short period of time,, You will know how long you may go between water changes and or filter maint. The indicator of trouble will be the sudden difference from the normal results. I seldom test my water for over time, I have learned how frequently my water needs changed or filter needs serviced. This is directly related to the size of my aquariums,numbers of fish,and frequency of feedings.
In my view,the most glaring problem with so called indicator fish is that fish don't become sick overnight in most cases. What more often as not happens is water quality gradually begins to deteriorate,fishes become stressed, then the fishes immune sytem becomes compromised which in turn allows all manner of pathogens to more easily get a hold so to speak. Many times fish are past the point of help before it or they display any visible signs of weakness. People then want to know what medications they can use to make their fish well and they want immediate results.As stated,fish don't become sick overnight in most cases, but rather it is gradual decline directly related to water quality or lack thereof. I have over the years, single handedly, murdered untold numbers of fish while learning one basic truth. Take care of your water, and fish are capable for the most part of taking care of themselves.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #13 of 14 Old 07-28-2009, 05:10 AM
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In addition to previous post.. In the event one were to utilize a indicator fish or snail (which can carry disease), And said creature did indeed indicate through it's activity or lack thereof,or by some other means,, Trouble,, What would be first response by the hobbyist?
For the vast majority of people, It would be water test followed by water changes. In my view,, that pretty much eliminates the need for such indicator creatures ,for ultimately,, one would need to perform water test to help eliminate enviornmental problems and if present,, (80 percent of health issues tied to water quality) one would need to change water anyways to help alleviate situation.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #14 of 14 Old 07-28-2009, 06:05 AM
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Just to add something here..............Nomel, you said about adding a snail or 2 to your tank...............Some snails hibernate for a few days at a time (least mine do)...........Would you be able to tell if your indicator snail is hibernating or dead?..........Something to consider.....
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