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FAQs on The Functions of Body Slimes of Fishes

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The functions of Body Slime in Fishes 1976       4/3/20
Hey Bob,
<Hey Gage!>
I just acquired a treasure trove of ancient Goldfish Society of America magazines known as The Goldfish Report and here I am reading October 1976 and guess who's name pops up in the reprint of the month!
<Oh yeah!>
I had to stop reading to say Hi. I am still helping the aquarists gone astray on reddit and am now a board member of The Goldfish Council. Hope you and yours are hunkered down and avoiding viruses too.
<Yes to hunkering and great to hear from you. I have oft stated that folks often begin their aquarium odyssey with goldfish; and if they live well enough, and long enough.... come back (after cichlids, marines, reef...) to goldfish. Cheers mate. B>

Washing off a clown's adaptation?  1/27/11
Wondering if anyone has experienced this.
<Let's see>
Last weekend I picked up a bubble-tip anemone at the LFS and decided to purchase the ocellaris clown that was already hosting it. On the way home and during drip acclimation, the two shared the same bag and the clown hid in the tentacles with no apparent discomfort. Before transferring into the quarantine tank, the clown got a 5 min freshwater/formalin dip. Once situated in the tank, the clown hovered over the BTA but did not enter.
After 4 days of attempts to enter and appearing to get nettled, he is now back to comfortably nestling in the tentacles.
Did the formalin dip "wash off" the protective mucus or otherwise destroy his previous adaptation to the BTA?
<I do think you may be right here. Such "wiping" has been demonstrated scientifically. Bob Fenner>
Re: Washing off a clown's adaptation?  1/27/11

Thanks for that, Bob.
<Thank you Ed... btw, have seen and even done some "palatability tests" (mine w/ Garibaldi years back), wiping off body slime... and the phenomena you suggest is pretty widespread amongst fishes. Cheers, BobF>

Question about eels, body slime, beh.    2/17/09 Hi Bob, I came across your article about fish and body slime today while doing some research about eels. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/f%27bodyslimes.htm I'm writing an article for How Stuff Works (Discovery Channel) about why eels are slimy. I've found that fish use body slime for protection and all that -- are eels slippery for any other reason, or is it for all the same reasons as other fish? <Some of the same... Osmotic integrity, to ward off ectoparasites...> I guess part of the reason eels are so hard to grasp is also because they're not as scaly as other fish? <Makes sense> Thanks for any info you can give me; if I use any of your info, it will be credited in the sources for the article. <Real good. Bob Fenner> Debbie Ronca House of Mud Enterprises http://www.houseofmud.com

Fish/ing Handling  8/22/06 Dear Bob, <Rich> From my searching on the web, it seems that you are recognized as an expert on fish slime. <Heeee! Okay>   I am a consummate angler and catch-and-release most every fish that I catch.  I know that one should always wet their hands before handling a fish to help protect the slime coating on their body. Here's the question. . . What is the best (glove) material (other than, or maybe even better than one's hands) for handling a fish?  Said another way, "What is the least invasive/destructive means to grab a fish? Rich Kalich <Mmm, the soft/er garden gloves that are all cotton... w/o the plastic beading... These will give the fisher enough "grab" to hold the catch steady if need be... and wipe off the least amount of body slime in the process. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Fish Handling  8/22/06 Bob, <Rich> Thanks for your quick response. <Welcome> How about some of the synthetic materials e.g. kind of a fake suede that get particularly soft when wet? <Mmm, have seen some of these... I really think they're a bit more coarse than the simple cotton> Do you know of any research that's been done on this subject i.e. specifically testing materials impact on the integrity of fish slime? Rich <I don't, but would not be surprised to find that there had been such... a very pertinent/important subject... There have been studies re removing fishes from the water (for fisheries work, de-hooking) and the (amazingly disastrous) mortality resulting. Bob Fenner> Antibiotic properties of fish slime  9/25/05 Hi! I am in the 6th grade, working on a science fair project.  I heard of the antibiotic properties of fish slime and I enjoy fishing very much so I would like to do a project on how fish slime can inhibit or kill bacteria.  I would appreciate any ideas of how to set-up and do a simple experiment to show the antibiotic effects of fish slime.  I live in Hawaii, so any ideas on which type of fish would be best to use.  Also, any other ideas or background information would be great.  Thank you for your help. <Tyler, I'm sorry to say that we don't do these homework type projects as our time is very limited in answering queries related to the freshwater/saltwater hobbyist.  James (Salty Dog)> Tyler <<James... a shame... RMF>> Re: Fish slime article in Aquarium Fish magazine Thank you very much for your assistance, it is greatly appreciated. I think your article has answered most of my questions except for a few. Please elaborate on your answers as much as you can and also provide the contact info that I can give to my editor. 1) Does handling of a fish really have an impact on the slime coating? <Absolutely. Slime easily "wiped off" by handling... more made in response to real, perceived stress> 2) Do commercial solutions designed to "protect" or artificially produce slime have a positive effect on fish? <Often, yes... or should I/we state, more often than not. Many "poison" the fish livestock (slightly), causing the fishes to produce more slimy coating> 3) What factors promote the proper function or dysfunction of the slime coating ie; diet, water condition, etc? <These as well as social phenomena, genetic disposition, disease states...> Thank you again, Erica Stoton <You will soon be able to apply for a doctorate on the subject! Bob Fenner>

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