August 6th, 2016

Fishy, Fishy, Fishy, Fish!

I received this exciting offer recently:

Re:  Fish Disease — Manuscript Invitation

Dear Dr. Paul E Sax,

Greetings for the good day!

We gladly invite you and your colleagues to contribute the articles on the topic Fish Disease in Johnson Journal of Aquaculture and Research of Johnson Publishers.

During our past two volumes, we had an excellent and fruitful cooperation, especially with our Editorial Board members.

We hope this volume will be interesting, with the presence of articles from Eminent personalities like you.

We are looking forward to receive and review your papers. For any information needed, please feel free to contact via e-mail:

Thank you for your attention towards this letter.

We are happy to announce that this is the 2nd year for this Journal. It will be a great honor for us and an excellent opportunity for you to share your newest scientific work on the field of Johnson Journal of Aquaculture and Research related issues in our international scientific review.


Jennifer Griffin
Johnson Journal of Aquaculture and Research
Johnson Publishers
9600 Great Hills
Trail # 150 w
Austin, Texas
78759(Travis County)

What an opportunity! Here’s my response:

Dear Ms. Griffin:

Thank you so much for reaching out to me about submitting a paper to the Johnson Journal of Aquaculture Research. I have long been an admirer of your journal, and am proud to say I was one of the inaugural subscribers; I eagerly await each issue with great excitement.

Your invitation today was propitious, since, as luck would have it, my research team and I have just completed a major study on the topic of Fish Disease. It should be right in your journal’s wheelhouse, as they say.

(Since you are based in Austin, Texas — Travis County, as you note — you no doubt understand that wheelhouse expression.)

Anyway, I ramble. Let me get right to the point — we think our study is groundbreaking. If we don’t win a Nobel Prize in Fish Disease (there is one in Fish Disease, right?), we’ve been robbed.

Here’s the abstract:

Background:  Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (commonly known as freshwater white spot disease, freshwater ich, or freshwater ick) is a common disease of freshwater fish in home aquariums. It can cause white spots, clamped fins, and reclusive behavior due to severe embarrassment, poor little things. The optimal treatment is unknown. Methods:  We randomized household guppies with moderate-severe ick to standard of care treatment (whatever that is) or a chlorhexidine whole body wash. Outcomes were assessed by trained fishologists blinded to study arm, using validated ick instruments and quality of life scores (CDC HRQOL-14, SF-36, WHOQOL-BREF, and some other letters put together that sound impressive). Results:  After informed consent was obtained (at least to the extent possible from a fish), 6 guppies were enrolled, 3 in each treatment group. Baseline characteristics seemed roughly comparable, but how would we know (they’re just little guppies, after all). On a 100-point ickiness scale, the chlorhexidine washed guppies scored 22.4 International Ick Units (IIUs), vs 57.8 IIUs for the standard-of-care group (p < 0.0000001 — wow, that’s significant, isn’t it). Quality of life measures also favored the chlorhexidine-treated group (“I’m just happier,” one guppy said). Conclusion: For common aquarium guppies suffering the embarrassment of freshwater ick, chlorhexidine whole body wash is superior to usual treatment. Prevents MRSA, too.

I hope you will consider our study carefully. Eminent personalities like us ponder long and hard about the best venue for such important research. Your email was perfectly timed.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Paul E. Sax
Henry Limpet Professor of Ichthyologic Ick
University of Travis County

(Part of an occasional series, I guess. H/T to Monty Python for the title.)

6 Responses to “Fishy, Fishy, Fishy, Fish!”

  1. Jesse Couk says:

    And don’t forget, Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

  2. H Larry Penning says:

    Dear Dr. Sax

    Such extraordinary research should not go unpublished. In the remote likelihood that your submission to the Johnson Journal of Aquaculture and Research should not be accepted I suggest that you immediately submit it to the Journal of Improbable Research . I am certain that they will find it most appropriate and informative.


    H. Larry Penning, M.D.

  3. Joel Gallant says:

    Don’t just publish your paper in the journal; make sure to submit it to FISH 2016 (formerly the International Conference on Fish Disease and Related Conditions). Fish disease researchers always hold their conferences in fabulous places (places that have fish!) They’re the envy of the aquaculture community!

  4. Ethan says:

    Any practical idea on how to get rid of those daily emails as soon as you publish your email in any manuscript?

  5. Simon says:


    Congratulations for your exceptional work. It is quite unfortunate these data could not be presented at the 12th International Congress on the Biology of Fish, which was held in San Marcos, Texas in June ( No doubt this report would have qualified as a late breaker.

    I myself have an interest in the field of fish and water related human mycobacterial infections. If you ever feel our work could be seanergistic, please feel free to reach out.

  6. Barry says:

    I am disappointed that a stronger study design was not used. While the fish receiving experimental treatment might have been blinded by the chlorhexidine, control fish would not have been. Blind cave fish should have been used for this study. Comparison to povidone-iodine would also have been helpful, given the persistence of its use despite multiple studies demonstrating the superiority of chlorhexidine.

    It also seems you missed a key bit of fun in piscine your life away. Now that fake journals are using US addresses – checking them out via Google street view. I was recently offered a position as a “Righteous Editorial Board Member” by a journal whose “offices” were overshadowed by a very impressive nail salon next door.

HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

Contributing Editor

NEJM Journal Watch
Infectious Diseases

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