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what are your experiences with stunted fish

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But Elizabeth, how do you know that both of your fish are just not near the extremes of normal growth? Stunted fish comes with morphological changes. What morphological changes do you see in your fish? I would like to know, because I sincerely do not.

Let me ask again. Let's stand Yao Ming next to Tom Cruise. Is Tom Cruise stunted?

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What about the lifespan of a stunted fish?

The same as a normal goldfish if given proper care.

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Nice info, PSP. I need to find the article to find how they stunted the fish -- underfeeding? overcrowding? both?

Here is the link but they want you to purchase the article. However I'm fairly certain it's somewhere on my laptop if I can find it. I know I've read the whole thing at some point in time :rofl.

Nice info, PSP. I need to find the article to find how they stunted the fish -- underfeeding? overcrowding? both?

I haven't read through till the end, but I get the full article on the university data base, so let me know if you want the full text!

Edited by Narny105

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I'd love it Alex!! I'm certain I have it -somewhere- but it wouldn't hurt to have it again :rofl

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:rofl no problem pm me your email address and I'll send it over- same with others who would like the document!

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I have a comet who started out in a 5 gallon tank with FIVE other 'feeder' goldfish...the sales person at a large chain store beginning with a *W and ending in *Mart told me 1" per gallon... :doh11:

So unfortunatly, due to my lack of knowledge the other 4 of the fish died pretty quickly obviously... :rip:

Somehow, My one comet survived in a 5 gallon tank for 2.5 years and a total of 8 moves (5 local moves ie less than 30 minute drives; 3 long distance moves 3-10 hour drives).

My comet was in a 29 gallon for a couple months on her own, then in that same 29 gallon with 2 fantails for 2 years until my pH crashed in that tank and I realized I was still seriously overstocked...

Now all 3 goldfish are in a 55 gallon tank together and have definitely grown since despite rough beginnings...

My comet is now 5 years and still going strong! She started out about 1" from nose to tail. She's now about 6" total, though her tail is almost as long as her body. She's definitely smaller than a properly raised goldfish her age probably should be...but I do believe she is still growing regardless...

So yes, my fish was kept in 'stunting conditions' for most of her life....but now that the situation has been fixed...her past doesn't seem to be affecting her present health...

Edited by jfg5018

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My experience with "stunted" fish:

The inhibited growth does not necessarily come from the fish being kept in horrible conditions with terrible water quality. I have four fish that one could consider "stunted" because they are considerably small.

Their story is though that these fish hatched in my care. They grew up in a 12g tub (which is surely not big enough for four adult fish, but for fry to grow out in it is just wonderful) with lots of water changes, proper filtration etc.

The cause of their inhibited growth was though improper nutrition during the first months of their life, which is the most important time for growth. In fear of overfeeding I fed these guys way too little. With not enough nutrition provided, it does not matter how much water volume is available to the fish, or how great the water quality is; the fish will simply not grow much.

Now they are 2 1/2 years old, very healthy and gorgeous fish, but rather petite. Four comets/shubunkins with a total length of 6.5 - 7" but literally half of that is tail length and the average weight of these fish is only around 30grams.

So yes, these fish are quite little compared to their parents and some people would consider them "stunted".

But "stunted" ≠ "stunted".

There are various reasons, and depending on those the fish may be more or less healthy. :)

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There is small, and then there is stunted. Stunted fish comes with morphological changes. So, again I will ask, what morphological changes did you see?

I understand that stunting is a real phenomenon, but I think before we can call our fish stunted, we have to define:

1. The non-genetic causes that lead to them being abnormally small.

2. The morphological changes that we observe.

Thank you.

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As best I can tell, the "stunting conditions" the for bighead carp were:

  • 30 3 gram fish in 240 gallons of water.
  • The water was called "static." This term was not explained. I think it might mean unfiltered.
  • Partial water changes every 2-3 days (amount not given) and full water change monthly.
  • Fed only brine shrimp

After the stunting, the fish were transferred for recovery to large (4mx4mx4m) cages in the lake where the control population had been all along.

After six months:

Stunted fish: 3.6g

Controls: 1,100 g

12 months:

Stunted 12 months: 5.9g

Stunted 6 m. recovered 6 m.: 800g

Controls: 2000g

18 months:

Stunted 18 months: 14.4g

Stunted 12 m, recovered 6 m: 700g

Stunted 6 m, recovered 12m: 1600g

Controls: 2400g

24 months:

Stunted 24 months: 14.4g

Stunted 18 m, recovered 6m: 600g

Stunted 12 m, recovered 12 m: 1500g

Stunted 6 m, recovered 18 m: 1750g

Controls: 3000g

30 months:

Stunted 24m, recovered 6 m: 400g

Stunted 18 m, recovered 12 m: 1600g

Stunted 12 m, recovered 18 m: 2100g

Stunted 6 m, recovered 24 m: 2500g

Controls: 3000g

44 months:

Stunted 24m, recovered 20 m: 1200g

Stunted 18 m, recovered 26 m: 2400g

Stunted 12 m, recovered 32 m: 2300g

Stunted 6 m, recovered 38 m: 2300g

Controls: 2800g

The primary stunting condition appeared to be severe underfeeding. (Brine shrimp are fry food.) Water conditions and crowding were also a factor. I wish they had distinguished between these factors, but the purpose of the study was to determine whether stunted bighead carp could compensate when the stunting conditions were removed, and the answer was, "almost completely", as long as the stunting conditions lasted up to 18 months, perhaps longer, but not 24 months.

Edited by shakaho

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Thank you very much, Sharon, for that beautiful summary. As seen above, a truly stunted fish is at 1% (or less) the weight of its non-stunted counterpart. I don't think anyone here has given an example of that. A lot of people have recounted having small fish, but I don't believe they are stunted fish.

The other thing to note was what Sharon, MK, and I have been saying all throughout this discussion. An actual stunted fish will regain its growth once it's been removed from its stunting conditions, after a sufficient amount of time has passed.

So, if you say that you have a stunted fish, then either you have not removed your fish from the stunting condition, or you actually just have a small fish. There is great variability in size from the same cohort. Look at the latest example with Tammy's fry comparison, if you need.

Anyway, Sharon, will you please send me the article? I really appreciate that. Thank you!

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But Elizabeth, how do you know that both of your fish are just not near the extremes of normal growth? Stunted fish comes with morphological changes. What morphological changes do you see in your fish? I would like to know, because I sincerely do not.

Let me ask again. Let's stand Yao Ming next to Tom Cruise. Is Tom Cruise stunted?

You're right--I don't know. I'm assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that 5 mos living in a tiny bowl would stunt anyone LOL!

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I think my single fry is a good example of a genetically small fish or a fish with a slower growth rate naturally. He certainly has not been subject to poor water, overcrowding, or lack of food. Yet he is much smaller than a normal fry of the same approximate age.

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But Elizabeth, how do you know that both of your fish are just not near the extremes of normal growth? Stunted fish comes with morphological changes. What morphological changes do you see in your fish? I would like to know, because I sincerely do not.

Let me ask again. Let's stand Yao Ming next to Tom Cruise. Is Tom Cruise stunted?

You're right--I don't know. I'm assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that 5 mos living in a tiny bowl would stunt anyone LOL!

I would also assume that it did, at the time they were living in that tiny bowl.

However, as soon as you removed them from those conditions, they have have rebounded, especially after a couple of years. (See Sharon's awesome summary up above.)

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I know this is old but I had to search to find it today so I could copy and paste what I'd written here. Any chance that this could be pinned?

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I like MK have a good example of a small fish. Cupid is my little petite ryu. She is still very tiny and I've probably had her a year. I bought a red cap at the same time as her and he is much larger than she is. They are both fed well, have clean water, and adequate space yet she grows sooooo slow you wouldn't think she was a year old. She's healthy and happy but not stunted. Just absolutely adorably small :wub:

I feel there is a lot of confusion between a small fish and a stunted fish. I also feel its very hard to stunt a fish....

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Here's a stunted goldfish: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/414114.stm 4 1/2 inches t.l.

Here's another: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2311186/After-35-years-golden-oldie-turns-fins-Britains-oldest-goldfish-Splash-loses-lifelong-tank-buddy-Splish.html

Each of these fish spent their first couple of decades in a bowl with owners who took great care not to overfeed them. All of these fish graduated to a tank, in spite of the reporter's statement about them being found dead in the "bowl."

Draw your own conclusions about how harmful stunting is to the fish.

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Here's a stunted goldfish: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/414114.stm 4 1/2 inches t.l.

Here's another: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2311186/After-35-years-golden-oldie-turns-fins-Britains-oldest-goldfish-Splash-loses-lifelong-tank-buddy-Splish.html

Each of these fish spent their first couple of decades in a bowl with owners who took great care not to overfeed them. All of these fish graduated to a tank, in spite of the reporter's statement about them being found dead in the "bowl."

Draw your own conclusions about how harmful stunting is to the fish.

What is best for humans should not be considered best for fish, and vice versa. :)

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I've had my fair share of stunted fish over the years, one in particular that has stood out like no other.  

 

I do not, for one moment believe he suffered while in my care.  Obviously I can't say that about his life before I stepped in but at the time I had the resources and time to cater to his every whim and do absolutely anything he needed to continue living as comfortably and as easily as possible.  I looked at like this:  I can do all of the work, the hard stuff, and the easy stuff - so he can simply glide through his days (I was never sure when his time would be up because he was so fragile) and never have to exert energy on being anything but completely satisfied.  He wasn't too weak to live with filtration but it would tire him out and I didn't like that because I knew it took away the energy he required to remain healthy so I worked around it by carefully doing multiple water changes, sometimes more than once a day, every single day without fail and never used a filter with him.  I never used a net on him either, too stressful, so I would submerge a bowl in the tank and wait for him to swim in on his own (that sometimes took 10 minutes LOL but I refused to force him to do anything he didn't want to do!)  I was sure to keep other goldfish with him because I don't like making fish live alone so I made sure he had slow moving, calm, gentle goldfish companions.  I worked out a special diet and fed him usually by hand or with a tweezer because I wasn't sure how much vision he had.  Sometimes I stayed up all night observing him and making sure he was eating enough and not doing anything out of the ordinary (he sometimes did back flips and while they didn't seem to affect him negatively in any way it was still weird looking and always made me nervous)  I made sure he got time in the sunny window every day but stayed near by to make sure he was never distressed.  I always liked looking at him in the natural sunlight.

 

It was a lot of work for sure, with not a whole lot received back aside from the knowledge that I was being a dedicated servant and honestly, it was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life.  He died very peacefully just over a year after I took him in.

 

 

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My only severely stunted fish was a Wakin. He was of a large size and lived at the LFS for a while as it was no longer pond season. I couldn't resist and brought him home.

He looked healthy, active, friendly, and I adored him. His only tell-take sign was his oversized eyes, definite stunting.

He died a couple of months down the line from Kidney Failure that took him from me overnight, despite my immediate action to treat.

Autopsy showed inappropriately-sized and underdeveloped organs despite his steadily growing size in my care. I still miss him every day. :cry

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A gal I worked with had a stunted koi/comet hybrid, she was only about 8 inches but lived to be 25. Tough old girl. We assume she was stunted based on the tiny barbels knowing she had koi in her

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Let's distinguish between stunting and "runting".    In any goldfish spawn, you will get a bell-shaped curve of fry sizes from tiny ones (runts) which might be half as long as their average siblings along with the very large ones (tobies) which may be twice as long as the average.  Breeders of fine goldfish typically cull both the runts and the tobies.  In my limited experience, the biggest fry do not grow bigger than the average-sized fry, although I suspect some do.  The runts include fish that die young, probably because their failure to grow resulted from genetic or developmental defects, fish that stay smaller than their sibs but live long,  and fish that grow to normal size.  

 

In all animals, including humans, stunting most often results from malnutrition, parasites, or chronic disease during the growing years.  Correcting the cause before permanent damage occurs to essential organ systems can result in anything in the range of adults of normal size and good health to undersized bu healthy.  In the case of goldfish,  stunting from underfeeding appears to promote longevity since all of the goldfish of record-breaking or near-record longevity have well below normal size.  

 

People I trust have reported having an adult  koi (like 15 years old) as small as 6 inches long.  These fish have not experienced stunting since they shared their environment with their normal-sized siblings.

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Old thread, but interesting. 

 

I've had two nearly identical red commons for at least five years. They live in a fifty gallon tub out in the greenhouse. They were WalMart fish given to me by a neighbour.  They are cheerfull, lively, but small.  Maybe 5" up to the tail.  I feed them less than the others - they are my smallest, yet they produce far more waste than the others combined.  That is one tank I try to get to EVERY day.  Lots of algae on the sides of the pots in that tank- some of the pots look plush.  I think all those two do is eat, but I haven't noticed any growth in years.

Edited by Distaff

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The figures I've seen for pond goldfish (I've never found the actual data.) says that most mature between 4 and 8 inches sl.  That agrees with observations of my own fish.  

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Years ago Walmart had an Oscar. It said adult size 6"! I put it into a 30g aquarium. It had a miserable life and died a miserable death. Stunting fish if it is us doing it is terribly wrong. They are living beings and have feelings including pain. The bottom line is do not get fish too large for your aquarium and do not overcrowd. Granted I did not read all this thread but I am just saying about us as the end keepers causing this. If they get stunted for other reasons that is beyond our control.

I love to see a family at petsmart with a new uncycled aquarium of 10g and 20 angel fish stuffed in a bag. Not.

Goldfish in general I strongly feel should have 30g per adult. Preferably 50g. I know most of you love them as much as me. Do you agree with this?

See, goldfish usually do not get huge but they create a lot of bioload. If you have very serious filtration I will say 20g but not more than 4 fish which would be a 80/75g aquarium. Quite frankly too small to me. I guess it depends how much you love them or they are just a "thing".

 

 

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