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Thread: Weakened Immunity?

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    Great White Shark
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    Weakened Immunity?

    I was reading a thread on another board, and it kind of sparked a thought. By running things like Ozone and UV filters, are we in essence inhibiting our livestock's ability to fight off disease? Does this lead to an increased potential of disease if the stock ever leaves a tank with these types of filtration?

    Anyway, give me your thoughts?
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    Goby

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    Me personally I have also had issues trying too keep frags that came from a System like that... A few days after being in my system they always wanted to RTN but I was able to frag most and save them but still.. I always thought that it was due to the system being way too clean... but who knows..

    James

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    Blenny
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    it is true in nature that a lack of exposure can weaken an immune system. this being said i do not think that using a UV to control pathogens and parasites will totally eradicate a system of everything. they are a control not an eradicator.(not every bit of exposed surface area passes through the UV) fish have no real immunity to ich, so when a fish is transfered to a new system and ich is present, there is a possiblilty to get it, UV or no UV.bacterial infections can happen no matter what is used to purify the system. i have not seen a research on this and until then its all annecdotal obsevation. there may be merit to it,,,maybe not.

    one thing that is true, use of antibiotics will cause morphs, and create superbugs that
    are immune to the medication. i have known folks in the way past that used AB on a regular basis as a preventative and lost everything to increasing outbreaks of harder to kill fuzzies.

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    I was concerned with killing single cell algae with my UV sterilizer. Single cell algae being a food source. The positive side of my UV was that My fish were very healthy. I had fish injured by sparring and they recovered quickly. I asked people about the effect of running UV with Clams. I got a 50/50 answer. In my opinion your UV promotes a healthy sometimes too healthy environment for your fish. In my opinion most of us want to keep the fish we have bought previously. The talk about trading frags makes sence to me also. If water quality is not as good as previously I would assume die off. I have been debating when I would use my UV sterilizer. It just looks too damn pretty not to use. I will be watching this thread closely. I definitely love my UV sterilizer. I definitely feel the positive side of UV sterilizers out weighs the negative side. There are some people that do not skim their water all the time. I do not know which is best. I just want to stay with what has worked in the past until proven different.
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    I think I thought I knew!

    I was wrong, I have to agree with wit! <--

    Unless you would sterilize your entire system, I don't think these devices would actually wipe out all life forms but reduce both good and baddies, thus keeping a balance or a minimal of each or maybe it was the other way around? Things that make you go Humm!

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    Blenny
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    uh ohhh....someone agrees with me,,,,

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    Great White Shark
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    OMG, Dan! LOL that was quite the analogy.

    Good points everyone. I'm going to see what information I can dig up on the subject.
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    Mantisfreak
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    I agree too. Who cares if some of the bacteria get killed....there's only a gazillion more of them in the tank. A UV sterilizer can only remove the pathogens that run through it....it can't touch a pathogen that is on a fish or other invert.

    I also agree that the use of antibiotics has some serious issues.

    Antibiotics function in a wide variety of mechanisms, but most generally slow down reproduction by interfering with some cellular process (e.g., cell wall , or microtubule formation, etc.) -- that means that the bacteria are still growing, just slowly enough that the immune system of the fishes is capable of dealing with the pathogen faster than the pathogen can reproduce. This is the "normal" state of affairs, and when pathogens are in low concentration within the body, the immune system mobilizes to destroy them. If for some reason the pathogen gets a head start, they can reproduce faster than the local immune system can deal with them (an infection). In most cases the immune system can draw on resources from other areas of the body to deal with the infection and it can be stopped, but once the infection gets rolling, most pathogens can reproduce faster than the immune system cells, and they can run rampant in the host. The idea of using antibiotics is to mess with the reproductive cycle of the pathogen enough that the table is turned and the host immune system becomes the more efficient of the two. In general antibiotic doses are calculated such that reproduction is slowed to the point where the pathogen dies before it is able to complete its life cycle and the treatment last long enough that those individuals that manage to survive are eradicated by the host immune system. That's why your doctor (should!) alway give you enough antibiotic to last well into when you're feeling better, and why you should always take your prescription until it's finished rather than quit taking the pills when you feel better.
    There are a variety of mutations occurring all the time during the normal background reproduction, most of those mutations will be slightly to greatly disadvantageous to the individual, and they will disappear. But some of those apparently disadvantageous mutations can become a huge advantage when in the presence of antibiotics, because the pathogen with that mutation may be unaffected by it (for example, the pathogen uses a slightly less efficient, but still functional pathway or product to accomplish the same goal). In this case, the pathogen continues to reproduce at the normal rate (or close to it) in the presence of the antibiotic you've used in an attempt to turn the tables (this is known as antibiotic resistence) and the infection proceeds unimpeded (and therefore that antibiotic is basically useless). This is a normal problem and a risk of any antibiotic use, regardless of the application, although if the application is rare enough and the cost of antibiotic resistence is high enough the anitobiotic retains its usefulness because the antibiotic resistent bacteria are outcompeted by their non-resistent relatives between rare bouts of antibiotic application. As soon as an antibiotic becomes widely available and widely used (e.g., pretty much anything available in a petshop), the advantage to the pathogen of carrying the genes for antibiotic resistence generally outweigh the costs of not having them, and antibiotic resistence becomes widespread.
    The more insiduous problem with antibiotic treatment is when following advice such as that above. The bacteria are generally still alive during the treatment (remember antibiotics don't kill the bacteria, they mess with their reproduction), and if the dose is low enough, they can continue to reproduce (albeit very slowly) throughout the treatment. Although this is likely to have the effect that you desire (the tables are turned and the fish gets better), the pathogen is able to continue reproduction (the outcome of which is genetic recombination, which provides a variety of different genetic makeups to be "tested" against the antibiotic), and those that are most successful survive because the treatment dosage is low, and it is only continued for a short period of time (the host immune system doesn't have time to mop up all of the surviving pathogen before reproduction comes back to normal). If a particular recombination does better in the presence of that antibiotic than the rest of the bacteria, it will produce more "offspring" than the rest, and because those individuals are more common, it is more likely that those will be the individuals left behind when the antibiotic treatment is stopped. The end result? That antibiotic will be less effective the next time that pathogen invades a host. By treating with below average doses of antibiotics and for decreased amounts of time, you increase the likelihood of these "bad" outcomes
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    Just a thought. How many of us buy fish at our favorite fish store, that has been using a UV sterilizer. I think that using one of these at a fish store is a great idea, because of the amount of turnover that a store has. I don't know if I'd ever run one on my home system.
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    Blenny
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    personally i believe in UV. the benefits vastly outweigh the loss of some mirofauna. the control of algae is #1, pathogens #2, and over all cleaner system. ozone on the other hand has an equal balance of pro and cons. it cleans the water by oxidizing disolved particles and micro organisms, on the down side it can over-saturated the water with 03 and that will cause the excess 03 to seek out something to disolve, and fish and inverts are fair game. gill burn and tissue damage can readily occur. this along with better skimmer techknowlogy, have cuased it to be used only a few diehard OFR's.

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    Brittle Starfish
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    My vote is "no" as well....mainly because I question the UV sterilizer's ability to put any kind of really significant dent in pathogen populations in the tank to start with...it may lower the numbers somewhat, but it most certainly does not kill them all....

    MikeS
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    Blenny
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    but by killing a great number, it can allow a fish to naturally defend itself. without it the numbers can rapidly increase causing a massive outbreak instread of a mild outbreak.

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    Brittle Starfish
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    I agree Witfull....Lower pathogen numbers will probably equal lower actual instances of disease...

    but I wonder by what percentage a UV sterilizer actually decreases the number of harmful pathogens/parasites by...I bet it's not that great...at least not great enough to create any kind of condition where our livestock's actual ability to fight off disease would be diminished due to lack of exposure....

    I hope that made sense...

    MikeS
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    Blenny
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    actually it is a good number being that they all start as a free floating larva. this is where a uv comes in to play.if you can move 2Xper hour through a UV you will deplete a good deal of parasites. as far as creating a desease free evironment that reduces immunity,,,doubtful, a healthy organism has natural defensives genetically built into it and using UV or Ozone cannot remove that. all we are doing is lessening the risk eand giving thes defenses time to react and fight off infection/infestation. after all they are in an aquarium,,,,not a plastic bubble.

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