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More Recent/Older, Accrued FAQs

Mollies. Again.       2/14/17
Hi, Neale - long time, no questions! Hope you had a good holiday and that the new year is treating you well.
<All good; thanks for asking.>
This morning we noticed that we have a silver sailfin Molly that's just lying on the bottom or swimming lethargically, using only her pectoral fins. She doesn't use her tail to swim at all. Her tailfin seems kind of shredded lengthwise, but doesn't look bitten. She had gotten big, we thought she was pregnant (assuming one of the 7 young mollies is a male), but she seems slimmer now. We have seen any fry in the tank, though we didn't really look (I'm only just now thinking of it).
We have another Molly, a creamsicle, that is starting to shimmy.
<Typically a stress reaction, though quite what the stress factor might be isn't always obvious. Mollies are easily stressed by chilling, nitrate, and the wrong water chemistry, though like all fish, non-zero ammonia and nitrite are issues too.>

The numbers are good in the tank - ammonia and nitrite are 0, nitrate is 20.
<Sounds good, but no mention of water chemistry here. Will (re-) state the importance of carbonate hardness to Mollies; alkaline water with a basic pH is an essential, especially if salt is not added to the water. Tanks will acidify between water changes, and this causes problems for Mollies in particular. Simply doing a substantial water change or three will often help Mollies return to their normal happy selves. Failing that, adjusting water chemistry slightly, by the addition of sodium bicarbonate -- one teaspoon per 40 litres/10 US gallons is a good start. Easiest approach here
is estimate size of tank, make up the correct solution for that volume, and then add to the tank in small amounts across a few days, giving time for the fish to adapt. Alternatively, just add the right amount of a given bucket of water (so might easily be a quarter teaspoon for a 2.5 gallon bucket) and do your water changes as per normal. I do prefer to keep Mollies in low-end brackish conditions, but understand that isn't an option in all cases. Read up on the pros/cons of this, and act accordingly. Would also check the heater, and maybe turn it up a notch, Mollies preferring quite balmy conditions compared with standard community tank fare; 28C/82F is not out of line for the bigger, sailfin varieties in particular.>
Tell me what I forgot to tell you and I'll provide the info, but this is about it, that I can see. As always, thanks so much for your help!
<Most welcome.>
Tom & Maria
<Cheers, Neale.>

re: Mollies. Again.     2/14/17
The water is relatively hard, and it goes in at around pH 7.8, then the tank adjusts up to 8.0 to 8.2 with the bubble stone and stays there. Maria changes the water weekly at a 25% change. The numbers have all been stable NH3/4, nitrate, nitrite, pH, etc, for months.
She's still hanging in there, but in a head up position. Could this be bacterial?
<Yes, but environment is what you look at first.
If you're content that the tank is good, then sure, treat with an antibiotic. Livebearers are sometimes given to strange "wasting" diseases after a certain length of time -- whether old age, dietary shortcomings (do bear in mind they're herbivores in the wild), social stress, or inbreeding is hard to say. But colonies of livebearers frequently do well for years, but individual fish may have substantially shorter lifespans than you might expect.>
Why would the tail separate into lengthwise strips?
<Typically physical damage, such as fighting. Do bear in mind Mollies are prone to fighting. You could medicate as per Finrot, but keep a close eye on the fish for evidence of squabbling. Cheers, Neale.>

how to get rid of Chitons     2/14/17
Hello crew!
So it seems I have a problem that most do not. I have Chitons in my "was new" acrylic tank and while most people love them, I certainly do not.
They like to leave giant bite mark trails on my acrylic. Around the pumps w/ extra flow it seems they are extra hungry to the point where the acrylic is not even see through. I have got to do something to get rid of these guys. Please direct me. I am looking for reef safe solutions. I am considering a harlequin tusk, chemicals, manual removal (which works off
the tank walls because they move so slow but there are so many in the rocks, they just keep coming!). I realize that people think they are helpful, and I can direct these people to my tank to collect each and every one of mine, if they can see through the damaged acrylic.
<Mmm; well; am given to suggest simply placing your rock away from the acrylic panels. Having to cross the substrate/sand should deter the Chitons venturing there. Don't know any predators that single out Polyplacophorans... poisons of various sorts might work; but will kill a good deal of the other life on and in the rock. Bob Fenner>

Serious Gourami problems     2/14/17
<Hello Calvin,>
It seems my tank is in a bit of an emergency. The major TL;DR is that I need to know if my dwarf gourami has TB/Iridovirus/parasites.
<Oh dear. As I'm sure you know by now, Iridovirus isn't curable. On top of that, Dwarf Gouramis are prone to Mycobacteria infections, what is often called "Fish TB", and again, there's no cure here. Indeed, the symptoms of
the two diseases are very similar, and explain a lot of the dying Dwarf Gourami situations we see and hear about.>
All of the details are below, and I'll add my tank stats at the bottom (I don't have a way of testing for ammonia at the moment).
*Background:* About two weeks ago I took a 75 gallon tank off the hands of a family who is moving from Chicago to Georgia. It is currently populated by: 1 Pleco (seems to be pardalis sp. specifically), 3 tiger barbs, 2 neon tetras, 1 sunset platy, 2 black tetras, 1 dwarf gourami, 1 pearl gourami, 1 blue(?) gourami, and 9 guppies (2 female). This is my second tank ever - my first was a goldfish I rescued from an empty apartment last Spring, who is doing just fine in his 20gal - so I am basically a total newbie.
<Well, welcome to the hobby the hard way! Seriously, that's quite a mix of fish. While water chemistry isn't a major issue with them (they should all do fine in around neutral, medium hardness water) there are some possible behavioural issues when social species are kept in too-small groups. Barbs and tetras are better in groups of six or more, and the female Guppies should really outnumber the males, ideally 2-to-1. But in any event, this isn't our immediate problem, but something to review in the longer term.
There is a brilliant aquarium club in Chicago, http://www.greenwateraquaristsociety.org
As well as a very well regarded cichlid society, http://www.gcca.net
I'd suggest getting in touch with either of these and asking for help in due course. Having an experienced hobbyist look over your tank, help you rehome fish, and/or introduce healthy specimens is a massive bonus. Fish shops are fine of course, but the quality of advice varies wildly. Looking over your photos for example, you're dealing with severe Whitespot or similar on the Neon; a Sunset Platy with a deformed spine (could be genetic, could be Mycobacteria, could be dietary... hard to say); and of course your Dwarf Gourami is wasting away, for one reason or another. I'd be tempted to medicate the tank as per Finrot or Columnaris; euthanise the Neons if they didn't start recovering; and observe the Platy (not much you can do about deformed spines, and such fish can live a long life even if you wouldn't want to breed from them). The Gourami should be observed too, but I can't think of any immediate treatment here, either.>
*Problem:* There is something seriously wrong with the dwarf gourami. His body is bent strangely 24/7, and one side looks bloated, but it's hard to tell if that's because of or in addition to the bent body. He can't seem to sit still without floating to the top of the tank, where he will often just stay, floating still sideways, for hours on end. Recently he has started swimming to the bottom under some fake plants and sitting still there for hours on end, and will only move if scared away. But when he's not sitting still he seems to be able to swim wherever he wants/however fast he wants but has to fight the tendency to float upward. Since all these fish are new to me, I'm not sure if the darker brown/greens on its head and bottom fin are new or have always been there. He also has stringy white/translucent stuff that hangs out of his butt, which is evidently some kind of parasite.
The previous owner today said "he wasn't always like that...only after his buddy died...I'm surprised he's still alive." So he was like this before she gave him to me but not the entire time she had him.
<It does sound strange. The bent spine thing is a symptom rather than a disease, and as mentioned before can be caused by Mycobacteria, by dietary problems, or by inbreeding (though genetic reasons will be apparent from birth, so not likely the issue here).>
At first a lot of the sites I was reading suggested it was just constipation/swim bladder issues, so I fasted him and tried peas and later zucchini, to no avail. Yesterday a lot of sites seemed to be indicating he either had Iridovirus (decreased activity, possible abdominal swelling, possible loss of color) or tuberculosis (bent spine, possible wasting?),
but the problem is the gourami doesn't seem to be exhibiting the *major* symptoms of those diseases, and none of the other fish seem to have anything similarly wrong with them, except perhaps the pale female guppy I mention below.
<If the Dwarf Gourami is feeding, and interacting with you/other fish, you might hold off euthanising. But I'd be very, very observant. Why? Because Mycobacteria probably gets transmitted from sick/dead fish to healthy fish, so "breaking the cycle" of infection is pretty much the only way aquarists can minimise the risks. In fairness to Mycobacteria though, this bacteria is probably latent in all tanks, and healthy fish don't get sick from it.
Something has to stress them, such as poor water quality or the wrong diet (a big issue with herbivores, I suspect) and that in turn leads to the Mycobacteria getting established in your fish.>
I should also point out that both neon tetras seem to have some kind of fungal infection, the platy's lower fin was torn in the net when the previous owner was getting it ready for me, and one of the female guppies seems extra pale/translucent and perhaps deformed, but it may be partially due to the stress of constantly being followed around by the 7 male guppies. The platy often just hangs out in the gravel or swims in one place for a while, but when there's food it has no problem getting to the top of the tank. The pale guppy often will stay put in one place for a while, seemingly to take a break from the males, but I don't know. I've only had these fish for two weeks.
<Understood. I fear you really have been thrown in the deep end of the pool here! Normally fishkeeping is very easy. Literally feed them and change some water every couple of weeks. Sickness usually is caused, rather than bad luck, so pre-empting sickness is the name of the game. You haven't had a chance here because these fish seem to be very sick already.>
I've included photos of each fish with problems, as well as the whole aquarium and a pic of a long translucent string that might be a worm stuck to a fake plant.
<Merely faeces. Not an issue in itself, but can indicate constipation or, among cichlids particularly, Hexamita.>
Please help me out here. Should I just start parasite/fungal treatments?
<I think a combination Finrot/Fungus medication could help the Neons, but I'm not convinced this/these fish are savable. Buy something heavy-duty, like Kanaplex, that will handle Columnaris, which I think is what the Neons
have. It's a good general purpose antibiotic that handles Septicaemia and some fungal infections too. Septicaemia could easily cause some of these symptoms.>
Is there a risk in combining medications?
<I'd only use Kanaplex to start with. Yes, mixing medications has a risk, but if used as instructed they should be safe. Do remember the golden rules though -- stick to the state dosage; remove carbon from the filter (if used); and always finish the entire course, even if the fish "look better".>
Should I euthanize the dwarf gourami so that tb/Iridovirus don't spread?
Something else?
<See above.>
Tank stats: Two lights on timers, I think less than 8 total hours a day (although it gets plenty of ambient light)
GH 180 KH 80 pH 6.5/7 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 20 or 40
Emperor 400 filter with a tube sucking from below the substrate. Previous owner apparently didn't have BioWheels so I got some - not sure how long the BioWheels were missing.
Heater set to 77 F
Two big air wands and a wave fan
No live plants
2 water changes thus far, complete with de-chlorinating stuff each a week apart
<All sounds fine.>
I will also say that when I got the tank back to my place there was a *lot* of gross brown sludge in and under the gravel that I thoroughly cleaned out.
Here's a Google drive link of all the photos I have of the fish with problems. This is obviously pretty urgent so if you have any other questions I will probably respond within a few hours. I can even give you videos of any behavior you need to observe. I *greatly* appreciate any help you can give me.
<Hope this helps and good luck, Neale.>

Fish dying     2/14/17
Hello crew,
I have a 20 gallon long freshwater tank that has been running successfully for over five years. It has a BioWheel filter with carbon and is heavily planted.
<Do remember to remove carbon as/when medicating; indeed, unless you specifically need to remove tannins from the water, using the space in the filter for more biological media is invariably a better bet.>
I do weekly water changes of approximately 20%. A month ago my stock included about 2 dozen crystal red shrimp, 9 harlequin Rasboras, and 2 brass tetras. Two weeks ago I added a pair of red velvet swordtails. In the past four days, both new swordtails, 1 tetra and 3 Rasboras have died.
I have never had a die off like this!
This is what I have noticed. All fish - including my remaining fish - have a slight white haze over their whole body. Their colors are not as vibrant as usual. One of the Rasboras has what looks like 2 bright white worms protruding from the right and left side of the anal area.
<Are they wriggling? Are you sure they're not either [a] faeces, as per constipation; or [b] undigested exoskeletons from things like bloodworms.
Also note that worms generally have a slow impact on the fish. Bellies may swell over several weeks or months; while the fish itself gradually lose condition, getting thinner, except around the belly. What rarely happens is -- bam! -- dead fish with worms sticking out.>
I have checked pictures of anchor worms and the white protrusions in my fish look much bigger than an anchor worm.
<Anchor Worms are external parasites. They're actually crustaceans, and attach to the skin or fins so that they can suck on blood. The worms that infect the gut of tropical aquarium fish are usually Camallanus worms.
Usually pink or red, and certainly visible as wriggly worms emerging from the anus, making identification fairly simple.>
The one remaining tetra is hovering in place and is breathing rapidly. The other fish are active and eating but their movements seem more anxious or unsettled. I have not noticed any reduction in my shrimp population.
Could you help me diagnose this problem and suggest a course of action?
Thanks so much.
<If you think worms are present, based on what has been said above, then yes, an anti-helminthic such as Prazi-Pro will be necessary. But I'd be reviewing other possible causes too. Sudden die-offs are more often caused by environmental problems (such as a dead filter, or exposure to airborne poisons like paint fumes, or the introduction of something toxic into the tank, such as copper. I'd also check the heater is working (you'd be surprised how often fish die from this) and I'd also do a couple of big water changes, 50% today, 50% tomorrow, doing my best to keep temperature constant and water chemistry changes minimal. Make sense? Cheers, Neale.>

Hairs on PBT    2/13/17
Hi any ideas what these are.. looks like small hairs on my pbt. He has been in tank for about a year. I have been dosing Prazi for the last week. Any help would be great. Thanks
<Would REALLY like to sample and look at these under a microscope... Could be "just" body mucus from... something chem./physically irritating in the water, accumulated gunk in the system attaching... Perhaps some sort of worm/s. Again; I'd sample and look first, check and improve your water quality, add mechanical filtration... and possibly treat with an Anthelminthic... the last via foods. Do please send along further input as this progresses. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hairs on PBT    2/13/17
Thanks bob.. that being said I have a dose of Prazi going now.. I could do a large water change..one other fish may have a couple spots.. not sure.. not sure what to do.. what is your best idea? Environmental or parasite??
<Can't tell w/o data Eric. BobF>
Eric Willoughby
Re: Hairs on PBT    2/13/17

Thanks bob.. another thing he is flashing and rubbing on rocks.. would he do that if it was environmental??
<Oh yes. BobF>
Re: Hairs on PBT    2/13/17

Thanks again.. did a huge wc and loaded a bunch of carbon.. see what happens
<Ah yes. B>

Betta with velvet.... /Neale    2/13/17
My Betta has had velvet for about 6 weeks. When I first discovered it he was acting lethargic, had clamped fins, and was breathing heavily. I turned off the lights and with a flashlight was able to see that he was covered in a fine golden dust. After doing research I came to the conclusion that he had many of the symptoms of velvet. He is normally in a 5 gallon heated and filtered tank with live plants and one Nerite snail. For 6 weeks I have been treating him for the velvet in a 1 gallon quarantine tank with a heater. I have the temperature up to 85 degrees and have a towel wrapped
around the tank to minimize light. For the first week I treated him with Betta Revive. He showed some improvement but was still covered in velvet so I discontinued treatment with the Betta Revive. For almost a month I have been treating him with Kordon Rid-Ich Plus and aquarium salt. He is no longer lethargic, his fins aren't clamped, and he is breathing and eating normally. Everything about his behavior is normal, but I can see that he is still covered in the golden dust (although it is about half as much as when I started treating him). I am wondering if it is normal for it to take this long to get rid of velvet? And is it advisable to continue medicating him with the Rid-Ich Plus? The improvement seems to have plateaued at this point. Any help or suggestions that you can provide are greatly
<Going to follow up on Bob's ideas here. For sure golden dust sounds a lot like Velvet. But I will render this opinion: not all strains of Velvet (or Whitespot) are equally deadly or difficult to treat. There seems to be a lot of variation. On top of that, fish surely have some type of immune response to this/these parasites; indeed, I'd not be at all surprised to
learn that very low levels can persist among basically healthy fish for months or years, and it's only stress factors (like poor diet or skipped water changes) that allow these parasites to gain the upper hand and become noticeable and dangerous. In any event, my medication of choice for both Whitespot and Velvet is eSHa EXIT, an inexpensive medication that seems to be highly tolerated by even quite sensitive fish species, including puffers. For this reason, I prefer it to standard copper-based medications, though as Bob mentioned, used correctly copper can be extremely effective.
In a very small aquarium, it is wise to remove carbon (as always, when medicating) but also remove anything calcareous (such as seashells or corals) that might absorb copper ions and release them months from now.
Also note that invertebrates, such as snails and shrimps, are likely to be killed by copper- and formalin-based medications, so remove them while treating. I would normally medicate the sick fish in its display tank because Velvet and Whitespot have free-living stages that can persist for several days in the water, gravel and filter (depending on water temperature). That said, if you leave the display tank fallow, i.e., without fish (you can leave snails and shrimps there) for at least a week at tropical temperatures, two weeks at room temperature, the life cycle of the parasite will be exhausted. Medicate the Betta in a hospital tank while this is going on, of course. Hope this helps, Neale.>

What the heck is this?!     2/13/17
I walked in to find this crazy white worm lookin back at me. It is probably about 2 inches long and my Beta is scared half to death of it. What is it and is it dangerous? I keep up with the tank cleanliness and don't over feed my fish. What else could I do to prevent this from happening again?
<It's an earthworm or something similar (i.e., an oligochaete). Probably unhappy being underwater, though there are one or two truly aquatic species that sometimes appear in batches of live food. If it's an earthworm, could you could kindly return it to the nearest compost heap or clean patch of soil, that'd be great. Earthworms are fantastic animals. There's a great book about them -- "The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms" -- that I'd recommend to anyone. Aquatic Oligochaetes should be returned to streams or shallow ponds. Compare and contrast your creature to photos of the Oligochaetes native to your particular country and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Mystery hitchhikers on my frogspawn: Mesenterial Filaments - 2/11/2017
<Greetings, Kevin>
I do not have any Cerith snails
<There goes that theory! On the plus-side, I believe I have an answer for you.>
and I've never seen snail eggs move around like this.
<No, any movement would have to have been caused by something else: water current, hatching individuals, instability/movement of whatever the mass was deposited upon, or perhaps a critter of some sort wriggling about inside the mass.>
Unfortunately, I can't get another picture because after I tried to pull it off, it retracted back up into the soft tissue of the coral.
<Yep, this is normal (see below).
There is no question in my mind that it is some kind of separate organism. I have posted another picture to the forum- this time with annotation.
<Yes, I see – thanks. After thinking about this a bit more this morning, I started wondering if what we were seeing was simply part of the coral itself, and that was the ticket. All those loopy structures (that look like guts) did indeed come from inside the coral. They’re mesenterial filaments that, thanks to stinging cells/nematocysts, are used to capture/digest, as well as fight off any threat/intrusion into a coral’s “space”. It could be that the coral detected a threat (physical or chemical), and deployed the filaments. I see a small collection of vermetid gastropods to the left of the filaments that may be at least part of the issue. Vermetids send out sticky strands to catch food particles that drift by. Those strands could be contacting the coral’s soft tissue and irritating it. I ran across a photo at WWM that looks very similar: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/carydisf7.htm . Please see the query at the bottom of the page titled “Worm infestation… no -12/28/2007”, as well as a WWM search for mesenterial filaments, Vermetids.>
I appreciate the time you have spent trying to help me.
<No problem, I hope this helps. By the way, if you decide to get rid of the Vermetids, you can do so my either breaking them off with tweezers at the base (do not use bare hands – the tubes are brittle and very sharp!), or seal the tube openings with some gel-type Cyano glue.>
Hopefully the new picture will help you see it better.
<I think we’re good to go! Take care, Lynn Zurik>
Thank you Lynn. B <Always a pleasure, Bob!>
Follow-up Re: Mystery hitchhikers on my frogspawn: Mesenterial Filaments - 2/11/2017

Awesome! Thanks for the diagnosis.
<You are most welcome.>
Jordan was right that you know your stuff.
<Well, we all learned something this time! All I knew was that things weren’t adding up, critter-wise, so I followed a hunch and it paid off.>
You just saved the coral from the trauma of being broken off the rock and dipped again.
I just knew it was some kind of parasite.
<I can certainly understand why.>
Unfortunately, in my haste to keep a parasite from harming my coral, I tore some of its mesentery trying to remove it. Hopefully it recovers!
<I would think so.>
It all makes perfect sense now that I put all the pieces together. They had (very small) Vermetids on them when I bought them as frags. The coral and the Vermetids have both grown considerably since I got them.
<Yay, regarding the coral! As for the Vermetids, they thrive/multiply in high nutrient conditions so do keep an eye on this. Same goes for what appears to be some Spionid or Chaetopterid worms to the right of the mesenterial filaments. In silhouette, you can see a number of paired feeding tentacles (“palps”). Although not visible in the photo, these palps extend from hardened mucus tubes covered with sand grains, bits of substrate, and/or shell. These worms are typically harmless/beneficial particulate feeders/detritivores but when numerous can irritate corals, particularly Zoanthids.>
In the last couple weeks, the coral has not been extending as much as it had been. Now I realize it was due to the Vermetids growing as much as they have. I will try scraping them off now that I know they are causing irritation.
<Good idea. Just be careful. You do not want to get a nasty infection after cutting yourself on those sharp little shells!>
Thanks again!
<It was a pleasure! Take care, Lynn Zurik>

Symptoms after Vitamin A injections alarming!!     2/12/17
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
We've taken our son's 2 RES to an emergency vet that diagnosed them with pneumonia saying we purchased them sick it just takes time for them o show symptoms.
<Very true and .. sadly ... very common>

They were given injections for 30 days every 72 hours and today they went back to the regular vet because it has been 8 days since they have eaten do to stress of dry docking them and being sick in general.
<Not a huge concern assuming that had been eating prior to getting sick>
The vet today gave them Vitamin A injections and now they keep biting and won't stop moving the leg they were given in as if they are irritated and they haven't done this after the medication injections we've been giving them. Will this go away or do they need to go back to emergency vet since our normal vet is now closed??!!
<Not at this point. I'm not sure what injections they were given for 30 days, and I would have given calcium and D along with the "A" -- but at this point my suggestion is to STOP treating them.>
<At this point the stress from the treatments is a negative affect on the over-all course of recovery. Keep them dry docked except for their daily bath of luke-warm water. Make sure that the water is not over their eye/nose level so that no water accidentally gets in their lungs. Other than that, keep them warm and dry - and allow them some peace and quiet.>
<Pay attention, of course, that they open their eyes and will move when necessary (such as during their bath) but you're treated the infection and now it's time to de-stress them>

Rosy tetras with lemon tetras     2/12/17
Just wondering if it is possible to keep a couple of Rosy Tetras with a school of 8 lemon tetras or are the Rosies just too aggressive? I wonder if they would school with the lemons or attack them. Lemons seem to be one of the most peaceful tetras there are. Thank You
<In theory Rosy Tetras, Hyphessobrycon rosaceus, should get along well with Lemon Tetras. Two issues though. First is that other look-alike species may be sold instead of true Hyphessobrycon rosaceus, for example Hyphessobrycon
callistus, a much more aggressive species. Be sure you know the difference! Secondly, expecting "a couple" of any schooling species to behave normally is unrealistic. They'll either be terribly shy or annoyingly aggressive.
But get 6-8 specimens and you should be fine. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta with velvet      2/12/17
My Betta has had velvet for about 6 weeks.
<Mmm; doubtful; would have been, be dead>
When I first discovered it he was acting lethargic, had clamped fins, and was breathing heavily. I turned off the lights and with a flashlight was able to see that he was covered in a fine golden dust.
<Well; these are all symptoms... though, "could be just environment">
After doing research I came to the conclusion that he had many of the symptoms of velvet. He is normally in a 5 gallon heated and filtered tank with live plants and one Nerite snail.
For 6 weeks I have been treating him for the velvet in a 1 gallon quarantine tank with a heater. I have the temperature up to 85 degrees and have a towel wrapped around the tank to minimize light.
<Ahh; good treatment strategy>
For the first week I treated him with Betta Revive. He showed some improvement but was still covered in velvet so I discontinued treatment with the Betta Revive. For almost a month I have been treating him with Kordon Rid-Ich Plus and aquarium salt. He is no longer lethargic, his fins aren't clamped, and he is breathing and eating normally. Everything about
his behavior is normal, but I can see that he is still covered in the golden dust (although it is about half as much as when I started treating him). I am wondering if it is normal for it to take this long to get rid of velvet?
<It is not... Am going to ask friend and fellow WWM Crew member Neale Monks for his input here>
And is it advisable to continue medicating him with the Rid-Ich Plus? The improvement seems to have plateaued at this point. Any help or suggestions that you can provide are greatly appreciated.
<I would discontinue this treatment... too toxic; and if you're still concerned (best to confirm Piscinoodinium via sampling and looking through a microscope) switch to Copper Safe or other chelated copper treatment for a week. Otherwise, I'd lower the temperature a degree or so per day and return this fish to the five gallon; and hope it cures from here. Bob

Identification - 2/11/2017
Your image files are too big... have been deleted. Re-size and re-send. B
re: Identification

Sorry, try these
<Hi, Chris
Jordan with you today. You have a beautiful macro-algae in the genus Laurencia, most likely L. iridescens. I'd be willing to bet you're live rock was in the Caribbean at some point and picked it up. It's a non-invasive species that I would be pleased to find in my tank.>


re: Identification 2/10/17 - 2/11/2017
Thank you Jordan!!
Good to hear. Will the Nudibranch (that photo bombed my pics, and also a hitchhiker lol) be an issue with it?
<Haha, didn't see that guy earlier. Looks to be an Elysia crispata, a beneficial herbivore from the Caribbean. You hit the hitch-hiker jackpot with this rock! It shouldn't bother the Laurencia as it prefers filamentous Chlorophyta including the dreaded Bryopsis>


Re: Mystery hitchhikers on my frogspawn - 2/11/2017
Thanks for the quick response. I have a couple of pics posted on the Bayou Reefkeeping forum. Here's a link:
Euphyllia eating Nudis?
<Mmm; the little white bits right? I don't see rhinophores, gills on these... Look more like Scutus... a snail on what little I make out... white shells (could be overgrown), and black feet... No way for you to remove, shoot and send a better close up pic?>
It seems to be hiding within the soft tissue of the coral because there are times when you can't see it at all and then it just appears. Thanks again for the help!
<The better pic please. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mystery hitchhikers on my frogspawn - 2/11/2017
Actually, the long white thing that is extending down from the base of the soft tissue is one organism. The white bits are part of it.
<Don't see it mate>
There is no shell and it's all white. While it was extended out like that last night, I tried to suck it out with a turkey baster and it held fast. I then tried grab it with some tweezers and it still wouldn't come loose. It ended up breaking in two. The part that was still attached retracted up into the coral's soft tissue and I haven't seen it since. The part that broke off
kind of fell apart and the pieces were very small helical bits maybe 2-3 mm long. My fire fish ate ended up eating the pieces. Now I'm worried that it is going to die inside the soft tissue and as it rots will poison the coral. I'm debating whether I want to break the heads free from the rock and dipping them with Bayer.
<Have you considered fragging this colony? I might. B>
Re: Mystery hitchhikers on my frogspawn - 2/11/2017

Thanks for the quick response.
<<Hi Kevin and Bob. Sorry I’m a late arrival on this topic!>>
I have a couple of pics posted on the Bayou Reefkeeping forum. Here's a link: Euphyllia eating Nudis? http://www.bayoureefkeeping.com/forums/topic/16109-euphyllia-eating-nudis/#comment-191958
<Mmm; the little white bits right? I don't see rhinophores, gills on these... Look more like Scutus... a snail on what little I make out...white shells (could be overgrown), and black feet... No way for you to remove, shoot and send a better close up pic?>
<<Unfortunately, I can’t see enough detail in the photos to determine exactly what the subject is either. Offhand, it looks like a typical looping mass of Cerith snail eggs - I’ve seen these before on Euphyllids. Please see the following link for an example (bear in mind that these looping masses can be variably arranged): http://www.nano-reef.com/topic/270550-whats-on-my-frogspawn/ . Do you have any of these snails in your system? If so, and this is an egg mass, the multitude of loops should start breaking up and detaching within a few days.>>
It seems to be hiding within the soft tissue of the coral because there are times when you can't see it at all and then it just appears.
<<If this is an egg mass, perhaps it’s acting as an irritant? Honestly, I’m not a coral expert so I’m not sure if it’s possible for the soft tissue on a euphyllid’s stalk to react by trying to alternately envelop then repel an irritant.>>
Thanks again for the help!
<The better pic please. Bob Fenner>
<<You’re very welcome. I just wish I could have given you a concrete answer. Ditto what Bob said regarding a photo (if possible!). Take care, Lynn Zurik>>
<Thank you Lynn. B>

Heads Up     2/10/17
Hi Bob-
Wanted to let you know that I probably won't be able to answer any queries until March or so. I'm in the school musical so we have rehearsal every day until late at night, and my free time is spent studying.
Gabe Walsh, WWM Crew
<No worries Gabe: Gots to keep your priorities straight! Cheers mate. BobF>

Cichlid problem. Need info. of use     2/10/17
TI have two large cichlids that were given to me over six years ago. One hides most of the time and yesterday I noticed that the other one has a black spot under his chin. Today the other one emerged and the black is under the skin and spreading to the gills. We're changing the water right now but have no idea what's wrong. Please help.
<Need data... how large is this system? Can you send a well-resolved photo of the fish, system per our requirements? I'd be separating the two... What re water quality, tests? What are you feeding? Bob Fenner>
Re: Cichlid problem     2/10/17
It's a 29 gallon tank
<For how large.... Cichlids?>

and we recently changed food to Tetra Cichlid by Tetra. (Floating cichlid pellets) They don't seem to like it as it's all over the bottom of the tank and sticking like concrete to the gravel, etc.
<Pollution ville. What's the ammonia?>

We had been feeding Wardley Goldfish flake food and they did really well for years. I'm sorry I can't send pictures.
<Can you give these fish to someone who can/will take care of them? Like the local fish shop? Bob Fenner>

Meiacanthus diet - competition with mandarin?     2/10/17
Hi Bob,
<Hey Nick>
Hope you are well?
<Middling, thank you>
I've been thinking about adding a captive-bred Meiacanthus grammistes to my 90g reef and was hoping to get your advice re compatibility. My tank is 90 US G with 100lb of rock and Chaeto fuge in sump and my fish stock consists of 1 x coral beauty, 1 x green mandarin, 2 x Banggai cardinal & 2 x ocellaris clowns, all captive-bred.
I have read through your FAQ's and pretty much every other article/forum post I can find online and the consensus seems to be that fish Meiacanthus spp have a fairly broad diet including zooplankton and algae and that they spend a great deal of time hunting amphipods & isopods.
<This is so; and the genus is quite aquarium-hardy, captive bred ones more so, and easier-going>
With that in mind I was hoping to get your thoughts on compatibility of M. grammistes with a green mandarin, do you think it’s likely the blenny would outcompete a mandarin in my setup?
<Mmm; in a "healthy", well-set up and maintained ninety gallon... I give you good odds that they'll coexist>
I add copepods every fortnight at the moment (Tigriopus californicus) which keep the mandarin happy. He is captive-bred and does occasionally pick at pellets/frozen but pods form the bulk of his diet so I would not want to add anything that would jeopardize his wellbeing.
<Understood. I would use other foods... to "fill up" the other fishes, in advance of adding the Copepods>>
Also in terms of stocking order do you think adding the blenny with the established coral beauty would be a cause for concern?
<Not a concern>
I have had the angel for 6 weeks, it is captive bred and still tiny (5cm) and whilst not noticeably aggressive is very much the boldest fish in the tank.
I was also intending to add a Fridmani Dottyback as a final fish so would be interested to get your thoughts on compatibility between the blenny and Dottyback?
<Again; I do think these will get along here>
It has crossed my mind that there may be some aggression as they have a fairly similar shape & habits, and also that adding both might be a bit too much pressure on the pod population so my fall back would be to just add the Fridmani and skip the blenny.
Also by way of an update I'm happy to report that since my previous aquarium related trials you advised me on (Diodogorgia feeding & subsequent ReefPlus overdose, and the Eunice worm!) all is still going well in my tank thus far, the gorgonians are still looking good with 3-5 feedings per week and all my others corals & inverts survived the ordeal with the exception of a few unfortunate Trochus snails.
<Ah, good>
Thanks once again
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Mystery hitchhikers on my frogspawn     2/10/17
Hello WWM crew!
I was referred here from Bayou Reef keepers by Jordan Stari.
<Ahh! Hi to Jordan. Hope to catch up with him at this year's MACNA there>
He recommended that I post this query specifically directed toward Lynn Z since she’s the invert expert. I have a mystery beastie on the base of two of my branching frogspawn heads. When they first showed up, they were so small I could barely tell they were something other than part of the coral. Then I started noticing they had kind of a corkscrew antennae or some other protrusion. I thought they might be some kind of Nudibranch, but even with a magnifying glass, it was difficult to pick out any distinguishing characteristics. I searched every site and message board I could find to no avail. They are right at the boundary between the soft tissue and the skeleton of each head and seem to retract into the soft tissue if I shine a light on them for more than a few seconds. When I got home from work today, one of them had come out far enough that it was ~1/2 – 3/4” long. I took some pictures, but only one of them is small enough in file size to comply with WWM picture requirements and it is hard to see anything on that one. I have attached it as a first look. If it’s okay, I would like to post the best quality picture that shows it pretty well.
Please let me know if that is ok.
<Yes; though; I don't see what you're referring to. Lynn?>
I have had these corals for about two months and they have grown probably 2-3 times the size they were when I got
them in that time. Two of the heads have begun to split. Until about 4 days ago, all seemed to be well. All of the corals in the tank have been given a 10 minute CoralRx Pro dip before being placed in the tank. I’m thinking that since they emerged from within the soft tissue, maybe they were there from the beginning and survived the dip.
In the pic, the dark vertical shape on the left is the branch of the skeleton. The offending beastie is the whitish thing running parallel to the branch (it is roughly ½-3/4” in length). As I said, I have better pics, but did not want to run afoul of the posting rules.
<Do post elsewhere on the Net and send along links please>
Please let me know if you know what this is, whether I should worry about it, and how I can get rid of it if necessary.
<Like grading school papers, "When in doubt, count it out", I'd vacuum, remove this>
Thanks in advance for the help!
Kevin Drane
<Have sent on to LynnZ for her input. Bob Fenner>


"Spider" in a shrimp tank   2/9/17
I've read Your great *FAQs on Aquatic Insects *but I've stumped on my local discus board on this spider-like looking insect. Do You have any idea what it really is?
<A spider. While there are a very few aquatic spiders,
such as the European species Argyroneta aquatica, this doesn't seem to be one of them. It is probably just a spider that has fallen into the tank and wants to get out. Place it on a floating plant or leaf at the surface and see what it does. If it tries to go back into the water, that'd be odd! My guess is that it'll be quite alright on the surface, and if you compare it to photos of spiders native to your home country, you will probably find it is a typical house or garden spider. The white colour reminds me of the White Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) but an arachnid expert in your home country would surely be better able at identifying this spider than me!>
It is alive and moving freely when underwater, you can see it on a video on YouTube
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Marine Fish Stocking; lg. sys.    2/9/17
<Hi there>
I've begun building a custom aquarium and had a few questions on fish selection and compatibility. The tank is "L" shaped and will be 9 feet long on one section and 5 feet long on the other. The whole tank will have a width of 3 feet and will be 30 inches tall. I know this gives a lot of space but, I figured it'd be smarter to ask your opinion rather than gamble with the lives of the fish.
My current stocking plan is rather large but, I'm sure many will be removed from the list after this email.
Not certain how well mixing Centropyge will go in a tank this size but, these are the ones I like so far.
<Can be done w/ space, as you state>
1 Centropyge bispinosa
1 Centropyge eibli
1 Centropyge nox
1 Centropyge bicolor
<Mmm; I'd go with one or two species... and have a 3-5 grouping/harem...
Much more interesting. Start all small... 2-3 inches
I tried to select species on your "Good Butterflyfish" section.
Butterflyfish seem to be my favorite group so I selected quite a few. I'd pick more if I could but, I have doubts I could keep the whole list below.
1 Chaetodon ephippium
1 Chaetodon collare
1 Chaetodon ocellatus
1 Chaetodon rafflesi
1 Chaetodon punctatofasciatus
1 Chelmon rostratus
1 Chaetodon lunula
<These could all go here>
1 Acanthurus coeruleus
1 Acanthurus triostegus
1 Paracanthurus hepatus
1 Zebrasoma flavescens
<Again; MUCH more fun, stable to keep Surgeons in numbers; not singles
I for sure want to have the first 3 listed here but, I liked the looks of the Dottybacks. I am aware they are aggressive so I hope that tank bred specimens will be more peaceful. What do you think?
1 Gramma loreto
1 Serranus tortugarum
1 Gramma melacara
1 Manonichthys splendens
1 Pseudochromis aldabraensis
1 Pseudochromis springeri
<... why solitary?>

I would like to keep a few species of Chromis (one of different species), gobies and blennies. However I haven't selected any yet. How would they do in this set-up?
<Fine if selected initially healthy and fed>
Flasher and fairy wrasses are also a favorite. I'm not sure which ones I'd like to add yet but, I wanted to ask how likely it is that I could keep one of several species together? How well would they do with the fish named so far?
<Good choices here>
How would hogfish fare in this tank? I am interested in Bodianus anthioides and Bodianus pulchellus. Would these fish be able to get along with the ones listed and/or each other? And lastly, what are your thoughts on Choerodon fasciatus in this set-up?
<Also good>
Sorry for all the questions and thank you for your time!
<Not a bother; "is" the reason we're here. Thank you for sharing, and please do send images, your input as your project progresses. Bob Fenner>

New Figure 8 Puffer - vomit?       2/8/17
Hi all,
After much research I brought home my first puffer - a figure 8 that's a little larger than a golf ball.
It's tank is a 56 gallon "cube" with water SG 1.003, pH 8.0. The puffer is the only inhabitant - aside from some crunchy menu options.
The first thing the puffer did when I got it into its new tank was to vomit a bunch of blood worms it had eaten at the fish store. It hasn't vomited since.
<Puffers commonly regurgitate, for all sorts of reasons.
Overfeeding for example, or stress. If you feed frequent small meals, rather than letting them gorge themselves, this is much less of a problem.>
I'm wondering if it was "de-puffing" as it seemed significant less rotund afterward. The fish seems fine now - exploring the new environment and hunting & eating the snails and home-grown ghost shrimp I stocked the tank with. Should I be worried by the vomiting?
<Nope; at least, not if it's a one-off. Cheers, Neale.>

Egg-bound BN Pleco     2/8/17
I have 3 Albino Bristle Nose Plecos (2 female 1 male all of breeding age) in a 30 gallon tank that has been running for over 6 months. A few days ago my 6" long female plumped up with eggs. They have several suitable caves to breed in, but they have been unwilling to seal the deal. I know she is plump with eggs as she has dropped at least 5 over the last 24 hours. This evening she has stopped dropping eggs, and a large round bump has developed with a few bursting blood vessels please see the attached picture. Is she egg bound? Will this kill her? Is there something that I can do to help her
pass the eggs? The tank is planted with CO2 and lots of hiding places.
Running a Fluval canister filter. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20, Copper 0, Salt 0, GH 8, KH 5, pH 7.0. Other fish in tank are 7 Zebra Danios and 5 Mollies.
<I'd be treating as per Dropsy at this point; i.e., 1-3 teaspoons Epsom Salt per 5 gallons/20 litres, raising the temperature by a degree or two as well. While I don't think she has Dropsy as such, the laxative effect of the Epsom Salt should help her pass out the eggs. I'd also optimise diet (more fresh greens for example) and ensure water quality is appropriate (relatively cool, 22-24 C/72-75 F is optimal for Ancistrus species across the long term, but regardless, high levels of water movement and oxygenation are essential). As you seem to realise, Ancistrus breed freely giving suitable conditions, and assuming your have a fertile male, you'd expect spawning to happen quite readily. Do review the types of caves on offer: long, hollow tubes are preferred, while more open caves, such as coconut shells, are less favoured. Cheers, Neale.>

Shrimp ID     2/8/17
Hi crew
<Hey Cathy>
Thanks for the great resource
I received this shrimp from lfs instead of emperor shrimp I ordered. I speculate possibly a marbled Saron?
<Yes; and very nice pix!?

What do you think ?? Is it possible to tell if male or female from photo, I know I'm pushing?
<Is possible. Here's my spiel from WWM Re: "Saron marmoratus Olivier 1811), Marble or Saron Shrimp. Found throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific. Usually collected out of Hawai'i for the U.S., the Red Sea for European markets.
Usually found in pairs in the wild. Will fight to the death if same sex individuals are placed together. Males with much longer first pair of walking/fighting legs. Get along fine with fishes, other crustaceans.
Female shown. Eat all types of food, reclusive, nocturnal." This is a female>
Tried to give you idea of size. Is this reef safe as I have sexy shrimp and mandarin fish which I don't want it to decide is food. Putting it in QT tank for the moment.
<IF there's room, and this shrimp doesn't get hungry... Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp ID     2/8/17
Hi crew
Further to email just sent about ID'ing this shrimp sent to me by mistake
Managed to get photo from above as well hope this all helps
<Ah yes; same response! BobF>

Spiny box puffer. Hlth., trtmt f's      2/8/17
Hi crew, to start out with thank you for your work and all that you do. I have a spiny box puffer that is ill and I am at a stand still as to what I should do.
<Let's see...>
He is 3.5 inches long, I have had him about 3 months. He had clear gelatin looking spots on his fins when I first got him, lfs said it was excess mucus and would go away (didn't buy that but was willing to give a go anyway).
<More likely other elements from too much stress (happens often when these animals are moved, challenged)>
Treated him with Metro. due to indications of intestinal parasites in a QT for 5 days, eating good and gaining weight (still had Jello spots) put him in with other fish after 2 week's. Long story short spots got worse began to look like something between Lymphocystis and ich. Tried several meds to no avail then finally treated using Cupramine (.25) two weeks and
was all clear. Put him back in DT and within 3 days ich was back and caused a out break in the tank.
<Ugh! No fun>
Treating DT with Cupramine at about .25 to .35. (Seachem website Q&A stated it needed to be 28 days of treatment rather than the 14 days stated on the bottle)
He is puffing up uncontrollably and spinning in circles and has quit eating and lost some color (started this before copper treatment and gotten progressively worse)
<Puffers of all kinds REALLY don't do well with copper exposure. You can see/read this in many responses regarding... over the last decades. At this point, I'd cease the copper use, elevate temperature to the mid 80's F. and (yes) lower specific gravity (unless you have non-vert.s/invertebrates present that will suffer from this); drastically; down to the 1.015-1.016 range. You'll need to raise it slowly (a thousandth per day or so) in a few weeks...>
He has these fits several times a day. Also shakes his head like he is trying to dislodge something. Then he will be ok for a time. No spots (treated for 6 days now) slight deterioration on the tail fin.
<The med.s....>
Everything else in the tank is doing quite well with the treatment (very peaceful tank everyone gets along well)
150 gallon, 30 gallon sump. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10+/- nitrates. 1.023 sg Fowlr. 110lb lr. 1 each ; 4" Indian Trigger, 4" Porcupine, 3" Blue spot Toby, 3"Blue jaw, 3"Picasso, and of course the Spiny box. (Have different tank that two of the fish are going into eventually)Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
<The copper compound will exit on its own; or you can employ remover: Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaqs.htm
I'd drop the spg pronto. The rest of the fishes listed will be fine with this change. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Ropefish      2/7/17
This is what the last one looks like now, and his butts all swollen.. Cant swim well.. I don't think he's gonna make it. :c Was it a disease ?
<Have already stated... killed by poor environment>

Or from the water conditions? I wanna know how to prevent this if i want more fishies..
<Sorry; can't help you if you won't read. B>

Yes; a koi...

Re: Sick Ropefish... child; inexperienced      2/7/17
The Ropefish were presents from my mom, it was kinda trial and error.

<My young friend.... these are life; not inanimate objects to play with; see "if they'll make it" or no>
I've never had a fish before, i didn't know what the little guys were when she brought them home..
<Ahh! Wish you had stated so earlier...>

I know i need to learn more, thank you for your time though, i really appreciate it..
<PLEASE read here:
and the linked files above. Better; PLEASE have a look at Neale's suggested beginner books HERE:
Most of these are available free at local libraries.>
And i did read the link you sent me, i got what i needed for my incubation tank but i guess i still need to let it cycle,
the nitrites and nitrates are better now, all 0, ammonia is 0 too but the ph is off the scales...
And the tank he's in now, still have a lil bit of nitrites in it, .25, if that, and maybe about .25 of ammonia, we cant keep them down.
<Stop feeding period.... Cheers, Bob Fenner>


Re: Threadfin Acara Kept Alone?      2/7/17
Hi Bob, thank you for the very quick reply, it helps me greatly, as my rehoming decisions need to be made by tomorrow. The female Synodontis is about 8" and the male is about 7" although much skinnier than the female.
<Wow! Nice>

It may be possible that they look crowded because of the amount of rockwork I keep in the tank for the Africans or because a 75 gallon just doesn't seem like a large tank to me? Although, they definitely have their own territories, so very minimal squabbling. I'm so glad to hear about the Hemi, because she absolutely hates the Mbuna and I have felt bad about that for quite some time.
<Mmm; well; not to be (too) political; but most Mbuna are like Trump>
The Oscar idea, although I think would be okay as well, I feel would be much better in a 125 gal and I have no plans to go bigger than a 75 gal unfortunately. I definitely don't want multiple Haeckeli because I don't want to worry about breeding. But I would like it to display somewhat of a natural behavior. Do you think this will be achievable when kept singly?
<Some (behavior) yes>
Also from what I have read, these guys like a temp on the high end of the tropical values, between 80-82, whereas the
Hemichromis and Synodontis prefer the lower end 74-77. Is this correct?
If I were to keep the Synos instead of getting the Casuarius, how much rockwork should I remove in order to let them keep their territories but let the Haeckeli have enough swimming space?
<Just some... maybe a bommie or two>
I've attached a photo of my tank to give you an idea of the current setup. I'd prefer not to go with driftwood in this tank and I'm absolutely finished with live plant upkeep.
I am not exactly sure why, but I see the 75 gal as looking like a very small tank and I'd like the inhabitants in it to feel as though they have the same amount of room as an Oscar would in a 125 gal, if I'm explaining that correctly?
<I think I understand>
In my tank photo there is about 9"-10" of open water between the rocks and front of the glass and a similar space above as well. How much rockwork do you think I should remove for the Threadfin?
<Most all>
Half or more?
Will it need a large open piece of floor to sift through?
<Not really; no. Have seen this species kept in small volumes, with little to no substrate>
If I were to keep the Synos do you think that would be a better choice than the Casuarius?
<If these were my catfish, I wouldn't part w/ them>
This last question is a bit of a strange one because I'm not sure if this would look ridiculous in the tank I've been describing or would create the overcrowding I'm trying to avoid, but I have 11 Marcii rainbowfish in a 55 gal that I have been trying to rehome without much success. They aren't the prettiest fish but the orange doesn't make them completely bland I guess. If I moved them into the 75 gal (mostly just out of the convenience of not having to rehome them) I could move the 280gph canisters onto the 75 gal, which the addition of would put me at 10x canister filtration. It would also mean that I would only need to rehome the 4 emerald Corys and 5 Glowlights in that 55 gal. Would this stress the Haeckeli, the Hemi, the Marcii, or the Synos in terms of stocking?
<I'd not mix the Corydoras and Tetras... with the others Or would
it look terrible as a stocking group (in your opinion) as a stocking list?
Thank you.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Threadfin Acara Kept Alone?      2/7/17
Great! We are almost at the end of my questions, but I am a Trump supporter so I hope they still get answered hehe.
<Ah yes; certainly>
Because of the temp difference do you think the Synos, Hemi, or Haeckeli would suffer at a tank temperature of around 79 degrees or do you think I may be cutting it to too close to keep the tank temperature consistent and everyone happy?
<I have high confidence that this temperature will be fine for all>
The Marcii are currently in with the tetras and Corys I would only be moving the Marcii over to save me the trouble of rehoming (which also seem to enjoy a lower temp) although I'm not sure if I consider them pretty enough to be with the
Threadfin. So my options for the 75 gal would be: 1x Haeckeli, 1x Hemichromis, 2x Synodontis Eupterus OR the same + 11x Marcii rainbows. Or the Haeckeli, the Synos, the Jewel, and the Marcii (no Haeckeli), in which case I wouldn't need to buy or rehome any fish. Even though I dislike the upkeep of live plants, I believe that the Marcii like them so if I moved them over do you believe there is any way to make a combination of the large rocks and driftwood/plants all look nice together in a display tank or stick with one or the other?
<The latter would be my choice. The live plants won't work with the larger fishes you list. They will/would be uprooted in short order>
Thanks again for all of the great advice and the amazing resources on your website!
<Thank you for your participation. Bob Fenner>


Moorish Idol Selection      2/7/17
Hi Bob and Crew,
I am planning on acquiring a Moorish Idol for my 400g display. I am aware of the challenges involved with this fish and am willing to face the challenge. I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to increase the chance of success in captivity. I am pretty strict about quarantining any new fish (had a disaster with marine velvet a while back) and am hoping I can successfully get an idol through QT. My QT tank is a 55g bare-bottom with PVC hiding places, two powerheads, HOB filter, HOB skimmer, and an air driven sponge filter. I normally follow a QT routine which involves
prophylactic treatment with Chloroquine phosphate and PraziPro, but I'm not sure if MIs are known to have any particular sensitivities to either of these medications (like certain wrasses do).
<Not as sensitive as Labrids>
My plan is to try to keep him in QT for at least 30 days and try to get him fat off of live clams, live brine shrimp (in Selcon), frozen angel food w/ sponges, Nori, and NLS pellets. Does that sound like a good plan?
<Mmm; yes>
I have some concerns about aggression from my trio of 3-4" yellow tangs once he's in the display. The only other fish in there right now are a 5" regal angel, 6" powder blue tang, and two ocellaris clowns. I know idols are dominant once they get established but I'm a little worried about him being able to get acclimated and eating well initially. I've been
considering going with a larger specimen in order to help with surviving QT (thinking larger fat stores) and to help with the initial aggression. Is this a valid line of thinking or will a larger specimen possibly make aggression worse?
<I would seek a "full", well-rounded specimen of moderate size (about the body of the Yellow Tangs)>
Has there been greater success with smaller specimens (easier to wean onto a captive diet)?
<Medium size are best... small ones die easily for starving, stress; large ones don't adapt>
Thanks for your advice!
<Glad to share with you. Oh! Do look for the Coral Magazine issue (likely through their website) that dealt w/ Zanclus in captivity... several years back. Bob Fenner>
Re: Moorish Idol Selection      2/7/17

Thank you so much for that amazingly quick response! Your advice is greatly appreciated. Hopefully I'll be able to report back a couple years down the road with a rare success story.
<I look forward to it Eric. BobF>

Re: Lone Protomelas taeniolatus      2/7/17
Hello crew, it is 4 am in the morning, trying to save the fish from something i wasn't really expecting.
<Oh? You've sent the same image files thrice>
See the Protomelas had been coming out more, but started staying near the surface, so i watched him closely and noticed yesterday it was developing what i identified as oodinium infestation.
<Mmm; no... something larger; likely Ich>
Now, no other of my fish tanks has this, and i have only encountered it once as an aquarist. I also noticed its dorsal fin was damaged,
<And this likely by other factors.>
only rays intact. I forgot the basic principle of bacteria growth and turned up the temp to eliminate the oodinium while performing big water changes. I went to sleep but got up due to reasons. Decided to check on the fish and its looking horribly bad. Color faded, lots of white, scaly bits coming off from head and body, the damage to the fin has increases and it now has yellow and red patches on ita body. The yellow patches definitely look wrong. I read up and realized the heat helped the bacteria grow faster. Big mistake. I conducted several water changes in order to bring the temp back down from 30 to 25 c in a lapse of 3 hours, probably too fast but the fish was swimming erratically.
I also added Methylene blue and malachite green in order to try to thwart some of the infestation and avoid fungus. The fish is now swimming relatively normally. It is responding to my hand but it definitely looks weak.
I have included pics of the fish.
Right now i have Metronidazole tablets, and have access to Nitrofurantoin ( Nitrofuran?) and probably erythromycin in a few hours when the drug store opens... What can i do?
<Nothing more than you've done; which, by the way, is about what I would have done as well: Elevated temperature, tried the Malachite and Meth. Blue...>
This has taken me horribly by surprise. I added a picture from yesterdays morning of what i thought was oodinium, and the update from right now. I am here, next to him, watching him closely.
In the last picture you can slightly see the white blotch, it has one on each side of its body on the same place. Also red dots surrounding, which i assume is blood.
The tank has river sand and rocks, a sponge and a hang on back filter. I do have a quarantine 5 gallon tank but im not sure i wanna put him in there... after all the fish is in this 40 gallon all by himself...
Thanks crew, i apologize for errors and the size of pics but im a bit desperate, texting from phone.
<I would keep the temperature in the mid 80's F. And NOT use any further medication/s at this point.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Lone Protomelas taeniolatus      2/7/17
For clarifying. I thought it was oodinium yesterday, but i also noticed the fin damage and realize it was also suffering a bacterial infection... so i forgot about heat and bacteria... i now realize it probably was not oodinium to start with...
<I agree. BobF>
Re: Lone Protomelas taeniolatus        2/7/17

So far my research has brought me to various antimicrobials like erythromycin, Clarithronycin, Ciprofloxacin, potassium permanganate, biomicyn which should pretty much cover any bacteria genus i may encounter, but obviously i cant try them all... what do you suggest?... lastly there is this AZoo magic treatment which apparently treats ulcers and bacterial skin damage... im not particularly fond of AZoo, but as this point maybe they have it figured out?... thank you...
<As I've stated Roberto. Just the temp. at this point. B>

Re: Sick Ropefish.... and Koi mixed in?      2/6/17
Thank you Bob, but sadly our smallest Ropefish passed yesterday, and one of the bigger ones died the night before, we still cant get the nitrites and alk to be what it should,
<? STOP: DID you read where I referred you?>
and my friend informed me that the koi may be the cause
<Koi? Are there carp in this system? They're not tropicals.... are NOT compatible
of high nitrites because their poop contain high levels of ammonia, now were are down to our last Ropefish, and he doesn't seem to have the same symptoms as the others, his butt is swollen and red, patches of his scales are dying, i don't know how to help him. We have Fluval brand water conditioning stuff, and Fluval cycle bio booster to help with ammonia and nitrites, but it doesn't seem to be helping him, we set up another tank yesterday, how many days should i wait to move him? Is he gonna die anyway?
<....... You need to read>
Also, i don't know the units for alkalinity, it was on the ph bottle we got, it just says 40 is low and 120 to 140 is ideal. The ammonia levels were pretty high unfortunately.
<.... the issue here is and has been environmental; and apparently mis-stocking. You'd do well to study ahead of your actions. BobF>
Our other tank has been running for about 24 hours with a carbon based filter and all the levels are normal..

Threadfin Acara Kept Alone? FW stkg.     2/6/17
Hi guys and gals! You've been so helpful in the past that I would like to ask for your advice. Last year I was running 15 tanks of various sizes and species in my very small home. This was completely overwhelming once the thrill of setting up and stocking the tanks was over. After a lot of stress and time, I currently have 3 tanks left. And I will hopefully be down to 2 permanently within the next 6 weeks. The day after tomorrow I will be rehoming all of my African cichlids, my 2 full-grown S. eupterus (which I am very upset about), and a turquoise Hemichromis from my 75 gallon. I will be planning on keeping this 75 gallon tank as well as my 40 breeder tank (housing my very spoiled B. splendens and 5 Amano shrimp which are amazingly fascinating to watch). Although everything that I have read says
that my Eupterus are more than fine in my 75 gallon, I feel that they are cramped and also feel that they produce a lot of waste in the tank, so I believe I have no choice but to give them up if I want to stock much else in with them, unfortunately.
<How big are these... Synodontis?>
I had wanted to get a veil tailed A. ocellatus, because I find them to be the perfect combination of beauty and
personality. But, regardless of filtration, I think a 75 gallon, with no plans to upgrade, would not be ideal.
<One should be fine here>
I have learned my lesson in buying fish with the "I'll get a bigger tank for them later" (best intentioned) justification, only to have to rehome them later.
<You are correct here; very common. Or worse, not upgrading-sizing>
So I had been contemplating what to keep in my 75 gallon that would be fair to the fish at adult size, and create a very minimal stocking list for me, when I came across a gorgeous albino A. haeckeli for sale.
<Is a fab species>
While I am confident that the tank size is good, I have found very little information on them (after much research), and most of it conflicting. I have read that they don't do well when kept as singletons in a tank but they are aggressive towards conspecifics.
<Not so bad if, where crowded; more females than males>
I would only want one, but would not want him/her to be skittish, even though I realize that I'm not going to get a wet pet personality from this type of fish. I also don't want a group of dithers, as I would like to keep stocking minimal. I would like to keep my Hemichromis, if at all possible, because she has always been miserable with my Africans, currently she would be rehomed with them, which makes me nervous.
<These cichlids should get along together here.... AND the Synodontis in a 75>
I have also always wanted a S. casuarius. I know that these are all very different and don't make much sense together (except maybe the Hemichromis and casuarius), but how incompatible do you think they are?
<Likely to get along if started large enough, relative to the other Cichlids>
A single Threadfin Acara, a single Buffalohead Cichlid, and a single Jewel Cichlid, with 4x canister filtration and 10× once my 55 gallon rainbowfish tank gets rehomed in a 75 gallon, could it work?
<I give you good odds here>
If not, could the Jewel and the Acara live together? If not, could the Acara live alone in the tank?
<Yes and yes>
My main concern is water temperature. My pH and hardness are almost neutral with slight acidity adding with water aging, but I do frequent PWC and clean filters once every 6 weeks.
<I'd change 10-20% of the water out here every two weeks; perhaps every week. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Ropefish     2/5/17
2 of them died.. One left, and it looks like his scales are dying? I don't know..
<Uhh, did you read where I referred you? ..... B>

Wet Web Media San Diego still open?     2/5/17
Hi, just making sure this didn't end up in spam, since I didn't get a reply.
<Still here; we've had prob.s w/ our spam filters... too aggressive>
Can I call the office? +1858397XXXX?
<Please don't. Bob Fenner>

Re: Moray eel question    2/4/17
<Hi Brad.>
So since your last email I have had a very interesting change in my eels behavior. Two dragon morays.
The smaller of the two displays a very swollen abdomen and "cloaca"?? Every once and a while. I thought it was just backed up and needed to relieve it self. After a day or so it just went away and I didn't think anything of it. Well this morning I noticed the eel is again very swollen and its anus(?) is protruding like a belly button ( same as last time ) and it
won't leave the other dragon, larger and darker color alone. At first I thought it was aggression but they are not biting each other just a lot of face time and pushing. The smaller very light color dragon moray is usually very shy and reclusive except when this happens. I watched a YouTube on morays mating and my eels body looks exactly the same.
I know morays don't breed in captivity but do they still attempt?
<There are a few documented cases where moray eels produced eggs in captivity. The eel increased their diameter significantly during this time. In at least one case the eels mated and the eggs were fertilized, but the larvae could not be raised. So, it does happen in captivity.>
Is there anything I should do or watch out for besides aggression ?
<In the best case: eggs scattered in the tank... (we demand a picture in this case). If you are less lucky, it's the beginning of some intestinal disease.>
Thank again.
Sincerely Brad.
pS both eels are moving to 180 gallon next weekend.
<Good luck. Marco.>

Sick Ropefish    2/4/17
My smallest Ropefish was all roly-poly, sort of speak, this morning,
<? Turning about randomly? Not good>
now he's just lying at the bottom, like he wants to float upright but cant, then floats to the bottom again.
<Yikes; do you have another system to move this animal to? I would, now>
His tail fin is white now, it wasn't this morning, we've been treating the tank with bacteria and parasite stuff
<Brand, ingredients please. Ropefish and their kin, Bichirs, are sensitive to chemical burning>
bc we did a 50 per.
Water clean last night to balance out our chem.s, but the nitrites were .5-1.0 high
<Deadly toxic. READ here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwno2faqs.htm then ACT!>
and the alk was low, like 40
low. Could that be the cause of this?
<The former; yes>
Our other 2 Ropefish who are several inches bigger, don't seem to be as effected, though when I got home, I found 1 of our bigger ones laying on his back, barely breathing... The 3rd still looks like he can swim normal, but so did the other big dude before I left for work. And before we woke up this morning, the 2 bigger ones had their eyes bulging out lil yesterday, hence why we cleaned the tank. What should I do with the 2 sick ones?
<As stated above; move them to another established system; if not possible, READ and correct the NO2>
Was it us who caused it? Or could it have been the milliworms or bloodworms we feed them?
<Can't tell from the information provided; but environment is definitely a factor here. Bob Fenner>
I just want them to be ok...

re: Oscars and Hexamita      2/3/17
Thank you Neale for your advice.
Ill put the Oscar in with the jack Dempseys and see how they get along
<Wouldn't hold out much hope here. Adult JDs can/will pulverise juvenile Oscars if they feel their territory is being encroached. Oscars are not really "fighters" outside of breeding, whereas JDs can be extremely territorial. Not always, but often. I'd be watching these fish very carefully. I'd remove the JDs first, rearrange the tank so territories are
broken up, add the Oscars, turn the lights out, leave it like that for half an hour at least, then re-introduce the JDs. Standard operating practise with territorial cichlids, really.>
and if they don't like each other ill get him a bigger tank
<Do suspect this is on the cards; I'd start looking now! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: 500 gallon FOWLR stocking options     2/3/17
Hi Earl! Got it! Thank you very very much for all your advice.... will certainly take everything you suggested into consideration.
<No problem, please follow up with your outcome, down the line.>

Rubber lipped Pleco, fdg.      2/3/17
I have one Rubber lipped Pleco in a 38 gallon with two angelfish. I feed it a half veggie disc every second day, plus it must be getting the angelfish food that sinks to the bottom. The Pleco never rasps on the driftwood and is always under it. I am just wondering if it should be fed more and if the lack of hanging on the driftwood is normal? Thanks
<Hi Judy, Earl here. I think you may have answered your own question here.
It may have enough food that it doesn't feel a need to graze. As far as resting under objects vs. hanging onto them, I'd assess how much decor you have, where is the tank located (area of high traffic?). It's common for Plecos to lurk in cover, out of sight. The purpose of clinging to objects is mainly to maintain a feeling of security, after all. As long as the fish is not emaciated and is not being harassed by tankmates, everything seems fine from your description. Hope this helps.>

I'd of this Eel plz      2/2/17
<Hi Harvey. Sorry for the delayed reply. Just saw your email today.>
Can you please tell me if you can ID this eels. I'm finding close resemblance to other eels from Enchelycore sp to a few Gymnothorax sp like i.e. kidako and few others. here I've attached video and picture.
<Think I see a dark blotch behind the eye and a large white blotch below it. These are typical characters of G. zonipectis. Cannot be sure though, the material is out of focus and has little contrast. Hope that helps.>
Kind regards Harvey
<Cheers, Marco.>

re: I'd of this Eel plz      2/2/17
Marco; howsit? Do you have the photo of this email to send me? I gave up and deleted from the editing page on WWM... Danke, B
re: I'd of this Eel plz      2/2/17

Can't complain. I put the email with the picture in the "Email with Images" folder after I answered it.
<Ahh; thank you>
Strangely email from WWM does not arrive at my standard email account (yes, I also had a look at the spam folder), lately.
Will have a look at it. Take care. Marco
<Thought perhaps you'd gone on holiday. Cheers mate. BobF>
re: I'd of this Eel plz      2/2/17

Have found the culprit (a filter in my system) and removed it. Holiday? Now that's a word I haven't heard in a long time. Hehe.
Cheers, Marco.
<Gots to get out and re-charge Marco! Haul on out dive-adventure traveling with us; the trips are posted on the Facebook friends site as you know.
Cheers, BobF>

re: low PH and High Nitrates.      2/2/17
thanks a lot for your help , update question, I have replaced about half of my substrate how long to notice any change in my PH, and if it does not change what then.
<A few choices.... gone over and over where I've referred you. Calcium et al. reactors to simple/r supplementing
I was going to do the other half in a few days, using Carib Sea Aragonite expensive stuff, suppose to be good for PH right,
thanks again
<Yes. B>
Valentino, Toronto, Canada

Re: WWM Queries      2/2/17
I wondered about that/why things were so slow...glad to hear it wasn't just a loss in interest/participation.
<Me too... just am bummed to think that anybody would write us and think that we didn't respond. We have ALWAYS responded to all. BobF>

Re: 500 gallon FOWLR stocking options      2/2/17
Hi Earl! Thank you so very much for your quick reply. Will try to decide between the Heniochus and goldens to lower down the bio load. And will definitely reconsider my options for the large angels. But it is so hard to choose! Hahahahaha! Again, I appreciate your inputs.
<Spoiled for choices definitely. I make it a hobby in itself to stock a tank. Once it's full up that part of the fun is more or less over. Take it slow and enjoy the browsing. Glad to help!>
Re: 500 gallon FOWLR stocking options; ref. /RS f'       2/2/17

Hi! It's me again ...... just a follow up question. Some websites list that The golden butterflies need to be kept at a slightly higher salinity to mimic their natural habitat. My question is, will keeping my salinity slightly higher at 1.026-28 be harmful to the other fishes that are not from the red sea?
<Like most things in aquariums, once you reach acceptable conditions stability is far more important than precision.
Salinity is a prime example of this. A fish can adjust to a relatively wide range, but cannot do it quickly. Obviously there are limits but you get the idea. Some compromise is possible but 1.026 is not what I'd want generally, let alone 1.028.
Personally I'd avoid this dilemma entirely by choosing a different species of butterfly. Or it could be interesting to go all-in and try a regional biotype with Red Sea fishes. They can be difficult to keep but some of my favorites are the "fancy Basslet" Anthias. To me they are unsurpassed as far as jaw-dropping beauty, they are very active and have personality. You'd have already hurdled two of the obstacles (space and salinity). Maybe check into those.
Also try a background check on specific fishes you're eyeballin'. I'm amazed this subject doesn't get mentioned more commonly but just ask the retailer where the fish is coming from, what they have been keeping it in and for how long, what it's been eating in the shop, etc.. If they have been keeping what you want to keep, in more typical salinity than Red Sea/elevated, you are good to go. At least find out how long the fish has been in the shop and if you can put down a deposit and pick them up in a week in non-elevated salinity, in captivity.
At any rate as always patience is your ally...you will need to slowly acclimate your choices to any big change in salinity in quarantine (a few weeks).>
Thank you very much!

Re my Betta girls (RMF, other ideas?)      2/2/17
Thank you very much for your advice.
The remaining girls are in the tank in Methylene blue since yesterday tested water earlier ammonia negligible nitrite 0 nitrate 5-10 previous results from 3 days ago no further fatalities and they seem much more active antibiotics arrive tomorrow Oxytetracycline ( sry don't know how to spell it )
<Close enough!>
in case needed. No more symptoms it's been a very odd situation I know I'm probably not out of the woods yet will monitor tank for at least 4 weeks before considering adding any more fish and if further fatalities will gut the tank and start from scratch.

This whole thing has me stumped I must admit I'm not a novice I have 7 Betta boys and the new tank was an upgrade for the girls. Anyway enough rambling thank you for all ur help appreciate it.
<Glad to have been helpful and good luck! Neale.>

re: Identification please; and posted to Joe via FB       2/2/17

Joe Fish I think this is Dermatobranchus... I've seen these come in with corals before... I think it was Knopia or Clavularia they were somewhat regular hitchhikers on
Bob Fenner Thank you Joe. Does appear as such. Will relate w/ credit to you. Cheers.

Thank you both Bob and Joe I will indeed remove from my tank.
<Welcome. Good>
Kind regards
<And you, BobF>

refugium plants; shopping in Greenland!      2/1/17
Hi another question, thanks for all your help, I would like to set up a refugium /sump .
since I live in Canada, for some reason I am not able to get saltwater plants like macroalgae or Chaetomorpha, they wont ship from the US to Canada, no problem with drugs getting in but cant get a plant. Lol.
what can I do, any suggestions, or if you know a way to get plants. or do I have other options, we live so close to the boarder but its still like I am living in Greenland..
thanks again
<I'd look about through your local fish store... ask it they know someone there who will share/sell you some of theirs; or use CraigsList or such to advertise in-country for it. The local algae won't do.... too cold! Bob Fenner>

Re my Betta girls. (RMF, other ideas?)      2/1/17
<<I'd bleach/nuke all and start over... These situations are untenable... not easily "solved" to my satisfaction. B>
Hi a friend recommended I write to u to ask for a diagnosis for what's ailing my girls lost one yesterday morning and these two this morning.
<Sure; fire away!>
The night before the first death no obvious sign of illness next morning found the first one barley breathing looking like the two in the picture.
<Yikes! This sort of damage looks like a very dramatic bacterial infection or something equally systemic, in the sense it isn't a single wound or parasite, but something more like septicaemia that has affected the entire fish. Various reasons for these types of problems, but they rarely come out of nowhere. There's usually some type of stress, coupled with a gradual running down of the fish over days or weeks. But they can be caused by highly contagious viral or bacterial infections, though again, rarely does it go from a healthy fish to a dead fish in the space of 24 hours. Not
impossible, but highly unusual.>
Water parameters
Ammonia 0-0.25
Nitrite 0-0.25
<These two readings are a worry. Ammonia and nitrite need to be zero.
Not almost zero, but zero. Both these chemicals are highly toxic, and even "low" levels, across days or weeks, can kill a fish. What non-zero levels tend to show is that filtration isn't adequate to the "loading" of fish in the tank. Filter too small, flow rate too low, not enough filter medium, or not enough time for the filter media to become colonised with bacteria. A combination of these factors is not impossible. Bear in mind that if you aggressively wash filter media (e.g., by running under a hot tap) this will re-set the biological filter with every tank clean, resulting in New Tank Syndrome.>
Nitrate 10
Tank brand new running @ 4 weeks with filter and media from their previous tank.
<Assuming you carried across enough live media to jump-start the new filter, i.e., more or less half-filled the filter with mature medium, the tank shouldn't be cycling. But still, reflect on this, because something doesn't seem right with your water quality parameters.>
7 females from one supplier by post added on the 25th Jan.
<While something like septicaemia or Mycobacteriosis isn't impossible, my gut feeling is that water quality has somehow exacerbated the problem. Do also consider water temperature: must be around 25 C/77 F all day long, and exposure to lower temperatures is one very good way to weaken the immune system of Betta species and drive them to a premature death. Exposure to airborne pollutants, or even cold air, is another stress factor, though with those I wouldn't expect to see the sorts of symptoms you've got here.>
Thank you for any help.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re Betta deaths      2/1/17
Thank you for your reply. The previous tank was only 68l the new tank 160l
I've been doing 30l water changes every other day using stability and prime. Unfortunately the filter in the tank had to be changed ( not the one with the seeded media in ) but the filter that came with the tank as it trapped and killed 2 fish.
Tank temp is at 28 it has an AquaEL 2 and a brand new Oase filter in there I know the water isn't ideal re previous response but the ammonia and nitrite readings are nearer 0 than 0.25.
I'm treating the tank with Methylene blue as instructed by my supplier.
Whatever this is it's very fast acting they are active and feeding then the red patches slowly appear and then they die I want to try and save them.
It's frustrating not knowing. Anyway thank you for your help appreciate it.
<Methylene Blue isn't what you want. It's an antifungal medication. Your fish are definitely dealing with a bacterial infection (fungal infections commonly have white threads associated with them, so sick fish look furry or fluffy). In the US, you have a choice of antibiotics available, such as Kanaplex. Outside of the US, antibiotics are normally prescription-only from a vet, in which case alternatives may work; here in the UK, I recommend a product called eSHa 2000 for bacterial infections. As a rule, general purpose medications are rubbish, so avoid them; instead focus on medications specifically for internal bacterial infections. Cheers, Neale.>

Albino Bristlenose plecostomus      2/1/17
Hello I was told by a PetCo employee to ask you about my plecostomus.
<Fire away.>
The end of December we upgraded to a larger tank. He used to be very active always out where we could see him. since we set up the new tank he has lost most of the webbing on his fins and he has a sore on his belly.
<I can see this. It's a bacterial infection (so I'd be using a reliable antibiotic, not MelaFix or salt) but the question is why is it like this. Usually when catfish show this sort of damage, it's because the substrate is either too sharp, too dirty, or some combination of the two. What you've got there are ulcers, you see. I'm not a huge fan of funky substrates and would instead always recommend smooth, plain vanilla gravel rather than anything sharp or jagged. Failing that, a thin layer of smooth lime-free sand (such as silica sand or pool filter sand) works well too. While sharp or coloured gravels are often fine for midwater fish, catfish drag themselves across those substrates, and in the process can damage themselves. Bear in mind that your Ancistrus naturally comes from shallow streams where the water flows over sand, boulders and bogwood. So he's adapted to smooth surfaces and has a very tender belly. Review, and act accordingly. Fix the substrate, keep it clean, treat with antibiotics, and all should be well.>
We check the water levels regularly and they are always fine. He lives with three zebra danios, three Dalmatian tail platys and a Japanese algae eating shrimp. Two of the zebra danios have died though. I'm putting stress coat and MelaFix into the tank and he is now being more active but he still doesn't look healthy. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for him!
Thank you
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: Albino Bristlenose plecostomus      2/1/17
Thank you for the prompt response!!
I will switch out the substrate for a softer one. What antibiotic do you suggest and where can I get it?
<Depends where you live. In the US, various antibiotics are sold in aquarium shops, such as Kanaplex. Outside the US, antibiotics are normally legally sold only with a prescription, which you get from a vet. So alternatives to antibiotics are sold in aquarium shops that work almost as well. Here in the UK, I recommend a product called eSHa 2000 as inexpensive and reliable. Cheers, Neale.>

500 gallon FOWLR stocking options      2/1/17
<Hi Kathy, Earl here.>
Hello! First of all, let me say that I greatly appreciate your forum .... was able to learn a lot of things from reading through the different forums. Just a question about stocking up on a 500 gallon FOWLR . Tank dimensions are 72"x60"x30". My son and I have been contemplating on adding the following fishes and would love to hear your input as to whether this would work well.
Red Sea Emperor Angel
Majestic angel
Red Sea Regal Angel
<I would be very wary of 3 large angels in a single tank.
Depending on size, decor, individual personalities, you may be ok here but I would add them as small as possible, make sure there is a abundance of rock, decor, etc. because one of these fishes will be the "boss" sooner or later and there are territory issues involved. Also be aware that these guys can grow much faster than you'd think and to a very large size so bear that in mind. I myself am looking at an upgrade right now to keep a Queen satisfied because I simply did not expect her to grow so fast. Worth it in the end though! Another possible choice that's overlooked a lot are the mid-sized angels. Genicanthus, Swallowtails and such, often sold in sexually dimorphic pairs. They have a lot of the personality and beauty of the large guys like Holocanthus, but are too much for smaller tanks one would house things like Flame Angels/pygmies in. Just a thought but 1 large species like the Emperor as the "headliner" and a pair of middle-sizers might be a good compromise rather than 3 big guys.>
Golden semilarvatus (maybe 3-5 pc.s?)
Heniochus butterfly (5pcs?)
<These butterflies can be fragile although not necessarily so. I
'd choose less of them, certainly. You overall plan here is pretty heavy on fishes especially when you consider the size they will soon grow to, and the amount of aquascape real estate in the tank that will displace a lot of even a 500g tank's volume. Picture 10 butterflies at 6+ inches. If you love
large butterflies, maybe narrow things down carefully to a handful of those and go from there. Bob might jump in here, he has a few things to say about marine angelfishes!>
Desjardini tang
Kole tang

<Kole are outstanding and good "workers" that will nibble nonstop all day and are known to target nuisance algae that most won't touch...10/10 fish and good in most systems, a keeper. The other tang is a beauty but also will be over a foot long...can be a showstopper that catches eyes for sure.>
Cuban hogfish
Magnificent foxface

<Rabbitfish are one of those that I consider a no-brainer for any marine tank that can house one. Beautiful, nonstop grazers and far hardier and less choosy about what pest algae they target than tangs. I am a broken record here but just make sure you are aware that some of them stay reasonably sized, other species will rocket to a startling size inside a
year or two. Magnificent Foxfaces are just excellent all around.>
Will this combination of fishes work in your opinion? Would love to hear your thoughts.
<Your overall game plan here seems solid except for the running theme I have so subtly (or not!) driven at. You are setting up a pretty huge system and are planning to fill it with a bunch of equally huge fish. A potential problem, IME, is that can end up resulting in several of those big fish becoming territorial, feeling cramped, engaging in warfare, and quickly.
This seems contradictory but a 6 or 8' long tank is still small enough that a 9" fish is very unlikely to get along well with a dozen others saucer-sized mates. Also keeping the water butterfly fish-pristine is something to consider when you have a large bioload. Were it me, I would choose 1 or 2 angels, preferably the one with the most peaceful reputation or just the one that's a must-have for you. Then about half as many butterflies, definitely the Kole and the rabbit, and look into some smaller stuff. Other than the angels and (possibly) the tangs. Your tank is a pretty peaceful place IF not overcrowded or allowed to get to the point where territory or competition for food is an issue. I'm probably rambling but basically you have good choices and good matches, but too many of them ;) >
<Hope this helps!>

Moray eel question. Dragons scratching      2/1/17
Hey Crew,
I've got another moray question,
My two dragon morays have been exhibiting scratching or rubbing their heads on the rocks. They are in a tank with 4 damsels and 4 cleaner shrimp. The shrimp are always cleaning the morays. Would it be smart to run Prazi-pro through the tank? Water quality is zero or at least Un-detectable. PH is 8.2 and temp 78. Other then the occasional scratching the are acting very healthy.
Thank you for the help.
<Hi Brad, sorry for the delayed reply, just saw the email today.>
I've got another moray question, My two dragon morays have been exhibiting scratching or rubbing their heads on the rocks. They are in a tank with 4 damsels and 4 cleaner shrimp. The shrimp are always cleaning the morays.
Would it be smart to run Prazi-pro through the tank? Water quality is zero or at least Un-detectable. PH is 8.2 and temp 78. Other then the occasional scratching the are acting very healthy.
<I would not add Prazi-pro just because of some scratching.>

Thank you for the help. Brad
<Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Moray eel question      2/1/17

Thanks Marco,
Since my last water change I have noticed a significant decrease on the behavior. Not sure what exactly changed since the water parameters remained fairly similar.
I'm in the process of moving my Dragon eel to a 72x24x22 display tank hopefully it will appreciate the extra room.
Thank you again for your help. I have read almost everything you have written on morays. I am a fanatic over these animals and have kept at least 7 different species over the last 30 years. E. pardalis being my favorite (so far) I must say though I love reading info form reputable and educated people such as yourself. This is a great hobby but unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there.
Keep up the great work.
Sincerely Brad
-PS have you written any books just on Moray eels? If so I would love to own a copy. If not you should
<Sounds good and thanks for your kind words. Actually I did write a small book on morays a few yeas ago. But it is in German. A larger one is finished but still waiting to be printed. It will also be in German, though. But there is an issue of coral magazine with some of my article available in English. It's the Sep/Oct 2009 issue. Cheers, Marco.>

Very small, leaky pond; liner repairs f'       2/1/17
I am trying to build a very small pond of sorts. I have yard timbers stacked to make the walls about 30 inches high. I installed a pond liner but have trouble with the seams where they are connected together.
<... connect? Where the liner bunches up in corners I'll take it>
The pond is about 5 feet square with a canal running out from it, under my porch ramp, then turning and running along the ramp with a small turn in it, for about 12 feet. The canal is about 1 1/2 feet wide.
<Mmm; very/too wide for this volume in transit>
The liner continuously leaks somewhere, but I have several raccoons that visit it nightly and have probably put little holes in it with their claws.
I have decided to cement over the liner to prevent the little claws from causing leaks. I understand that I would need to put a waterproof coating over the cement, but I am unsure what thickness the cement would need to be for such a small pond.
<I would not try coating this liner... unless it is PVC... Poly/Ethylene and Butyl (Rubber) won't allow good adherence. Instead I'd very likely (have you read and) put down a reinforcing mesh and... Let's have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pondsubwebindex/linerpdrepfaqs.htm>
I live in North Florida with 1-3 freezes per year that only last about 3-6 hours with temperatures below freezing.
Would I need to put the chicken wire over the liner to give the concrete something to hold on to for the walls,
and if so, would it need to be attached to the walls other than hanging from the top?
<Best to do all the pond basins and runway/canal>
Any help would be great as I am doing this on my own with very little concrete experience and even less pond building experience.
<I have a BUNCH! And glad to share with you. >
Thank you,
Robert Winkler
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Very small, leaky pond      2/1/17

Thank you very much for a quick and helpful response.
<Glad to assist your efforts here. Do please send along pix, news of your progress; and feel free to write me regards any concerns. Bob Fenner>

Re: Identification please      2/1/17
Hi Bob
<Hey Daphne>
The main rock wasn't live, we opted for bleached rock as we had lost everything when our tank crashed. The only live rock I guess would be when we have bought corals,
we have recently had a sun coral from our lps which had been fragged. This hasn't done well in fact the guy from the shop said it looked like
something was eating it. Whether it's this visitor or not I don't know. As regards size when fully stretched out I'd say he is about an inch and a half and goes long and slim, but then he can change and get more flat and broad. He is at the moment climbing around the glass at the front of the tank where he has been most of the day.
<Is it possible that the gills were chewed off here? This looks more like a Nudibranch than anything else. Am going to ask a few friends for their help. Bob Fenner>

low PH and High Nitrates.       1/31/17
Hello, I have read a lot on your site regarding this issue, but still not sure on what to do. I have a 30 gal salt tank that's 5 yrs old with live rock.
<Mmm; have you switched out any rock or substrate during this five years? The soluble parts largely go away in a year or two...>

the last month or so my ph which has never been higher than 8.0 is now at 7.7. in the last 2 weeks I have done four 5 gal water changes, and today did 10 gal
<Mmm, part two; what does your salt mix brand, or natural water if using... read in terms of pH AND Alkalinity?>
water change. and the ph is now at 7.8. I know I have a severe nitrate problem, could this be the issue I assume, I started using the poly filter a few days ago. I don't know why
<... I'd be reviewing Alkalinity... at least on WWM. There are a few ways to bolster>
all my water changes have not made the nitrate level budge. my fish seem ok so far. my skimmer failed about 6 months ago. have not replaced, probably another part of the problem.
<Yes; it is>
other than getting a new skimmer any suggestions,
<Switch out some/most of your substrate... have this a few inches deep; finer grade. Replace/renew a few lb.s of your LR. Check into a better salt mix, look into supplements that will add carbonate... am a huge fan of the SeaChem line here>
I don't have a sump. also I have a fluidized bed filter by Lifegard that I have not hooked up yet. would this be good for nitrates/phosphates.
<Will likely solve a good deal of issues with these>
can you recommend a good hang on skimmer.
<I really like the Aqua-C brand...>

thanks a lot great site.
here are my parameters:
temp- 77
salinity - 1.023 - 1.024
PH 7.8 - salifert.....
calcium- 500 ppm – salifert...
<I'd allow this to drift down to the mid 400s ppm>
.alk- 12.5 dKH- LaMotte.
<Mmm; surprising>
Mag- 1340 ppm-red sea
phosphate- 0.25 ppm - API
Nitrate- 100 ppm - salifert
<Yikes; both NO3 and PO4 are high; much too high... Hook that Lifegard up and add some buffer to your change water... vacuum out most of the old "gravel" and replace with a fine crushed coral... Bob Fenner>
Toronto, Canada.
re: low PH and High Nitrates.      1/31/17

thanks for reply
I have never changed substrate only vacuumed/added Carib sea fine sand.
<I would change this out for new (all) at this juncture>
salt brand I use is instant ocean reef.
isn't my Alk OK ,or too high using a good test kit.
<Is fine as tested>
I am using ro/di water.
zero chloramines/ chlorine. Zero tds
what do I use to buffer my RO water baking soda?
<Mmm; no... this is only sodium bicarbonate.... Read here
: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alkadds.htm
I have never tested RO water for alk or pH
should I and what should it be
<No need... after setting, possibly aeration, the pH s/b about 7.0>
thanks again
<... Welcome. BobF>
re: low PH and High Nitrates.      1/31/17

<... Your grammar...
hi I want to but the aqua c remora skimmer
is there any real difference between the remora and the pro model's

Identification please      1/31/17
<Appears to be a SeaSlug (Opisthobranch) of some sort... need to see entire organism. Bob Fenner>
Hi it was suggested to me to ask if you would identify this creature that has suddenly appeared in my Marine tank. I have asked on a couple of groups I'm on but no one seems to know what it is. The last suggestion was a sea hare, but personally I don't think it is. I have attached a photo.
Thank you

re: Identification please      1/31/17
Here are more pics
<Strange.... the sensory processes on the head don't look like rhinophores (of nudi.s), but the girdling underneath the body does.... and the animal lacks dorsal "gills". What are does your live rock hail from? What else with hard structure have you added recently (the last few mo.s)? I've scanned my sea slug ref.s, and the Net and don't see this Gastropod. Oh, and about how big is it?
Bob Fenner>

Clown compatibility; and stkg/sel.       1/31/17
Are all ocellaris clowns of equal size <1" compatible in theory? i.e. a regular ocellaris and a black ocellaris or even a Black Onyx or Picasso?
I know that sometimes pairs won’t get along just because but I have a small regular ocellaris and was wondering what I could attempt to mate it with, obviously of similar size.
<Better to add them as decidedly different sizes... or both, all as small. Bob Fenner>

Oscars and Hexamita      1/31/17
Hello, i have had so much of a problem with Oscars and i hear they are supposedly hearty fish.
<Sort of. While they're big, they're also notoriously sensitive to water quality. This is true for most big cichlids. Virtually all problems with Oscars come down to poor environment or poor diet. Often a combination of both.>
I used to have 2, 3 inch Oscars one was a black and red tiger Oscar and the other is an albino.
<Used to have...? What happened to them...?>
I have/had them in a large hexagonal tank, when i got the tank i didn't know how many gallons it was cause it was donated to me. So, i took measurements of it and found out its a 20 gallon even though it looks bigger than just 20 gallons.
<Regardless of appearances, 20 gallons is MUCH TOO SMALL even for three inch long Oscars. Once they get past the "fry" stage, Oscars are jumbo fish. I'd be looking at 55 gallons, minimum, for juvenile Oscars; adults
should be provided with at least twice that.>
Last spring i got the Oscars to fill the tank and i love them very much except a couple weeks after i got the Oscars the tiger Oscar (his name was Julius Caesar) developed Hexamita on his left gill that just kept going and going until it ate down his lateral line and completely through his tail.
<Absolutely typical reaction to poor environment. Now, the thing here is that while everyone focuses on ammonia and nitrite (with an "i"), with cichlids, nitrate (with an "a") is the silent killer. Cichlids are extremely sensitive to nitrate. Because Oscars are big, greedy feeders the nitrate level in their tanks can go up very quickly. Anything above 20 mg/l
is stressful, and anything above 40 mg/l will make them sick. A big tank dilutes nitrate, while substantial weekly water changes removes nitrate.>
It infested his jaw so bad that when he died he didn't have a lower jaw left, i felt so bad for that fish. When i went to my very informed fish store owner who has had and sold fish for more than 20 years he recommended to me that i use Metronidazole, it was MetroPlex by SeaChem. a little bit in a bottle for 16 crappy dollars that didn't do anything to help my poor Julius.
<Metronidazole is the correct medication. However, it will not do anything if the environment is wrong
. It's kind of like trying to treat someone for burns without pulling him out of the fire.>
I treated that fish just about the entire time i had him. Up until about two weeks before he died (this went on for 6 months) he had a healthy appetite, had bright colors, wasn't swimming around erratically and bumping into the tank out side of the regular symptom of Hexamita where they will swim backwards or lay on their side and he would only use the one effected gill sometimes.
Some days id wake up and look at him and he wouldn't use it at all and then the next day he would be using it again. I did regular water changes and gravel vacs i tried MelaFix and PimaFix both were completely useless
<In this situation, yes, useless.>
but i ended up using all of it anyway because it seemed to help with their gill flapping a little bit , the store owner recommended to me that i separate the fish because they would contaminate each other, and i used the MetroPlex and Metronidazole treated food except none of it made the one Oscar better. I didn't have the space to separate them so i just kept them together instead of getting rid of the other one because i figured treating them both would help keep the other from getting infected also (i am too attached to these fish) but the albino Oscar never showed any symptoms or
had any problems.
<Oscars are inbred now, and there is variation among strains, some being tougher than others. Luck comes into play too, and being territorial, non-sociable fish, dominant fish will stress other fish kept with them, weakening their immune systems. So one fish getting sick while another stays healthy isn't unusual.>
He wasn't getting the hex his fins were nice he is bright and active all the time never had any Finrot or PopEye or constipation always has a good appetite. Except now he has been alone in the hexagon tank since September
2016 and its now January. I stopped the treatment of Julius two weeks before he died because he stopped eating completely the medicine wasn't helping and i didn't have the stomach to euthanize him myself, i cant handle killing with my own hand.
The week he died i was sick home from school and i remember watching him lay on the bottom and his gills just stopped flapping so i took him outside a buried him with a little gravestone and a small tree.
<Oh dear.>
However now the last day of January 2017 i noticed the albino Oscar has similar Hexamita pits by his but hole on his side and some very small holes on his head, they look different like somebody took a pencil and poked holes clean through my Oscars head, they aren't sores they're holes. He still has a good appetite. And looks/acts well, i removed the common Pleco and all the tank decor a week ago because i though they might be the source of my Oscars wounds, but the wounds haven't gotten better only bigger.
<You should not be keeping Oscars and Plecs together, certainly not in such a small tank. Plecs add substantially to water quality problems, and in some cases they will scrape at the mucous from large cichlids, causing physical damage and stressing the fish.>
Iv been doing small gravel vacs and water changes every couple of days. Not a 30% change but just a jug that i had it take about 5% of the water out and i just fill that with whatever i can get from the gravel every day or two.i feed my Oscars what ever fish food i have, i don't have a scheduled and marked calendar diet for them but they get a variety of food that being frozen brine shrimp, baby brine shrimp, live brine shrimp, krill, very little bloodworms, Hikari cichlid gold pellets, metro soaked pellets, wax worms, crickets, and sometimes flake food, and peas once in a while, I gave them
some cooked tilapia once too but it was a long time ago and im going out today to get him some live black worms and some ghost shrimp. I use test strips to test the water, ammonia and nitrites are always at 0 ph is 7, the water that runs from my tap is hard water but it has no chlorine.
<The fundamentals of the way you're keeping this fish are right, but I fear tank size is the killer here.>
The water is a little more alkaline than it is acidic, its was at 7.6 that last time i tested except i lost my job and have no more test strips so i have no idea where its as of this very moment The nitrates fluctuate a lot sometimes i find they are really high(which i then do a larger water change) and sometimes i find they'll be really low.
<See above why this matters.>
To put it at an average id say about 25-30 ppm. I have a 40 gal filter on it that has carbon filter pads in it (i would remove the carbon when treating my Oscars) and a light, i live in a very warm room and between the light and my room warmth with the sun by my window anytime i put my fingers in the tank the water is comfortably warm.
<Oscars are tropical fish, and exposure to low temperatures is quickly lethal. Anything below 22 C/72 F should be treated as dangerously low.>
I have an air stone that i rotate between my 5 gal my 10 gal my 2, 20 gals and a 75 gal that houses two very large jack Dempseys i have had fish for 4 years now and all of my tanks are established through the filter cycle.
Please help the fish store owner got stumped and told me i should euthanize Julius before he died and now my last Oscar is starting to get sick and i don't know what to do cause iv started using the metro soaked food and the sores on my albino are only getting bigger with every dose just like Julius had and i don't want to lose my Oscar. He is the light of my bedroom i fall asleep every night watching him swim.
<The 75 gallon tank is where the Oscars need to be!>
Could it be something wrong with the tank?
<Yes; it's too small.>
Is it possible Hexamita can be a genetic thing?
<Nope. Nitrate above 20 mg/l is a problem, and unless you're doing daily water changes, it's unlikely you can keep nitrate that low with one or two Oscar juveniles in a 20 gallon tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Lone Protomelas taeniolatus. Comp. and beh. f's       1/31/17
Hello crew, hope you are all doing well.
<Thank you Roberto; yes>
About a week ago a fellow aquarist sold some of his African cichlids at a very low price. I got myself a single (its my first "African" cichlid not counting my kribensis)
Protomelas taeniolatus, which i thought was rather small due to the price but ended up being a 15 cm beautifully colored male. I properly set up a 40 gal for this lone guy as i don't have other Africans and im not sure i can keep this big guy with any other of my current fish.
<Can become mean; though this species is relatively peaceful>
I have a collection of tetras, Poeciliids, dwarf south American cichlids and a small collection of Rainbowfishes (Wanamensis, boesemanni, dwarf neon and G. incisus). I also have a trio of Etroplus maculatus all fully mature.
Thing is he's been hiding since then, only comes out when lights go out or there is nobody in the room, so he's very shy. He's been eating, and the tank has a few big rocks forming hiding spots and a few moss and java fern covered rocks for him to graze, etc.
I would like to see him come out more, is this a matter of time or could i use some species of dither fish?
<Time just going by will find this fish out more and more>
The parameters stay at a ph of 7.9 and 10,10 for carbonate and general hardness.
Thanks again!
<I urge patience here. Just wait. Bob Fenner>

Re: Marine slug question      1/28/17
Is this a parasite?
<? Nope>
If yes do you have any suggestions as how to rid them.
<See WWM re such Gastropod Compatibility. The FAQs mate. B>
Thank you very much I am truly grateful!!!

freshwater tank; RO use... not exclusively       1/28/17
hi how are you I have a salt tank and want to set up a freshwater tank with plants. I have a ro/di filter can I use ro water to set it up
<Mmm; no; need to have "some" mineral content... depending on the types of life you intend to keep. Plants; tetras, African cichlids... they all have particular needs, ranges here. You can search on the Net, in books re; and build your livestock assortment around your tap water quality or use the RO mixed in to dilute if needed>
I heard that ro water is not good for freshwater, but figured since I have a ro/di I would use it but I think I read somewhere that it take's all the vital nutrients / metals out needed for freshwater. what do you think .
please and thank you
Val Sammut
Toronto. Canada
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, Lautoka, Fiji presently>

Re: Betta PopEye question      1/28/17
This is an update on my Betta's PopEye condition, and I have a new question. Despite Epsom salt treatment, and later the Fungus Clear, there has been no change in his eyes. They are no worse, but no better either.
<That at least suggests the infection has leveled off, or the eye is not being further damaged. Fish eyes take a long time to heal, weeks if not months. Sometimes they never heal and the eye eventually falls off, though losing one eye rarely inconveniences the fish noticeably. Losing both eyes is more of an issue, except in the case of those nocturnal species like catfish and loaches that barely use their eyes anyways.>
And now there seems to be a new issue, with it being nearly impossible to keep the display tank clean.
<I see this.>
The tank developed cloudy debris after the Fungus Clear treatment, so it was emptied and thoroughly rinsed (including plants), and brand new (thoroughly rinsed) gravel put in. It was beautifully clear at first, but then the debris came back. Approximately 3 days after a 20-25% water change, the water becomes cloudy with white dust-like debris, and when I
test the water it shows PPM of "1" for nitrites, which is just inside the "stress" level, as well as a 6.2 pH, which I know is low for a Betta.
<Quite so. Below pH 7, biological filtration proceeds more slowly, and is has been observed that the bacteria responsible hardly work at all below pH 6. So in tanks where pH is significantly below 7, a combination of low stocking/modest feeding to minimise nutrient input; generous provision of the finest (in size) viable filter media to trap silt and host bacteria per square cm; and the use of fast-growing plants will all help to maintain good water quality. One problem with Betta tanks is the need for low flow rates, which means water passes through the biological media slowly. Any
persistent scum on the surface of a lightly-stocked tank usually comes down to inadequate water movement. So realistically, what you're dealing with is an imperfect balance of flow rate, filter medium type, pH, and possibly
residual silt from the new gravel. Try increasing flow rate, up to the point your Betta will tolerate happily; try using a finer grade of medium to trap silt particles. Improving water circulation will help break up the scum at the surface, so an airstone or even cleverer siting of the existing filter (or its outlet) to splash the water more and draw a steady current
around the tank. Make sense?>
My son has an established, healthy tank, and I added some of that "dirty" water to help establish mine with healthy bacteria again, but it's not made a difference.
<See above; though adding healthy filter medium from his tank could certainly jump-start a lacklustre biological filter.>
I've tested the water right out of the tap and the pH is closer to 6.8, so maybe something in the tank is causing the pH to drop.
<Usually some combination of: decaying organic matter generally; driftwood or some other source of tannins; accumulating nitrate (which forms nitric acid); accumulating phosphate (phosphoric acid); high CO2 concentration
from inadequate water movement at the surface (which forms carbonic acid).
In addition, overuse of pH-down products will, of course, cause an unstable, declining pH.>
I don't know if the high nitrites and the low pH are related or coincidental, and I have no idea what could be causing the debris in a newly cleaned 10-gallon tank with one tiny Betta in it. I've trained him to swim into a cup, so I can remove him from the tank for easier feedings since his vision is impaired, so his tank never even sees food. I can't think what could be causing debris or high nitrites.
<Understood; but see above: there are other sources of acidity.>
Some friends have suggested fewer water changes, to allow the bacteria to establish, but I don't like him being in water with high nitrites for
longer than necessary, especially considering his ongoing PopEye problem.
<Water changes are immaterial to establishing a filter bacteria once the initial ammonia and nitrite spikes have passed. Virtually all the bacteria we want are on solid surfaces near flowing water, whether the filter media or across the outside of solid objects like gravel particles or plant leaves. Of course if you set a tank up from scratch, and do so many water changes the ammonia never stays above zero for long, it'll take a long while for filter bacteria to become established. Hence levels of 0.5, 1, or even higher are tolerated during the first 4-6 weeks. But once the filter bacteria are established, water changes are all good, provided water chemistry and temperature stay steady.>
It's been approximately two weeks and the debris is building and getting worse between changes. I greatly appreciate any advice you may have about what might be going on and how to fix it? Thank you! -Elle J.
<Hope this helps. Neale.>

Rainbowfish with fuzzy lips...      1/28/17
Hi guys, hope all is well. I have an issue with my Marcii rainbows and I've spent countless hours searching WWM and other sites and can't really find an answer. 2 or 3 of them have a sort of white patch on their upper lip sometimes the bottom. Its not Columnaris because they've always had it to a certain extent for the year I've had them. My water parameters are good, I do bi-weekly pwc and they are in with emerald Corys and Glowlight tetras. I also always use the same gravel vac, nets, etc. between all of my tanks and never seen it anywhere but on these 3 fish. There are 8 other
Marcii's in the same tank that don't get it. There is no odd behavior from these fish, they eat normally. Sometimes the white patch looks like it has a little string or tuft floating off. There is no gill irritation, no spots or ulcers on their bodies, they are just healthy looking and acting fish. I'm not sure what to make of it. I was in the process of rehoming
them but the guy didn't want to take them because he was sure it was Columnaris and wouldn't believe they've been that way pretty much since I got them. Im attaching photos. Can you offer me any suggestions? I prefer not to use medications, but I will if you think its important for the health of the fish. Thanks.
<I'm fairly certain this is physical damage, and the white tissue that comes and goes is simply dead skin sloughing away. The question now is how they get damaged. One explanation is fighting. Rainbows normally fighting by swooshing water at each other while lining up side to side, but if they're snapping at each other or wrestling with their jaws, then their
mouths might be damaged. Alternatively, they're ramming into something, and precisely this sort of damage is seen on active or nervous fish when kept in glass boxes. A lot depends on the size of the tank, how clearly defined the edges of the tank are with rocks or plants, and how often the fish get spooked. The famous situation is the lights suddenly coming on in the morning. Old school fishkeepers recommend turning the room lights on first, then after a certain period of time, say 10 minutes, turning the tank lights on. Make sense? Do the reverse when turning the lights off.
Aggressive or nippy fish can cause the same fright reaction, and in turn the same trauma damage. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Rainbowfish with fuzzy lips...      1/28/17

Thanks Neale! All of that makes absolute perfect sense and is completely right on. There are 11 of them in a 55gal with both ends pretty much uncovered. I just recently trimmed back 2 massive Amazon swords. They never lock lips but they are very active eaters so maybe some bumping into things. Although they aren't timid around me, I do get lazy with the
lights. I'll work on that. Thanks again, you guys are the best!
<Glad to have helped, and good luck! Neale.>

Re: 3-toed Box Turtle      1/28/17
Thanks for the reply. So, SloMo is already in the aquarium now, with a substrate, but I will keep your carpet advice in mind, and when the aroma ripens, will pull it and replace with easy to clean carpeting. For now, Mo loves to dig into it to hide (even with a decent hiding place), especially under the water dish.
So far, Mo hasn't taken any food at all, and has been pretty shy, though s/he has only been hiding in the terra cotta pot cave —rather than buried in 3" of substrate— for the past two days, so I'm assuming it is just an issue of adapting to the new environment, etc. We keep putting a little bit of food into a small dish in Mo's space, and leaving it, then removing it
the next day, cleaning the dish, and repeating. I'm assuming s/he will eat when hungry, and am not too worried at the moment. If Mo were to eat it, I would hold off for a day until adding more, as per your advice.
Incandescent bulbs are increasingly hard to get here in Toronto (would have thought you granola-munchers in SoCal would have ditched them a long time ago!), but I got one of those black heating coil doohickeys on an A19 bulb end, and screwed it into a 5.5" reflector. It's 100w, and seems to crank it out, so positioned it a bit higher. My probe thermometer says it's 26C on that side of the tank, and 22C on the "cool" side. All seems to be coming along well!
Thanks again for you advice, and best wishes for the new year!
<Yes, even here in Granola Land, incandescent bulbs are hard to get. Fortunately we live right next door to more enlightened states (Pun!) and we can go there and bring back bulbs and other things necessary to Make Reptiles Great Again.>
<Part of the problem is that Mo is an Imperial Turtle and you’re a Metric country. He’s used to being heated by (f) and fed by Oz but you’re heating him with “C” and feeding him with “g” and it’s probably confusing him. Next time you might want to consider having a Canadian turtle; They’re just like American turtles except a bit smaller, much more polite and with a very slight inferiority complex.)
<For those who didn’t get it, Chris razzed me about California (Granola munchers) so I gave it back about Metric Canada. My mom, who was from St. Catherines, would have been proud>
<Keep up the good work Chris>

velvet parasite      1/28/17
I have read several times that the velvet parasite can encyst itself under unfavorable conditions, how long can they stay in a cyst this way, can they hide from a medication this way. What else can a velvet parasite feed on. = I was thinking about trying to use a "bait" to "catch them", they could attach themselves to the bait to eat it, them I would remove the bait after a few days along with the attached velvet !
<Nice idea but won't work. Assuming you're talking about Piscinoodinium, it only infects fish. So whatever bait you used, it would have to be a live fish, which obviously defeats the exercise. You'd just be swapping one sick fish for another. The old school approach was to combine slightly saline conditions (2-5 gram/litre) with complete darkness for a week or two. The idea here is that the free-living Tomite stages are stressed by slightly brackish conditions, reducing significantly the chance of them surviving long enough to re-infect the fish. Darkness helps because the Tomite stages
require light to carry out photosynthesis, and without light they effectively starve. So taken together these will usually reduce Velvet infections sufficiently that the immune system of the fish can take over.
The Tomite stage can only survive for a limited period of time (a few days, though the colder it is, the longer they can survive). Raising the temperature shortens the life cycle of the Velvet parasite, so aquarists often do this to get the cysts to burst so that they quickly release tomites. The Tomite stage is, you see, the ONLY vulnerable part of the life cycle (which including the cyst stage, takes 6-7 days at 25 C, but easily double that at room temperature). Once in the fish, it is effectively sealed off from waterborne chemicals (medications) by the host's tissues.
Fortunately, a wide range of medications will kill Piscinoodinium during the Tomite stage. My personal pick is eSHa EXIT, but there are others.
Provided it is caught early on, Velvet can be eliminated without undue difficulty, but heavy infections are commonly lethal because of the damage done to the gill tissue. On the other hand, being salt-intolerant, it is especially easily managed among fish that tolerate brackish conditions for extended periods, including virtually all livebearers and many cichlids and Killies. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Yellow Prawn Goby      1/28/17
Hi Bob,
Just one last thought here... the goby is feeding aggressively, which is a great sign.
Everything else seems normal and he's spending more time on the bottom of the tank.
<Ah good>
I've still rescued him from the overflow twice in the past three days (seven times in the past 6 days). I'm wondering, if my aragonite uncomfortable for him?
<Very probable. I'd make an area, even just set a dish of a couple inches depth (glass or plastic) of finer, or mixed substrate in the system>
Most of the coarse pieces seem to have worked their way to the top of the bed, leaving the sandier substrate under a half inch of crushed coral.
Thoughts? Pic attached.
<As stated. B>

Nudibranch id please       1/28/17
Hello there, I first want to thank you for previous help a long while ago.
My issue was dozens of hermits large and small disappearing completely, shell and all. You (can't remember which crew member in particular) had suggested it sounded like I could have a predacious worm. Soon after I managed to find 2 large fire worms when looking at night. I managed to remove the pair, and haven't lost a crab/snail/shrimp since!
But as for my current question. Yesterday I purchased some corals, specifically a colony of Ricordea yuma, a colony if Zoanthids and a colony of Palys. In addition to the wonderful turbo snail and emerald crab hitchhikers I scored, this morning to my surprise I have a tiny Nudibranch and a small starfish on my glass. The starfish is I believe an Asterina
(grey with 6 arms) but it's at least twice as big as any I've seen in my tank previously.
But my main concern for the moment is the Nudibranch. Of course I'm worried he could be the type that eats Zoanthids, although I'm hoping that the fact that I have found him in the glass is a good sign. Regardless, he is in jail for the moment. I should add that I have now inspected my new Zoas and don't see any eggs as of yet.
I would really like to keep this guy if I can, so please tell me if you think he is a good Nudi or a bad Nudi.
<Mmm; appears to be a Aeolid... do consume Cnidarians... often look a lot like their prey>

I hope these photos are clear enough to get a good identification. He is about a quarter inch long.
I would also like to know, if he does end up being a Zoanthid eating Nudibranch, is that what they eat exclusively?
<Don't know; but too likely so. See the Net w/ the family name...>

Rather than killing him I would like to set up a nano tank to keep him and any other future questionable hitchhikers but if he will die without Zoanthids I guess I have no choice.
Thanks in advance!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick rams!      1/27/17
Hello again Neale,
Thanks for the advice on the angel ram with HLLE; I will keep up the water changes and hope he won’t need a second round of metro (though I’ll keep some ready just in case).
<Indeed. Nitrate is a particular worry with dwarf cichlids generally, so feeding sparingly, and carrying out regular water changes are probably the two things to watch.>
The electric blue ram who is sitting on the bottom hasn’t actually been treated with anything (other than 1g/L of salt as per Bob Fenner’s article re: salt use on WWM), because frankly I’m not sure what’s wrong with him and although I keep a range of medications on hand, I don’t like to use them indiscriminately. He hasn’t shown any signs of HLLE or any external symptoms at all other than negative buoyancy.
<Could very easily be a genetic problem. "Belly sliders" are quite common among inbred fish, for which read pretty much any fancy form, whether cichlid, goldfish or whatever. If the fish is otherwise happy and healthy, I'd tend to sit back and observe rather than anything else. Certainly, treating as per constipation rather than with medication would be my first choice. Cooked spinach and peas probably aren't going to be taken by a Ram, but daphnia and brine shrimp work fairly well as laxatives, so are well worth a shot.>
Should I treat with a general antibiotic as a ‘shot in the dark’ measure?
<I would not unless there were definite indications of bacterial infection.>
I have Kanamycin, Nitrofurazone, Metronidazole, and erythromycin as well as Praziquantel and Seachem Paraguard on hand, and can get almost anything else within two days. Suggestions?
<See above.>
<Welcome. Neale.>

8 year old Shoulder Tang      1/27/17
<Howsit? Darrel, you owe me some part of twenty US... your too large file wouldn't load here in Fiji. Had to sign up for the advanced svc. Hundreds of Kbytes mate, NOT megs>
I really appreciate the service wet web media provides. Mahalo. To Bob Fenner and the crew.
<Follow our guidelines then!>
I operate a Marine aquarium maintenance service and recently some thing happened to an 8 year old shoulder Tang that I haven't seen before.
The Tang resides in a 650 gallon Fish only aquarium 8.2pH 40ppmNitr 1.021SG.
<A bit low>
About 3 weeks ago, a golden head goby I added died fairly quickly.. 2 weeks or so after 15 days QT time. A little while after the Tang developed brown splotches and started to hide.
<Mmm; likely not related>
With parameters in line, I immediately suspected parasites of some kind.
Close inspection of some of the other larger fish, 2 yellows, 3 Blue Hippos, and a 10 year old Stars and Stripes puffer, revealed little.
Nothing evident on the fins, clear active eyes, no scratching, etc.
However the fish mostly clustered in one area of the reef insert for about a week.
<Mmm; environmental. Something/s you don't measure are off>
There is also an 8 year old Heniochus that is mostly hiding but has no visible discolorations.
Any advice?
<When, where in doubt, punt! Massive water change (like half), with gravel vacuuming, addition of a few units of ChemiPure and PolyFilter in the flow path
. Bob Fenner>
Thanks in advance.

Re: 8 year old Shoulder Tang      1/27/17
Oh, the system also is running a 120 watt Emperor Aquatics Smart UV (40wx3)
6 months of service for the current bulbs.
<I'd be checking the Fe +2 and 3 coming off the igneous. B>
Re: shoulder tang      1/27/17

Mahalo. I will send you a check or money order. U.S. funds?
<Heeeee! Thank you for the offer Darrel>
I already did everything you suggested prior to contacting you.. the markings improved and then came back albeit in a different pattern. I will repeat process.
Thanks again.
<This Acanthurus (does) suffer/s from many types of environmental (over) stress. IF it's still eating, moving about... I give you good odds of it recovering. A hu'i hou! Bob Fenner>

Timing of When to Introduce Maculosus Angel to 265g Display    1/26/17
Hello Bob-
I purchased approximately a 6 inch Maculosus angelfish
<Oh, a fave! Likely wild-caught at this size>
from a very reputable online source who I've had great luck with in the past on many occasions. BTW, after reading several of your great write-up's and other reputable sources on the Maculosus, i.e.; it's wonderful personality and hardiness after the acclimation stage, I was heavily influenced to go with a Maculosus over other large angelfish options.
This beautiful angel has been in my quarantine tank (75 gallon) for two weeks now. It eats very well (Nori, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, Spirulina, and New Life Spectrum pellets) and did so within 24 hours of receiving it. There are zero signs of disease.
<I would move this fish to the main/display tank>
He's been in the QT with a 4 inch Scopas Tang and a 3 inch Flame Angel with zero issues. However, and I've read a lot of this as being normal (you referenced it in one of your past responses), it's quite shy right now. I have a large "Y" shaped PVC tube where he always hangs out except when it's time for a feeding. At feeding time, he blasts out of the PVC tube, scoops up food, then blasts back to his PVC retreat. Bob, when do these angel fish become less shy?
<Weeks usually>
Part of me wonders if maybe the bare glass bottom of the tank, where I've noticed he quarrels with his reflection nearly every time he sees it, is part of the problem?
<Could def. be a factor; plus the dearth of hiding spaces, small confines... lack of fishes to interact with. MOVE IT>
He also darts into his PVC whenever he sees me too. I do notice that he observes me though from his PVC. Thus, knowing that he looks good and eats very well, I am thinking that maybe I need to now transfer him to his new
permanent home which is a 265 gallon live rock set-up with live sand and that might help him adjust better?
<Oh yes>
Or maybe that's rash and a bad idea?
<... no; not a bad idea>
Note that he will be the largest fish in that set-up. All of the fish in that set-up get along very well with each other. Whenever I've added a new fish in the past there, as long as it wasn't a conspecific, a new fish is pretty much ignored. There's no other angel in the 265 and there's no bully or overly aggressive fish in the 265. I plan to get a new PVC tube to place behind the reef for him since he likes his PVC in the quarantine so much (smile). However, my concern is, do you think, based upon his shy behavior in the quarantine, that he's ready to be transferred to the 265 gallon?
Should I wait longer?
<One last time: I'd be moving this fish NOW>
The other option I was considering, although it goes against my protocol for a quarantine, was to add some live sand to the quarantine tank to cover up the reflection he sees, to determine if maybe that might help to loosen him up to where he can calmly swim around outside of his PVC hang-out.
It's also worth noting that my quarantine isn't in any sort of high traffic, noisy area, nor are my display tanks for that matter. Thoughts?
Thanks, John
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Timing of When to Introduce Maculosus Angel to 265g Display    1/26/17

Thanks Bob, I really appreciate your expert advice! I really wanted to do what was best for this fish and not be careless.
<A test that James Lawrence put me to in meeting in 95 was naming a show fish for his daughters H.S. 300 gal. tank at school... This is the choice I mentioned. Cheers, BobF>

Wartskin Angler pairs?    1/26/17
Hi Crew!
<Hey Adam>
Was reviewing your site and I could not find any info on Wartskin Angler pairs (Antennarius maculatus). Can they be kept without eating each other?
<Mmm; yes... given close-enough size parity and space in a system>
Would the need to be procured as a pair or is there a way to pair them up?
<Better by far if purchased as an established pair>
Or could two of the same sex be kept in the same system and if so how big would it need to be?
<At least a hundred twenty five gallons>
Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Compatibility    1/26/17
Thanks for the reply
<My pleasure, Mark. Feel free to write us any time>

Re: 350 Litre Marine Tank Stocking    1/26/17
Thanks Gabe :)
<My pleasure, Lesley>
Good luck with your second semester.
<Thanks. I'm going to need it :)>
Kind regards.
<Write us any time. Cheers, Gabe>

Re: Jewel cichlid domestic abuse!    1/26/17
Neale, or whomever is on duty tonight:
<Is indeed me.>
I have since discovered that my jewels are, in fact, both female, as I witnessed them spawning (laying eggs simultaneously) together. This is apparently something that they are known to do. In fact, female pairs whose eggs were swapped out for fertilized eggs even raised the fry together! (article reference below)
<Quite so; and has been reported from other cichlids too.>
Anyway, they are getting along much better now, laying eggs occasionally and then dining on them … I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that the smaller gal had a growth spurt (probably from eating eggs!) and now is about the same size as her tank mate.
Thanks again for your help,
Linda A.
<Welcome. Neale.>
Full reference for article of homosexual jewel pairs:
Greenberg, B., 1961, Spawning and parental behavior in female pairs of the jewel fish, Hemichromis bimaculatus Gill: Behaviour, v. 18, no. 1/2. pp. 14-61.

Sick rams!    1/26/17
Hello WWM crew person; and thank you for taking the time to read my questions!
I am one of those crazy masochists that keep Ram Cichlids; I have a total of 16 right now in four different aquariums, and all but two are doing quite well.
<Well done.>
I know rams are delicate and demanding fish, and I do my best to keep them properly (warm, soft, acid, buffered water with Zeolite filtration, lots of live plants, a variety of high-quality dried and frozen foods, and dithers that do not out-compete them for food).
<I think this is the issue really. They're not rubbish fish, in theory at least; just they have very specific needs not often met in community tanks. That said, farmed Rams are, at best, variable in quality.>
So far, I’ve had pretty good luck with survival and health despite buying several specimens from ‘big-box’ stores, but I have two sick boys right now who have me stumped.
The first is an ‘angel ram’ - essentially a long-finned balloon-bodied blue ram - that I rescued from a smaller, more reputable LFS specializing in cichlids. I don’t normally like fish with mutant body-types, as I know this does wonky things with their anatomy and health, but my heart went out to this guy because he had survived in horrible conditions. When I got him, he was in a quarantine tank at the LFS with one other angel ram and a number of large angelfish and Corys (one of which appeared to have a fungal infection) that had been surrendered to the store by their former owner, who decided he wanted to do something different with his tank. I took both of the rams home with me; they were pretty battered with shredded fins, red sores on their body and some of the worst HLLE I’ve ever seen (no surprise as they were in a tank with very large cichlids). The worse-off of the two unfortunately died overnight in quarantine. The other guy has since recovered from everything except for the HLLE after diligent water changes, proper water/temperature parameters, and a round of Nitrofurazone (Furan-2).
<HLLE can take time to heal; often the scars or pits persist.>
I have him in a 10 gallon, bare-bottom QT with a few potted live plants, equipped with a 71 gph HOB filter with Zeolite and filter floss, supplemented by a seasoned air-driven sponge filter. Tank parameters are pH 6.6, gph 3, kH 1, 30 degrees C, ammonia/nitrite 0 and nitrate < 5. I have administered three feedings of Metronidazole-laced food, and although he is swimming and eating well and looking and acting altogether delightfully ram-like, he still has large white spots on his left ’nostril’ and behind his right eye (see photos). His feces is normal; in fact, I’ve not seen abnormal feces since I got him. It has been two weeks since the Nitrofurazone and about a week since I fed the metro; since then, I’ve been alternating Omega One pellet food and frozen brine shrimp soaked in vita-chem, both of which he accepts readily.
<Good all-around.>
I don’t want to give him any more metro, as I’m sure he’s rather attached to his kidneys, but I’m not sure what else to do to treat the ‘hole in the head,’ if that’s what it is. If it’s just more time to recover that he needs, that’s fine, but I don’t want to miss a critical step in his treatment and end up losing this little guy as he’s fought so hard to stick around.
<The white stuff is dead tissue. It may take some time to dislodge. Short term, yes, I'd abstain from another round of medications, but simply spend a week or two providing good food and water. Then see what happens. If you need to re-medicate, then he should be ready for that.>
The second fish I’m writing about is an electric blue (non-balloon) ram. He’s actually one of the first rams I ever bought, and has been with me for the better part of a year. He paired up with one of my long-finned blue ram females and has fathered three batches of fry, two of which the pair managed to raise successfully despite my bumbling - ram fry are HARD to feed properly! Since they paired up, he's been living in a 20-gallon densely planted tank with his mate and occasionally their fry until they are large enough to move to the grow-out tank. They receive twice-weekly 25% water changes with 50% RO/50% tap (sometimes more often with fry). Parameters are kept ram-friendly, similar to the QT tank listed above; I try not to let nitrates get above 10 between water changes. The tank is equipped with a 150 gph HOB with Zeolite, and two air-driven sponge filters.
When he fell ill, the pair had just lost a batch of fry (their third) under mysterious circumstances; when I turned the lights off that night, 30-40 week-old fry were swimming about; in the morning, they were all gone (presumably eaten, although whether alive or dead at the time is up for debate). Water parameters were normal (nitrates were ~10, ammonia/nitrite 0, temp 30C, pH 6.6-6.8, gph 3). The female was behaving normally, but the male was suddenly acting lethargic, resting on the bottom. His color was good, fins weren’t clamped and I saw no other external signs of disease or distress, and he behaved/swam fairly normally when his mate came near (showing off, basically), but otherwise he just sat there. I decided to fast them just in case he had a case of constipation brought on by eating his brood, but after two days of no improvement I moved him to quarantine just in case.
He’s now been in quarantine for three days in more or less identical conditions to my other ram above; the only thing I’ve done is added aquarium salt at 1g/L, since I have no idea what’s wrong with him. Other than an occasional flare at his neighbor (their tanks are adjacent), the poor little fellow has been sitting in the same corner of the tank, looking depressed. When he does move, he sort of ‘wriggles’ along the bottom using his pectoral and dorsal fins; his tail moves very minimally. Occasionally, he ‘hops’ off the bottom with his pelvic fins, but usually doesn’t get far before he falls down to the bottom; on a couple of occasions, I have observed him doing something like a hiccup or a cough with his mouth when he does this.
<Again, I'd sit and wait here.>
His appetite is still good (diet same as the other ram above, minus the metro), and his feces is normal.
<Which implies Hexamita isn't the issue.>
I’m unsure how to proceed … any guesses on what might be wrong with him, other than maybe old age? He was fully grown when I bought him, so I have no idea how old he actually is.
<Indeed. While it's possible he has a Mycobacteria infection (quite common among farmed fish) I think in this case a combination of genes, stress, and perhaps the HLLE or whatever has rendered this chap a bit weak. If he's feeding and interacting normally, and you've medicated as per HLLE already, I think I'd simply let him live his natural life for the time being. If some obvious symptoms materialise, then maybe medicate again; but for now, leave him be.>
Thanks again for reading,
<Welcome. Neale.>

Re: Marine slug question    1/26/17
Sent from my iPhone
<? May be a Tylodina sp. as juv.s. B>


Hernia? 5 Megs....    1/26/17
<Can't download this here in Fiji. SEE/READ our requirements, reduce size by 90 some percent and re-send. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dragon morays and parasites ?     1/26/17
Thank you.
180 is just waiting on a stand to be built and a game plan to transfer everything and everyone with minimal stress.
<Oh! Do see/read my "moving" articles, FAQs on WWM Re. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Vitamin C Dosing, PH dips      1/25/17
Thanks for the kind comments Bob.
<Welcome David>
My phosphate kit measures ppm. Once I get on or under 2ppm I start using the phosphorous test that does ppb (range 1-200). So 1.39 was way up there!
<Yeeikes; yes>
Hopefully with a steady hand the phosphate kit will be "break in case of emergency" as I'll only be using the sensitive phosphorous one, well fingers crossed at any rate.
<Cheers, BobF>

Re: Yellow Prawn Goby      1/25/17
Yellow Watchman's still alive and kicking. Even with the white blemish where his torso meets his tail, he sure swims in the open water a lot - I don't think it's an injury. I haven't seen him feed as of yet, and his tank mates are leaving him alone thus I've left him in the system. I wonder if he knows he's a goby?
<Again; unusual... hope it's not looking for a place to leave the tank. Bob Fenner>

Marine slug question      1/25/17
Hey I am wondering if you can help me identity a small yellow slug I found in my tank there are lots of them and how I may be able to contain them.
Sent from my iPhone
<Can you crop, optimize and re-send, or make better pix... of a total of a few hundred Kbyte size? Bob Fenner>
Re: Marine slug question      1/25/17

Sorry I'm not sure I understand why you mean. Just a clearer picture or more zoomed as well.
<Bob's on his travels to the tropics, visiting our underwater pals. But that means viewing large image files is a chore when he's basically stuck with Internet access marginally better than dial-up. If you can help him out by resizing images so they're no bigger than, say, 500 kH in size, that's great. Online tools such as this one are useful if you don't have
image editing software to hand...
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Compatibility Wherein Gabe responds to a non-reader, Re stkg. large SW       1/25/17
<Good morning, Mark>
I am writing to you again for advice regarding my 385 gal tank with a 90 gal sump.
Right now it has 2 large zebra eels and a 14" snowflake eel with a 5" Greenbird and Lunare wrasses, along with and two 3" Foxfaces, and 6" Miniatus, Spotted and Blue Line Groupers and two 6" Tierra Batfish and currently a 6" Black Volitans Lion. I would like to finish the tank off with a sting ray or two adult angels if possible.
<Seems like you're getting close to maxing out on your bioload. Be careful about that>
1) If I went the angel route what two angels would possibly coexist? I am partial to the French but I don't know if any could be put with him in the "Large" size?
<Compatibility comes down to the individual fish in my experience. I have kept French, Blueface, and Queen in the same tank before without problems. I have also tried Emperor and Queen in a 400 gallon with plenty of rock and such, and I had to separate them. It is up to you in the end, so it may take some experimenting.>
2) If I went the ray route what would you recommend as staying on the small size and "tropical"? I like the Cortez but unfortunately they fall in the
cool water temps like the Round, Yellow and Calif. Ray.
<I would stay away from rays. The only one that is tropical in the sense that it prefers 72º F - 78º F is the Fiddler stingray, and those need a 500+ gallon tank.>
Please reply ASAP. Thank you again!
<If you're going to add anything, do the angels. It may take some experimenting, but hopefully you can land on something. See WetWeb re this topic. Thanks for writing. Cheers, Gabe>

350 Litre Marine Tank Stocking      1/25/17
Hi Guys
I hope all is well!
<Trying to make it through the second semester... I guess it could be worse>
I have a 350 litre, bow front tank (Juwel) which is home to a yellow tang ("Percy"), an orange clownfish ("Nemo" of course), an orange spotted goby ("George") and a blue green Chromis ("Pete") - the lone survivor from a group of five added a year ago - there can be only one I guess!
<Strange. This has happened to me as well>
Nemo and Percy have been in the tank for around six years now; having it to themselves all that time until George and the five Chromis were added about 12 months ago. The other four Chromis all mysteriously disappeared over the last five months leaving just Pete. He must have been very sly as we didn't notice any untoward aggression towards the other Chromis.
Anyway, I would now like to add one (or possibly two) more fish if you think it's advisable.
<Should be fine. Your tank is large enough for more>
I should point out that it is a FOW(some)LR :) Plus a few mushrooms, several different species of macroalgae and a teeny weenie colony of some kind of polyps which I spotted growing the other week :) There are also hiding places provided by some pipe type décor, which Percy and Nemo happily swim in and out of.
I would quite like to add a pygmy angel - possibly a Flame Angel and/or a Royal Gramma. These would be the last fish added as I don't want to overstock this tank.
<Those both should be fine for the tank>
Do you think these additions would work given my existing fishy friends?
<Should be ok>
Thank you.
<My pleasure>
Lesley Saxton
<Cheers, Gabe>

Dragon morays and parasites ?      1/25/17
Hello crew,
I'm writing to you in hopes that you can give me some advice.
<Will do my best>
Over the last two weeks I have noticed that both of my dragon moray (E. pardalis) have been rubbing their heads and at times even scratching their backs on the substrate. I do not see any visible signs of parasites or skin abrasions and their appetites have not changed.
<These situations... behaviors are almost always related to "water quality">
The two eels are in a 125 soon to be moved to 180 gallon.
<Need more room than this>
Tons of live rock in display and in sump. Oversized skimmer and a Fluval 405 canister with carbon and Chemi- pure. 2 large circulation pumps along with canister and return lines pointed towards the surface for gas exchange.
Water parameters are as follows
Ammonia = undetectable
Nitrite. = undetectable
Nitrate. = undetectable to sometimes below 5.0
PH = 8.2
I feed both eels fresh fish and squid from local grocery store once a week.
I was thinking about dosing tank with Hikari's Prozi-Pro to see if that helps.
<Mmm; Prazi... I wouldn't... would you have introduced a worm pest, parasite?>
I will remove carbon from filtration and remove skimmer cup. If this sounds safe how long should I keep the skimmer cup off?
<I would continue to run the skimmer AND use carbon, likely PolyFilter AND discontinue whatever "supplements", "additives" you use if any>
I don't like the thought of not skimming for long periods.
<Me neither>
The eels do co habitat the tank with several cleaner shrimp and crabs. The shrimp are always cleaning the eels, not sure if this is a sign of parasites or just hungry shrimp.
<Likely mostly the latter>
Either way thank you for taking the time to read this and all of your previous support.
Sincerely Brad
<I wouldn't panic in any case. Eels, Muraenids do "scratch" quite a bit. Not indicative of problems. I'd move ahead full-speed with the move to larger/better quarters. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Prawn Goby    1/22/17
Good evening guys,
60g shallow tank, two Picasso Clowns, Rippled Coral Goby, Cleaner Shrimp, a few snails, and hermit crabs... I've had a Yellow Prawn Goby in my 90g reef tank years ago, and I felt it was fairly easy to introduce and keep. That particular Goby when introduced, went straight to the bottom of the tank (lights were off), hid for the rest of the day, and by the next day when lights were on it did what Gobies do. I've just now acquired a Yellow Prawn Goby for this 60g reef tank, and it did appear on the smallish side to me at 2" total length and slender, but the fins all looked to be in good shape, he was a bright healthy looking yellow, and I watched him aggressively defend his territory at the store vs. a small Firefish. To me, it was a healthy little Goby. I had seen these small Yellow Prawn Gobies at the LFS two weeks ago so I know it's not a fresh off the plane Goby. I picked the best of the three, floated him for 40mins, and dripped in tank water, etc...
turned off the lights, and he swam to the bottom but didn't hide. He hung out in the middle of my aragonite bed out in the open. My clowns checked him over, but didn't touch him. Fast forward one day, lights go on and the Goby decides he'd like to swim in the mid-upper level of the tank,

and was sucked to the outer protective foam of my Vortech MP40. I quickly turned off the MP40 and he swam away. He still insisted on swimming the upper half of the tank vs. scooting along the bottom. My Clowns checked him out some
more, but they weren't nipping at him or anything. Goby swims to one side of my Innovative Marine SR60 with dual overflows where the Clowns hangout, one Clown gets a little too close and the Goby swims into the narrowest slit for my overflow and into my filter sock. I immediately intro the sock to the tank, Goby swims out in the mid-upper level of the tank. I turn off the lights, and he settles down to the bottom. When the lights were on, I did notice that where his torso turns to tail, there is a whitish patch (stress related?).
<Maybe; or a physical injury>
He swims fine, but I don't perceive he has the strength to escape the suction from the intake/foam for the MP40 (which has remained off). My quarantine tank has been up and running without lights for 2months, and it's a 20g with hang-on filter with the appropriate salinity and temperature. I do intend to double check the water quality there with a water test, etc in the morning. No, I didn't quarantine because one of your articles indicated the Gobies are hardy, and tend not to carry harmful bacteria/parasites, etc.
<And often being quarantined is worse for them than not>
I figured as the only bottom dwelling fish (my Coral Goby remains mid range within my very porous live rock) he would be
best suited for an established system with nothing to bother him on the bottom except a few snails. Did I acquire a Goby that is too small/delicate at 2"? I really don't get the lights on/mid-upper level swimming at all. Thoughts?
<I'd give this fish a bit more time. Do you intend to introduce a prawn/Alpheid here? Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Prawn Goby    1/22/17

Hi Bob,
It's now early the next morning, and lights are still off, and the Goby seems to be just fine at the bottom of the tank - but the lights will turn on in about 4hrs, and I'll be sure to watch him closely to ensure he doesn't turn into Michael Phelps again.
<Heeee! Hopefully not that BIG an ego; it wouldn't fit in the tank!>
I'm open to the Pistol Shrimp, I've had one in the past with a Diamond Spotted Goby... but that Shrimp feasted on all
my hermit crabs. If I am to introduce a Shrimp for him, I'm guessing I should wait until the Goby is a little bigger? Or, do you feel that he'd be less stressed out with a Shrimp at his side?
<Much more re this last... they really protect each other. Bob Fenner>

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