Bright Water Tank syndrome ( extension to water change thread.....)

itiwhetu

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Hi, Firstly I would like to say how much I am enjoying this forum site it is making me think about stuff that I haven't thought about in years.

Anyhow years ago the old boys used to talk about Bright water tank syndrome, this is where the tank is too clean, where the aquarist in their best intention actually makes an environment that is to sterile. Usually done by doing large water changes off a town supply ( the look of that water is where the name came from ). What the theory is that over time living in that environment the fishes immune system is compromised, meaning that when they get sick they get really sick. It also was discussed that most diseases that we saw were actually secondary, and the real problem lied in the immune system of the fish. So even tho it could be possible to cure the secondary condition the problem it self was in curable and the fish would die.

We were always taught not to touch the base medium of the tank, let the plants deal with the fish waste. Let the water look mature, as mature water has the necessary stuff in it to maintain the fishes immune system.

Things like UV sterilizes and RO water were always talked about in these discussion groups. And whether the importers and breeders were just getting to clever, at the expense of the fish.
 

AbbeysDad

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The post would seem to contradict the signature. I'm not convinced that being forced to live in an ever increasing polluted environment aids any immune system. With rare exception, fresh water in nature is constantly renewed by rain and the volume of fresh water relative to the numbers of fish is far different than in the confines of the small home aquarium. The 'secret' is balance to ensure that the water remains sufficiently clean and pure....but not sterile.
I'm not sure that there's such a thing as too much fresh, clean water.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Was there any knowledge of Old Tank Syndrome back then at all?

Because with old tank syndrome, we actually know the process that is happening, through testing, and the impact this has on the fish. What you describe sounds like older hobbyists disliking the idea that they may have been doing something harmful, even when they meant well.
 
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itiwhetu

itiwhetu

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This is purely the concept of something becoming so clean that is harmful. Like what we are doing our selves with sanitizers and cleaning products in our homes.
 
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The Lumpfish Guy

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So there is a lot of things going on here but i want to focus on the "sterile" tanks issue

The people and sanitiser use is another story. which I know a little but no enough to provide a coherent explanation, but it is more down to loss of biodiversity i believe.

So you have Microorganisms everywhere right? lets say 1% of that population is harmful to fish. Now if you wipe out 99.999% of the microorganisms in the water (as that is all that is being passed through the UV steriliser) you end up with water with no microorganisms but tonnes of nutrients. When, and I mean when, bacterial colonise this again all of a sudden the potentially harmful microorganisms are now at 5% of the tank. or even worse, now the dominate microorganism and end up killing the fish.

The issue is not necessarily the "clean" environment it's what happens when it's not kept clean.
It is one of the leading arguments for and against disinfection of eggs in aquaculture, if we remove all stuff now, what might colonise after?
 

AbbeysDad

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Here's the thing - you could do 50-75% water changes every day along with gravel vac and filter maintenance and you still won't have anything close to a sterile environment. Bacteria colonize on hard surfaces, not in the water column.
As a matter of fact, many commercial fish farms have flow through systems so the water is always as pure as possible. Seems to me that pollution is a far worse 'enemy' of fish and their immune systems than fresh water.
The comparison to hand sanitizers and cleaning products is like comparing apples to oranges. A better comparison might be to ask if you'd be healthier with a stronger immune system breathing smog all day or drinking polluted water?
But there are extremes. If one lives in a bubble, never exposed to anything, antibodies are not developed to fight off even the simplest invaders. But this doesn't really apply much to the aquarium and the stock or ensuring clean, fresh water.
 

squidneh

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I'd be interested to read about this if you have access to any articles online about this. I'm able to find plenty of websites, blogs, forums, etc talking about Old Tank Syndrome, but nothing came up when I looked for Bright Water Tank Syndrome.

When I googled "are large frequent water changes harmful to an aquarium and fish" the ansswer was yes, they can be, but only if temp isn't matched, not dechlorinated, etc....or if they are done on a tank with OTS.
 

The Lumpfish Guy

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Here's the thing - you could do 50-75% water changes every day along with gravel vac and filter maintenance and you still won't have anything close to a sterile environment. Bacteria colonize on hard surfaces, not in the water column.
Why I specified microorganisms, but your right its not killing off anything in the tank. you will never get a sterile system.
It was an attempt to provide an example of issues when creating a microorganism free environment.

As a matter of fact, many commercial fish farms have flow through systems so the water is always as pure as possible. Seems to me that pollution is a far worse 'enemy' of fish and their immune systems than fresh water.
Ah see while this is technically true, this depends on where in the life cycle this happens. The hatchery I worked at they had just pure unfiltered (baring large particles) going into the broodstock tanks. to the point where was larval input of starfish, crabs and small fish.
But in the larval site they had filtration down to 1 micron with UV sterilisation after the fact, before going into the egg incubation system or larval tanks. Theoretically "sterile" though practically not.
Both flow through systems.
When it comes to disinfecting eggs (to prevent fungal growth) the argument comes in well what will take it's place? in a high nutrient, low microorganisms environment, it is often that the fastest reproducing microorganisms will take over. And often these are the potentially parthenogenic ones.

There is also the requirement to have sterile environments during certain experiments which is possible to some extent but when it goes wrong it goes wrong fast.

All of this by the way is predicated on the assumption that the fish in question have a well formed adaptive immune response, some do, but some don't
It's hard to generalise this against a grouping which incorporates Sharks, salmon, Mudskippers, Betta ect
 

The Lumpfish Guy

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I'd be interested to read about this if you have access to any articles online about this. I'm able to find plenty of websites, blogs, forums, etc talking about Old Tank Syndrome, but nothing came up when I looked for Bright Water Tank Syndrome.

When I googled "are large frequent water changes harmful to an aquarium and fish" the ansswer was yes, they can be, but only if temp isn't matched, not dechlorinated, etc....or if they are done on a tank with OTS.
As for this, I don't see anything wrong with large volumes of water exchange.

Some of the systems I have worked at have had tank turnover (full volume exchange) every half an hour for a 60m3 tank.
But then the biomass in the tank could be up to 30kg/m3, try getting that in a home aquarium!
 
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itiwhetu

itiwhetu

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Large water changing with rain water, well water, or a natural source is fine and is undisputed the best thing for the fish. This discussion is more about town supply water that has been highly treated, this water is a totally different beast.
 

StevenF

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Anyhow years ago the old boys used to talk about Bright water tank syndrome, this is where the tank is too clean, where the aquarist in their best intention actually makes an environment that is to sterile. Usually done by doing large water changes off a town supply ( the look of that water is where the name came from ). What the theory is that over time living in that environment the fishes immune system is compromised, meaning that when they get sick they get really sick. It also was discussed that most diseases that we saw were actually secondary, and the real problem lied in the immune system of the fish. So even tho it could be possible to cure the secondary condition the problem it self was in curable and the fish would die.
This is true and I have sen it in my RO water tank. and a small 1 gallon tank. The one gallons used to store excess plants from my aquarium at a time when i was having problems keeping plants alive. Pond snails made the trip into the one gallon but they would die out in a couple of months. Also the shrimp and fish in my tank would never reproduce. And at one point my shrimp became inactive and not moving. I guessed it was an iodine issue and in fact it was within hours of adding a small amount of iodine to the tank the shrimp became active again and the problem never occurs as long as there was iodine in the water.

Fast forward to today Now I make my plant fertilize and cator it to my water source while most purchased fertilizers are optimized for contaminated tap water. Plants grow well and just recently I tried to get my shrimp to reproduce. In addition to my plant fertilizer I added iodine, Sodium, Selenium, bromin, cobalt, and lithium. All of these element are not to be required for animal life. Researcher have found that animals will die without them.

While my shrimp population was about 5 blue cherry and is now about 30. It is hard to count them with all the hiding spot the plants provide and it is always a mix of juvinals and adults. They handle 50% water changes on a regular basis. I didn't expect such a dramatic result.

So yes it is true, if your water is too clean fish health will suffer and the immune system can become compromised.
 

The Lumpfish Guy

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This discussion is more about town supply water that has been highly treated, this water is a totally different beast.
See we need this statement backed up, where is the difference? and if so is that difference important?
The onus is on you as the person who makes the statement to justify the position.
(obviously there is an inclusion of some form of antimicrobial and filtration involved in water processing which we all treat for)
But just because something is perceived as being more natural does not automatically make it better.
 
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itiwhetu

itiwhetu

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See we need this statement backed up, where is the difference? and if so is that difference important?
The onus is on you as the person who makes the statement to justify the position.
(obviously there is an inclusion of some form of antimicrobial and filtration involved in water processing which we all treat for)
But just because something is perceived as being more natural does not automatically make it better.
It was always a discussion, a thought none of us had the capability of proving it to be fact. In life you are allowed gut feelings with out having to back them up with science.
 

The Lumpfish Guy

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This is true and I have sen it in my RO water tank. and a small 1 gallon tank. The one gallons used to store excess plants from my aquarium at a time when i was having problems keeping plants alive. Pond snails made the trip into the one gallon but they would die out in a couple of months. Also the shrimp and fish in my tank would never reproduce. And at one point my shrimp became inactive and not moving. I guessed it was an iodine issue and in fact it was within hours of adding a small amount of iodine to the tank the shrimp became active again and the problem never occurs as long as there was iodine in the water.

Fast forward to today Now I make my plant fertilize and cator it to my water source while most purchased fertilizers are optimized for contaminated tap water. Plants grow well and just recently I tried to get my shrimp to reproduce. In addition to my plant fertilizer I added iodine, Sodium, Selenium, bromin, cobalt, and lithium. All of these element are not to be required for animal life. Researcher have found that animals will die without them.

While my shrimp population was about 5 blue cherry and is now about 30. It is hard to count them with all the hiding spot the plants provide and it is always a mix of juvinals and adults. They handle 50% water changes on a regular basis. I didn't expect such a dramatic result.

So yes it is true, if your water is too clean fish health will suffer and the immune system can become compromised.
there are a couple of things to unpack here, With your RO you are removing stuff from the water and moving your water closer to that of pure water (distilled water being close to pure)
Obviously that is not good for animals that require significant uptake of minerals from the water
But this isn't "clean" water.

The issue comes with our definition of what clean water is, natural springs which fed the hatchery I worked at had high levels of deadly bacteria to humans and required treatment before using. this is "natural" but not clean in the sense if you drank it you'd be dead.
Scottish springs have incredibly high levels of tannins, which fish live in happily, is that "clean" water? it's certainly "natural"
To use the example by @itiwhetu Rainwater is "clean" water, but has the Ph of about 5-5.5 and can have high levels of dissolved sulphur and nitrogen oxides, is that good for fish?
 

The Lumpfish Guy

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It was always a discussion, a thought none of us had the capability of proving it to be fact. In life you are allowed gut feelings with out having to back them up with science.
With all due respect that is the kind of thinking which leads to Anti-Vax or flat earth or evolution denial
.
You can have all the gut feelings you like, but if you can't justify your belief system then you can't form a reasonable discussion.

Nothing can be definitively proved, but if you wish to have a discussion, evidence of your opinion needs to be provided.

for example
Byron and Deanasue both disagree with me regarding water harness impact on fish. They provide evidence which forms the basis of their opinion and I do the same. We don't agree but all three have some form of basis for their opinion ( and can provide it).
 
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