By Jim E. Quarles

One factor that seems to be misunderstood by even those how should know better is thinking that discus and other tropical fish will benefit by the addition of high dos of all kinds of vitamins to the food they feed to their fish.

The facts are simple and well known by most experienced discus keepers. Good nutrition does not require the addition of vitamins, but a good selection of natural foods that are fresh and contain a normal supply of vitamins that occur naturally in such items.

Of course if such a nutritional diet is not used problems can and will result. On a short term bases the addition of certain vitamins can safely be used, but should never become a regular part or dependent part of the diet of your fish.

I must repeat my favorite saying with regards to discus keeping. You will never find good health in a chemical bottle or pill. You will find it in a well balanced understanding of what is needed to maintain healthy fish. Why this seems to be so hard to a lot of hobbyists to grasp I will never understand.

Dr. Diether Untergasser: (perhaps the worlds best discus health expert), points out in his " Handbook of Fish Diseases ( T.F.H. 123 ) that the over use of vitamins is not only not healthy but causes disease and other problems in tropical fish. The same view point is noted by ( Reichenback-Klinkes book on Fish Pathology. T.F.H. ISBN 0-87666-074-X )

I know from my personal experience of over fifty years keeping and breeding discus both as a hobby and a professional hatchery, that this practice is totally uncalled for.

Many dietary vitamins can only be absorbed if essential fats are present at the same time, otherwise these vitamins cannot be utilized are eliminated in the feces. Limited use of vitamin is called for. Those who give high vitamin doses should realize that too much of a good thing can and will be harmful.

Studies have shown that tow thirds of diseased fish examined in recent years exhibited major fatty degeneration of the liver and body cavity. The over use of vitamins results in tuberculosis of the liver, spleen and body cavity. This is often notices as dropsy. The over use or misuse of vitamins causes  the liver yellows and disintegrates and can cause liver cancer in fish. Before you jump on the mis-information band wagon perhaps you should find out if those advocating the use of high doses of vitamins know what they are talking about or just think they do.

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