Badman's Tropical Fish

Miscellaneous => Myths, Rumors, and Misconceptions => Topic started by: russ on March 19, 2016, 11:20:15 PM

Title: Garlic anyone?
Post by: russ on March 19, 2016, 11:20:15 PM
Allium, allicin, diallyl thiosulfiniate or diallyl disulphide-oxide or whatever plant or chemical extract. What is really good for? What does it or can it do for our freshwater and marine fishes?

Title: Re: Garlic anyone?
Post by: Pat Mary on March 20, 2016, 09:09:55 AM
I have a personal opinion on using garlic in fish foods which tends to keep me away from any threads that advocate using garlic.

In today's age, there are food fads.   Bacon is one of them.  Someone found out that people (and dogs) like bacon.  So, there is now bacon in just about everything.  Even ice cream.  I honestly believe that manufacturers try to put "bacon" in a food product to force us to buy it because we all love it.

Celiac Disease is another thing that comes to mind.  This is a valid ailment that affects some people in that they cannot digest gluten.  So, Voila, people are being pushed by so called experts to avoid gluten in their diet.  Of course, if gluten is bad for us, it is bad for our pets too.  It doesn't matter if a diagnosis has been made.  gluten is bad for us!  You can probably purchase just as many gluten free items as there are items with gluten. 

Garlic is another.  There was a period of time when many food items had garlic in them.  But now, you can just get pills or capsules with garlic but not the smell.  Neat, huh? 

Garlic does not occur in oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers and/or streams as far as I can tell.  I know that my version is not scientific, but, if it doesn't occur in Nature, then I don't think it's useful.  It's something like aloe.  People like the idea of it but it doesn't really benefit the fish. 

Here is a link to one article about garlic in fish food:

Title: Re: Garlic anyone?
Post by: rasaqua on March 20, 2016, 04:24:13 PM
What about garlic being used as an appetite stimulant? Even though garlic is a very natural food, it doesn't grow underwater and is not 'naturally available' to fish. I am also curious as to how and then why, hobbyists decide to use something like this. From what I understand about feeding mechanisms and stimuli in fish feeding, I can only assume at this point that when a food that contains an extract of garlic is introduced, the fish just simply are curious. If other stimuli are present such as texture, color, etc., it may not matter if the food also contains a garlic extract of sorts. A fish's taste stimuli actually kicks in a distance ffor many fish and increases as the fish gets closer and then actually has it in their mouth. Other fish would need to be closer and rely on other stimuli to recognize or reject possible foods. I guess then, it is maybe just palatability that would prove acceptance or not. Another thing to consider is what amino acids are in garlic that may trigger acceptance as compared to ther foods.

On the matter of using garlic for other things, such as an anti-parasitic or immune boosting would really have to be studied beyond the hype of manufactures and hobbyist's hit & miss testimonies. This thread should be interesting. Would need some actual scientific peer-reviewed information.

Title: Re: Garlic anyone?
Post by: TwoTankAmin on March 21, 2016, 08:28:23 AM
Pat Mary I have to disagree with what you state. There is science to support the opposite point of view you have and which answers the questions posed by russ.. Rather than fill this post up with abstracts and quotes from research papers, I will just provide a few links and the curious can read them.

Effects of Garlic (Allium sativum) and chloramphenicol on growth performance, physiological parameters and survival of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) (

Effect of Allium sativum on the immunity and survival of Labeo rohita infected with Aeromonas hydrophila (

In vitro and in vivo efficacy of garlic compounds against Gyrodactylus turnbulli infecting the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) (

Efficacy of garlic based treatments against monogenean parasites infecting the guppy (Poecilia reticulata (Peters)) (

I picked out the above 4 papers quickly. If you would like to see dozens more, I am happy to provide them. I also limited the above to fw fish, there are also studies involving sw fish as well. I picked the two guppy papers to show the science covers common aquarium fish as well as those farmed for food.

As for the idea that if something is not natural it is not useful or to be avoided, what about vaccines- these do not exist naturally. Or what about feeding bristlenose plecos zucchini or other veggies?.

If you want to research topics like this yourself, it is easy. Find Google Scholar. This is an area of Google for those interested in science and research. When you search there you get back research papers, books, scientific artciles etc. You will not see any of the urban aquarium myths that exists on most general fish sites across the net.

What it boils down to is this. On a topic like the benefits or lack thereof of garlic when fed to fish are even as a water additive, there is actual research. Biologists, aquacuturists, vets etc. actually look at the facts, the chemistry, etc. but feeding different concentrations of garlic to fish, the use control groups of fish subject to the same conditions and feeding with one exception, the control group gets fed no garlic at all. Then the do things like measure growth, measure the amounts of internal chemicals, the biology of the fish, and determine what has changed.

One caveat about using Google Scholar. the world of science uses different terminology from the rest of us. Think of it as the difference between call a given fish a Guppy vs Poecilia reticulata. If one wishes to search for info on the Guppy, you need to search both ways- for Guppy and for Poecilia reticulata. Often one must use the more scientific terms to get the best information. So if one wants to search for information on the effects of garlic fed to fish, you may actually have to ask for information on the effects of Allium sativum on fish.

Title: Re: Garlic anyone?
Post by: Pat Mary on March 21, 2016, 12:55:44 PM
Thank you for the references, TwoTankAmin.  I don't have time right now but promise to read the links that you have given us at a later date. 

I probably am all wet here, but have become very cynical about food claims for all beings over the years.  Hopefully those links will set me back on the right path.  I didn't mean to gloss over vaccines or any other medical breakthroughs.  I will say though, that penicillin has been overused and microbes have  grown to be superbugs which no longer can be controlled because of our misuse of meds.  That has nothing to do with foods, though.

Food additives have their place.  But, they should not be an end all, be all for all feeding dysfunctions.  Sometimes, someone will give a food that has caught their eye without seeing if it is a food that will benefit the animal.  Then, if the animal refuses it, they coat it with the food additive and feel proud that they induced the animal to eat it.

I will read these links and get back to you with my thoughts.  :)   

Title: Re: Garlic anyone?
Post by: TwoTankAmin on March 21, 2016, 04:30:49 PM
Basically, what you will find is that garlic does indeed have value when fed to fish from several perspecitives. Besides helping with certain parasites and  bacterial issues, it also seem to help fish grow a bit faster. Considering that garlic is itself natural, it is nice that something this simple and staigt forward can be used in beneficial ways for fish.

For the most part my tanks do not have many heath issues. For over a decade I have been feeding 100% of my fish every Saturday night on Spirulina and paprika flakes and sinking bits from kensfish. There are no exceptions. So I may be biased re garlic. But there is science to support its use. it can even kill ich in some stages if added directly to the water. I would be less certain about trying that than I am about feeding it.

I rarely trust anything I read as fact in most posts on general aquarium sites which I cannot verify from independent scientific sources.

Title: Re: Garlic anyone?
Post by: russ on March 21, 2016, 09:00:33 PM
I wish there was this type of research back in the late 60s. I've had on occasion, the need for short term  Furan baths (with almost blackout lights)for some fish maladies, but I would have never dreamed of short term garlic bath. Fantastic and very encouraging article. I did happen to notice praziquantel in a test group that also proved effective. Garlic seems much more simpler and at the demonstrated ratio worked just as well. It looks like the short term bath method worked better, but I can also perceive situations where feeding may have to be employed instead if only for practical sake and available resources. I'll let my wife simmer over the appetite stimulation of garlic theories and results. Food is more her specialty; diseases and infections of fish is what I concentrated more than diets (not that diet is less important).

So, what say everyone else?  :happy:

Title: Re: Garlic anyone?
Post by: Gregg on April 08, 2016, 06:35:03 PM
I have just anecdotal evidence for the effective use of garlic.  As well, it is not at all scientific.  Since feeding all my fish NLS Thera +a I have noticed increased vitality and color especially in a tank that suffered from some sort of wasting I treated with PraziPro.  It has been too soon to know long term if it has provided the fish parasite resistance, but they love those small pellets and as I said some things have improved.   As far as the scientific readings mentioned, I read them, as much as I could understand.  I relate that to my love of reading military history.  A book on Korea called "The forgotten war" by Clay Blair is one of the best. However, unless you really know symbols, instantly and well, that denote the type and size of units involved, US and allies, North Korean and Chinese, you will lose interest and search for a book that is easier reading.  That stuff is not really even taught until you are a Major and attend The Staff and General Course school at Ft. Leavenworth Kansas.  I struggled as I was enlisted but I wanted to know that book, actually I've yet to finish it.  Similarly, the scientific papers can leave a layman yawning.  I do listen to you scientist of the fish world as you seem to condense it to my level. With the interest my fish show with garlic infused food I also wonder about medicated food containing other important meds.


Title: Re: Garlic anyone?
Post by: Gregg on April 08, 2016, 08:07:32 PM
That would be "The Command and General Staff Course", an embarrassing mistake by me.


Title: Re: Garlic anyone?
Post by: russ on April 08, 2016, 11:26:32 PM
That would be "The Command and General Staff Course", an embarrassing mistake by me.


I was almost going to correct that until I saw your correction.  I was there in the mid- 80. And................
Rangers lead the way!  :proud:

Title: Re: Garlic anyone?
Post by: gunnered72 on April 08, 2016, 11:49:58 PM
Spectrum Thera A+ is absolutely amazing food in my opinion....Ever since i started feeding it to my fish last year the difference (from my observations) is night and day in colour, health and energy levels........

I have no scientific proof as regards its value in fighting off parasites but I do have my own observations...I feed this to new fish in quarantine who have signs of whitespot parasites etc and in conjunction with standard whitespot treatments and I have seen the problems clear up much more rapidly and efficiently....

Last year I had a problem in 2 of my tanks with flicking fish (fish showed absolutely no other signs of illness or loss of appetite etc....just constant flicking) Around that time I started feeding the Spectrum Thera A+.......Within a few days the flicking stopped....Now was this just a coincidence? I dont know? But it definitely got me thinking!

I also know that every fish I own (even picky eaters like Elephant Noses and wild caught fish) love this stuff....From Ottos to African Cichlids....They all devour it in minutes....I never see a pellet left over after 5 mins....