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What happened to yabby     3/15/20
I found my yabby not active and he was dead the next day . His colour changed to green . What is the cause of his death ?
<Mmm; need more/information. What re this animal's system, food, water quality? Please tell me/us about the system, filtration, maintenance... Have you had this crustacean long? Bob Fenner>

How to remove top glass strip     3/15/20
Dear WWM,
<Hi Devakalpa>
Thanks for being an excellent help for hobbyists, much appreciated
<It’s our pleasure to be helpful, thanks for your kind words>
I am getting an old custom built 30x18x18 glass aquarium (of 6 mm glass) that has glass reinforcement strips about 2 inches wide all around the inside of the top, parallel to the base. I plan to use my existing HOB filters, so I would need to remove 1 of the longer strips from the back panel.
Could you kindly guide me as to how to proceed?
<Well, first you will need to remove the silicone to separate the glass strip, a single edged razor blade and some solvent like acetone previously applied, should ease the silicone removal, once you have separate the glass strip, you may proceed to cut it in two and remove the excess length (the same length of the HOB), you can do this yourself if you are experienced / skilled in working with glass or with the help of a professional glass cutter, perhaps someone at your LFS can assist you on this; once you have the strips cut to the desire length, adhere them back to the tank and let them cure for at least 24 hrs. before filling the tank with water.>
Thanks and regards
<Hope this helps. Cheers. Wil.>

Re: Regarding Zen the ADF with fungus      3/14/20
Dear Neale,
I would like to thank you for your help with Zen, I took him to the vets who was able to take the dead skin off his foot. I was so happy, poor Zen didn't like it when he was put on the table for a few minutes for this procedure but he was okay.
<Actually quite impressed your vet could handle this sort of thing!
However the spot on his back erupted with fungus since Sunday and I had ordered Maracyn 2 as my vet suggested as it was Bacterial. It's going to take 3 weeks, unfortunately Zen died this evening, he was a fighter but nature took its course.
<Certainly sounds like it. Sorry about this outcome.>
I was going to call the vet tonight to ask to put Zen to sleep because I didn't want him to suffer any more. At least I know he's not in pain and I did everything I felt I could.
I was hoping he was going to hold out until the antibiotics was here.
However I do have Rupert, I feel a bit sorry for him as he has no other frog to talk to.
<My advice would be, as per fish, to wait at least two weeks, and ideally a month, before adding any more livestock. A singleton frog will be fine. In the meanwhile, observe the remaining frog to make sure he's healthy. Also gives you time to run a course of the antibiotics on a prophylactic basis, to ensure Rupert is sound, before adding anything that might "catch" whatever the problem was. Does that sound reasonable?>
Once again thank you for your help.
Yours sincerely
<Welcome. Do not be disheartened: these frogs are basically hardy, provided they're not harassed or damaged, and also assuming they get plenty to eat. As with most if not all reptile and amphibian pets, prevention of disease is orders of magnitude easier than curing them once sick. Neale.>

Baby Mbu puffer /RMF      3/14/20
Hey so I got a Mbu puffer 3-4 inches, he’s eating and pooping, swimming around the tank chasing ghost shrimp. Just getting to know more about this fish. I know they tend to carry parasites. So I can’t tell if the underside of him is food or parasites and I should start treating.
<Mmm; I personally would hold off on carte blanche treatment (for parasites) here. Rationale? It's too easy to do more damage with exposure to vermifuges, protozoacides than it's worth>
Also what’s your opinion on PimaFix & MelaFix? Is it good to use?
<These Melaleuca plant extracts have some bactericidal action (so does alcohol, soap...), but rarely treat anything effectively. In short, IMO/E, they are placebos at best. DO just search these API products by name on WWM>
If you want to see a better clearer video of the fish to get a better idea, you can click this link.
<Ah, thank you. Appears to be a fine, healthy specimen>
Thank you in advance.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Baby Mbu puffer /Neale       3/14/20

Hey so I got a Mbu puffer 3-4 inches, he’s eating and pooping, swimming around the tank chasing ghost shrimp. Just getting to know more about this fish.
<Uhh... you do realise they get gigantic? As in, the size of a small dog? Do read:
Unless you're a millionaire, the chances are you won't be able to afford the literally huge tank (1000 gallons) they need as an adult. While fabulous fish, and I applaud your excellent taste, these fish are very difficult to keep properly. Most end up being passed onto public aquaria. The dental work they require is just one of many challenges ahead of you.>
I know they tend to carry parasites.
<They can do, and deworming isn't a bad idea. Levamisole or Praziquantel are perhaps the ones most often used. But most parasite risk comes from people feeding them live foods, particularly feeder fish. Do not do this! Cannot be stressed how dumb the use of feeder fish is. It's an unnecessary risk for most pet fish. Live shrimp and crayfish should be safer, but neither is 100% safe, so if you can use marine fish and shellfish (which won't have parasites likely to survive in freshwater fish) you're doing the right thing. Gamma-irradiated frozen foods, as used for marines, are the ideal.>
So I can’t tell if the underside of him is food or parasites and I should start treating.
Also what’s your opinion on PimaFix & MelaFix?
<Unsuitable for a family audience.>
Is it good to use?
If you want to see a better clearer video of the fish to get a better idea, you can click this link.
<Does indeed look adorable.>
Thank you in advance.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Drilling glass sump in back; placement of skimmer /RMF      3/14/20
Hi crew!
<Hey Charles>
I’m making a sump out of a 135 gallon oceanic aquarium. I’ve drilled one of the short sides for 2, 1.5” bulkheads. I need to drill another hole for a 1.5” bulkhead, but there isn’t enough room on the end for one. I was planning to drill the back pane of the aquarium, near the bottom corner, for this bulkhead. Is that ok to do?
<Should be... take your time, low pressure...>
This bulkhead will be for the skimmer pump for my external skimmer. I was planning to put it in the pump return section of the sump. Should I instead move it to one of the other constant water height sections?
<I might well do this; even consider buying an in-sump model>
So it would still be in the back pane near the bottom, but farther from the edge of the pane. Would this still be ok for the aquarium?
<Yes; there is only a small difference in "cleanliness" (skimmability?) of the water depending on which end of a sump system the skimmer is located>
Thanks for your help,
<Cheers! Bob Fenner>
Drilling glass sump in back /Wil      3/14/20

Hi crew!
<Hi Charles>
I’m making a sump out of a 135-gallon oceanic aquarium. I’ve drilled one of the short sides for 2, 1.5” bulkheads. I need to drill another hole for a 1.5” bulkhead, but there isn’t enough room on the end for one. I was planning to drill the back pane of the aquarium, near the bottom corner,
for this bulkhead. Is that ok to do?
<Yes, I don’t see a problem as long as you leave enough space from the edge of the glass>
This bulkhead will be for the skimmer pump for my external skimmer.
<My first thought is; get an internal skimmer instead, but since you already have the external unit…>
I was planning to put it in the pump return section of the sump. Should I instead move it to one of the other constant water height sections? So it would still be in the back pane near the bottom, but farther from the edge of the pane. Would this still be ok for the aquarium?
<Personally, I prefer to place the skimmer in the first or second section, just after the sump inlet/drain discharge, but it should be ok on either section.>
Thanks for your help,
<You’re welcome- Wil.>

Clean-up-crew Options. Temperate, 40 gal.    3/9/20
Hello WetWebMedia Crew! I have several questions regarding my temperate
marine planted aquarium.
Tank statistics:
40 gallon breeder
Has operated: Roughly 5 months
Tank temperature: Roughly 68 degrees Fahrenheit
Water changes: I am attempting once weekly
Water parameters:
PH: 8
Salinity: 1.025-1.026
Filtration and Circulation:
AquaClear 50 with filter floss and no carbon (running full time)
Macro Aqua M-50 Protein skimmer (running for several hours about every 3 weeks)
Two Jebao RW-4 wavemakers
Lighting: Finnex Planted Plus 24/7 CC (9 hours of high intensity light, 9 hours of no light, and 3 hours of low intensity light in between the high and no light cycles)
Livestock: Macroalgae (the most simplistic being Sea lettuce (Ulva)) and rock hitchhikers (I plan on adding other temperate organisms including Daggerblade grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio) aka. Feeder shrimp, a Catalina goby (Lythrypnus dalli), and a Kamohara blenny (Meiacanthus kamoharai) to name a few)
Question 1: Will a Margarita snail (Margarites pupillus) eat green film algae?
<Yes; most all types of algae are consumed by Margarite Snails>
I already know these snails eat hair algae and diatoms but I am unsure when it comes to this variety.
<Mmm; well, not likely BGA/Blue Greens... these aren't really algae; and are unpalatable to many/most organisms>
Question 1.5: If the Margarita snail does not eat green film algae, what other options do I have (when I comes to controlling this algae) that will not consume macroalgae like Ulva (or consume it at a slow enough rate where it can continue to grow)?
<I would just rely on careful non-introduction of nutrients, chemical (and physical) filtration, and regular maintenance; rather than biological cleaners>
Question 2: What are some good temperate water sand sifters?
I have seen the Bruised nassa (Phrontis or Nassarius vibex) as a potential candidate (as its range extends into temperate water), yet I am interested if you might know about any other (Sand dollars sound fascinating and I have heard that they can be successfully kept with targeted feedings).
<Many (local) organisms are worth experimenting... >
Question 3: Will a Kamohara blenny eat macroalgae like Ulva and if so, will the blenny consume it at a slow enough rate where the algae can continue to grow?
<Mmm; no; Meiacanthus are mainly zooplanktivorous>
Thanks in advance!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help    3/7/20
Thank you for your reply email, I've taken another look at it and it's feelers seem to be much shorter, less than half the size of the other dwarf gourami, I've tried to get a better picture, the white spec is something in the water passing by not on the fish. Does fungus always appear as white marks on the fish?
Many thanks, jo
<Erosion of the 'feelers' (the pelvic fins) in Gouramis is generally taken as Finrot, and needs to be treated accordingly. But the white patches on the body are more similar to bacterial infections, including Mycobacteria.
DGIV is another possibility. Fungus invariably looks like patches of cotton wool, so is easily recognised. Regards, Neale.>

Flame Angel-Eye Injury?    3/7/20
Hello Bob and team!
Hope you are well. I usually ask about wrasses but this time I’m switching it up a bit. I have attached a couple of pictures of my flame Angel who has a cloudy eye. It’s only one eye and doesn’t look like flukes or bacterial but would love your opinion. It’s not popping out like Popeye either...just like a film with a little bit of the film hanging off.
He’s a big guy, and often dives head first a feedings and I’ve seen him bang mouths with his tank mates before. He has the following tankmates in a 200g (2x Yellow Tang, purple tang, coral beauty angel (no fighting), Scott's fairy, Lineatus fairy, flame hawk, black fin fairy, Melanurus, solar fairy, Ocellaris clown, Niger trigger, Aussie tusk and mystery wrasse).
There’s no aggression in the tank at all, specifically the flame just minds his business and even now is acting normal. It is grazing and eating aggressively when I feed.
Do you think this looks more like an injury or some sort of disease/pathogen?
<Very likely an injury... mechanical; from bumping into something; as it is one-sided. At this point I would just observe (not treat); and read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PopeyeF4.htm and the linked FAQs files in the series (above in blue)>
Thanks Bob and Team!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Emperor Angel      3/6/20
Mr. Fenner, you are indeed the ‘fish whisperer’ I rearranged the rocks (although I had to Google ‘bommies’ :>) I gave him some clams on the half shell from my local fish store and he gobbled them up!!!!!!
<Ah! Congratulations Carol>
I now have hope that he will start eating other foods like before.( I thought he might be dying of old age). Is it safe to buy clams & mussels from the local fish store?
<Yes; but likely cheaper from the human food outlets. Do look for the "mixed seafood" frozen bag of a pound or two>
It is a lot less expensive. You should know that your book ‘The Conscientious Marine Aquarist” has been a guiding light since I started this hobby so many years ago.
<I thank you for your kind, encouraging words>
Any new publications?
<Ah yes; a few. Please search on Amazon.com under my name Robert/Bob...>
I think I will sleep better tonight. Thank You!
<You've made my day. Life to you Carol. BobF>

Help     3/6/20
Could you please tell me what is wrong with my dwarf gourami? It's looking rather unwell, I have attached some photos. The tank has been setup for over 12 years, it's a 500 litre tank, we have neon tetras, tiger barbs, clown loach, red tailed shark, Raphael catfish, penguin tetra, common Plec, bristle nose Plec, mollies, all the other fish appear to be OK.
Many thanks, Jo
<Hello Jo. I'm going to direct you to a little reading first:
Dwarf Gouramis are a difficult species. In theory they're great: small, colourful, very well behaved, and easy to obtain from almost any aquarium shop. However, the species is very commonly affected by a viral infection (known as Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus) as well as being prone to bacterial infections (Mycobacteria) that are difficult if not impossible to cure.
There may be an element of stress going on, Dwarf Gouramis needing soft, acidic water that's fairly warm (26-28 C) but without much current. But there does seem to be more to it than that, with vets finding the virus latent in large numbers of fish farms in Singapore. Short answer to your question then, unless you can find obvious evidence for something else -- such as Finrot or Fungus, neither of which your photos are sharp enough to reveal -- I'd not hold out much hope. Certainly, feel free to use a good
antibiotic (or failing that, an antibacterial like eSHa 2000, though these are even less reliable here). Optimise living conditions and diet, of course, and review your tankmates to make sure there's no aggression that could be causing stress or bite-marks. Beyond that, not sure I can offer any easy answers. Regards, Neale.>

new tank for 2020    3/5/20
Hey Bob and WWW.crew, j hope you are having fun wherever you are. I have been away from the hobby for several years, I am thinking about getting back into reef tanks.
I had a 90 gallon from 1997-2005 which you all helped me with, moved to Vancouver, gave it up, then life happened, now want to get back into it. I am searching these items on Amazon as I just wanted everything shipped, I might go to Big Al’s here in Toronto and see what they have, right now I am looking at set-ups. Ignore the Breville, my preferred kitchen appliances.
<Yeah, though I also just ordered a new 8 qt. crock pot today! >
The SCA 50 Gallon Starfire Glass Aquariums Complete Package 24x24x20" 10mm (Cherry Cabinet) comes as a complete package with sump etc.
Any thoughts on the Coralife Biocube which is only $569 but 29 gallons and not complete.
What to do?

<I do like your choices in gear (shown here). Didn't realize the CA dollar was down to about 3/4 of US... Zowch!>
<Do send along pix, updates re your new set up Jules! Bob Fenner>

Re: new tank for 2020    3/5/20
Hey Bob, yes the $CDn is not doing so well, so would you go with the larger tank with the sump/refugium, it is nearly the same price as the Coralife Biocube 32 gallon without the sump.
<Yes I would go w/ the larger system. Cheers, BobF>

Emperor Angel, fdg.    3/5/20
This website has gotten a lot more complicated through the years. I asked for advice from Bob Fenner many years ago regarding my new addition, Imperator Angel “Gabriel” Mr. Fenner helped me with the problem. Fast forward 14 years.
<Still here>
This same angel suddenly and without explanation just stopped eating. Nothing has changed in the tank- no new additions, water checks OK , no other tank mates ill. It has been 2 weeks. I have tried everything. The crazy thing is that other than not eating he is acting perfectly normal, no breathing issues , or erratic swimming or parasites.
<Or thinness? Perhaps this fish is picking at what is in the system...>
He is anticipating food like his tank mates waiting at the top but when I put food in – I have tried everything- he looks but does not eat. Most people say “It’s just a fish” but not to me. He is a cherished pet. Any advice as to what to entice him to eat or as to why this is happening is greatly appreciated.
Many Thanks
<Do you have another established system that you could move this fish to? What I am proposing is that a sudden, large change in the environment might change this fish's behavior. If it were me/mine, I'd execute a very large water change while gravel vacuuming, move the hard decor about (rearrange all rock... into bommies vs. a wall) and try adding appetite stimulant product to the food AND directly to the water: SeaChem Entice is a fave, or just straight Selcon or the ingredient from Selco... AND definitely try an opened bivalve mollusk (yes, a clam, mussel)... placed on the bottom. Many angels find them irresistible. Bob Fenner>

Macro Algae Quarantine   3/3/20
If you had to throw an overall number out what would say if the overall risk of putting red ogo macro algae in a tank without quarantine and some type of parasite (ick or velvet) getting into the tank.
<Where is the Ogo/Gracilaria from? A few co.s culture this, some in vast quantities, and there is close to zero chance of parasitic, disease introduction from them. From another hobbyist's tank? Maybe some chance... I'd isolate the latter for a couple weeks>
Would washing the algae in a separate bucket of water prior essentially eliminate the risk?
<Washing? Not really useful. Bob Fenner>
Re: Macro Algae Quarantine   3/3/20

Its coming from live Aquaria which I am assuming it would be coming from Quality Marine.
<Likely so; and highly likely cultured and sold by two outfits in Hawaii. I WOULD trust immediate use of this red macrophyte therefore>
I have a scribbled rabbitfish wont graze on Nori even attached to the rock. Its everything and grazes on the ogo. I just cant grow it fast enough to keep up. With how much it eats. It can take down a pound in a little over a week.
<This genus of algae can be tumble cultured to about double its biomass every week... DO consider (look... search and read) re if you'd rather save money on buying it shipped. Bob Fenner>

Re: Macro Algae Quarantine, feeding Nori    3/3/20
Thanks. Will definitely do some reading on better cultivation on the macro. Any tips on how to get the fish to eat Nori other than hopefully time?
<No... some fishes (and humans) just don't find Nori palatable... the above water kind even treated w/ flavourings. BobF>

Aggressive male H. guttatus stressing my entire tank. Hemichromis comp.   3/3/20
Hello everyone and thank you in advance!
<Hello Sam,>
I recently jumped into cichlids after 10 years of keeping peaceful blackwater tanks.
I set up a 75 gallon tank with a ton of hiding places. I added 8 silver dollars (honestly couldn't tell you the specie's but I've had them for 2 years now) as well as a few smaller Synodontis specie's.
<Silver Dollar taxonomy is a mess so far as aquarists are concerned, so no problem if you can't identify them. They're all much of a muchness, but do get big, and 75 gallons may start to feel rather cramped as they mature.>
I added 3 Hemichromis, 2 Lifalili from a professional breeder and a beat up guttatus that was surrendered to a local store. I also have two young blue Acara.
<Interesting combination! Jewel Cichlids are orders of magnitude more aggressive than Blue Acara.>
The heart of the problem is that my guttatus made a quick turn around and now "owns" the tank. He's been pretty well behaved if not a bit pushy but up until recently nothing's gotten physical.
<He or she may well have behaved while sexually immature or otherwise disinterested in spawning. All Jewels are borderline psychotic when it comes to defending their spawning territories. I say "he" or "she" because sexing Jewels is not easily done, especially with the farmed specimens that tend to lack the bright colours typical of wild fish.>
This past week he's killed 2 of my silver dollars and took a chunk out of my Acara tail.
The Lifalili are pretty well behaved (both male).
<Again, do be skeptical about sexing. Also, virtually none of the farmed Hemichromis are pure-bred members of a single species. They're mostly hybrids, not least of all because people didn't even know there were so many species of Hemichromis when these fish were first kept and bred.>
My question is if I should move the Acara out until they get bigger, both around 3 inches right now, or if I should just set the guttatus up in his own tank at this point?
<Definitely move the Acara. They're nice fish, and can handle themselves up to a point, but not even in the same league as Hemichromis.>
I do feel guilty because I'm not oblivious to the nature of jewel cichlids but I was hoping given the space and structure that I could achieve a balance.
<Do-able perhaps, but not in 75 US gallons.>
I was also wondering if I'm overreacting and I need to let the fish work this out but given the body count I'm skeptical. I'll include pics of the tank, Acara and guttatus. Best regards, Sam
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Possible Brooklynellosis      3/2/20
Hello, several months ago I purchased a yellow tang, after 3 weeks of uneventful quarantine I moved it to DT. Which hosted 1 Large Bannerfish, 1 Juv Emperor Angel and 2 perc. Clowns, all that I¹ve had for about a year
and doing great. The DT also has corals. Within a day in DT the Tang had some white mucus that went away in a day.
<Mmm; this could be "nothing"; stress, mucus production...>
Several days later one clown disappeared ­ dead in live rock somewhere. I didn¹t notice any problems on it.
In a couple days my Bannerfish and Angel started getting white spots, and slime all over and looked real bad. I moved them both to QT and they were dead the next day. - they ate just fine the day before.
Since this the yellow tang has been thriving.
I got a new Angel and after 3 weeks QT and doing well moved it to DT.
Within a week it stopped eating, looked bad, I moved it back to QT and it died the next day.
And just the other day my surviving clown has disappeared.
Based on what I¹ve read and how fast the fish died I suspect Brook in my DT.
What puzzles me is the Yellow Tang which I suspect was the source is thriving and shows no problems.
<... sometimes hosts have acquired immunity... like vaccine effect>
My question is can a fish host this disease and not be affected by it.
<A resounding yes; this can occur>
I'm pretty sure I need to remove him and let tank fallow for 6-8 weeks but I want to be sure before I do this. If I do , do I need to treat him with formalin in DT?
<IF you are reconciled to that treatment protocol. My usual statements here re the use of simple, inexpensive microscope and related tools. Skin slime sampling might easily show the causative organism here. For what you have invested money, time... likely emotionally here; I'd do a bit of reading, set on a path of acquiring, using a 'scope (or having a shop, friend help you), and proceed from a position of knowledge. Bob Fenner>
Thank you

Regarding Zen the ADF with fungus      3/2/20
To whomever it may concern.
<That'd be me.>
Zen as previous emails had a three small lumps however since the last email, Zens back foot became clammed together so I took him to the vet but my vet said it could be cysts which may burst and become infected. Zen at
the moment is still swimming and eating and sits happily on the plastic plant near to the top of the water but he's not escaping or jumping out frantically. His sore foot was looking okay up to Thursday, Thursday I did a 50% water change, Friday morning I woke up and he had fluffy white fungus on his foot. I treated him with eSHa 2000, I have 1 more day to go, but to me it's not going away.
Please could you help.
Yours sincerely
<First, let me direct you to some reading, here:
You're likely dealing with what is called Red Leg, an Aeromonas infection, that can be difficult to treat in frogs without antibiotics. eSHa 2000 can help, but make sure to remove carbon from the filter, if used. But eSHa
2000 is inferior to real antibiotics, with Tetracycline-type medications being recommend. KanaPlex is another good choice. Fungal infections usually appear after a bacterial infection has started rather than alone.
Distinguishing them can be hard, but the fluffy white cotton wool threads of fungus look distinct from the dead white-grey tissue we see around bacterial sores. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Regarding Zen the ADF with fungus      3/2/20
Thank you, he did have a fungal infection a few weeks ago, which eSHa help to cure, I think it may be another vet visit as it's got a bit worse.
Hopefully the vet will be able to describe antibiotics.
<I certainly hope so, too. Do ask her/him about Red Leg, and see if she/he thinks this may be relevant here.>
Yours sincerely
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Regarding Zen the ADF with fungus      3/2/20

Hi Neale,
What can I do to help Zen in the mean time as he's got a vets appointment on Wednesday at 4pm UK time.
Yours sincerely
<Short term, not much. Doing a generous (25-50%) water change using a good quality water conditioner will certainly help. Using a little salt, 1-2g per litre, can help. I will also point you at a useful article, here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: advice on gill infection      3/2/20
Neale, Thank you for the help with the gill problem with my recently rescued Angel fish. He is now doing great, eating well, happy gills. But I now have another problem in this rescued tank. I think these are Camallanus worms? (A different Angel in the same tank.)
<Video won't play for me <<Nor I>>, for some reason. But if red, thread-like fibres emerging from the vent, then yep, Camallanus.>
The tank had a full treatment of Praziquantel followed by Metronidazole and Furan for the gill infection. Today I noticed these worms in a different fish, same tank (see photo) he is not eating. If these are Camallanus,
should I treat again with Prazi today or wait until the Fenbendazole arrives on Tuesday?
<Prazi Pro isn't especially effective, so running a second course on the same fish isn't unexpected. If the fish is otherwise healthy, and you think holding out for the Fenbendazole is a safe choice, then sure, hold fire.>
Thank you once again for the time you gift to us. Amy
<Thanks for these kind words. Neale.>
Would Epsom baths help him?
<Marginally. Epsom Salt helps with constipation, but won't really have much impact on worms. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Substrate for New 90 gallon setup for clown loaches and plants; 40 gallon sump, no CO2, 6x water change/hr.      3/2/20
Some follow ups below. Thanks!
What density mesh is needed?
<Commercial gravel tidy has gaps a few mm across. Doesn't really matter so long as its fine enough to reasonably separate the two layers and stop fish even starting to burrowing through so they don't accidentally get stuck, but coarse enough the roots can penetrate.>
What ratio of fine gravel to laterite?
<Will vary, but something like 25% laterite supplement to 75% fine gravel is about right. A bit less won't do any real harm though will need topping up with nutrient tablets more quickly, while too much is expensive and may
cause an algal bloom if plant growth is inadequate.>
Where would I purchase laterite?
<Various commercial brands; the one I've used is Duplarit.>
Is this an expensive route?
<Fairly, if you use the premium stuff. There are workarounds using home-brew recipes (see online) or pond soil (messy, but does work).>
Will this mix have the same issues with ammonia and algal blooms?
<See above; yes, if you have more nutrients available than your plants are using up. But this is the same, regardless of the nutrient media used in the substrate, or indeed if the water becomes eutrophic.>
What thickness fine gravel/laterite mix?
<No more than the bottom-third is really needed, if that.>
Couldn't I still cap with sand? If so, what thickness?
<Yes; normally you'd have a couple cm the laterite mix, then 5+ cm of plain gravel or sand, as the situation demands.>
For sand , what grain size range do you consider "fine"
<Standard aquarium sand is adequate, otherwise normal 'smooth' silica sand (or silver sand) as used in horticulture. Cheers, Neale.>

Chocolate Chip Sea Star Deaths
Hi -
I'm a student in an Oceanography senior research lab (high school) and I'm keeping some CC stars under the supervision of my lab director - I personally have no experience keeping sea animals and only get to be in the lab 2-3 times a week, but he cares for all the students' animals in between classes (we also have sea hares, crayfish, trout, oysters, turtles, and an assortment of other fish in the lab).
I started out with 8 CCs, 2 per 30gal tank. I fed them twice a week with shrimp pellets and they have algae and live sand in their tanks. I've had them for about a month now (the tanks were started a little over three months before that) - I have no idea how they were acclimated to the tanks since I wasn't there but my lab director was aware they needed to be acclimated slowly. I also have no idea what kind of stress they could have undergone during transport.
<... very common animal in the ornamental trade; and also often easily lost. See Marco's piece here?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chocchipstars.htm
and the loss FAQs re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ccstardisfaqs.htm
Other than the "heterotrophic bacteria" alluded to, the tie in w/ poor environment (and nutrition), "stress", I don't actually know re definitive sources of mortality w/ this species>
The first death was two weeks ago - all the stars were perfectly fine when I left them (or so I thought - one of them was having trouble sticking to the walls of the tank and had a soft body when I touched it, but I didn't realize at the time that these were causes for concern; I thought I had just annoyed him. It also had what looked like orange pus leaking from the center disk but it retracted when I touched it so I figured it was just its stomach - it was quite a bright orange, though.) but when I got back from a long weekend, one was dead (I'm assuming it was the same one that had been having trouble before).
I removed the body and tested water parameters - none of them were ideal, but also didn't seem high enough to be causing the death (ammonia = 0.1; nitrates = 40ppm)
; temperatures ranging from 75-80F; salinity from 36-40)
<Both too variable... echinoderms REALLY suffer for varying spg>
especially since they were the same across all tanks and the rest were healthy. I treated the tanks with Amquel to get the ammonia and nitrates to zero - the next water quality test showed that the levels were lower but still not zero; by that point, there were more deaths, though.
The deaths have always happened over weekends when I was not in the lab and the stars seemed perfectly fine beforehand; over one long weekend, I thought I might have starved them since I missed a feeding, but they had algae and microorganisms in the sand. I also should note that the shrimp cubes take a long time to sink to the bottom of the tank, so I guess they could just be dissolving and festering instead of being eaten - I have recently switched to feeding them by transferring them to a shallow
container (scooping them up from in the tank w/ the same water and not exposing them to air) and placing a bit of shrimp beneath them.
At this point, three stars have died and one seemed like it was going to die but then stabilized and was still moving around so my director told me to move it to a different tank where the stars were still doing fine (in case it was a tank-specific problem). I still have that star, one star with some small white spots on it but seems otherwise okay, one star that fell off the tank wall when I touched (and was also a bit soft but went rigid again once touched) but then was able to flip itself over and climb back up pretty quickly, and two completely healthy stars.
The only other thing I can think of is that two of the tanks have tons of green algae and the other two have none (besides a piece that I transferred from the other tank to see if the stars would eat it) - there have been two deaths in the algae tanks and only one in a non-algae tank.
I wanted to study stars because their water-vascular are fascinating, but I *really* do not want to be killing these stars like this - what can I do?
<Read where you've been referred; poss. do a computer biblio. search to find other researchers who have had better fortune keeping this asteroid; switch to another test species... See my review piece on the subclass on WWM. I rate some other stars as higher likely to survive. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,

Re: African Dwarf Frogs     2/29/20
Thank you for the reply! We will keep an eye on the water, the nitrites
<Nitrites, w/ two "I"s? These are toxic like ammonia... Nitrates with an "A" is what you want to see accumulating. PLEASE search/read on WWM re cycling>
are gone because we did a big water change before adding Safestart for the first time.
How long can these frogs go without eating?
<Many days if in good health otherwise>
They haven’t eaten all week (we try tweezers feeding with blood worms and sinking pellets) though we do wonder if they sometimes chew on the moss ball like our Molly does.
<Ah no... please read.>
Thanks for your informative website!
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: African Dwarf Frogs     2/29/20

Nitrites with an I indeed, hence why we did the water change.
<I see>
From my understanding the bacteria broke down the ammonia into nitrites, which is the first step in getting Nitrates?
<A step; one pathway>
I have read an awful lot about cycling at this point, which is why we’re doing Safestart and Prime to try to get these guys through the cycle.
<... better to use other methods... Again; please don't write: READ>

Thanks for the info on the moss ball, that was wishful thinking I guess! We’re going to keep on keeping on testing twice a day and trying to feed them, hopefully they’ll come around.

Re: do dwarf chain loach eat fry     2/29/20
Hi Neale!
Thanks so much. I got 4 and put them in my QT tank. Hopefully they eat some lol. Otherwise Ill have to get assassin snails.
<Clea helena; a fine addition to most tanks.>
Iv not seen any of my fish eat guppy fry so I guess Iv been pretty lucky.
<Likely so, or simply, the output of fry is sufficiently great that even allowing for parental cannibalism, there's enough left over for them to be noticeable.>
I was wondering if clown killifish/clown Panchax eat guppy fry?
<Abso-fracking-lutely. Any of the Panchax-type fish are ferocious predators, albeit of very small, bite-size prey. Cheers, Neale.>

Substrate for New 90 gallon setup for clown loaches and plants; 40 gallon sump, no CO2, 6x water change/hr.     2/29/20
I'm trying to decide on substrate. I was thinking of doing a sand capped soil but am getting cold feet on starting a "new" method to me on such a large tank and the start up process with ammonia, etc.
<Understood. If you want to use soil (ideally, aquarium soil, but pond soil can work too) the key problem is ensuring there's enough time for plants to bind everything together before the fish dig up the soil. The soil will tend to rise, and the sand tend to sink, but this will take some weeks.>
Sand seems important for loaches but maybe not best for plants. How do I know if I have soft/smooth sand?
<Sand is branded as either 'smooth' or 'sharp', so usually checking for these words will help. By default, sharp sand is what you see in garden centres, being favoured for adding drainage to soil mixtures. Sharp sand is also widely used in building. Smooth sand is often a special thing, advertised as such. You'll see it in garden centres as well, where it's got specific uses in horticulture. It's also the sand usually used in play-pits and pool filters, but check. Smooth sand will feel silky, while sharp sand feels gritty.>
What do I look for? Is pool filter sand smooth?
<See above.>
If capping with sand, think I need a gravel tidy to keep sand from falling between larger grain size of the capped material. Yes?
<Quite possibly. but depends a bit on how fast the plants get rooted: once they've spread out their roots, the sand and soil won't really mix much.>
What are some good brands of gravel tidy/soil retainer? What characteristics for root penetration?
<Gravel tidies are entirely generic with no real advantages. Indeed, even plain plastic pond mesh will work.>
If I am worried about soil/sand mixture below tidy, what are other good options? Just a gravel? What grain size?
<A mixture of soil (or a mineral rich additive, such as laterite) with fine gravel, then topped off with another 2-3 cm of gravel, and work extremely well. It's easier to do, perhaps, but less good for those fish like loaches that want to borrow. On the other hand, gravel is often darker, so less reflective of light, which can improve the colours of your fish. Horses for courses, really.>
Should I be worried about soil?
<Not really. Use it sparingly unless you're planning to have rampant plant growth. Much easier to add extra nutrients via plant fertiliser tablets than to remove surplus soil because of an algal bloom. While some (usually ecologically only temporarily submerged) plants are root-hungry and appreciate soil substrates, such as Amazon Swords, true submerse plants, such as Vallisneria, can get most if not all of their nutrients via the water, so soil isn't going to make much difference for them. Again, pick your poison according to your aim.>
It just seems that there are too many variables to know what you are buying in potting soil.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Rhinopias with ' beauty spot'...      2/29/20
Hello once again,
Thank you for such a prompt reply. There has been lots of turbulent development.
<That adverb...>
I would like update you in what has been happening and ask for further advice....Unfortunately untreated infection had spread and perhaps became systemic. Fish started losing substantial amount of necrotic tissue and breathing much faster. As an emergency I separated him to hospital tank and
....added an antibiotic I had in the freezer for a while. This antibiotic was prescribed for sepsis to different animal in the form of IM injections.
<... Might I ask what information you have re the use of an intramuscular product being introduced into water...?>
Did not know what else to do and the way situation had been developing I felt we could only benefit by trying.
I injected approx. 0.6-0.8 ml (5 prefilled by vet syringes)of injection into approx. 50-60l of water. Added some far less potent antibacterial remedy from aquatic store( claimed to be safe with corals) and waited....
Within less than 24 hrs. breathing came back to normal, fish looks brighter and happier and the tissue although still coming off looks healthier underneath. He is clearly responding to this antibiotic!
<I trust/hope you're lowered the spg at the same time>
The problem is what to do from now on... Fish sustained substantial injury to his mouth and is not interested in eating river shrimp, follows them with eyes only.
<... have you tried other (live) foods w/ this expensive fish?>
The tank has no filtration
<NO! DO at least add a working sponge filter of some sort, even just air driven, an inoculated canister filter lacking chemical filtrant. I asked you NOT to treat this fish to avoid further stress.
and when ammonia starts to build up will need water change which will decrease concentration of antibiotic in the water. I have only 1 syringe left (looks about 0.15ml when frozen) and the vet said that without bringing fish in he is not allowed to dispense more- I am not sure if few hour round trip to vet would not be counterproductive due to stress.???
<Likely so... >
Not sure what to do to increase fish chance of eating without putting heavy bio-load into the water. I was thinking about lots of live brine shrimp or copepods with plankton.
<? Not likely useful... this fish is too large to consider small crustaceans as food>
Is that a good idea and how much of it for 50-60l hospital tank? Are there any media/sponges which can only absorb ammonia and perhaps nitrite but not dissolved antibiotic ?
<... You haven't stated what the antibiotic is... sponges, mechanical media shouldn't reduce concentration much faster than other degradation>
I would like to keep him in the medicated water for the period of recovery and this means avoid water changes.
If there is anything else I can do I would be grateful for an advice. It has been about 40 hours since antibiotic administration-at the moment he came to me saying "hello" and we seem to be looking curious about what is going on in the room . However, there is a large hole in his throat exposing bones which I am afraid it may struggle to close :(. All fish in main tank looks healthy. Regards. Daria
<Things do not bode well here. I'd ask the store/source if you could return this fish... and do so. Bob Fenner>

Re: ID Sharks and saltwater?     2/28/20
As far as I've been able to determine, they are true Pangasianodon hypophthalmus, three regular and one albino. I feed them sinking carnivore pellets, baby shrimp, and bloodworms on a rotation.
<Well, the two species are quite distinct... Had me going on reading Neale's concern, as you stated you'd had these fish for years... Usually very fast (VERY) growers. Cheers, BobF>
Re: ID Sharks and saltwater?     2/28/20

Ah, of course. The oldest two are 3 1/2 years now, the younger two are 3. I would say the longest is around 9-10 inches at my best guess. Their only tankmates are two 6in angelfish currently.
<They will eventually ingest the angels if kept together. B>

African Dwarf Frogs; sys. hlth.     2/28/20
I got two African Dwarf Frogs for valentines day, and I am already very attached. We did not do a fantastic job cycling the tank, not for lack of trying, but we got some questionable advice from PetSmart and we are first time tank owners.
We had an ammonia spike last week, which killed one of our Platy fish in the tank. We assume that we do not have enough bacteria to support the 2 frogs and 2 fish. Since then, we invested in the API test kit and have been testing constantly and doing water changes. We got the ammonia down, and I noticed the nitrites were up which I guess means we have more bacteria than I originally thought. We did a water change, got our levels to zero, and then started adding Safestart and Prime.
We are now just trying to keep everyone alive while the cycle finishes, and we are really afraid of the lasting impacts of the water problems. We are trying to give the bacteria time to catch up, but I am worried that we learned about all this too late. The frogs barely eat (since the day we first got them), we started with pellets
<Don't eat generally>
and switched them to spot feeding with blood worms and they often swat the food away or just let it sit in front of them.
<... do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfaffdg.htm , and the linked files above in blue.>
They are not really actively swimming anymore, either.
<Don't usually... just sit about most all the time>
They are just always in the gravel or under the moss ball, shuffling around sometimes. Sometimes the worm is literally on their head and they don’t bite. We also have one frog as of this morning that is shedding skin in small, shreddy pieces, which I have read is really bad news.
<Mmm; no; natural behavior>
We finally feel educated and ready to take on the cycling process correctly, we are on top of water changes but careful not to get rid of everything good in the tank.
My question is, is it too late?
<No; as long as they're alive...>
I would hate for these guys to be miserable in our water, and I am constantly stressed that I will get home and they will be dead. I feel like we are doing everything we can, my boyfriend and I are both very committed to them and the tank, but how fatal are bad water conditions?
<Can contribute, cause mortality, definitely morbidity>
Will they be okay since we are controlling it now, or should I not get my hopes up?
<Likely will be fine>
Readings yesterday:
79 degrees, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates.
<Where's the accumulating Nitrate you referred to?>
pH was a little high yesterday, somewhere between 7.4-8 though I find the API test color rather hard to read.
<This is fine as well; I would not try to modify the pH here>
I haven’t tested today because we are full time college students, but we try to test once to twice a day, and we are now trying to cut down on water changes since we added the bacteria and prime. (Last week we changed 25%-50% daily just to get the ammonia down, since we couldn’t get our hands on safestart until 2 days ago)
<Patience... Feed very sparingly if ammonia is present; don't change much water till the system is cycled unless there is ammonia present that needs diluting>
Sorry for the excessive information.. we are just very worried about them all the time. BTW, the Platy and the Molly we have left always seem totally fine.
Thanks for your help,
<Thank you for caring, sharing. Bob Fenner>

ID Sharks and saltwater?     2/27/20
Hello! I, like many others, purchased some ID sharks a few years back not being aware of the size they would reach; my mistake.
<Yeah; up to some 1.3 m in length. Have seen some four footers in public aquariums. The group at the Wilhelma Aq. in Stuttgart my fave ex.>
Now I am doing the best I can to accommodate them and keep them healthy and happy. They are
currently 9in at the largest (of 4) in a 100gal tank, and I have plans to get a 300gal very soon.
<And beyond this?>
My issue is that I've been running into a lot of conflicting information about the salinity they should be kept in...many sources say brackish, another senior hobbyist told me as adults they would need salt, but here you say strictly fresh. Please help me keep my babies healthy, I made the mistake of purchasing them, they shouldn't have to suffer for it. Thank you, Mareena.
<Good to check other references. Here's FishBase:
This is an all-freshwater species of some tolerance in terms of pH and hardness... The keywords here in terms of practical husbandry are OVER sized system, filtration, circulation, aeration... And UNDER feeding. AND good sized weekly water changes (like half). No need to add salt/s. Bob Fenner>
Re: ID Sharks and saltwater?     2/27/20

Thank you so much! Knowing I don't have to step up a marine tank actually opens up my current options for getting a larger tank than even the 300. I really appreciate your help!
<Certainly welcome. Do remember to feed sparingly, keep temperatures in the low to middling seventies F to forestall the time when you'll need to move these monsters! BobF>

ID Sharks and saltwater? /Neale      2/27/20
Hello! I, like many others, purchased some ID sharks a few years back not being aware of the size they would reach; my mistake.
<Understood. Iridescent Shark Catfish do get large, and while 1.2 m or bigger lengths are possible in good conditions, typical aquarium specimens, even in public aquaria, are more likely to reach around 70 to 90 cm. So while still very large fish, they are, just about, manageable in really, really big tanks. In some ways the bigger problem>
Now I am doing the best I can to accommodate them and keep them healthy and happy. They are currently 9in at the largest (of 4) in a 100gal tank, and I have plans to get a 300gal very soon.
<Sounds good.>
My issue is that I've been running into a lot of conflicting information about the salinity they should be kept in...many sources say brackish, another senior hobbyist told me as adults they would need salt, but here you say strictly fresh.
<The true Iridescent Shark, Pangasianodon hypophthalmus, is absolutely a freshwater fish. There is a species, Pangasius krempfi, that appears to have a brackish or marine stage in its life cycle. But otherwise, no, they don't need salt.>
Please help me keep my babies healthy, I made the mistake of purchasing them, they shouldn't have to suffer for it. Thank you, Mareena.
<Hope this helps, and best of luck. Neale.>
ID Sharks and saltwater? Neale, re ID     2/27/20

<<Does strike me that there may be confusion here with Colombian Shark Catfish, Ariopsis seemanni. These are estuarine catfish that migrate back and forth between the sea and large rivers. While not ridiculously big (20-30 cm is typical) they are highly gregarious which means a big aquarium is necessary to keep a group of at least 3 and ideally 5+ specimens.
Cheers, Neale.>><Mmm, B>

Re: ID Sharks and saltwater?     2/27/20
Mareena; per Neale's query... are these cats ariids or pangasiids? The first ARE marine as they grow. BobF

Rhinopias with ' beauty spot'       2/26/20
Dear Crew, I bought Rhinopias few weeks ago who had white circle/spot on his chin when still in store.
<Mmm; I'd have cautioned you to wait on this purchase>
I thought to be normal at the time. However, it grows and clearly looks diseased now. I don't know what organism causes it and how to treat it? We
live in the UK. I would greatly appreciate your help. Daria
<Well, can only hazard a good guess; but this looks to be a "sore" from either capture or being rubbed, as in a too-small bag during transport).
With luck, good water quality and reduced stress, hopefully it will heal/cure on its own. I myself would NOT treat the fish as with medicine/s;
as they are more likely to cause further trouble than help. Bob Fenner>

My guppies. Gen.        2/26/20
Hi, I’m a young fish keeper who started about a month ago, I used to keep fish a couple years ago but then stopped and picked it up this year, I have a total of three tanks soon to be four, one was a 10 gallon,
<Suitable for some very careful fishkeeping.>
a 2.5 gallon,
<Barely adequate for a Betta, and really, smaller than most buckets.>
and last but not least a 1 gallon.
<This latter not a tank at all, not even a bucket really. Could be used for plants and shrimps, but that's about it.>
I recently bout a couple guppies three of which were female, I split them up into different tanks and used my 2.5 gallon tank for pregnant females and baby’s until the female gets transferred into the big tank.
<Understood, but if you have very limited space, as you do, getting male and females Guppies was a bad idea. Sooner or later you get the babies. Easiest is to let nature takes its course, and most will be eaten. Better is to add floating plants to the 10 gallon tank, partly to shelter the females, but also as hiding places for the fry. As/when you see the Guppy fry, net them out into a floating breeding trap. Moving females into the 2.5 gallon tank is just asking for trouble.>
My problem is I had gotten a large tailed black female guppy of which I do not know the species, however what worried me was when I added her in with the other two females and my male, after four days everything seemed to be fine, until I noticed a decent sized white spot that was a little bit deeper than her scales. At first I though it could be the plants until I noticed none of my plants have sharp edges, I thought maybe it could be one of my other fish, i house two small Cory cats in the main tank and one neon tetra along with the rest of the guppies.
<All in the 10 gallon tank? Let's recap: Neons need cool, soft, acid water -- which Guppies would dislike. Hard water, which Guppies need, sooner or later sends Neons to an early grave. Corydoras do well with Guppies provided the water isn't too warm or hard, but since they're only happy in groups of 6 or more, you'd need a lot more space than 10 gallons for a large enough group of Guppies they didn't fight and a decent school of Corydoras. Without a photo, it's hard to know what the white 'blister' might be -- it could be Whitespot, but it could just as easily be physical damage or something else entirely. There are so many potential problems with your set-up, it's really difficult to say.>
Please let me know what you think could be going on, and what I could possibly do to improve their living.
<Do see above, and read:
And maybe buy or borrow a book:
Cheers, Neale.>

Is my turtles shell ok       2/26/20
So I got a RES about three months ago and everything was ok until about a month ago and I just want to make sure he’s ok
And the same thing started happening with my brothers turtle too
I just want to make sure there ok and nothing is wrong with them
<The pictures don't seem to show any sign of red inflammation, so likely the shell is fine. But do read here:
In short, if after wiping with paper towel, the shell smells clean and there's no sign of pus or inflammation, changes to the colour of the scutes (the plates) are normal. Often down to limescale, age, or simple variation between turtles. Cheers, Neale.>

Recently described anemone species       2/26/20
Just wanted to let you know that the "lightbulb anemone" you mention on this page (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SWPOTD1326.htm ) as an undescribed species, seems to have been described recently in this paper as *Bellactis caeruleus*:
Ana Carolina Hernández
<I thank you for your identification help. Bob Fenner>

Do dwarf chain loach eat (Guppy) fry    2/23/20
Hi Neale!
Hope you had a good Christmas :)
<Yes, thank you!>
Was just wanting to ask if dwarf chain loaches eat guppy fry?
<Unlikely, but potentially possible. Keep the two species together is probably depends a lot on how easily the Guppy fry can hide (e.g., among floating plants) and how crowded the tank becomes. Loaches feed at night, of course, and will consume anything they come across. But they're not skilled fish-eaters by any means, so while you might lose one or two fry, if you shepherd fry into a breeding trap and keep them there for the first couple of weeks, larger fry should be safe enough.>
I have a Ramshorn snail issue in my 130L guppy breeder tank and I heard Dwarf chain loaches eat them so was considering getting some. Haven't been able to find much info on if they are ok with fry and guppies tho so was wondering if you knew?
<Fish fry will be eaten by anything that can catch them, but adult Guppies are more likely to consume them than loaches.>
<Welcome. Neale.>

Fish Issue ID      2/21/20
My GSP has developed some kind of growth on his right eye. Could you guys help me ID it and suggest a treatment for it? He also looks like he has an internal growth because he has this large hump on the right side around mid body.
Let me know if I could provide any more information to help ID this issue.
Thank you,
<Do read here:
If on the one eye, usually trauma, perhaps exacerbated by the environment; if on both eyes, disease more probable. The addition of Epsom salt (1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres) alongside the usual marine salt mix used in his brackish or marine system should provide some support, though the use of antibiotic may be helpful if there is signs of inflammation or dead tissue. Adult GSPs maintained in freshwater systems never stay healthy for long, so it's important to review the environment in any case: GSPs need moderately brackish to fully marine conditions; SG 1.010-1.025 at 25 C is about right. High levels of alkalinity and oxygen are both essential.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fish Issue ID      2/21/20
Thanks for the quick response Neale. I'll get started with the Epsom salt.
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Salt Dip/Bath for Fungus on Betta?      2/20/20
Thank you, Bob. The info about the refractometer is extremely helpful!
Sincerely, Forrest
<Cheers mate. I do hope your Betta rallies. BobF>

Re: Advice on how to treat hemorrhagic septicemia in female guppy      2/20/20
Hi Neale,
Thanks for the quick response!
I wasn't aware guppies needed heaters - I've seen them kept outdoors where I am (southern USA) and the website that I purchased from listed a temperature range of 18-28C. I guess that must be the difference between common and fancy guppies....
<Correct. Wild Guppies will handle anything from, as you say, a barely tropical 18 C to well over 28 C, likely 30 C without much bother.
Similarly, they can live and breed in full-strength seawater, while others are found in acidic ditches in South America. But over the years we've bred fancy Guppies in ways that have eliminated those adaptability genes. It's much like you wouldn't expect a typical pedigree dog to last for long on the Tundra, yet wolves demonstrably thrive in those habitats. In any batch of Guppies you may well get some that are hardier and more adaptable than others, and crossbred (sometimes called 'feeder') Guppies seem to have much of the toughness of wild Guppies. But pedigree Guppies are sensitive fish,
and need to be looked after a bit more carefully if you want maximum chances of survival.>
I don't currently have a heater, but I did turn the thermostat in the room up to 24C. Hopefully this will help boost the immune system.
<For sure.>
The streaking has gotten worse overnight; there are now visible red streaks and red spots on the top of the body as well.
<Yep. As I said before, I'm not optimistic.>
Regarding antibiotics, I have on hand Kanamycin, Maracyn, and Maracyn 2.
<Kanamycin is a good choice for septicaemia and should not harm the filter.
Maracyn is Erythromycin, which isn't a great choice. Although is works really well in alkaline conditions, it can harm filter bacteria. Maracyn 2 is minocycline, which is indeed one of the tetracycline-types, and does work well against septicaemia, but doesn't do well in high hardness, alkaline conditions, and needs neutral to acidic conditions to work best.
Great for Neons, but not for Guppies! So of the three, Kanamycin is probably your "go-to" drug of choice here.>
Are any of these a "tetracycline-type" antibiotic? I'm not sure if my local LFS stocks minocycline. Given the effect on the biofilter, I will probably move the guppy to a separate 2.5 gallon bucket to treat with antibiotics.
<In which case, a zeolite-filled box filter will provide good ammonia removal without any risk of problems when using antibiotics. Do remember to always remove carbon from any aquarium where medications are being used.>
Again, thank you for the quick response. I will update you if I do manage to save this guppy.
<Good luck! Neale.> 

Advice on gill infection       2/19/20
Hello WWM,
<Hello Amy,>
I rescued a 20g aquarium of fish from a man who was relocating and intended to flush them. Three quarter size Angelfish and a dwarf Gourami. I will include photos. The white Angel would not eat and never left the bubbles under the filter. He had significant red throughout the gills, under them and to the front of the gills. Also behind the eye. This all looked like blood to me, his respiration was frantic and he could not close his operculum. Both sides.
<Understood. Could be Gill Flukes, as you suggest below, but might just as easily be genetic (bear in mind these fish are small enough you can see the blood flow to the gills, and the gill filaments should be deep red anyway) or else some sort of bacterial infection (Angels are somewhat prone to septicaemia, for example). Velvet is another possibility, being very much associated with the gills, even if the rest of the fish seems unaffected, at least early on in the infection.>
My best guess was gill flukes and I treated 6 days with Prazi Pro. We were 2 days into the treatment with some improvement before I thought to take photos of him. The first photo was taken at this time, the red had lessened and the area was a bit smaller. I finished 6 days of Prazi and took the second picture.
Day 2 of Prazi Pro
Now on day 7, having just finished Prazi treatment, he is significantly better on inspection.
<Would seem to be, yes.>
The gills close now, he finally started coming out to eat on day 5 and his appetite is better yet today. Not normal, just slight improvement each day. My concern is that his behavior is still not yet normal. He is out and about the tank maybe 50% of the time but returns frequently to the filter bubbles, nose up to the surface. He eats, but is slow and not enthusiastic yet as he should be. Respiration does seem more normal now.
<Angels are often (usually?) not sociable when kept in twos and threes.
They can be extremely aggressive towards each other, in fact. So I you have 2-3 Angels, and one of them is acting shy and withdrawn, he could very easily be the weakest male in the group, and consequently at the bottom of the pecking order.>
My question is if I should just give him clean water and time to see if he continues to improve or should I assume that if he had flukes, he may also have lingering infection in the gills. Should I dose the tank with
<Dosing cichlids with Metronidazole and a Furan antibiotic is a common approach with cichlids that rarely causes problems. It treats a good range of possible pathogens, including Hexamita. Indeed, the combo is close to being 'standard operating procedure' for many cichlid-keepers, especially those handling wild-caught or expensive specimens.>
I have Furan 2, Kanaplex, Triple Sulfa. Is one of these antibiotics better than another for gill infection?
Thank you for your help! I sure want this beautiful little guy to make it.
Sincerely, Amy Larson
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: advice on gill infection       2/19/20
Thank you Neale, I hope you never tire of helping us!
<You are most welcome.>
Just one question, do I give the full recommended dose of both Furan 2 and Metronidazole at the same time? Amy
<I would; neither should be particularly risky for the fish, but do increase aeration if possible, and do also use a nitrite or ammonia test kit during usage to ensure the filter is happy. If in doubt, add some zeolite to the filter to remove ammonia directly, as you'd do with a hospital tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Tropical fish to the USA - JCS. Shipping Corydoras        2/19/20
Hi. I am moving from the UK to the USA and want to take my albino Corys with me. I have been having hell finding a shipper, but did find one - who is concerned that they will be in the bags too long. (See their message, below.) They don't seem to be familiar with the Breathing Bags (Kordon)
that I was planning to use to ship the little guys.
<Have read the correspondence and am familiar with the Kordon bags>
I was planning on using the new Kordon bags, but then thought that, since the fish need to gulp air, there would still need to be an air pocket in the bag.
<Yes; I'd only fill the bags 20-25% full with water, the rest being gas>
So I was thinking about double-bagging them in the breather bags,
<Single; otherwise, not nearly breathable>
leaving a substantial air pocket to manage the air-gulping. They'd then be in a Styrofoam box (with air holes) in a larger cardboard box.
<Mmm; for thermal insulation, I would NOT poke holes in the Styro/s. The cardboard liner won't "breathe" much/at all anyway.>
It's my understanding that they absolutely should NOT have pure oxygen pumped into the bags, or they'll burn their gills when they gulp.
Unfortunately, they could end up being in their bags for 24 hours. I was planning on one bag per cory, so as to not overburden or stress them any more than will happen. Have you any advice for shipping albino Corys, or should they not be shipped long-distance? (The last thing I want to do is kill Big Bertha and the Boys.)
<Yes I do; and have worked in the wholesale parts of the trade. We (the trade) actually DO use oxygen on shipping Corydoras catfishes, at least 50% if not more, squeezing ambient air out and refilling with pure oxygen. The change of burning here is minimum via gulping. Callichthyid cats (and other facultative aerial respirating fish groups) mostly come to the surface to gulp air given low oxygen tension (concentration) in the water about them... and DO principally rest on the bottom when kept in the dark. They can stay in the bags (unopened) for a few days... 2,3 maybe 4, given they are "pooped out", i.e., NOT fed for a day or so before shipping, and the box kept about room temperature. DO label the cardboard as LIVE FISH and apply arrows with the statement, THIS END UP to discount leakage, breakage of the (more fragile) breathing bags. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for your help,
Mary Hudson
>> Hi Mary,
>> Many thanks for your enquiry.
>> We can only help with the transport of animals out of LHR or LGW so I have provided an email address below for an Agent who is in Scotland who may be able to help. Otherwise we would need to collect from Scotland, or the fish would need to travel from Scotland via LHR and this adds a lot of
time on them being oxygenated in their bags.
>> karen@petsonthemove.co.uk>>
>> Please let me know if I can help with anything else at all.
>> Subject: tropical fish to the USA - JCS
>>> Hi. We are locating to the USA this summer and have several small tropical fish that we would like to take with us. These are 10 albino Corys, about 3cm long each, and they can breath air in emergencies, and so they would ship in specialist "breather" bags with minimal water, packed safely inside an insulated box. They would need to be in a climate-controlled hold, though. (Similar to how the trade ships tropical
fish internationally.) They are exceptionally sturdy fish. but they really should not be in the bags for more than 24 - 48 hours.
>>> There are no prohibitions from the USDA, Customs, or Fish and Wildlife against bringing in pet tropical fish.
>>> We are moving from Glasgow and would be going to the East Coast of the USA. Our destination is not final at this time, but it is looking very much like it will be Binghamton, NY. .
>>> Are you able to transport pet tropical fish from Scotland to the USA?
If not, can you recommend anyone?
>>> Thanks. - Mary
Re: tropical fish to the USA - JCS       2/19/20

Bob - One more question for you. Any clue as to how to ship them? I have contacted several (like a dozen?) airlines and most don't allow them onboard as carry-on or baggage. I have to use their cargo services.
<Yeah; times were... if it was only one small bag, I might put it in my carry on luggage and if asked state that it was live fish and for "personal consumption" only; that is, not for sale, research... Nowayears air freight services is the route to go.>
Several of those have said I have to use a shipper service/agent.
<Mmm; I'd keep looking. Here in the USA you can find outfits that will ship domestically and internationally (where not restricted).>
I have contacted at least half-a-dozen such services and so far I'm not finding any that will ship tropical fish from the UK to the USA. How did you guys get your fish from all over the world shipped???? Thanks - Mary
<In the decades I was active in the trade we used a customs brokerage firm (Bill Flegenheimer in LA) and freight forwarders. BobF>
Re: tropical fish to the USA - JCS       2/19/20

Thank you for your help!
<Glad to be of assistance. Bob Fenner>

Advice on how to treat hemorrhagic septicemia in female guppy       2/19/20
Hello crew,
<Hello Conrad,>
I wish I was writing under better circumstances, but I would like some advice on how to treat septicemia in a female guppy I purchased last week.
<I am not optimistic.>
The guppy was shipped overnight to me one week ago as part of an order of three female guppies from a popular online vendor. Upon opening the package, one was already dead. I removed the dead fish and put the remaining guppies in a 500ml container (this was sufficient to hold all of the water that the fish came with), adding a drop of methylene blue and prime to hopefully alleviate any ammonia toxicity. I then drip acclimated the guppies to my tank water (the water they came in was much harder than my tank, 450 TDS vs 200 TDS), dripping in water at a rate of ~60 ml/min for 20 minutes, after which I netted the guppies and deposited them in my tank.
<Understood. Unfortunately, the quality of farmed Guppies is generally not that high. Some breeders better than others. But many, many retailers have problems with this species nowadays.>
After adding the guppies to my tank, it was clear that one of them had swim bladder issues and could not swim properly. Unfortunately, this guppy expired overnight. The other female guppy seemed to swim normally for the first four days but soon became lethargic, hiding in the corner and refusing to eat; I fed her Hikari micropellets and frozen bloodworms. The next day, I noticed red streaking along the flanks of the guppy, which signaled to me that the fish had septicemia.
I then moved her to a large breeder box that I hung in my tank. I have kept her in this box for a couple days, however the red streaking is now getting worse.
<I can see this.>
I would like to ask: 1. Is this hemorrhagic septicemia?
<Certainly a bacterial infection of some sort.>
2. If it is, what is the best treatment?
<Really, an antibiotic is the only possible treatment if this is a bacterial infection, but alas, success rate not high. Since the effectiveness of a given antibiotic depends upon identifying the pathogenic bacteria, without sampling the bacteria and identifying them (something aquarists can't do) we end up going with a scattergun approach. Unreliable, but the only option. On top of that, there are viruses that can cause
septicaemia, and these are untreatable. Tetracycline-type antibiotics (such as Minocycline) are perhaps the safest, since they're less likely to affect the filter than, say, Erythromycin.>
A cursory search of the website tells me that the root cause of this disease is water quality issues and people were recommended to do frequent water changes.
<Indeed, but this is more prevention than cure.>
However I don't believe my tank has any water quality issues. My parameters are roughly:
Size: 10 gallon standard pH : 7.2-7.4 GH: 160 - 180 ppm KH: 40 - 60 ppm Ammonia + Nitrite: 0 ppm Nitrate : 0 - 15 ppm depending on how recently I have changed the water (usually once a week) TDS: 200 ppm Temperature: 68 - 76 F depending on the season (the tank is unheated but I keep the
thermostat on 24/7). It has been 73-74 F this whole week.
<I wouldn't be keeping fancy Guppies at such low temperatures: they are more sensitive than wild (or even cross-bred) Guppies and personally, I'd recommend setting a heater to 24 C, minimum.>
The tank water is remineralized RO water. I use a combination of Epsom salt, gypsum and potassium bicarbonate to remineralize. By my calculations, the ionic concentrations I have are: K+: 42ppm Ca2+: 20ppm Mg2+: 8ppm SO42- : 81ppm HCO3- : 65ppm
<Sounds fine.>
The tank is heavily planted and nitrate goes down after water changes (I add a small amount of potassium nitrate when I do water changes). It has been running for eight years and contains a colony of scarlet badis (I think there are seven, but have seen two new juveniles come out of the moss in the past month), a colony of cherry shrimp (too many to count, but at least fifteen), and a single Nerite snail.
I should note that I purchased two male guppies to go with the females, and those seem to have no issues whatsoever (they came in a separate bag). The main reason to separate the female was to prevent the males from harassing her (although it did not seem excessive when I was observing).
I have attached 2 pictures of the poor guppy in question for diagnostic purposes. The first was taken in the tank shortly before moving the guppy to the breeder box and the second was taken from the breeder box earlier today. Thank you for your time!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Salt Dip/Bath for Fungus on Betta?       2/19/20
Hello my WWM friends!
I have a freshwater fish question, because being a reef aquarist who hasn't had a FW tank for 15-20 years has left me stupid. This fish has an obvious fungus on its fins, but I don't know its history to know exactly how to treat it (previous injury, precursor bacterial infection). I hate fish medications, so I've been thinking of trying to use salt water dip and/or bath, but I don't feel confident in doing it. I was hoping one of you folks could give me some very specific directions, measurements of salt in teaspoons instead of ounces, etcetera. If people would just have good water and stock conscientiously, their fish wouldn't get things like fungus.
The reason I don't know the history of the fish, is that I got it from a newly homeless guy at Starbucks several days ago. He just gave it to the first person who would take it. I was certain it was dead. It was just floating and I saw no gill movement at all. The thermometer growing on the end of my hand, combined with knowing the weather forecast, estimated that the water couldn't have been warmer than 45F. The guy insisted that the fish wasn't dead, so I touched the fish. The fish twitched slightly, then
finally looked like it was breathing (but still floating and looking almost dead), so I agreed to take it. I couldn't leave Starbucks because I was with a client, so I got a tall cup with a little hot water in the bottom, then sat the container in the top of the cup for the steam to act as a heater. The fish started looking like it was alive as it got warmer, mostly still floating but occasionally in a normal position. I took it home, set up a little pico tank from my tank junk room, using mostly RODI (I needed FW bacteria, so I used some brown water from a 50g that has been housing just a leeching out 3 ft piece of FW driftwood, and a philodendron vine that has attached its roots to the wood... maybe I should put the plant in the Betta tank to eat nitrate).
Now the fish is swimming around, is eating, and looks excited when it sees me approaching the tank. The guy must have had it for a while before becoming homeless, because it's much bigger than the Bettas in the pet stores, and the canister of food he gave me is nearly empty. I don't want to keep the fish, but no one is going to take it while it is sick. I just hope I don't accidentally kill it.
Thank you in advance for the salt dip/bath treatment advice, other treatment advise, any other random advice, or advice about how to have a conversation without making it about reef stuff.
Forrest M.
<Okay; in terms of a saline lavage, bath, you could use a level teaspoon of salt (table or marine aquarium) in a gallon of water, leave the Betta there for ten minutes. IF you have a refractometer that goes down to a low reading, this fish can easily tolerate at spg. of 1.003. For much more re their husbandry, please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BettaInfectDisF4.htm
and as much of the above-linked files (in blue) that you deem useful. Bob Fenner>

Hi I need help with my crayfish       2/17/20
I did a water change and had them in a tank together just yesterday and added some plants in where the plants started having some plant juice out
and killed 2 of my crayfish now one of my female crayfish abdomen is slowly turning white and her claws and legs are falling out... What is happening?
<Reads as some sort of overt poisoning. I would MOVE your crays NOW to somewhere (established) else; or barring this, change out most of the water, add some activated carbon to the filter, and REMOVE the plants if you haven't already. Bob Fenner>

Sohal Success;  stkg.     2/14/20
I was reading your glowing perscpective in the stunning Sohal. Many horror stories exist out there of these fish becoming belligerent to even killers as they reach 8-9”.
<Indeed they can; and do often become a/the "alpha" fish in their setting>
All compatibility issues are a gamble, but in your experience to I have a decent chance of success with a Sohal combined with a Vlamingi, a Fowleri, Naso, Dussemeri, Hippo and maybe a couple zebrasomas in a 650 gallon system?
<Mmm; I would likely skip this Acanthurus introduction here. You have a goodly number of compatible surgeonfishes... and it would be a bear to try removing a troubling specimen. I would go ahead w/ adding the Zebrasoma, maybe some Ctenochaetus here.>
Other tank mate will include 3-4 large angels, pair of sunset wrasse, red breast and Broomtail wrasse and a Spanish hog.
<All else I give you good odds in getting along. >
Steve Offutt
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fire Belly Toad     2/14/20
Thank you for the info!! I have rearranged his home eliminating the water heater and put a basking light above the basking area. What wattage do you recommend?
<Depends largely on the size of the tank. If the heater bulb is attached to a thermostat (the ideal) then it'll warm up to the right temperature and no higher. If the bulb is simply used 'as is' and switched on and off manually, then I'd err on the size of caution. Do consult with your retailer and/or examine the manufacturers recommendations for the bulbs available in your country. I'd imagine something like 25W would be sufficient, since you only need a small warm patch for basking; what you're not doing is heating the whole vivarium.>
Do you recommend a basking bulb or maybe just a daytime heating lamp?
<Ideally, use a combo heat and UV-B lamp for best results. With sufficient UV-B, vitamin deficiencies are less likely, particularly if you're offering a range of foods including periodical use of standard issue mineral supplements for reptiles. With all amphibians and reptiles, it's a lot cheaper to prevent health problems than to treat them, not least of all because their slow metabolism means problems take a long time to become apparent, by which time even vets can have trouble turning things around.>
Thanks again,
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: Sick angelfish. Old age?      2/13/20
Hi Neale,
<Hello Rhiannon,.
Thank you again for your time and wealth of info.
A few hours after writing to you, the discus came good. Was hiding, but no longer fighting buoyancy and it was pooping.
<So, constipation it is!>
This morning it is swimming eagerly with all the other discus looking like nothing was ever wrong. I’m inclined to think that a bacterial infection couldn’t have cleared up on its own so quickly and that it was just a case of constipation?
<Yes. Very common. Probably more common than we think. Green foods are the ideal, such as cooked peas, but Discus might turn their snouts up at that. So offer things like live or frozen brine shrimp and/or daphnia, which seem to have a pretty decent laxative effect.>
Please correct me if I’m wrong. Keeping a close eye on everyone but all seems back to normal.
I also wanted to visit what you said about immune system compromise under 28°C. I have my tank at 29°C, my LFS suggested to drop it to 28 because the plants don’t cope as well above 28.
<Correct. Or rather, most aquarium plants are swamp plants that spend some time out of the water, often dying back then. At high temperatures and submerged all year long, they do become 'exhausted'. There likely are workarounds, and some plants are less fussed than others. It's one of those situations where some time researching plants known to be good with Discus might be worthwhile. I've seen things like Giant Vallis and some Amazon Swords used with great success.>
I’m interested in your thoughts regarding toeing that line. Is 28 too close for comfort regarding long-term health?
<28 C/82 F should be fine, but I'd not risk lower temperatures with Discus.>
Would you typically try to keep the tank warmer for discus, or is all fine as long as it’s within their range?
<See above.>
I’m more interested in healthy discus than maximising plant growth and colour.
Many thanks,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

My Bubble Tip Anemone Split!     2/13/20
Dear Bob Fenner,
<Hey Mandy>
The Bubble Tip you helped me save got really big and this evening I now have two!
My poor Clownfish is so confused! LOL! He's trying hard to love on both,...
but they are a few inches apart, so he's having a hard time.
I am so thrilled!
Now there are two! Nature is so amazing.
Thank you again for helping me save his life.
<Glad to have helped you; in turn it is you who saved this life. Bob Fenner>
Mandy in NJ

Arowana Grow out
Good Morning Crew!
I had a quick question regarding baby Arowana compatibility.
Recently I was given the opportunity to own two of my favorite types of Arowana, a leucistic silver Arowana and a jardini Arowana. I am fully aware of the jardini's tendency to be rather temperamental once they reach adulthood, and am building large aquariums as we speak, but unfortunately they will not be ready for about 6 months- 1 year, in which they will be separated into different systems completely. Each system is 8 feet long, by 3.5 feet wide by 3 feet tall.
<With complete, heavy/secure tops to prevent their jumping out>
I am currently building my house, and they are being built into the ground floor with cement, but I cannot move the fish in, until they are big enough and the house is finished, which could be anywhere between 6 months to a year.
The jardini arrived earlier than expected and came in on the 7th. it is about 4 inches long and is currently in a 10 gallon by itself so I can ensure it is eating, and closely monitor it, as well as target feed it so
it can put on some size until it can safely go with a tiger shovelnose I have in a 75, which is about 6".
<Be careful w/ the Pseudoplatystoma/Pimelodid. That big mouth can inhale arowanas small enough to fit in it>
The leucistic Arowana should be arriving next week on Friday, and will be approximately 5". I wish to add him into the same 10 gallon as the jardini, both to put a little more size on him, and to make sure he is eating.
Since they are both eating the same foods, this makes sense for me.
My question is will I be ok in doing this while they are both young like this? My jardini has not shown any aggression to the dither fish I have in this system, and I do not expect he will until he matures around 8" in which he will most likely be off on his own anyways in a different system.
Will they be ok being quarantined off together like this?
<If these were my fishes, I'd spend the small sum of money to have another system, likely something larger for the duration... like a 20 long or bigger; and keep them separated. Too likely to fight, compete for food>
I expect they would be together no more 1.5-2 months in the 10 gallon (depending on how quickly they grow), and then between 4-8 months in the 75 before being separated off into their respective enclosures for life.
I apologize for the length of the email, I just wanted to make sure I was being thorough.
<No worries; clarity, completeness is necessary>
-Ian Jablonka
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Arowana Grow out Neale's go

Good Morning Crew!
I had a quick question regarding baby Arowana compatibility.
Recently I was given the opportunity to own two of my favorite types of Arowana, a leucistic silver Arowana and a jardini Arowana. I am fully aware of the jardini's tendency to be rather temperamental once they reach adulthood, and am building large aquariums as we speak, but unfortunately they will not be ready for about 6 months- 1 year, in which they will be separated into different systems completely. Each system is 8 feet long, by 3.5 feet wide by 3 feet tall. I am currently building my house, and they
are being built into the ground floor with cement, but I cannot move the fish in, until they are big enough and the house is finished, which could be anywhere between 6 months to a year.
The jardini arrived earlier than expected and came in on the 7th. it is about 4 inches long and is currently in a 10 gallon by itself so I can ensure it is eating, and closely monitor it, as well as target feed it so
it can put on some size until it can safely go with a tiger shovelnose I have in a 75, which is about 6".
The leucistic Arowana should be arriving next week on Friday, and will be approximately 5". I wish to add him into the same 10 gallon as the jardini, both to put a little more size on him, and to make sure he is eating. Since they are both eating the same foods, this makes sense for me.
My question is will I be ok in doing this while they are both young like this? My jardini has not shown any aggression to the dither fish I have in this system, and I do not expect he will until he matures around 8" in which he will most likely be off on his own anyways in a different system.
Will they be ok being quarantined off together like this? I expect they would be together no more 1.5-2 months in the 10 gallon (depending on how quickly they grow), and then between 4-8 months in the 75 before being separated off into their respective enclosures for life.
I apologize for the length of the email, I just wanted to make sure I was being thorough.
<Ian, the short answer is that Scleropages jardinii will (likely) be aggressive towards any other Arowana species, but generally ignore dissimilar fish like catfish and stingrays. Schooling fish will either be
viewed as food or ignored as the case may be. If you have two arowanas that you need to keep in a single tank, I would suggest using plastic egg crate or similar to create a divider, at least initially, so you can see how they react. Placing them in a small tank (which a 75 gallon tank is, when talking about arowanas) is asking for trouble. You might get lucky, and it may well be females are less territorial than males, but certainly combining two specimens of any Arowana species is risky. Cheers, Neale.>

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