The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

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JediMasterThrash
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The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by JediMasterThrash » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:50 am

(This is a repost of an article I posted earlier this year. I wanted to reference it in another post but couldn't find it, must have been deleted).

Stress-Coat is surrounded by a lot of myths, speculation, anecdotes, and has gone through a rollercoaster ride of recommendation and avoidance. The only thing lacking is actual evidence.

In my article "Debunking the Slime-Coat Myth", I did research to dispel some myths about slime-coat enhancers and aloe (specifically the fact that aloe is not the slime-coat enhancer, as is commonly stated).
--> http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... hp?t=49121

Also, it must be noted that 'slime-coat" is not "Stress-coat". Slime coat enhancers are added to a variety of water conditioners, most of which do not contain aloe. Stress-coat is just a particular brand of water conditioner that does contain aloe.

I decided we needed to find out whether stress-coat was actually dangerous or not, since none of the evidence seems to support that conclusion, but it is widely circulated that stress-coat is harmful.

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So for the past three years, I have been using Stress-Coat as the exclusive water conditioner for all my crabs' water, and here are the results.

Since I began using Stress-Coat, I have no longer had any unexplained surface deaths of crabs, or dead crabs in the water pools. Previously, I would occasionally (one or two every couple of months) find a crab that had died on the surface (you can tell when it happens because the whole house stinks), or had gone naked and died in the water pool.

It is unclear if Stress-Coat actually helped to reduce deaths, due to the fact that I'm constantly enhancing my crab-care techniques. Other things I've changed over the past two years include monthly cleaning of the filtered pools and re-seeding both substrate and water. However, the fact that I haven't had any unexplained surface deaths at the least means that Stress-Coat didn't do any harm, and potentially may have helped.

I do deep cleans at 6-8 month intervals, where I hand sift through all the substrate and inventory the crab population. The instances of unexplained sub-surface deaths are unchanged from before the experiment. Again, this doesn't prove that Stress-Coat improved anything, but at least it did not result in any increase in crab mortality.

I currently also have crabs from several species including PPs, Es, Brevies, Rugs, Viols, and Straws. The exotics in particular are showing strength in the past 2 years. Previously I'd had a lot of trouble with them. I think I had a dozen rugs and straws at one time and had probably lost all of the original population, as well as my original brevies and viols. But now I haven't lost any in a long time, and they have gone through many successful molts. Again, the success with the exotics could just be a result of my continued improvements to the crabitat, but at least the exotics don't appear to be sensitive to Stress-coat in any negative way.

As I mentioned in my previous threads, I have of course still had some explained deaths. I was four months late in doing my deep clean and then started loosing a couple crabs in short time frame before I did the deep clean. And my substrate was oversaturated with water which caused a few molting deaths last year.

Additionally, since we moved 2 years ago, our new house has an RO filtration system for the water. So I actually do not need to use any water conditioner, but for this experiment, I continued to use Stress Coat anyway, even with the RO water, to see if the hydrocolloids or aloe may provide any extra benefits.

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Due to the fact that several factors were varied (As my crabarium is a continued experiment in progress), I can't offer a specific conclusion. I used stress-coat exclusively for three years, and over that time period, hermit crab health and mortality is remained constant or improved. Successful molt rate of exotic species is noticeably improved. At the least, I think that stress-coat is not harmful.

Stress-coat is composed of two key elements, a slime-coat enhancer and aloe. Slime coats are natural hydrocolloids (some are created from seaweed) that thicken the water into a protective slime that helps to protect and heal wounds. They are found in many water conditioners. Aloe oil (liquid inside the leaves) is purported to have beneficial healing and soothing effects for all animals, though there is no real evidence. Aloe skin is harmful to insects, but not the oil, and it is the oil that is used for healing effects.

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I did my tests using stress coat. Stress coat contains:

aloe vera gel (mystical healing properties)
carboxymethyl celluse (organic hydrocolloids for slime-coat)
polyvinylprrolidone (lubricant for slime-coat)
sodium thiosulfate (chlorine/chloramine removal)
elthylenediainetetraacetic acid (organic chelating agent, heavy-metal neutralizer)
tris(htdroxymethhyl)aminomethane (chloramine neutralizer)
diazolidinyl urea (anti-microbial preservative)

Dechlor-Eaze contains:

magnesium sulfate (slime coat production)
polyvinylprrolidone (PVP-30) (lubricant for slime-coat)
Sodium thiosulfate (chlorine/chloramine removal)
elthylenediainetetraacetic (EDTA) acid (heavy-metal neutralizer)
plus 3 more ingredients I haven't been able to find yet. Probably an ammonia neutralizer, gel preservative, and some sources say it also contains Aloe, but that's unconfirmed.

Someone who's better at chemistry can correct me on these.

None of these ingredients are harmful to crustaceans according to the exotixicity database.

So anyway, it's interesting to note that there is a difference. Stress coat uses carboxymethyl celluse and dechlor-eaze uses magnesium sulfate for lubrication and emulsion stabilization.

Both stress coat and dechlor-ease have about the same concentration. You only want to use about 3 drops for 1 gallon of water. So you always want to mix a whole gallon at a time. It's not even possible to get a small enough drop to make one bowl at a time.
JMT.

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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by Hermycrabitat21 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:03 pm

wow this was very interesting and i feel the need to read it over and over! i have always wanted to study the effects of stress coat with my crabs, as i only use it for their bath water, especially on new crabs that i know have not been in the greatest of conditions. now my studies have not been consistant. i used to do it once a week for a while, but i lost my routine.
thank you so much for your studies...
also i would like to add, do you think that after some time water conditioner or stress coat looses its ability to kill chlorine and other heave metals? and how long do you think it takes to kill the chlorine once added to water?

thanks to you i think i will start using stress coat in their water bowls, and not just as their baths :crabbigsmile:
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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by NeviNuNu » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:34 pm

Thanks for sharing!!!! I was curious about this topic and you helped shine some light on it for me!!!!
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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by JediMasterThrash » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:31 pm

Water conditioner is supposed to be essentially "instant", though I don't have any real information. I at least stir it up pretty well because I still wonder how a tiny little drop in the top can be sure to instantly remove chlorine in the bottom corner without some stirring and waiting going on.

I don't know what the shelf life is either, that's a good question. I think because it's in gel form and if you keep the container sealed, it can last longer. I would imaging if it was exposed to air it could react with water vapor.
JMT.

Stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking crab-herder since '92.

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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by NeviNuNu » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:41 pm

I always shake it the bottle good because I wondered the same thing! I shake it after it has sat for a bit too. Just to be safe!!
Proud Mama to: 1 Human Son- Nevan
Furkids: 2 dogs- Arden, & Ella
Shell babies: 16 PPs, 5 Es, 2 Violas, 2 Indos, 3 Straws & 2 Blues


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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by eloise13 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:44 pm

My bottle of water conditioner does say you should stir the water.
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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by wodesorel » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:48 pm

Any liquid is going to behave like food coloring, and that takes a good stir to get it fully mixed. ;)

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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by Invert Mom » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:01 am

Great topic, thank you for posting your findings. This is a relief. I use Prime to condition their water just to be safe, and I heard it had a slime coat enhancer in it.
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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by Rocky » Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:55 pm

This is really interesting :D I can't say I'll be seeking out stress coat because I'm happy with the dechlor I currently have, but I won't shy away from it if I'm ever in a situation where I have to use it :) It's reassuring to know that at least it doesn't have any apparent ill effects. (and possibly has positive effects)
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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by Crab Addict » Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:32 pm

I have and RO filter at my house, would it be beneficial to my hermit to add stress coat to the water?
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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by JediMasterThrash » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:03 pm

RO should not require actual dechlorination. But if there are any actual benefits to slime-coat collaogens it could have some use. The truth may never be known. I still use it with my RO water.
JMT.

Stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking crab-herder since '92.


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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by Cutepetgroomer » Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:44 pm

All I use is stress coat for my fish and now for my crab. I'm Feeling better knowing that for now I can get away with using stress coat for the fresh water


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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by Cutepetgroomer » Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:49 pm

I have used stress coat since I've got Hermy. It's the only water dechlorinator I have right now and so far no ill effects


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Re: The Great Stress-Coat Experiment

Post by the2crabbycrabbers » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:55 pm

Hi! I just joined the forum! I hope someone sees this and will answer my question!
I will keep it to the point! Is API Stress Coat+ safe to use for my 9 year old daughter's hermit crabs? (I saw API Stress Coat listed which removes chlorine and chloramines and has slime coat. The API Stress Coat+ does those two things and also detoxifies heavy metals.) I can see it has been determined that Stress coat is not harmful, I guess I am more asking if this is a good brand to use, or are there better ones?
And I think the answer to this is rather obvious, but I am going to ask anyway. It makes sense to me that the saltwater (I will be using Instant Ocean) should be made with the Stress Coat treated water. Is that right? Or at least made with something that removes chlorine and chloramines and heavy metals.

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