08-19-2009, 06:25 AM
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The lower salinity is intended to rid the fish of parasites that may be present, but not visible to the naked eye. This is referred to as "hyposalinity" treatment. Much has been written and debated about hyposalinity over the years, but today almost all experts agree this is a good technique to improve the quarantine process, although there is some debate over exactly what salinity level works most effectively. I use 1.013 and have had success with this method. The theory is that the rapid change in pressure causes the parasites to burst, providing immediate relief for the fish.
As to the LFS questions, this is a loaded topic. If the fish at the LFS is in a closed system, with no new additions of fish present, and the system has been running parasite free (all fish), then odds are greatly increased that you will not have issues. This is, however, a very rare event, as the LFS generally brings in new fish every week. If any new fish have been added to the system, then new parasites have likely been introduced, and you need a quarantine period to ensure that your fish is parasite free. Keep in mind, just because you can't see it doesn't mean its not there. It may simply be at a stage in its life cycle that it is not large enough for you to see with the naked eye.
Regardless of the circumstances, I would use a quarantine period. The length of the quarantine period could be adjusted to account for the factors discussed above, with a minimum period of 2 weeks. For the record, as of today my Majestic Angel has been in quarantine for 6 weeks, parasite free.