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Garra Rufa Fish

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by Fishy person, Nov 21, 2010.


  1. Chillinator

    Chillinator Guest

    You need to think about the chemical effects of increasing the temperature. Fish produce ammonia (NH3-) as part of their metabolism, very much like ammonia found in human urine as a result of cell respiration.

    As you may know, ammonia is very toxic to fish, even in tiny concentrations. The concentration of ammonia does of course increase if it was in a smaller volume of water. The bacteria in your filter break down the ammonia into nitrite (NO2), which is equally as dangerous because it binds to the haemoglobin in red blood cells and reduces their ability to transport oxygen, giving rise to a condition called 'brown blood disease'.

    The toxicity of ammonia and nitrite increases with pH and temperature. Increasing the temperature by two degrees would increase the toxicity of these substances ten-fold, and it's not worth increasing the temperature by just two degrees as it won't make much of a difference to the overall well-being of the fish.
     
  2. dnf

    dnf PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,

    I'm thinking of investing in a Garra rufa spa and was wondering if one of you may have a list that could help me make sure this business is doing things the right way and complying with future regulations?

    Thank you in advance

    Dan
     
  3. Chillinator

    Chillinator Guest

    A list of what exactly? Equipment? Without wanting to sound rude, I think the UK has enough of these fish spas without more opening up shop. Health experts have already highlighted the risks of contracting fungal infections and diseases such as HIV through open cuts and sores. It's easy to deduce from this information that increasing the number of fish spas will increase the risk of exposure to one of these diseases. Now that potential customers are hopefully aware of this they will make a well-educated choice of not giving these businesses their money.

    If you absolutely insist on setting up a fish spa as a business, I would suggest doing your homework in aquatic chemistry, equipment, maintenance and aquatic diseases before you start investing.
     
  4. dnf

    dnf PetForums Newbie

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    I was looking into franchise opportunities such as this one Are you interested in a Appyfeet Franchise?
    but reading your thread i would like to make sure this business is on top of all health issues and that they look after their fish properly.
    I think you are a little extreme with your reaction after all if you visit and eat in a restaurant your may get all the same diseases if they don't respect basic health and safety, and in that respect i think fish spa's are OK so long as we make sure they are looked into and they follow the guide lines...
     
  5. Chillinator

    Chillinator Guest

    My reaction is not 'extreme', a restaurant is a completely different establishment to a 'fish spa', where the exposure to contracting a disease via food is more or less neglible in comparison to a tank of water where pathogenic microorganisms are rife.

    In any case, your argument that you could contract the same diseases that I mentioned earlier from a restaurant as well as a fish spa is a moot point, as it's impossible to contract HIV or fungal infections via the ingestion of food. Fish spas are practically a biological health hazard, since untrained staff are likely to neglect the tanks.
     
  6. dnf

    dnf PetForums Newbie

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    A kitchen worker with HIV that cut his hand... and you eat his blood will result in an infection... meet fish and other food can carry all kinds of diseases, in fact i stopped eating Indian food after spending a night in hospital due to "untrained staff" that fed me with some rotten meet.

    Any way what you're saying is that the spa staff simply need training!
     
  7. hawksport

    hawksport Banned

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    No matter how well trained staff are you can't sanitise a fish like you can a saucepan
     
  8. Chillinator

    Chillinator Guest

    I shall say this again, it is biologically impossible and there have been no documented medical cases of HIV contraction through ingestion of food or any other substances. HIV is contracted via direct transmission between blood and bodily fluids through cuts, infected hypodermic needles or through SI.

    The risk of contracting a disease from food from a restaurant that actually cooks the food properly is negligible as the entire cooking process destroys bacteria and other pathogens on the food.
     
  9. dnf

    dnf PetForums Newbie

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    I hope for you that these spa's will stop working although very unlikely.
    however your point was taken.

    if i was you, start by stopping the promoted links at the bottom of this page:rolleyes:
     
  10. Chillinator

    Chillinator Guest

    I don't own this site, so I can't remove the ad links. Either way, the results are generated automatically by google in reference to what the subject of the page is.
     
  11. Fishy person

    Fishy person PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Chillinator
    I have been reading your advice and find it interesting, you say it's impossible to contract HIV through ingestion of food, and that there are no documented medical cases. I have searched for any infections being passed by Garra rufa fish including fish TB and didn't find any. But I did find three reported cases of fish TB 1. A fish worker cleaning out a crabshell and cut his hand. 2. A woman being bit by a dolphin. 3. An aquarist moving coral in his marine tank and cutting his hand.
    If you know of any Garra rufa cases i would be interested.

    My understanding is the only way anyone can be infected is if three things are in place. 1. Entry A way into the body via a cut abrasion open wound etc. 2. Quality the quality of infectious fluid i.e blood saliva, sweat etc has sufficient amount of infectious material 3. Quantitythere has to be enough infectious fluid to infect.
    If the customer's feet are inspected and there is no entry point via broken skin, abrasion, cut etc. then number 1. Entry has been eliminated then infection can not take place.
    I have been researching Garra rufa for several months now, as I originally said when i first started this I have an open mind neither for or against, I have tried to inform people of the good and bad points to some of the systems on sale. But with the more knowledge and information I have aquired speaking to more marine biologists than you've had hot dinners (no pun intended)LOL, there is a considerable amount of unsafe equipment being sold which is not only harmful for humans but fish as well. I have arranged several meetings with enviromental officers to find out what they know about Garra rufa fish and the treatments being offered what are they looking for and hopefully to set a standard of safety. This should help to eliminate some of bad pieces of equipment on sale and improve the rest. Sorry for the rant but I am working nights and I'm tired and wished I was at home in bed.
     
  12. Chillinator

    Chillinator Guest

    There's a couple of flaws with your theory...

    1) You won't find any reported medical cases of HIV transmission by fish. Garra rufa isn't a carrier of HIV, it's the water that can become infected with the virus from customers with cuts and open sores on their skin.

    2) There's no guarantee that the staff will actually examine every customer properly, there's going be a slip up at some point. There's also no guarantee that the staff won't accidentally miss a cut or sore on the skin.

    The fact is, you can't set a 'standard' of safety where living organisms are involved.

    I'd be very interested to hear which institute the marine biologists you mentioned work for.
     
  13. Fishy person

    Fishy person PetForums Newbie

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    Once again you are saying there's no guarantee that the staff will actually examine every customer properly, there's going be a slip up at some point. There's also no guarantee that the staff won't accidentally miss a cut or sore on the skin. It sounds like hopeful thinking not based on actual evidence.
    Scientists and medical authorities agree that HIV does not survive well outside the body, making the possibility of environmental transmission remote.Some people fear that HIV might be transmitted in other ways; however,no scientific evidence to support any of these fears has been found. If HIV were being transmitted through other routes (such as through air,
    water, or insects),

    The safety standards I was refering to was the equipment, also this could include training of staff on how to examine customers feet.
     
  14. Polsander

    Polsander PetForums Newbie

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    HPA statement on fish spa pedicures
    10 March 2011

    The Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Health Protection Scotland are currently unaware of any cases of infection associated with the use of fish spas pedicures in the UK.


    Based on theoretical evidence and expert opinion, the HPA deems the risk of catching an infection from a Garra rufa fish foot spa to be very small. However, following a number of enquiries to the HPA from local environmental health officers, the HPA, Health Protection Scotland and the Health and Safety Laboratory are currently examining the most up to date evidence and will publish practical advice to help both salons and the public to minimise any possible risk in due course.

    Polsander
     
  15. Chillinator

    Chillinator Guest

    The thing is, you won't find any information on infections related to fish spas, because these businesses haven't been open long enough for any problems to arise yet.

    When you're working with animals the risk of contracting a disease will always exist, regardless of what 'expert' advice the HPA and HPS dish out.

    Although HIV does not survive for long periods without a host (it is after all, a virus), there is a still a big risk of infection being transmitted between one customer to another due to infected blood or other bodily fluids seeping out of a small cut which the staff may not have noticed if customers were examined.

    If the period of time between one customer with HIV leaving one of the spa tanks and another HIV customer entering was say around 10-15 minutes, enough of the virus would still exist to be able to infect the next customer. If this was a couple of hours, the risk would be quite negligible. That does of course depend on both customers having a small open cut or sore somewhere on the legs or the feet.

    Remember, it's theoretical evidence that's being used, not proven scientific evidence. The two have a fairly substantial contrast.

    We shall have to wait and see.
     
  16. Fishy person

    Fishy person PetForums Newbie

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    Re: Garra Rufa Fish

    But you seem to be missing my point. This "treatment" is not going away and is getting more popular. So it seems logical to me that if people are going to start up Garra Rufa spas then there shold be a code of practice and also a safety standard of equipment to regulate and ensure staff have had formal training (certificate) I understand that with the best will in the world it can't be guaranteed that it's 100% safe but what is.
    I just think that your vast knowledge could be used in a positive way and help these people looking for advice on setting up a system or buying from a company who probably don't have the experience themselves to build a system capable of looking after garra rufa in such large numbers.
    until it is proven one way or another.
     
  17. Chillinator

    Chillinator Guest

    I'm sorry, but I'm reluctant to use my 'vast knowledge' (which is a bit of an overstatement, I'm not an expert) to help people with something that's against my own ethics. If they are absolutely desperate to set up a fish spa, then I'll at least point them in the right direction, but nothing more.

    Although fish spas may be here to stay, I stand by my belief that these 'treatments' should be restricted to medical uses where they can be used to relieve the symptoms of chronic dermatological conditions and diabetes. In which case, the use of 'fish spas' should only really be allowed in hospitals or clinics.

    Fish are not a beauty treatment, and nor are they there to be exploited by budding entrepeneurs; many of whom are clearly in it just to make a fast buck going by the conditions I've seen these fish being kept in.

    Staff can have all the 'training' in the world, it doesn't necessarily make them good fishkeepers.
     
  18. Chillinator

    Chillinator Guest

    I can provide further information in support of a ban on fish spas within the UK, using sources at Practical Fishkeeping.

    Advocates of fish spa treatments claim that Garra rufa secrete an enzyme in their saliva called Diathanol which reportedly promotes the healing process of various skin conditions.

    However, Dr Alastair Lyndon - a well known lecturer in fish nutrition and enzymes - says differently. Believe it or not, Diathanol is a defunct chemical name which was used upto the 1960's to describe a certain group of organic chemicals. Diathanol is not an enzyme and nor has the name been used in any scientific research papers and other literature. This term is being used as a marketing ploy by fish spas.

    Dr Lyndon also quite rightly points out that in general, fish don't possess salivary glands, further casting a dark shadow over the fish spa industry.

    On the note of health risks, HIV and Fish TB are not the only concerns. Athlete's foot and verrucas thrive in the damp environment found in fish spas, very much like they do in indoor swimming pools. Many zoonotic diseases, including Erysipelothrix, Mycobacterium, Vibrio, Aeromonas, Edwardsiell and Nocardia are all capable of spreading from fish to humans. It is clearly pointed out in the PFK article that immune compromised people are at an elevated risk of infection.

    According to the article, recent scientific studies in China found Plesiomonas and Aeromonas, both of which result in gastroenteritis followed by septicemia.

    Despite the use of Ultra-violet (UV) sterilisation, Mycobacteria are not killed by expoure to UV. This effectively allows them to continue thriving in the fish spa environment.

    Most companies are supplied with information supplied by the same people who supplied them with the equipment and fish in the first place. Very few fish spas have trained staff and it is safe to say that 99.9% of fish sps have staff with absolutely no fishkeeping experience. Spa establishments are saying that they're only guaranteeing the lifespan of their fish at a few weeks.

    Pretty worrying huh? Read on, as this as they say is where the plot thickens...

    We fishkeepers would normally recommend a tank size of around 90 x 46 x 46cm as a minimum for maybe around 4-5 Garra rufa, given an average adult size of 15cm/6". In contrast, spa tanks are usually much smaller than this and the stocking densities are enough to make any sane person feel sick: 150-200 fish per tank. That's right folks, 150-200 fish that can grow upto 15cm in length being kept in tanks that hold less water than the average bath tub.

    Foraging behaviour in fish kicks in when all other food sources are exhausted, the same applies for Garra rufa which begin to forage on dead skin when no other food is available. Dead skin isn't particularly nutritious and it consists primarily of an indigestible dietary protein called Keratin.

    From this it is clear that fish spa owners are deliberately starving their fish in order to make a fast buck.

    The sooner the government realizes that this practice is a health risk, cruelty to animals and enforces a ban, the better.
     
  19. modelbaron

    modelbaron PetForums Newbie

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    A new Garra Rufa outlet has opened close by and I have spoken with the young lady who is running the unit. Two weeks before opening she had no idea about how it all works, "but was looking forward to going on a course to find out how it all works."

    I did not let on that I had worked in a pet and aquatic retailers for several years so it was easy to spot that she has NO IDEA of fish welfare.

    I asked about the chance of cross infection to which she said that this was not possible as each client will have to sign a disclaimer stating they do not have open sores or certain infections. A lot of faith and as much ignorance is being placed in this bit of paper.


    No UV lighting used in this outlet. The water is changed every three days with a filter system cycling the water 15 times per hour for the tank size.

    Certainly in it for the money.
     
    #59 modelbaron, May 6, 2011
    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  20. Chillinator

    Chillinator Guest

    Aren't they all? :rolleyes:

    I never knew a piece of paper could prevent infection, a medical breakthrough! :lol:
     
    #60 Chillinator, May 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2011
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