The "what Are Your Parameters" Question...

JoeCamaro

Well Known Member
Messages
932
Reaction score
743
Points
138
Experience
1 year
Hello FishLore
I am not looking to start a fight or a debate or anything like that, so bare with me.

I will start by saying: I do not own a Test Kit.

- Wait, WHAT? -

I started my tank on February 2017 and I have never owned a Test Kit. At the beginning I kept going to the LFS to get my water checked, everything was good and I never had a problem with my fish, so I kept doing the same things and everything has gone smooth (knock on wood).

Now to the point: Is it really necessary to ask for water parameters for every single situation?

Sometimes I see people ask for help and they always get asked about the parameter and if that person doesn't know, then the focus becomes the importance of having a test kit and shame on you for not having one.

I understand parameters will help greatly, but is it really necessary when 20 fish are doing great and only 1 fish has symptoms? It is prohibited to, in some cases, say something like "based on the photos and symptoms you described, it could be this or that, but if we knew the parameters it would help us determine with more accuracy"? Is everything related, affected, caused by water parameters?

It might help to at least know what could be the possible causes that are affecting the fish and then do a research, see photos and then compare to what your fish is experiencing.

I see it like a Primary Care Physician and a Specialist. Your primary doctor will tell you something along the lines of "it could be something to do with ______, so I am going to refer you to a specialist to check _______ for you". Then you go to the specialist, but at least you have an idea of what could be wrong.

Am I wrong to think this way? Have I just been lucky? Am I a crazy risk-taker?

Respectfully,
Joe
 

Tony M

Valued Member
Messages
208
Reaction score
117
Points
78
Experience
More than 10 years
Sometimes it does seem like we can be chasing parameters a bit much. It's supposed to be a relaxing hobby!
 

david1978

Fishlore Legend
Messages
13,528
Reaction score
9,826
Points
758
Experience
More than 10 years
Its basically like all the blood work you get between seeing your doctor and the specialist. It helps to get a complete story of the situation and possibly prevent the problem in the future. I finally broke down and bought a kit. I think i used it 3 times in the year i have had it.
 

Demeter

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,873
Reaction score
3,748
Points
448
Experience
5 to 10 years
For the most part, fish illnesses are directly related to their living conditions and water quality. If the paramters (pH, hardness, nitrates, nitrites, temperature and ammonia) are not up to par for that specific species they they are likely to become stressed.

A stressed fish can quickly become an ill fish. Just like with people under extreme stess coming down with the flu, fish will get their own illnesses.

While it is plenty possible to diagnose a sick fish and cure it with only a description and picture, if the illness is water related then the fish is likely to become ill again. No point in treating the symptoms if you don’t fix the main cause.

IMO asking for water parameters is like asking a patient if they smoke/drink. It’s just that parameters are a major cause of illness, just like smoking/drinking is a major cause of illness for people.
 

scarface

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,912
Reaction score
7,353
Points
598
Experience
Just started
I agree that it can be a bit much sometimes. For instance, if a betta has fin rot or a minor injury and is in a nano tank. Do a big water change as often as needed to resolve the issue. It only takes 3 minutes. Or when one fish bites the eye off another fish. How about a child dumps an entire bag of fish food in the aquarium? Vaccum out the food and do a large water change, multiple ones if you have to. Why bother looking for parameters. We all know it’s going to be bad. Testing for prameters for situations like these is pointless.
 

Baba

Well Known Member
Messages
580
Reaction score
481
Points
108
Experience
4 years
JoeCamaro said:
Am I a crazy risk-taker?
You sure are.
I test parameters only when I start up a tank after that I rely on my daily observations of fish and plants. I sometimes test if I suspect something in the event of a problem.
Some people seem to enjoy doing stringent testing and there is nothing wrong with that. I am just to lazy to pull all parameters every week.
 

bitseriously

Well Known Member
Messages
1,745
Reaction score
1,314
Points
148
Experience
1 year
This is a great question/discussion.
I think it's important to understand about proximate causality, and ultimate causality. Say your fish dies, of a bacterial infection. That's the proximate cause. But what caused the infection? If a healthy fish wouldn't have got it or succumbed to it, what made it virulent? What made the fish weak? If we don't know the answers to these questions, you might see ongoing or continued deaths. That's where parameters comes into the discussion.
Let's turn it around and look at it another way. What are the scenarios where parameters are not relevant or useful? Are there any threads/situations where folks are banging on the parameters drum, but it's not really helpful? It it polite to say so?
Finally, one situation where it's useful is for the "mysterious" fish death or illness threads. You need to eliminate water quality problems before recommending a course of action. Even if you think you know what the problem is, it's worth talking about the parameters to make sure its not part of the problem. My daddy always said, "prescription without diagnosis is malpractice".
 

Goldiemom

Well Known Member
Messages
3,024
Reaction score
2,049
Points
158
Experience
More than 10 years
I don’t like doing them but my test kit is always out. I believe it’s like preventative medicine. Why put the poor fish through things that you can prevent in the first place? I don’t want my fish suffering because I’m too lazy to do something. Do you check the oil on your car or do you wait until it starts knocking?
 

dwarfpufferlover

Well Known Member
Messages
572
Reaction score
264
Points
93
Experience
2 years
Not crazy, I only test when I feel the need to because I've recently changed something the fish didn’t control.
 

Baba

Well Known Member
Messages
580
Reaction score
481
Points
108
Experience
4 years
Goldiemom said:
I don’t like doing them but my test kit is always out. I believe it’s like preventative medicine. Why put the poor fish through things that you can prevent in the first place? I don’t want my fish suffering because I’m too lazy to do something. Do you check the oil on your car or do you wait until it starts knocking?
Hmm, I see this analogy rather this way. I change my oil regularly but I don't do an oil analysis to see when it's due for a change. If I experience knocking despite changing my oil in strict intervals, I will do an analysis of it.
 

Goldiemom

Well Known Member
Messages
3,024
Reaction score
2,049
Points
158
Experience
More than 10 years
I also think it has a lot to do with the fish you have. My tropical tank doesn’t get checked as much as my Goldie tank does. Also, if you do regular, frequent water changes it may not be as important. I change every Sunday.
 

Goldiemom

Well Known Member
Messages
3,024
Reaction score
2,049
Points
158
Experience
More than 10 years
Baba said:
Hmm, I see this analogy rather this way. I change my oil regularly but I don't do an oil analysis to see when it's due for a change. If I experience knocking despite changing my oil in strict intervals, I will do an analysis of it.
Ok, I’ll give you that one. I didn’t choose a very good analogy. At the cardio with my grandson and not thinking deep enough. Sorry.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #13

JoeCamaro

Well Known Member
Messages
932
Reaction score
743
Points
138
Experience
1 year
Great responses. I am learning a lot for your points of view.

bitseriously said:
My daddy always said, "prescription without diagnosis is malpractice".
Agreed! That's a very good comparison.

Goldiemom said:
I don’t like doing them but my test kit is always out. I believe it’s like preventative medicine. Why put the poor fish through things that you can prevent in the first place? I don’t want my fish suffering because I’m too lazy to do something. Do you check the oil on your car or do you wait until it starts knocking?
Interesting point @Goldiemom. I can see how it would be a preventative medicine.

However, I think of the Oil example as a water change. Oil change every 3 months/3000 miles; Water change, weekly/biweekly, no?

But I see how it can help prevent future things.

Demeter said:
IMO asking for water parameters is like asking a patient if they smoke/drink. It’s just that parameters are a major cause of illness, just like smoking/drinking is a major cause of illness for people.
&

david1978 said:
Its basically like all the blood work you get between seeing your doctor and the specialist. It helps to get a complete story of the situation and possibly prevent the problem in the future. I finally broke down and bought a kit. I think i used it 3 times in the year i have had it.
Make a lot of sense.

Baba said:
You sure are.
Haha, I knew that
 

david1978

Fishlore Legend
Messages
13,528
Reaction score
9,826
Points
758
Experience
More than 10 years
Actually the oil thing is a good analogy. If you sent it out for analysis at each oil change you can catch an issue and repair it instead of waiting for a problem to accure at which time an oil analysis doesn't mean much the damage is already done.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #15

JoeCamaro

Well Known Member
Messages
932
Reaction score
743
Points
138
Experience
1 year
I get the point of having a test kit and I know the benefit. I guess I was more concerned about Text Kits and water Parameters "extremists", just because I have seen it many times when it becomes intimidating if you don't have a kit or don't know the numbers. I think some people, most likely newbies, can get discouraged to post when bombarded with criticism about that instead of getting some help for their pets.

But I know it comes to how things are read. As discussed in other threads, it is hard to put emotions to text and things can be misread. Also, I understand that most people really want to help us get through the process, learn and do things right for our pets, even if it may sound rough sometimes, in the end they want to help and have the best intentions.
 

Goldiemom

Well Known Member
Messages
3,024
Reaction score
2,049
Points
158
Experience
More than 10 years
david1978 said:
Actually the oil thing is a good analogy. If you sent it out for analysis at each oil change you can catch an issue and repair it instead of waiting for a problem to accure at which time an oil analysis doesn't mean much the damage is already done.
Thanks! I knew I was getting somewhere with that! Lol
 

david1978

Fishlore Legend
Messages
13,528
Reaction score
9,826
Points
758
Experience
More than 10 years
When you have worked on big equipment all your life for a paving company you learn the value of oil analysis. Lol
 

Baba

Well Known Member
Messages
580
Reaction score
481
Points
108
Experience
4 years
Goldiemom said:
Ok, I’ll give you that one. I didn’t choose a very good analogy. At the cardio with my grandson and not thinking deep enough. Sorry.
No need to say sorry
 

alauruin

Valued Member
Messages
109
Reaction score
105
Points
63
Experience
More than 10 years
As a medical provider, I'll take your PCP/specialist analogy.

I'm a physical therapist. I specialize in movement and pain disorders. I can't order blood tests or use information from them to diagnose disease (per law and restrictions of my professional license). HOWEVER, I find that information 100% relevant to a number of the patients I treat because it's a quick and easy way to rule in/out certain diagnoses that I do work with. For example, let's say I have a patient come in with non-specific low back pain. There are literally dozens of reasons they could be having back pain, and I don't have time to make a long list and then go down checking off each and every one. So, I'm going to rule out some really big ones quickly and easily:
"When was the last time you had bloodwork?"
"Why?"
"Have you been tested for Lyme, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory/autoimmune conditions?"

If they say yes: great, I can rule out a bunch of chronic diseases and look specifically at mechanical causes.
If they say no: great, I know I could be dealing with something subtle and chronic and will keep that in mind instead of trying too hard to find a specific mechanical source of pain.

It's the same in fishkeeping. Yes, some of us get too hyper-focused on water parameters (just like some medical providers get too hyper-focused on looking at the bloodwork and miss the fact that this person has horrible movement patterns and just watching them lift a heavy object would tell the whole story). But if you say you have a struggling fish, you have no idea why, and your ammonia level is 2.0.... that quickly and easily identifies a very likely cause of illness and there may be no need to go hunting for subtle causes.
 

Baba

Well Known Member
Messages
580
Reaction score
481
Points
108
Experience
4 years
david1978 said:
When you have worked on big equipment all your life for a paving company you learn the value of oil analysis. Lol
Yeah, we do this on our presses too, you just don't dump 500 gallon of oil if it's showing no sign of deterioration.
Then, if I would have a 500 gallon fish tank, I would have all the bells and whistles test equipment too (push of a button) because I could afford it.
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom