Fish Disease Diagnosis
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I've heard that Barley Straw makes a good filter, and algae reduction system. Is it good?
I have used this before in a couple of small, sparsely populated systems and the fish were unharmed. I did not personally appreciate the tea color given to the water, so I have my doubts that a serious Koi collector would wish it on his fish. Apparently it works by the production of Humic acid which had a natural inhibitory effect on green algae growth. Barley straw is NOT a filter, but a filter-adjuvant which has value in natural ponds where there are also plants. Plants compete with algae for food. Barley straw is safe, and minimally adds tea color to the water. Over the years, I have discovered that you don't need very much Barley Straw to have good results with it. It is NOT a replacement for a UV in control of disease contagion or reduction in bacterial counts.

Decomposing hay or barley straw rapidly establishes a high microbe count and many of these are heterotrophs which can reduce some Ammonia and Nitrite. Decomposing hay elaborates a considerable amount of humic acid which is inhibitory to plant growth, especially to green-algae plant growth. Decomposing hay also raises the organic load of the system and I think; represents pollution of the water, if not by Ammonia and Nitrite. I still don't think it's as good as a real filter which reduces organics and toxic metabolites of de-nitrification. Many people who have tried it noticed the water became pretty clear, except it also became yellow to brown.

Fish disease problems? Need some help? The help pages take you through the basics of the 'fish health work-up' diagnosis method and basic fish disease treatment methods.

90% of all health problems and fish deaths are caused by poor fish keeping! The key pages are essential reading for all beginners and intermediates who are serious about disease prevention.

Expanded Content by Dr. Erik Johnson, and Used with Permission; Frank Prince-Iles ©2009 All Rights Reserved