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Thread: Odds are stacked against you getting effective help with your Fish Problems

  1. #1
    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Odds are stacked against you getting effective help with your Fish Problems

    “Why the Odds are stacked against you getting effective help with your Fish Problems and how you can Improve your Odds” Al Sabetta 2017

    After having spent many years running a fish forum, and trying to help members with their fish issues, I have made many observations about the various success stories and utter failures in dealing with Fish Keeping Issues. I decided to jot them down as an article here focusing on why its so hard to help hobbyists remotely with their issues, and suggestion for making that easier.

    When a fish keeper is having problems with their prized or cherished fish, often times they do one of two things. Either path stacks the Odds heavily against the hobbyist succeeding. Most hobbyists faced with the health issues panic as well and that also stacks the odds against you.

    One of the two main things a hobbyist will do is self diagnose and try to treat the issue.
    This entails making a trip to a Local Fish Store or Aquarium Shop, or perhaps online supply site where they purchase a small arsenal of chemicals, antibiotics, aquarium salt, tea oils etc in the hopes that something will work. Aside from spending more than the fish itself costs sometimes these treatments can in many case make a sick fish more ill. They can damage the gills, damage the internal organs, and put more stress on the fishes Immune System. Some of these treatments also can wipe out your biological filtration in your tank which lead to ammonia and Nitrite spikes.. which inturn further weakens the fishes Immune System.

    The other thing a hobbyist may do is seek advice on an online forum or support group on social media like facebook. The audience and pool of helpful individuals is vast here, with everyone offering their advice. Sadly, many have no idea what the hobbyist is dealing with, have no formal training and many do not have any real experience. But the computer makes it easy to come across as if they do. These would be advisors, don’t mean any harm and they generally are trying to help a fellow fish keeper figure out whats going on. But bad advice is still bad advice… and it can make things worse. Much of the advice will focus on purchasing that small arsenal of chemicals, antibiotics, aquarium salt, tea oils etc in the hopes that something will work. There are also a growing number of sellers of treatments that see the dollar signs and have formulated various concoctions and prepackaged medication “kits” for various illnesses based on general symptoms. These sellers and their legions of customers will often point the needy hobbyist in a particular direction. All these factors again up the Odds against you.

    Sounds pretty grim at this point as you really can’t win either way. Its true. Ideally you should be looking for an Aquatic Pathologist or Veterinarian , and getting sound advice. But that is intimidating, sometimes it means sending your prize fish in to a lab or on a one way ticket to have a pathology work up done. It can be expensive as all in all, this course of action barely gets taken.

    If you are lucky, really lucky,you eventually find a fellow hobbyist that possibly knows what they are doing, has real experience or some kind of relevant background, and is willing to try and help you. We will call these hobbyists "Fish Gurus" though mostly they just have made the mistakes you made along time ago and learned from them. “Thank GOD “ you think… but wait, don’t celebrate yet. Theres more factors that can work against you and ultimately you, the Hobbyist with the sick fish are the biggest one! In order for this Fish Guru to help you they need information and lots of it. They need your water parameters, your water tests, the case history of the sick fish, what medications and treatments you have used, what is your maintenance routine, what other tanks you keep, what you feed, where you source your stock, how you treat your water. Basically they need it all accurately listed since they are not there to see it. For some fish keepers with fish problems this seems like its a burden. When asked about their water parameters, they respond with something like “ nothing wrong with them, tanks been running months” in many cases they honestly don’t want to be bothered testing their water or don’t have the kits. When asked about their maintenance, many flat out misrepresent what they really do in favor of what they sometimes do or know they should do. In my own dealings with people looking for help I will find out after extensive Questions and answers some detail that the hobbyist over looked as important such as they got new fish last week, or they just removed the gravel from their tank that week, or possibly they had a power outage a few days prior… it can be any small detail. It can be a glaring detail also such as they don’t quarantine and don’t believe in it.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that even a very skilled and experienced Fish Keeper can’t help a hobbyist in need if they don’t get all facts and an accurate history. The less the information present, the less the chance of the fish surviving through the help of the “Fish Guru”. Its the responsibility here for the Hobbyist with the sick fish to provide that information and to answer questions truthfully and completely. More detail is better than less.

    Even when the Hobbyist does give all the facts, next comes another big hurdle. Following through on the advice given. If the “Fish Guru” gives a specific treatment, it needs to be followed through to the letter. Too often the hobbyist picks and choses whats easier for them, substituting this or that, skimping on the water changes volume and frequency. They may also combine treatments from several advisors. This things all add up to negating all the hard work that went into the Diagnosis by your helpful “Fish Guru” . This is a major frustration to the “Fish Guru” only made worse when the hobbyist then takes to social media asking for their opinions. In many cases the hobbyist will go back to the “Fish Guru” and say something like “ “so and so says its this and to use this”. Guaranteed to not go over well.

    …...and that is why The Odds are stacked against you getting effective help with your Fish Problems

    So how can a hobbyists improve the odds of getting effective help?

    Its really not that hard. Try not to panic when there is a problem and don’t just rush out to buy this and that chemical. Sit down and write out the history and facts.. Use this Disease Questionnaire from SimplyDiscus Forums as a template . Answer it honestly and completely. Add any addition facts that you can think of regarding any thing that has changed in your fish tank or fish room over the last month.



    1. Please explain the problems with your fish. When did you notice the problems and did anything unusual happen that you think started them?

    2. Symptoms (i.e. turning dark, excess slime, not eating, clamped fins, flashing, darting, clamped gills, white/yellow/green poop, hiding, headstanding or tailstanding, white on tips of fins, rotting or fungus, blisters/white zits on fish, bloated, cloudy eyes, wounds).

    3. What medications/ treatments have you already tried and what were the results. Include dosage and duration of treatment.


    4. Tank size and ages, numbers and sizes of fish.

    5. Water change regime (What percentage and how often).

    6. How long has tank been running? Is it bare bottom? If you have substrate, what type and how deep is it?

    7. Do you age your water? If you do for how long and what is the ph swing.

    8. Parameters and water source;
    Note: Water Parameters are important in diagnosing problems within a tank. If you don't own test kits for the following information, you can purchase them, test your parameters and post this info as soon as possible.

    - temp _____

    - ph _____

    - ammonia reading ____

    - nitrite reading ____

    - nitrate reading ____

    What type of water or combinations of water sources do you use? If it is an RO/tap/well water mix, please list percentages in the mix.

    - well water ____

    - municipal water ____

    - RO water ____
    9. Any new fish, plants or inverts added recently.

    10. Please tell us what you feed your fish and how often. This can be critical information for solving the problem so be as specific as you can.

    11. Include any pictures or videos you have which shows the symptoms. If you can't add them to this post, please provide a link to them.

    Once you are armed with the facts, see if anything stands out. If not seek help first before medicating. Try to find a pathologist or vet with Fish experience. Many universities are a great starting point. If you strike out there, seek advice on line. But do it cautiously and put out all the facts when you do. Look for help from individuals that have a history of helping fish keepers. Search their names, and verify that they have experience. Once you post online you will get all sorts of experience levels, Its your responsibility to chose the one with the best background. Once you settle on someone, stick with them exclusively and follow their guidance. Its a Risk to do this, but it was a risk to ask for help in the first place. Once you start a treatment its too late to start getting input from others.

    Hopefully these things will help improve the odds in getting effective help. If they do, and you do get help solving your fish problems, follow up with the person that helped you. Let them know how it turned out and most of all , Thank them, privately always, Publicly if possible. People that go out of their way to try and help you deserve no less than simple courtesy, and it helps ensure they will be willing to help you or Someone else the next time.

    If you read this and found it useful, or if you have already used SimplyDiscus to get started right or correct some problems in your Discus Keeping, PLEASE consider sending in a thank you (click here)... It helps keep the forum open and it will help keep me writing articles

    Thank you,
    Last edited by brewmaster15; 06-28-2017 at 11:07 AM. Freeze Dried BlackWorms and other foods your Discus will Love!!!

    >>>>>We really could use your support. Please DONATE HERE Thanks!

    Al Sabetta
    Simplydiscus LLC Owner

  2. #2
    Registered Member two utes's Avatar
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    Joe Zammit

    Default Re: Odds are stacked against you getting effective help with your Fish Problems

    Good read and great advice.

    Thanks Al
    We're here for a good time...not a long time

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    Platinum Member and Homesteader nc0gnet0's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odds are stacked against you getting effective help with your Fish Problems

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    Default Re: Odds are stacked against you getting effective help with your Fish Problems

    great info! im sitting here reading this after just leaving my local university's biology lab where a parasitologist dissected and inspected one of my fish for parasites! very cool to see and finally i have some legit answers. so glad i asked for assistance, and now i have to think of a way to thank him cuz he wouldnt take my money!!

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