A discussion on Immunity

Discussion in 'Indepth Topics of Disscussion' started by Paul B, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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    I have been thinking about this for seven or eight years and finally, through scientific research and my experimentation I think I have figured out something that may change the way we run aquariums. For many years I have been feeding live blackworms, live amphipods and live new born brine shrimp to my tank and I always assumed the excellent health of my fish was a result of that. My fish seem immune from just about everything including bacterial infections and parasites. Although live food seems to be the reason for their immunity, I think I found out the exact mechanism for the immunity. It's not so much that the food is live, but that the bacteria inside the guts of the food is also live. Many of our fish are quarantined for 72 days, then put in a sterile tank and fed things like freeze dried worms, pellets, flakes and frozen food. Almost all of that food is sterile although frozen food "may" have some living bacteria, albeit weak. Fish in the sea eat nothing but live food along with it's associated gut and skin bacteria. New reasearch indicates that a fishes immune system, while vastly different from ours still depends on the fish meeting an infectious agent to impart immunity to the animal. Our immune system is mainly concentrated in our bone marrow but fish have no bone marrow and instead produce antibodies in their kidney and spleen. The bacteria on the food the fish eat filters through the kidney which helps the immune system recognize a threat. The immune response of fish is to produce slime which completely covers the fish and the slime contains "activated macrophages"


    Following are just "partial" quotes of this informative article that I have found which makes good reading especially to the many aquarists that don't believe fish can become immune from disease and parasites. I quoted some parts of the article that I thought were more suited to this post but it is incomplete and can be read in full if you Google the link starting with (ISRN ImmunologyVolume 2012 Maria Angeles

    Ref:

    Copyright © 2012 María Ángeles Esteban. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

    (ISRN ImmunologyVolume 2012 (2012), Article ID 853470, 29 pageshttp://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/853470

    Review Article

    An Overview of the Immunological Defenses in Fish Skin

    María Ángeles Esteban)

    Quote: Immunity associated with the parasites depends on the inhabiting discrete sites in the host. Especially important for this paper are the ectoparasites, those habiting in or on the skin. Until recently there had been little direct evidence of innate immune mechanisms against parasites associated with mucosal epithelium [285]. The active immunological role of skin against parasitic infection has been shown recently [286288], and now mucosal immunity against them start to be elucidated.


    Non-parasitic fishes usually die following infection, but animals surviving sublethal parasite exposure become resistant to subsequent challenge. This resistance correlates with the presence of humoral antibodies in the sera and cutaneous mucus of immune fishes.

    According to these authors "probiotic for aquaculture is a live, dead or component of a microbial cell that, when administered via the feed or to the rearing water, benefits the host by improving either disease resistance, health status, growth performance, feed utilisation, stress response or general vigour, which is achieved at least in part via improving the hosts or the environmental microbial balance."

    The first demonstration that probiotics can protect fishes against surface infections was against Aeromonas bestiarum and Ichthyophthirius multifiliis in rainbow trout [330]. The research on this topic is considered of high priority at present because enriched diets could be used as preventive or curative therapies for farmed fishes. End Quote



    Another interesting fact found in a recent issue of Scientific American By Ferris Jabr | September 12, 2012 |


    States that zebra fish whose guts were rich in bacteria absorbed more fats from their food as compared to fish in a germ free envirnment which in turn increased the number of energy-rich fat bubbles stored within the fish's intestinal cells for later use.

    I also discovered while researching is that fish fed a vaired diet actualy had less bacterial diversity in their gut than fish fed only one or two different types of food. I have always said that fish do not need a vaired diet, they need what they were designed to eat and nothing more. My fish are normally fed only three types of food. Live worms, frozen clams and frozen mysis. The smaller fish are only given live new born brine shrimp. I sometimes increase the diversity of their diet as an experiment but when that is over, they go back to their normal diet.

    Coincidently in this months "Popular Science" (August 2015) there is an article about this very topic. The author states that the most germ free envirnment today is on the International Space Station. Everything is sterilized including the air. All the surfaces are coated with bacteria limiting coatings, even the water is treated with iodine and biocidal nano silver so the only bacteria prsent are the ones coming from the astronauts themselves. They can't open a window or send out for Pizza so there is no fresh influx of microbes to balance the ecosystem. Sounds like quarantining doesn't it? He also states that a loss of gut bacteria correlates with many diseases and could impede longer space travel. If we lose our gut bacteria, our immune system goes dormant.

    In the real world bacteria, viruses and parasites evolved right along with other organisms that help keep each organism in check. They have their enemies and friends. When we mess with the system by using antibiotics or extended periods of quarantine, or remove living bacteria from their food, we are dooming the fish to a life where they are on the verge of getting a fatal disease.

    This is also the reason so many diseases are contracted in hospitals, a place where great pains are taken to keep the place clean. They are clean, so the only bacteria present are from sick people with no other bacteria or viruses to counteract them. It is now thought that people using those hand sanitizers from very young are at a higher risk of becomming an allergic toddler.

    Human babies born normally pick up Lactobacillus in the birth canal which helps them digest milk and lowers the gut's pH to the normal range. but babies born by C-section miss out and could be born with Staphlococcus and sometimes antibiotic resistant bacteria. (Rinku Patel Popular Science August 2015)

    So after researching all of this I have come to the conclusion that quarantining fish for an extended amount of time is actually very bad for our fishes health. In my opinion, if we want to quarantine I would do it using drugs such as copper in the theory that doing so will kill any parasites present in about 10 days while keeping the immunity the fish intact. Then I would feed at least some live food every day not just for the vitamins that come from live food, but for the bacteria. I am not sure how long a fishes immunity lasts but in the sea, it was immune, or almost immune for it's entire life. When a fish is collected, stored, starved and shipped it is in a very weakened state and their immune system is hardly functioning so even though the immune response to parasites, viruses and bacteria is there. It isn't strong enough to protect the fish, but if we can get it out of stress, fed live bacteria laden food and in a stable envirnment as soon as possable, it will recover and sustain some of their immunity.

    How many times do we read that a tank full of quarantined fish suddenly crashes and all the fish are lost to a parasite? It happens daily and all you have to do is go on any fish forum and search for it. Fish quarantined for extended amounts of time and fed sterile foods "have no immune system what so ever". I didn't make this up as you can read the articles I referenced or just Google "Fish Immunity" where you will find a plethora of new research which suggests that keeping fish sterile is the complete wrong thing to do. I rarely put references in my posts because I normally do my own research. But I realize I am not a fish doctor, researcher or marine biologist. What I am is an aquarist with immune fish. How do I know they are immune? I know because some of them have been in my tank for over 20 years, I add fish from many stores and even the sea. I can add fish with obvious parasites and in no case will anything else become infected. Many times during the year I add mud from the sea for the bacteria I always thought it was a good idea, now I know why. My fish get some live food every day and always have. I even think that the fish infected with parasites that I add strengthn the immune system so they never become infected. Of course we can't add parasite infected fish to a system that is not already immune and that is where the problem starts.

    . If this is not immunity I am an extreamly lucky individual and should go out and buy lottery tickets today.
     
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  2. Dracko

    Dracko Well-Known Member

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    Don't know that it is full immunity, but obviously, your report would suggest that it is a dramatic increase to the immune system. Great info, thanks for posting it.
     
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  3. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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  4. Blue Space

    Blue Space Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the great write up Paul!
     
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  5. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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    Your welcome
     
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  6. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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    I just dumped 20 gallons of water from the Long Island Sound into my tank as I have been doing for decades. I just strained out the seaweed and jellyfish as these things will rot and turn into nitrate which I already have enough of. The natural water also has some bacteria in it. Not much in the water itself but on the microscopic particles that are always associated with NSW. many people ask me if I am afraid of introducing parasites and diseases and I always say something like "Do I look afraid?" As years go by my thinking has changed and now I am afraid to use water that does not have some bacteria and parasites in it because I feel it enhances the fishes immunity. Of course I couldn't do that to a tank where everything was quarantined and the fish were eating sterile food or I would kill everything. I am so surprised the hobby has not at least tried to think about keeping fish a natural way and instead insist on trying to keep everything out then curing them when they get sick. To me, it is mind boggling and my mind is boggled enough without worrying that my fish will get sick. I can't imagine buying a fish than stressing it out for 2 months in quarantine then when it has virtually no immune system and is stressed beyond belief, introduce it to a mixed community of fish. It must be very hard on such a fish.

    I can't even mention this on some forums or they would (and have) closed the thread. That is unfortunate.
     
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  7. Big Pete

    Big Pete Active Member

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    Hi Paul B

    This is a very good point well made my friend, I have been thinking along the same lines, I want to start using seawater from the Arabian Gulf but I am afraid of what disease may be in there.

    Do you think I should go for it.
     
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  8. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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    I would use it as that water is probably much better than the water I am using here right near New York City. But I am not sure if you keep a sterile tank or not. If you do, you could see some negative things at first. But I think it would be fine.
     
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  9. sacktheqb65

    sacktheqb65 Active Member

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    @Paul B I know that you have several threads on keeping your brine shrimp and feeding your mandarins and feeding clams and blackworms etc.

    I was wondering if you could sum up your feeding regimen along with how you keep the live foods all the time (frequent trips to the store, online ordering, having creatures do what they do and multiplying???)

    I want to grow some of my own food, really interested in black worms, but I feel like I dont know enough to get started... Like how many do i have to buy and how long does it take for them to reproduce enough that I can keep my tank fed?

    I really appreciate the input and your attitude towards the hobby!
     
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  10. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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    Sacktheqb65 about 6 or 7 posts above this you will find a site where I am a writer. If you go there and put my name in the search you will find articles I wrote on worms, shrimp etc. (It is also in my book almost out)
    I keep live blackworms in the device you can find on that site. I buy two portions every two weeks or so at an LFS. I can get them in 3 places near my house for about $2.00 an ounce. An ounce lasts me about a week because I use them every day. I don't just feed worms or I would need a lot more. I have never ordered them on line but I know you can. The problem is you need to order a lot and pay for shipping. You also need a keeper to store them because you can't keep them to long in the fridge so they may die before you use them. They multiply but not fast enough for my needs and not at all in the fridge. I could raise them but I would need a large tub, probably larger than my tank. I also raise white worms. Those live in dirt and multiply fairly fast on dry instant mashed potatoes or oatmeal. You order a small supply of them and put them in damp dirt. They are hard to separate from the dirt and that is their only problem. Those live a ling time in salt water and blackworms die in seconds in salt water but the fish eat them before they hit the bottom.
    I also hatch brine shrimp every day but that is because I keep mandarins, pipefish, shrimpfish and ruby red dragonettes. I want all my fish spawning and those fish won't really spawn unless you feed them. I built a feeder for that also posted on that link above.
    Almost everyday I also feed clams. I buy a large fresh, live clam. Called chowder clams here in NY as they are used for clam chowder and are large. As large as an apple. I freeze the clams live. Then I open them and shave with a sharp knife paper thin slices off the clam. I carve larger slices for the larger fish and the bubble corals. I also alternate that with frozen Mysis or sometimes LRS foods as I have some. But they get some live worms every day. Not many, but some as I feel live foods are necessary and the bacteria in it is also necessary. That is about all I feed.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. DianaKay

    DianaKay Princess Diana
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    It's pretty easy to grow white worms & my fish really get excited to eat them...
    All except for my Midas Blenny who will not eat worms :)
    Here's a short video from my tank :yummy: :yummy: :yummy:

    Thanks Paul B for telling us about the benefits of feeding live food :thumber2:
     
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  12. sacktheqb65

    sacktheqb65 Active Member

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    Thanks Paul! I missed that link. I have been surfing around on this forum trying to find your wisdom all in one place and there it is! Easy to dig through!
     
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  13. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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  14. Squatch XXL

    Squatch XXL Well-Known Member

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    Paul, I love reading your posts. Always insightful, and at times quite funny. What you are suggesting only makes complete sense. The thing with that sort of information is awareness. I never once even pondered health of my captives in relation to their immune system. I have been lucky enough with all my FW/SW tanks to never have a game-ending disease (grape calerpa once), so I simply figured that fish disease was almost a code statement:

    IFnumber FISHWITHICH>0THEN
    PRINT"SET UP Q TANK AND PRAY TO YOUR CHOSEN GOD"
    ELSE
    PRINT"CONTINUE TO BREATH NORMAL"
    ENDIF

    The other night I was researching anchor worm for information/identification of a huge issue at a LFS. In a few studies, it seems that most cured fish do develop a resistance to future infections. There is no solid study because information in a hobby is generally limited to word of mouth, and trust.

    Its great to see something of this scope conducted with documentation from a trusted source.

    Also, I saw the indication of a book? If it is a steamy romance Id love a signed copy.
     
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  15. SubRosa

    SubRosa Well-Known Member

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    I partially disagree that an extended qt period is bad for fish, at least real world fish. The simple fact is that the overwhelming majority of fish in the trade are handled a certain way, and they're what we have to work with. A long qt with proper nutrition and without competition for it is probably the best way to have a fish recover from the less than ideal care it may have received before acquisition.
     
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  16. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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    Squatch, The book is completed and is supposed to be available at the end of the summer or early Fall. It is not to steamy, except where I mention Supermodels.

    SubRosa. If you do a long quarantine, you should continue that. But as I have postulated, I believe that doing that will (possably) destroy the fishes natural immune system. That of course is a guess because I have no idea how long their immunity from the sea lasts so I may be completely wrong. But I do know that taking an already stressed fish and subjecting it to 2 months in a (usually) small bare tank is not the best thing for a fish. If a tank is quarantined for a long time along with everything in it and the fish are normally fed sterilized food, I don't believe anything in that tank would be immune from anything and I will be reading about that tank on a disease forum. Just my opinion of course as I am doing a lot of speculating as I am not the God of immunity.
    Whatever we do and however we add fish to our tanks I think we should at least feed them correctly and flakes, pellets and freeze dried food is not the way to go.
    My own fish have been immune from everything for at least 35 years. At least I think so or they have been very lucky. :smokin:
     
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  17. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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    I think if we want to quarantine fish for any length of time, that quarantine tank should be at least as large and well cycled as a normal tank we will be keeping that fish in for the rest of his life. I just read that someone has a copperband butterfly in a small quarantine tank and the fish, that was eating at the store, stopped eating. Now he wants to know what type of medication he needs to add or what type of food he needs to get the fish eating again. Is it me? There is nothing wrong with that fish, but you can't put a copperband butterfly in a small bare tank for any period of time, much less two months and expect it to eat and most importantly, stay alive. So many fish are lost this way that to me at least, it is mind boggling. People will jump all over you if you try to keep a tang, or butterfly in a small tank, but feel it is perfectly fine to confine it to a small, bare tank for quarantine. Like Duh. This stuff is so simple my 3 year old Grand Daughter could figure it out. Well, almost.
     
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  18. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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    I think many in this hobby are thinking as we did in the 70s, but I feel we need to advance and progress a bit. We humans try to become immune by being inoculated with weak organisms and it works for us. We are immune from most things. Our ancestors were also immune from most things because they were exposed more to stale food, and dirt. Remember for the first 300,000 years we didn't bathe or wash anything including our food and we got along just fine except for that Saber tooth tiger thing.
    Now that civilization here is relatively clean, our immune system is not as strong as it used to be. Even in the last 100 years we have lost some immunity. My own Mother lived to be 99 never being in a hospital or taking an aspirin. As a young girl, when she would get sick, her Mother would make her sleep in the stable with the horses because they thought the smell of horse poop would keep her free of disease. It seems to have worked.
    Her brother, my Uncle, also lived into his 90s, never having seen a doctor or dentist (or paid taxes) in his life. Like never. And he was very strong and would have killed you if you looked at him wrong. Those were strong people with a strong immune system. He was even stabbed numerous times and cleaned it with a rag he cleaned eels with. Now that is an immune system. (he worked at the New York City docks and that was one of the toughest places on earth in the 1920s) If any or us did that, we would be dead. I don't advocate living like that, but it shows how our immune system can be if it is exposed to disease organisms and how us modern humans unfortunately lost most of that ability through our hygiene. Now we depend on doctors and medications to keep us healthy because our immune system is not allowed to do the job it was designed for. But we can keep our fish immune without feeling bad that they don't practice the proper hygiene. Their tank is not supposed to be squeaky clean. It may make us feel better but it is bad for the fish who were designed to live in an ocean that has everything in it including Amelia Hearts shoes and Columbus underwear. [​IMG]
    I realize this thinking is backwards from the way we were brought up and I can't help that. I don't like thinking about re cycled Ideas that obviously don't work. I get a lot of flack from my ideas but I feel it is common sense.
    I also was always taught to wash my hands before I eat and still do, but just because we were taught that doesn't mean it will help us stay immune from anything.
    Doctors are now prescribing much less antibiotics for this very reason, so our own immune system can strengthen itself and help us in the future just as Supermodels sometimes do.
     
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  19. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member

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    I understand from the publisher that the "Pre E Book" sale will be this Monday. I think that means if you order the book that week, it is cheaper. I think anyway. I am not going to buy one as that would just be silly. But I did forget much of what I wrote so maybe I will. The printed version will be out a couple of weeks later. I don't know the price because the printer still has not told the publisher yet. They are still reading it and rolling on the floor laughing. Some of it is funny. I think so anyway, but I think everything is funny so you can't go by me. I get paid in sinking pellets, and not to many of them, so I won't be taking any vacations from the sale of this book. :confused:
     
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  20. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Hey Paul, Your Op's on fish immunity make good sense. I'd be happy to purchase a hard copy . I'll read it and add it to my library! I'd like to learn more about Your ,otherwise unconventional methods. Also You got an Honorable mention on my local reef club forum. They were discussing this Guy called Paul B and his "out of the box" methods of reef keeping. Thought You might get a kick out of that.
     
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