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Re: Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate Units of Measure      4/11/18
Thanks for the response Bob.
<Welcome Ray>
The tank currently uses a 50g sump for filtration, will be up-sized to a custom 120g sump next week (being
delivered tomorrow) (drawing attached).
<I do see this; and have questions, comments>
As you can see the water flow pattern I designed doesn't give me an area for a deep sand bed/refugium.
<Mmm; if you change your mind later, you can/I would substitute the current mid area for a DSB and live plant culture/refugium... with a RDP lighting arrangement (alternating from your main/display light regimen)>
I have researched using an external "aquaponics" set up. From what I have read Pothos is the commonly used plant but it is toxic to cats (wife has a couple of them). Just need to find a plant that will work in an aquaponics
system, takes up nitrates as well as Pothos but isn't toxic for other critters.
<There are several choices; including many of "aquarium" plants that really grow best in the air>
My other thought was to use a continuous water change system. I use a 100g storage tank where I pre-treat RO water. I'm on a well that I like to describe as "flowing rock." Its GH is around 700ppm but KH is only 10ppm.
<Interesting; we have high KH and GH water here in much of S. Cal.>
I could set up a continuous change of 1gph, the storage tank would last 4 days and the 5th day for refilling the tank.
<Really sounds great for your Malawi set up... do assure me that you will have safeguard/s, alternative overflow discharge/s for potential
overflowing here>
Raymond M Sugel Sr
<Bob Fenner>

Flatworm or something else?       4/11/18
Hi WWM Crew,
Was hoping to get an ID on the mysterious creatures in the attached photos.
<Appear to be Acoel flatworms... Likely no big deal. See WWM re>
Thanks for your help!
Adam Clayton
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>


Re: Super Delta Betta Fin Spot (Bob, second opinion?). Comp.     4/10/18
<<Nothing more to add. B>>
Thank you very much for the wise words Neale.
<Most welcome.>
I have been keeping up with weekly water chemistry tests (using paper strips). Everything has been within the recommended guidelines for Bettas.
<Ah, that's good to hear.>
Sorry to bother you again, but I have a follow up question. Is it a bad idea to get the Betta a few tank mates?
<Yes and no! More specifically, farmed long-fin Bettas are miles away from their wild ancestors, and find it difficult to interact with other fish, whether competing for food or backing off from territorial aggression. So yes, it's a bad idea to casually mix Bettas with community fish because they're at a real risk of starving or getting damaged. However, there are fish that simply ignore Bettas, and conversely, Bettas ignore them. Benthic
fish are particularly good choices in this regard. Given sufficient space, I'm sure you would do fine with the smaller Corydoras species, Whiptail cats and Bristlenose cats. With a bit of luck, perhaps even very peaceful
schooling fish like Ricefish and Dwarf Rasboras.>
He is in a 5gal aquarium now.
<That's your limiting factor though: few, if any, community fish would be happy in a tank this small.>
I have read articles suggesting that neon or ember tetras, loaches, rasboras, and some Plecos make for suitable tank mates.
<Quite possibly. When it comes to Plecs for example, yes, anything goes because they don't view fish as food, and even the most psychotic Betta isn't going to have any impact whatsoever on these heavily armoured
catfish. Tetras, loaches, and so on are more of a gamble because these sometimes harass Bettas, nip them, or steal their food. So the default advice is, apart from Loricariidae, keep Bettas away from other fish UNLESS
you are sure the combination will work.>
All the best,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta sorority blues ...     4/10/18
Hello again Neale, and thank you for the quick reply!
<No problem.>
I have to apologize for my previous email … it was written while I was up past my bedtime, distraught from finding dead fish. After re-reading it with your reply this morning, I realized that I’d somehow forgotten to include even the tank volume ... talk about scatterbrained! Anyway, I think I wasn’t completely clear about some of the details initially. I re-cycled the (empty) tank with ammonia after the first round of Bettas died, because the combination of Kanamycin + Nitrofurazone pretty much crippled my biological filter (I left the bio media in during treatment because I wanted to make sure that none of the nasty bugs were hiding out in the filter).
<The thing with most of these opportunistic bacterial infections is that you can't really eliminate them from the system, any more than antibiotics eliminate bacteria from our homes, cars, workplaces, etc. All the medication is meant to do is kill the bacteria inside the sick fish, or at least slow them down enough the fish's own immune system can kick in. For sure the bacteria should be killed off in the aquarium, and perhaps the filter too, but the various Aeromonas and Pseudomonas species would be back in no time at all. Ideally, you'd remove sick fish to a hospital tank with a chemical filter (i.e., Zeolite/ammonia remover in an air-powered box filter or similar) so that could treat the fish without stressing the filter bacteria. But failing that, you can remove some filter media to a bucket and leave it there, warm and wet, until such time as it could be put back into the main aquarium AFTER you'd finished with the medication. That said, many aquarium medications are filter-safe, if used correctly. As you probably know, not all antibiotics work against all bacteria (or else we'd only need to use penicillin in all of medical science!) so the manufacturers choose antibiotics or antibacterials that don't seriously affect the filter bacteria.>
I only removed the (filter floss + carbon) cartridge because it would have adsorbed the meds.
<Correct; carbon would be unhelpful here.>
It took about a week of dosing ammonia before the filter was back up to capacity, and I replaced the filter cartridge with a new one at this point. The corys were added in as ‘placeholders’ for a week or so just to keep the bacteria fed, and removed once the new Bettas were added because I was essentially quarantining the Bettas in their display tank. Thanks for the info about C. panda, by the way … I guess I’ll have to stick to C. aeneus once I get the tank stabilized ...
<Corydoras aeneus and Corydoras panda are the same so far as temperature goes, 22-25 C being ideal; of the widely traded Corydoras species, Corydoras sterbai is the only real 'hothouse flower' seen, doing well between 24-28 C, hence its moniker as 'the Discus aquarium Cory'. The somewhat bigger Brochis species are tolerant of warmer water, too.>
I am happy to report that my two surviving ladies are still with us, and so far they appear healthy; eating and swimming normally, no signs of distress or disease.
<Good news.>
Tank parameters as of this morning were as follows:
US 29 gallon, 25 C, pH 7.2, dH 5, ammonia/nitrite 0, nitrate ~5 ppm.
<Sounds good.>
As far as how my parameters and temp/current strength compare to the pet store conditions, these ladies were packaged in unheated cups like their male counterparts — I did test the pH in the cups before adding them, and all were between 7.0 and 7.4. I didn’t take the temperature, but I’d guess that room temperature in the store was about 22-23 C, whereas my house runs about 25 C. As far as current, the turnover is a bit over 6 times/hr and I keep the water line fairly high so that the current doesn’t penetrate too deeply below the surface (also so the filter doesn’t make a huge racket). I could definitely add a sponge over the intake to slow the current a bit, if you think it would help.
<If the Bettas seem to be struggling, then diffusing the outflow of water might well be useful -- directing the outflow at the glass wall of the tank or through a spray bar can help. I wouldn't block the inlet unless that was the only option -- forcing the filter to work harder than it's designed to could shorten its life.>
The current is fairly strong right under the filter output but they aren’t being blown around the tank or anything.
<Which sounds fine.>
The fish were drip-acclimated to the tank water over the course of about an hour since they couldn’t really be ‘floated’ in a cup. I will definitely check the gH of the store water next time just in case they are using liquid rock (definitely a possibility around here, if they are using tap water), as my water tends to be fairly soft.
<Definitely a consideration.>
What would be a reasonable time frame over which to acclimate any new fish (in a separate quarantine tank) to a lower gH with water changes?
<Really hard to say. Some scientists reckon such adaptation actually takes days, if not weeks. Certainly if at all possible, I'd have the new livestock in a tank of their own with tap water similar to the retailer, and then do, say, 20% water changes each day, until the end of the week, by which time any differences between the quarantine tank and your own would be trivial. Alternatively, and perhaps more practical if you don't have a quarantine tank, is to adjust the main tank to close to tap water across one week, add new livestock, and then adjust it back again over the following week. Of course you'd now be exposing any existing fish to a water chemistry change, but done slowly this isn't necessarily beyond what they're evolved to handle. So not ideal, but better than flinging in fish from one set of conditions to another if you suspect the water chemistry change is severe.>
Further, should I add new fish one at a time or try to do it as a group (again, after a reasonable quarantine period) like before?
<Oh, I'd stick to adding two one week, two the next week, that sort of thing.>
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate Units of Measure     4/10/18
Hello Crew,
<Hey Ray>
I have a 210g, probably considered overstocked, mixed Malawi tank. The tank is filtered by a submerged media sump with a six times turnover. I use Hanna meters for my chemistry checks. The ammonia, nitrite and nitrate
meters all measure using the -N unit of measure (NH3-N, NO2-N & NO3-N).
The unit of measure for ammonia and nitrite are not relevant since the goal of both is to maintain 0ppm. Nitrate is the one causing me some thought. The tank consistently runs 10 - 30ppm NO3-N and I use this value to determine water changes, as it approaches 30ppm I do a 50% WC usually every other week. But if I apply the conversion factor (4.4) to these numbers my ranges are 45 - 130ppm in which case my WCs should be happening probably twice per week. I recently read the article, Nitrates in Freshwater Aquarium Systems
by Bob Fenner, which stated "Do check your test kit though almost all are nitrate ion types on the market nowadays..." I'm guessing doing the conversion on NO3-N > NO3 is what I should be looking at.
<Yes; agreed>
The tank has been running in its current configuration (mixed Malawi) for 2 years, before that it was a planted discus tank for maybe 8 years. Being retired gives me time to think, maybe too much. Should I take the attitude, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Looking for confirmation/disagreement.
Raymond M Sugel Sr
<Were it me, mine, I would increase the number/frequency of water changes as you state (twice a week; with pre-mixed (for pH, salts if you use them) stored water. I encourage you to look into the possibility of tying this
tank in with a good size/volume sump as well, perhaps growing live plants there, incorporating a deep sand bed for denitrification; utilizing and out-gassing the excess NO3. Bob Fenner>

Sandsifters and grain size     4/10/18
Hello to the WWM expert crew,
<Hey Sunny>
Firstly a BIG thank you for all your passion about this hobby and the help you provide. I watched everything I could find on BRSTV and found the MACNA videos. Of my 3 favorites 2 were by Mr. Bob Fenner (the other is Sourcing, Quarantine & Acclimation by Austin Lefevre).
Despite having read a fair bit on your site and still have heaps of questions as I am planning my first reef tank. I have other topics I will write on in the future sorry;(
<No worries>
Out of cost, quality and convenience / time I am going to sacrifice convenience and time. I have a tight budget and after my initial layout only want to spend EUR50/mth on equipment and stock. The benefit of this approach probably means myself (and my tank) are better prepared and researched for each new addition.
<Am very glad to find that you are aware of costs (including utilities like electric and water) and have set a reasonable budget for ongoing>
Onto my questions. After a few months I plan on adding a Goby (probably Stonogobiops nematodes) & Shrimp pair and later I would like to add a pair of sand sifting Gobies. The display tank is a peninsula about 100G - 120cm x 50cm (60cm high) with an extra 30cm at the back for a refugium / internal sump. I will add pods, algae and refugium mud to the refugium after cycling.
Q1 - Which sand size? - As I want to (eventually) have a mixed reef tank I have Gyre pumps - so the flow will high at the top and then mild along the bottom - but flow is important and I anticipate adding more Wavemakers. I would like to get ATI Fiji White Sand. There are 2 sizes I’m considering - S (0.3mm-1mm) and M (1-2mm). They say "Because of his significantly higher density than a comparable Aragonite sand is the Fiji White sand considerably heavier and remains so better be at flow”. Would a 1” bottom be sufficient?
<Mmm; perhaps with some area (can be circumscribed or just mounted) for your burrowing life; e.g. the Stonogobiops. I would go with the 1-3mm nominal sand grade here>
and will the M be ok for Sand sifters or am I better off going with the smaller grain size?
<It would, but again, I prefer a bit larger, to stay down on the bottom, do all the substrate does... looks, function wise>
Also can I add pieces of shell I have collected from the beach or would this make sifting harder?
<Assured they're clean biologically, that'd be fine. I would add them for interest>
Q2 - Is there an easier pair of Gobies than Signigobius biocellatus that are suitable in a pair for a tank my size that can sift the sand?
<Oh, a bunch! Some larger species, like Valencienneas, are tougher... see WWM re all substrate sifting, shrimp gobies>
I would simply prefer a hardier fish that I won’t have to constantly hand feed. It seems all the Valenciennea species would be too big in a pair for my tank so is the most sensible option to forget about a pair of sifters and get a Valenciennea?
<Ah yes; not too large for a 100 G>
Q3 - Should I clean the sand ever assuming I will add the sand sifters? Should I buy other creatures that will clean the sand? I’d prefer after I get the sifters not to have to clean the sand too much.
<You can wait, look/see if much/any algae, particulates are accumulating on the sand surface. I do like to stir (with a wood or plastic dowel) about half (left or right) the substrate every water change interval (weekly). Vacuuming may prove unnecessary. Cleanliness is not sterility>
Thanks so much. Your site has been wonderfully helpful with my planning on multiple topics and I hope, as many of your other Q and A’s have done for me, this helps others ;)
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Super Delta Betta Fin Spot/RMF     4/9/18
Dear Wet Web Media,
<Hello Jacob>
I have read many of your threads on Betta diseases, but have been unable to find anything that matched my Betta’s current predicament.
I had kept my Betta in a 2gal tank for ~6months, about a month ago I had noticed the development of a white spot on his ventral fin. Initially I attempted to treat it with API Bettafix (a natural treatment for bacterial infections in Betta fish) which contained 0.2% melaleuca.
<Of no use>
After not seeing any improvement I tried using API Super Ick Cure, which contains 1% PVP.
This also did not seem to rid of the white growth. In the past two weeks I transferred the Betta into a 5gal tank and have run a course of API Fungus Cure, which contains Acriflavine. Despite these numerous attempts, this white spot still remains.
The Betta is behaving normally and is eating well. The tank temperature is a suitable 80 degrees F. I have included photographs of the white growth that has split the Betta's ventral fin (note: the water is. Yellow from the Victoria Green B in the fungal treatment). The tank is regularly aerated and filtered. The Betta lives only with a Marimo moss ball as company.
Let me know if there are any other variables to consider and what the best course of action would be to keep my Betta alive and well
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Thank you,
Jacob Lasci
<Very unusual to state, but your images are too small to see what you're referring to. But I will state, as you mention your fish is fine other than the split fin, I would not be concerned re the spot. Do send along a larger pic file if you'd like/will otherwise, and cease these treatments. They are more harmful than of use. Bob Fenner>
Super Delta Betta Fin Spot/Neale      4/9/18

Dear Wet Web Media,
<Hello Jacob,>
I have read many of your threads on Betta diseases, but have been unable to find anything that matched my Betta’s current predicament.
I had kept my Betta in a 2gal tank for ~6months, about a month ago I had noticed the development of a white spot on his ventral fin. Initially I attempted to treat it with API Bettafix (a natural treatment for bacterial infections in Betta fish) which contained 0.2% melaleuca.
<These tea-tree oil products are not reliable; perhaps even harmful in some situations.>
After not seeing any improvement I tried using API Super Ick Cure, which contains 1%PVP.
<While a better choice of medication, a single white spot is unlikely to be Whitespot/Ick, so this medication probably wasn't going to be helpful.>
This also did not seem to rid of the white growth.
In the past two weeks I transferred the Betta into a 5gal tank and have run a course of API Fungus Cure, which contains Acriflavine.
<Again, you're not dealing with a fungus, which can be characterised by its cotton wool appearance.>
Despite these numerous attempts, this white spot still remains.
<Quite so; when it comes to using medications, much better to identify the problem first, and then apply the right medication. The scattergun approach to medicating sometimes 'gets lucky' but isn't really an economical or useful way to approach things.>
The Betta is behaving normally and is eating well.
The tank temperature is a suitable 80 degrees F.
<And water chemistry? Water quality?>
I have included photographs of the white growth that has split the Betta's ventral fin (note: the water is. Yellow from the Victoria Green B in the fungal treatment). The tank is regularly aerated and filtered.
The Betta lives only with a Marimo moss ball as company.
<Also good.>
Let me know if there are any other variables to consider and what the best course of action would be to keep my Betta alive and well
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Thank you,
<While I'm going to ask Bob Fenner for a second opinion here, my gut reaction is that this is a typical cyst or tumour of the sort frequently seen on Bettas. These are not necessarily malign or even fast growing, and many Bettas have them for life. While Bettas can get Whitespot and Velvet, these are usually easily diagnosed by the salt grain (Whitespot) or icing sugar (Velvet) dusting presented by them. Glugea is another parasite that produces small cysts on the body, but these spread quickly and have a very dramatic appearance, like round nodules 1mm or more in diameter. Anabantids are subject to Glugea, but it's rarely seen outside of wild-caught fish. Lymphocystis is one last consideration, a typical viral infection for fish that presents itself as off-white growths on the skin. It's untreatable, but rarely fatal, and usually develops very slowly, and then fades away even more slowly, if at all. Having dispensed with these, the various cysts and tumours that Bettas are prone to may be a result of inbreeding over the years, and appear as pimples on the body where the pale skin pushes out between the scales. These cysts are often small and discrete, but may, in more severe cases, be part of a larger swelling within the muscles or even the abdomen. Obviously these are unsightly, but if the cysts are small and away from anywhere important, i.e., not blocking the vent or gills, then the cyst does no harm. It may fade in time, but usually doesn't. Some aquarists suggest there's an environmental or dietary triggering factor that causes them. Bear in mind as air-breathers they're more exposed to toxins in the air, such as solvents and paint fumes, than regular fish, so they may be exposed to a lot more risk factors than we'd expect for a fish. Others put the cysts and tumours down to bad genes. Hard to say. But the benign cysts are very common in Bettas, and to a lesser degree, so are truly malign tumours that spread and kill the Betta quite quickly. Not much to be done with either, beyond good aquarium maintenance. Cheers, Neale.>

full size pix

Betta sorority blues ... Mysterious female Betta losses     4/9/18
Hi there WWM folks …
I am an avid (freshwater) aquarist with an addiction to all things aquatic (~20 or so tanks running at any given time), but these Betta girls are giving me a heck of a time!
I recently decided to break up one of my Acara breeding pairs due to that all-too-common “way too many darned babies to grow out” disease, which left me with an empty, well-established, moderately-planted tank to play with.
While shopping for filter media at the local big-box store, a handful of nice-looking female Bettas caught my eye, and I ended up bringing home six of them that appeared healthy to attempt my first sorority. I drip-acclimated them over the course of an hour, then netted them out of those horrid cups they’re sold in and added them all at the same time. After watching them for about an hour to assure that no undue bullying was happening (mature Anubias do wonders for breaking line of sight!), I turned the lights out to let them rest. I don’t know if the variety matters, but there was one crown tail, one Dumbo ear, and four veiltail.
<Some people do report different aggression levels in some varieties, but I don't think it's a particularly significant factor.>
Tank parameters when the fish were added were pH 7.2, dH 4, 0 ammonia/nitrite, and 5 ppm nitrate (I usually keep NO3 around 15-20 for the plants, but when adding new fish I like to keep it a bit lower).
<All sounds fine.>
The tank had been given a 50% water change and deep gravel vacuum after its former occupants were moved, and had been empty for less than 8 hours before the fish were added. It is filtered with a 200 gph HOB filter and heated to a constant 25C. I also tossed in a few (3-5) small catalpa leaves because I planned to add a small school of Otocinclus once my LFS got them back in stock.
When I awoke the next morning all of the poor girls were recently deceased — and I say ‘recently' because 1) they had been added less than 12 hours earlier, and 2) the tank parameters were STILL fine (0 ammonia/nitrite, although nitrate had inched up a bit to between 10 and 20 ppm). 5 of the 6 had no visible signs of disease (other than being dead, that is!) and the last, who had wedged herself under a piece of wood and thus took me the longest to find, was covered in white fuzz.
<Oh dear. White fuzz, if distinctly fluffy, is usually fungus. Columnaris, or Mouth Fungus, tends to be less like threads and more like slimy patches or spots, though with more three-dimensional depth than typical Finrot. They are difficult to tell apart to be sure, but true Fungus usually has that cotton wool appearance that Columnaris lacks.>
The rapid decimation of the livestock coupled with the white fuzz caused me to suspect Columnaris, so I gravel vac’d and drained the tank completely, refilled, and nuked the system with Kanamycin + Nitrofurazone according to the package directions.
<Understood. But I would be aware of the fact Columnaris, as well as Finrot and Fungus, are to a great extent triggered by environmental stress. Water changes are not a bad idea, of course, provided inbound water chemistry matches that of the water being taken out. Similarly, taking apart a tank for a deep clean is fine, but only if you keep the filter working 100%.>
Once the treatment was complete, I vacuumed, drained, refilled, and re-cycled the tank with plain ammonia.
<Was the tank cycled before the Bettas were added? If so, and assuming you kept the filter media alive while cleaning the tank, adding ammonia was not required here, and potentially another source of water pollution.>
I then added a trio of panda corys that had been hanging out in my albino Cory breeding tank just to keep the nitrifying bacteria fed.
<Okay; but do bear in mind these catfish don't like very warm water, whereas Bettas do, so while 25 C/77 F might suit both, it's at the top end of what C. panda approves of.>
About a week later, being a glutton for punishment, I decided to give the sorority another go.
<How were the Corydoras? What were the ammonia and/or nitrite readings at this point? I would NOT be adding additional fish to this tank without knowing that the (re-)cycling process of your aquarium was complete, and that the initial batch of fish (i.e., the catfish) were thriving.>
This time, I bought eight veiltail juveniles (~2 cm) from a different store, figuring that the correspondingly lower bioload couldn’t hurt and letting the fish grow up together might keep bullying to a minimum.
I removed the corys (who were, and still are, healthy), drip-acclimated the Bettas as before, and added them to the tank with virtually the same parameters as above.
By the next morning, I had lost two of the eight; not good, but not as bad as before. Once again, the dead fish had no visible signs of significant damage or disease and water parameters were normal as above. A day later, I was down to three (water still fine!); and the next day only two remained. Again, no marks on the bodies, and the survivors were behaving normally and appeared healthy. I am hoping that they will remain so tomorrow, but I’m not holding my breath.
What am I doing wrong? Is there some secret to Betta sororities that I am missing?
<I would first try and establish if the water chemistry in your tank is very different to that of the pet store. If one has soft water and the other hard, that can be an issue. Similarly, is your tank similar in terms of temperature and water current strength? I'd probably let the new tank settle for another couple of weeks before adding any more fish. Let's be sure the tank is settled. I would not be adding any medicine -- unless the Corydoras panda got sick -- but instead focus on optimising living conditions. Remember, Fungus, Finrot and likely Columnaris are sitting about in all fish tanks, but only become dangerous when fish are damaged or stressed. It's not like you can eliminate them from your aquarium permanently. Their spores are in the air, and on plants and new fish, and eventually will find their way into your tank, even after using antibiotics.>
Should I just treat the tank with a broad-spectrum antibiotic when I add them, as a preventative? Please help!
<See above.>
Thanks in advance,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

OMG! He's Eating!  Dragon Goby      4/8/17
Hi Crew! Hi Neale!
<Hello Renee,>
Just so excited I had to give you an update - the Goby has barely been in his new home for 24 hours and he's out in the middle of the day, with the tank light on (it does have a diffuser) and he's eating. With everything I read about this species on the Internet, I was expecting to have a problem getting him to eat, so this is better than I dreamed possible!
<Certainly sounds promising.>
When I got him home yesterday, he went right to the bottom of the tank and just stayed there for about 20 minutes and then vanished into all the great hiding spaces I made for him. So I did as you suggested and did a 25% water change and mixing the replacement water to SG 1.004. As you predicted, that brought the whole SG of the tank up to 1.001.
<Sounds about right.>
Then I just left the lights off and let him rest for the remainder of the day. Then last night, just before lights out, I made him a little stew of mostly nori, but spiced up with a little bit of chopped bloodworms, Tubifex (Hikari) worms, and some brine shrimp - fed that and turned out all the lights in the room.
<Do be careful not to mince particles of food too small -- these end up in the filter and decay, doing the water quality no favours. Better to have fragments big enough you can remove any surplus easily if you need to.>
Didn't see him this morning, but didn't really expect to, so I just gave him a little bit more "stew" and went about my day. But just ten minutes ago I saw him out swimming around the tank until he found a pretty good sized piece of nori and the he just sat there eating away till it was gone and swam off in search of more. So here's my happy question; my aquarium supply store sells sheets of algae for marine fish. Should I get him some of that? Is it healthier for him? Or should I stick with the nori because he's eating it?
<The algae sheets sold in pet stores for marine aquaria is usually exactly the same stuff as the nori sheets sold in Asian food markets. Use either; use both; whatever suits your budget and/or convenience best!>
(all smiles!)
<Indeed! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: OMG! He's Eating!     4/8/17

<Most welcome, Neale.>

Re: Puerto Rico coral ID    4/7/18
Thanks again Bob!
Hope we can catch up again sometime soon!
<Me too Cory. BobF>

Re: Figure 8 puffer, please help!    4/7/18
Thank you so much for your quick reply!! I was unaware that the aquarium salt wasn't Epsom salt!!
<Oh! Well, glad to help.>
I did ask in my local fish store and they told me that marine salt ( that I use to make the water brackish) was different to the aquarium salt,
<It is. Aquarium salt is basically sodium chloride, perhaps with some other bits and bobs added, but really not much different to the sea salt you'd buy at the supermarket. Marine aquarium salt mix, on the other hand, is mostly sodium chloride, but also a whole slew of other minerals, like calcium carbonate, used to buffer against pH changes. It isn't "dehydrated seawater" but rather something with the properties of seawater in terms of salinity, but a much higher ability to resist pH changes.>
so I assumed that aquarium salt was another "brand" of Epsom salt..... I know never assume!!!!!
<Sage advice.>
Not a problem, thank you for clearing that up, and off to Boots I go!!!
Thank you again for your help,
You really are the fish whisperer!!!

Kindest wishes,
<And thank you for the very kind words, Neale.>

Re: Switching from Freshwater to Brackish      4/6/18
Thank you again! Have a wonderful day!
<Off to the pub to meet a couple of friends, so that should be nice; my toddler deciding to vomit all over the sofa, less of a highlight. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Switching from Freshwater to Brackish      4/6/18

P.S. Per your suggestion, I just put a smaller powerhead in the tank. When I moved the BGK and the Ropefish to my 125 gallon, I had to get them a bigger powerhead. So I put their old one back in the 72. I don't remember the gph, but it worked well for the BGK when it was in the 72 gallon.
<Should work fine. To combat blue-green algae, what you want is the water *across the substrate* to be moving. So position the powerhead accordingly.>
Also, you mentioned the goby will need algae wafers for a balanced diet.
Will this fish also enjoy cucumber, zucchini, and peas like my Bristlenose Plecos do?
<Yes indeed. Violet Gobies are omnivorous, and very adaptable in captivity, but all reports on wild specimens confirm that their stomachs are more than half-filled with algae and organic detritus. In other words, very similar
to Plecs, and a similar diet should work nicely. Indeed, have odd little teeth in their mouths that can be used to scrape rocks, and some aquarists have seen them feed this way in their tanks. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Switching from Freshwater to Brackish      4/6/18

Oh, I'm sorry about your sofa! But at least you have a little while before the baby starts asking for the car keys!
Enjoy your day, and thank you again!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Figure 8 puffer, please help!      4/6/18
I would like to start by congratulating you on such a marvelous site, You are my one stop shop for any fish related question I have!!
<So no pressure then...>
Unfortunately I have stumbled upon a problem that is proving hard to find help for. I have a figure 8 puffer, alone in a 15 gallon tank. He was bough from a local fish store about 2 years ago, as a fresh water fish but as you advised, I gently introduced brackish water.
We are having some building work done in our home, so I needed to move the tank, so rather than stressing him out by moving him from one tank to another, whilst doing my water change we decided to move the entire tank, whilst if was only half full, which went very well, ( although rather heavy!) without any hiccups!
<Can be done this way, yes; but do be careful -- the silicone seals aren't very resistant to 'twisting' when the tank is moved, so slow, weeping leaks are a risk when moving a partly filled tank.>
Once moved and the water change completed, in its new location, my puffer was swimming around happily coming to the front of the tank to greet anyone who passed.
<Good oh.>
I was so happy with my little fella coping so well with the move that a few days later I decided to reward him with some live blood worms, as he normally has frozen, which he guzzled down.
<I bet.>
However the next day I noticed that his belly had strange lumps in (and I apologise for my crudeness) his anus seemed rather noticeably open.
<Can happen if the fish has overeaten and the pressure of food behind the anus is forcing it open more than usual.>
This is not just the normal big belly after food, but almost 3 small pea size lumps.
<Likely just mouthfuls of food; I would not worry if the problem cleared up within a day or two.>
I have attached pics to try to show them.
<Yes; can see the issue.>
I read up on you site and though that maybe he is constipated, so I added some aquarium salt to his tank.
<Alongside the marine salt mix? This will achieve nothing. To be clear, it's Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) that helps with constipation and bloating, not common salt (sodium chloride). 1-3 tablespoons per 5 US gallons/20 litres.>
That was 2 days ago now and he doesn't seem to have changed, still 3 large lumps in his belly and although he isnt eating the food I offer him, He is still swimming around as normal and coming to say hello every time I walk up to tank.
<Then I would not worry too much. It is common (though bad practice) for pufferfish to be overfed to the degree they become bloated, and if left a few days, they will sort themselves out. This isn't natural though, and reflects our tendency to provide them with a much richer diet than they'd get in the wild. Epsom salt can help with constipation, as will high-fibre foods such as cooked peas, or failing these, Spirulina-loaded frozen brine shrimp or live daphnia.>
Do you think it could be caused by the stress of the move or is it more lightly constipation? If so how long should it take for the salt to..... relieve him?!
<Epsom salt will work quickly; a few hours.>
Should I just keep adding the aquarium salt to the water once a week whilst I do my water changes until the lumps go? Or is there something else I should try?
<There is NO need to add extra aquarium salt on top of the marine salt mix. Will achieve nothing, and will be raising the salinity somewhat, which may be harmful to any plants in the tank. The puffer won't care, of course!>
As I said he's not eating now either, how long will he be able to survive without food?
<An adult fish this size should be able to go 6-8 weeks without food.>
Is there a chance it could be internal parasites? if so is there a product you would recommend in the UK, Im struggling to find one on the UK market.
<I don't think that's the issue here.>
I am sorry to bombard you with questions, but we have become very fond of the little fella, so any help you could offer would be much appreciated,
Other info I thought you might want to know is, diet of frozen bloodworms, snails and cockles in shells,
Ph is 7.5
Ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate between 0 and 2.5 ( it wasn't white but a slight pink tone to it)
water salinity 1.005
water temp 24.5
Many thanks and Kindest Wishes,
<Hope this helps. I would not be concerned about internal parasites or worms unless this persisted for more than a few days. Two days' bloating sounds like constipation, and can be treated without anything more expensive than Epsom salt, which you may well have at home anyways, and checking online, apparently £2.49 for a kilo at Boots drugstore! Way more than you'll need, but nice in a hot bath, too. Cheers, Neale.>

Puerto Rico coral ID      4/6/18
I have a friend that is in Puerto Rico helping out with environmental cleanup after the hurricane. She was never really a coral person but needs to ID some corals and to be honest it has been forever since I dug into the
Caribbean corals. I was wondering if you could give me your expert opinion on 3 of them. Thanks Bob!
Best Regards,
Cory Shank
The first image looks like a Pavona, so i would assume an Agaricia sp.?
<I'm re-answering as I looked at these in another order. Yes to this one being an Agariciid. I make it out as A. lamarcki>
The second one almost looks like a chalice, I haven't dug to deep and I am quite rusty with Caribbean corals.
<Mmm, am guessing while I ask friends for their input. Is this a Mycetophyllia young colony... M. lamarckiana?>
I'm pretty sure the third image is a "HAIRY" Corallimorph, she couldn't give me anyone except for the image.
<Yes, for me, Rhodactis osculifera. Bob Fenner>

Should I prophylactically treat rasboras in QT?      4/5/18
I am nearing the end of treating my two large tanks for Camallanus worms with Levamisole. Once the 40 gallon is finished, I will be treating with Metroplex as per Neale's suggestion because my Krib, while completely recovering from the Camallanus worms, appears to have Hexamita due to her non-stop defecation (literally going on 3 weeks, you'd think she'd be a skeleton by now, lol).
<Indeed! But most of the off-white stringy stuff that comes out of a fish with Hexamita is mucous, which costs very little to the fish. So provided the fish is eating normally, treating a fish for Hexamita using Metronidazole should work well.>
I have 6 harlequin rasboras in QT, just observing and such, but since I do have the Levamisole, and since Camallanus worms are so insidious, should I treat the QT tank or should I just leave it at observation?
<While you could get away with observation for now, Levamisole is tolerated well by fish, and deworming new fish has become standard operating procedure among some hobbyists, including those keeping Discus and Clown
Loaches. So yes, if you have some Levamisole handy, definitely worth using.>
The little guys are so fast that it is hard to make a full observation.
Perhaps slo mo video would help me, but I wanted to get your thoughts. I know some like to just observe during QT and others like to treat prophylactically.
Any thoughts?
Thanks so much
<Most welcome! Neale.>
Re: Should I prophylactically treat rasboras in QT?      4/5/18

As always, you and the crew are absolutely fabulous! Thanks for your prompt reply and I shall get to work!!
<Glad to help, and thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Switching from Freshwater to Brackish      4/5/18
Thank you so much for all the information and guidance.
You've made getting this fish fun instead of stressful now that I have a plan!
Attached is a picture of his/her tank.
It's a 72 gallon with a Fluval 405 canister filter on it.
<A good filter.>
Tank temperature is 78 degrees.
The substrate is pool filter sand and all the plants are plastic.
<Both good choices. Algae control may be a problem without live plants though. Various approaches here, from the use of brackish water snails (such as Batman and Spiny Nerite snails, Clithon corona, Clithon sowerbyana, and Neripteron auriculata; also some US native species can work too, e.g., Neritina reclivata) through to careful control of lighting duration (4hrs on, 2hrs off, 4 hrs on) and nitrate control (minimal food in, regular water changes out). Still, if you get the tank right, with a good strong current in particular to keep down blue-green algae, the only pest algae will be diatoms, and they're easily controlled with Nerites.>
It's been up and cycled for a little over a year. It has a plastic egg crate top that I cut specifically to fit this tank that did very well keeping my Rope Fish in there when they had that tank.
It has a very snug fit to, so if the fish push on it, they won't be able to move it. That mass of plastic plants in the center is actually covering 4 - 2 inch pvc pipes, one on top of the other and fastened with zip ties. One tube is 24 inches, the next up is 18, next is 12, and the top tube is 6 inches. I know these fish get to be about 16 inches long, but I don't know what to expect in terms of diameter, but I'm prepared to make him/her a new "fish condo" out of 4 inch pvc if necessary.
<Understood. Juveniles should fit happily in the tubes you already have, and under aquarium conditions they're unlikely to get quite so big as in the wild. I think you're going to be fine for a couple years at least, and should you need to upgrade, that shouldn't be hard to do. Any ceramic ornament big enough for an adult Plec will be fine for an adult Violet Goby.>
Also, I have cut holes at 4 inch intervals along the tubes, about 1 inch in diameter, on both sides to ensure water movement within the tube so it doesn't stagnate. I can't find anything online that says these fish like a strong current, so I do not have a powerhead in the tank.
<They do like strong currents, as do most gobies, but I'd be using a strong current more to avoid blue-green algae than for the fish. Still corners tend to be where blue-green algae starts off, and once in your tank, it's a real pain to eliminate.>
I use RO/DI water for all the tanks because I'm on a well in a very rural area and my tap water has 1 ppm of ammonia in it AND human remains (probably wouldn't bother the fish, but it gives me the heebie-jeebies!)
<Understood, and yes, the fish couldn't care less. Ammonia will be neutralised by a good quality water conditioner, and as for the human remains, "parts-is-parts" so far as the biological filter goes. The reason I often advocate against using RO or DI water is a cost issue: people are more likely to do more frequent water changes if they can use the cheap water from the tap. If they need to be spending money on RO membranes, carbon filters, and all the rest of it, they're more likely to minimise the use of new water for doing water changes. Ultimately it's a balance. For sure, RO water is best, but 5 litres of tap water trumps 1 litre of RO when it comes to water changes! Make sense?>
I actually have never tested the tap water for nitrite or nitrate.
<Neither are critical factors here, but if your nitrate is very high, say, more than 20 mg/l, then algae problems are more of a risk, and you should take precautions as mentioned above.>
So I ordered the fish and he should arrive Friday. I have to have him delivered to the fish store where I get my supplies because UPS doesn't come out to my house. When I pick up the fish, I'll pick up the Instant Ocean and the store owner is going to loan me a refractometer until I can afford to buy my own.
<Refractometers are nice an' all, but for brackish they're overkill. At 25 C/77 F, 1.005 water is about 8.9 gram marine salt mix per litre (1.18 oz per US gallon) and can be made up using kitchen scales using these values
according to however much water your bucket holds. For example, a 5-gallon bucket would need 5 x 1.18 = 5.9 oz marine salt mix. Once you've done that, and it's all dissolved nicely, a plain vanilla hydrometer can be used to
check the specific gravity, and if the hydrometer is 'off' a point or two, just make a note of that, perhaps by putting a permanent marker line on the scale, and remember that's the level you want, not the number on the scale.
Refractometers are fiddly and need calibrating, and don't, in themselves, mean you're getting more accurate readings just because they're more precise (accuracy and precision being completely different things).>
Thank you for the suggestion about the Mollies for dither fish, but how many should I get without pushing the stocking limits of this tank?
<Oh, for a tank this size you could safely start with 6-8 specimens and let nature take its course. I'd get a single variety so that you can share the offspring with local pet stores, Mollies being popular fish. If you were feeling ambitious, you could get one of the two Sailfin Molly species, as these occur alongside the Violet Goby in the wild, so that'd been very authentic. Giant Sailfin Mollies in particular are expensive and difficult to breed in freshwater, but in a brackish tank will breed readily, adding value to your set-up. Alternatively, there are things like Micropoecilia picta and Micropoecilia parae that are very beautiful, difficult to keep in freshwater, and rare enough that any offspring produced would be easily sold on. As their name suggests, Micropoecilia are small, so you'd easily be able to keep a large group of them in a tank this size. As we've discussed, Violet Gobies generally ignore small fish, so you should be safe, but you might try out a few Micropoecilia first before buying a whole
So as you read this, can you think of anything I've missed?
<See above! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: identifying a Corydoras    4/4/18
Neale, Thanks for all the valuable shared knowledge and observations on Specchio!
<Most welcome.>
I will assume he is a Paleatus, and yes, he does have that adorable dorsal fin, which is a bit unusual around here, at least. I never see others like him at stores.
I've never tried offering while fish fillet, shrimp or clams, but will consider.
<Tiny, tiny bits of any sort of seafood are usually worth a shot with catfish, or indeed most kinds of fish. Remove anything uneaten and ignored after a few minutes.>
He doesn't like peas, I've learned. Any veggie suggestions I'll try, but lettuce, peas or carrots were never successful.
<Oh; well, keep trying! Sometimes a bit of hunger sweetens the deal. Starve the fish for a few days, then squish a cooked pea in the tank so the soft centre falls apart. It's a high fibre food, and good for minimising the risk of bloating and constipation.>
I never make eggs, as in Hawaii they are pricey, but again, good to know.
There's no heater on his tank; he lives in room temp in an air conditioned apartment, about 74...
<Sounds ideal.>
Funny you keep them outside. I get health advise on caring for fish from a freshwater aquatic disease specialist at the Waikiki Aquarium here in Honolulu where I live, and he raises Synodontis Petricola in an outdoor pond here.
<I would imagine! Since you're practically the tropics, I'd assume many tropical fish would thrive outdoors, assuming there's no risk of them escaping, of course. In England, keeping tropicals outdoors is very much a
season thing, as you can imagine! But it does work well for the hardier species. They get lots of natural foods to eat, algae and bugs and such, and that does encourage breeding and good colouration.>
Thanks for the advice and details. Really appreciate it.
Aloha, Dave
<Aloha indeed, Neale.>

Sick Betta. Do data    4/4/18
I just noticed my Betta fish has this sore on his side. I’m not sure what’s wrong and it seems to have just appeared. Let me know what you think. Thanks!
<Your file is an order of magnitude too large, and you've presented no data re the system, water quality tests, tankmates, the history of your having this animal. Send useful information. This appears to be a trauma; but from what? Bob Fenner>

Switching from Freshwater to Brackish    4/4/18
Hello Crew!
<Hello Renee,>
Well, my latest sick Oscar has recovered (thank you Neale) and left this afternoon for his new home.
<Well done!>
So now I have an open 72 gallon tank that I would like to change from freshwater to brackish for a dragon goby.
<Interesting choice. These big, quite friendly fish make good pets. They are a little demanding in some ways, needing brackish water for example, but in other regards extremely tough. Their biology in the wild is fascinating. They live in tidal rivers where they are sometimes forced to survive for hours in a wet burrow when the tide has gone out! So unusually among marine fish they are able to breathe air. Many species in their group lack eyes, and even the ones with eyes have such tiny little eyes it's hard to imagine they see much. In the wild about half their diet is reported to be algae and organic detritus, so needless to say they're not fussy feeders, but their large size does mean they need quite a bit of food.
Besides algae wafers and the like, they readily consume bloodworms, brine shrimps, and other small invertebrates, but even the adults (which can measure over 40 cm/16 inches) very rarely take live fish, even Guppy fry, unless absolutely starving.>
I've done my research and spoke to the company I would be getting the goby from and they say the fish (about 4 inches) is currently a freshwater fish.
<Yes, often the case that they're shipped that way, but trust me, they all come from estuaries and tidal mudflats. They are highly specialised fish, rather like Mudskippers, that only 'make sense' in very specific situations.>
So my thinking is that I would get the fish, put it in my currently freshwater 72 gallon tank, and slowly acclimate both the fish and the tank to brackish water.
<That would work fine. You might want to change the decor of the tank though, which you can do with the filter running. Depending on the circumstances, you might want to remove any live plants (these are unlikely to do well in brackish water) and replace gravel with smooth silica sand (which these gobies like to burrow into). Rocks should be smooth water worn cobbles to avoid scratching the goby, and the use of hollow tube-shaped ornaments will provide useful hiding places. These fish are rather shy initially, so shelter is important.>
But I want to be very careful doing this as I use RO/DI water with Equilibrium and baking soda for a healthy pH/kH which has been working very well.
<Unless your tap water has very high nitrates, there's really no advantage to using RO water instead. Because you're adding minerals to the tap water, and these fish demand high levels of dissolved minerals, tap water rarely
presents any serious problems for brackish water fish. The exception is high nitrate, which can cause algae problems. Otherwise things like ammonia and copper in the water can be treated in the traditional way, with a good water conditioner.>
I plan to use Instant Ocean to make the brackish water.
<A fine choice. But because brackish water fish are less demanding than marines in terms of pH and mineral, even cheap generic sea salt brands can be fine, and save you a few bucks over the years.>
I have sent e-mails to both Seachem and Instant Ocean telling them of my plan and asking these same questions: 1) I normally do 20 - 25% water changes weekly, Can I slowly acclimate the tank through my weekly water
changes or should I do it more quickly or more slowly than once a week?
<I would go much more slowly than this. Assuming the fish is in freshwater now, I'd introduce the fish, and then immediately do a 25% water change with water that has a salinity of SG 1.004-1.005. The resulting salinity in
the tank should be around SG 1.001. That's fine for the first day or two.
I'd then do something similar, a 25% water change with SG 1.004-1.005 water, every other day. Crucially, this would result in the salinity going up gently over the course of a week or so, allowing the filter bacteria to adapt. Nobody really knows if marine aquarium bacteria, brackish water bacteria, and freshwater bacteria are all the same things or different species, so it's best to assume the latter, and allow the tank to do a 'mini cycle' over the course of a few weeks. Once at SG 1.004-1.005, leave the tank alone for a couple of weeks at least. This should be fine for the goby, and if he's feeding happily, there's no need to raise the salinity further for a good while yet.>
2) will the Instant Ocean in the replacement water cause drastic changes in pH/kH as it mixes with the water currently in the tank that contains Equilibrium and baking soda or are there any other potential interactions
between Equilibrium/baking soda/Instant Ocean that I should be aware of?
<There will be little difference in the pH before adding the salt and afterwards, though it might go up a tiny bit. The hardness (both general and carbonate) should go up a little too. But not enough to harm the fish.
Similarly, while these changes will have an effect on your filter bacteria, if you go slow, it won't be noticeable. Normally, there's no need to add Equilibrium and baking soda to tanks with marine salt mix added, because
marine salt mix essentially includes those two chemicals in its formula.>
3) in my research I came across a random post in a saltwater forum that Instant Ocean is not sufficient to keep a healthy kH when used with RO/DI water (this was a saltwater forum, not brackish) and that I would need to
use Seachem Alkaline buffer for that purpose. Would this be accurate for a brackish tank?
<This is a debatable point, but worth thinking about. Normally, marine salt mixes contain alkaline chemicals that buffer against pH changes, so you shouldn't have to add anything extra, such as baking soda or a commercial
alkaline buffer. But if you find the pH drops too quickly between water changes, then you might need to do so. If we recall that pH drops are caused by decaying organic matter in the tank, then if we have a spacious tank that's well maintained, there's no reason to anticipate a rapid drop in pH. Make sense? Bear in mind that these fish come from highly variable habitats, and are MUCH less fussy about pH than their marine cousins. So provided the pH doesn't go below, say, pH 7.5, you're probably fine without adding anything beyond the marine salt mix.>
4) The information I've found said that the best SG for a dragon goby is 1.006, does that sound right to you?
<Anything between freshwater and full marine would be experienced in the wild, so yes, 1.006 is fine. As noted earlier, I'd aim for 1.004-1.005 initially, simply to allow the bacteria in the filter to adapt. Once you go above 1.005 you seem to get a mini-cycle kicking in, so I'd wait for the goby to be settled in, and only change the salinity up if you feel the need, and even then, in little steps through weekly water changes to allow the filter to adapt. What you don't want is an ammonia spike. To be fair, these fish actually handle high ammonia levels quite well, being forced to live in wet burrows at times, but this isn't something you want to deliberately cause for obvious reasons! Furthermore, your final salinity might depend on your chosen tankmates. Many people keep these gobies with
livebearers, whether Guppies or Mollies, since these 'dither fish' help the goby feel more settled and secure, and add some colour and activity to a tank that can sometimes seem a bit Spartan. Mollies are also good for algae
I have buckets spread all over my bathroom and I'm going to start testing as soon as I pick up some Instant Ocean tomorrow, but any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to have this fish, but I
have to be sure I can take care of it well before I jump in. Thank you!
<Hope this helps. These fish are genuinely not difficult to keep. But do make sure they can't jump out: like most eel-shaped fish, this can be risk if the tank has any large holes in the hood. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Calcrete rock for Marine set up       4/3/18
Hi Bob,
Coming back to your above comment, when you mention ‘impurities’, what are we talking about?
<Many other minerals; some are nutrients like nitrates, others involve metals, e.g. iron. Google Caliche and other names and the word impurities.>
What would they be and what impact would they have on the set-up?
<Could fuel algal growth to poison all>
And lastly, what would I test for after a few months and how?
<I'd boil some of the rock, use the water and rock in a small tank, add some hardier, small fish, non fish livestock and see if they live for a month or two>
Thanks in advance again,
Kind regards,
Jana Maddock
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question: C. Argi with P. Fridmani - order to add? Not, Fangblenny comp.        4/3/18
The numerous internet articles and blurbs I have read all say it is a
Combtooth species.
<Please see WWM, Nelson's Fishes of the World, FisBase.org... this IS a Combtooth blenny, but more particularly a Sabertooth Blenny; a sub-grouping of use. >
The shop only had the scientific name on it, so that is what I researched before purchase, since I had no idea that some of the common names have the word "fang" in them.
<Ah, yes>
Common names based on non-scientific visual descriptions are sometimes so confusing, and at least in the case of certain dragonets, have probably contributed to thousands of deaths. I would rather make up my own names.
<Well stated. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question: C. Argi with P. Fridmani - order to add?... Actually now adding Meiacanthus grammistes     4/2/18
Hello again.
This is kind of an update with an additional compatibility question. I still haven't got any fish in the tank. I had a cherub angel in QT for 3 weeks, looking great and healthy, but on the 22nd day I found it dead under a rock (probably due to heater problem, water was cold). I need to take a kind of long drive to get another one and haven't had time to do it, but in
the meantime, I kind of made an impulse buy at a closer place (I never make fish impulse buys, so I'm not sure what got into me). I would like to know what you think about putting it with the cherub angel and the orchid Dottyback. It is a striped Combtooth blenny, Meiacanthus grammistes, looks about 2" in size (hopefully, it will grow very slowly, since the max size
of 5" is kind of big). I have never had a blenny before, and was not planning on getting one, but now it is here. It is just in the QT, and I don't have the other fish yet, so it's not too late to change my mind either about it or about my other livestock plans. Your advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
<Mmm; actually; isn't your question about adding a/the Meiacanthus grammistes here? And the genus, are not Combtooth, but Fangtooth Blennies... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sabertoothblens.htm
In your prev. msg.s you mention this is a fifty gallon system. All should be fine here together. Bob Fenner>

Re: Anglerfish     4/1/18
<To me, this looks more like a Commerson's/Giant... Does it have the (three) large ocelli/eye spots further back on each side? Can the supplier confirm whether it hails from the trop. W. Atlantic or the trop. Indo-Pacific? Bob Fenner>
Re: Anglerfish     4/1/18

Hello! The photo I sent doesn't show it but it does have the three very distinct eyespots. Sorry about the photo size, I know it's very large.
<... BobF>

Re: Brittle Starfish Attacked by Giant Hermit     4/1/18
Hi Bob,
Thank you for your quick response, it was much appreciated.
<... please people (it's not just you Kitty), ONLY send files in hundreds of kBytes... We/WWM doesn't have storage space sufficient for megs. THIS is clearly stated on where you find to write us.>
I’ve had another look at the brittle and it seems that the hermit had actually ripped a whole leg off, I can’t find any bits of leg with a part of the disk still attached just a few bits of leg floating around, I’ll remove them as suggested thank you.
<Good; their death, decomposition could prove deleterious to your other livestock>
As he has had a leg removed and part of his body along with it do you think there is any possibility of him surviving?
<Some; these are remarkably resilient creatures (Ophiuroids)>
I’m concerned about moving him to the sump, There seems to be silt etc on the sump floor, will this irritate him?
<No; it will not>
If he does recover, do you think his cut will heal up and will he just be one leg down or will could he hav an opening wound forever or could his leg grow back?
<All may, can grow back>
Sorry to bombard you with these questions but I’ve not seen anything like this before and my LFS wasn’t that helpful!!
<PLEASE read on WWM re brittlestar health. BobF>
I have attached the pictures properly this time!!
Thank you again
Re: Brittle Starfish Attacked by Giant Hermit     4/1/18

Hope your able to open these ok?
<Ah yes; thank you>

Ozone is up and running          4/1/18
Hey Bob.
So I just cranked my ozone generator on. As mentioned I am running it into a ozone port on the Venturi on skimmer. I know you have covered this with me but if you would just comfort me please.... just to be clear, you said that the skimmer discharge DOES NOT have to go over carbon before reentering the tank, correct?

The sump and skimmer are outside the house so I’m not concerned about O3 in the house, just want to make sure I understood you crystal clear that I don’t need any carbon to scrub it before it goes back in the tank.
Thanks for holding my hand on this Bob. I really appreciate it sir.
Thank you,

April Calendar      4/1/18
Good morning Bob. Here is the April calendar for the WWM site.
<Got it Mike. Thank you. B>


Anglerfish; sys., gen. care        3/31/18
<Hi Ashley! Gabe here>
This is going to be a little long as I provide context. I've been keeping fish for years, mostly freshwater but had a saltwater tank in college with a snowflake eel. I've been researching angler/frogfish for years because they are one of my favorite fish and finally decided to get one.
<Ah, anglers can be great fun>
Set up the tank (37 gallon), bought my live rock, let it sit for a long time while I waited for the cycle, asked my LFS to order an angler.
<Tank might be a bit small. I would recommend at least a 55 gallon for the average angler, as they produce a lot of waste. For the smaller species (like Wartskin) this may suffice but I would go larger for most others>
They said they can't really request specific species and I figured it wouldn't matter too much as the care doesn't seem to vary a lot across species. It came in quickly, not long after I ordered it, but the store is an hour away so they held it for a few weeks for me but I didn't get to go look at it.
<Quite nice of them to hold on to it for you>
Well, I finally went to pick it up two weeks ago and lo and behold it is a Fowlerichthys ocellatus/Antennarius ocellatus - the Ocellated Frogfish, or *the largest species*.
<Yikes. These guys are like the Commerson's anglers. They get around 15 inches in the wild>
I'm 99% sure of the identification because of the spot pattern. I can't find anything about these fish except they come from
deeper water than most, and they get considerably larger.
<~15 inch max and yes, they hang around 100+ feet usually>
Right now it's about 4". It spent three weeks at the LFS before I got it and I've had it for two weeks now. Happily eating anything I put near its mouth, including live ghost shrimp, saltwater mollies, and frozen silversides. It's also the most active angler I've ever seen and spends quite a bit of time wandering around. I don't think the 37 is going to be the right tank in the long run.
<Definitely not for an Ocellatus>
To make a long story short: the anglerfish I got will get bigger than I expected! I feel bad for not knowing more about this species before bringing it home but am 100% committed to providing it everything it needs.
And I can't find any evidence of anyone keeping one except the New England Aquarium, who didn't answer my email!
<In the future, consider ordering fish online. I find that they are healthier and you will know the species in advance. Try LiveAquaria or BlueZooAquatics. Both are great>
The questions:
1. Tank size? Ocellateds are supposed to get up to 15". The 37 just doesn't have a big enough footprint for a fish that size. I'm wondering if a 40 breeder might work as it will have a big enough footprint... but that's a big fish in a small tank. I'll get a 75 if I have to, I just hate to go that big for a single fish if I can avoid it. What if I made two sections and got a second angler (hopefully smaller! Haha)?
<A larger tank will definitely be needed. Like I said, a 55 is what I normally suggest with an angler's bio-load. How big you go is up to you. If you were to put a divider in and add another angler, in a 75 for example, both sections would be 37.5 gallons, so you would be right back to where you started with an angler in a 37 gallon tank, only with some extra filtration>
2. Temperature? Any thoughts, since they're from deeper water than other
<Ocellatus are found in the Caribbean area/West Atlantic, so I would keep it at a tropical temperature. 76-80º>
3. Diet? I'm currently primarily feeding frozen silver sides with the occasional ghost shrimp or molly. Haven't tried other frozen foods but I expect it will eat them.
<They are pigs, so you should not have to worry about eating. Feed a varied diet of fish, squid, etc.>
Thanks for any guidance you might have, and I'm attaching a photo of the little monster for your trouble.
<Bob, can you confirm this is Fowlerichthys ocellatus? Beautiful little specimen you have there, Ashley. Let us know if you have any more questions! See WetWeb re anglers as well. Cheers, Gabe Walsh>
<<To me, this looks more like a Commerson's/Giant... Does it have the (three) large ocelli/eye spots further back on each side? Can the supplier confirm whether it hails from the trop. W. Atlantic or the trop. Indo-Pacific? Bob Fenner>>

Re: Starting Ozone       3/31/18
Thanks Bob. I guess I should have mentioned that the tank has only been up and running for a month. Not sure if that should be taken into consideration or not...
<It does... new/er systems almost always have high/er and less steady ORP signatures; old/er ones lower and more stable>
also the probe did come with the tip in solution.
<Ahh; then it is likely registering properly... NOT necessarily accurately. Precision is not accuracy>
That’s why I thought it would be accurate or pretty darn close out of the box.
<Agreed. B>
Re: Starting Ozone       3/31/18

Thanks Bob. I’ll get it figured out one way or the other.
<I have high confidence in you>
Re: Starting Ozone       3/31/18
Hey if you’re interested here is a video of my tank. Finally finished it today.
<Ah, very nice; like the central arch work. Am hopeful that ozone use will improve water quality here, resist the activity, influence of your soft corals, aid in resisting, perhaps improving the HLLE on your Yellow Tangs. Bob Fenner>
<<File too large to share>>

Leucosternon Mouth issue       3/31/18
Hi Bob,
As mentioned on Facebook, our Acanthurus Leucosternon has some issue with its mouth.
Hopefully videos sent via FB chat were enough for you to see what the issue is, or at least point me towards possible problem.
<Mmm; not obvious (to me) in the video what is going on with this fish's mouth. Is it eating?>
Leucosternon went through our quarantine facility and ended up in our display tank at the store, it has been with us since September last year, very active fish, was eating everything we offered, even picked the food right out of our fingers.
<Ah, a very good indication of health>
I have noticed something under his upper lip, at first I thought it's the beak/teeth they have, but now, since it stopped swallowing food, I'm worried. It still aggressively chases food, takes it in and then spits it out. I've tried different types of food it normally eats and same thing is happening with any of it.
Im suspecting its parasitic isopod, however it could be possible its mouth got damaged while it was nibbling at fake corals.
To hard to see without capturing it and taking it out, and im trying to not put unnecessary stress on the little fellow :)
<This may be necessary though>
Are there any isopods that would stay under fish lips?
<None that I'm aware. There are many that live on bodies, fins, and holding on to pharyngeal bones in the buccal cavity/mouth>
If there is such isopod, what course of action would you recommend. As you know we do import fish and have access to fish medication and fairly good quarantine facility.
<I would maybe skip trying anesthesia, as the amount of time, extra handling... will likely be more detrimental than simply catching the fish out (two nets, maybe two people) holding the fish out of water in a wet cloth towel, and using tweezers to probe the area>
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards,
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Re: identifying a Corydoras       3/31/18
Thanks, Neale.
I will do that.
He was sold as a paleatus, but over time those patterns on his front end made me think he was not a pure bred paleatus, and I couldn't find other paleatus photos with such a pattern. It developed after several years.
<Indeed. There are lookalike species, such as Corydoras ehrhardti, but these are rather rare in the trade. They do turn up, of course, but will be sold at a premium price. Yours has, for example, a deformed dorsal fin spine that suggests inbreeding, hence my belief that this is a Corydoras paleatus, albeit one that's more reminiscent of one of the fancy varieties, like the long-finned strain, than the true, wild-type.>
He eats New Life Spectrum Algae Max as he primary food, and Hikari algae wafers and their generic bottom feeder product (orange packaging with cute catfish displayed) occasionally...
<All sounds great. Algae wafers are a superb staple for these and most other small catfish, including Suckermouth catfish and the smaller
Synodontis. Couple these with occasional offerings of other foods and you can't go far wrong! Do try offering snippets from the kitchen though -- white fish fillet, shrimp, clams, cooked peas, even (very occasionally) hard boiled egg yolk. The fish will enjoy the occasional treat like these, and cooked peas especially help to avoid constipation. That said, New Life
and Hikari products are 100% complete, so if your fish are thriving, there's no need to add stuff if you don't want to.>
Specchio is his name. Thanks - he is very special and I love him dearly.
<Glad to hear it! One thing I will mention about Corydoras paleatus is that this is a low-end tropical species, and will be happier kept below 25 C/77 F, so if your other community fish allow it, feel free to dial back the heater setting. 22 C/72 F is ideal, and also happens to be ideal for a lot of other low-end tropicals including Zebra Danios, Platies, Neons, and almost all other Corydoras catfish! Here in England I've kept them outdoors in summer, and guess what, they bred immediately after being brought indoors in the autumn!
These are tough, but often misunderstood little catfish. Cheers, Neale.>

Brittle Starfish Attacked by Giant Hermit       3/31/18
My large (14 inch plus) brittle starfish was brutally attacked by my giant red hermit crab
<Oh, yes; large ones especially are opportunistic omnivores. Will consume most anything they can get their claws on>
last night and during the incident lost the best part of three legs and the ends of two legs, he had also gained a substantial cut from the top of his body round and down to underneath, it has not touched his mouth but his orange insides are on view, he is still moving around this morning and waving for food but I’m worried he won’t survive for long, is there anything I can do to help or should I let nature take its course?
<Mmm; some benefit from moving the animal to a sump, area where others can't get to it, and overdosing (2-3 X) a useful iodide-ate supplement/solution. Am a fan of SeaChem's line here>
I have removed the crab from the tank and I intend to take him bk to the local fish shop as he has over grown my tank anyway. There are also 3 long pieces of the star fishes legs in the tank, should I remove them or will they grow into other stars lol.
<These I'd remove. Just keep the central disc part>
Thanks for your help
Kind regards
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Starting Ozone    3/30/18
Thanks once again Bob.
<Certainly welcome>
Re: Starting Ozone    3/30/18

Good morning Bob,
<Hey John>
First I need to apologize for continued ozone questions but this one has me stumped.
<No worries. Have been spending days almost entirely stumped recently. Thank goodness this IS an area I am familiar with>
I am setting up that ozone generator at the moment. It’s a 200mg Enaly with built in ORP controller. I just took a brand new probe out of the box and hooked it up.
<Mmm; put this in the sump, in an area where it won't get smacked. Attached to the side with the suction cup>
I wanted to see what my baseline ORP was before adding ozone. I am getting a flat reading of 125-130 in my 750.
<Yes; low... the previous value range you sent along seemed unrealistically high>
I’m having a really bad time accepting that as accurate. There is no calibration option on this unit that I’m aware of. I’ll try to attach a pic. Any thoughts or suggestions?
<Yes... Am hoping your local higher end reef/fish store has ORP use... or another nearby aquarist; where you can check your checker. Do some sort of calibration. Otherwise there are such things as standard ORP solutions: https://www.google.com/search?q=orp+standard+solution&oq=ORP+stan&aqs=chrome.2.0j69i57j0l4.4527j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
As always, thank you.
<I would only trust the probe if it's been checked either against one of known use or a standardized solution John. I don't think you can/will "get into trouble" with this ozonizer, cranked all the way up to maximum (200 mg/h) setting period, but better to know here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Starting Ozone    3/30/18
Thanks Bob. I have a buddy down the road who has an apex with ORP probe. I’ll run it over there and see how it compares.
<Ah, good>
The guy I bought this unit from said it can take several days for the probe to stabilize.
<Some probes it does take minutes; others come with pre-moistened end>
Not sure if I agree with that opinion or not?? I can see an adjustment period but not sure about a few days....
Thanks Bob!
<Welcome John. You may well have this low ORP... Currently. BobF>

Identifying a Corydoras    3/30/18
Hey there guys,
I'm just trying to get a clear determination what type of Corydoras this is in the photos.
Can you identify for me?
Thanks for your help.
<Hello Dave. This is almost certainly a Corydoras paleatus, albeit somewhat quirky, one might say, in development. Whether this a genetic, diet or some other issue isn't easy to say. There are (tank-bred) long-finned Corydoras paleatus in the trade, and it looks like this has at least a bit of those genes in it. Nonetheless, I'd suggest running this past the nice folks at PlanetCatfish.com, who are very good at identifying oddball catfish. There are some Corydoras paleatus lookalike species out there, and while they're expensive and rarely traded, if you buy rehomed fish from a local pet store, sometimes you get lucky, the retailer had no idea what they were, and you end up with these special fish at a bargain price! Cheers, Neale.>

Congo tetra swollen.    3/30/18
Hello crew. Hope you are doing alright.
Today one of my Congo tetras, the biggest and dominant male appeared with a big swollen and open mouth. His head looks very red and swollen. He is still responding to stimulus but very weakly. His condition is worsening by the hour, so this is a very aggressive ailment. He was not like this yesterday. Other notable symptoms are an under jaw with marked veins, a small blood blotch near the pectoral fins.
This looks horrible and I've never seen anything like this. He does fight a lot with a certain other male to the point of pursuing each other across the whole 150 gallon aquarium they are in.
I've had my group of Congos for two years now. When i first got them they came with a type of mouth fungus, something that looked like they are white gums and no teeth (its the closest i can to describe it). It never got bad and it went away once happy in my tank. Now all of a sudden this. I checked the other Congos and there is one with the same white gum thing that i saw two years ago, but it is not hindering in normal feeding or behavior. I conducted a large water change (50%).
I have quarantined the sick fish into a 5 gal bucket with 1/2 Methylene blue and will be waiting on response. Its 8 pm and i don't think i can go get anything difficult right now and i don't think he will make the night if i don't do something right now.
I have malachite green, Metronidazole, and Levamisole in my med box. Any opinions crew?
<This does look like the infamous 'Mouth Fungus' to me, which despite its name, is a bacterial infection nowadays more often called Columnaris after the bacterium species responsible, Flavobacterium columnare. It can be extremely aggressive, and while it can be treatable, you need to work promptly. A strong, reliable antibiotic is necessary -- Kanaplex of example is known to be reasonably effective. Outside the US, access to antibiotics can be limited, but I have found eSHa 2000 to be quite effective as well, especially if the problem is caught early on (it's less effective once the fish is really weak). Neither Methylene Blue, Malachite green, Metronidazole, or Levamisole are useful here. Do bear in mind Columnaris is opportunistic and to some degree caused by things like fighting and less than perfect water quality, so reviewing the tank is important as well. Cheers, Neale.>

Regal blue with issues...     3/29/18
Hi Bob,
I've recently inherited this regal blue tang.
<I see>
He is now in my quarantine system (I am a service/maintenance business owner).
<Ahh! I did this for a few decades; retired on investments made with savings from install and upkeep>
I handle a lot of fish and have lots of experience with Cryptocaryon, Amyloodinium, flukes, etc.
I know that first of all, he's got some serious hlle, but back towards his tail are multiple "pits" not along the lateral line, and sticking up out of some of these pits is something that is highly visible above the skin.
They do not appear to change in location over the course of a week.
<They won't... improve or get worse quickly>
I haven't seen these before and I'm wondering if you had any recommendations as for treatment.
<Mmm; yes. There is to date quite a bit of controversy re HLLE condition, cause/s...
Is there a protozoan component? Carbon? Is this mostly, pretty much a nutritional deficiency syndrome?>
I've started dosing his tank with Metroplex every other day. He only seems to eat flake food, not the Mysis, brine or Calanus also offered.
He is currently in a bare bottom, cycled 20 gallon qt tank.
Thank you!
-Matt Parsons
<To grant you useful input, overview, let's have you read, starting here:
Then onto the Related FAQs linked above. Bob Fenner>

Starting Ozone    3/29/18
Hello Bob,
I hope this finds you well.
<Thank you John; getting better>
Today I am going to fire up my ozone for the first time ever. I have a 200mg unit that has a built in ORP controller. I currently have no idea what my sitting ORP is in the tank.
<Mmm; I would not only measure this... a few times per day, night for a while... AND record your readings, observations, including time of day the readings were taken; but continue to measure when the O3 unit is employed for a while>
In the past my ORP has averaged about 350-360 without any ozone.
<Good value range>
Once I start that unit it will be going through the Venturi of my skimmer. Any thoughts on how much ozone I should set the unit to deliver?
<Start on a low/er setting, measuring ORP in the system again in the AM, afternoon and evening for a few days before cranking up further. You will find there is a daily cycle as well as damping with feeding most foods, raising via water changes...>
I believe I remember you saying to not allow the total ORP go above 400, please correct me if I’m wrong.
<This is the/an ideal upper limit, yes>
What is a good starting point to dial the ozone output to.
<Mmm, ten, twenty percent per the dial...>
The tank is 750 gallons and the ozone generator and the sump it’s going to inject into are both outside my house on the porch. Thank you in advance.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

No fish; pondfish gone       3/28/18
<Howdy Ken>
I wonder if you can help me.
<Hopefully :)>
I have a small pond at the bottom of my garden it is enclosed by trees and hedge.
<How many gallons?>
I have had goldfish that have reproduced so there are quite a few now.
<Goldfish get rather large, just be aware>
Everything has been fine they come up to the surface when I feed them and I put the pond filter with uv lamp on regularly. They survived cold weather but this last week there are no fish! I can't see them at the bottom and
they do not surface for food that is laying on the top not eaten. No dead fish and no half eaten or carcasses on the ground what do you think has happened could you shed some light on this for me.
Ken Jackson
<Ken, it sounds like a predator may have snatched them from the pond. My neighbor has had problems in the past with the eagles and hawks in our area taking fish from the pond. Are you positive that they aren't hiding
somewhere in the pond? They may still be sheltering because of the cold weather. When was the last time you saw them? If they truly are missing and not hiding or dead at the bottom, I would suspect an animal took them and ate them elsewhere since there are no half eaten carcasses as you said. Let us know if you find anything hiding! Cheers, Gabe Walsh>

Re: Kribensis and Camallanus     3/27/18
Hello Crew!
I inquired a few days ago re: Kribensis with Camallanus worms treated with Levamisole. The Krib had done a total about face after dosing, much more energetic, eating voraciously, suddenly social etc.
<Good to hear.>
However, there was the issue of her continuous, long, and ever-present poop. Neale suggested that if this continued for >week, then possibly need to treat for Hexamita.
<Yes; ideally alongside an antibiotic such as Nitrofurazone that offers the best "one-two" punch against a range of common ciliates and bacterial pathogens.>
Well, she's still winning the world record here with the long, seemingly continuous poops. Going on 2 weeks now.
<Do also try Epsom salt (helps with constipation) and high-fibre foods (cooked peas if she'll take them; brine shrimps and daphnia if she won't).
These are both harmless to the healthy fish, so feel free to treat in the tank, alongside the Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone.>
She even fasted as couple of days, and still... So, I plan on finishing the Levamisole treatment this week, and then start with Metroplex and Focus (Flagyl/Metronidazole as medicated food). Does this sound like a plan?
She is still quite pale and skinny, but still behaving much much better than before the treatment for Camallanus.
Thanks for any advice in advance...and your help over the years has been like solid ground for me when things get shaky!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Molly fry - Gender determination.     3/27/18
Hi Crew, Thanks in advance. I have a question that feels like I should be able to find an answer to easily put I just can't seem to find it!
I know that with many species of fish (including Cherry Barbs), when spawning, the gender of the fry is determined by specific environmental conditions (often pH),
<In some cases, yes. Not aware of this with Cherry Barbs, but certainly some cichlids, such as Kribs, are demonstrably sensitive to pH.>
meaning that whole batches of fry can be either all male or all female (and in borderline conditions, a mix of both).
My question is, is this true for Mollies?
<It would seem unlikely, given the eggs are inside the mother, who will be providing a more consistent environment. On the other hand, once born, male fry do seem to grow more quickly (common among other fish, too) and can 'hog' the food, leading to starvation among the smaller fry (which are mostly females). So the net result may be an imbalance of sexes among the fry. That said, there may be environmental factors that allow the female to adjust the conditions inside her body, skewing the sex ratio of the brood one way or the other. It's as likely to be social as chemical though: e.g., the absence of males in the school might favour males, whereas ample food and therefore less need for genetic variation might favour females. Hard to say, really, and not finding much of relevance on Google Scholar!>
I have been rearing approx. 20 Molly fry (an interesting mix of Dalmatian, Black and Golden Lyretails) separate from the parents in an established 80 litre planted, low end brackish (SG 1.005), pH is 7.8, Temp is 25C.
Nitrite/Ammonia 0 - Nitrate is undetectable (plenty of plants using this up). Unfortunately I don't measure the GH/KH at the moment but I'm using proper marine salt and tap water to achieve the SG.
<Should be fine for Mollies.>
The oldest of the fry are several months old now while the youngest are about 6 weeks old. All of them still appear to be females (some of the oldest ones are well over an inch long and look almost fully grown. All are
extremely healthy and active with great colouration and patterns. Obviously I'm keen to separate them before they start breeding with each other but as stated, they all still appear to be females.
<Do bear in mind male livebearers may not be easily sexed for some months, 2-3 months not uncommon. Some scientists even believe the story of "sex changes" among Swordtails were more about late developing males that
outwardly resembled females than actual sex changes. Indeed, there's some scientific evidence that the classic male livebearer with the well-developed gonopodium and fancy tail fin may only be one possible 'type' of male, and that low-key, more female-looking males also exist, sneaking matings with females under the noses of more traditional-looking males. Theoretically this provides the species with two strategies: one with boisterous, colourful males at risk of predators, and more discrete males that mightn't compete as strongly, and without a proper  gonopodium will find it harder to mate with females, but will at least be able to father some fry in situations where the more masculine males are at a disadvantage. Bottom line, in batches of livebearer fry that appear to be entirely female, there's a good chance there are some males in there, and observing their behaviour might reveal some that behave more like males, squabbling or trying to mate with the females.>
Is this normal for mollies? Many thanks for your time. Leif.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Molly fry - Gender determination.     3/27/18

Thanks Neale, it certainly does help.
<Good to know.>
Now that you mention it, I have noticed some interesting behaviour, with some definitely appearing to be more boisterous than others. I'll keep an eye on them.
<Indeed; and perhaps isolate, if further breeding from particular virgin females is necessary.>
Thanks again for your insight.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Calcrete rock for Marine set up     3/27/18
Hi there,
I’m currently living in Cape Town, South Africa, and am about to set up another marine tank.
I have come across some really nice looking pieces of ‘CALCRETE ROCK’ on the beach on the Westcoast. This type of rock is also called ‘Caliche’ or ‘Duricrust’.
<Oh yeah; a bit of review here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caliche>
I read up on it a bit and it is apparently a calcium carbonate rock, a form of limestone?!
<Well, mostly CaCO3... with impurities. Even 80-95% pure might prove problematical>
I would like to use it in my new tank but cannot find any information stating in particular of whether it would be suitable for a reef tank.
Could you please advise.
Many thanks,
Kind regards,
Jana Maddock
<I too am curious here. But, also cautious. Were it me/mine, I'd experiment with this rock, in a small system for a few months, before risking it in a large, reef system. Bob Fenner>

Re: Kinda Critical Problem     3/26/18
I'm sorry! (laughing) You know how all children go through that stage in life where every word out of their mouths is "why?" Well, I never outgrew that!
<A good trait.>
I'm about to turn 55 in a month or so and still I have to relentlessly pursue the "why" of everything I don't understand. I tried to give the Oscar another piece of tilapia last night - small piece, about the size of a dime. He showed real interest for the first time, even a little enthusiasm, but when he took the piece of fish in his mouth, he just rolled it around for a few seconds and spat it out. Once it hit the floor of the tank he nosed it a few times and then slowly meandered off looking back at it as if he was debating whether he wanted to try again. I thought he
looked like someone with a bad tooth or sore throat. That's what raised my latest round of "why".
<Understood. Now, to be clear, fish cichlids process relatively little food in their mouths. The jaws are mostly for capturing prey and evaluating its edibility; the grinding and slicing tends to happen further down, in the throat really, using things called pharyngeal teeth. When fish like cichlids mouth food, then spit it out, it usually means they've evaluated it and decided they don't want to eat it. It's definitely worth persisting, but I'd wait at least a day, if not longer, between each 'offering' -- as a wise man once said, hunger makes the best sauce!>
Anyway, I'll keep doing as you suggested and I'm sure he's going to be fine and eating soon. Thank you for your patience! Have a wonderful day!
<Thanks for the kind words, and good luck. Neale.>

Re: Aquatic plant weights caused cloudy water
Thanks for the reply!
FYI - I had the driftwood and plants in our tank 1 week prior having any fish. Like I said in the prior email, all was good until I put the lead strip weights on last night?
<Meh; am a very old timer in these fields... not the weights almost assuredly; but look up driftwood on WWM; very common that it decomposes in time, causes cloudiness and alters water chemistry>
I did the water change and it cleared up a little bit still cloudy! I did check the water and PH is low so I added PH up (API).
<Had it dropped appreciably? Again, the wood. To repeat; I'd remove it and see>
Thanks again for you advise and hope to hear from you again .
<Again, certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hitchhiker ID      3/25/18
It is on a solid stony base, not in a crevasse or hole in the rock. I did not immediately think Aiptasiid for two reasons: first, when disturbed it pulls it's tentacles and oral disc down into it's rather fat column but does not pull into the rock at all (and indeed cannot because of its placement) and second, the tentacles keep bulbing up very similar to a BTA.
Are these behaviors Aiptasiids share?
<Can be; yes. They are quickly retractile, and do have bulging tentacles at times... Try using Google to see images, or WWM! >
I've never had them before so I only have "book learning" on them unfortunately.
<Are to be found looking about in the TWA. BobF>
Re: Hitchhiker ID      3/25/18

You're often a better resource than Google lol. I did look up quite a few images on Google image search and in various databases but i haven't made it through the WWM FAQs so I will keep looking! Thanks so much for your help!
<Glad to assist you Leah; hoping we can solve this mystery. Bob Fenner>

Re: Kinda Critical Problem      3/25/18
Thank you for responding so quickly! I meant to send the attached picture with my original e-mail, but something went wrong. This picture was taken about 10 minutes after I got the Oscar home (this past Tuesday). The second was taken this morning (sorry about the pictures, but that's the best my phone can do.
<Certainly looks better...>
I just hope I got them small enough that you can open them).
Ok, NO thiamine tablets, just clean water and tough love!
<I would do this, yes.>
I tried to get him to eat a small piece of grocery store tilapia this morning with no luck.
<Good idea though.>
But I did notice that every single ornament in the tank had been moved since last night.
<Ah! A very good sign. He's treating the new tank as home.>
A couple of the lighter ornaments were moved quite a distance and all of the sand has been relocated in some way. Since I've heard this is a normal behavior of an adult Oscar, I'm taking it as a good sign.
<100%, yes. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Kinda Critical Problem      3/25/18
Thank you so much!
<You're welcome and good luck. Neale.>
Re: Kinda Critical Problem      3/25/18

Neale, is it possible that the Oscar has ammonia burns on the inside of his mouth and throat like he does on the outside of his body and that's why he won't eat?
<It's surely possible. But inside the mouth heals quickly (fast dividing cells) compared with the skin and scales, so shouldn't be a major problem.
If the fish is swimming and behaving otherwise normally, I would not worry about eating just yet. Wait a few days, then offer something irresistible, like an earthworm. Cheers, Neale.>

My ich magnet tank      3/25/18
I always wanted the challenge of keeping lots of Achilles tangs-37 of them. I thought you might get a kick of this! I might add some more in the near future.
<Neat! Mind if I post this w/ your stmt. on WWM?
Thanks Pablo, BobF>
Go ahead.
<<Shown: Pablo's pic w/ the Achilles (dark), and a shot of him and his 1,400 gallon tank I shot while visiting in 2005>>

Aquatic plant weights caused cloudy water      3/25/18
Hi, My name is Larry.
I purchased some aquatic plant weights for our 20 gallon freshwater fish tank.
Our tank is about 2 months old and we have 5 guppies, 2 catfish, 2 frogs and 2 snails. We also have 1 piece of driftwood and a few live plants.
<Mmm; the driftwood is far more likely at play here... re the cloudiness>
I received these plant anchors from Awesome Aquatics and I think because I forgot to rinse/soak the anchor/weights prior to putting them into our tank last night and woke up this morning with a cloudy tank?
<Am wondering concerning this. When I was much younger I worked for a local wholesaler, Pratt's (Tropicals); and Charlie is still alive, active in the local tropical fish society (SDTFS); and one job we had was cutting up lead sheet (yes, the metal) into strips for plant weights. Also, all the commercial weights for this purpose I've ever occasioned were also lead... shouldn't leach metal into the water unless the pH is VERY low>
Should I wait and let the filter run its course or should I do a 25% Water change?
<I'd do the change, add some activated carbon (nee charcoal) to your filter/flow path>
I hope to hear back from you soon.
Thanks so much and have a great day,
<This could also/otherwise be a coincidental "bacterial bloom"... a profusion of microorganisms so dense that they obscure light penetration.
The latter could be checked with a microscope, sample. For me, I'd remove the driftwood for now; see if this doesn't result in substantial clearing in a week or so. Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta Erratic Behavior      3/24/18
So my Betta seems to be getting worse. He just stays at the bottom. He dashes to the surface to breathe and then drifts to the bottom. His fins are clamped, nothing wrong with scales. He won't eat anymore, not even live black worms nor medicated flakes. What is going on? I think this happened ever since I fed blood worms, which I just started feeding last week, but I am not sure. Do you have an idea what's going on?
<Perhaps something awry with the fish's nervous system; could be a parasite at play... Only time can tell. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta Erratic Behavior      3/24/18

What can I do for now?
<Perhaps raise the water temp. to the mid 80's>
I do really care for him as he is certainly special.
He did eat a black worm. I plan to starve him for like 5 days to make sure he clears his digestive system, is that ok?
<I'd only go w/o feeding for three days>
Thank you for replying.
<Welcome. BobF>

Question about my new rainbow shark      3/24/18
I got a new rainbow shark today and it’s skin is both golden and black.
<Indeed! Not uncommon. Should darken up with age, but Rainbow Sharks never seem to have the deep, velvety black common to Red Tail Black Sharks. On the other hand, both species do react to their environment. Your white gravel will be freaking these fish out, and they will lighten their colours to try their best to blend in. Replace with plain vanilla gravel, or better yet, black sand, and you should find this fish darkens a lot more. Why don't they like white gravel? In the wild, light normally comes from above. Light substrates reflect light upwards -- what is called upwelling -- and this is the reverse of what fish expect. Look at most fish and they are darker above, higher below, so that viewed from above they blend into the dark substrate (so herons and seabirds can't see them) and from below their light bellies blend into the light from the sky (so underwater predators, like sharks or pike, can't see them). Make sense? There are some exceptions to this, of course, such as Whiptail catfish adapted to open sand areas that happily blend into light sand, but most fish despise upwelling light.>
The pet store didn’t know if it was sick or just unique. I wanted him because he was so different in colour. I’ve tried Googling and looked through your website, but I can’t find anything to explain this guys unique colours. I’ve attached a photo, apologies about the cloudy water, we put some clarity stuff in it today, so it’s just working it’s magic.
<Cloudy water can mean two things. In a new tank, it's unstable water chemistry and/or quality, causing bacterial and/or diatom blooms. In tanks more than a few months old, that's unlikely, but silt can instead cause cloudiness if the mechanical filter media (such as filter wool) isn't regularly cleaned and/or replaced. Adding flocculants to make silt easier for the filter to remove will help in the short term, but you MUST identify the actual problem unless you want a perpetually cloudy tank!>
This guy was mottled coloured at the pet store (which is why I bought him) and we’re just curious as to if there is any reason for this guys unique colouring? Is he sick? Is he a hybrid golden and rainbow shark?
<There are mixtures between albino Rainbow Sharks ("golden" sharks) and the regular kind, but they're not common, and tend to be more blotchy than grey.>
If you could give us some information that would be awesome. I love his colouring, but don’t want him to be sick :( (and if he is sick, I want to treat him and hopefully get him better).
<See above.>
He was in a tank with other rainbow sharks and silver sharks at the pet store.
I’ve had both golden and rainbow sharks before and none of them have looked like this.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

crop, trouble


Kinda Critical Problem; Oscar env. trouble      3/24/18
Hello Crew, it's Renee from Idaho. I've "stepped in it", no, I've jumped in it again with both feet and I'm hoping you can help me help this fish.
<Fire away.>
First things first though - I found the two Oscars that were dumped on me by more former moving friends another home.
<Difficult fish to rehome, it has to be said.>
They are now luxuriating, just the two of them, in a 300 gallon tank with a lady who has kept Oscars all her life.
Second, I gave all of my Dojo Loaches to a friend who has a pond and I was getting ready to move my BGK into the 125 gallon tank when I got a call from a friend about an adult Oscar (about 4 years old) who is kept at her
office that she told me was "in trouble." They didn't want me to help them help the fish, they just wanted it out of there.
<Oh dear.>
So again, I jumped in. I found the fish in a 55 gallon tank with a foot long Pleco.
<I've seen worse, but no, not ideal.>
I couldn't see either fish very well because the tank was in a very dark corner of the office with no lights, but I could smell the tank. I just scooped out enough water into two buckets, grabbed both fish, and ran for home. When I put them in the 125, I could see the Oscar is covered with ammonia burns (I tested the water I brought them home in and it showed 4 ppm ammonia, 5 ppm nitrite, and the nitrate was a darker red than the darkest on the chart - I have no idea how those fish survived 4 years with these people).
<Fortune not only favours the brave, but also the stupid, perhaps?>
The Pleco has a few, but got off relatively unscathed.
<They are very tough animals, adapted to living in muddy burrows at times, so can put up with poor conditions for extended periods.>
Apparently when I netted the Oscar to bring him home, the net peeled off a lot of his poor burned skin and he showed had several large bleeding wounds and he has hole-in-the-head disease.
<I bet.>
He just sank to the bottom of my tank and lay there and I was sure he wasn't going to make it. But he did. Within 24 hours, the open burns were no longer bleeding and now (three days later), they are showing kind of a gray color that makes me believe the wounds are healing.
But he still stays on the bottom of the tank and doesn't move around too much. His skin is improving daily, but what's bothering me is that he's not eating - nothing in 5 days.
<Moving adult fish to a new home will certainly startle them. So even if physically recovering, it may take a bit more time before this fish is psychologically settled once more. So long as he's active, healing, interested in your behaviour, e.g., watching you, I'd not be over concerned. Offer something really tasty once a day, like a live earthworm, but otherwise don't feed. An adult Oscar will be fine living off his fat for a month, if not longer.>
I didn't think that was possible for an Oscar.
<Indeed. Cichlids will eat when healthy, but don't when they're not. Trying to get them to feed if they're not ready is usually pointless. Hold back, and once he starts begging for food, that's your moment.>
So I went back over to this office and was met with a great deal of disdain and hostility.
<No good deed goes unpunished.>
But I did get them to tell me that all they have fed this fish for the past 4 years in grocery store shrimp pellets for fish. They gave me the can of the stuff. I instantly thought thiamine deficiency from the thiaminase in shrimp - not to mention probably a host of other nutritional deficiencies.
But I know that thiamine deficiency causes Beriberi in humans, and causes loss of appetite, among other problems, in aquarium fish. So I did some research and discovered Boyd's Vita Chem which is a vitamin supplement that fish can absorb from the water (since I can't get him to eat). But none of the stores in my area carry it and it would take days to get some shipped to my house.
<I would not worry too much here. Simply offering a varied diet will undo any damage that can be undone. Gut-loaded earthworms are great (plenty of half-digested plant material!) but also try good quality cichlid pellets
(offering 100% of what the fish needs). Vitamin supplements, while nice, aren't really essential for freshwater fish. Perhaps more so for marines, where we can't so easily replicate their complete diet.>
So I started rummaging through my supplies and found some API Stress Coat which contains Aloe which is high in thiamine. I can only hope that transdermal absorption in fish is as fast and effective as it is in people
<Seems unlikely either way, to be honest. That's not really how vitamin transport in humans, let alone fish, works. It's more a "new age" idea/gimmick than rock-solid science.>
Anyway, I had another idea that I wanted to ask you about. Would it help this fish, and be safe, if I went to my local drug store, bought some thiamine, crushed up the tablets and dissolved them in the tank water?
<I would not do this.>
I know thiamine (B1) is a water soluble vitamin, but I'm concerned about the other ingredients that might be used to bind the vitamin into tablet form.
<Water soluble vitamins are once the body cannot store, because they're excreted more or less continually, and only the tiny amount needed at a given moment will actually be used. Everything else is lost via the kidneys. As Sheldon Cooper elegantly put it, vitamin supplements are mostly expensive urine! Much better to simply provide small amounts in the diet via green foods, gut-loaded prey, etc., so that water soluble vitamins are absorbed and lost in real time, as the fish uses/loses them. Fat soluble vitamins can be stored, of course, because they're not soluble and don't leak out of the body, but the flip side here is that overdosing some of these can be harmful. Unless you're a dietician, diddling around with vitamin intake, whether for man or beast, is usually pointless. A varied, balanced diet is the best way to cover the bases here, and even better, Hikari and other high-end food manufacturers have taken the stress out of this, via good quality staples such as Cichlid Gold pellets.>
But in a 125 gallon tank and with the minimal amount of these additional ingredients, I would think it wouldn't have any impact. What do you think?
<See above. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Hitchhiker ID      3/24/18
Hi again all! I have a few hitchhikers on some Caribbean live rock that I'm hoping to identify, if you'd be willing to lend an eye and an opinion. I think the anemone is an Anemonia melanaster and the sponge I believe to be
Mycale laxissima, but I know sponge identification is dodgy at best without a microscope.
<Even with at times>
The coral at its base looks to me like Eusmilia fastigiata, smooth flower coral. Do you feel I'm way off base on any of these? If so, what are they? I'd really appreciate your input. This is a brand new tank, still cycling so there are no fish or intentional inverts in there yet.
All the rock has been sourced from Caribbean suppliers.
<Leah, we ask/require that people send in files of no more than a few hundred Kbytes... you've sent 13 megs. And these pix are too washed out, poorly resolved to make out much. Please reshoot, re-size and re-send. Bob

Re: Anemone identification     3/23/18
Ah ok, I guess it rules that out!
Maybe as the anemone gets bigger (if it gets bigger!) I will get a better idea of an ID by it's size and reproductive/colonizing behaviour.
<Let's hope so. I really like these mysteries. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Anemone identification     3/23/18

I forgot, I also wanted to share one more photo with you that I took last night. Since posting this photo on Facebook for ID purposes I have had 5 or 6 offers to purchase it! Haha.
<Heeeee! Again; I have seen this animal... Ugh. W/ the green spots on the pedicle. Am on pain med.s and feel like my mind should be like this when I'm like 99! B>

Re: Anemone identification     3/23/18
Sorry to hear that! Maybe it will come to you when you recover!
<Heeeee! You're bringing to mind my condition when imbibing and not. With alcohol I have a somewhat differing set of recall...! B>

New male Betta with one spot /Neale     3/23/18
Hi y'all,
I have a male Betta that has been in a three and a half gallon quarantine tank for about 2 and 1/2 weeks. I just noticed, because I just purchased a magnifying glass, a little spot on a lower fin and it shows through on the other side. I don't know if this is Ick...
...or something that has been there all along and I just now noticed it.
<Possibly, or simply a subcutaneous cyst of some sort. It doesn't seem to have the classic viral 'cauliflower' texture of Lymphocystis, which is good. More than likely it's harmless, if unsightly, given its location on the fin membrane. Sometimes tears in the fins fail to heal properly, and become lumpy-looking. Or it may be genetic, environmental otherwise... hard to say. Assuming the fish is otherwise behaving normally, I'd merely observe from time to time to check it isn't getting bigger. Benign tumours are not unknown in Bettas, but if slow growing, and not obstructing an
essential organ, they pose minimal threat to a fish that doesn't usually live for more than a couple years anyway.>
I'm sending 2 pictures, one from each side; what do y'all think?
Because I know you will want to know, he is in a heated filtered Aquarium.
The temperature was about 77 now it's up to almost 82.
<Hope this helps. Will ask for Bob F for his two penny worth, but otherwise, I'd not fret Nice looking fish, by the way! Cheers, Neale.>

coral... soft, holey, why?      3/23/18
<Is there a full moon? 12 megs of files? Why?>
can you tell me why this coral has a hole in it? it seemed to be splitting in 3 heads lol seems healthy and colour is good as you can see in pics I've read it could be cloning it self is that right all other coral in tank are doing well also thanks
<Either very good conditions or something/s stressful can bring on such schizogyny (reproduction by asexual splitting). Might be that the Anemone below is mal-affecting your Sarcophyton... You do use carbon... are aware
of their propensity for terpene production? Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta Erratic Behavior     3/23/18
Ok, it is Omega One Blood Worms, but I will switch as he does have trouble eating it.
Will Frozen Black worms work?
<Yes; when I was much younger, I worked at a Betta (splendens) breeding, rearing facility. We fed black worms extensively; including for bringing breeders into conditioning>
I heard they're great as long they're not live. Are there any other frozen foods you would recommend to condition Bettas for breeding?
<Yes; Brine Shrimp/Artemia, Daphnia, Cyclops...>
I just have bloodworms because I use it to feed my Butterflyfish and Moorish idol. Works great for them, but didn't
know it was bad for Bettas.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

55 gallon metal frame tank. Back broken      3/23/18
I just picked up a tank as old as me (and probably older but they were still making these in my early childhood, but I digress...). It is a metal frame tank that has the back pane broken and although I want to retain as much of its character as is practical I also want to keep from breaking the bank. Since I am creating a 3D background anyway I am going to use 1/2 or 3/4 inch plywood in the back which will be painted with acrylic or a thick coating of silicone. It is my intention to use a putty like 2 part epoxy used for potable water vessels around the back panel.
<Mmm; if it were me/mine, I'd replace the back w/ glass; and likely Silastic/Silicone all the inside seams>
I have used this in a sump that not only held water but took care of some very healthy fish.
Once the epoxy cures I will then silicone all joints in the tank. Does this sound reasonable?
<The plywood may not take the strain... this tank is 48" by 13" by 22"?>

This tank does have a slate panel which is quite thick
<Oh, wow; this is an olde tank. Can you make out any marks of manufacture?
Perhaps a Meta/l/frame>
and I would think is stronger than the tempered glass in today's 55 gallon tanks. I know they used a tar solution to seal these. I understand there were a few such tar sealants used depending on the age/manufacturer of the tank.
<Yes; I mainly used Pecora years back... heated on a hot plate to render it pliable>
The only possible clues to this tank's age are the (at least) 1/4" thick glass and the two braces on the bottom part of the frame. This tank was indeed built like a tank! Pun very much intended, but also very true!
Thank you for your help. Oh if there is any good reading material you know of for this particular situation please let me know.
<There are some written materials about, but they are sections of magazines, individuals memories. You might want to join the AAHS (on just Facebook if you'd like); there are some friends that collect old fishbowls and such... Bob Fenner>
Re: 55 gallon metal frame tank     3/23/18

This tank is indeed 48x18x13. I will look into the cost of actually getting a new pane made.
<I would increase the thickness here; to 3/8", rather than the quarter you think the other viewing panels are>
Either way this aquarium is going to be put pack into service. Thank you as always!
<Glad to assist. Bob Fenner>
Re: 55 gallon metal frame tank      3/23/18

Actually I take that back, it is 48 x 22 x 13. I had to double check that.
I don't know why I thought it was only 18 inches. Thank you Bob!
<Amazing that I can't remember what I had for breakfast ayer, but do remember the standard dimensions of aquariums from decades ago! B>

Re: Anemone identification     3/22/18
Thanks. I have started going through all the anemone id pages on wwb but haven't gotten through them all yet haha
I did see one photo that looked like 'anemone 2' but couldn't find the enquiry that went along with it.
If I find anything I will let you know
<Thank you Nicole. BobF, injured>
Re: Anemone identification     3/22/18

Bob, I looked through all 40 some odd pages of anemone ID on WWM and did not find an answer.
<Ah; me neither>
I did see some very similar ones to anemone 2, most being called majano by your team, but I'm not convinced.
<Agreed; similar, but not the same>
Either way I believe it will likely become invasive so I will keep an eye on it.
As for anemone 1, nothing came up in the ID pages. I did post it to a couple saltwater facebook groups and someone suggested anthopleura xanthogrammica.
<Nah; we have this species and A. elegantissima off the (Calif.) coast; I did a histological study of the latter in college; and always look for the "Giant Green Anemone" when I am up the coast (gets much larger northward)>
After some further reading and research I think it is very likely to be an anthopleura but I am more leaning toward anthopleura sola.
What do you think?
<Lo dudo; this may well be an Actiniid, but A. sola is a coldwater animal found in about the same range as the other two congeners mentioned here; Baja Ca. and points northwest... It's a coldwater organism. Don't see how
it would find its way onto a tropical Zoanthid colony rock. Bob Fenner>

My fish has white spots on his skin and a white spot on his eye     3/22/18
<Umm; is this the totality of your msg.? Need data... like water quality tests, set up, feeding, tankmates.... Useful information. This appears to be one of the few Red Devil Cichlids... can make out a whitish dot mid-center on one eye... is this bilateral? On both sides? Could be due to a trauma... a physical injury, a bump into something... But more likely environmental... Too low pH, hardness... too high metabolites... ammonia, nitrate.
Send data... And not large files. Bob Fenner>


Jack Dempsey laying on side at tank bottom       3/22/18
<Hello John,>
I have a 3-year old Jack Dempsey in a 55-gallon aquarium. He's about 4 to 5-inches long and lives with his mate, a female Jack Dempsey who is about an inch shorter, and a single Pleco, about 4-inches as well. The aquarium has Fluvial 206 canister filter, two 4-inch X 6-inch sponge filters, an air-stone (under a LED lighted volcano decoration), and various hides/decor. The substrate is gravel that is 1-1/2-inches deep which is vacuumed bi-weekly. I perform a 25% water change once a month and use Prime for the new water. I feed them Hikari Cichlid Gold (red bag) daily and toss in a large algae wafer for Pleco every few days.
<All sounds fine.>
About two months ago, I noticed that he was having issues maintaining an upright position and would mostly sit on the substrate upside-down. When he did swim, he did a nose dive as soon as he stops then comes to rest upside-down. Using API's Master Test Kit, I recorded the following; PH is 6.5-6.7,
<Possibly a little low for Central Americans, which tend to do best in water that is medium hard, neutral to slightly basic.>
ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0 ppm but nitrate was elevated to 80ppm.
I also took a sample to the pet store for verification and was informed my condition are perfect (he did not get the same nitrate result as I did).
The temperature has been steady at 78° F - 79° F. I immediately performed a 50% water change, ceased feeding, and monitored him daily while performing 25% water changes at 24 hour intervals for 5 days. I then switched to 10%-15% water changes at 48 hour intervals. I did attempt to feed them at 3 days at which point his tank mates ate just fine however I did not see him eat anything. I removed any leftover food after about 10 minutes. I did not see him eat until about 8-9 days from the point I stops feeding. Even then it looked like he just chewed it up and spit it out.
<Not good; cichlids tend to be greedy when healthy. If they're suddenly picky, it's a sign of stress or worse.>
After about 2 weeks, there was no improvement so I began 10 minute Epsom salt baths and added Pimafix and Melafix to the aquarium as a precaution.
<While Epsom salt will raise general hardness, it won't really affect pH, and has no magical health properties. Pimafix and Melafix are pretty much useless. At best, they might have value as precautions against infection when fish have been stressed by shipping or damaged by fighting, but once fish are actually sick, they're so unreliable as to waste time that really should have been used with better medications.>
It appeared that he was getting better and was no longer upside-down but rather laying on his left side. Upon a closer examination, I can see a swollen area directly behind his left fin that is about the size of a quarter. When compared to his right side, the lump/swollen area sticks out maybe 1/8-inch to 3/16-inch further on the left.
<Oh dear. Some sort of internal infection, perhaps.>
I setup a 10-gallong hospital tank using one of the sponge filter from the 55-gallon tank, and air-stone, no substrate, and a heater but filled just ¾ full so he can reach the water surface easier. I have continued the Melafix and Pimafix in addition to starting a treatment regimen of KanaPlex and MetroPlex which in now complete with no improvements.
<Ah, now, Metronidazole and an antibiotic would be my default treatment here. Be sure to remove carbon if used, otherwise they'll be absorbed. You may need to run multiple treatments, with a few days' "break" between them including a decent water change.>
He is still in the hospital tank which I vacuum and perform a 20% water change daily (using Prime for new water). The lump is still present and does not appears to be getting any smaller of bigger.
<Epsom salt can fix constipation alongside a high-fibre diet, and used alongside antibiotics, can help with Dropsy. But constipation rarely incapacitates a fish: the fish behaves normally, just has trouble swimming properly. Dropsy usually manifests itself with those raised scales, so viewed from above, the fish looks like a pine cone.>
I feed him daily using his pellets food soaked in Garlic Guard which he eats more now than he ever did.
<Well, that's good!>
His breathing still appears labored after he swims about to get his food. After he has been at rest for a while, his breathing appears normal. I have the red bag of Hikari Cichlid Gold and the green bag. If I feed from the green bag, he will not eat however he devours the red bag pellets. If I hold both bags to the tank, he always swims to the red bag, no matter what order I display them to him.
That is where we are at now, he is in the hospital tank getting pampered as I do not want to lose him. I called a few local vets who were amused that I was calling about seeking treatment for a "'fish". With a mentality like that, I prefer not to deal with them, where is the professionalism?
<Or the profit, anyway. Frankly, while most vets will have skimmed some fish biology at college, very, very few keep up with it thereafter. Hence hobbyists have to fall back on their own reading and learning. That said, there are some good fish vets out there. Local fish clubs may know of some.>
Right now I am at a loss of what to do... I have read up on using clove oil for euthanasia however I want to make sure I have explored every avenue before I end his life.
If it does come down to that, I prefer not having to think back about any "what if's" I left unaddressed.
<Quite so.>
I am hoping that you may be able to help me save him as I do not want to prolong any suffering if this is the case.
<Tricky. I would carry on medicating with the Metronidazole, antibiotic, and Epsom salt as you are doing. This should cover all the usual 'suspects' in terms of cichlid healthcare. I would not be euthanising a fish that was feeding normally, not yet anyway, because I'd be hoping for some signs of recover.>
Any assistance you may have would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

New male betta with one spot     3/22/18
Hi y'all, I have a male betta that has been in a three and a half gallon quarantine tank for about 2 and 1/2 weeks. I just noticed, because I just purchased a magnifying glass, a little spot on a lower fin and it shows through on the other side. I don't know if this is ick or something that has been there all along and I just now noticed it. I'm sending 2 pictures,
one from each side; what do y'all think? TIA!
<Not ich, white spot disease, but a sort of "blemish" I have seen/encountered many times.
It may well persist for the life of this fish, but is not dangerous, nor catching for others. Bob Fenner>
New male betta with one spot, additional     3/22/18

Because I know you will want to know, he is in a heated filtered Aquarium.
The temperature was about 77 now it's up to almost 82.
<Ah yes; had looked at this msg. before responding to the first. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: New male betta with one spot     3/22/18
Thank you! You all need to have the award for the fastest turnaround time for questions answered.
<Heee! We aim to please. Cheers Barbara. BobF>

Undulated Trigger worth risk?     3/22/18
I have a 465 gallon swim tank, it has some bruisers in there. The alpha is a 10 year old foot long Sohal,
<Yikes, Mr. Ichiban>
foot long Mac Angel, 10 inch French, also some medium sized Triggers, 5 year old 6 inch Clown (never took off size wise), Red Tooth, Indian, and Huma. Are Undulate a whole different level of evil?
<Mmm; no. The Clown is about it in general... Undulated are a six-seven on their scale of being a ten. Variably territorial, but not in the same league>
Or be just another fish in a system like this?
<Something like this/that>
I had read somewhere Red Sea varieties perhaps not as nasty?
<Agreed; more easygoing from there>
One of the most beautiful fish in the hobby, but I don’t want to risk upsetting the balance.
Thanks, Kirk
<Adding anything live here is a risk; but I would not be daunted by this addition.
Please keep us informed.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Marbled cat shark... Adding a Seastar     3/22/18
Before we make any decisions and since I can’t find any answers online, I figured I’d come back to you guys! We have been looking into maybe adding some starfish. We saw a bigger one at a shop but we were curious as to would it be able to harm our shark?
<Mmm; not harming so much as either one bumping into each other. Is it (the Star) a rock-inhabiting species? DO please read on WWM re practical husbandry of Asteroids... most are very easily lost in captivity>
We’re not worried about her nipping at it. Any advice or information?
<The reading. Bob Fenner>

Betta Erratic Behavior     3/22/18
Hello, this is Jinoo Kim. I have a beautiful Pure White Dumbo Ear HMPK Betta, that I plan to breed soon. I have had him for 3 months, he swam calmly until now. Now he dashes around the tank when he wants to air and
then he dashes back to the bottom or into the java moss just to hide there until he needs air again. I have been feeding him medicated food now. I have recently changed his diet to frozen bloodworms from pellets to
condition him.
<I am not a fan of bloodworms, sewer fry larvae. There are a few companies that do a good job of cleaning (e.g. Hikari), but there have been many reports of troubles with their use. I'd switch to another food; perhaps Tubificid worms>
I do have the female in a breeder box, but I had her in it since I got them 3 months ago and he had normal behavior until now. I have had her in there for that long due to failed breeding attempt about a month ago. The nitrogen levels are fine, pH level is fine and temp is at 80. The temp did spike to 83 in a period of 2 weeks, but I was able to lower it back to 80 overnight. I don't know what is wrong, it might be the female in the breeder box? Or the temp?
<I don't suspect either the female, nor this small upward change in temperature are at play here. Again, all I'd do is switch the food. Use the search tool on WWM re "Bloodworms" for more>
Please help and thank you.
Jinoo Kim
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Kribensis and Camallanus   3/21/18
Both of my tanks, a 55 gallon and a 40 gallon are currently being treated for Camallanus with Levamisole after I had a couple of suddenly ill and now dead fish.
<Levamisole is a good choice here: relatively safe, and should not, in itself, cause stress or harm to your fish, assuming it's used as directed.>
I noticed my Kribensis in the 40 with typical red bristle-looking worms protruding from her vent.
<Sounds like Camallanus!>
So far, both tanks are doing fine, but this particular Kribensis has made a 180. She’s social now, eats voraciously and doesn’t hide between the filter and tank anymore.
I thought she was just an antisocial fish. However, without exaggerating, she has had a 2-3 inch, maybe longer, poo coming out of her for the last 4 days.
<Quite normal when de-worming. Sometimes the gut becomes irritated, whether by the worms or the medication, and produces a lot of mucous. Such mucous will form off-white to clear strings that contain little faecal material, hence the lack of colour. If this persists for too long, say a week, you might think about Hexamita infection, which is extremely common in cichlids, and also causes white, stringy faeces (largely for the same reason, irritation of the bowel by the parasites). In this case, Metronidazole is the treatment.>
I have seen nothing that looks like a warm, just regular poo. And it’s not the same poo, but generally, if you look at her, it’s there. Occasionally she darts quickly and it finally breaks free. After treatment, her very pale body developed some color, but apparently any plumpness she had is gone. Is this continuous bowel movement normal after a dosing?
<Can be.>
Was she just severely constipated?
<Could certainly be a factor, yes. If the cichlid is otherwise behaving normally, nice colours, feeding well, socialising, and displaying no unusual sores or pits on the lateral line or head (which often happens with Hexamita infections) then all should be well. Finish the treatment as/when instructed, do a decent water change, 25-50%, and see how things go!>
Thank you for any information!!
<You're welcome. Neale.>
Kribensis and Camallanus   3/21/18

<Oh, and by way of a timely post scriptum, Bob has just published a piece of mine on identifying and treating 'worm' parasites that might well be useful:
Cheers, Neale.>

Anemone identification   3/21/18
Hello crew, I am hoping you can assist me in identifying 2 recent hitchhiker anemones I have received this past week. Both came on Zoa/Paly colonies/frags but from 2 very different sources.
As you can see both are small (for the moment at least), very similar in size to a Zoanthid. Both are green.
Anemone 1 has these striking green spots on it's 'stalk', and has actually moved a great deal since being added.
Anemone 2 (there are actually 3 of them on the same frag) has not moved at all. Someone has suggested to me anemone 2 may be a young Epycistis crucifer but I also wouldn't be surprised if it is something more 'pesty'.
Both are very aggressive eaters, but don't seem to have much of a harmful sting.
Either way I rather like them, I am mostly interested on your opinion of whether either is going to pose any problems for me in the future.
<The first... I swear I've seen something like this... w/ the spots of  different color on the pedicle; but don't see in my ref.s here. Have you gone through the many Anemone ID FAQs on WWM? The second, due to the relegation of tentacles to the edge, striations from the mouth, am thinking is another Zoanthid. Bob Fenner>

Jack Dempsey laying on side at tank bottom; env.    3/21/18
I have a 3-year old Jack Dempsey in a 55-gallon aquarium. He's about 4 to 5-inches long and lives with his mate, a female Jack Dempsey who is about an inch shorter, and a single Pleco, about 4-inches as well. The aquarium has Fluval 206 canister filter, two 4-inch X 6-inch sponge filters, an air-stone (under a LED lighted volcano decoration), and various hides/decor. The substrate is gravel that is 1-1/2-inches deep which is vacuumed bi-weekly. I perform a 25% water change once a month and use Prime for the new water. I feed them Hikari Cichlid Gold (red bag) daily and toss in a large algae wafer for Pleco every few days.
About two months ago, I noticed that he was having issues maintaining an upright position and would mostly sit on the substrate upside-down. When he did swim, he did a nose dive as soon as he stops then comes to rest upside-down. Using API's Master Test Kit, I recorded the following; PH is 6.5-6.7,
<Much too low... pH is a logarithmic scale... you want a pH in the middling 7's here; ten times different>
ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0 ppm but nitrate was elevated to 80ppm.
<And much too high... your type of filters (driving nitrification forward) and lack of water changes, perhaps low hardness water likely account here>
I also took a sample to the pet store for verification and was informed my condition are perfect
(he did not get the same nitrate result as I did). The temperature has been steady at 78° F - 79° F. I immediately performed a 50% water change, ceased feeding, and monitored him daily while performing 25% water changes at 24 hour intervals for 5 days.
I then switched to 10%-15% water changes at 48 hour intervals. I did attempt to feed them at 3 days at which point his tank mates ate just fine however I did not see him eat anything. I removed any leftover food after about 10 minutes. I did not see him eat until about 8-9 days from the point I stops feeding. Even then it looked like he just chewed it up and spit it out.
After about 2 weeks, there was no improvement so I began 10 minute Epsom salt baths and added Pimafix and Melafix to the aquarium as a precaution.
<Mmm; not a fan of these non "fixes". They rarely do anything positive>
It appeared that he was getting better and was no longer upside-down but rather laying on his left side. Upon a closer examination, I can see a swollen area directly behind his left fin that is about the size of a quarter. When compared to his right side, the lump/swollen area sticks out maybe 1/8-inch to 3/16-inch further on the left.
I setup a 10-gallong hospital tank using one of the sponge filter from the 55-gallon tank, and air-stone, no substrate, and a heater but filled just ¾ full so he can reach the water surface easier. I have continued the Melafix and Pimafix in addition to starting a treatment regimen of KanaPlex and MetroPlex which in now complete with no improvements.
<And the water quality there; for the measures you have tests for?>
He is still in the hospital tank which I vacuum and perform a 20% water change daily (using Prime for new water). The lump is still present and does not appears to be getting any smaller of bigger. I feed him daily using his pellets food soaked in Garlic Guard which he eats more now than he ever did.
<Ah! A good sign>
His breathing still appears labored after he swims about to get his food. After he has been at rest for a while, his breathing appears normal. I have the red bag of Hikari Cichlid Gold and the green bag. If I feed from the green bag, he will not eat however he devours the red bag pellets. If I hold both bags to the tank, he always swims to the red bag, no matter what order I display them to him.
<Interesting. Am given to understand the red has more animal matter>
That is where we are at now, he is in the hospital tank getting pampered as I do not want to lose him. I called a few local vets who were amused that I was calling about seeking treatment for a "'fish". With a mentality like that, I prefer not to deal with them, where is the professionalism?
Right now I am at a loss of what to do... I have read up on using clove oil for euthanasia however I want to make sure I have explored every avenue before I end his life. If it does come down to that, I prefer not having to think back about any "what if's" I left unaddressed.
I am hoping that you may be able to help me save him as I do not want to prolong any suffering if this is the case.
Any assistance you may have would be greatly appreciated.
<I'd leave this fish in the 10 gallon as you're doing till it recovers normal behavior>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, who will ask Neale Monks here to respond directly

Re: Bowing     3/20/18
Thank you, much appreciated
<Glad to set your mind at ease. Bob Fenner>

Re: freshwater angel     3/19/18
Thanks so much, I don't bother with charcoal, again earlier read that it only lasts a short time and by now I've even forgotten what purpose it serves.
<Primarily, removes the yellowing chemicals that you see in the water if you don't do many water changes. Was useful when people changed very little water in their tanks for months on end, but since the 1980s, the value of
weekly water changes has been better understood, and most people change at least some water once or twice a month. End result, water doesn't go yellow, so carbon not really needed.>
I did isolate him last night and started the tetracycline while waiting. I see API has a packet form that only calls for a course of once every 48 hrs with only 2 treatments and Seachem same but for up to 3 weeks or until see improvement. Also mixing with frozen food. If he starts to eat, is what's mixed with the food be the only dose or also treat the water.
<Not sure why you're using Tetracycline at all. Unlikely to help Hexamita.
As for the Metronidazole, simply follow the instructions on the packaging.
Mardel Clout and Seachem Metroplex are the two most popular versions, I think. Clout is especially useful and works well with cichlids. You add it to the water.>
I would guess longer than 2 doses is necessary. What might be the prognosis as this may have been going on for some weeks as the stringy poop was actually the first symptom but at that time didn't notice any other issues. I hoped cleaning the tank would have been the answer but also kept looking around the internet-even took pictures/video into a pet store, was
maybe going to get furan 2 from research but wasn't sure. When Melafix was recommended I moved on.
<Indeed, Melafix would certainly be useless here. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: freshwater angel     3/19/18

My last reply was confusing-made it more clear. I did pick up and start the Metronidazole.
Only the API brand is available around here. Looked up Mardel Clout and I see it's exactly for his symptoms. Thanks again.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: Receding Chalice Help
This piece is close to the Entacmaea but the other is about two feet away with the same symptoms.
<Ah; I see. Thank you. B>

Pump question     3/19/18
Hey Bob good afternoon. So today I finished setting up my 750 and got it up and running. Unfortunately I am very disappointed in the pressure at my return nozzles in the tank. I am running a Reeflo hammerhead gold. There is about 14-15 feet of 3/4” pvc
<Yeeikes John. This is a VERY long way to pump any pressure, volume of water through 3/4" pipe>
and 4 90* elbows between the pump output and the return nozzles.
<Heeee! Even worse... >

The flow is barely noticeable when I put my hand next to it. Can you recommend a pump that is going to really push some water around in that thing? Thank you in advance!
<Umm; for this volume system... I do hope you have bigger through puts/bulkheads than three quarters of an inch. Let's have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pumpselmar6.htm
and the linked files above for background. Do you have a pref. for 12 V or 120? Very quiet, less waste producing? Minimalized electrical consumption? Data please. BobF>
Re: Pump question     3/19/18

What I did was build a manifold for 6 return nozzles. The manifold is made of 3/4” pvc pipe that runs on top of the back topside edge of the tank. From that manifold I installed 3 pvc Ts that are cut through the lid and each of those Ts have 2 nozzles each for a total of 6 nozzles that are 3/4” each. I hope I painted a clear pic for you with that explanation.
<The existing pump; what is the diameter of the volute on the discharge side? I would NOT change this till reaching the manifold>
Maybe I can get a pic and send it if you aren’t clear on my explanation.
<A diagrammatic drawing would be better>
I was just thinking that the hammerhead would be more powerful than it is. I think before I change the pump out that I’ll replace the pvc between the pump and manifold with 3/4 tubing.
<Yes. IF it is more than 3/4 inch diam. for sure>
That would eliminate 3 of the 90* elbows that are currently there now. Thank you for that link, I’ll check it out now.
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Pump question     3/19/18

Oh sorry I forgot to add a reply to your question. I really don’t care if it’s an AC or DC pump. I just need something with a little more balls than that hammerhead
<There are several, many options. B>
Re: Pump question     3/19/18
The discharge on the volute is 1.5” and I have it reduced down to 3/4” right at the discharge. Did I make a mistake by doing that??
<Heeeee! Oh yes. The induced drag is incredible>
I just assumed that using 1.5” pipe from the pump to the manifold would be way to much water weight in the pipe and suffocate the pump. Is that incorrect?
<Yes; incorrect. Go back to the 1.5 up to the manifold. B>
Thank you as always,
Re: Pump question     3/19/18

Will do. Thanks again Bob.

Crazing     3/19/18
Hi I have a 15 year old plus 135 gallon acrylic aquarium. It has crazing and or seam separation.
First two pics are of the top left corner, the 3rd is of the top right corner. How concerned should I be?
<Meh; not much. Have seen MUCH worse>
There is also a significant amount of crazing over the viewing panel. I will be upgrading to a 180 in the next month or so, just wanted to know how urgent of a situation I’m in.
<You've got years here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Crazing... Bowing     3/19/18
Thank you for the quick response. I just put a level to the front panel, definitely at least a half inch bow in the middle.
<Typical for a commercially made acrylic tank of this size/dimensions>
Bottom of the front panel is level. I also put the level across the top of the tank lengthwise and the middle wasn’t touching the level at all, maybe 1/2 inch gap. Is this a big concern?
<Not a big concern. BobF>
Bowing... Earl's input     3/19/18

Hi one more question for you. My acrylic tank is 72 inches long. If I run a 48” level across the middle of the viewing panel, there’s a gap of at least 1/4” on each side of the level. Is that cause for concern? If I run the level vertically across the center there’s like and inch gap on each side of the level. How concerned do I need to be? Thanks again.
<Hi Randy. The first question you should really consider is a simple risk/reward factor. Is it really a risk you're willing to take? Can you level it out? I sure wouldn't leave it an inch off-kilter if I could correct it, if only for peace of mind. -Earl>
Re: Crazing.... bowing      3/19/18

If I hold the level on the front panel, starting from the right end half way up, the end of the level on the left side close to the center of the tank there’s like an 1.5 inch gap or bow.
How big of a concern is this? Am I measuring it correctly?
<Not too surprising... and yes for the measure you're doing>
Re: Bowing     3/19/18

Thanks. I will be replacing my tank in a month or so. I want to know how urgent a situation I’m currently in. The tank is level when I place a level across the top but the viewing panel is bulging. I just don’t know if the amount of bulge is acceptable or an emergency situation?
<Not an emergency. B>

Any idea     3/19/18
Any idea on what this might be. It's on a piece of live rock I have. I saw the first signs of life out of it yesterday and I have had the tank setup for roughly 5 months now. Thanks
<Arca; a bivalve. No worries. Bob Fenner>

Crab ID please     3/19/18
Hi, I’ve been trying to catch this little crab for a few week now and last night finally caught it and it now lives in my sump. Can any of you help ID it for me please. It’s only small, about the size of my finger nail on my little finger.
<Umm; can't make out much here. Need a much better resolved pic. Let's have you scan here:
and the 22 linked files above in the series. Bob Fenner>
Thanks in advance


Re: Injured Danio     3/18/18
Thanks Neale!
<You're welcome.>
Planning on getting more Danios as I have just the 6.
<Ah, understood.>
My little guy is improving on the Kanaplex. He is one of two small males.
My females are massive.
<I would guess the other male is dominant, and pushing this other male about.>
He is now swimming normally and exploring tank, red spot is fading after just one dose and poor pectoral fin is now functioning somewhat more normally. Still not eating and spitting out food but at least showing interest this morning.
<A good sign.>
Thanks for the advice on rearranging the tank and reintroducing them all at once back into tank. Great idea. My girls even bully my large Columbian tetras.
<Cheers, Neale.>

freshwater angel     3/18/18
I've looked pretty thoroughly through your site and others and haven't found exactly the right combo of symptoms. I've had this fish for 5yrs+ and has always lived in this 55g with 4 rummy nose and a Cory for the last
several-where others over time. I have a BioWheel, sponge filter and an undergravel at the opposite side.
<Okay... no further data, pix? Bob Fenner>
Re: freshwater angel     3/18/18

Sorry but my earlier message was in process when it got accidently sent. I also want to thank you so much in advance, I've learned so much from you experts that are so willing with your time. this is the first time I haven't
been able find a problem just like mine.
To continue-the BioWheel is a Penguin 350 . This angel loves to hang at the quiet end of the tank which is towards the kitchen and almost all activity, watching and of course waiting for food.
Due to life and a loosing some enthusiasm (there at one time was also 9 15-30gs, 1 15g, a 10, several 3's and up to 8+ beta bowls) I let this tank get into poor condition with surface algae that covered the glass and objects and I rarely changed water. I know, what can I expect.
<Indeed! But some fish do thrive on benign neglect, notably many of the hardier catfish and characins. They have quite a high tolerance for nitrate. Angels, like most cichlids, are sensitive to high nitrate to varying degrees, and are less good choices for tanks that need to be ultra low maintenance.>
I'd never kept fish before this earlier onslaught, I was doing it reluctantly for the man I took care of who decided he wanted to raise guppies. The story is too long but needless to say the plan changed, I got into it, had variety of fish and learned all I could. I'm one of those that needs to get all the facts especially when things go wrong.
Now back to angel. About a week and a half ago he started to not eat as aggressively and then having opaque stringy elimination.
<Oh darn! This sounds a good deal like Hexamita. Stringy clear or off-white faeces are a good sign that the gut is evacuating extra mucous compared to normal, which usually implies something is irritating the gut. It might be
a worm infection, but much more likely to be Hexamita, which is almost ubiquitous among farmed cichlids.>
He still acted normal-no outward symptoms of anything wrong. In past searches for issues concerning previous fish, I came across an explanation for the opaque discharge that made more sense than most others that I'd
read or heard. It's merely the mucous that is used to accompany elimination but either there's no waste or an over production due to an internal issue.
<Do see above.>
Since he wasn't eating I figured it was the former. He then started to breathe heavily, but didn't hang around the surface like he was gasping for air, was swimming and positioning himself normally. I cleaned the algae, did some water change and tested the water parameters. To my surprise they were all perfect except the hardness and as I understand if they are used to it that's ok. I then noticed the base of his left pec fin has a red line and a very thin one along the dorsal and pectoral. It hasn't gotten any worse-maybe a little better. I got bloodworms to see if they made any difference in his appetite before starting medication. He ate several the first time. he later had some poop in his string, tried some more and but at this time will only scoop them up and spit them out.
I have tetracycline on hand, enough to do a course of 4 day with one dose per day plus one. Should I use something else?
<Yes! Hexamita is protozoan, and antibiotics will have no effect at all.>
I also have some Duramycin-10 on hand but I don't know how to mix it properly. It says there is 25g of tetracycline per pound. I measured the contents of a packet and there's .066 oz. would that be the same
measurement for the Duramycin?
<Again, this is an antibiotic, and of no use here.>
Oh how do I find my answer?
Thanks again, Merri
<What you need is Metronidazole, about the only thing that works reliably against Hexamita. In some places you may need to get this from a vet, but in the US at least you can buy it from aquarium shops, Seachem's Metroplex
product for example. Use as instructed, remembering to remove carbon from the filter (if you use carbon) as all that will do is remove the medicine!
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Can you Id this?     3/18/18
Thank you Bob,
<Welcome Raul>
I really appreciate your help.
<Glad to render it>
I read all the articles and even searched in 2 forums.
I think I will go with your recommendation and be patient (Patient is the second name of Reefkeeping) as all the possible solutions are very hard to implement in my tank.
<Ah yes; this is what I'd do as well. Have seen much more concentrated aggregations of these Acoels on Mushrooms et al Cnidarians in the wild>
I was able to find and Buy some Berghia Nudibranchs to eliminate all the Aiptasia I had.
If I can find a Velvet Sea Slug - Chelidonura varians I will try with it as it seems to be the best and safest option.
If you can recommend something else please let me know.
<Nothing more. Nada mas>
Thank you again
Best regards,
Raúl Labastida
<And you. BobF>

Mushrooms     3/18/18
Hi guys,
20 years ago i bought 2 mushroom corals (pest). They seem to always take over, wage war on other corals. I am subject to remove rocks and having to brush the rocks clean with a wire brush. I have tried Aiptasia killers with
no success. Do you have any suggestions of how to get rid these mushrooms????? Or should on just not keep them?
<Mmm; I'd isolate the "Shroom" rocks onto their own area (bommies, wall?) and start all else on new rock separated by substrate... Maybe you can sell/trade some of your Mushroom rock/s for new LR. Bob Fenner>

Re: Drill Live Rock     3/18/18
Thank you! Have a lovely weekend.
<And you Tricia. BobF>

Purple Thai Devil Crab - eggs???     3/18/18
Hey there! I work at an LFS, and a while back due to a clerical error we received a big shipment of Thai Devil Crabs instead of micro crabs. Mind you, not vampire or red claw crabs - these are the big, beefy purple ones.
<Oh my! One of the so-called Soapdish Crabs in the trade, which need to be packed individually, sometimes even in soap-dishes, to stop them killing each other!>
Just a little bit not what we had in mind!
<I'll say. Interesting pets, but very much one-to-a-tank creatures.>
Anyways, we had to scramble to figure out an appropriate habitat for them, and you guys were really useful in finding information for these fairly uncommon critters. I think I've got my coworkers turned on to using your site for reliably accurate info.
<Ah, that's nice; thanks for these kind words!>
Out of our original 12 crabs, we've sold down to 3.
<Not bad!>
We've had them housed this whole time in a brackish setup maintained at 0.01 salinity, and it's been working out well. As their numbers have dwindled they get happier and more active every day.
<Sounds good. They may be aggressive towards one another, and are certainly opportunistic cannibals, so keeping these, or indeed most other crabs, in groups tends to end badly. Since a singleton only really needs something like a 5 gallon tank, they're not super-demanding in terms of requirements, but they're definitely not social or community animals.>
Due to a maintenance issue with the brackish setup, we moved them temporarily to an empty freshwater tank we deemed suitable for them, intending on moving them back in a few days. Within 24 hours, the biggest crab started practically throwing little yellow eggs across the tank.
We've vacuumed some of them up to keep them safe from the other crabs, but she just keeps laying them! I can find virtually NO information about this.
Everywhere I've turned I'm finding advice regarding vampire crabs or red devil crabs, but nothing about Thai Devils.
<Right now, I don't think anyone even knows which species of crab this is.
That's the main problem here. They may be Geosesarma species, like the Vampire Crabs. In this species the females carry the eggs until they're ready to hatch, at which point she dumps them in a freshwater pool, where
the tiny crabs hatch out and make their own way into the leaf-litter to hide away from predators. What might astonish you is that these Vampire Crab species were discovered and sold in the aquarium trade for many years
before scientists had a chance to identify them! Anyway, the Vampire Crabs were then described as Geosesarma dennerle (the purple species) and Geosesarma hagen (the red species), which you might recognise as names of German manufacturers of aquarium equipment. The Thai Purple Devil Crab remains a mystery to me, at least. Besides Geosesarma species, there's a good chance it could be one of the rice field crabs, Parathelphusa species, or else a Syntripsa species like the Syntripsa matanensis, or else a land crab Cardisoma species such as Cardisoma carnifex -- all of these have purple colours on them, and do turn up in the trade. You might care to look up photos of these species and genera, and see if anything looks particularly close to your chap.>
I guess I'm wondering if any of you knew if this was normal or healthy?
<It's a good sign.>
Do these crabs scatter eggs, and is their egg laying stimulated by fresh water, or do you suppose she flung them out due to stress from the move?
<Could be either, really. Changes in their environment are often 'spawning triggers' for many animals, indicating, for example, the rainy season.
Since these crabs are semi terrestrial, they're well able to walk between freshwater pools, dry land, and slightly brackish pools, and it's probably worth offering all three habitats, initially at least, to see which they prefer. Given we simply don't know what species the Purple Thai Devil Crab might be, it's really hard to state precisely which spawning or living conditions are optimal.>
If this is healthy or normal, what in the way of special care might the eggs require if they're fertile?
<If they're fertilised, the eggs will hatch and either larvae or mini crabs will emerge. If the former, brackish or even marine conditions will be most likely, but the mini crabs just get on with life from the get-go, and simply need to be kept away from potential predators, which includes one another! A soft marshy habitat with lots of moss or leaf litter is probably ideal, but you might equally try a shallow tank with warm water, a sponge filter, and various bits of stone or wood for hiding places and to allow them to climb out of the water.>
Would they need a salinity level like their parents, or do the larvae start out in fresh water and move on down to brackish later?
<Difficult to say. The mini crab type just get on with whatever's around them, so salinity isn't an issue. They'll probably spend more time on land anyway, only dipping in the water to refresh their gills. The larval type
are much more difficult to rear, and probably not worth fussing over. But to cut a long story short, what usually happens here is the larvae drift down to sea, or at least some friendly mangrove, develop there, and then when they have metamorphosed they start working their way back into rivers or dry land, as the case may be.>
I know this was a bit wordy, feel free to edit it down. There's just not much I can find online, and while I've been searching for hours the eggs are still sitting in a bucket of fresh water. I hope they're okay!
<So do I! I'd like to see a photo or two; might help to ID these crabs.>
Thanks for listening,
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: Receding Chalice Help     3/18/18
Hello Bob,
Sorry for the delay, but here are some pictures of the smaller colony recovering. These were taken just under two weeks apart from each-other.
They almost fully recovered, but then bleached out again... this time I have no idea why... now they are recovering again but patchy. Perhaps it is the lack of stable temperature as of late.
<... how close is that Entacmaea anemone? Trouble>
The chalice is still in limbo. It isn't netting much receding or growth but appears to have stabilized at least. I'm continuing to dose iodine but in smaller amounts.
As for the Bryopsis (?), it is doing what it does best: growing quickly.
It is a pain to manually clean it every few weeks and makes maintenance take much longer than before. You mentioned some snails might not discriminate and potentially help. Which species of snail do you recommend I take a look at?
<... please see; search, read on WWM re. B>

Worm Identification Help      3/17/18
I've never had an aquarium worm before but after introducing new aquarium plants and 5 Habrosus Cories, I've discovered this little guy wiggling in my tank about 12 hours later.
10 gallon freshwater aquarium
Heated to about 78 degrees F
Filtered with homemade filter (bio/mechanical + a PhosGuard bag, no carbon component)
Planted/has Fluval brand root tabs in substrate
The tank is a recent upgrade from my 3 gallon with new bagged substrate, some established plants, and my resident female Betta splendens (she's been with me over six months). I added some Jungle Val, Anacharis, and Sword to the tank yesterday, along with about 5 more pounds of substrate - all locally sourced from little fish stores, and 5 Habrosus Corydoras.
Fortunately, my female Betta is in a hanging breeder box to acclimate to her new tankmates before reintroduction. I selected this LFS because I had been told that they pre-quarantine their livestock, so I'm hoping this squirming ride-along isn't dangerous to my tank. If it is something to be concerned about, what steps should I take for removal/treatment??
<Appears to be an annelid, Oligochaete... Relation to earthworms. Not parasitic; not dangerous for you or your fishes... I'd just siphon or net out and remove. This worm was very likely a hitchhiker on a plant>
Thank you so much!
Concerned Fish Mom,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Can you Id this?      3/17/18
Hello Bob and WetWetMedia Friends,
<Hey Raul>
I took a picture of a Berghia Nudibranch and I noticed something else on the picture.
<Nice pix!>
Something I have seen over some mushrooms.
Can you identify the thing the arrow is pointing at, that you can see covering the mushrooms in the other 2 pictures?
<Oh yeah>
Is it a plague? A parasite? Or is something normal the mushrooms have?
<These are flatworms... some folks lose their minds launching attacks against such... best to be patient, perhaps add a biological control (predator). Let's have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flatworms.htm
and the linked files above re>
Thank you.
Best regards,
Raul Labastida
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Injured Danio      3/17/18
Hi guys!
<Hello Susan,>
One of my long fin zebra Danios was discovered stuck head down in a section of my tank's driftwood yesterday.
<Not good.>
I found him a couple of weeks ago in the same predicament. Fortunately, I only had to tilt the wood to one side for him to swim free. He is pretty scraped up on one side with his scales roughed up and a red spot under his pectoral fins that now juts out at his side at a 90° angle. Since his injury he is being bullied by the other Danios in his school, although he continues to swim with them. Last night I noticed the redness was more pronounced and he wasn't coming up to eat so I decided to move him to a 5 gallon hospital tank with a cycled sponge filter.
<Fish generally don't "get stuck" though I have seen Corydoras catfish stuck inside hollow ornaments because of their spines, and if they can't escape quickly enough to take a gulp of air, such catfish can drown. No, normally when we see fish "stuck" somewhere, they've actually drifted there, unable to swim strongly enough to control where they're going. Think of them more like a bit of flotsam, drifted up onto a beach somewhere. Sometimes the problem can be over-strong water currents rather than anything wrong with the fish in question. Bettas for example find it hard to swim because of their very long fins, so need tanks with gentle water currents. Artificial varieties of fish with veil-tails and other longer than normal fins may suffer from the same problem because their fins increase drag (imagine trying to swim in baggy, waterlogged clothes) while their swimming muscles are no stronger than those of normal fish.>
I hated to remove him from his school, but I wanted to treat with Kanaplex and give him some time away from the other bullies. I now think that he has probably been stressed and bullied all along.
<Quite likely. Danios are aggressive towards each other. I've kept them in groups of six, and find they fight all the time! I would definitely keep a big group, eight or more, and crucially, I would not mix regular and long-fin varieties, the latter being too "encumbered" to compete well, so (more) likely to end up at the bottom of the hierarchy.>
Question. Should I keep him in the hospital tank for the three days of treatment or is this just additional stress?
<A singleton Danio will be fine for a few days, even a couple of weeks if you need to medicate / re-medicate. Prioritise the medication instructions in terms of doses, etc. But when you return him/her to the main tank, certainly turn the lights off for a few hours to prevent bullying the "newcomer", or better yet, remove all of them temporarily, move some of the rocks or plants about, and then return all the Danios to what will seem, to them, a new habitat. This re-sets their hierarchy, and in many cases fixes bullying, especially if you can add a couple extra specimens of the same species at the same time.>
I could just treat the whole tank but I would have to find and remove my Nerites first; also I wasn't certain how my Corydoras would react to the meds.
<Antibiotics such as Kanamycin (what is in Kanaplex) should have no negative impacts on non-bacteria, so should be fine with snails and catfish. If you wanted to take your Nerites out though, you could probably keep them a few days in a large food container (such as a plastic ice cream container) holding a couple of litres of water. Kept somewhere warm, the snails should be fine for a few days, provided you did periodic water changes.>
Also, SeaChem stated somewhere in a forum that there may be some plant die back.
<Can't think why.>
I'm more concerned about my fish. The plants are just there to make them happy.
<Indeed. And again, just take a few cuttings, put them to one side, and return to the main tank if the existing plants look unhappy.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Drill Live Rock      3/17/18
Potentially stupid question,
<Mmm; better asked though>
I would like to aquascape an existing tank with fish, inverts and softies.
If I drill live rock and place back in my display tank will the newly drilled rock release anything which could be toxic to my current livestock?
Many thanks,
<Not any more than if it was not drilled. The principal concern with new live rock is how "cured" it is (see WWM re); that is, the die-off that occurs with the trauma of collection, processing, shipping, being moved to new circumstances. If/once the new LR is sufficiently cured there should be no problems with introducing it drilled or not to your system. Bob Fenner>

Sponsoring your site      3/17/18
Hi Bob,
<Hey Jess>
I am looking to get our site, https://fishlab.com listed in your "general links to Aquatic/Aquarium Internet Sites" - it's a resource designed to help beginners with many of the problems they will encounter while setting up and maintaining their aquarium.
<Ahh; will post later today>
I would also like to donate some money to go towards your sites upkeep - it's a great resource that I have personally used in the past.
<If so, the "Donate" button/link on each page is the best route to go.
Thank you>
What is the best way to sort all this out?
Best Wishes!
<Thank you for your efforts. Bob Fenner>

Moray Eel Prognosis      3/16/18
Good morning!
<Hi Sydney.>
The recent nor’easter hit while my family was away on a ski trip, and we were not informed of the power outage in our community until about 36 hours after it had started. As a result, I lost all but one inhabitant of my FOWLR setup, a 15” chain moray who somehow survived without any filtration or heat for nearly three days. In the weeks since the outage, Eunis has escaped from her tank twice.
<Check the water parameters, esp. Ammonia, Nitrates and pH. Power outage can result not only in dying fishes, but also bacteria and invertebrates, which can lead to declining water quality. There usually is a reason when settled moray eels try to leave a tank. Maybe it's the water quality here. Do a large water change if that's the case. In addition, I'd use some cover to prevent the eel from escaping.>
I was worried for a while that she wouldn’t make it, but as of yesterday, she ate!
<Very good.>
My question from here regards her prognosis. What is the likelihood that she’ll make a full recovery? Also, how will I know that she’s out of the woods?
<If your moray eel eats the prognosis are quite good (provide a varied diet, maybe add vitamins, see WWM re). Refusing food usually is the first thing they do when they don't feel well. Chainlink morays, Echidna catenata, are a very hardy species. I'm not surprised it's the last survivor und hope it has taken no permanent damage.>
Thank you so much for your time!
Regards, Sydney Weaver
<Good luck! Cheers, Marco.>

Palythoa- sundial Heliacus. Removal       3/16/18
<Salve Marcelo>
I want to remove Palythoa naturally.
<A fave, oft-misused adverb...>
My tank is only 16 gallons but due to corals on the live rocks and not easy to take them out I wanted to try a natural method.
I read on your website that sundial snails only eat Zoas and Palythoa.
<Mmm; not only>
However another place online also mentioned they eat sea anemone.
This made me nervous as I have a mini-maxi carpet anemone in my tank.
I wanted to get a sundial snail to naturally eat my Palythoa but do not want to irritate or have the sundial snail try to eat my mini-maxi carpet anemone. There are Palythoa on the same rock as my anemone and the anemone has been on the same rock for about 6-7 years so don’t want him moving of course.
Is there anyway to get verification from your experience?
<Not from me unfortunately; no>
Secondly- will they also eat clove polyps? Not worried if they did, just curious.
<Again; I don't know>
Lastly, I searched online and cannot find anyone selling the snail should I even want to try one. Are they illegal to bring in or just not sold since most hobbyists don’t want them since they eat Zoas?
<Considered pests, yes; not illegal. Have only seen/encountered as hitchhikers>
Look forward to any assistance you can provide as not interested in covering with Kalk, trying to chip off rocks, injecting with hot water or lime with a needle, etc.
<I STRONGLY encourage you to read/investigate further, and use an "unnatural" means to rid your system of Zoanthids. As this is a small tank, likely little rock involved to be replaced, I would remove the desired organisms and put the Zoanthid containing rock outdoors, some place where animals can't get to it... Allow it to dry, process for re-use as just rock, or toss it>
I do run carbon and gfo which helps neutralize the poison which is perhaps I have never had any issues the 10+ years I have had them but I don’t want to take a chance after reading more stories about how they can become airborne or even affect experts unexpectedly at times.
<You are wise to be cautious here. Bob Fenner>
Best regards,
Marcelo Rodriguez

Kalk / vinegar      3/15/18
Good afternoon Bob. Hope the knee is getting better.
<Thank you John; not yet>
I was wondering if you could offer any “rule of thumb” on how much vinegar I need to add per gallon of Kalk to extend its shelf life? Thanks!
<Mmm, the simplest organic acid, acetic; aka vinegar... is unfortunately not a very consistent product; and you don't mention what amount of Kalk you're adding per volume. I'd like to offer this quote:
"I add 60ml of vinegar to a gal of Kalk. I keep my Kalk concentration at 2tsp per gal. Use it as a carbon source and to help keep the Kalk in solution better. 60gal cube with 10gal sump. I add 600ml/day of Kalk which is roughly 9.1ml of vinegar dosed a day"
as reasonable for a start. I would caution you to measure/monitor nutrient (NO3) levels, as you may find that your Nitrate in particular drops precipitously, depriving chemosynthetic and photosynthetic life of necessary fertilizer. Bob Fenner>
Re: Kalk / vinegar

Cool! Thanks Bob!
<Pleasure. B>

To Marco- Help with Moray Eel disease      3/15/18
<Hello Adrian.>
I could really need some help treat our infected moray eels. They have gotten a blood sucking worm that only attacks the eels. It look like brown hairy looking strings.
<Looks nasty. Can't definitely ID them, though.>
We have tried cleaner wrasse and shrimp and freshwater dip. My boss confirms its not anchor worms and we don't have any medicine currently to treat it. The only working solution we have found is removing it manually, but
they spread again after a short while.
<Can you get Flubenol 5% in Norway? (I think so) It's often used for e.g. chickens or pigs as well as fishes and kills a wide range of internal and external worms. Only use it in a hospital tank without sand (but some PVC pipes as caves) or use it as baths/dips. Siphon the bottom of the tank for any eggs (or cysts depending on what they are exactly. If you can't get Flubenol you can also try some product with Praziquantel.>
The eels came infected from Indonesia but it took a while before we noticed it. Best Regards Adrian
<Good luck. Marco.>
*I attached a picture of the worms

Author contact      3/15/18
I am a seasoned aquarist and have recently read and enjoyed an article on your site “stocking Lake Malawi community tanks” by Mary Bailey. I have a couple questions I would like to ask the author to clarify a couple of things as I am about to start my first Lake Malawi tank, and the article has been very helpful to me. Just have a few questions for her.
Any info you could provide would help. Thank you.
Pete Wortman.
West Long Branch NJ.
<I would try writing her Care Of Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine... in NJ! Bob Fenner>

Copper treatment, incl. marine Velvet f'... Using WWM      3/15/18
Good evening from Thailand
as I had a bad Marine Velvet outbreak in a tank (fish with life rock only)
I am now having the survivors go through a Cupramine treatment. This started a few days ago and copper levels are sitting nice at the recommended 0.5 ppm and fish seem to be behaving ok still eating well.
(think even noticing some of the survivors showing the parasite previous losing them??)
Some snails I had in there and crabs seem to have died
<!? Yes; of a certainty from the copper exposure. ALL non-fish life needs to be elsewhere; lest they be poisoned AND absorb the copper>

which I knew was going to happen but I figured getting the tank Velvet free and in the same time treat the survives superseded the snails and crab as they can be reintroduced at a later stage again...Now I am wondering as I might want to add new fish to this set up
<What? No; don't add anything here until you're VERY sure the Velvet is gone>
as the suggested 30 day period is on going with every time a new fish is added we start counting back from day 1 I guess.....How long can fish be ok in this therapeutic level of copper and how dangerous is to add new fish
into a copper environment from buying them new...
<There is too much to answer, ask and respond to here by rekeying. But all is available by your searching on WWM re "Cupramine", "Velvet"... and READING. Do so, and write back w/ specific questions (if you have them) afterwards. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question part 2      3/13/18
Your response time is noting short of impressive. Thank you for that. So no carbon?
<Correct. I would not run carbon... of little use in this application (outdoors)>
I’m new to the world of ozone. I’ve been reefing for 20 years so I’m not a newbie by any means.
<Heeee! I remember trying to sell foam fractionators to customers forty some years ago... Ozone IS the route to go>
I’ve just read article after article where they say to run the discharge over carbon... so is the ORP basically the concentration of O3 in the system?
<It really is indirectly... a bit bizarre concept (and I taught H.S. chemistry and physics... have tried to give hobbyist presentations on its practical applications...); use to be gauged by micro ohms per cm... a unit of electrical resistance. The co. Siemens is so big, the standard was changed to reflect their name... now microsiemens/cm.!>
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Question part 2      3/13/18

Thanks Bob! Have a great day.
<Thank you John; am trying to... I bunged a knee up five days back in Huahine, have come back to the states a week early... no real rest... a mess, tired and painful... Ugh. B>
Re: Question part 2      3/13/18

Pisser. I’m dealing with a blown out shoulder and have been putting off surgery.
<Oh... I DO encourage your patience, skepticism here... Sis Donna has had the Dickens w/ shoulder surgery, as well as a good friend in the Hash House Harriers... in fact, no one comes to mind who has had "altogether" successful such>
Hope you get better soon!
<Thank you. B>

Upside down cat fish scarred skin       3/8/18
Hi there.
I just rescued and 30g tank. Very neglected and few decorations but healthy as far as tests go. Just bare and sad and in need of love. Have 2 fish. A common place and an upside down catfish. Pleco is good. But could be
better. However the cat fish had only one place to hide in a very small castle. He would cram himself 8n and now his skin is so scarred. I now have him bigger hiding places but am wondering if his skin will ever repaid itself. He is active at night and eating well but looks like a burn victim.... So sad.
If like to know if there is anything I can do to help other than giving him a better more conducive environment for us breed. Will he always have these scars?
This is just after I got tank home before adding a hollow large rock looking decoration for him and gravel.
<Hello Sabrina. He could easily be burned, as catfish will wedge themselves between the heater and the glass. You can buy 'heater guards' that will cover a heater, keeping it safe. Some heaters even come with them, which is
nice. Catfish can also be scratched when they fight with other fish. Such damage will just look like off-white marks, often scrapes. Either way, whether burns or scratches, yes, they heal nicely. Treating as per Finrot
can be worthwhile if there is evidence of bacterial or fungal infection, but otherwise clean water and a bit of time will do the trick all by themselves! Cheers, Neale.>

Lethargic angelfish mostly hovering near surface, nose up       3/8/18
Hi there,
<Hello Kim,>
I have a 2-3 yr old angel that's been hovering near the surface for the last few days/week, nose up and showing what I'm guessing are swim bladder issues...
<Possibly, but will add my default comment that there's really no such thing as "swim bladder disease" -- when fish float oddly, it almost never means the swim bladder has gone wrong, but that the fish have become so sick they can't balance properly. It's kind of like saying a drunk has bad feet because he keeps falling over!>
She hasn't been doing the outright upside down/horizontal rolling bit, but she hasn't shown much interest in food lately and has seemed fairly lethargic compared to normal.
<Always a bad sign with cichlids. When healthy and happy, they eat, a lot.>
Otherwise she looks normal; no marks, no bloating, no other external signs of issues. I got her back when she was quarter sized along with 3 other siblings and her other siblings have since passed one by one over the last year and a half, all showing (albeit more obvious) swim bladder issues signs before they went (spinning, horizontal/upside down swimming, then resting on bottom or floating at surface).
<Very small Angels travel badly, and I'd recommend against buying them this size, despite their cuteness. I'd always recommend specimens around 5cm/2in as about the best size for the casual fishkeeper.>
Only one of her siblings made it to adulthood, and that one only started showing swim bladder signs after randomly picking a fight with the Red Tail Shark I had at the time.
<Yikes! Angels aren't great companions for Red Tail Black Sharks, the latter being really rather aggressive. Can work, but takes some luck, and probably rearing both species together from youngsters in a large tank.>
I'm suspecting it's genetic based on her siblings but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing any possible options.
<Possibly, but as above, can't rule out their small size making them more vulnerable to stress and opportunistic infections. The quality of farmed Angels isn't that great to begin with, so some judicious shopping is important.>
Water parameters are 0 ammonia/nitrite/nitrates, 6.7 ph, 80F in a 75 gallon tank. Her tank mates are 2 Bolivian Rams, 10 Rainbows ( Melanotaenia Trifasciata, Melanotaenia Lacustris, and Chilatherina alleni - Wapoga),
and a young Opaline Gourami. They're all fairly young compared to her and none have ever shown any aggression towards her.
<Interesting mix of fish. Are the Rainbows okay in this slightly acidic water?>
In fact, the Gourami tends to hide/school with the rainbows to avoid being chased by her (well, used to, before she started acting this way). Lately everyone ignores her since she hasn't had the energy to boss them around.
<Is this the Angel or the Gourami?>
Tank has been running for 6 years, with a substrate and stocking overhaul back around Christmas when I swapped it from high tech to low tech. Food is a variety of frozen, TetraColor Tropical Crisps, and New Life Spectrum
pellets that I rotate between over the week with one day fasting.
<All sounds fine.>
Back when her siblings had issues I tried Melafix, Prazipro, and Epsom salts, none of which seemed to make a difference.
<I bet. Melafix is worthless. PraziPro is a treatment for one thing -- digestive tract worms -- and nothing else. Epsom salt can help with constipation, but that's about it on its own. It can be used alongside other medications such as antibiotics against Dropsy, but it isn't an alternative.>
She refuses peas, so trying to clear out any possible constipation/blockage with those doesn't seem to be an option either... Is there anything that can be done?
<Hard to say because the medications you've used aren't likely to deal with the usual bacterial infections that may be at fault. I'd be using something broad-acting such as Kanaplex that can shift the usual internal bacterial
I know she's not showing the advanced signs yet, but she's the last one left of her siblings and it's frustrating watching the same thing starting to happen all over again and not know what I can do to stop it...
Any suggestions you have would be appreciated. Thanks!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Ozone       3/8/18
Hello and good day. I would like your opinion on something(s)
I would like to add a ozone generator to my 750 gallon mixed reef. My tank and sump are made of cast acrylic. Are there any problems with using ozone in an acrylic system?
<There are not. O3 will not affect acrylic in the low concentrations used>
Also, I’m having difficulty finding a ozone generator that is sized for my system. Could you offer a recommendation?
<There are a few manufacturers of note. Let's have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redoxsyssel.htm... the top right tray et al. embedded in the corr.
And the rest of the related files linked above for background>
Thank you for your time,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Cracked 46 gal bowfront top side panel        3/8/18
Hello there....first of all, thank you very much for dedicating your time to help us. Second of all...we (the ones with many questions) are very lucky to find this place full of knowledgeable human beings (You!)...for which, I have this beautiful useless fish tank but maybe new well deserve home 3" slider turtle. Is it safe to create a vivarium kind of home for Dorotea?
<Ah yes; I would feel confident filling this tank about a third of the way.
IF you wanted to fill it all the way, I would Silicone a piece (rectangle) of acrylic (1/8" or so) over the inside or outside of this cracked area>
If so, should I silicone it or anything else?...IDK,
<Oh! Again, only necessary if filling up more than 1/4-1/3 of the way>
if is safe but I know I love my cute always hungry but not overfed Dorotea and need to be sure I wont cause any harm just bc I'm trying to be a good mommy..Many thanks! Greeyt
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Weird, water change       3/8/18
This is a funny question, just curious. I have a 30 gallon tank with wild caught and bred South American Endler's. I was trying to reduce green algae on the Anubias and I began changing water more frequently, as in the last
2 weeks in a row, a big jug worth plus a 2 gallon smaller bottle. I guess that's 7 gallons but I don't remember for certain what the large jug holds.
There's more males than females and they had been pestering the females a lot, and now the fish are a lot more peaceful, grazing and relaxing. Is this some how related to the water changes?!
<Quite possibly. But how and why I cannot say.>
I am going to go buy some water sprite next weekend. I had it in the past and maybe if I buy more it will also help with algae.
<Oh, it should do. Quite nicely.>
And I'm being more careful going lighter on the feeding too. But it is weird that the water change changed the males mood and made them more mellow. Its not that I don't want them to breed but its been bothering me
they were such pests, and I'd even debated separating the sexes. But now they're peaceful its all good.
<Cutting back the food may be the real key here. If you give livebearers less food, they're forced back on grazing algae, which means they have less time to mate. There's scientific evidence from Ameca splendens that shows
how their behaviour has changed (micro-evolved, really) in captivity. This species is virtually extinct in the wild, but is known to have spent most of its time feeding, and only a little time breeding. They have to feed constantly because their food, algae, is low in protein and energy. Captive fish get much better food, and in short, concentrated bursts, so actually don't need to spend a lot of time foraging. So over time, males that fed
less but mated more passed on their genes more often. Over the decades Ameca splendens has become more aggressive, more reproductively energetic, if you will, but less good at feeding on algae. This is a problem for those
scientists who want to reintroduce this fish into the wild. These sexy, randy males might end up starving to death!>
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish - Excessive yawning/gulping, skin integrity, water parameters in check    3/6/18
Dear Neale,
Thank you very much for your time and prompt response, and for all the answers you shared.
<Most welcome.>
I started looking into black spots disease - again, it would indeed be parasitic. Could be breeding conditions as you mentioned, although that pin prickle mark appeared only yesterday so, again, the time factor makes it doubtful to me upon first consideration. Another source could be the snails (Melanoides) but they come from another aquarist's own healthy tank. I will continue investigating this disease.
<Do look up the genus Neascus in particular; I believe that this is the commonest cause of this disease.>
For the odd (as in : wow, what's going on here ?) movements that are considered normal in GF, I was asking about jerking and other abrupt "out of synch" movements that would be considered normal, not yawning that
becomes odd (as in suspicious) because of increased frequency. I was just hoping for a description of various "odd" movements that should not be a cause of worry as they'd be considered ... normal. I'll try and find out more on that.
<Indeed. Very hard for me to say what's odd without having observed a given fish for weeks at a time. I know when my fish are behaving oddly, but that's about it!>
Being such a newbie I really wouldn't imagine that there would be anything here other than "common problems that have obvious symptoms", but apparently that might just be the case. Since the pH started increasing *consecutive to* increased mixes of water with air (tending to possible low O2 level) I am at a loss to make sense of the initial issues of excessive yawning/gulping and the erratic movements (and whether or not both are
sharing a common cause).
My guess is (gill) parasites. Thank you for your helpful comments with dog comparison !
Also, to be clear, the recent loud popping sounds and bubble creation by H. is not a matter of his/her mouth or gill cavity, as he/she will otherwise drink air silently (as he/she's doing now, sigh). This newest development is indeed new and looks deliberate, thought to achieve *what* is what I'll have to research.
I will indeed focus on lowering pH with RO water starting this week, at a rate of 25% change every two or three days. And I'll revisit research on respiratory distress.
I felt relieved to read that, in your opinion, the tank doesn't seem too small for fishes their size (6 cm *without tail*). I feel that they cannot comfortably speed as they would sometimes probably want to, that they're a bit too much on one another (at least to H.'s taste) and bumping into short limits when merrily chasing each other about on pea time, but okay. It's temporary. And your comment helps alleviate my own discomfort on this topic.
<Glad to hear it. 2-3 adult Goldfish in, say, 150 litres isn't ideal but perfectly safe.>
Again, thank you so much for taking the time Neale, looking into things with me, sharing your thoughts on the matter. Thank you especially for your patience with my long emails...
<Not a problem.>
Cheers to you, and all good things to all benevolent volunteers at WWM !
<And thank you for your kind words. Neale.>

Re: more observations of Uropterygius Micropterus and other morays in my brackish aquarium    3/6/18
Hello Marco, hello Neale and all you good people in WetWebMedia,
<Hello Ben,>
Indeed dear Neale, those mollies, once fully grown, are aggressive and courageous. Have a look at this clip:
<There's a fine line between 'courageous' and 'stupid', it has to be said...>
You see that my largest Echidna Rhodochilus (Mr. Emerson) has no problem barging through smaller fish and got his share. However, my smaller Gymnothorax Polyuranodon seems to gave up on its food when the big courageous molly were so determined to eat it.
<Quite so!>
Maybe when the G. Poly has grown bigger, the molly will be lunch :D
<Could well be; I would expect it to disappear during the night, because that is when Morays typically hunt smaller fish.>
But for now, molly seems to hold its own turf against smaller morays. Are big mollies always this courageous?
Well, that would be all for now, thank you for watching!
Best Regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>

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