Aquarium Keeping in the World of Social Media

May 24, 2018

While the more traditional PHP seems to be fading and while not without its faults, the “look at me” world of social media has unfortunately taken over as the way people get their aquarium keeping information.
What is also interesting is the use of Facebook is actually a step backwards more to the basic “UseNet” forum format which makes finding older topics such as say one about Columnaris easier to find and then bring back up. You are simply fed what Facebook deems most popular, but not necessarily most relevant.

The real problem is we have people starting new fish keeping groups right and left with little practical experience, then making people who are popular, but with little long term, scientific, or practical experience as fellow Administrators. As well these new groups “fish” from other existing FB group memberships resulting in the same people moving as a “herd” to the newest group, then spreading the same tired poor anecdotal information & half truths at best again in a new location.

This results in a constant barrage of people talking over each other, rarely reading what others write, especially the professionals that might happen to provide a good answer. As well, reference links are rarely even clicked on, yet alone read thoroughly often resulting disrespectful arguments that could have been avoided with a simple reading (while not taking it personally too).

This has resulted problems especially in treatment, where as an example with the fish disease Columnaris, people jump in with all sorts of both incorrect and partially correct information all the while ignoring causes and fixing these too. Sort of like telling a persons standing in a burning house to rub salve on their burns instead of first getting out of the burning house, then addressing the injury.

Myths too have exploded, including ones long ago settled with actual science such as the need for an additional DI unit when a well designed RO system is all that is needed.
Another one is the myth of stress related Betta tail biting with with no science based evidence to over turn this long ago discredited myth, yet some of the largest FB forums keep this going.

Here are just a couple of article dealing with this problem along with an excerpt from each:

Common Aquarium Keeping Myths; Including Tail Biting & RODI

Another point is that this myth was dismissed by most in the professional aquarium keeping industry (including in fish illness seminars I attended), it was not until the Internet that it exploded that is suddenly became truth to many via non science based blogs re-posting the same information as an attempt to explain to many what they were seeing was tail biting like one might see with a stressed bird.
Most of these blogs are regurgitating the same information (copy & paste) even the same diagram. One blog was by a friend (NippyFish) that I know was hijacked by a Russian (where I have been attempting to help her with DMCA acts that so far have gone nowhere, thanks Google), so this is far from trustworthy.
Yet, even with these facts presented to them, a few aquarium keeping groups such as “Fish Tank Enablers” continue to push this myth.

An interesting point that many of these non professional based blogs have in common is they state that certain bite shapes in tail damage are proof of biting when in fact this is simply more an indicator of the pathogen. The so called “Betta biting chunk” is typical of a Columnaris infection where by chunks of tissue simply fall off.
More common though of Betta Fin Rot is a more ragged deterioration which these blogs claim (correctly) is more from fin rot. Problem is Fin Rot is not a disease per say, rather symptom (just like Septicemia or so called Red Pest). This more ragged fin damage is more common of an Aeromonas or Pseudomonas infection.

Here is one of the copy & paste pictures that these blogs have shared that I have corrected to the correct diagnosis as per known science:
Betta Tail Biting pictures, phots, pics

Columnaris Misinformation

QUOTE: “Columnaris is usually more of an ulcer than a white patch” From “Fish Tank Enablers” (Facebook)
Columnaris, Fish Tank Enablers

NO! In fact quite the opposite. Hence why Columnaris is often called “Cotton Mouth Disease” & “Saddleback Disease” (for the white saddle on the fish).
Ulcers are more indicative of an Aeromonas infection which might have some similar treatments, but often quite different causes and prevention.
In the end, this person went on to treat with API Fungus treatment without anyone suggesting she correct the stressors that likely caused this likely case of Columnaris, not fungus nor Aeromonas as this was a classic case of “Saddleback disease”, aka Columnaris (see screenshot below).
Guppy with Columnaris, incorrect diagnosis in Fish Tank Enablers

My Aquatic Forums, Directories

July 25, 2010