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Causes And Effects Of Stunting In Goldfish
January 15, 2012
1:03 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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I'm trying to get some info together for an article on stunting in goldies. There's all sorts of stuff on t'interweb but I want to try and understand the actual physical/biological processes that cause it and what the effects are.

Personally I think malnutrition is a big cause with the 'do not over feed' mantra leading some people to massively underfeed.

The too small tank side of things seems to have other things woven in with it; if you have a small tank you are probably also underfeeding, whether knowingly or not, to stop pollution building up too much.

Water quality presumably features too, again this weaves in with the too small tank.

I've heard a lot about 'growth inhibiting hormones' or similar but I don't know what the proper name for these are or how they work.

I've also seen a lot of posts about how the body stops growing but the internal organs don't. I'd really like to know how true this is and what the repercussions really are for the fish in question.

What I'd like is some proper evidence, research, papers, links ... anything that could provide some definitive answers. Obviously I'm doing my own research as well but as you can imagine googling 'stunting on goldfish' is bringing up all manner of stuff!

If anyone can help, or point me towards further info I'd be very grateful /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

www.injaf.org
January 15, 2012
10:45 pm
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unissuh
Australia
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Ignoring diet and water quality, I've always thought (& I could be completely wrong) that stunting revolves around cortisol.

Apparently this is measurable in water stocked with fish, increases from handling (see Ellis et al, J Fish Biol 2004) & also correlates to stocking density (see Ruane & Komen, Aquaculture 2003). Think it's pretty well known what cortisol does as a stress hormone - pretty much everything described to happen from "stunting". You'll probably find a lot more good papers from an aquaculture perspective.

January 16, 2012
10:41 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Cake or death?
January 19, 2012
11:12 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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Thanks for the posts /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

Will have a read of that link, I'm sure there's some stuff in there that will help, thanks for that /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

I see so many posts (on various forums) about goldies growing to the size of the tank, and so many explanations of what happens to them when they stunt. I really want to understand more about it. I saw a post the other day on another forum (not one I post on, just one I nose on now and again) where a 24 year common goldie was ill; it had been kept in a 23x12 inch tank. Now obviously it was stunted but had lived 24 years. That sort of 'my grandad smoked 100 a day, only drank whisky, ate fried egg sandwiches three times a day and lived to be 107' makes it hard to get people to understand why what they are doing isn't right So I want to try and put something together with some info that Joe Public will be able to understand. But that means I need to get a better understanding of it first /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

I've posted this question on a couple of other forums for maximum info gathering and have had quite a range of replies. A fair few comments about water changes seeming to make a difference, some info about hormones and pheromones, and some info about GABA. The comments on water changes seem to imply something accumulates in the water.

I thought I'd post the links I've been given here as well just in case anyone is interested /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

Effects of high nitrates (admittedly not on goldies specifically but there may be parallels)

http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....ence/artic...044848682900424

Some info about pheromones

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.....oi/10.1111...ACC7B75B.d03t03

http://books.google.co.uk/book.....id=jdYOAAA...ish&f=false

And hormones

http://www.springerlink.com/co.....x516365u1/

And an article from PFK

http://www.practicalfishkeepin.....p?sid=4656

I should add I've not read through these yet, just thought I'd post for info if anyone else is interested /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> Have got a lot of reading to do now!

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January 23, 2012
10:22 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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It's not just goldfish by the way Sue, though obviously that's your personal passion - I'd argue that many aquarium fishes fail to reach their natural maximum size in aquaria.

Cake or death?
January 24, 2012
1:04 am
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Plaamoo
Bellingham, Washington U.S.A.
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Just curious, do you think the opposite ever occurs Matt? Fish grow larger due to plenty of easy food and less energy expended for various reasons.

January 24, 2012
8:52 am
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Matt
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As a rule I'd say no, but guess that over-fed/overweight specimens might weigh more than the average wild fish of comparable age and size?

Cake or death?
January 24, 2012
1:16 pm
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poshsouthernbird
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I'm sure you're right about various other species being affected Matt, I'd guess most of the 'big' popular ones like common plecs, clown loaches, angels etc. rarely reach their full size. Goldies are my personal interest, and I suspect they are the ones that Joe Public thinks of when they think fish grow to the size of their tank, but ideally (I really do aim for a very ideal world!) I'd like to raise awareness of the problem all round /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> I'm going to have to focus on goldies I think as I'm no biologist and I'd hesitate to produce anything capable of covering all angles in a suitably scientific fashion, but I shall certainly try and weave in common themes that affect all fish.

I think you're right that captive fish could well weigh more and be generally heavier than their wild counterparts. I know you don't get fancy goldfish in the wild but I've certainly seen overweight specimens. Two of mine were certainly fat when I got them from their previous owner, they were a good size all round but were also carrying a reasonable amount of fat, they soon streamlined a bit with a bigger tank and more swimming about!

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