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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 3/5/2009 18:45
Re: rainbow cichlids and upside down cats #1
Probably find the usual will happen , cichlids take the dayshift, catfish take the nocturnal. Cichlids usually only feed in the day and most cats whether diurnal, nocturnal or non specific all tend to like night feeding anyway, their sensory kit makes it easy.

Just do day and night feeds tailored for each group.Sometimes cats and cichlids get on, sometimes they don't but the day/night shift is usually taken advantage of to keep confrontation to a minimum.

A catfish running into a cichlids territory will always be in for a bit of flack as they will be considered a threat to nestsites and fry and are often warned to keep their distance even when eggs and fry arent around. Feeding competition can happen with almost any species that has the wit to defend a foodsource, my uaru for example are very snotty about feeding times, but again take advantage of night feeds.

Its probably a good idea cichlids do defend their foodsources against cats anyway, its very easy for a catfish to glutton feed and deny other fish feeding opportunities. The oxydoras and the uara have standoffs primarily because he just hoovers up all the food and they will want some. You can try diverting tricks like blanched lettuce leaves. Rainbow cichlids will pick at them leaving the cats hopefully free to go for pellets etc.

With upside down cats they will feed on micro-organisms too , so a day old bit of lettuce thats started to fall apart a little can be a browsing area and the cichlids only want it while its fresh. Have to watch your nitrate levels if leaving lettuce in more than a day though.
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 3/5/2009 2:01
Re: P@H Strike again. #2
In effect, what i'm also saying here is that while product prices can be negotiable, thus letting the capitalist wheel turn, I think there should be price fixing on fish. On import, on outlet, in shop. Only standard profit can be made, and that price need not be cheap. Because at the back end it really is the price of fish thats killing them. If all fish species have individually fixed prices by age and species, are you going to take a risk on a sick one or a dying one or one from a dodgy breeder or importer? You'll go where the stock has high quality and that faster than anything else will kill the breeder, the importer and the store that sells crap fish and keeps them badly. Price fix on the bigger fish too, and what you get is less people who are broke taking on fish they cant possibly afford to house.

Change the investment float of the business to livestock, then suddenly the priority becomes keeping them alive and in good nick.Knock -on the stores are more selective about suppliers, , and about staff. If the hobby reduces in scale a little its probably a good thing. Lets be honest here, theres only so many people ever cut out for fishkeeping, and the opnes that arent screw up the market forces for those who are any good, and thats not an elitist viewpoint. Its about wit and study time, and those two things are at the core of every decent animal keeper. I diots and animals never did get along. If high fish prices help people to make rational stock decisions, help to lower overstock, helps take tank prices down on the markup, thats altogether better for fish.

Hate or love the idea , it would be a start. As far as i'm concerned free trade can only exist where humane issues are not a concern. Free trade kills animals, because frankly there is no corporate entity you can trust with humane issues. Money will always win.
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 3/5/2009 1:53
Re: P@H Strike again. #3
The point from the consumer end is this, and people have said it here many times and in various formats, but the reality of business in fishkeeping is this.

Corporates would rather hook you onto buying a small tank and whatever diseased fish they think should go into it and take your money from meds and fish replacements and eventually that perhaps one in ten who then goes on (duly disgusted) to buy a bigger tank at ludicrous prices than they would strike up a decent relationship guide you properly and take that investment captial from you to get you started off right.

Corporates consider your collective tendancies (no insult intended) to be a bunch of mugs when it comes to animal care and taking that chance to exploit you for items and replacements you should never need more reliable as a standard operating procedure for profit than telling you the truth and telling you the real cost of fishkeeping, and during that process they can and often do try to misinform you along the way to increase your expenditure, and they do this entirely at the sacrifice of fish welfare. Much of it masquerades as ignorance, but we know thats not how it works, ive heard shop assistants talk differently to me than they do other clientele, at management level it would take a blind idiot not to see the need for change, but no-one rocks the boat. Its all paycheques. People kill animals for money, and so do you, by going in like an innocent.

If you want to change a market force you have to play your part, someone has to break the back of it, and its not that i'm deriding OATA, I know there must surely be genuine members with real concerns, but you have to arm them by making the right demands. That way they can clean their shop, or someobody better ises to represent your interests, whatever works.

You really do get what you ask for in this life. We asked for cheap fish, we wanted a "yes" culture free of learning, we wanted many things without thinking, and by god, we got it. It opened the door to corporate abuse of animals.Did we really not expect the corporates to have their puppets?

Animal abuse in this country is an unpleasant truth, we allow others to sweep the issue under carpets for us, but every year that rug gets taller. We can only be naive about this sort of thing for so long, and in truth, perhaps we arent even naive any more. Question is , we know. So who's going to do anything about it? Oata, the corporates, will govt make a move off their own back or is it you? Will you make the law work for you or will you watch it for another decade. Will you vote with your wallet or will you pretend another fiver in a p&h doesnt matter?

These are questions we should be asking ourselves, and perhaps we should learn to be less complacent that there are independant bodies out there watching out for our best interests. Because frankly, I don't know that they are. Do you?
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 3/5/2009 1:25
Re: P@H Strike again. #4
Well, the way I see it is that industry is often short sighted, and most directors and managers these days get bonuses based on immediate profit culture. Each new manager or director is expected to do better than the last, net result, his tenure may be short, so he looks for short term raised profits which is about expasion into new markets, minimising costs and getting a bit hush hush about humane considerations which typically raise short term costs.

The hardest thing to do in any company and especially those with high staff turnover levels and a mostly student and or low aspirational staff type (those who will often accdept low petcarers wages) is justifying the training budget, and putting off the first time buyer who is also low aspiratant. Companies don't really like on average to foster or devlop the maturity of their customer bases, they like to exploit existing ones or ones they can create off the back of a flyer and their whole financial plan usually hinges around short term profitability. The common trend in fishkeeping at the moment is underpriced, often only 200% of cost price fish supply, and big mark- ups on products, which creates financial instability unless humane considerations are allowed to become secondary. In short, product holds more value than livestock, ergo the livestock becomes cheap and expendable. The tanks, medicines and foods become horrendously expensive.

Changing that market to the reverse, improving stock quality and having quarantine facilities which are really the only way to do that. That costs in infrastructure and would make the fish much more expensive. Thats not a problem per se, because they would sell more product and better size aquaria cheaper and still make the margin, but what they wont do is equip shops well , bearing in mind for livestock rotation with QT you need as many tanks behind the store front as in front of it. It also means you have to employ someone who knows what they are doing, loosely speaking has a brain and a few o levels, and they demand higher wages.

Now you could roll that out in a year or two, but theres two problems. First people want cheap fish and dont realise they would make the savings back on the equipment and thusly will go to some hell hole to buy cheap fish from whatever asian import hellhole they appear from. Thusly the customer self sabotages their needs by buying diseased fish and keeping equipment costs high. Then the corporates that do restructure and make fish expensive and product cheap and improve standards have to invest more than they take in that year or two so the director (who these days is more a consultant than a director, and consequently more of a contractor than a director and isnt planning to be there long) isnt getting his bonuses, his third home in nice, and his new bmw m5 , he wont be happy. His successor will get the credit.

He therefore decides, "screw the fish I want that BMW". His board prefer this decision because they know people want cheap fish and werent too sure about the market strategy of changing the relative expense of stock or of hiring good staff when those profits will be wanted by a load of ever silent but perpetually greedy shareholders. Usually thats the public again.

Now to get away with this corporates being aware that from lists alone each store kills thousands of fish needlessly every year, and that animal rightists dont like that sort of thing, they have to create a publicity machine to escape criticism and not have to rock the boat and make that financial move into better infrastructure.

So they hire advertisers to write infomercials, muppets to pollute websites, they go to old and dried out fishkeepers who live in council estates with their tank of neon tetras, and successions of lousy practically out of work vets and offer them single large sums for product testimonials, and the rights to use their name in nperpetuity to advertise whatever crap of the moment they happen to be peddling. They get people into various organisations and these people announce themselves as independants. Nobody cares and nobody checks where the cheques are going and to whom.

Then we get minimum recommendations like 4 litres. Millions of fish die.Half the population doesnt know its a**e from its elbow on fishkeeping, and theres and argument every time someone suggests a reasonable size for a fishtank, and then every time someone complains to a company that their standards are s**t, which they quite obviously are, the company then says we abide by codes of conduct set out by so and so, an independant body, or at behest of "this vet" or this "professional" so, were in the clear, and you can sod off with your complaint. "We care we do, we have standards."

Sweet as a nut.

Yes in another life I was humphrey in yes minister.

Anyway, the solution to all this? Recommendations for long term reinvestment in corporate quarantine and training infrastructure or trading laws have to come in that remedy the corporates retiscence to act. Its the only way. At the same time as keeping the knee-jerk, ban everything brigades under control, so that fishkeepers interests are properly protected, and to turn fish purchasing around from being the abusive hell that it is. The profits can remain unaffected, as long as all traders comply and thats exactly why we need legislation to force conditions of housing sale, and quarantine on all traders of fish.

Also a database which I belive the foundations of which have started needs to be rolled out as the basis for animal housing rules, with individual species accounts and needs detailed should serve as the basis rules for all shops, and you shouldnt be allowed to trade without them, and this is to be acknowledged by real pros, not just an organisation such as OATA, which frankly, I believe can be influenced in direction more easily than a leaf in a typhoon.

This should be law and govt business. A petshop licence is way too loose in its remit, its long been part of the problem, and they need addressing too. I don't think anyone sane leaves animal welfare decisions to corporates, its a basic conflict of interest at a fundamental level. I refuse to believe its impossible to come up with good rules of conduct for all, and until those statutes are there and invuluntary the corporates wil continue, to frankly, take the p**s with the animals we love and will eventually own, and of course continue to sacrifice those nameless millions of fish in transport and in back rooms everywhere that never even get as far as the sales point, and further from that the millions more that will die of disease in the home because of bad advice, bad selling conditions and no QT.

The fact is, if youve bought fish this year in any number, you will probably lose either some of them, or some of your previously well acclimated specimens through contagion, or poor advice, or physical damage to the stock, primarily because of market forces and some greedy contractor wanting a BMW this year, and because people are easily corrupted, and the world of business stuck in a hell of expansionism and short term gain.

You happy with that?

If the answer is no, then you need something more than OATA, you need law on your side.The way pets are bought and sold, and imported in this country seriously needs looking at. The current codes of conduct are shallow, pathetic, riddled with loopsholes to be exploited and no-one has the power against the corporates to do anything. This is not an area in which we should be coercing people, nudging or urging, bargaining or influencing, we should give em a legal book of guidelines all prechecked sorted, up to date and logical, and say - here it is, F-O-A-D-I (office term meaning please go forth and do this,lol). or you don't trade in this country, end of story.

If they wont do it, then GOOD. More independant fish shopsrun by people who care and will do it. Good bloody riddance to those who won't.

Uber rant over.
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 3/5/2009 0:24
Re: Dwarfing / stunting Question #5
Start thinking about upgrades when or if he breaks about 5-6 inches in the body. Generally the first signs of dwarfing conditions are when the fish regularly gets into a pattern of slowing activity and brain quickness, more lethargic behaviour, often literally because his metabolic demands are outstripping the tanks ability to provide for that metabolism, you'll probably find it also outstripping the usual 10ppm nitrate hike per week reading, which is the first sign of chemical overstock unless the aquarium is very heavily planted or you use denitrating techniques outside of water changes. Even on a fast growth estimate you'd probably be ok for a couple of years minimum, on average probably three to four. Lots of variables from temperature to diet and genes. A totally accurate time guestimate would be impossible, goldfish growth speed varies a lot.

If the opportunity presents itself though, always get the eventual and final size tank for the fish as soon as possible. Less work, less risks, less worry when you go on holiday, more chemical stability, better o2 level. Plus you never want to find yourself in the situation in a few years time should your finances change, of not being able to afford a bigger tank and owning a fish so big its in need of rescue.

Never a small fish was harmed by being in a big tank.
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 2/5/2009 23:54
Re: P@H Strike again. #6
Call me a realist, but I think the only change you would notice is an email from a p&h director and i'd be fired in a week.lol. I think anyone who could actually tell the difference between "co-operating" and being a corporates "b***h" might not last too long. Its all co-operation innit? lol

If I wasnt though....


....well, lets be honest there too, there would suddenly just be a different "highly industry co-operative" independant organisation instead of OATA swiftly put in place. I'm afraid the reality here, is the corporates rule, which is why there does need to be actual legislation. Not necessarily the muppety OTT bans and stuff the RSPCA wanted, but something altogether more discerning and well targeted that actually has a positive effect rather than merely restricting fishkeepers rights, but yet keeps the corporates to heel.

I'm sure that sounds overly prosaic, but I do appreciate it wouldnt be easy to do, but the point being, if I was in charge, there would be a team on it, and they'd better be making headway.
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 2/5/2009 23:48
Re: swine flu..... media hype, or real threat? #7
Yup, another storm in a teacup, like bird flu. "Its a new pandemic" they all cried. Then people realised its been around in its human history of infection about 400 years , and while had the potential in theory to become a pandemic, never did in all that time. More to the point its significantly less deadly than regular flu we gave to native americans. When the nations immune system goes to work collectively it'll be old news in less than a year.

Personally i'm not going to lie awake at night on getting hit by lightening odds. I wonder if someone is getting backhanders from those manufacturing tamiflu? Thats at least two good national stocking runs for it now. Chickens, us, and us again, thats some money being made there. Call me a conspiracy theorist.lol.
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 2/5/2009 23:02
Re: P@H Strike again. #8
Personally I find OATA a bit biased. They are trying to manage the middle ground, keeping stockists and coinsumers happy, but they don't strike me as being run as an organisation with a great deal of wisdom. You see their chosen position is one of an innate conflict of interest, you see theres two sides to every argument.

They claim to represent both the trade and fishkeepers interests but as consumers and stockists we have to be careful what we ask for. OATA for example will not back trade bans on countries and on certain species generally, thusly defying what I would regard as good quarantine standards. Some of the standards papers they have issued for fish health and mainrtenance are founded on positively archaic attitudes, and have more than a profound lean towards allowing low standards to keep the big fish traders in business. Here and there though they do push the odd good standard, but against the bigger picture of what they willingly allow, I find such measures to largely be futile concessions, token gestures if you will.

Lets be honest here, if OATA were the force they would wish to be, the face of fish trading in this country would be very different. That it isnt, and that it is still a highly exploitative industry in terms of staffing and pay conditions, fish importation standards, stocking standards, and distributed advice suggests to me that they are simply not forfulling their remit properly.

I wish OATA well in its mission, but I also wish they would do a lot better, have the courage of some of their convictions and do the right thing a little more often, and be less afraid that industry will walk away from them and disregard them if they dont sell out every other week. They also need to appreciate that sometimes its a case of giving fishkeepers what they need, not necessarily what they want, and that goes triple for the corporates, who frankly will do just about anything if you let them, the theme usually being max profit and animal death an irrelevance, and further on from that faux education of the young which leads to animal abuse.

I think OATA is like a lot of regulatory organisations in this country, a case of best intentions gone awry against the force of monetary gain and powergames. Net result, largely ineffective, and the one time mission for the better side of things becomes the cover from which the less scrupulous hide from any critical gaze. These are the favours you have to pay back after your rise to power , just like politics. Too many fingers in too many pies, all pulling the organisation in opposite directions to the point that avoiding conflict of interest is totally impossible and the only way to structure in that godawful position is to spout rhetoric, never collate, never cross-check and never unify direction. To get things done, sooner or later, you will have to really p**s a major corporate off, because its in the nature of corporates to take a mile when offerred an inch. They will have to p**s some hobbyists off too, because some people will never want to hear there are some fish they should never own for resons from ecology to disease transmission and animal abuse, and often over import , exploitation and species decimation.

If I were appointed a directorship of OATA i'd tear it apart and drop p&h in the brown and sticky in about 5 minutes, and stop ringing of fish through germany and get source checks going on asian import to the corporates as fast as it could possibly happen. I'd be ensuring fish imported and sold in britian went through quarantine without fail, and I'd also be putting a hell of a lot of companies under pressure to conform with some genuine fishkeeping principles, and some clear and transparent product labeling, and those sub 10 gallon tanks would be coming off the shelves asap.

I don't see them as regulating much TBH. Every time I hear of them having done something I just think- "so what, doesnt mean anything".
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 30/4/2009 15:48
Re: Help for my comet please #9
You should consider the possibility that a 4.4 litre wont have the o2 replenishing rate needed for healing though. 4.4 litres is so small it would adversely affect the metabolic rate of almost any species of fish living in it. You can never account for sheer luck, but on average a 4.4 litre is too small for probably 95% or more cases where fish need treatment and recovery to happen successfully. Add to that that formalins and organic dyes drop the o2 level a fish can absorb and its also the reason that not only do many fish fail to recover in them, but actually suffocate under treatment. The key to successful medication protocols is a low relative stocking level, primarily because of gaseous availability for the sustenance of a decent level of metabolic rate and cellular replacement is essential.
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longhairedgit longhairedgit
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  • Posted on: 30/4/2009 15:46
Re: There is a hole in my fish. #10
Sounds like eaglec is on the money, chances are the bacteria has hit at a later date rather than being a problem from introduction given the timescale involved so yourt most likely cause would be aeromonas or furunculosis, something thats opportunistic and almost omnipresent in aquaria, and more likely to occur with fish that are cramped.. Furan 2 will shift that, and yes the goldfish is showing signs of dwarfing and its form isnt too good structurally.The primary reason its getting these infections is not just the presence of the bacteria which would be less pronounced in a larger better oxygenated aquarium with higher flow rates, but because the dwarfed fish typically has a less efficient immuno response.

These are comet goldfish so more appropriate starter tanksizes, (which also make treatment safer) would be 30 gallons, later 55 gals, and for those fish with a big growth potential, even potentially larger later on, perhaps even 75-100 gals for multiple fish, better yet a pond.

The dwarfing the fish is sufferring from will have to be reversed, or this sort of thing will keep on happening and goldies only survive so many doses of meds like furans. Getting him well and out of the risk zone for infection will take treatment now and some immediate redressing of his environmental needs to improve the chances of long term survival. Even powerful filtration does not make up for the volume needs of comet goldfish. They really need the volume no matter what the standard of filtration is. Growth and the avoidance of dwarfing is about fitness, exercise, good gaseous levels, and water quality stability that changes very little vs time, and none of that is acheivable over the long term with fish of this growth potential in small aquaria. Thats why we have a 30 gal minimum for goldfish on this site, and for comets in particular the door must never be closed to even larger tanksizes depending on the growth response you get from the 30 gallon minimum.
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