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Stunting truths?
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Jacko
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Joined: 20 Mar 2007
Location: Washington

PostPosted: 2008.12.21(Sun)18:00    Post subject: Stunting truths? Reply with quote

Okay, well I've seen this from a rather rude person somewhere else online and she swears that fish getting stunted is impossible as long as proper water conditions are provided. She says that if you perfectly filter a bowl, frequent water changes and all that the only reason a goldfish would become stunted in the bowl would be because it was hitting both sides of the tank on it's head and tail.

Personally I'm leaning towards this being rather unlikely. Even if it is true, the likely hood of somebody spending that much time taking care of a fish in the bowl is hard to beleive.

I'm looking for other thoughts on this? And if anybody has scientific fact it would be most helpful in proving my point.

Thanks!
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DF Bobo
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Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2008.12.21(Sun)20:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

in theory that would probably work, but you would be looking at 8-10 water changes a day in the range of 90%. in practice, stress related factors from not being able to turn around will probably contribute to the death of the fish before it manages to reach full size.
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UncleWillie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: 2008.12.21(Sun)20:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jacko, I hope we didn't just open a can of worms with this topic... Very Happy

But honestly, there is a lot of debate out there about stunting and "do fish grow to their tank size", etc etc.

I will try not to go into specific examples of fish and tanks, because there is always an exception.

Okay, from what I (and many others have gathered) in WILD situations...
Fish do become 'stunted.' This reduced size is due to factors limiting factors such as food availability, lack of space/territory (crowding), poor water quality, and the like.
Unlike people, fish grow until they die (if given proper/optimal conditions).

When trying to transfer this to a captive setting, things can be blown out of proportion. First, some will say a fish will grow until it busts through the tank. Others will say that a fish will not grow.
If you keep in mind what I said earlier about stunting (being caused by lack of food, poor water quality, limited space, stress) we can dissect this a little more.
1. Lack of food - unlikely, because the fish may be eating heavily. So scratch that.
2. Poor water quality - well if the fish is in a bowl, water quality is an issue. However, you can have great filtration and constant water changes. So scratch that.
Well, the next one is stress. I fish will reduce growth when stressed. Whether it has quality food and water or not, the fish has become stressed in a cramped environment. Its growth and health will deminish.

Now, a fish like his will not reach its normal life span. Fish also have natural 'runts' if you will. Some fsh simply will not reach there potential size. Thats why so many of the larger fishes like the cichlids, sunfishes, gars, pikes, etc have a wide range of lengths. For example, a green sunfish's typical length is 4-10 inches. That's a wide range. So, there are smaller individuals and larger individuals. There are just so many factors playing on a fish, that it is hard to give one definate answer. And like I said earler, there are exceptions to everything.
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MCHRKiller
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Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Location: USA

PostPosted: 2008.12.21(Sun)22:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are just so many factors regarding stunting. From as mentioned food, water quality, available space...and another one we must look at IMO...how imbred/over bred the fish in the LFS are and if they have been exposed to steroids and so on at a young age to force them to grow faster.

For example...I have a 2" feeder gold which resides in my 55G planted tank currently. This fish was purchased I would say about a year ago as a feeder for my then tank of Pygros. He was around an 1" long then. He hid in the plants ate scraps of food for a few months and survived the piranha until I have the remainder of my shoal to a friend who was building a larger shoal. These were a 10" and a 13" redbelly that were around 12 years old so naturally their shoal had died off to just the 2. Anyway...after that the little feeder got moved into my then starting up 40G planted tank and he lived in there with abundance of food...pristine water quality and more than adequate space for around Id say around 8months. In this time he has grown 1"...the fish isnt disproportioned in the least he just will not grow.

There is no logical reason for his apparant stunting. He gets fed every day...and I believe in fish being fat and happy to the fullest. Water quality is spot on, and he is in a 4ft tank so he has more than adequate space. I have researched a bit into these really cheap fish being pumped up on hormones/steroids to accelerate their growth because they are regarded as trash fish for concumptioned of other fish. They experience extremely cramped conditions and etc all threw their development until they are sold. In contrast my parents setup a small whiskey barrel pond on their patio this summer it was around 35G and I brought them home 2*1" feeders from work, these things got fed a couple times a week I'm not sure if my parents did a waterchange on it or not all summer Embarassed Pulled them out of that pond to put them over into their garden pond with the other comets and these were a good 4" and robust as could be in a span of maybe 4 months. And really the ones outside should have grown smaller due to the smaller space...poorer water quality...lower temperature...and lack of food.
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jesx57
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Joined: 17 Oct 2008
Location: Australia

PostPosted: 2009.01.05(Mon)1:13    Post subject: Re: Stunting truths? Reply with quote

Jacko wrote:
Okay, well I've seen this from a rather rude person somewhere else online and she swears that fish getting stunted is impossible as long as proper water conditions are provided. She says that if you perfectly filter a bowl, frequent water changes and all that the only reason a goldfish would become stunted in the bowl would be because it was hitting both sides of the tank on it's head and tail.

Personally I'm leaning towards this being rather unlikely. Even if it is true, the likely hood of somebody spending that much time taking care of a fish in the bowl is hard to beleive.

I'm looking for other thoughts on this? And if anybody has scientific fact it would be most helpful in proving my point.

Thanks!


Whoever this person is doesn't know much about keeping fish Rolling Eyes , plus it's just common sense. The key to growing fish is nutrition, water changes, water chemistry and tank size. Just think, what would happen if you fed your child nuts (bear with me) for all it's life. The kid would be missing out on all the required vitamins, minerals, protein, fat etc and wouldn't grow properly. It's the same with fish, they won't grow if you don't feed them a varied diet with all elements they require. You can never do enough water changes, and that person may be right about the frequency, but she's still a long shot off with everything else. Anyway, a fish will only grow well according to the amount of space it has to grow in.

Here's something to think about, some say that discus excrete hormones that slow down the grow of the other discus in the same tank. Anyone want to have a go justifying this Question
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diademhill
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007

PostPosted: 2009.01.05(Mon)4:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fish do produce homones etc that affect the growth of other fish.
When I was rearing show swordtails ( back in the 70's) it was widely believed that males would grow until they were grew their sword and they wouldn't do this until at least as large as a mature male sharing their water. Large mature males were in great demand and it did seem to work with swordtails in excess of 5" regularly appearing on the show bench.
When did you last see a 5" swordtail?

With regard the the OP statement about a bowl. I have seen an experiment where fish were raised in bowl sized containers with water flowing through and their growth paralelled fish in the main body of water which does go a long way to proving that it isn't the bowl that stunts fish but the water quality - which is what we all know /believe anyway.
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Doosharm
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Joined: 12 Apr 2003
Location: New Hampshire

PostPosted: 2009.02.02(Mon)4:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anybody have the time/ space for an experiment?

To test water quality you could set up three identical bowls with one goldfish each, getting fed the same food at the same frequency, and vary up the frequency of water changes. Changing water in one once a week, another three times a week, and the last five times a week and then measure the size difference over time. You may have to repeat the experiment multiple times to account for genetic diversity.

Also, you could test limiting factors by keeping two goldfish in identical volumes of water but in different physical spaces. For instance, put one goldfish in a bowl hooked up to a 10g sump and another in a 10g tank. This way one would be limited to a bowl and the other would have all 10g to swim around in. If they were both fed and filtered the same you would be able to tell if there is a limiting factor on swimming space versus water volume.

It would be interesting to see what the outcomes would be.

DJ
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tonergirl
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Joined: 08 Sep 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2009.02.02(Mon)8:57    Post subject: Don't be Cruel... Reply with quote

IMO it's just cruel to expect a fish to live in a really small environment, whether it stunts their growth or not Mad Mad It would be like one of us living in a closet, with very little room to turn around! It's not rocket science, it's just WRONG!!
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Josmoloco
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Joined: 24 Apr 2009
Location: Port Orchard Washington

PostPosted: 2009.04.24(Fri)14:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just say you have a goldfish in a 5.5 g drilled with an overflow to a 100 gallon sump that has 50% of the water changed every week. Do you realy think the feeder would grow to twelve inches? I think of it as impossible and probably relevent to hormones.
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domsriltz123
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PostPosted: 2011.08.18(Thu)0:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are just so many factors regarding stunting. From as mentioned food, water quality, available space...and another one we must look at IMO...how imbred/over bred the fish in the LFS are and if they have been exposed to steroids and so on at a young age to force them to grow faster.
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