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Slime coats---important for your fishes' health.

Posted 01/11/2017 at 11:38 AM by Sk8r

Slime coats and you...yes, they matter.
Fish have an insulation, a slime/moisture that coats their bodies and protects them from both iffy water acidity and chance encounters with parasites; it also may limit bleeding in injury and promote healing of minor scrapes.

Things that diminish the slime coat: the alkalinity of your water being out of bounds (the range should be 7.9-9.0 on the dkh scale, and if you aren't testing your alkalinity weekly, you should be. Daily, when just starting your fish out in your tanks.) Note also that if you can't keep your alkalinity up your magnesium is also too low: set that at 1350 and you won't have to go on adding buffer (which is how you raise alkalinity.) Kent makes a good buffer. Salifert makes a good numerical alk test. And one for magnesium. Tests are pricey, but so are fish.

The other thing that diminishes the slime coat is what humans would call physical or emotional stress. Overcrowding, mostly, and fear. Pain. Sickness. Bad diet. Or actual wounds. Put too many fish in a tank and everybody's slime coat goes downhill.

Some people mistakenly think that stress causes ich. It doesn't. Ich is like fleas: it infests fish. It's an animal, and the only thing that produces it is another ich. HOWEVER: stress thins the slime coat, right? And the slime coat of a healthy fish MAY turn away a parasite. THe poor stressed fish is more vulnerable to such attacks. Certain fish that produce so much slime they're like handling Jell-o can defeat ich....but even they can succumb if just one ich-swimmer gets through that coat.

This is why we say watch your alkalinity: keep it in the Zone...and don't overcrowd. If fish are stressing out, bad things happen. And if you don't qt a fish, and put one in that's got the parasite---the odds are with the parasite: new, anxious, scared---and infected fish, or fighting and chasing---there go the odds.

THere are products that increase slime coat but they're meant to help an ailing fish: they're not for general use.

Keep everybody healthy, your water proper, and give them plenty of room and cover, and your fish will have a good natural protection against problems.
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  1. Old Comment
    Sk8r's Avatar
    This is why water balance is so overwhelmingly important: your water going acid or too alkaline, your salinity going off, getting picked at or picked-on, all these various things may affect the fish's most comprehensive defense against sores, parasites, infections, and casual scrapes. It's like a castle with a hole in the wall: all the troubles available will find that chink in the protection. Let several million years of engineering work FOR you as an aquarium-keeper, and preserve those natural defenses.
    Posted 01/11/2017 at 11:40 AM by Sk8r Sk8r is offline
  2. Old Comment
    One small correction, ich is not an animal, it is a protozoa. Animals are more closely related to fungi and plants than protozoa.
    Posted 01/11/2017 at 02:42 PM by Tripod1404 Tripod1404 is offline

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