Effect of a water conditioner on ornamental fish behaviour during commercial transport

Myriam Vanderzwalmen*, Elizabeth Edmonds, Peter Carey, Donna Snellgrove, Katherine A. Sloman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Millions of ornamental fishes undergo transport every year during which they experience high levels of stress and prolonged recovery. Studies aiming to refine welfare during transport have generally focused on maintaining water quality to minimise stress, with far less consideration of whether the addition of water conditioners containing herbal extracts to transport water could provide additional stress reduction beyond that obtained by maintaining good water quality. No study has previously tested this on a commercial scale. The aim of this study was to test the effect of Stress Coat®, a commercially-available water conditioner which contains Aloe vera, on fish health and behaviour during commercial transport. First, we tested the effect of the water conditioner on the behaviour of guppies (Poecilia reticulata) post-transport in a simulated transport in the laboratory (bags with Stress Coat® n=6, control bags: n=6). In a second experiment, we added water conditioner to the shipment water of variatus platy (Xiphophorus variatus) for regional transport from a UK wholesaler to UK retail stores (< 8 h transport time) (bags with Stress Coat® n=11, control bags: n=11). Finally, the water conditioner was added to the shipment water of variatus platy for international transport from a farm in South-East Asia to a UK wholesaler (> 30 h transport) (bags with Stress Coat® n=16, control bags: n=16) followed by a second transport by road to local retailers (< 9 h) with no addition of Stress Coat®. Behaviour was monitored following the simulated transport. Water quality, behaviour, mortality and visible injuries of fish post-transport were monitored following both the regional and international transports. The effects of the water conditioner were variable between studies, but overall it reduced levels of erratic swimming and reduced biting behaviours following the simulated and international transport. The water conditioner did not significantly affect water quality, mortality or visible injuries post-transport and mortality was low throughout. Overall, adding Stress Coat® to the transport water of ornamental fishes appears to improve behavioural indicators of welfare, in particular reducing the occurrence of erratic swimming and biting behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Article number734486
Number of pages9
JournalAquaculture
Volume514
Early online date6 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Fingerprint

ornamental fish
fish behavior
fish
bags
water
water quality
Poecilia reticulata
erratic
mortality
effect
Aloe vera
fish health
roads
road

Keywords

  • Ornamental fish
  • Welfare
  • Water conditioner
  • Transport

Cite this

@article{4a38fa67a2a44ebb9cbaa4f4fb1c6983,
title = "Effect of a water conditioner on ornamental fish behaviour during commercial transport",
abstract = "Millions of ornamental fishes undergo transport every year during which they experience high levels of stress and prolonged recovery. Studies aiming to refine welfare during transport have generally focused on maintaining water quality to minimise stress, with far less consideration of whether the addition of water conditioners containing herbal extracts to transport water could provide additional stress reduction beyond that obtained by maintaining good water quality. No study has previously tested this on a commercial scale. The aim of this study was to test the effect of Stress Coat{\circledR}, a commercially-available water conditioner which contains Aloe vera, on fish health and behaviour during commercial transport. First, we tested the effect of the water conditioner on the behaviour of guppies (Poecilia reticulata) post-transport in a simulated transport in the laboratory (bags with Stress Coat{\circledR} n=6, control bags: n=6). In a second experiment, we added water conditioner to the shipment water of variatus platy (Xiphophorus variatus) for regional transport from a UK wholesaler to UK retail stores (< 8 h transport time) (bags with Stress Coat{\circledR} n=11, control bags: n=11). Finally, the water conditioner was added to the shipment water of variatus platy for international transport from a farm in South-East Asia to a UK wholesaler (> 30 h transport) (bags with Stress Coat{\circledR} n=16, control bags: n=16) followed by a second transport by road to local retailers (< 9 h) with no addition of Stress Coat{\circledR}. Behaviour was monitored following the simulated transport. Water quality, behaviour, mortality and visible injuries of fish post-transport were monitored following both the regional and international transports. The effects of the water conditioner were variable between studies, but overall it reduced levels of erratic swimming and reduced biting behaviours following the simulated and international transport. The water conditioner did not significantly affect water quality, mortality or visible injuries post-transport and mortality was low throughout. Overall, adding Stress Coat{\circledR} to the transport water of ornamental fishes appears to improve behavioural indicators of welfare, in particular reducing the occurrence of erratic swimming and biting behaviours.",
keywords = "Ornamental fish, Welfare, Water conditioner, Transport",
author = "Myriam Vanderzwalmen and Elizabeth Edmonds and Peter Carey and Donna Snellgrove and Sloman, {Katherine A.}",
year = "2020",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.aquaculture.2019.734486",
language = "English",
volume = "514",
journal = "Aquaculture",
issn = "0044-8486",
publisher = "Elsevier B.V.",

}

Effect of a water conditioner on ornamental fish behaviour during commercial transport. / Vanderzwalmen, Myriam; Edmonds, Elizabeth; Carey, Peter; Snellgrove, Donna; Sloman, Katherine A.

In: Aquaculture, Vol. 514, 734486, 01.01.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effect of a water conditioner on ornamental fish behaviour during commercial transport

AU - Vanderzwalmen, Myriam

AU - Edmonds, Elizabeth

AU - Carey, Peter

AU - Snellgrove, Donna

AU - Sloman, Katherine A.

PY - 2020/1/1

Y1 - 2020/1/1

N2 - Millions of ornamental fishes undergo transport every year during which they experience high levels of stress and prolonged recovery. Studies aiming to refine welfare during transport have generally focused on maintaining water quality to minimise stress, with far less consideration of whether the addition of water conditioners containing herbal extracts to transport water could provide additional stress reduction beyond that obtained by maintaining good water quality. No study has previously tested this on a commercial scale. The aim of this study was to test the effect of Stress Coat®, a commercially-available water conditioner which contains Aloe vera, on fish health and behaviour during commercial transport. First, we tested the effect of the water conditioner on the behaviour of guppies (Poecilia reticulata) post-transport in a simulated transport in the laboratory (bags with Stress Coat® n=6, control bags: n=6). In a second experiment, we added water conditioner to the shipment water of variatus platy (Xiphophorus variatus) for regional transport from a UK wholesaler to UK retail stores (< 8 h transport time) (bags with Stress Coat® n=11, control bags: n=11). Finally, the water conditioner was added to the shipment water of variatus platy for international transport from a farm in South-East Asia to a UK wholesaler (> 30 h transport) (bags with Stress Coat® n=16, control bags: n=16) followed by a second transport by road to local retailers (< 9 h) with no addition of Stress Coat®. Behaviour was monitored following the simulated transport. Water quality, behaviour, mortality and visible injuries of fish post-transport were monitored following both the regional and international transports. The effects of the water conditioner were variable between studies, but overall it reduced levels of erratic swimming and reduced biting behaviours following the simulated and international transport. The water conditioner did not significantly affect water quality, mortality or visible injuries post-transport and mortality was low throughout. Overall, adding Stress Coat® to the transport water of ornamental fishes appears to improve behavioural indicators of welfare, in particular reducing the occurrence of erratic swimming and biting behaviours.

AB - Millions of ornamental fishes undergo transport every year during which they experience high levels of stress and prolonged recovery. Studies aiming to refine welfare during transport have generally focused on maintaining water quality to minimise stress, with far less consideration of whether the addition of water conditioners containing herbal extracts to transport water could provide additional stress reduction beyond that obtained by maintaining good water quality. No study has previously tested this on a commercial scale. The aim of this study was to test the effect of Stress Coat®, a commercially-available water conditioner which contains Aloe vera, on fish health and behaviour during commercial transport. First, we tested the effect of the water conditioner on the behaviour of guppies (Poecilia reticulata) post-transport in a simulated transport in the laboratory (bags with Stress Coat® n=6, control bags: n=6). In a second experiment, we added water conditioner to the shipment water of variatus platy (Xiphophorus variatus) for regional transport from a UK wholesaler to UK retail stores (< 8 h transport time) (bags with Stress Coat® n=11, control bags: n=11). Finally, the water conditioner was added to the shipment water of variatus platy for international transport from a farm in South-East Asia to a UK wholesaler (> 30 h transport) (bags with Stress Coat® n=16, control bags: n=16) followed by a second transport by road to local retailers (< 9 h) with no addition of Stress Coat®. Behaviour was monitored following the simulated transport. Water quality, behaviour, mortality and visible injuries of fish post-transport were monitored following both the regional and international transports. The effects of the water conditioner were variable between studies, but overall it reduced levels of erratic swimming and reduced biting behaviours following the simulated and international transport. The water conditioner did not significantly affect water quality, mortality or visible injuries post-transport and mortality was low throughout. Overall, adding Stress Coat® to the transport water of ornamental fishes appears to improve behavioural indicators of welfare, in particular reducing the occurrence of erratic swimming and biting behaviours.

KW - Ornamental fish

KW - Welfare

KW - Water conditioner

KW - Transport

U2 - 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2019.734486

DO - 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2019.734486

M3 - Article

VL - 514

JO - Aquaculture

JF - Aquaculture

SN - 0044-8486

M1 - 734486

ER -