Something Smells Phishy

Scott Repasky
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Increased Threat

Columnaris disease is unfortunately a common condition in freshwater aquariums, and there is a great deal of information available on the internet. The cause of columnaris is almost always attributed to the Nitrosomonas sp. bacteria. Also known as ‘white spot disease’, it can be deadly in very short periods of time.

Columnaris often appears on the gills or fins of fish and will spread at a high rate if not treated. In order to fight this inflammation, the fish require high levels of oxygen in order to fight of the bacteria. This is why it is vitally important to provide your fish with the best diet and general environment.

Some common symptoms of columnaris are a drop in water oxygen levels. Another very clear sign of a case of columnaris is rough patches of scales and, often, a white film on the fish’s body. If your fish have any of these symptoms, immediate action must be taken.

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is a scam where a person or a group contrives to get others to divulge personal information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by impersonating reputable companies.

Phishers try to send emails that look exactly like the real ones, hoping that users will click the link or the attachment.

Once you click the link or open the attachment, you are immediately downloading a malware (malicious software) that will damage your computer and steal your private information. Phishing emails will often appear to come from the banks, airlines or whatever service you are using.

Most phishing emails are sent out in huge quantities hoping that at least 1 in 100 emails will be clicked.

The best prevention is to ignore the email and don’t even open the email or without even clicking the link; go directly to the website.

Not Just Emails

As uncomfortable as this is to admit, it’s best to acknowledge the truth: Not all phishing attacks come in email. Yes, in the most recent history of cybercrime, phishing attacks with malware attached to emails make up the majority of attacks. But as Cyber Crooks devise new methods to hack computers at home and at work, phishing has taken many forms.

A company called Proofpoint, that fights email-borne attacks using an app allows users to analyze the header of any file, website link, or email attachment. Think of it as a virus scanner that works for everything from emails to text messages.

Wily Cyber Crooks do indeed send out fake emails or text messages that could compromise your identity. But according to the Great Britain National Crime Agency, there has been a rise in phishing crimes related to Windows 8. This form of phishing attacks works with malicious links and attachments that target Microsoft Windows Store apps. Simply having a link to what is supposed to be an application such as a game can lead to the installation of malware and who knows what else.

Avoid the Hook

If you’re hoping to avoid eating wild caught salmon, you may want to be more aware of its appearance and smell. Often referred to as “The Fishy Five”, they include king (chinook), silver (coho), chum, pink, and sockeye salmon. Of course, if a fish appears to be spoiled or not in its prime, it’s probably best to avoid consuming that one.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your fish, you can take a quick dip in dish soap and water. Ten to 15 minutes is a good timeframe to check for signs of spoilage. This is different from when you were a kid, where you could stay underwater for minutes at a time without coming up for air … and don’t attempt that on your lunch break.

If you see anything that looks unusual in the way of cuts, marks, or discoloration, you should probably consider that a red flag. Of course, if there is any odor to the fish, you should smell it.

Assessing Accuracy

Phishing is any type of email scams that attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card numbers by misrepresenting legitimate businesses. Once phished information is obtained, the criminals are able to use stolen information to access your bank accounts, online email accounts, and much more. Phishing is quite a dangerous practice, and it is very effective in getting around unsuspecting targets. Phishing schemes often involve receiving an email from someone with an authority figure (i.e. a lawyer, trusted friend, police or other government official) requesting information or money right away. These schemes also include sending an email with a link to a website that looks very similar to a real, familiar website, but instead of the intended site is a malicious site, which will then ask for personal information.

For example, one classic tactic used is the power outage scam. Many people receive an email that says their bank or online account has been locked and all access to it has been suspended until a phone number is provided. The recipient is offered a number to call to unlock the account. When the victim calls the phone number provided, the criminal on the other end of the line will be able to access their bank accounts and other sensitive information.

Signs of a Scam

As hobbyists, we all want to just buy fish and supplies and enjoy them, but unfortunately it’s not that simple. There are a lot of people out there who try to take advantage of us and our exotic fish so they can earn a quick buck. The intention of this thread is to try and help you protect yourself against these bad people.

The thing that attracts these bad people to us as a society is we have a lot of money, usually a lot of it, and we are going to spend it. The risk for these people to make some money is typically pretty low, but if they do get caught, the risk is high. So the message here is to use your head and don’t fall victim.

The following are a few common signs of a scam:

{1}. Never pay for fish in advance. No matter how excited you are you will almost always regret it.
{2}. Never pay for fish or anything else off a website. Pay by check or pay by cash when you get the fish or whatever it is you are buying.

Staying Cyber-Safe

When it comes to cyber shopping, it’s usually a good idea to do your homework first. You want to educate yourself and become familiar with the seller, the type of products they sell, the policies they use for refunds, and the best ways to contact the company for customer service issues.

Read Reviews and Look for Customer Testimonials

How many positive reviews and testimonials are listed on the website? Do they have a good page ranking? Do they have a good return policy? A good way to check the quality of a company is to look through their reviews and testimonials. Excellent customer service with a high satisfaction rate should be a good indication of higher quality products, too.

Check the Recent Top Trades

If you see that a certain product has been purchased frequently and that there are a large number of positive reviews, then you may want to investigate further.

Check for Trust Signs

Look for the trust signs such as the TRUSTe seal, the Better Business Bureau trust seal, or the Verisign seal.

Check Quality of Products

If you’re interested in high quality products, check out some of the “premium brands.” They use better material, have a longer warranty, and have a reputation for providing great customer service.

Take the Quiz Yourself

Why does something smell phishy?

If you smell something fishy, something smells phishy, or you get a bad feeling that something isn’t quite the way it should be, then the correct answer is, your job. You may have gotten the job of a crook or someone with bad intentions. Some fish actually do smell, which lends a credibility to the question. However, the most likely answer is that you may have gotten the job of a crook.


This is a comprehensive guide on how you can detect an aquarium gone bad by simply using your nose.

How bad does an infected aquarium smell? How can you pick out an infection in your fish’s tank without the need of a laboratory analysis?

Above are some of the smells you don’t want in an aquarium. To help, we’ve listed each smell and its probable origin. Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s 100% accurate and you should stop reading right now if you’re going to risk trying to cure your fish.

As you can see, there are a variety of things that can cause an infected or unhealthy aquarium. While this list may not be the complete list of all possible aquarium diseases, you should be able to have an idea on what’s wrong with your tank.


When one spends a lot of time around fish and their aquariums, there is a noticeable, but not unpleasant odor that comes from the aquarium. A bit like a cross between a stagnant lake, a wet circus floor, and a wet bird cage. Although the smell you recognize in your own aquarium is not pleasant, it is not fecal or rotten. The smell is caused by a lot of different bacteria, decomposing debris, and the fish waste.

Fish Odor Removal

The first step to eliminating fish odors is to reduce these causes. Make sure that your filter is working and that you aren’t over feeding your fish. If you have a large community fish tank, get two or more filters or otherwise turn your filter up to a stronger flow. Cut back on the feeding, for all but the largest, or otherwise poorest, fish.

You can also keep the water chemistry about neutral, by adding a limestone additive. This will help reduce some of the nitrogen waste that may contribute to fish odors. Finally, you don’t always have to clean it. Sometimes the smell is most noticeable when the tank has been cleaned. Just waiting, until the odor is back on you, before cleaning your tank may help reduce the unpleasant odor.

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