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Re: schoutedeni puffer advice       8/10/18
Hi Neale,
Quick question further to your email below. Is it possible to mix Carino tetradon irrubesco with Amazon puffers in the same tank?
<Yes; kept two pairs of Carinotetraodon irrubesco alongside three Amazon Puffers in a single 180 litre tank without any problems at all. The two species barely notice each other. I did have lots of plants, especially floating plants though, and Amazon Puffers will spend most of their time at the surface if they can, hunting for food! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: schoutedeni puffer advice       8/10/18

Thanks! Could I put some dwarfs in there too? Or no because they are a bit more aggressive even if smaller?
<Dwarfs as in Dwarf Puffers? Carinotetraodon travancoricus? Nope. They'd either be two nippy, or too easily bullied. Either way, best kept on their own. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New England Aquarium Stocking density       8/10/18
I understand completely.
<Ah, good>
I have a 220 gal display right now with 2 large adult fish . Emp Angel and Heniochus Butterfly . 2 damsels one percula . They are so much more laid back and natural in their demeanor .
Again thanks
Has taken me a lifetime to understand but understocking is my cuppa tea
<Am glad to find our values are confluent here. Bob Fenner>

Your New Aquarium: Tips For Beginners - WETWEBMEDIA       8/10/18
Hi dear sir or madam:
This is Karlin Tian from Foshan Yingfa Factory , i know you have engaged in production and sell the Aquarium tank etc .
Our factory are specialized in providing composite waterproof boards for Aquarium furniture , Aquarium cabinet , Aquarium stand etc .
Follow have some our client’s finished products for your reference .
If you need this waterproof board contact me get more .
Thanks and best regards.
<Hello Karlin; we don't manufacture or-resell aquarium gear, but I will post, share your note and link for others perusal. Fortune passes everywhere. Bob Fenner>

New England Aquarium Stocking density      8/9/18
Good Morning,
Just Visited the New England Aquarium. They had a marine tank that was incredibly heavily stocked with adult fish. Tank looked to be 20 feet long x 4 feet high x 4 feet deep. The fish all looked healthy but the stocking density was extremely high. How are public aquariums able to accomplish this?
<Ahh; the magic; well, science of a BUNCH of gear out of sight; often much more volume than is on display as well. Ask for or take an "e" virtual tour of a public aquarium, including a behind the scenes tour. See humongous protein skimmers, oversized mechanical and physical filtration. Some folks
adhere to the overstocking philosophy to reduce aggression and wow/zow the viewing public. I myself am more a fan of understocking... not as appealing perhaps to attendees, but much safer lest there be a power outage, overfeeding... other challenging incident>
This one side display tank was the most heavily stocked tank in the building . Among those that I can remember there was Large Emp Angel, Several Powder blue Tangs, Clown Fish, Sailfin Tangs, Majestic Angel, Purple Tang, Passer Angel, Lipstick Tangs, Picasso Tangs, Many Butterfly fish etc etc etc. The fish were un-naturally overactive IMO. Any Thoughts?
<Again, not my cuppa, but such over-stocking can be done... with lots of equipment and good maintenance.
Bob Fenner>

You haven't heard the new part...
We have no words left, as this is such a mess. One road block after another, and they Dept Of Env keep changing the rules.
Now they want an EIA for every area, every year. And we have 5 areas.
Must send out for public review and now charge a bond per area 5k to 500k
Getting pretty dumb, as we can't even export from our coral farms..
<Ah yes... cheers (and no taki time). B>

Re: Reg. Angelfish Breeding      8/9/18
Hi Bob,
Thanks for getting back.
As of now I have decided to leave the eggs wit the parents.
Today morning I could see that they were trying to move the eggs which had not turned white to another bark of the driftwood.
<Ah, good>
That looked promising to me..
Keeping my fingers crossed, hoping to see at least a small number of the eggs turn up to beautiful angelfish fry.
<They will breed again... every few weeks... shorter when eggs, young removed>
Will keep you posted...
<I thank you>
And yes really excited with the first batch of eggs\hatching..:)
<Oh yes>
Thanks and regards,
Shriram Natarajan
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Severum sick      8/8/18
Thank you. Could you recommend an anti-biotic that I can treat her with?
<If you're in the US, then something like the old Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 combo is well regarded, or else something like Kanaplex. But avoid anything that's either a general tonic or cure-all, and definitely avoid the tea-tree oil medications like Melafix. Salt won't help, either. Outside the US you can't always easily obtain antibiotics without a prescription, so your range of options is different. Here in the UK, I've found eSHa 2000 works well. Again, avoid cure-alls, and concentrate on established anti-Finrot medications. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: schoutedeni puffer advice      8/8/18
Thanks again for your advice
I have found somebody that has 5 that are about 4-5 inches.
<Holy cow!>
He is a private individual and is moving house and can’t take them with. He has asked for £500. Based on your experience do you have any idea what a fair price would be for these?
<That's not a bad price at all for five more or less full grown specimens! Juveniles could easily go for anywhere between £50-100; they're really that rare in the trade. You could haggle I suppose, but if these genuinely are Tetraodon schoutedeni, if you turn him down, it's unlikely you're going to see them anywhere else for a while. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: schoutedeni puffer advice      8/8/18

Thanks Neale, the owner has sent a video of the fish, the video was too large to send so I have screenshotted some pics of the fish into a word document and attached- do these look like real schoutedeni? They do to me but would like a second opinion.
<Tetraodon schoutedeni is most likely to be confused with Tetraodon nigroviridis, both of them having circular spots on their bodies. The most immediately obvious difference is that Tetraodon schoutedeni has reddish eyes, whereas those on Tetraodon nigroviridis tend to be golden.
Furthermore, whereas the spots on Tetraodon nigroviridis tend to be discrete black circles, the spots on Tetraodon schoutedeni are more closely packed, almost like 'crazy paving', especially on the dorsal surface. The back surface of Tetraodon nigroviridis is also more iridescent golden on most specimens, unlike the dull, often mottled colours on Tetraodon schoutedeni. While both species tend to swim with the tail fins closed, the tail of Tetraodon schoutedeni is often reddish-brown but without speckles or spots, whereas the tail fin of Tetraodon nigroviridis tends to be clear, but with some spots or speckles apparent, especially towards the base. Do also look at the 'tentacles' by the nostrils. On Tetraodon schoutedeni these are very long and narrow, whereas those on Tetraodon nigroviridis are much shorter and broader, like spoons. This difference is very obvious and very reliable, but do look at photos on Google to know what you're looking for! Supposedly, Tetraodon schoutedeni has more obvious spines, including particularly long spines on the belly, whereas the skin of Tetraodon nigroviridis is much smoother, though a few bristles or pimples may be apparent here and there. The pictures you sent me are a bit small to be definite, but it certainly looks like they have reddish eyes, which is promising! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: schoutedeni puffer advice      8/8/18
Thank you :-)
Kind regards,
<Most welcome and hope you're able to positively identify the puffers to your satisfaction. Neale.>

Re: Few questions; FW Stocking       8/8/18
FW Stocking
Hey Neale
Thanks for your reply
<Most welcome.>
Next question my filter I’m currently running a Eheim 2217 do you think this unit is enough for my tank?
<An excellent filter.>
My tank is 5 foot x 2 foot x 1.2 feet w roughly about 540 litres of water. I get really good flow is that how people judge if the filter is the right size for the tank?
<So long as you have zero ammonia and zero nitrite, your filter is doing fine, so far as filtering goes. If your fish are 'gasping' or otherwise showing signs of oxygen stress, you may need additional water movement, which could come from a second filter, airstone, or powerhead.>
Last question ha ha what would be the capacity for this tank?
I have currently
30 cardinal tetras
20 Rummynose tetras
18 Otocinclus catfish
6 red rainbows
4 dwarfs cichlids
3 Kuhli loaches
2 flying foxes
2 breeding Bristlenose catfish (normally a good sign)
And more than a few shrimps
Am I reaching the limit for this system? Or can I add more
<The old rule of "an inch per gallon" isn't bad. So this tank is about 140 US gallons, so about 140 "inches" of small fish (anything up to the size of Guppies, say). Cardinals get to what, maybe 1.5 inches, so that'd be over 90 Cardinal tetras! Plus or minus a bit for the fact some of your fish quite a bit bigger than Guppies, your tank probably isn't>
What I would still like to add is
10 torpedo barbs
<If you mean Sahyadria denisonii, the Red Lined Torpedo Barb, these are quite particular fish. They need clean, clear water with lots of oxygen and -- crucially for long term success -- not too much heat. They're probably more subtropical than tropical fish. But in any case, anything above 25 C isn't to their liking, making them a poor choice for life with Cardinal tetras, for example, which are true hothouse flowers. They also prefer a bit more current than Cardinals, though on the other hand, the habitat favoured by Otocinclus, Ancistrus, and Flying Foxes would be pretty similar. Do note that Sahyadria denisonii can get pretty large (maybe 10 cm in good conditions) and while a 540 litre tank would suit them well, they are boisterous, even aggressive at times, and can terrorise small, gentle species -- and may simply view shrimps as food. On the other hand, they're perfectly fine with L-number catfish, robust characins like Anostomus and Silver Dollars, and those sorts of fishes able to handle themselves without actually causing trouble for no reason.>
10 Rummynose
10 cardinal tetras
<These two species mix very well, and almost interchangeably in terms of requirements.>
Appreciate you help and thoughts on these man.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Brackish to Freshwater; lost Violet Goby; Fire Eel sys.       8/8/18
Hello Crew.
I lost my Violet Goby today. He was in the tank when I did his water change last night, but when I went to feed him this morning, I couldn't find him. When I did find him, he had gotten out of the tank and wiggled into my closet. He was very dried out, but I tried floating him in the tank in a net all day - but he was gone.
<How cow! That's bad news indeed. Sounded a great fish.>
I've decided I'm not going to get another one, at least for now, and to convert that tank back to freshwater. I sent you a post a few days ago about compatibility between my BGK and a Fire Eel I will be getting from my friend this Saturday, and instead of putting it in with the BGK, I'm going to put the Fire Eel in the goby's old tank. My question is, how sensitive are Fire Eels to salt?
<Not especially, but they don't want brackish. On the other hand, a trivial amount is actually quite therapeutic, and a safer treatment for Whitespot and Velvet than the alternatives. Certainly, the addition of 1-2 gram salt per litre of water has been standard operating practise in Europe when keeping Spiny Eels of all kinds, including these.>
This tank is low end brackish, SG 1.005. Do I have to completely rinse out the tank, sand, filters, everything and start over, or can I replace the water, or a portion of the water, to drop the salinity as low as it can go without destroying the biological filter that currently exists in the tank.
<A succession of water changes will be fine, which I'd do across a couple of days to allow the filter to adapt. Keep adding a little flake or something to keep the filter bacteria ticking over. Once the salinity is
1.001 or less, you can add a Spiny Eel without problems. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Brackish to Freshwater      8/8/18

Thank you!
<Most welcome! Neale.>
Re: Brackish to Freshwater      8/8/18

Thank you!
<PS. If a Violet Goby jumped out of your tank, a Spiny Eel will definitely do so. They are notorious escape artists. Double check every hole is sealed off with plastic mesh, filter wool, or something else that lets air through but nothing else! Cheers, Neale.>

End of an era..
(Deb Smith)
<Mmm; so... no env. impact study, public input coming?
A shame; my usual question: "Who is served"?
See you and Walt next mo. in LV. B>
Hi Walt,
I’ve just received the following. Please go to page 61.
All the best,
John (Dawes)
http://digitalmag.petproductnews.com/petproductnews/august_2018?utm_source=ppn_digital&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PPN_Digital_201808&pg=60#pg60 >

Bob, Web Wed Media Readers Want to Know About the Origin of Fish.      8/8/18
Hi Bob,
<Ave Robert>
Hello from England! I’m Robert a fish keeper, enthusiast and blogger at Fishkeeping World<https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/>.
Bob, having read Web Wed Media, I noticed that your site has accepted guest posts before and I was wondering if I could write for you?
<Yes; certainly>
I recently published an infographic on the origins of fish<https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/evolution-of-fish/> , the graphic takes fish enthusiasts on the 500M year evolution of fish.
I know you are very busy, so I would like to write a guest post for you on the origin of fish. As an expert in fishkeeping I think I can offer your readers lots of interesting and exciting information on the origins and evolution of fish.
Let me know if you are interested and I can send over some title suggestions.
<Appreciated Robert. We do pay for agreed upon content (of use of course). Cheers, BobF>
Look forward to hearing from you,
Kind regards,
p.s. Awesome job on running your site since 1995.
Editor at Fishkeeping World

Ick (Crypt) Eradication      8/8/18
Hope all is well.
<Mostly; yes; thank you>
I am dealing with a rather persistent case of Ick. I have 4 quarantine tanks going with a total of 15 fish all of which were purchased from the same vendor. All fish have spots, flashing, etc. and is 99.9% Ick. All tanks were treated with copper at therapeutic dosages and removed at day 30. Within 1 week the Ick returns. I believe I am either dealing with a copper resistant strain or one whose life cycle is greater
than 30 days. Right now 2 of the tanks have Chloroquine phosphate and the other 2 are in hyposalinity until I figure out what the best course of action is.
<Good! This is what I would do; how low is your spg? I'd try 1.017 thereabout for now... and if this doesn't do it w/ the CP in a week, I'd drop the density to 1.010... Yes>
What would you recommend? I have already went through 2 30 day copper treatments which were unsuccessful. I am a bit hesitant to expose everyone to another round.
<I strongly concur. See my comments above. Clear? >
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Reg. Angelfish Breeding       8/8/18
<Hey Shriram>
This morning I was surprised to see that one of my angel fish pairs had laid eggs over the driftwood.
The pair has been guarding the eggs from other fish.
<Ah yes>
But I do see that the number of eggs turning white was gradually increasing over the day.
<Mmm; yes. A "first batch" is often "weak"; and... there is some chance that the eggs were not fertilized, even... that there may be two females at work here!>
This the first time I have seen angel fish lay eggs.
<Enlivening eh?>
Is it advisable to move the driftwood with the eggs to a nursery tank or do I need to move along with the pair.
<As this is already ongoing... I'd leave all as is. IF you're interested in breeding, rearing young... DO consider moving the pair to their own system, employ a slanted (placed) piece of slate for them to place the spawn on... and READ on WWM, the Net, books... re the option of moving the spawn (adding Methylene Blue, an airstone), OR leaving the spawn w/ the parents, moving them when the young are free-swimming>
Since the eggs are turning white is there still a chance that I may have angel fish fry.
<Yes; the white/fungused ones are gone; but the clearish ones may still be viable. >
Please suggest what should be my next course of action.
<Again, I would leave all as is here currently; move the parents to another system (20 gal. tall or larger)....>
Thanks and regards,
Shriram Natarajan
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow weather loach w red areas on body        8/7/18
Thank you.
Redness not trauma related. Began near tail, whole circumference, then spread forward toward head. Internal, not external.
<Could be anything, really. Sounds bacterial, so an antibiotic would be the best call.>
BETTER today, more close to normal color. This a yellow guy, did I say that? Perhaps moving a little better, as well. I do add Prime to all water plus Stability, including spring. All tank parameters had been so fine for several months. Frustrating. The city gives no warning of ammonia spike.
<Indeed, but should be within certain limits. Double-dosing your water conditioner isn't the worst idea, but in any event, use an ammonia test kit on your tap water before doing a water change, and then add extra conditioner if required.>
I understand many cities routinely add but alert residents. Not Philadelphia. I will have to check for each day of collecting I am learning, and take precautions. I hate harming the fish. Fingers crossed that Larry is improving. Thank you again.
<Well, does sound frustrating. But good luck with Larry. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Weird Event        8/7/18
As you said, lesson well learned. We have both vowed never to put anything in our tanks that did not come from an aquarium supply store.
<Prudent. Also garden centre stuff rated as safe for ponds can be used, too. Often a lot cheaper.>
Thank you!
<Welcome. Neale.>

Re: mixing scribbled angelfish male        8/7/18
Dear Wilberth
Sorry for late reply
<Next time please place the video in the cloud or YouTube and send us just the link to see it.>
ok sorry for the trouble
<Is this a holding tank? If so, fish won´t be there for long and aggression is dissipated because of the number of fish kept in there>
Yes it is a holding tank but I've watched the fish already 2 weeks now
What about if I put 4 adult male scribbled angelfish (30 cm each) in tank dimension 300 cm * 90 cm * 40 cm with no rock in there, I'll give plenty vigorous water circulation, Wavemaker, will they fight or still they confused who is going to attack who?
Thank you for your advise Wilberth
Re: mixing scribbled angelfish male        8/7/18

Dear Wilberth
sorry for late reply
<<No worries>>
<Next time please place the video in the cloud or YouTube and send us just the link to see it.>
ok sorry for the trouble
<<It´s ok, we posted it >>
<Is this a holding tank? If so, fish won´t be there for long and aggression is dissipated because of the number of fishes kept in there>
Yes, it is a holding tank but I've watched the fish already 2 weeks now
What about if I put 4 adult male scribbled angelfish (30 cm each) in tank dimension 300 cm * 90 cm * 40 cm with no rock in there, I'll give plenty vigorous water circulation, Wavemaker, will they fight or still they confused who is going to attack who?
<<You can try but they will still need hiding places as they are very territorial, there is no absolute guarantee that they won´t fight, eventually the dominant male will harass the other three.>>
Thank you for your advise Wilberth
<<Glad to help. Wilberth>>

Coldwater Marine Tank Questions        8/7/18
I am a hobbyist in Florida who for a fairly long time maintained a 10 gallon coldwater marine tank with cnidarians, snails and fish primarily from the Pacific coasts of California through Washington.
<You are to be congratulated. Keeping such small systems stable... successfully is not easy>
the last time a hurricane came through about a year ago I was without power for a week and lost everything except my Elegant Blenny (*Omobranchus elegans)* and a couple of Plumose Anemones (*Metridium senile). *So for most of the year I've just kept this little sad tank going as without Stu
Wobbe and his Coldwater Marine company there are very few options for a hobbyist to restock. As an aside, if you know any way for a hobbyist to obtain the strawberry/jewel anemones *Corynactis viridis* or *Corynactis californica* I would appreciate the insight as Matsu Collections is the only provider I'm aware of and he requires a California Scientific Collecting Permit which I do not have.
<I'd have your dealer/s contact Quality Marine and Sea Dwelling Creatures in LA. Otherwise you might write folks in the public aquarium fields in CA re: Fernando Nosratpour at SIO/Birch, Richard Ross at the Steinhart/CAS... They may know folks who do such work>
So for the most part being a Floridian and a hobbyist I only have access to what little coldwater/temperate livestock are purposefully mislabeled as tropical reef livestock. So I'm currently planning on setting up a Fluval M60 (which has an 18 gallon display with 6 gallon built in sump for 24
gallons total) as something vaguely resembling a Catalina or Blue-Banded Goby *(Lythrypnus dalli)* biotope. I already have vertical rockwork in place with dozens of little caves for the gobies. My main question is, in a setup I've described how many gobies should I purchase?
<One, perhaps two. They are territorial to degrees>
Other than taking up valuable oxygen, the elegant blenny is not a concern. I've had him in a much smaller tank (standard 10 gallon) with little Sculpins and Catalina gobies before without incident as he rarely leaves the seemingly impossibly small shell he came with and when he does come out it is only
to go a couple of inches to grab some food. The information online mostly conflicts with how they are displayed in public aquariums and how they live in the wild. I've even seen repeated suggestions that only one tiny barely an inch long fish needs an entire 30 gallon tank devoted solely to him.
Meanwhile in public aquaria, I've seen dozens of Catalina gobies side by side in a tank that size and in the wild they are seldom if ever alone with ten or more huddling around the same sea urchin.
<Mmm; I collected this species; many moons ago (the sixties) commercially at times; they can be kept very crowded or much less; akin to many lacustrine African Cichlids>
I assume what is going on is something similar to the typical African cichlid situation where one is
fine, two or three will kill each other and a dozen will be fine as they take turns squabbling without having the time and energy to devote to murdering their peers.
<Oh! Yes>
So in my setup (18 gallon display with extra 6 gallons in the sump) with a vertical rock face with dozens of little caves, how many Catalina gobies should I get?
<For me; one or two>
And one final question. There are still places (like Matsu Collections) where I could get coldwater macroalgaes but they are typically quite expensive with similarly expensive shipping. Are there any typical "tropical reef" macroalgaes that will do well in a coldwater setting (I keep mine around 59 degrees but I would warm it up somewhat if it makes a major difference)?
<Some; yes. Codium, a few popular Gracilaria; most Reds actually>
Thank you very much,
Warren P.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Sick fish; Helostoma         8/7/18
Hi. My friend has this fish that has weird things in it mouth. She said all she did was add a couple live plants and the next day woke up to this (please see attached pictures). I have seen the tank and they keep it clean and have other fish along with a couple frogs and an algae eater. Can you help? The fish is unable to open it's mouth.
Thanks, Tamara
<It's not entirely clear from your photos what we're looking at here. But the 'thing' appears to be flesh, and what I think has happened is that this Kissing Gourami has somehow damaged its mouth. Perhaps by fighting, perhaps by getting the mouth stuck on something rough or even a filter inlet.
Regardless, there's not a huge amount you can do. I would treat with antibiotics first (removing carbon from the filter, if used) and I'd also carefully observe the fish to see if it can feed itself. If it cannot feed,
because the jaws have become dislocated for example, the fish isn't going to recover and should be euthanised.
Cheers, Neale.>

Severum sick        8/7/18
<Hello Joseph,>
We have a yellow/orange (golden?) Severum and she is about 8 years old.
She stopped eating about 3 weeks ago. At first she stayed at the bottom in a certain spot so we thought it was a behaviour issue. I then noticed red streaks on her fin lines (tail and top fin) and purple/reddish around her nose and gill area.
<Does look like an opportunistic bacterial infection. The reddish areas develop when bacteria block peripheral blood vessels. Eventually the flow of blood stops, and the surrounding tissue dies. Now, if you're lucky it's something along the lines of Finrot, but cichlids are also prone to something called Septicaemia, which is essentially untreatable without help from a vet, and even then, likely fatal.>
I checked the PH (6.5) and the nitrates (which were about 40). So, did a water change and now the water tests are all good. I reduced the amount of food (3 Silver Dollars in the tank with her - who are still eating).
She has eaten (attempted to) only about 2-3 times in about 3 weeks. Once she ate frozen blood worms and the other times she spit it out. Her normal diet is about 3 Cichlid pellets and some dried blood worms.
<Like all cichlids, she'll eat when she's healthy. While she's sick, the fact she isn't eating is no surprise at all.>
Now she moves around the tank but at feeding is at top of tank and then sinks to the bottom when I come by the tank. Still not eating. Her water temp is now 77 (was 74).
<Severums appreciate a bit more warmth than 23 C/74 F, so I'd have been more consistently keeping her around the 25 C/77 F make, and upping the temperature to 28 C/82 F while she's sick.>
Attaching some pictures and I can answer any questions you may have.
I really appreciate the help.
<Severums are fairly hardy, and she should respond well to suitable antibiotics. At the same time, do review general care. Soft, slightly acidic water is certainly helpful. But also remember these fish are
omnivores, and do need some fresh greens in their diet to do well. Cooked peas and Spirulina-based flake foods are good, as are Spirulina-loaded frozen brine shrimp. Given your Silver Dollars are almost entirely
herbivores, your Severum should do well on whatever sort of food you were giving them! By contrast, avoid too much meaty food for both species. I mention diet because these opportunistic bacterial infections occur because the fish's immune system has become weakened, often water quality being the
factor, but longer term, diet can be a factor too. Cheers, Neale.>


Few questions; Java Moss use        8/7/18
Gday Neale
Hope you’re well mate
<Can't complain, me old cobber.>
Just got a few questions for you hopefully you might help me out.
<Sure thing.>
I’ve started to build a wall in my tank with plastic mesh and java moss it grows crazy in my tank....
<Yes. Often does, once it takes. Odd stuff, Java Moss. Sometimes thrives; sometimes miserably hangs in there.>
My concern is that behind the walls will it become “dead spots”. The fish do go behind which I’m hopefully going to stop soon and give the shrimps that are in there a place to live “behind the scenes” once all the walls are complete.
<Understood. There is some argument for giving the moss a hair cut periodically if the dead spots are substantial. This is akin to the theory of algae scrubbers, where a 'turf' of green algae on mesh panels helps to filter the water, but if the turf becomes too thick, the efficiency of this diminishes as water movement reduces. But that said, tiny shrimp babies and fish fry thrive inside dense thickets of moss.>
Do you think this will be an issue with dead spots?
<It can be if you find the moss deep inside the thickets turning brown and/or trapping a lot of silt. Not dangerous bad, but unsightly, and not doing anything useful. But if the moss is green all the way through, it's probably fine, and doesn't need any particular help from you.>
please see photos below
<The tank looks awesome, to be honest, and there's nothing wrong with encouraging the moss to cover as much of the back pane as you'd like. Everything looks perfectly healthy to me. Cheers, Neale.>


Re: Black Ghost Knifefish Compatibility Question 8/6/2018
Thank you!
Yellow weather loach w red areas on body
Very concerned. Loach has red areas, first near tail, now half of body after severe stress w tap water high in ammonia (4 ppm) w me not finding right away.
<Aye; deadly toxic; likely the principal source of trouble here; particularly in more alkaline water ammonia is very dangerous>
Several days of frequent water changes, some lost fish, other parameters normal to tank, but very hard to get ammonia down....added prime often, know this detoxes but doesn't remove. Thus not sure exactly how bad in actual tank. Purchased spring water for changes.
Now loach has red areas, very inactive, sure he doesn't feel good.
Don't know how to help him or if euthanasia is best. Really like this guy, hate to see him suffer.
<Am a laggard in terms of euthanizing livestock that has a chance to recover. This loach species is very tough>
Had an ammonia spike a few months ago, managed to save everyone. This time more severe.
Please help. Larry is a friend. About 1 yr old, 7 in long.
<Do take a read over our archives on Dojos:
and the linked files above. DO what you can to get rid of the ammonia. SEE as in read on WWM re; chemical filtrants are the route I would go NOW. Bob Fenner>

Yellow weather loach w red areas on body 8/6/2018
Very concerned. Loach has red areas, first near tail, now half of body after severe stress w tap water high in ammonia (4 ppm) w me not finding right away.
<Aye; deadly toxic; likely the principal source of trouble here; particularly in more alkaline water ammonia is very dangerous>
Several days of frequent water changes, some lost fish, other parameters normal to tank, but very hard to get ammonia down....added prime often, know this detoxes but doesn't remove. Thus not sure exactly how bad in actual tank. Purchased spring water for changes.
Now loach has red areas, very inactive, sure he doesn't feel good.
Dont know how to help him or if euthanasia is best. Really like this guy, hate to see him suffer.
<Am a laggard in terms of euthanizing livestock that has a chance to recover. This loach species is very tough>
Had an ammonia spike a few months ago, managed to save everyone. This time more severe.
Please help. Larry is a friend. About 1 yr old, 7 in long.
<Do take a read over our archives on Dojos:
and the linked files above. DO what you can to get rid of the ammonia. SEE as in read on WWM re; chemical filtrants are the route I would go NOW. Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow weather loach w red areas on body
So far reading nothing like my guy.
No bumps
No blisters
No holes
No black spots
<These symptoms may well be forthcoming w/ exposure to ammonia>
Yes to red area beginning whole diameter of body first in front of tail but now after 3 days extended to middle of body.
Weak, falls to side of tries to swim, stays next to objects as if to maintain position
Not sure if eating but does move somewhat but not when I'm near...then struggles
Was breathing rapidly 4 days ago, gradually now more normal Nitrate <30, nitrite 0, ammonia now 0,25 ppm
<Better; but do shoot for less than 20 ppm of NO3, zero, zip, nada ammonia 0.0>
Tap water now 1ppm
Spring water ammonia 0
<See Neale is taking on. Cheers, B>
Re: Yellow weather loach w red areas on body
Thank you
Will read
Do have ammonia filter on tank
Water is more acidic than alkaline, 6.2 to 6.4
<I would slowly raise this to about neutral; seven-ish. See WWM re easy means to do this... likely baking soda, sodium bicarbonate... added, mixed into your weekly water change out water>
Yes, I hate to end him if I don't have to.
<I would not do so. BobF>
Yellow weather loach w red areas on body /Neale
Very concerned. Loach has red areas, first near tail, now half of body after severe stress w tap water high in ammonia (4 ppm) w me not finding right away.
<If red areas are on underside of the body, around the mouth and belly especially, I'd be looking at the substrate. Loaches are extremely sensitive to abrasive substrates, as well as 'dirty' substrates that are
not cleaned or exposed to robust water currents.>
Several days of frequent water changes, some lost fish, other parameters normal to tank, but very hard to get ammonia down....added prime often, know this detoxes but doesn't remove.
<Water condition will neutralise ammonia in tap water. Once this is done, it is harmless. So you can ignore it. But if your aquarium ammonia level is higher than your tap water ammonia level, that is a problem. It means there's ammonia being produced by the fish that isn't being removed by the filter. Review stocking and filtration rates, and act accordingly.>
Thus not sure exactly how bad in actual tank. Purchased spring water for changes.
<What is the water chemistry of the tap water? Do bear in mind spring water isn't necessarily idea for all fish! Weather Loaches appreciate water that isn't too hard or too soft, with an around neutral pH; maybe 5-20 degrees dH, pH 6.5-7.5, and not too warm either, 18-22 C being ideal.>
Now loach has red areas, very inactive, sure he doesn't feel good. Don't know how to help him or if euthanasia is best. Really like this guy, hate to see him suffer.
<I bet.>
Had an ammonia spike a few months ago, managed to save everyone. This time more severe.
<Sounds like it. Do see above, and reply if necessary.>
Please help. Larry is a friend. About 1 yr old, 7 in long.
<Good luck, Neale.>

Weird Event... cedar-like wild-collected driftwood 8/6/2018
Back on July 27, a friend and I had been down to the river collecting driftwood. I set the stuff I collected outside after I had cut one of my pieces to make it small enough to boil. But when I cut it, it smelled like
cedar. I did an internet search which indicated cedar is not safe for aquariums and sent the post to Neale on July 31st for confirmation.
<Indeed. Evergreen woods are best avoided.>
But my friend boiled hers and put it in her tank. Neale's response was to caution me about cedar and any other wood I found by the river, so I threw the stuff I collected out and called my friend who pulled hers out of the tanks and threw it out.
The wood had been in her tank for 4 days when I called her so she watched her fish (a BGK and 4 Rope Fish, and some Cory catfish (and, of course, the obligatory Bristlenose Plecos) and they were eating and behaving normally, so she didn't think there was a need for extra water changes. But she
called me last night and said that 3 of her Rope Fish, who had been fine that morning when she fed them, were dead when she got home from work.
<Not good news at all!>
I got another call from her this morning and she told me that the 4th Rope Fish, who had appeared normal when she found the dead ones last night, was dead this morning. But what is really strange is that her BGK and her catfish (Corys) are fine, look perfect, eating and acting normally. She tested her water and found no ammonia or nitrite and the nitrate was less than 30.
<Which sounds fine.>
She did a 30 percent water change after she found the first dead fish and that brought the nitrate down below 20. She has not made any other changes to her tank, her pH is 7, her kH is 5, the tank has been cycled and established longer than mine has (I think she said 3 years), and we're just trying to figure out what happened. Could the driftwood she put in have caused this?
<Yes. I speak from experience, having put some wood in an aquarium only to find all the cichlids dead within a few minutes. By contrast other species, including a catfish, survived, and that catfish is still with me, some 20 years on. With all that said, 'post hoc ergo propter hoc' isn't always true, so it's as well to be minded of other possibilities. Ropefish, being obligate air breathers, are very much more sensitive to airborne toxins (such as paint fumes, solvents, and industrial cleaners) that might be used in their surroundings.>
The stuff she had was completely dried out and she boiled it for an hour after she got it home.
<Contrary to popular belief, boiling doesn't make things safe. While it will kill bacteria and fungi, it can't be assumed to break down pesticides or natural resins present in the wood.>
She didn't cut hers so I don't know if she had gotten a piece of cedar or something else. She said there were no anomalies on the dead fish that she could see and they were alive and well when she left for work in the morning. If it was the driftwood, how could it seem not to bother the fish at all and then suddenly kill them. The driftwood was in her tank for only 3 or 4 days without a problem, and the wood had been removed from the tank for 3 or 4 days before the Rope Fish died. She's afraid for the rest of
her fish and I feel like dirt because I was the one who suggested we get the driftwood from the river in the first place.
<A lesson learned, I fear. Can I assume that all is well with the tank now?
If it is, I'd still suggest buying some fresh carbon and sticking that in the aquarium for a week or two, and then throwing that carbon out. It should absorb any residual chemicals in the water. She may want to carry on using new, fresh carbon for the next couple water changes too. Regardless, the damage seems to be done now, and the carbon (plus water changes) should have returned things back to normal. I'd wait a couple months at least before adding replacement Ropefish or any other sensitive fish species (loaches, rays, etc) so that the carbon and/or water changes can do their magic. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Community Tank setup 8/6/2018
Thanks once again for all the advice Neale. I am now chatting with one of the specialty fish shops in NZ about Rams and Apistos and what their breeders can supply,
<Of course if I lived in NZ, I'd be keeping some of your amazing native species.>
so will hopefully make a decision soon.
<Great! There are some other lovely Apistogramma species out there, some more delicate than others, and assuming very small, gentle tankmates, such as tetras, they can be used in community tanks.>
One last question, would Pearl Gourami's still be compatible in the tank with Apistos and a target fish such as Danio's?
<If the tank is sufficiently big (and deep) that the Apistogramma at the bottom and the Gouramis and Danios at the top don't meet, then sure, they're compatible.>
Cheers, Jo
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: Sick Betta     8/5/18
Unfortunately he passed.
<Too bad.>
He was at least 3 years old.

<That's an incredible age for a Betta, so well done there.>
They are selling a three tiered tank with each compartment less than 1 gallon specifically for Betta fish at PetSmart. That sucks that they are misleading people and hurting fish.
<Agreed, that sucks. Breeders certainly do keep the males in jam jars, but they're replacing the water daily, and keeping them in a heated fish room.
If you're a breeder, it's really the only viable way to keep hundreds of Bettas alive at once. But aquarists aren't going to heat a room or change all the water daily, so yes, we really do need an aquarium. Anything less than 3 gallons is a bucket, and honestly, does anyone think a fish would be happy spending its life in less than a bucket of water? Pet stores really should make an effort to tell shoppers what's required before selling the fish. A 4-5 gallon tank doesn't cost a lot, and heaters and filters are very inexpensive nowadays. Compared with a pet dog or cat, a small fish tank is a trivial expense once you factor in the cost of food, vet bills, and so on that you'd be forking out for a cat or dog. And yes, there's
still an impression out there that Bettas and Goldfish can live in bowls and cups!>
Thanks for the advice.
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Black Ghost Knifefish Compatibility Question, w/ Fire Eel     8/5/18
Hello Crew!
I have a 125 gallon tank that currently houses my 7 inch Black Ghost Knife Fish and 2 Bristlenose Plecos. I recently upgraded the filter on this tank to a Eheim Professional 3 (rated for a 300 gallon tank),
it has sand substrate and lots of big caves (4 inch PVC pipes) for hiding. I also have a friend who purchased what he was told was a Spiny Eel from one of the big chain pet stores only to find out it is
actually a Fire Eel
<Mmm; Fire Eels are Spiny Eels; that is, Mastacembelus erythrotaenia are part of the family Mastacembelidae>
that has attained a length of 7 inches in just 3 months.
<Ahh; and can grow to a few feet in length; most mastacembelid species stay under a foot>
He only has a 40 gallon tank so he wants to rehome the Fire Eel and asked me if I wanted it. I did some research and got conflicting opinions as to whether these two species would be compatible (the naysayers believe the Fire Eel would eventually eat the BGK). However, the individuals who believed they were compatible also posted some beautiful pictures of these two species interacting well with each other. I had planned on upgrading my BGK's tank in the next couple of years and have already purchased a stand for a 180 gallon tank (but I don't have the tank yet). So, I would really like to hear your opinion of keeping these two species together.
<I do think the two can, will live together for a good long while. Fire Eels do get large (enough) to consume fishes, but by being careful not to "feed for growth", yours can live for a good long while with the Knife. Bob Fenner>

Re: Community Tank setup      8/4/18
Hi Neale,
Thanks for the great and speedy response,
I just wanted to ask your advice about one more possible community tank setup. I also really like the German Blue Rams, so instead of stocking Bolivian Rams, I was thinking about 5 GBR's instead (1m/4f) or could I stock more than one male GBR?
<All varieties of Common Ram, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, including German Blue Rams, are best avoided. How to explain? For a start, the wild fish lives in very hot, very soft water, and adapts poorly to anything else.
We're talking 28-30C/82-86F, 0-5 degrees dH, pH 6 as the basic conditions required in the aquarium. Next up, the fish has been inbred over generations to produced things like German Blues, and this may be why they're so disease prone. Farms "juice" them with antibiotics to enhance their colours and healthful appearance, but as the drugs wear off, the fish start to sicken. Hexamita infections are extremely common, especially in the wrong water chemistry and if nitrate creeps above, say, 20 mg/l. While the odd specimen presumably makes it past six months in the community tank, most seem not to. Bolivian Rams, Mikrogeophagus altispinosus, are infinitely more hardy, and there are also one or two Apistogramma species, notably Apistogramma cacatuoides, that I'd recommend ahead of the Common
Ram. If I'm completely honest, I consider Rams to be junk fish of no value to most hobbyists. They're cheap, they look nice, but they'll be sick within weeks, so why bother?>
Also, would the temperature needed for the GBR's (I would set at 28 Degrees Celsius) be too high for the BN Pleco and tetra's?
<Correct; 28 C is acceptable for Gouramis and some tetras such as Cardinals, but much too warm for standard Bristlenose Plecs -- though suckermouth and L-number catfish species from Rio Xingu would adapt, as would certain hothouse flower Corydoras such as Corydoras sterbai. That said, mixing Corydoras with dwarf cichlids is risky, for the catfish anyway.>
I read that Pearl Gourami's can cope with the higher temperatures, so hopefully there shouldn't be an issue there...
<See above.>
Once again, many thanks for your help, Jo
<Glad to help. Neale.>
Re: Community Tank setup      8/4/18

Wow Neale, thank you for the advice, I have read several forums and this is the first clear response that makes sense!
<Ah, well, glad to have helped.>
I also had a look at the Apistogramma you mentioned, we are able to get Cockatoo cichlids here in NZ,
<Excellent. They're lovely fish. Slightly more delicate than the average community fish, but hardly difficult. The main thing is avoid very hard water and keep nitrate levels relatively low, ideally below 20 mg/l.>
and I think they are an amazing fish so I might do a bit more research and have a think about stocking those instead of the Bolivian Rams.
<Cool. They have an interesting social life, so you might try keeping more than one female alongside the male. Half coconut shells are really useful caves for them if you place them on the ground like a dome, but with a small mouse hole-shaped opening along the edge so the female can get in. The male only goes in to fertilise the eggs, but otherwise guards the territory while the female looks after the offspring. In fact the female can become very defensive, chasing or even attacking the male, so having multiple
females, each with their own coconut shell cave, works best for both sexes.
He'll fuss about over all the females' territories, and if you have some robust target fish in the tank, such as Danios, they'll distract him a bit, giving the females some peace. As a rule, the more different the males and females look, the more distinct their roles in the relationship. So unlike the broadly similar Rams and Bolivian Rams, where males and females can be hard to tell apart, there's no danger confusing male and female 'harem spawners' like Apistogramma!>
Once again thanks for your advice, Jo
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Sick Betta      8/4/18
<Hello Danielle,>
I can't seem to diagnose my Betta with what I have read/seen.
<Indeed. But can you please also tell us about its environment. Just to be clear, a Betta needs a decent size tank (I'd say at least 5 gallons, and certainly not less than 3 gallons) together with a heater and a filter. If you aren't supplying those, then that's why the Betta is sick. Water quality must be excellent, with zero ammonia and nitrite, and again, if these aren't the case, then that's why your Betta is sick. Unfortunately there's still this myth that Bettas can live in cups of water, without heaters and filters, and you'd be depressed by the number of "sick Betta" messages we get from aquarists who've tried to keep their Betta that way.>
Can you please take a look at these pictures?
<We do ask people keep emailed images down to less than 1 MB; yours was 7 MB, and attachments that size do fill up our email allowance pretty quickly, causing other people's messages do be returned. Furthermore, if you're going to send an image, please make sure the important bit is in focus! I can see something is terribly wrong with the head of your Betta, but beyond that, it's hard to say. It's too blurry. Could be a bacterial infection, something called Columnaris or 'Mouth Fungus' (not a fungus though) is perhaps a good bet. A reliable antibiotic (as opposed to Bettafix, Melafix, tonic salts, and other -- largely useless -- cure-alls) would be your best option here. Might be viral, in which case there's no treatment, and it could even be cancerous, such being quite common among farmed Bettas for one reason or another.>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Neale.>

Community Tank setup     /Neale      8/3/18
Hi crew,
<Hello Jo,>
I am in the process of setting up a 50g tank, dimensions are 120cm L, 40cm W, 45cm D (this is the water depth, not the total tank depth) and I wanted to check on the compatibility of my stocking list:
<Sure thing.>
1 BN Pleco
<Gets along with anything.>
3 Pearl Gourami's (1m/2f)
<Usually very well behaved in spacious tanks. Odd specimens can be aggressive though, so keep an eye open.>
5 Bolivian Ram's
<Another good pick, but I'd probably go with a pair or trio (1M, 2F). Two mated pairs might squabble.>
15 Serpae Tetra's - will these be too nippy for the pearls?
<Avoid; yes, they're nippy, and rarely behave themselves in community tanks. Other similar species are better, such as the somewhat larger Bleeding Heart Tetras or the small, rather shy Rosy Tetras. Unfortunately Serpae Tetras (Hyphessobrycon eques) have been regularly misidentified over the years, and do get sold under other names, so do make sure you can positively identify Rosy Tetras and other lookalike species (such as Hyphessobrycon bentosi) before spending your money.>
15 Espei Rasboras - will these be too fast for the pearls?
<Generally very well behaved, so good companions for Gouramis.>
If the pearl's are not a good addition, then instead I will add the Dwarf Gourami to the tank instead and not add Pearl Gourami's.
<Dwarf Gouramis are best avoided. They're not bad fish per se, but the quality of farmed stock is poor, and viral diseases seem ubiquitous. Few specimens last more than six months in captivity. In any case, small Gourami species are poor choices for life alongside dwarf cichlids, the two often fighting, and the gouramis coming off worse.>
The water conditions will be approx. (based on a current smaller 10g tank setup I already have):
Ph 7-7.5
KH 5-6
Temp 26 degrees C
<This should suit a fair variety of community fish, so long as you avoid those that need very soft or very hard water.>
Filtration: Internal filter (600L/hr) and a second sponge filter (600L/hr)
<Fine, but do avoid turbulent water flow if you're keeping gouramis.
Conversely, moderately brisk currents suit tetras and rasboras well.>
Tank setup: Sand substrate, lots of hidey holes for the rams, lots of driftwood for the Pleco, floating plants for the gourami's and a couple of large plants in the substrate.
<Nice, especially the use of floating plants. Indeed, I think you're spot-on to add greenery "from the top down" in the form of things like Indian Fern and Amazon Frogbit that have leaves and roots that trail down nicely. With all that shade, your benthic plants will want to be reasonably tolerant of subdued lighting, so things like Cryptocoryne species and Anubias species would be my first picks.>
I currently have a the BN Pleco and a Dwarf Gourami in the 10g tank, hence upgrading to a larger size for the BN Pleco who will be transferred to the 50g once it is up and running.
Many thanks for your help, Jo
<Most welcome, Neale.> 

Re: Unwell Otocinclus; now Rainbowfish concern       8/3/18
Hey Neale
Have you ever used a product called Paraguard?
<Yes; the Seachem product? It's basically an old school aldehyde product, though not formaldehyde, which was really nasty stuff -- carcinogenic, even. Paraguard is fairly effective, but not tolerated especially well by some fish, so use with caution, in particular, upping aeration and maybe adding half the dose at first, and then the remainder some hours later, if the fish all look happy enough. It's reasonably well regarded as effective, and a viable alternative to antibiotics, though it's more a preventative-type medication, or something you'd use when a fish shows early signs of infection, than something you'd depend upon in a crisis once the fish has become riddled with bacteria or fungus.>
That Otocinclus didn’t make it but now I have one with it same thing on its tail
Do you know what’s on my red rainbow lip?
<Rainbowfish males can squabble, so it might simply be physical damage. But it might also be Columnaris, sometimes called Mouth Fungus, despite being a bacterial infection. Your Paraguard should be a good treatment here.>
Cheers mate
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Unwell Otocinclus       8/3/18
Cheers Neale
<Glad to help.>

Schoutedeni puffer advice      8/3/18
Hi Neale,
How are you?
<Hanging in there!>
I hope all is well, I recently purchased a 5-foot 500 litre aquarium that I have just set up to begin cycling.
I would like to keep a group of reasonably sized freshwater puffer fish in this.
<A group of pufferfish... setting yourself a challenge there!>
From my research it seems the schoutedeni are the only ones that get to a decent size (6 inches) and can be kept in a group.
<Possibly true, but this species is so infrequently kept that really solid evidence either way is lacking. >
Firstly - how many do you think I can keep in this size tank, would I get away with 8?
<Theoretically, yes. With a maximum length of maybe 10 cm, these fish aren't especially demanding in terms of space. That said, even allowing for their reputation for being peaceful, I don't know anyone who has kept a group of adults, so who knows for sure how well sexually mature specimens get along?>
I appreciate they are very expensive, but also very hard to come by.
<Indeed; their home territory is basically a war zone in the Congo region, so exports are extremely infrequent, to say the least.>
In fact I cant find a single shop in the UK that has them!! (except one fully grown one in a shop in London for £450!!). Do you happen to know where I can get these from?
<The wholesaler Aquarium Glaser, among others, have exported them occasionally. So they're on the 'lists' of fish retailers can get. In the UK at least, you'd want to contact one of the stores known to be able to get rare fish, and take it from there. Keith Lambert at Wildwoods is my "go to" person for oddball freshwater stuff. If he can't source something, it's probably not available. Even better, he ships fish mail order if you don't happen to be anywhere near Enfield, London. I also just had a quick look on the TropicalFishFinder.co.uk site, and they list Tetraodon schoutedeni as being in stock at Maidenhead Aquatics @ St Albans, so that might be worth a call too. So far as I know, the MA chain doesn't do mail order, but on the plus side, if you have an MA nearby, they should have access to the same wholesalers.>
Do you have any alternative suggestions for what puffers I can keep? I'd like a group of at least 6 reasonably sized.
<Some aquarists with really big tanks have kept the 'lurker' puffers such as Tetraodon suvattii in groups, because they don't move about much. Indeed, when not eating they don't really do anything. So they're not a lot of fun, to be fair. There's also the South American Pufferfish (Colomesus asellus) that gets along with its own kind very well, to the degree it's more nervous kept singly. Of course it's hyperactivity and nervousness diminishes it's character a bit compared with other species, and its tendency towards overgrown teeth may make it more challenging to keep. But still, it's a cheap, hardy species worth considering. Maximum size is around 8-10 cm, and it's also fairly compatible with other active fish (e.g., tetras) as well as catfish (such as L-numbers), so works well in carefully planned biotope tanks. It'd also be remiss of me not to mention Carinotetraodon irrubesco, a charming species that's small (5-6 cm long, at most) but very peaceful by puffer standards. You could keep 3-4 pairs in a tank your size without trouble. They're reasonably tolerant of other fish too, though odd specimens do behave like little bitey psycho fish -- though personally I do wonder if these reports mostly refer to similar species such as Carinotetraodon boreensis and Carinotetraodon lorteti that may look the same but behave very differently. My experiences with both Carinotetraodon irrubesco and Colomesus asellus were entirely positive, and I regard them as the closest things to 'community' puffers.>
On the topic, is there any other particularly interesting non-puffer fish you can suggest that get to a reasonable size and can be kept in a large school?
<Do see above. Even where you keep placid puffers, you want fast-moving midwater fish that avoid trouble if they need to (e.g., Danios and tetras), and retiring catfish that stay out of trouble by hiding (such as L-numbers or Synodontis). Loaches tick both boxes, so they're often good choices too.>
Or smaller fish that are interesting that can be kept in a massive school?
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Community Tank setup      8/3/18
Thanks so much Bob for your feedback, Jo
<Welcome Jo. BobF>

Mixing Scribbled Angelfish  <Video Link>    8/3/18
Dear Crew
<Hi Ignatio>
I just want to ask you the possibility mixing scribbled angelfish (male and female) more than 1 pair in one tank (as you can see in the attached video).
<Next time please place the video in the cloud or YouTube and send us just the link to see it.>
Tank dimension in that video only 2 m * 1 m * 0.5 m with so many fishes in there without any aggression at all with no rock or a hiding place.
<Is this a holding tank? If so, fish won´t be there for long and aggression is dissipated because of the number of fish kept in there>
Will they eventually sick in long term or not? (or fight each other) or they can be maintain just like that.
<Angelfish are very belligerent towards its own kind and Dubolays are no exception, You may try starting with a trio of small specimens as they are less aggressive when young, be sure to introduce them all at once; nevertheless a 130 gallon tank like the one on the video is too small for long term success, you should attempt this in a tank of a few hundred gallons as a bare minimum.>
Note: the salinity was set on 1.015 to prevent disease. I saw the fishes in there are really in top condition .. ate like a pig and didn't afraid with human
<Yes, they look in excellent health>
Thanking you all in advance
<You are welcome. Wilberth>

Dog face Puffer which I recently lost.     8/2/18
<Hello Ashley>
Long story.... I’ll shorten it up a bit. (90 gallon with 30 gallon Refugium and upgrading later) Water quality parameters were all in spec. 1 leopard wrasse, 2 clowns, 1 Valentini puffer(small) a watchman goby a small flame angel and my small dog face Puffer.
<Small puffers are harder to get to eat and have lower survival rates than bigger ones>
My tank was fine. Got an Odonus trigger. After being quarantined then acclimated seemed ok. He just was hiding so I fed him in his preferred cave. All info I could look up said this was normal for a new trigger. After a week I lured him out with food and he was completely chewed up. Most of his tail was gone but the bite marks match the mouth size of my watchman goby. I removed the watchman to another tank and hoped the trigger would recover. I was afraid quarantining him would stress him out too much at first. I pulled him out for a quarantine about 3 days later. He died. ☹️ the trigger was the trigger (for all these problems) Moving on ... Valentini starts picking on the dog face.
<I suspect the Valentini was the culprit on the trigger bites also>
I removed Valentini and found him a new home. Days later with a few bite marks my dog face starts to scratch.
No signs of ich yet... everyone is still eating though. Worried it could be bacterial from bites my lfs advises to try Melafix Marine.
<Worthless med>
I do this treatment .... Seems to help some flashing still on one particular side.
I start worrying about flukes or other parasites. I didn’t want to remove him until it became necessary. Angel shows signs of ich now but I can’t see it yet. I start hyposalinity slowly. Like a small drop like 1-2 ppt every 2 days with a calibrated refractometer.
<Good move>
I read in several places that this was a safer way for puffers than copper.
Copper scares me to death. Lfs also advised Kick Ich.
<Another med that doesn´t work at all (Kick Ich)>
I did try it. I am still using it now.(well come back to this) At this point the Puffer stops eating. I pull to quarantine and slowly bring salinity back up from 1.017 to 1.021 over 4-5 days I don't see ich or anything other than healing bite marks. I start wondering if it’s a bacterial or an internal parasite because he got very skinny very fast(about one week).
<Oh yes, they get emaciated pretty fast>
His belly became concave. Lfs said you can’t really treat internal parasites if they aren’t eating. Bought API general cure and used in water while waiting for Metroplex on order.
<A much better treatment option but you still don´t know what to treat for>
Contacted a vet and asked about force feeding or tube feeding. They said not good if he is constipated or blocked. I asked how do I know? Reply was X-ray. Ugh �� where can I get that? Answer I can’t around here. Sigh. Looked for constipation solutions -Epsom salt 1tbs per 5 gal. Did that and started with a bit of brine shrimp soaked in Selcon and vita Chem just to get something in his belly that was slightly easier to digest and to “wake his digestive tract up” after not eating for a week. I used a small syringe and tried to get the food back far enough that he couldn’t spit it out.
<This could have damage it internally>
This helped he was not bloated and didn’t act as though he constipated. I made sure there was no air in the food. He perked up and started to swim a bit. I waited and fed for several days. Ammonia .25 starts to climb and I’m doing full water changes every single day. Used other cultivated live rock in quarantine to help with ammonia. After I fed him or tried food I vacuumed the bottom of the glass as precaution. I tried so hard to keep parameters in check. (Before this sickness he ate everyday and I used a mix of food i.e. squid, Mysis , half shelled clams, shrimp, all soaked in Selcon and supplements overnight in the fridge. some live and dried seaweed that I put in there for other fish. ) He was a bit picky.... He did better for a few days and he Just one day completely went down hill and died that night.
<Sorry to hear/read that>
I came home found him distressed. Put prime In the water Incase of ammonia and test it was slightly elevated but below .25. Got water ready and did water changes and added more carbon Incase of something else was in there. Temp and salinity was the same. I can’t figure out if it was and internal parasite or if he got lockjaw or something I’ve never even heard of. Did trim his teeth (super easy) after so long with out eating they were starting to get longer. His mouth was open a lot in the last week. Just sitting open. Once I read some about lockjaw it made me think. I have the iodide test and it was in spec. My display is ok and ich “free”. (I am running Kick Ich as a precaution and now am bringing my salinity up very slowly to a preferred level 1.025 and will eventually move my coral back to my display in a month or so. More ich precaution. My puffer never got one ich spot that I could see. Quite honestly I went wrong some where but I’m not sure where. I am kicking myself and trying to figure out what he had and what went wrong but his symptoms were vague.
<The way I see things; It was a cascade of events derived from stress, You took desperate measures to save him but, unintentionally you just added additional stress to the point it was impossible to get it back to health..>
I’m leaning towards internal parasite or vitamin b deficiency, possible lockjaw. (Not a ton of info on this) . I had him under a year total. I am afraid to screw up again I loved my Puffer. He was such a ray of sunshine.
<I understand, sometimes we got fond of certain fish>
I found your site and started reading about the vitamin b deficiency issues and started researching this now. As for running Kick Ich in the display it could have worked or it could have been the hyposalinity.
<I think it was more likely the Hyposalinity>
I did try to research all these treatments but there’s either no info on these things or so much info you don’t know what is right.
<It´s easy to get confused when we get different opinions, keep reading to dispel any doubts>
Everyone else in my tank seems ok now. I’m just not sure if I should treat for internal parasites with food or what.
<I would not treat the rest of the fishes, do add activated carbon to remove any remaining meds. Maintain good water quality and Keep a stress-free environment.>
I am also afraid to have another puffer if I can’t give it what it needs.
<Just read more and be well prepared before trying again.>
Still kicking myself
<Kind regards. Wilberth>
Re: Dog face Puffer which I recently lost.     8/2/18
Maybe I did stress him but not everything I did was so close together, things were more spaced out than they seemed.
< I understand>
I kind of agree on the stress but at the same time I just offered food when he got so skinny so fast. There was a period of time I did try to let him recover. I just wish I had found your website before this. Is it possible I damaged his organs lowering the salinity?
<Unlikely, you lower the salinity gradually>
I didn’t do it fast. I did leave him in the display for a while. I guess I did get worked up because I didn’t do enough for the trigger. I thought had I treated him before he may have made it. As for the feeding I’ve have tube fed and syringe fed before especially other rescue animals. I used a syringe with a small finer softer tube attached and used all the precaution I could. (I should have been clearer in the original message)
<Ahh, now I get it>
He was so skinny that his belly became concave and his body became curved.
<This may have been something else, the symptoms you describe now indicate Ichthyophonus disease, which attacks fish internal organs, Fishes that has this kind of disease typically die up to two months after being infected. Treatment is hard because of the internal nature of this disease.>
From what I could find and read he was very bad off at this point and I thought I would give it a shot. Finding real answers at this point was hard. My lfs kind of just said sorry (like he was going to die anyway) and told me to leave Mysis shrimp out longer because they are attracted to the food if it’s odorous. (He wasn’t interested by the way) I just wanted to elaborate that the time frame was longer than it seemed. I will take the blame here. I know I stressed him out. I try very hard and maybe too hard.
<Don´t feel guilty, this happens from time to time and sometimes for no apparent reason.>
I researched before I got him I always try to get the information I can. I researched the entire time I noticed something was wrong. I have been constantly researching for weeks. I will continue.
Thank you for your time and advice. I truly appreciate it.
<You´re very welcome. Wilberth>
Re: Dog face Puffer which I recently lost.     8/2/18

Thank you.
I will also research this disease for future reference. I really needed a good outside opinion. I truly appreciate this.
<Glad to be helpful>

Red tipped macro algae ID     8/2/18
Hi Crew!
Got another macro today...the local fish store was honest and wasn’t sure exactly what it was. It just came in labeled as “red macro algae”—how obvious, lol. I thought maybe Gracilaria but never seen a pic of one that’s green with red tips. Definitely not dragon’s breath, as I cultivate that one. Could you be so kind to ID? I very much appreciate your help as always!
Dani ��
<Will look tomorrow. For now, take a read through our Rhodophyte ID FAQs files:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Red tipped macro algae ID     8/2/18
So many beautiful algae in those FAQs! Some have such gorgeous specimens! Yet none as two toned as mine.
<Ah yes; but/though, like tomatoes, I do suspect this is a Red/Rhodophyte... but what?>
It’s also extremely tough. I tried to rip a piece off to put in my microfuge, I couldn’t—had to cut it!
I thought perhaps Gracilaria, but I heard that’s usually fragile.
<Yes; agreed; though I recall there are more than two hundred known species in the genus. Am going to post on WWM and the Net and let's see if folks can/will chime in re. BobF>

Community Tank setup      8/2/18
Hi crew,
I am in the process of setting up a 50g tank, dimensions are 120cm L, 40cm W, 45cm D (this is the water depth, not the total tank depth) and I wanted to check on the compatibility of my stocking list:
1 BN Pleco
3 Pearl Gourami's (1m/2f)
5 Bolivian Ram's
15 Serpae Tetra's - will these be too nippy for the pearls?
<Mmm; likely okay here; in this size grouping, system volume>
15 Espei Rasboras - will these be too fast for the pearls?
<Likely so>
If the pearl's are not a good addition, then instead I will add the Dwarf Gourami to the tank instead and not add Pearl Gourami's.
<A tough one (for me); I really like Trichogaster leeri, and Colisa genus gouramis have been problematical (dying easily) the last decades...>
The water conditions will be approx. (based on a current smaller 10g tank setup I already have):
Ph 7-7.5
KH 5-6
Temp 26 degrees C
<Fine for all>
Filtration: Internal filter (600L/hr) and a second sponge filter (600L/hr)
Tank setup: Sand substrate, lots of hidey holes for the rams, lots of driftwood for the Pleco, floating plants for the gourami's and a couple of large plants in the substrate.
I currently have a the BN Pleco and a Dwarf Gourami in the 10g tank, hence upgrading to a larger size for the BN Pleco who will be transferred to the 50g once it is up and running.
Many thanks for your help, Jo
<Thank you for sharing. Please do send along your further observations, news of your progress. Bob Fenner>

Worm type creature Id       8/1/18
<Hi Otilia>
I found this rapidly free swimming in a reef tank with very high flow.
It is about 1/4” or 6mm long
Are you able to I’d or tell me if it is safe to leave in tank
<Looks like some type of Polychaete worm, I wouldn´t worry, these worms feed on detritus, just let it be.>
<You´re welcome>

Chipped tank      8/1/18
Good morning,
<Good morning Rialda>
My 90 gallon tank sustained some damage during a move. I filled it with water outside and it is not leaking.
<That is because the crack is almost at the top where there is less water pressure>
The size of the chip/crack is worrying to me though.
<Crack will extend in time for sure if you leave it as is>
Is this tank a write off as an aquarium or dare I set it up again inside the house?
< If you replace the front panel, you may set it up inside the house with absolute confidence.>
This what it looked like two weeks ago when it happened:
And here is what it looks like now, it seems to have grown.

<Please send images of only a few hundred KBs otherwise you may crash our server. I resized them>
Thank you kindly for any advice and help you may be able to give me.
<Glad to help. Wilberth>

Re: Aquarium Driftwood      8/1/18
Thank you!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

hello young honey Gourami sex      8/1/18
hello I was just wondering on an opinion of the sex of my newer honey Gourami
<This is not a Honey Gourami (Colisa chuna) but a Three-Spot Gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus).>
I have one adult gold male and one adult blue female my breeding pair from the past great fish my Gourami s are very calm surprised by what people usually say I own a 55 gallon tank with mixed tropical fish but I love Gourami s so much I always have 3 or 4 females with one male but 2 of my
females recently passed of from old age r.i.p.. amazing smart fish so I have acquired 3 more young 2 gold and one blue and they look all females but I know it is hard to tell so young but my one honey seems to start looking leaner and longer and the past 2 days of healthy diet always his or hers pectoral grew very long like an adults and they are still a smaller fish so juts would like an opinion because I'm thinking they might be male now.
pictures attached it's hard to tell lmk and I'll take more pictures .
<Looks like a female to me. Males have longer dorsal fins than females, to the degree that the male's dorsal fin may almost touch the tail fin!
Females have shorter dorsal fins, and also tend to be more rounded about the belly. Cheers, Neale.>

Possible bobbit worm      8/1/18
I found this today in a filter sock it is hard to picture as it’s small in diameter and nearly a centimetre long but it appears to have the head to match a bobbit but the head features are very small and almost transparent you can see them near the eyes.
<It may be a Eunice Polychaete species but looks to me more like some sort of Phyllodocid worm, both are predatory species.>
I have found a bobbit in my tank previously.
<And there may be more. Wilberth>

Aquarium Driftwood     7/31/18
Hello Crew! Is cedar safe to use in an aquarium?
<Likely not, Renee; as a rule of thumb, best to avoid conifers (softwoods) because of the resinous nature of their wood. Certain hardwoods are toxic too, so unless you know explicitly that a certain wood is safe (beech and oak for example) then avoid using wood collected from the wild or otherwise. Indeed, there's a strong argument for only using cured wood bought from aquarium shops just to be on the safe side. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Elephant Nose Question     7/31/18
Great! Thank you!
<Glad to help. Neale.>

Re: Unwell Otocinclus      7/31/18
That obvious ha ha
<It's an accent that carries into emails, perhaps?>
Yep Sydney
<Cool. My sister lives in Perth.>
Where in the UK are you?
<Berkhamsted. So nowhere interesting!>
<And to you, Neale.>

Re: Planaria Troubles     7/31/18
Hi Neale,
I know there's not much more to say on the Planaria situation, but something I observed tonight I wanted to relate to you.
I went up to feed my puffers and other fish, and also to check on my Apple snails. Well, now I'm down to just 5 snails because the Planaria have eaten them. I also found a snail that was still alive, however it had quite a few Planaria on the outside of the shell and where they were, the shell was chewed down quite a lot and it was very thin.
<Yuck. But specifically: what's the pH of your water? Apple snail shells become eroded in soft water, especially soft and acidic water. Once that happens, it might well be that flatworms would opportunistically congregate there, feeding on whatever organic materials or body fluids were released.
This might weaken the snail (Apple snails do seem to have a pretty weak immune system) and overtime cause death. Not exactly saying the flatworms are at fault, but they could exacerbate things. Apple snails are quite sensitive animals, and really do need moderately to very hard water to do well -- under aquarium conditions at least. They also do not seem to commonly live more than 1-2 years without a 'resting' stage, and if they're exhausted by being kept in tropical temperature water indefinitely, they do
start to weaken and die.>
So I went and rinsed them under running water and took a toothbrush and made sure to get all the Planaria off. I've transferred those last 5 snails into a tank that I am sure does not have Planaria, and I am hoping I rinsed them well enough that no Planaria are inside the snails because I believe they do get inside the shell and they eat them from inside out.
<I'm still unsure about whether the planarians are consuming sick/dead snails, or doing something to healthy snails that's causing them to die. For years and years aquarists would blame snails for killing their plants, but we're now more subtle about the snail/plant relationship, and recognise that most of the time small snails are simply eating dying plants, and the question aquarists needed to ask was not "how to kill snails" but "how to grow plants better".>
Now, I realise I'm just an average freshwater aquarium keeper with no qualifications in regards to Planaria or any other aquatic worms, but I've been having issues with Planaria for the past 9 years easily (if not longer). At first they were in my cherry shrimp tanks but then later in tanks with snails, and I've seen through the years what damage they can do and I've come to understand them a little bit better than most hobbyists.
You may be completely right about Planaria not being able to penetrate through a Tylomelania snail's shell ... but in all honesty, I'm not totally convinced.
<The apex of Tylomelania shells absolutely does wear away with age. I've kept them many years, and all the big specimens have missing apices. Wild Tylomelania are similar, so I don't think this is an aquarium pathology.
There's simply no way a planarian could dig through solid aragonite and pierce the shell of an adult Tylomelania, and really, why would such a technique evolve? If these snail-eating planarians exist, they'd surely go the easy way into a snail, from the front!>
I really think that most people don't believe me when I discuss my experiences with Planaria, and I am sick to death of hearing people say it's from over-feeding or keeping a dirty tank because for me, that's just not true.
Anyway, I won't keep bothering you about Planaria, but I do believe more research needs to go into how these nasty little worms affect freshwater tanks and snails in particular. I had 90+ snails and now only 5 survive and I can say that Planaria played a direct role in the decimation of those snails.
<Don't get me wrong on this. There certainly are flatworms known to predate on snails, including some "garden" flatworms such as Caenoplana coerulea that naturally come from Australia and New Zealand, but have been introduced elsewhere (including the US) and may be dangerous pests on useful garden animals such as earthworms. Some of these can kill snails, and on tropical islands may pose a real danger to small, native snails already under pressure from habitat change, exotics, etc. But the vast
majority of flatworms seen in aquaria are things like Polycelis and Dugesia species, which are demonstrably harmless -- you can have lots of these, and lots of small snails such as Physa and Planorbis spp., without any obvious interactions between them. It might well be that you have been unlucky and have some sort of hitherto unknown species that kills Apple Snails. Let me suggest that you contact your local university or natural history museum, and find a biologist there able to identify the flatworms and find out if they really are something new and different. This isn't completely impossible -- some unknown or little known flatworm may exist in South America or somewhere, hitchhiked its way into your aquaria via a plant, and unfortunately for you, it's taking down your Apple Snails. Furthermore,
snails, like most large animals, can be infected with parasitic flatworms, and these absolutely can do serious harm, even causing death at high parasite loads. Identifying these is difficult because they're usually inside the host, and you'd need a parasitologist to help you out here. But to restate once more: for most people, most of the time, flatworms such as Dugesia spp. aren't really a problem. They consume micro-invertebrates, and while a pest in a breeding tank, are otherwise easily controlled. Many fish
will eat them, most notoriously perhaps the Paradisefish, but most predatory fish will eat them when hungry.>
There is no good reliable information on the internet or anywhere else that I can find to help people with Planaria in freshwater aquariums. It shall be interesting to see if those 5 that I removed from the infected tank survive or if I've inadvertently transferred Planaria with those snails.
<Larvae or eggs could easily survive, so if you want to eliminate the flatworms, you really do need to be using an antihelminthic and hoping the snails are unharmed.>
Thank you for hearing me out.
<I understand your frustration! But honestly, my fish vet books all state free-living flatworms are harmless, towards fish at least. This isn't to say that your flatworms are harmless and you're totally imagining things -- but you do seem to have a very exceptional situation that bears further investigation, though probably by qualified scientists rather than other fishkeepers.>
Kind Regards,
<One last thought. Don't confuse flatworms with leeches. Leeches are equipped with biting teeth, and would be well able to suck the 'juices' out of an Apple snail. Leeches are not common in fish tanks, but they do occur in ponds quite frequently. Leeches look a lot like flatworms, but they have suckers at each end, and when released into the water, having a powerful, rather beautiful undulating swimming motion rather like that of a sidewinder snake, albeit vertically rather than horizontally. Some flatworms can swim, of course, but at best they ruffle the edges of their bodies and their swimming is much less purposeful. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin     7/31/18
Thank you so much for your previous prompt reply. I greatly appreciate it.
I am writing again because I am so worried about my terrapin.
<Glad to help, and understand your worries.>
Although I am giving her the antibiotics for 2 weeks now as the vet specialist suggested, she doesn't seem to get better. The vet told me that after checking her blood results he definitely sees a kind of inflammation in her body but he cannot tell why she doesn't want to swim any more.
<Is she perhaps egg-bound? Have you asked the vet about that? It is quite common with female turtles. In short, whether or not the turtle mates, a female turtle will sometimes produce unfertilised eggs, a bit like a chicken does. It will be desperate to lay them. If they don't come out, they will rot, causing serious infection and eventually death. Getting the turtle to lay the eggs isn't too difficult though. All you need is a container with a mixture of earth and sand in it. Now, this might get complicated to set up, but the basic idea is this: change the aquarium you have so that you have a bit of water, the rocks, and then by the rock, a plastic food tub (or similar) containing the sand/earth mixture. The idea is that this sand/earth mixture is dry, warm, and easy to get to. Make sense? Don't worry that she won't have much swimming room. Not a problem for a few days or a couple weeks!>
It's not a respiratory problem, it is just an infection, could that make it impossible for her to swim? He told me to continue with the antibiotics but it's been 2 weeks now and they don't help with the swimming problem. She still has a great appetite and enjoys walking around the house and hiding behind dark safe places but when I put her in the aquarium (even without water at all !) she is panicking, she is acting like crazy.
<See, when females want to lay eggs, being in the water frightens them.
They want to be on land, because the eggs will "drown" underwater. Does that make sense?>
She eats every day in my bath tub (with a shallow water) and she is acting normal while she is eating. When she stops eating she is starting to panic! What else can I do? How long can she live outside the water?
<Indefinitely, so long as she drinks.>
It's been 2 months now that she cannot swim at all (and she doesn't bask either).
Please help me if you can.
can you see the video i have sent you?
<Yes, it helps a lot. The behaviour of this turtle is very similar to a female who wants to lay her eggs.>
please ask me if you need to know anything else...
thank you so much....
<Here's some further reading:
Your vet will understand what "egg binding" or "dystocia" mean, and this might help him/her pinpoint the problem. But see if the sand/earth mixture works first, and this will be a quick, inexpensive fix! Let us known what happens. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin (Darrel, Mick, can you look at this video and check my reply)     7/31/18

Oh Neale thank you so much again for replying!
I am sorry but I forgot to tell you that she is not egg-bound... We are now in month July 2018, she was egg-bound (for the second time in her life) in April 2018 and she laid 12 eggs till end of June 2018. She was extremely stressed out (you cannot imagine how much !), I did create this container you mention but she didn't like it, I tried to get her out in the garden, she tried to dig a lot in the sand but eventually she didn't like it either so she laid all her eggs (not in a row: 4-5 different times) in the water, in her aquarium (like she had done the previous year because back then we didn't even know that she could be gravid!).
She couldn't lay her last 3 eggs (out of 12) so we took her to the vet and he made her a calcium injection so she did lay them so we thought that everything would be OK. After some days when we saw that she wasn't getting any better, in fact she got worse) and she couldn't swim at all we took her back to the vet and he made an X-Ray just to be sure she doesn't have more eggs.
The X-Ray showed that she didn't have more eggs, that's why we started the antibiotics to see if she will feel better (but she doesn't).
<Did the vet think a vitamin A or vitamin D injection might help?>
Do you believe that it is just STRESS because she had such a difficult period of time trying to lay her eggs and now she doesn't want to swim or even be near the water again? (only when she is eating she seems OK).
<There's certainly no need to force a turtle to swim if she doesn't want to.>
I am going crazy. Can I let her live like that for the rest of her life?
Feeding her only for 5 minutes in the bath-tab, drinking water and then letting her around the house, sleeping and hiding underneath the carpet and safe places in the house? For how long can she live like that?
<Some weeks, anyway. It's not a fun life for the turtle though. They should have at least the option of swimming, even if it's nothing more than a few inches of water that cools them down.>
If you tell me indefinitely, I will do that! but I don't believe she can because she is not even basking now. I've put the heating lamp on the floor but she doesn't prefer to go there under the heat. She likes to hide
under the carpet or other dark places in the house (but she seems to be OK when she does that..).
<She may be too hot. Is the water at room temperature or heated? In the "olden days" when I kept turtles as a child, it was common to put a heater in the water. We now understand this isn't ideal. It is much better the turtle can warm up on land, and cool down in the water. All reptiles need to have warm and cool areas that they can move between. This is how they regulate body temperature.>
I promise I will not bother you again. Can you please guess what it might be ?
<Honestly, running out of ideas. If a vet can't see anything obviously wrong, and antibiotics have been administered, then your turtle may simply be stressed or just plain nuts. Observation is probably the best move here.
Offer your turtle a range of foods, and a variety of places to sit, hide or swim. See what she does.>
Thank you so much.
<Good luck! Neale.>
Re: Yellow-belly aqua terrapin (Darrel, Mick, can you look at this video and check my reply)     7/31/18

Thank you very much Neale. I will follow your instructions and I hope she will not die from being out of the water for so long because it has been months since she is doing it...
<So long as she can drink and bathe, and doesn't overheat, she'll be fine.
In short: give her a tank with a low, shallow basin of water to cool down in, clean water to drink, and the heat lamp kept away from the cool water.
Terrapins and turtles will dry out quickly, which is why they need easy access to drinking and bathing water, even if they don't want to swim. Look up "dry docking" turtles in Google to see pictures of this sort of set-up.>
I will also tell the vet about the vitamin a and d injection....
<Good luck, Neale.>

Advice on Betta with swollen lip/nose /Neale      7/30/18
Hi guys!
I‘ve been looking for an answer to my problem for a few months now.
My Bettas upper lip/nose has been slowly swelling up since the end of March. This is sometimes accompanied by a small white pimple on his nose. This comes and goes.
In the last week however we now have white flat spots on his head and raised white pimples above one of his eyes. I immediately thought he had Hole in the Head but the white spots haven’t erupted or changed in the last week. His lip & nose are now quite swollen.
Otherwise he is perfectly fine, he is eating and acting normal.
Treatment wise I have treated with eSHa Hexamita in the last week but otherwise I have been monitoring and doing 10% water changed every other day, also adding Indian Almond Leaves.
He is kept in a 22ltr heated & filtered planted tank (sponge filter), the temp sits between 27-28oC.
The tanks is cycled and has been for almost two years, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, PH sits around 7-7.5. I use Seachem Prime as a conditioner..
Diet is Dennerle Betta Booster, frozen Bloodworms, Brine Shrimp, Daphnia, Mysis Shrimp and Cyclops. He is fed twice a day and fasted once a week.
I have attached some pictures, one shows him with a normal nose and now. The others are an attempt to show the white dots and pimple. Apologies for the quality.
Thanks for your help
<Have seen these white pimples on Bettas before. I don't think diet or environment is the issue here. In fact I have no idea what causes them! They might be caused by a parasite, but seemingly not one that can reproduce in aquaria, as they don't seem to spread to other fish or even across the host fish more generally. They might be viral, but viral diseases don't spread much, if at all, under aquarium conditions, and there's no real treatments for them either. While they might be bacterial, they don't seem to be associated with infection or damage in the same way as, say, Finrot. None of this is very helpful, I know. But my point is primarily that there's no certain treatment for these white pimples, but at the same time, they don't seem immediately dangerous either. Otherwise healthy Bettas with a single white pimple should be observed, but not, in my opinion, medicated blindly. Best to wait and see what happens. On the other hand, patches of off-white mucous can mean a variety of things including Costia, and such do need to be treated. You might go with something general purpose, like eSHa EXIT, which handles a fair variety of external parasites, alongside eSHa 2000, a pretty decent antibacterial. The two are safe to use together, and seem to be tolerated by fishes of most sorts rather well. Alternatively, you might prefer to run a course of EXIT first (against potential Costia or some other protozoan) and then use 2000 only if the fish failed to improve or was showing signs of bacterial infection (such as weight loss or fin damage). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Advice on Betta with swollen lip/nose     7/30/18

Thank you for taking time to reply.
<Most welcome.>
The pimple/s are very intermittent. I shall keep up with monitoring him. I have the meds that you have mentioned to hand if needed.
<Sounds like a plan. Good luck, Neale.>

Young blue 3 spot Gourami     7/30/18
hello I own a 55 gallon tank with 3 zebra Danios 1 goldfish comet and one gold male Gourami adult and one blue female Gourami adult and had recently bought 3 young gouramis female about 2.5 inches big. no problems in the water ph 7.1 no ammonia problems etc. two filters one sponge and one regular. water stays around 78 degrees.
<All sounds fine.>
I added my 3 new gouramis in slowly the way your supposed to and I've had them 2 weeks and one of the baby blues started swimming funny like backing up every few seconds while it's standing still if you get what I am saying
<Do you mean he is swimming normally, but uses his fins to swim backwards?
That's normal. If you mean he's staying on one place, but rocking side to side, sometimes with his pectoral fins clamped closely onto his sides, then that isn't normal. It's sometimes called "shimmying" or "the shimmies" and is a strong sign a fish is stressed.>
and then over the next few days a bulge appeared on its right side she didn't eat for a 2 days then started eating again only a little but I'm assuming because very hungry and today the bulge popped and poop was coming out brown from the bulge on her side
<You mean the 'poop' is something coming out of a wound on the side of the fish? This is extremely serious, and honestly, the fish is unlikely to recover. If the 'poop' is simply faeces coming out of the vent, that's normal, and fish do get constipated at times.>
and I quickly QTed her I can't find the condition online I've been searching for a remedy hoping maybe I can save her or if there might be a problem now for my other fish. help. please.
<If we're dealing with constipation here, then read here:
If the burst wound was in the muscle on the side of the fish, then I'm less optimistic. Quarantining certainly; excellent water quality; and above all effective antibiotics will be needed to have any chance of a wound this deep recovering. I have seen fish recover from muscle injuries like this, but it takes a lot of careful looking after.>
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: young blue 3 spot Gourami     7/30/18

thank you for the quick reply.
and as for the swimming it's weird she stays in one spot but slightly backing up not going anywhere her fins are no clamped on the sides or pectoral strings ate not clamped but her dorsal stays down but yes the bulge is on the side in between the fin and tail area
and it burst and the stuff coming out looks exactly like the color of food they eat
<This is very bad.>
a tanish red color it actually looks just like a long feces string but your right it's coming out of the muscle
<If you're lucky, it's just a pus or bacterial discharge of some sort.
As/when the wound heals, this should stop. But if the digestive tract has been punctured, and there's a steady flow of partially digested food out of the wound, this fish isn't going to heal. Not without help from a vet, anyway. If that's the case, I would honestly perform euthanasia here. Let me have you do some reading, here:
The clove oil method is cheap, effective, and much more humane than other methods used by aquarists.>
I assume on her side and she's is only swollen on the one side the bulge actually went down some but occasionally stuff still is coming out of the hole but not as much as yesterday. she is trying too eat but only getting a small flake or 2 down and spits the rest out and today is sitting at the bottom of the qt tank but not gasping for air.
<Do not overfeed. Indeed, it might be worth not feeding for a few days to see if that stops "stuff" coming out of the wound. If it is food coming out of the wound, as I say, euthanasia is the best choice.>
I had read online something that this might be that could be dangerous for humans if infected and contagious for my other fish
<Unlikely to infect you. This sort of wound honestly sounds opportunistic.
In other words, it was caused by either the environment or physical damage, and as such, isn't contagious. But if conditions in the tank are harmful somehow, other fish could indeed get sick.>
so I did a water change last night for my main tank and added marine salt hoping to kill any bacteria if that's the case.
<Salt will not kill bacteria.>
thanks so much for you insight I ha e been collecting Gourami s and other small tropical fish for 2 years now so I'm still quite new at the illnesses with different fish
<Glad you're enjoying the hobby. Fish diseases are usually caused by some problem with the tank, so it's always a good idea to review the aquarium in terms of size, filtration, tankmates, diet, etc. Bad luck sometimes comes into play, but a wise fishkeeper looks at their tank critically. Good luck!

Unwell Otocinclus (Bob, is this another Pima/Melafix failure?)<Seems likely. B>     7/30/18
Hi guys
I have an issue with an Otocinclus.
<I'll say. It looks as if he's lost his skin and flesh right down to the bone.>
It’s seems to be a fungus but I am not sure.
<Not so sure. I'd be thinking a bacterial infection in the absence of fluffy threads, and medicating accordingly.>
I have 5ftx3ftx2ft tank with plenty of algae to keep 18 of these guys busy (they are all fat and were healthy) about 6 weeks ago I purchased 10 to add to the 9 I already had in the tank. After a few days I noticed that one had a medium white spot on the back of its head, (not sure if the sick fish was from the old batch or new) I treated the tank with Pimafix antifungal remedy
<Unreliable at best.>

with slightly less amount then the directions on the bottle.
<Why less?>
Unfortunately after 5 days of treating the tank the little guy didn’t not make it.
<Indeed. Pimafix (and Melafix) suffer, in my opinion, in being unreliable. By the time it's apparent they're not working, the fish is so sick treatment has become much harder, if not futile. I'd also make the observation that the idea a "natural" product is safer than one from a laboratory doesn't really have any scientific basis, and neither product would be by go-to product given the abundance of tried-and-trusted organic dyes, antibiotics, and indeed even copper-based products that are known to work and have low (or at least predictable) levels of toxicity.>
After day 7 I did a 50% water change and everything seemed fine with the remaining 18 Otocinclus until today when I found a large female with the same white patch, at the most the patch has been one day on her.
<See, I don't think this was a good batch of Otocinclus. I feel they're underweight, and while you're probably doing your best for them, they may have been in the retail tank so long that they're already half-starved. Rickettsia-like bacterial infections are a known problem in Loricariids, exacerbating any underlying health issues. Again, antibiotics may help, and certainly offer more hope than Pimafix or Melafix.>
Ph 6.8
Temp is 28
Tank mates are cardinal tetras, rummy nose tetras, red rainbows, Apistogrammas, flying fox and Bristlenose catfish. The tank is medium planted and the other Otocinclus are healthy and belly’s always full.
The large female is fine (eating, swimming, full belly) beside the patch on her head.
I tried to separate her into a quarantine tank to treat but she became very stressed.
I have attached photos below although the photos do not show the “furry” parts of the patch well.
<Indeed, not apparent to me at all.>
Thank you in advance for your help.
<By all means treat for fungus alongside bacteria, but the latter would be my prime focus. I'd also beef up their diet considerable, certainly beyond mere algae, to include things like Hikari Algae Wafers and even very small morsels of fish fillet or shrimp. They're going to need protein and fat to bulk up quickly, and algae alone won't do that on its own. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Unwell Otocinclus      7/30/18
Hi Neale
Thank you for your quick response.
<You're welcome.>
The reason I under dosed mainly cause I thought the Otocinclus might be a little more sensitive, and it was only 10 ml.s under what was required.
<Unless instructed to do so by a vet, I would always use the full dose as described on the packaging. Simple as that.>
Can you recommend where I could get antibiotics to treat this problem?
<If you're in the US, antibiotics can be obtained from many pet stores or online. Products such as Kanaplex and Maracyn Plus are popular choices working well against many types of bacteria. Outside of the US it is normal for antibiotics to be prescription-only, so you either contact a vet, or else choose an antibacterial product sold in pet stores that won't be an actual antibiotic. I live in the UK, and recommend a product called eSHa 2000. It's inexpensive; doesn't seem to stress sensitive fish, even puffers; and best of all is reasonably reliable against both fungi and bacteria. So to some extent the recommendation will depend on where you live.>
Do you think I should continue with the anti fungal or start anti bacterial treatment?
<Yes, you can use anti-fungals (such as Methylene Blue) alongside antibiotics. Some antibacterial treatments will also treat fungi, so they're a good option too. I would avoid the 'generic' treatments such as salt or anything using tea-tree and similar oils, and focus on proper antibiotics (or at least reliable antibacterials) alongside trusted anti-fungals.>
Can I run treatment for all three or best to start with antibiotics then try to work on the others disease?
<See above.>
By underweight wouldn’t there full bellies mean they are eating well?
<Yes, but if they're eating low-protein food, such as algae, their bellies can be full, and they may have sufficient energy to swim about, but the fish don't actually grow much muscle and bone, or for that matter repair any underlying damage or infections. Let me stress that Otocinclus are aufwuchs, not just algae, feeders in the wild. They're consuming the "biofilm" on rocks containing green algae plus various tiny invertebrates (likely micro-crustaceans, rotifers, tiny worms, etc.) found therein. It's a difficult diet to replicate authentically in the aquarium, hence our reliance on a mixture of naturally growing algae plus some sort of protein-rich supplement, such as minced fish, frozen brine shrimp, etc.>
Most the time they belly’s look they are about to burst. I have started to add soft (boiled) zucchini to their diet as well.
<Again, while softened plant foods are an excellent supplement, plants are generally protein-poor, with notable exceptions such as cooked peas; fortunately, peas eaten by most fish if sufficiently hungry. At a pinch, you can also try cooked egg, especially hard boiled yolk, and old school food for baby fish. While very powdery, boiled egg yolk is extremely popular with pretty much all fish, and is protein-rich. So use a tiny bit at a time (feel free to save some in the fridge; it'll be good for a day or two) and watch your little fish go nut! Don't overdo it, not because it's toxic, but because unheated yolk can make the tank very cloudy if you use too much at once.>
Thank you again for you help
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Unwell Otocinclus      7/30/18

Hi Neale
I have added new photos it seems the issues has worsened in a short amount of time
<Does look fungal in these photos, yes. Would treat for bacteria and fungi together though, just to be sure. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Unwell Otocinclus     7/30/18
Hi Neale
<Aussie by any chance?!>
thank you very much for you help
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Marine Ich      7/29/18
I wanted to thank Bob for his article on how to attack marine ich in a reef aquarium. I had lost a gold rim tang, then a royal Gramma and finally my Kole tang died. I read the article about dropping the salinity to 1.017. Many people told me that wasn’t low enough, but after 6 weeks at the lower salinity,, the ich has disappeared. The remaining fish look much, much better. Thanks for the help and all you do for our hobby. I didn’t lose any corals or inverts, but they were stressed. Again, thanks.
<Certainly welcome. Thank you for your upbeat report. Bob Fenner>

Id hitchhiking snail please      7/29/18
Hi Crew!
I found this very tiny snail on a liverock, it’s maybe 3mm long...could you please help ID? Thank you as always! I hope you have a nice day.
Dani ��
<Is this a Cerith/id? Bob Fenner>

Planaria Troubles      7/28/18
Hello WetWebMedia,
Because I am not sure where to turn and there's no good reliable information on Planaria anywhere, you are my last hope.
I've been having a long lengthy battle with Planaria for a long time. But most recently in a tank that housed my Apple snails. I never really understood Planaria until I came upon an article that explained where it comes from and what it does. And now I know. Well I am guessing that when my friend gave me some plants, that's where it came from.
<Likely so.>
I had a colony of almost 100 apple snails in a tank and they were producing eggs so prolifically that I started removing the eggs before they would hatch out. Then they stopped laying altogether. And then they started dying.
<Ah, does tend to happen with Apple Snails; keeping them and breeding them is often easier than trying to get adults to last more than 1-2 years. My pet theory is that without some sort of dry season aestivation, adults 'burn out' before long.>
I finally moved them to a smaller tank and only had a small amount of snails left. I did a treatment to kill the Planaria in their original tank and thought I would wait a while and then eventually put them back. In the mean time, they seemed to be doing better in the smaller tank and I even found a small clutch of eggs. But then I started finding dead snails again. And yesterday I found 4 that were dead and had Planaria coming out of them. So I know that Planaria was transferred to that tank.
<Possibly. Or via any wet surface, including filter media, gravel, nets, etc.>
Here's my question. I'd like to save these remaining 10 snails, but how can I make sure that the Planaria is riding on them if I move them to another tank, so I can treat the tank they're in now?
<While an antihelminthic should work (such as Prazi Pro) there's no certainty it won't harm invertebrates too. So there's a risk. Keep aside a few juvenile snails in one container, while medicating the rest in the main tank.>
I don't want to kill them, and so I'm unsure what I can use to kill the Planaria but won't kill the apple snails? Is there even a way to do it?
Otherwise, I'm looking at losing every single snail I have if I do nothing.
<Surely the Planaria aren't killing the snails? Most free-living Planaria are harmless. While they will consume organic material on flat surfaces (and multiply rapidly where such foods are abundant) they aren't normally implicated in fish health issues. Why do you think the Planaria are killing your snails?>
I really hope you can help. Thank you for reading my message.
<Most welcome.>
Kindest Regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Planaria Troubles      7/28/18

Hiya Neale,
After having issues with Planaria for many years, I've always had a theory that they are carnivorous.
<May well be, but lacking mouthparts, most of the free-living ones are limited to whatever they can suck up. Some can suck fluids out of larger prey. Those might be borderline parasites if the host doesn't die at
I've seen my snails die from the inside out,
<As Aaron Sorkin once reminded us on 'The West Wing', "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" is not always true.>
plus I've seen Planaria wear away the ends of Tylomelania snails shells.
<I'm mystified how they might do that. If you're talking about the 'apex' of the Tylomelania shells, those become abraded and lost with time anyway, and that's absolutely normal for these snails. Planarians might gather there, I suppose, for some reason or another, but they certainly don't cause the shell loss. How could they? The shell is some form of aragonite, which requires either acid or abrasion to break down, neither of which planarians could provide.>
For a long time people have been saying that Planaria are harmless and I've disagreed.
<Planarians aren't that common in fish tanks, and the old school remedy of keeping fish such as Paradisefish used to be quite commonly mentioned in aquarium books well into the 1980s. But nowadays they just aren't seen that often, outside of marine tanks anyway. For sure there are parasitic flatworms (called Flukes) that do infest some fish, but the free-living Turbellaria (what you're probably thinking of when you mention planarians) aren't normally considered anything other than small scale predators.
There's not much for them to eat in a clean aquarium, so while you will find them in ponds, they're just not that common in freshwater systems.>
Have a read of this article.
<Some interesting ideas there, and yes, confusing nematodes with planarians would be silly. I think the rather dramatic, even extreme tone of some of the article is overkill, but hey, I'm probably not the target audience.
Encouraging people to read and think about what they find online is certainly fine by me!>
I agree with their position on Planaria totally and completely.
<Not clear to me where the author suggests planarians can kill snails, but s/he's right, they might take fish eggs or immobile fry -- though a proper breeding tank should be kept clear of anything other than the eggs and possibly the parent fish anyway. Snails, shrimps, and especially companion fish species are FAR more of a risk to your breeding projects than flatworms.>
Thank you again.
Kind Regards

Advice on Betta with swollen lip/nose      7/28/18
Hi guys!
I‘ve been looking for an answer to my problem for a few months now.
My Bettas upper lip/nose has been slowly swelling up since the end of March. This is sometimes accompanied by a small white pimple on his nose. This comes and goes.
In the last week however we now have white flat spots on his head and raised white pimples above one of his eyes. I immediately thought he had Hole in the Head but the white spots haven’t erupted or changed in the last week. His lip & nose are now quite swollen.
Otherwise he is perfectly fine, he is eating and acting normal.
Treatment wise I have treated with eSHa Hexamita in the last week but otherwise I have been monitoring and doing 10% water changed every other day, also adding Indian Almond Leaves.
<Good choices to try>
He is kept in a 22ltr heated & filtered planted tank (sponge filter), the temp sits between 27-28oC.
The tanks is cycled and has been for almost two years, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, PH sits around 7-7.5. I use Seachem Prime as a conditioner..
Diet is Dennerle Betta Booster, frozen Bloodworms, Brine Shrimp, Daphnia, Mysis Shrimp and Cyclops. He is fed twice a day and fasted once a week.
<Mmm, I'd delete the Bloodworms... a possible negative influence here>
I have attached some pictures, one shows him with a normal nose and now. The others are an attempt to show the white dots and pimple. Apologies for the quality.
Thanks for your help
<Am asking Neale for his independent resp. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Peacock wolf eel in distress     7/27/18
Hello fish friends!
<Hello Shelly>
I currently have an 18 mo old, female, captive bred, Peacock Wolf Eel who has abruptly taken a turn for the worse. We are her third facility, and I have had her about 5 weeks. She is currently housed in a large round holding tank, alone, and her condition is something I have never seen. I browsed the internet and the only thing close to her condition is something similar to a case I read about on your forum.
She was in great condition when she arrived, very active (for a wolf eel) and a normal appetite. She ate for me the second day after her introduction to her quarantine tank. About 8 days or so after she arrived,
I found her laying on her side. To be honest, I thought she was deceased and when I went to net her, she went upright and somewhat swam away from the net. Since then she has had an ultrasound and x-rays with no abnormalities or alarming findings. She is now refusing food and has serious swimming/mobility issues.
<Not good>
She seems somewhat interested in food when it enters the tank and once has taken it in but immediately spit it out.
<This is not uncommon on certain fishes when internal parasites are present. Another cause may be thyroid hyperplasia (caused by iodine deficiency.)
When she tries to swim it is more like a hopping motion. She has use of her pectoral fins and is very alert and aware but to me it seems like she is suffering from some sort of paralysis from the rib cage and lower.
She does react when you touch/pinch her lower tail area, but she doesn't seem to be able to move it on her own. I read about the green wolf eel that had a goiter and paralysis issue that was aided by iodine supplements
<This is true and probably the case here>
and I'm now more hopeful then I was. I’m wondering (and maybe hoping because I am at a loss) that this may be due to some vitamin or iodine deficiency?
<or maybe both>
Like everyone, I do not want to lose this animal over an issue that can easily be fixed so I am reaching out in all directions for any advice or suggestions you may have for me.
<I hope it´s not too late, unfortunately the symptoms of these deficiencies are only visible when the problem has been present for weeks or months, becauseyour eel is not taking/swallowing food.The only route here is to add them directly to the tank water. Eels can go through fasting periods for weeks with no problem, so don´t be concern for her not taking food for a while as long as it´s not emaciated. hope this helps and please keep me posted.>
Thank you for your time and your thoughts.
Shelly Pettit
<Welcome. Wilberth.>

August Calendar for the WWM     7/27/18
Good morning Bob. Here is a calendar for August. Hope you are well and your knee is healing.
<Ahh, very nice memory of our group trip to the Galapagos... back in 2003?! And a bit better thank you. B>

Re: African Dwarf Frog? Bacterial and/or fungal leg infection? Injury?    7/26/18
Thank you so very much for your prompt response. Have a great day, Stefan
<Most welcome and good luck! Neale.>

Crack in fish tank    7/26/18
Your site came up when I searched. About three weeks ago we moved our reef tank contents from 180 to 240 gallon tank - the 240 is a brand new 1/2" glass commercially built tank purchased through our LFS. Just noticed last night a internal crack about 1-1/2 inches in bottom front corner - have pictures - are you able to offer your opinion about this?
<Um, yes. Please search, read the many posts on WWM re ahead. Bob Fenner>
Re: Crack in fish tank    7/26/18

Hi Bob,
Here are three pictures - Haven't talked to the LFS yet - they delivered, brought in, and setup (moved everything from old to new) the tank. No one noticed this crack at the time.
Thanks very much for your thoughts about this!
<... this is a very bad break, in the worst of places. I would DRAIN this tank down NOW. There are external and internal repairs that can be made; and gone over and over on WWM. B>

Re: Crack in fish tank    7/26/18
<Hey Alex!>
Thanks for your input. After reviewing a number of other chip and crack assessments at the WWM site I was somewhat prepared for the bad news.
<Yes; sorry to be the bearer of bad news... BUT this is a bad break: Dangerous>
Will be stopping in at the LFS after work today to show them the pictures and discuss options.
Big disappointment!
<Ah yes; but "these things do happen">
Ironically we did this switch because our original (20 years old) 180 gallon tank had developed a leak...
<Be of good cheer. BobF>

Treating display tank (Rainbow shark)    7/26/18
I've tried to avoid sending you a message regarding this after reading copious amounts of information on your wonderful site, but I can't seem to piece together an answer regarding my situation.
I have a planted and fully cycled 75 Gallon. I have 12 tiger barbs, 6 boesemanni rainbow fish, and 1 rainbow shark.
I believe I am battling a case of some sort of parasite. I fully stocked my tank after a fishless cycle, same stocking but with a RTS. About 5 days into being fully stocked the RTS passed away, he was hiding not eating, and his skin had a goldish hue upon inspection, reminiscent of velvet from what I've seen online.
I went out and replaced him with a Rainbow Shark and bought about 1 liter of Seachem Paraguard (10% aldehyde by weight with malachite green supplemented) designed for external parasites and for protection against secondary infections (considered gentle compared to typical aldehyde treatments, from what I've read). I figured I may as well treat the entire tank since i did not do a quarantine regiment.
<Paraguard is a bit of "jack of all trades, master of none" medication.
While it may have some benefit as a preventative after fish have been stressed or damaged, for example through shipping, it'd not be my first pick of actually treating an established infection. Velvet is ideally
treated with a combination of heat, salt, and darkness. Otherwise, if that isn't practical, copper or formalin medications work extremely well, but these can be stressful for sensitive types of fish (loaches, pufferfish, etc.) even when used as directed by the manufacturer. There are some other medications out there, designed for Whitespot, such as eSHa EXIT that can work well, especially if used promptly.>
I Keep up with weekly 25 to 30% water changes and my Nh3/4 are always 0, Nitrite 0, ph 7.6 to 7.8 and nitrates ~10 to 15 max ppm. Temp is 77* F. I have a large airstone aerating the tank along with good water movement on the surface from my Eheim canister. Biological filtration seems to be unaffected by the treatment, and I have stopped lighting the tank altogether during treatment and only light is from a window that gets indirect sunlight for most of the day.
<Unfortunately if you're trying to use darkness to kill the Velvet, you need pitch black. A blanket over the tank is traditional, save a few minutes per day when people feed their fish.>
Everyone seems to be doing well with the Paraguard dosage as recommended by the bottle. The rainbow shark was behaving as expected and eating. Some of the tiger barbs are occasionally flashing and seem to breathe heavy, the Rainbow Fish have not flashed and are eating and breathing normally.
Rainbow shark has handled the Paraguard regimen just fine for about 12 days. Last two days he is now lethargic and barely eating (i say barely because I don't see him eating at all). He seems to be opening is mouth to get more water constantly to breathe.
<Do remember you can't kill the parasites on the fish, hence raising the temperature as part of the treatment. The parasites on the fish take some days to mature, and raising the temperature speeds that process up to a day or two. Once burst and with the motile infective stages in the water, ONLY
then can the medicine work. Until such time, the host fish will be stressed, and Velvet almost always affects the gills first of all. Do also remember if you use carbon, it WILL remove medications, preventing a cure.>
He is just resting in the open on a piece of driftwood but is generally lethargic, barely swims around, seems aimless. His color seems to be unchanged, in fact its gotten better since his arrival. Nice red tail and top fin, the others are a blackish/red more on the black side, dark black/grey body and a whitish underside. I can't visually see what looks like velvet anywhere on any fish. I know that tiger barbs have sort of a brownish tinge at some angles to them across their light part of their body, and the color is consistent and hasn't changed.
<Sounds promising.>
Paraguard recommends a 21 day regimen for Velvet and we are currently on day 14. Still unsure what I am actually treating for.
<Velvet is a good call if your fish (a) have a golden sheen of particles of a an icing sugar grain size; and (b) those fish are showing signs of respiratory distress, such as gasping or laboured gill movements. I would however medicate with a dedicated Whitespot/Velvet medication rather than a cure-all, as these latter tend to be a bit hit-and-miss.>
Do you have any recommendations on what may be happening with the shark/tank?
<See above.>
I've heard copper is another route aside from an aldehyde/malachite green type of medication.
<Copper is very effective, but will kill most invertebrates (such as shrimps and the more delicate snails) and will stress some sensitive fish (typically loaches, puffers, and some of the catfish).>
I don't want to over do it with constant medication. Should I just keep up with this? I've heard "things get worse before they get better" with parasites.
<As stated, any Whitespot and Velvet on your fish CANNOT be treated at all.
But these parasites have a temperature-related lifespan, which you can artificially shorten to around one or two days by elevating the temperature to 28-30 C/82-86 F while also increasing aeration to compensate for the lower amount of oxygen in warmer water. Once the life cycle switches to the
motile "larval" stage, these "larvae" are the things the medications will kill. The lower the temperature, the longer it will take for the "larvae" to be produced, and hence the longer any treatment will take.>
Any information would be greatly helpful as I have put my heart and soul into this tank and I love this current stock I have.
Thank you in advance,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Balanophyllia hiding    7/26/18
Happy to report that after getting it to eat more, the balano now comes out and not just at night but during the day lighting too! ☺️
<Great! I can see that in this very nice picture>
One question on your response though that has had me really pondering—why only a 10% weekly water change?
<10% weekly is enough to keep balance without disturbing tank inhabitants and the biofilter, “Old water” with parameters at nontoxic/safe levels is what you should aim for.>
Pardon my ignorance, is it not better to remove as much organics possible with each change or maybe that’s not such a concern because my tank is more balanced now?
<As you said, it’s not a major concern on balanced systems, just keep good maintenance practices and avoid overstocking and overfeeding>
I definitely don’t want to be stressing my aquatic friends and in fact I’d love to cut down to maybe a larger change every other week? Or is it better with smaller changes every week? Just curious about the logic to this if you could please share.
<Always better to do small frequent changes, just don´t skip them>

Re: Leaking pond (converted metal stock tank)    7/26/18
Hi there! Thanks for your quick response!
We seem to be lucky ... the tank leak stopped abruptly at about the 2/3 full level, so not as critical as we thought. I think we're going to eventually just replace the
stock tank with a new one, or else get a liner to cover the metal tank. Still negotiating with the hubby on that, although that would be the
quickest and cheapest alternative, if we can't find the hole to patch.
<Mmm; after "being at this" for decades; writing "pond books"; giving presentations to koi, pond societies for ages, I strongly encourage you to do the cleaning and repair mentioned previously. IF this stock tank is leaking to a degree, chances are very good that it will either continue, or possibly fail entirely>
Thanks again for your suggestions.
Sue Solomon
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Leaking pond (converted metal stock tank)      7/25/18
I have a nice 750 gal. pond with fountain. It was made by burying an 8 ft. galvanized metal stock tank 12 inches deep on a 2” sand base over clay, then camouflaging the sides with concrete pavers. We coated the inside of the stock tank with two coats of rubberized paint before installing, and then later put in a concrete fountain and added goldfish. Things have gone well for nearly 15 years; I’ve drained and cleaned it several times. We did not drill any holes into the tank for any reason.
<Sounds good thus far>
However, last week we drained the pond after a 4 year break. There was a lot of mud; I had to shovel it out manually, then use a shop vac to get the last of the wet mud and gunk. Nothing appeared to be wrong or weak, so I refilled the pond without scrubbing either floor or sides.
Things went well for about a week; the water level stayed at the filled level with no drop.
Suddenly, 6 days later, the pond has lost about 200 gallons overnight, and another 100 or so in the hours since I checked. I’ll soon fish out the pet goldfish into a holding tank until things get stable.
My question; what product or products can I use to stop the leaks in a metal pond? Would Thoroseal work in this case? What are my options?
<Mmm; not Thoroseal or any of their other fine products as far as I'm aware. You need/want something that's elastomeric; has a bit of stretch. I see that Liquid Rubber Waterproof Sealant/Coating has a decent priced 5 gal. size. I would go the extra expense and buy/use their Seam Tape or GeoTextile at the bottom seam and vertical joint/s. DO clean the basin as well as you can. SEE and adhere to WWM's outline on acid/bleach washing to prep. the surface. It MUST be clean and dry ahead of application>
Thanks for any help you can give me! I just don’t want to hear that I need to replace the stock pond. I’m in Santa Barbara.
Sue Solomon
<Cheers Sue. Please send along your impressions, perhaps a pic or two of the project. Bob Fenner>

African Dwarf Frog? Bacterial and/or fungal leg infection? Injury?      7/25/18
Good evening,
my daughter has 9 ADF. One died a few weeks ago (bloated?).
Attached some photos from another sick frog leg - lies on back… then not moving just below surface… Toes on left leg red, rest of upper and lower leg covered in white stuff (skin? fungus? bacteria?). I would be grateful for advice, please (am a pediatrician with zero training in frogs)
Kind regards from Minneapolis,
<Hello Stefan. African Dwarf Frogs, Hymenochirus spp., are relatively easy to keep, but they do have some non-negotiable requirements. Miss these, and they can become sick very quickly. So let me first direct you to some reading:
To some degree they're really rather tough, and like most fish and amphibians, they exhibit a remarkable resilience against bacterial infections given they're basically swimming about in an aqueous solution of decomposing organic materials, nitrogenous compounds, and ambient populations of opportunistic bacteria such as Pseudomonas and Aeromonas! But once their defences are breached, bacterial infections can turn nasty. The most notorious is something called Red Leg, likely an Aeromonas infection. A suitable antibiotic is the best approach here. If you look at the webpage below, aimed at scientific researchers rather than hobbyists, you'll find out a fair deal about this infection and how to treat it: http://www.xenopus.com/disease.htm
Tetracycline is commonly recommended, but there's a bit of debate over whether this is as good as Trimethoprim for this particular infection. However you treat the Red Leg, do try and figure out why it happened at all. It rarely comes out of nowhere, and it's more likely physical damage (e.g., by rough gravel, careless handling, or even nippy fish) started the process, and an overall lack of cleanliness in the take fostered the development of the disease even further. A monotonous diet lacking in appropriate minerals and vitamins may also be a factor. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Elephant Nose Question; gen., fdg.      7/25/18
My Elephant Nose lives in a 75 gallon tank with 6 Congo Tetras (all female) and a Bristlenose Pleco. The tank has a Cascade 1000 canister filter on it and I made sure the tank was cycled before I put any fish in it. I test weekly and have never had any ammonia or nitrite, weekly water changes keep the nitrate around 20 ppm or lower - and I've never had a problem (knock wood) with this tank. The substrate is pool filter sand, temp is 77 - 78, kH is 6, pH is 7.4, and the tank has lots of plants (real and fake) and caves so he'll feel safe. I feed flake food for the Congo Tetras, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and Mysis shrimp for the Elephant Nose, and algae wafers for the Pleco.
<All sounds lovely, Renee.>
The Congo Tetras eat from the top or mid-range of the tank and the Pleco is almost always "suckered" to the side of the tank, so I'm sure the Elephant Nose is getting all of the food I put in for him. Also, he has never shown any interest in any plant based foods and will diligently work to push algae wafers that float down on his favorite side of the tank (the left) back over to the opposite side.
<Quite so; these are more or less carnivores in the wild, albeit on small prey.>
But tonight I realized that even though I've had him for almost 2 years, he really hasn't grown very much. The information I've found online is vague or varied (some sites say this fish reaches an adult size of 4 inches and some sites say 9 inches), so I wanted to ask your opinion; is this species just normally slow growing or could he be missing something in his diet or environment that's slowing growth?
<They are slow growing, but they do also have substantial appetites, and it is easy to underfeed them. Healthy specimens should have a gently rounded abdomen and I'd suggest they do better with many small meals rather than a single big feed. So far as food variety goes, your selection sounds fine.
These are not particularly fussy fish, especially once settled, and settled specimens will sometimes even take flake food, though most do prefer frozen and live. Do remember frozen and live foods are mostly water, and therefore less filling, than flake, so it's easy to underfeed fish fed solely on such items. Nonetheless, given yours is some years old now, you're probably doing fine, so apart from maybe upping the amount of food it gets per day, there's nothing much I'd suggest changing. Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle, RES, hlth.      7/24/18
Hello I have a question about my turtle show I don't know we're supposed to look like this it will be really helpful if you can help me and also the recent photo I'd attached to the email.
<Looks normal enough to me. Let me have you do some reading:
Generally speaking, if a turtle is active, has clear eyes, is not snuffly or otherwise unable to breathe normally, and has no noticeable deformities to the shell and limbs, then chances are that it's fine! I've cc'ed a couple of our turtle experts, in the hope that they'll chime in if something is amiss here.
Cheers, Neale.>

My RES     7/24/18
hey wwm I've got a RES that's about 6 1/2 -7 yrs old and the past couple of week he's started to look swollen like he's to big for his shell. he doest move and just floats around in his tank unless we pick him up and put him on his basking rock. i have 0 knowledge on turtles but i know something is wrong his appetite has decreased too. what may be the problem and what can i do to help him get back to his normal self. ty -milli
<Hello Milli. Does sound as if your turtle might have a respiratory tract infection and/or metabolic bone disease. Both of these are extremely grave, and without treatment will kill your turtle. First of all have a read here:
As ever, prevention is much better (and easier) than cure, so understanding why a turtle gets sick is very important. A lack of warmth and especially a lack of UV-B lighting over the tank are two critical factors here. In the short term, a trip to the vet is probable. But once you get the turtle home again, you'll want to ensure the environment is optimised for a speedy recovery (i.e., ensure the UV-B lamp is less than 6-12 months old, ensure the heat lamp is working). I've cc'ed our two turtle experts just in case I've missed something. Cheers, Neale.>

Advice about abscess     7/24/18
Hi! Recently one of my turtles developed an abscess on his legs a friend of mine who’s dealt with abscesses advices me to use a magnesium sulphate solution on the abscess daily so I did in a week or more his skin started to break and today while checking it I pressed on it and a hard round thing came out , now there’s a big gaping hole and one tiny hole but fortunately no blood, the flesh seems to be healed on the inside I washed it out with regular liquid soap(cuz I don’t have any antiseptic soap on me ) and after he dried up I put a mixture of iodine and water in a syringe and flushed the wound , I’m not sure whether I should put undiluted iodine on it or iodine powder (which my friend suggested) or Neosporin ointment or Neosporin powder or should I wash it out with hydrogen peroxide or is there something that you would recommend ......
It unable to take him to a vet an I’ve been ill treated by them many times they even told me that I shouldn’t be bringing my turtle to them as they don’t know anything about turtles and reptiles ... I’ve tried 5 vets with no luck so I eventually stopped going to them for turtle issues(it’s unfortunate really ) Anyway thanks in advance P.s. he’s an Indian flap shell turtle I will try and send pictures of the abscess and wound :-).
<Hello there. I can't really see what's going on in your photos, so have to speculate a bit here! Abscesses aren't likely to heal while damp, and I probably wouldn't use soap! But iodine was a good call. While using iodine, "docking" the turtle on land for a week or two will help the skin dry out and heal. If you have a read of the article below, and in particular the section called "ISOLATION and DRY-DOCK", you'll find out more:
UV-B light, plus warmth, will help the turtle recover. Iodine should sterilise the wound, but I suspect antibiotics will be needed as well if the infection is serious. You might also want to investigate the cause of the injury -- for example, was another turtle biting this one? I've cc'ed our two turtle experts in case I've missed something. Good luck! Neale.>

Help for my Malayan box turtle (Cuora amboinensis)!     7/24/18
Dear WWM crew,
<Hello Sissi,>
I'm writing to seek help for Andrew, my Malayan box turtle of 23 years.
<He sounds like he's done well so far!>
My parents took care of him for a long time and we mistakenly took him as a land turtle. He roamed freely on the terrace and had access to shallow water. After finding out what type of turtle he is recently, I moved him to a tank with water that covers his shell (he doesn't seem to like the water
very much and tend to float), some rocks for basking and a structure that provides shades.
Some background information:
- Andrew does not like basking at all, I've never seen him climbing up to the rock and bask. Sometimes when the sun is out in the morning, I put him on the rock and he'll move into the water within 5 minutes.
- I live in a tropical climate, water is kept at 79 - 82F.
- I change 1/3 of the water every day
- I feed him every 2 days, mostly shrimps and bananas as he's a very very picky eater and won't take a second look at veggies unless I trick him into eating them.
<I would be careful with such a monotonous diet. Shrimps (and mussels) contain thiaminase, so over time cause vitamin B1 deficiency problems unless there's some other vitamin B1 source in the diet. So while these two foods are popular, I'd use them sparingly. Earthworms and cockles are two popular alternatives, readily taken by most turtles without complain. Fruit is also okay, in moderation, but a hungry turtle will consume a wider range of green foods, including any number of pond and aquarium plants, such as Elodea and Duckweed. These are highly nutritious, and a far more natural part of their diet than shrimp and banana.>
- Despite the problems below, Andrew is eating normally, begging for more food every day. He looks energetic but can be anxious sometimes.
<Do see above, and feel free to starve a turtle for 2-3 weeks until he takes "proper" food like Elodea or plant-based floating pellets (such as Koi pellets).>
Since his move to the new tank, Andrew has been having several problems.
- About 6 weeks ago, he started shedding his skin and it is still ongoing.
I saw large patches of his skin hanging and falling off. I suspected fungal infection but the new skin appears to be normal and Andrew is not affected by it. However, I'm worried as it's been going on for over a month. Does normal skin shedding last this long? If not, what could be the reason for this prolonged shedding/peeling? Is there anything I can do?
<Shedding is normal. Provide there is no odd smell to the shell or body, skin shedding is probably nothing to worry about.>
- Also about 6 weeks ago, Andrew started having diarrhea (that's what I think it is). He had watery stools of orange and greenish color. I stopped feeding him for a few days expecting improvement. However, he's only pooped twice in 4 weeks after that. Both times I saw a large pile of black somewhat solid poop , orange watery matter and very strange, white hard thing that shaped like a peanut.
<A lack of fibre could easily account for this. In my experience, water turtles eating mostly fresh greens have very loose, greenish-black faeces.
This is probable "normal" if you're looking at wild freshwater turtles.
Reptiles that live in dry habitats tend to have more solid faeces that become whitish when dry due to the uric acid (I believe). Freshwater turtles rarely produce such faeces, though they may under certain
conditions. In any case, provided the turtle is otherwise feeding normally, and doesn't appear constipated, then I wouldn't worry overly much.
Providing a varied diet, with lots of fresh greens and/or fibre-rich foods, should take care of this problem.>
- Andrew is restless sometime, constantly exploring what's under the rocks (nothing!) and trying to bite the rock. He also started fanning (I've never seen him doing it, nor did my parents in 20+ years and I was shocked the first time I saw the huge black blob coming out of his tail)
<Male turtles will "fan" with their front limbs when trying to mate with female turtles, but they'll also do this when trying to swim quickly, or when digging, and perhaps when doing other things as well. Again, unless there are obvious signs of distress, such as trying to escape the tank, I'd not be too concerned.>
I took him to a vet but there's no good herp vet at where I live and I'm hoping experts at WWM can give me some suggestions. Is Andrew sick? What can I do? Thanks a lot!!
A worried turtle mom
<Apologies for the lateness of this reply. Our two turtle experts seem to be 'out of town' at the moment, but I've cc'ed them, just in case I've missed something. Meantime, hope the above helps.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Help for my Malayan box turtle (Cuora amboinensis)!     7/24/18

Hi Neale,
Thank you very much for the detailed reply! This is super helpful.
<Glad to have helped.>
The shedding has somewhat stopped after 6 weeks.
However, his diarrhea hasn’t stopped. He has pooped some weird stuff again yesterday. Please see attached photos (it’s a bit gross, sorry!). It doesn’t look like he has digested anything. I’m very concerned.
<It does look fibrous to me, which suggests plant material. Reptiles digest plant material poorly, and you'll see lots of the various fibres and other cellulose-rich parts of the plant passing right through. Soft water plants are most easily digested, whereas land plants may be digested only minimally. Perhaps look more closely at the material: if the faeces do indeed appear fibrous, then what you're seeing is quite normal!>
I tried feeding him water lettuce and duckweed. He did bite them but quickly spit out the leaves. It’s hard for me to starve him for a prolonged period of time as he’s always begging for food but I should try it when he’s recovered from this “diarrhea” situation!
<Do not worry about a turtle starving! It will take weeks for that to happen. But do try offering small morsels of different things, removing uneaten food after a few minutes (if meaty) or hours (for plant material).>
I have put Andrew on Probiotic powder at the suggestion of a local vet (who’s not a reptile expert) but I’d really appreciate the expert opinions from you guys!
<Do see above; and I would not worry if the turtle is otherwise behaving normally. With regard to food, a healthy turtle can go weeks without food, so allowing time to 'clear out the gut' before feeding again is not a problem.>
Thanks a lot and I look forward to hearing from you.
<Most welcome.>
Best Regards
<Cheers, Neale.>

ID Confirmation Please     7/24/18
I walked out the side door of my garage this morning and found this pretty lady next to the concrete pad. Her gender became apparent when she started laying eggs right then and there. I think it might be a Chicken Turtle, but I'm not sure. I thought it also looked like a Suwannee Cooter. We live on the eastern coast of Florida, but not close enough to water though. I went back inside and took a closer pic of her shell and eggs from a window.
After I got the message composed, I went back outside to possibly get a better picture of her face, but she had disappeared. I don't know if the eggs will even make it through the night because we have lots of critters around here: raccoons, armadillos, etc.
<Apologies for late reply; our turtle experts seem to be out of town, so you've got me instead! Neither photo is really clear enough to be sure, but your suggestion that this is a Chicken Turtle (Deirochelys reticularia) is not at all unreasonable. But I'd also wonder about a Musk Turtle, Sternotherus spp., or Mud Turtle, Kinosternon spp., though these are generally much smaller than Deirochelys (around 10-15 cm versus over 25 cm). Now, when it comes to the eggs, I agree, these are unlikely to survive 'just left there'. It might well be that you can put a cage or box over them in the short term, but I don't know if it is legal to actually collect the eggs and store them safely. Moving reptile eggs is not trivial, because
if they are turned upside down it can prevent them develop. Refer to a local animal rescue centre for help here. Meantime, I'm cc'ing our turtle experts in case I've overlooked something. Good luck! Neale.>

Re: Herps help     7/24/18
Thanks Bob for this reminder. I’m taking a look through to see if I can help, but Mick, this’d be a great time to dive in and help out!
Cheers, Neale
<Much thanks to you both. B>

Led lighting    7/23/18
Hello WWM Crew,
I've been away from the hobby for awhile and getting back into it. Of course I turned to WWM for great reading and info as always, thanks to the men and women of the crew. I've tried to search for a specific fixture but couldn't find any FAQ on the fixture.
<Mmm; there is, are... try "LED Fixture" in the WWM search tool; found on every page>
Possibly it's a new item and wondering if you have any info. It's the Current USA Orbit Marine IC Pro led 72". It comes with 2x72" fixtures for a total of 288 led's, 144 watts.
<Ah yes; a very nice unit; and made in the town I live in>
The graph on the Current website shows the par values at 24" to be 100-70.
Would this be good enough for corals requiring high intensity lighting or just for medium to low.
<PAR readings of 100 or more are my basic limit for SPS... LPS, soft corals et al. do fine at the range you list. You could, might just place Acroporids, Pocilloporids, Poritids... higher up in the water column... on rock>
I have a chance to get a good deal on this fixture but would like to know if you have any knowledge of this item. Reviews seem to be favorable.
Thanks in advance for your expertise.
<Thank you for the prompting. I would buy, use this fixture. Bob Fenner>

Advice please. Stkg lg. FOWLR     7/23/18
Hi Guys,
<Hey Paul>
I am setting up a new 220 gallon FOWLR tank. My intended livestock includes a Powder Brown Tang and a Scribble Angel. I was thinking the Tang will be the dominant fish so I was going to add it as the last fish. What do you think?
<Better to place it after the Angel as you state, but you could add other fishes after>
Paul martin
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Advice please.    7/23/18

Hi Bob,
<Hello again Paul>
Many thanks for getting back so quickly!
I was going to also say, regarding my intended live stocking, will be a couple of smaller wrasses and gobies, the other large fish will be a Niger Trigger. What is your opinion on my stocking levels, do you think there is room for say another Angel or will this be too much for this tank.
<A smaller Pomacanthid... perhaps a Centropyge or two, a member of the genus Genicanthus would go nicely here>
The tank size is 66x30x26 with a 4ft sump. I don't think I'll be upgrading so this is a long term tank.
<One never knows eh?>
Best wishes from England by the way, WetWebMedia is awesome.
<Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Cheers, BobF>

Turtles; WWM Help!      7/21/18
<Ave Neale>
Can I introduce Mick O’Donnell, colleague of mine as a science teacher, and experienced reptile, arachnid and insect keeper. He’s a former entomologist and has a much more illustrious scientific background than me! He’s offering to help us out with turtle queries. Is he the first Australian national to join the WWM Crew?
<I do believe/think so>
Mick, could I ask you to send a brief biography — if you are happy to share — that Bob can add to the WWM Crew page in due course?
<Yes; please>
Mick, Bob will send along instructions on how we access the email and format our replies. It’s all very simple indeed — and I find very rewarding nonetheless!
Cheers to the both of you,
<Mick, the URL of our/WWM webmail is:
The Login name:
The Password:
Some conventions we use in responding: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/crewsupwebmail.htm
I thank you for your help/helping others through this tool.
Bob Fenner>

Herps help      7/20/18
Neale, howsit?
Would you take a look/see at Darrel's in-box, the turt f' on our webmail...
See if you can reply to any of these queries? I don't know enough re.

Yellow-belly aqua terrapin      7/20/18
<Hello Maria,>
Sorry to bother you.
<Not a problem.>
I found your site after searching on Google and I would like to ask you a question about my terrapin if possible.
<Sure thing.>
The problem is she cannot swim anymore, she cannot stand the water not for a minute and she is always basking. (temperature is right). It is not a respiratory problem either no fluid or anything wrong found in her lungs because I took her to a vet specialist and he took an w-x-ray and he told me that this is not the problem. he run some blood tests in order to see if it is an infection or something and i will have the results this coming Monday-Tuesday, he also gave her some liquid antibiotics for a week (she started them 2 days ago- i don't think they really help but let's hope so).
<Right. Now, when terrapins struggle to swim, it's often a build-up of fluid inside their lungs. Respiratory tract infections may be difficult to diagnose, but often the sick turtle will have a runny nose, may wheeze when it breathes, and may be lethargic and disinterested in food. The fact your vet ruled this out is positive, but I'd still keep an open mind, especially if you see some of the other symptoms mentioned. Other reasons for problems with swimming include constipation, egg-binding, and possibly some type of
neurological problem or bone injury.>
By this time what should I do? She likes to sit on the floor all day, dry and the only time she gets in the water is when I put her in my bath tub, put a very small quantity of water and feed her. she is still eating but with great difficulty due to the small amount of water but I can't put more because she is panicking and freaking out.
<Terrapins don't "need" to swim as such, provided they have periodic baths and access to drinking water. Of course it isn't normal for them to avoid swimming! But once they're happy and healthy, they will swim. So rather than forcing a terrapin to swim, it's a good idea to try and establish why it isn't swimming. It might be a health issue, or it might be an environmental issue. If there's another terrapin (such as a larger male) it might avoid going into the water at the same time. If the water is too cold, it will stay on land under the heat lamp. Conversely, if the water is too warm (perhaps you're using an under tank heater or a glass aquarium heater) it won't go into the water either. Focus on the terrapin and its happiness, and when it's ready, it'll go into the water.>
I wanted to tell you that for a very long period of time I've been giving her dry pellets to eat (i don't thing they are Koi pellets) - I will try to buy these next time, and a large quantity of different fruits and vegs. it
seems from what i have read that i wasn't doing well?
<Opinion is divided on products like ReptoMin. Most people think they're a good staple food, but some turtle-keepers think they're expensive for what they are, and substitute Koi pellets. Others prefer a diet based on fresh greens, such as Pondweed (Elodea spp.), with dried foods used only sparingly, if at all. Either way, you aren't likely to be doing any harm with ReptoMin, but you probably should add at least some fresh greens now and again. Fresh greens helps provide fibre, which prevents constipation.>
fruits are full of sugars and she must not eat them but very rarely? once a month ?
<Something like that. While terrapins will certainly eat fruits, they're a now-and-again thing, maybe once every couple weeks.>
Can you tell me if this is maybe the reason of her bad buoyancy in the water and maybe she has internal bacterial infection that can cause gas bubbles in the abdomen?
<It would seem unlikely. Assuming a diet based mostly on ReptoMin (or some similar, turtle-food product) with occasional fruits, your terrapin should be perfectly healthy. A little constipated perhaps! But ReptoMin has calcium and phosphorus, so its bones should be fine, and the fruits should provide a top-up of vitamins as well.>
If that's the case the blood tests would be able to show it?
<Hard to say; your vet will be able to advise here. But personally, I'd review diet, review the environment, finish the antibiotics as prescribed by the vet, and then see what happens.>
Thank you so much for an answer. I really appreciate it. My terrapin is 15 years old. I've had her since she was a baby.
<15 years isn't bad! So clearly you must be doing something right. Good luck, Neale.>

Metal Halide to LED      7/20/18
Hi! Just wondering if you can point me in the right direction…I have been running 3 250 watt halides (14000k) over my reef for about 12 years and am thinking of switching 1 of them over to an LED just to see if I would prefer the change…less heat…lower cost to run…with all the options out there can you give me advice as to what I would need from an LED to replace the 250 watt Hamilton's I am running now? Which brand should I be looking at? How many watts?
Thank you,
<I hear you re saving costs of operation by switching from MH to LED technology. There are some "general rules of thumb" re LED application. Rather than elaborating re all possibilities, would like to narrow down the response here by asking 1) how deep your system is... the water depth to the photosynthetic life, and 2) what sorts of photosynthates you have, intend to have. I'll assume you're shooting for moderate growth, color.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Metal Halide to LED      7/20/18

The system is 2 feet deep X 2 feet wide X 6 feet long…have mostly soft corals, a couple of crocea clams, and some LPS.
<Mmm; okay... well; do make sure to investigate means for directing, concentrating the LED light (reflectors, lenses)... Depending on the make/model of fixture/s employed, you're likely looking at 3-5 watts per gallon here. Fixtures are variously reviewed on WWM. On the lower cost end ZooMed and Current USA are faves of mine; higher end include Current USA Pro line, Koval, Orphek and several others. None are going to appear as bright as your MHs... and you will need to photo-acclimate your livestock to the new lighting. See WWM re this process: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PhotoAcclimGasta.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Metal Halide to LED      7/20/18

Very Helpful!!! Thank you Bob!
<Welcome! Do write back w/ your decisions, input. BobF>

Gill-worm / flukes      7/20/18
Hello Bob,
<Hey Bran>
We are having an outbreak of what I believe is flukes. (transparent colorless flatworms falls of fish in FW bath). We have put fish through 10 minute fresh water dip, and many fell off however problem still occurs and we are losing fish. We have got Prazi based medicine for gill worms by Sera called Tremazol. Supposedly medicine is safe for biofilter. Manufacturer advises to do 80% water change after 6 hour treatment.
<Okay; have you used it?>
Since our system is infested and worms matured, my question is regarding parasites lifecycle and what would your suggestion be for treatment?
<Per the instructions on the packet>
How long should we keep medicine in the system in order to kill off parasite/eggs?
<Likely has to be reapplied>
I'm totally clueless about worms since we never had this issue before, FW dip usually takes care of this on the import.
<Yes... though I'd add a modicum of formalin to your pH adjusted freshwater  dips/baths. Please see WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm
We have a very strong bio filter, and system is fish only quarantine system, I assume water change is advised to remove dead worms/flukes in order to avoid having ammonia issue due to all dead worms.
<IF there is a bunch, a good deal of dead biota/mass, yes>
Which I believe wont be the case in our system due to powerful bio filter.
<Ah, good>
Kind regards,
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Balanophyllia hiding       7/19/18
Hi Crew!
<Hi Dani>
I rebooted my tank about 4 months ago, kept most liverock, rinsed sand bed, added some new rock, and slowly restocked corals.
I picked up a Balanophyllia which was opened at the store with their daylights on. I acclimated it for about 3 hours, dripped acclimated, bathed in revive, and placed mid-low level with mid-low flow.
It neither ate for almost a week nor extended any tentacles. I tried pellets, Mysis, and a slurry of zooplankton even—nothing. It seemed to actually slime off the food. So I tried a larger food like krill and shredded a piece, and laid it on the balano. The first time it slowly—over like 20 minutes—but definitely ate it.
<Try foods like live or defrosted brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and other similar sized prey. Soaking the food in a vitamin supplement can help to ensure your coral gets plenty of nutrients; you need to feed it at least once a day, if needed use a turkey baster to target the food directly on the Balano without touching it or it may not open/eat, turn off your pumps several minutes during feeding so the food does not go elsewhere. >
So everyday I have been carefully feeding it the shredded piece of krill. Seems to get a tiny bit faster eating each day. It pops like one tiny tentacle out now at random times but that’s it. Do you think it is still settling in or should I be concerned?
<As long as it is not bleaching out, you are fine here, do bear in mind this is a difficult species to keep in captivity, it is not photosynthetic, so, as stated it needs to be fed regularly.>
Tank is a JBJ 28,
LED 89w par intensity up to 700
2 returns @ 266 gal each
1k icecap gyre at 80% power (800 gph set at random mode, alternating flow, and pulse [this thing is fantastic])
SG 1.025
Am 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate <5
Alk 12
Calcium 460
Mag 1440
I feed tank everyday except water change day—2 days frozen fish eggs/Mysis and a dose of zooplankton, the rest of the days pellets, and finally balano gets it’s piece of krill.
I do a 25% water change weekly.
<A 10% water change weekly will be enough, less stressful and will replenish needed additives and trace elements.>
My sandbed seems to get dirty though even with my Nassarius snails going through it so sticking to weekly at the moment. Hoping it may stabilize where I can do biweekly one day, want to ensure my sps and lps get more of a chance to absorb some food from water column.
Thank you for any feedback!
<You are welcome. Wilberth>

Re: crazing question     7/18/18
Thanks for the response. I read through the stuff on tank stands.
I realized my initial email wasn't very clear. The tank is on the garage floor right now, no stand. I will build one at some point and ensure that it's level in all directions.
You state that you are "concerned" about some of the crazing. What I'm wondering is whether I should set up this tank as it is or whether it's junk.
<Oh! I wasn't clear.. I WOULD use this tank. The crazing you show is not major. Your fab pic showing the depth of the cracking indicates this tank is fine for use>
Any significant chance it's going to "pop" at some point?
<Not likely, esp. IF placed on a suitable stand, surface>
Any way to find out ahead of time? I think the acrylic is 5/8 or 3/4, which I thought was enough for a 220, but maybe I'm mistaken?
<Mmm; no, not mistaken. For the height and length of this system this mat. thickness is fine. More thick, less bowing>
Regarding the sanding issue, there are a few scratches on the top panel where I have not been able to find any crazing, and I'm wondering whether I can safely sand that to get these (minor) scratches out.
<You can, could... Mmm; there are two other techniques to consider, look into. One involves "wafting" a wing tip burner of burning gas along the crazed area; another gingerly dripping low viscosity solvent (like Weldon 16) onto the area. DO PLEASE visit, get input from an acrylic fabricator re all three ahead of actually doing this job. NOT hard to do any listed, but easy to make mistakes>
Thanks again,
<As welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Id if possible.     7/18/18
Hi Wet Web Media Crew/Wilberth
<Hi Adam,>
Is there any chance that was eggs as 4 days after going into the aquarium the object has disappeared. <?>
<Could be; and if these are indeed eggs of some kind, you´ll find out on the future, there’s a possibility that this is a species of sea squirt in its reproductive stage.>
It was attached to a coco worm, which was very slowly acclimatised and my system runs near sea water parameters for western Australia which is where a lot of coral is collected from Australia.
<Greetings. Wilberth>
Adam Smith

Blenny compatibility     7/18/18
Hi Crew!
<Morning, Earl C. here.>
Simple question today, I know that some conspecifics shouldn’t be housed together but is a Tailspot and a fang blenny an exception? I have a 28 gallon with a Tailspot but always liked fang blennies too—lots of personality.
<I agree that blennies in general are interesting customers and underrated (in my opinion). You answered your own question here though. I would not risk this, certainly not in a tank of that size. In a larger tank (say 75g and up) I'd think about it particularly if one had not already settled in too much. In a 28 gallon, I definitely cannot advise it.>
I tried to look up compatibility but not much info available. I’m not sure they look different enough and would be open to being in different parts of rockwork or if it just wouldn’t work out and hence the lack of info. Hope you all are having an awesome week!
<You are thinking along the right lines (territory/rockwork/tank size) but there are too many other choices out there to risk the kind of "fish drama" you'll probably get.>
<Hope this help! -EC>

Re: Unexpected Dilemmas... (RMF, your input requested)     7/18/18
I changed the whole aquarium volume of water over the last few days, and the fish are eating normally again, with the exception of the blue acara.
I have tried giving her the medicated Metronidazole food, but she sucks it up and chews on it for a few seconds before spitting it back out. She does the same for normal food as well...what could cause this?
The loach’s wound has been healing and his eyes haven’t gotten worse but I am concerned he might have fin rot on his tail now.
I’m not sure whether there is any other medication I should put in the water for the loach and acara, given how the Nitrofurazone put all the fish off feed for a while. I don’t want to risk poisoning the healthy fish.
Last week 90% of the water was changed and the undergravel filter was cleaned, so I doubt water quality is an issue at the moment.
P.S. For future reference what sort of fish can tolerate rough substrates well? I did not know this would be an issue with the weather loaches when I got them many many years ago...
<I'd cease medicating this system; only do 25 % water changes at any given time; add carbon filtration for now and rely on good conditions to effect a cure. Bob Fenner>

Mailbox size limit exceeded <Yeah>    7/17/18
The size limit of 50 MB for mailbox 'crew@wetwebmedia.com' has been
exceeded. Incoming mail is currently being rejected.

Re: High phosphates wither sharks    7/17/18
I will try Phosguard thanks for your assistance.
<Let me know how it goes. Wilberth>

Re: Facial growth/white stringy stuff on Betta    7/17/18
Hi Bob,
<Hey Deja>
I have attached a photo of the test strip guide so you can see what I mean when I say '0' for Nitrate. Basically, that bit of the test strip wasn't turning colors at all. It was staying white.
<Mmm; yeah. These colorimetric assay strips can be inaccurate and imprecise. I encourage you to "check the checker"... Likely a tropical fish store will check your water with other gear; ascertain NO3 differently here. Established systems almost always have increasing Nitrate presence>
It turned light pink yesterday. Most of the other tests were pretty similar to how they have been this whole time, though Alkalinity was around 80-120, which the test strip guide says is 'ideal'.
<Is fine>
This morning when I looked at Buddy, I noticed two white spots on his tail that weren't there last night. I have attached some photos of that as well.
It also looks like that bump on his face is still growing. It's the same color as his scales except the top is white. His behavior still seems normal for the most part.
The Bacterial Infection remedy I got (Imagitarium Bacterial Infection Remedy)
<Umm; am not a fan of "alternative, natural remedies".... They're not effective by and large. PLEASE see WWM re Betta health, treatments. Too much for me to go over here. I would NOT be medicating this fish, system period.>
instructs to use it every other day for 3 treatments. I did the last treatment yesterday, so I'm not sure what the next step should be. I appreciate any advice!
The new tank is supposed to be delivered today, so barring any damage from shipping hopefully I'll be able to get Buddy moved into it by the end of the week (I still need to get a heater, more gravel, and some live aquarium plants).
Thanks, Deja
<Am sure all will be fine w/ the move to the better world. Bob Fenner>

Re: crazing question    7/17/18
Oops! Sorry about that. Resized photos attached.
<Ah, thank you. We lose queries when we exceed 50 megs....>
In addition to the questions in my first email, the top panel looks good except for a few scratches. Is it ok to sand the top panel to remove?
<Mmm; I would NOT sand any crazing on any tank, system... as this will weaken the tank. I am concerned re the pix that show crazing extending from one panel of the tank onto the adjoining bonded panel... other than too thin material for the application, this indicates that the tank is not level, planar... that the stand the tank is set on itself is not level, planar. I would take this tank down, check the stand for such, use a piece of foam between it and the tank. Please read here re:
and the links above as much as you can, it takes to understand your situation>
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Help Needed for Ick and Water Leak    7/17/18
I inherited a 65 gallon tank from my autistic brother after he passed, my mother maintained it for several years with him and then on her own upon his passing, she moved and is upgrading etc. so I have some knowledge and advice from my Mom who has been at it awhile but am new to the hobby.
I started with dry live rock and cured it for 6 weeks. Added it to the tank with sand and a scoop of my Mom's live sand and one of her live rocks algae and cycled the tank. I then began slowly introducing fish over the next 2 months, I added an ocellaris clown fish, royal Gramma, and a yellow tang. I did not quarantine...lesson learned so please go easy on me.
<Sure. Commonality>
After a month of introducing the tang he developed sandpaper like bumps all over his body (literally looked like a sheet of sand paper under his skin), though none were white, he was still eating but swimming jittery like he was itchy, that night he scratched himself pretty badly on the rocks. The royal Gramma had two white dots on her head and was observed scratching her head in the sand.
<Likely trematodes... maybe Paravortex>
I sought treatment for what I was told was Ick.
Using Focus and Metroplex as instructed I fed it to the fish. I also added 6 scoops to the tank as the package instructed and removed the carbon from my filter. The snails and crabs I moved to a 10 gallon quarantine tanks while I treated the fish (should have set it up sooner to introduce fish I know). The tang started looking less bumpy in a couple of days, his scrapes from the rocks started healing and he was swimming better but many of the dots turned white. The Gramma continued having white dots and scratching in the sand. After a week of treatment the clown (who had no spots or symptoms) suddenly started acting off, swimming erratically in odd places and swimming into the jet (not like her) and then by the next morning was hiding under a rock (not like her) and died within hours.
<Effects of the medication>
The royal Gramma did not eat that day and was found dead that evening. The tang ate that day but the next day stopped eating and his fins had started to look very frayed. Within a day he died as well.
65 Gallon tank Parameters=salinity 1.024, Temp 80, phosphates 0, Nitrates 5, and ammonia 0Have a penguin 350 filter and a prism skimmer. To top that off, my husband left a towel on the back of the tank after removing the dead tang for me and it wicked water all over the carpet and there was a half inch of standing water in the base of the stand.
<Ah, no bueno; though a nifty physics lesson.>
So we have now torn down the tank, to dry the carpet and stand. The rock is in a 30 gallon bin with a heater and the jet to try to keep it "live", the sand is still in the tank with some water. What next? Was this Ick?
How should I handle the sand and rocks if so, to rid the tank of Ick and get started again?
<Mmm; you could "nuke" (bleach) all. See WWM re>
I've read lower salinity to 1.01 and raise the heat to 90. I honestly am so depressed about all that's happened this week I can't do anymore research.
<Just leave it all dry for now; or refill with just freshwater. We can talk in a few weeks>
I just need to know how to proceed from here as I don't want my live rock to die off etc. I know it will be awhile before I can add fish. Will in need to recycle the tank?
<Yes; to a degree>
( I will be quarantining fish for at least 6 weeks for sure in the future, but what about dips etc. first I have always drip acclimated them.)
Any advice you have is welcome, but again it has been an emotional week and I am looking for advice and have learned to quarantine fish first so go easy on me. (Sorry for the length.)
<No worries Kris. When, where in doubt, do nothing, or as little as possible/practical. All will become clearer in a short while. Bob Fenner>

Note: Our mail system crashed due to folks sending more than our allowed storage of 50 megs of image files;
Please re-size and re-send your mail if you didn't receive a response the last day or so. RMF

Black Spot disease after long power outage      7/16/18
<We ask that query attachments be kept to hundreds of Kbytes; yours are 14 megs...>
Good Afternoon team, hope you are well. Sorry for this very long message.
Your input is much appreciated. Tank set up and parameters: Red sea reefer 350, skimmer Bubble Magus Curve 5, 2 x250 watt heaters, wave maker. FOWLR system with live rock (25kg), flame angel (1.5 inch) 2 x da Vinci clownfish (1 inch) and a vampire tang (3 inches), 3 hermit crabs, 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 fire shrimp, 1 snail, free critters on live rock, temp usually around 24 degrees Celsius, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 15. Salinity went up over outage as I forgot to add RO for about 5 days, its 1.028 today and just
brought it down to 1.026 over the course of 4 hours. Tank has been running for about a year. Last fish added in January 2018. We are in the middle of a week long power outage (entire substation burnt down due to a fire. I live in South Africa and its currently winter which makes it worse in terms of keeping the temperature correct during an outage. After power went out last Tuesday my tank temp dropped to 18 degrees Celsius and then to 17 on Wednesday. Lights, skimmer and pump was off for 2 days. I ran 4 bubble makers on batteries during the outage to create water movement. I managed to connect a generator to the tank on Thursday (day 2 .5 of outage).
Skimmer, heater, pump and lights on generator. From Thursday the temp was increased to 19 on the first day then 21 and 23 on the second and third days trying not to shock my fish with large changes in temp. Fish were very stressed during power out and also first day or two after lights came on.
Snail looks a bit weird not sticking to glass and falling over, but still alive. Moved snail to the top of wave maker, looks happy and stick to wave maker. My tang appeared to be dead when I first switched lights on after 2.5 days, but apparently just hiding, turned herself black and almost didn't breathe, started to peek out from her cave after 30 minutes. Because I can only run the generator during the day the tank then loses about 1 degree Celsius over night. (Need to watch the generator and it might get stolen over night)
At night I connect battery operated bubble makers for oxygen and water movement. Only fed the tank on day 2.5, 2-3 hours after generator was switched on and fish seemed to be normal and not as stressed out anymore. Im feeding as normal now and fishes are hungry, not sure exactly how much would constitute overfeeding?
<Beyond taking foods, too fat to move...>
Would live rock filtration be stressed as well?
<Yes; with change, rate of change>
My marine tank appeared to have survived the outage without any negative effects until this morning that I noticed black spots on my tang. Please see pic attached, I suspect my vampire (Lieutenant) tang
has black spot disease, dull black spots over the body, a few clear black ones as well. Also a few Transparent spots on fins, she had some of this when I got her from the LFS but this went away after quarantine. I would appreciate if you could share your thoughts. All other fish difficult to tell if they have it, flame has 2 black spots on fins but this does not look like the same disease as tang and he/she is not scratching. One of the clowns might have one spot on his forehead. After a stress event like the power outage, I think my tang (and other fish ) will be more stressed if I try to catch it to treat it in qt?
Tang swims like normal, looks very happy in display and eats a lot as usual. Appears healthy breathing normally etc. all other fish are acting normal, my clowns are eating a bit less than usual but their appetite is picking up over last 2 days since I've upped the temp. I have seachem Metroplex which I added to their food today in two feedings. Tang ate the first feeding with Metroplex but started to spit out the second. Other fishes ate 1 - 2 flakes of this each. Not sure if I should continue with medication or rather add this to the water, it says it is reef safe.
<I'd hold off on further treatments for now>
I am working to correct my water parameters after realizing its not correct today. I have performed a water change 10% and reduced salinity to 1.026. I also read that hyposalinity could help with black spot so I am planning to keep reducing salinity slowly to 1.020 over the next 3 days and then keep it there for the next 6 weeks. Not sure if I should continue to raise temp? If yes to how much would be ideal. Im concerned about amount of oxygen in high temps, perhaps some guidance how this affects the fish and the disease/parasites? My LFS suggested a temp of 28 degrees Celsius, but I read contrary info that this would speed up the disease progression in the fish’s system as well. Trying to keep the temp constant on 23 degrees Celsius now. I am currently feeding ocean nutrition formula 2 and brine flakes, my fish loves the brine shrimp plus flakes. I usually feed frozen food as well but all went bad with power outage. My
cleaner shrimps are all over my tang to clean him, not sure if this helps.
He is parked in the cleaning station every 30 minutes. Only weird behaviour was that tang started scratching himself in a different way than usual yesterday(my tang usually scratches his side once or twice a week that I see on the gravel, never had any spots that I could see) as from yesterday the tang flips more than 180 degrees to scratch, this afternoon scratching seems less, more cleaning activity. I would really appreciate your input on how to Treat the potential black spot for the tang and others if applicable. I am hoping that our electricity is restored today at midnight as I will then have permanent heating, skimming, pump on in the fish tank.
Kind regards,
<The spots may be "nothing"; simply environmental stress; could be Paravortex (see WWM Re); but in any, all cases, doubtful this is a dangerous parasitic situation. Do your best to maintain optimized conditions for now. Bob Fenner>

Black Spot disease after long power outage      7/16/18
Hi Rob,
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!
Black spots are fading fast, this morning barely visible, so your thinking it being stress related was spot on.
This morning noticed that my tang also have 3 distinct salt grain look alike spots on fins that wasn't there last night. Looks like white spot disease.
<Again; doubtful this is pathogenic; a disease due to a biological agent>
Tang is still looking healthy and eating. Breathing is normal. Other fishes not affected
Salinity now on 1.025 and nitrate 10. Still battling the power outage, water temps now on 23 during the day (with generator) and drops to 21 overnight.
<No fun for all>
Would you recommend any treatment? What would you suggest at this moment?
Lowering salinity a bit? Temperature higher?
<None of the above>
Or nothing and just monitoring
the situation.
<The latter only>
Thank you & Kind Regards,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

High phosphates wither sharks      7/16/18
I have a 550 gallon salt water fish only tank. I two sharks approximately 2 feet long , epaulets and coral cat. I have been able to control the nitrates but not the phosphates, it us off the chart.
<Please tell me more about your tank equipment, other tank mates and maintenance practices.>
I am looking into hooking up a reactor with Phosguard but have read that some phosphate removers are not good with sharks. I was making sure Phosguard is okay to use with them.
<Phosphates are very hard to keep at low levels in Elasmobranch systems because of their feeding habits(amount and frequency). Fortunately high phosphate levels are tolerated by must shark species and YES, phosphate removers are toxic for them because of its ferric oxide composition which affects their electroreceptive system, I suggest you to use a deep sand bed refugium with algae(Chaeto/Caulerpa sp.) to keep phosphates in check; do frequent water changes and use a high quality skimmer rated to your tank gallon capacity to export nutrients before they break down.
Thank you
<You`re welcome. Wilberth>

Chocolate chip starfish      7/16/18
I have a chocolate chip starfish which I purchased July 10. He ate some raw shrimp the next couple of days.
I tried feeding him today and yesterday, but he would not take the food. I has a fifty five gallon tank been set up cycling for six to seven weeks with no fish in tank. When tank finished cycling, I purchased him and a Dottie back and a lawnmower blenny. All water parameters was tested and checked out good. I have current in tank.
I wonder is the current in tank bothering him. Other animals doing fine.
What am I doing wrong?
<Ah mate....>
First time having a starfish. Thanks for your help.
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chocchipstars.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Herps help      7/15/18
Hi Bob,
<Sir Neale>
One person. Have written. Will see if he responds. A retired teacher and before that mosquito scientist. A decent chap. But might not be his cup of tea.
Cheers, Neale
<I'll hope he's willing, able to join us. Cheers, B>

Lionfish with a dislocated jaw      7/15/18
I did a search of your site and I did find a couple instances of this, but I never saw a final outcome posted. I have a fuzzy dwarf lionfish, Dendrochirus brachypterus. He is about 6” so pretty much full grown, is a professional beggar, and eats like a pig out of the water column at community feedings. I feed Larry’s chunky food as this is a predator tank (puffer, eel, angler, etc).
About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that his upper lip appeared to be low and there was a gap over it. His breathing was a bit labored but nothing to be alarmed about. My research tells me that this may have been caused by trauma hitting a rock/glass going after food or possible hyper extension eating a large chunk of food.
<Yes; agreed>
I didn’t notice this happen, but clearly something did. He still eats every day and is the same beggar at the top of the tank at feeding time. I notice that he has a hard time with the larger pieces, but the small pieces are fine.
<I'd offer small/er>
Will this condition correct itself?
<Hopefully; yes>
The skin in the gap appears to be changing color to match his body. Is there something (vitamins? I already add vita-chem to all feedings) I can give him to help?
<Naught that I know of>
Like I said, he is eating so it is not an urgent issue.
<Jaw injuries can (self) heal, some folks try to help; force the jaw back. I would not do this. Too much chance of further injury, you getting jabbed. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lionfish with a dislocated jaw      7/15/18
Thank you for the quick reply.
I don't intend on trying to manipulate his jaw. I would likely do more harm than good and also risk a nasty sting in the process. I will report back if or when his jaw is healed.
<Ah, thank you>
Jason ​
<Cheers, BobF>

Re: Unexpected Dilemmas... (RMF, your input requested)<<>>     7/14/18
I’m most of the way through the Nitrofurazone treatment. The loach’s condition is improving, and the blue Acara's is stable, but now all of the fish in my tank (even the healthy ones) are spitting out their food, no matter what kind of food I give them.
<Stop feeding for now. Fish will feed when they're hungry, and stop when they're stressed. Spitting out food can mean the food's distasteful (perhaps an old tub of flake or the medicine masks the flavours) but as/when things settle down, the fish will feed normally. Since large fish can go a couple months without food, none of this matters just yet. The fact they're snapping at the food indicates they're still curious and alert, which is good.>
Is it possible the Nitrofurazone in the water makes food unpalatable, or is the antibiotic doing something to the biofilter?
<Possible; use your ammonia and/or nitrite test kit to check.>
Could it be killing the Malaysian trumpet snails in the tank and fouling the water that way?
<Melanoides are pretty tough, and killing them is hard; so while it's always a risk with medicines, unless the snails were making a bee-line for the surface of the water, I'd not be too worried just yet.>
I know I should do a water test, but Nitrofurazone dyes the water yellowish-green and I am concerned that would interfere.
<Can do. But some colour change should still be apparent.>
(It says it is not to be used in invertebrates, but you stated if the MTS were doing badly they’d be climbing to the surface of the tank, and they’re not.)
<These snails are tough -- they'd probably survive a nuclear holocaust! Cheers, Neale.>
<<I would do a series of partial water changes here, like 25% a day for four days; just in case this is a poisoning, environmental situation. BobF>>

Herps help     7/14/18
Neale, howsit?
Am concerned re our long-standing turtle et al. helper, and helping. I've written Darrel a few times... sent the queries his way; no resp.
Do you know of someone who might help us; join the WWM Crew?

Re: Green spotted puffer    7/13/18
Okay I will check into other food today! But the place I got him from told me that he was raised on flakes so far and that he should be fine with those for now until he got bigger but upon my research is why I asked about it!
<For a start your Puffer was wild caught. It wasn't 'raised' on anything.
He may/may not eat flake, and if he does, that's great. Flake will provide a good range of nutrients. But it won't do anything for his beak.>
Also how will I know when he needs his teeth trimmed because he is only about and inch and half or maybe two if that big right now he has grown a lot since I got him as well!
<If you can see the teeth all the time, they're probably too long, and if he can't easily eat, they need dental work. Bear in mind that it's easier to trim the beak when the overgrowth is slight. Let me direct you to some reading:
Personally, I wouldn't use a net to hold the puffer while doing the work,
but wet hands firmly. Nets can be rough and can damage fish.>
Now I have him in a small tank at the moment because I was worried he was getting sick so I upped the salt level a bit to help him over it but he may not need it!
<He needs salt. Quite a bit of it. Do read, understand about these fish.
They are brackish water fish, not freshwater fish. If you're not buying marine salt mix, and not weighing out substantial amounts each water change, you're not keeping it right. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Unexpected Dilemmas...    7/13/18
On a related note...one of my relatives (who is a physician) claims that taking an antiparasitic drug and an antibiotic simultaneously is very hard on the body, and it would be better to give the blue acara the
Nitrofurazone powder and the medicated food sequentially.
<May be true for humans. But with small fish you might not have time to do one after the other, and overwhelming the situation here is that medicating sick cichlids this way works well, while delaying, or not doing anything, ends in their death.>
The medicated food I have contains both Metronidazole and Kanamycin, so maybe this would be too many drugs at once for the acara.
<A smaller risk than you think; i.e., compared with doing just one medication at a time.>
However I am concerned this might make it harder to fully treat her...do you or any other member of the WetWebMedia crew (like say Bob Fenner) know anything about this?
<I'll let Bob chime in.>
<<I know naught re Neale. B>>
I'm currently starting with the Nitrofurazone, because, quite frankly, the loach's condition is a lot worse (I found out yesterday he also has a fresh-looking wound on his stomach...I think he must have hurt himself all over pretty badly recently...unfortunately, I'm out of town most of the year so replacing the gravel isn't really an option for me at the moment).
It's hard to tell whether the patches on the Acara's face are HLLE or something else.
Sorry for all the questions,
<Hope the above helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Green spotted puffer    7/13/18
(Cheyanne here) I got freeze dried shrimp that he loved he ate till he was full and I took the extra out but he loved it I have not seen him eat this well ever so I’m happy I found you guys
<A-ha! Good news he's eating well, and glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Id if possible.    7/13/18
<Hi Adam>
I found a clear jelly like substance with the consistency like gummy bears.
It appears to have orange spheres within it.
Is it an egg or some form tunicate style organism.
<Appears to be some sort of harmless sea sponge>
I will be from Australian waters most likely great barrier reef or Perth western Australian reefs. As we cannot import invertebrates.
Thanks in advance Adam
<Welcome. Wilberth>

Green spotted puffer      7/12/18
I have a green spotted puffer and I have had him for about a month now!
<Do remember these are brackish water fish, despite what pet stores tell you. They will not live well or live long in freshwater conditions. Adults may even need marine conditions, though I'd argue around SG 1.005 is perfectly adequate for a long and healthy life, i.e., about 9 grammes marine aquarium salt mix per litre of tap water (that's about 1.2 oz per US gallon).>
He is still very small and bright!
But I noticed tonight his left side by his tail is almost flat looking but his right side and head are fine! I’m not sure what could be wrong with him I just didn’t a total tank clean.
<Puffers can/will change their shape somewhat, especially when they're overfed. But they can also turn dark when stressed, which can make them look very different.>
But I also was wondering could he need his teeth trimmed this little and what could I feed him other then the flakes they gave me at the pet store?
<Yikes! Flakes are not an option here. Sure, if he eats them, once in a while they're useful. But he should really be eating mollusk and crustacean foods, whether small snails, or small shrimps, or slivers of seafood. A variety, really. Even if your puffer can't eat whole 'cocktail' shrimp (which shouldn't be a staple anyway) he should be able to eat krill or brine shrimp. Do let me have you read, here:
The key things are: use mussels and prawns/shrimps sparingly; use snails and cockles liberally; choose crunchy foods where you can; visit marine aquarium shops for suitable bite-size frozen foods such as krill and Spirulina-enriched brine shrimps for economical staple foods.>
I’ve been looking into his diet and such but no one can seem to help me and I don’t think he is big enough for shrimp.
<He'll manage small frozen whole shrimp when he's bigger, but as a youngster, frozen krill and brine shrimp are more realistic. You can also try woodlice from the garden -- assuming no pesticides have been used. Bloodworms, daphnia and other pond foods are an option too.>
Please help and the faster the better!! I am worried he has become my baby quickly
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Facial growth/white stringy stuff on Betta      7/12/18
Good morning Bob! I wanted to give you an update. I got some freshwater aquarium salt, 5x1 testing strips, and antibacterial drops from Petco last night.
I tested the water before I started and it seemed pretty good overall: pH 7.2, nitrate/nitrite/chlorine all 0, hardness 75 (which is a bit high I think?).
<What units of measure?>
I wasn't too surprised since the tank had been cleaned less than 24 hours prior.
When I did the 50% water cycle, I added 1/2 tsp. salt to the new water and put the drops in at the end. I noticed when I got home from Petco that the white stuff was gone, so maybe his slime coat was just reacting to the 100% water change?
<Likely so>
He is still frisky and got excited when I checked on him this morning. The bump seems unchanged so far but I am assuming it takes time for the medicine to start working. Have a great day!
<And you, BobF>
Re: Facial growth/white stringy stuff on Betta       7/12/18

Hi Bob! Sorry, here you go: pH 7.2ppm (mg/L), nitrate/nitrite/chlorine all 0ppm (mg/L),
<? Zero Nitrate? I'd check this again. IF the system is cycled, cycling there should be appreciable NO3>
hardness (GH) 75ppm, and alkalinity (KH) 40ppm.
<All the rest of the values are fine>
I tested again and got very similar results, so I'm just going to replace what evaporated and call it good for tonight. The bump seems a bit larger today, and appears to be white in the center. Thank you, Deja
<Improved environment will yield perceptibly enhanced health in time. Bob Fenner>

Unexpected Dilemmas...    7/11/18
Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
I spoke too soon when I asked about what sorts of fish to add to my aquarium ... several new issues have come up.
<Oh dear.>
1. One of my weather loaches has developed two black eyes, one of which has a whole ring of black skin around the eye. This eye lost its sclera after the accident that wiped out all but four of my fish last year, but the loach’s other eye was fine. Since the fish’s behavior was otherwise normal, I did not treat him for anything. I just noticed yesterday that the damaged eye got this black ring around it, and both eyes have turned black.
<Hard to know what's happened here. Loaches push with their heads into the substrate, and if the substrate is something coarser than sand, there's a risk they'll damage their eyes. Given they're nocturnal fish, they probably don't use their eyes much, so can likely get by just fine with partial or even no vision at all. Medicating for eye damage is hard since the eyes rarely heal back from serious damage. But good water quality, and perhaps antibiotics, will help, especially if the damage is only superficial. You might also look at the tankmates. Cichlids have a tendency to bite the eyes of bottom-dwellers they perceive as threats. I would not keep fish as benign as Weather Loaches with anything overtly territorial that 'camped out' at the bottom of the tank, whether cichlids, suckermouth cats, or even a more aggressive loach species.>
2. My female blue acara developed some pale patches on her forehead between her eyes after the accident last year, but again, nothing else about her body changed so I did not do anything. She did become more lethargic and hid a lot after she lost her mate, but has since become more bold and willing to grab food before the silver dollars do.
However after last week I did not thaw out some frozen food completely, the nitrates spiked to ~30ppm and the patches seemed to get localized to her sensory pores. I did a 70% water change after that but I’m concerned this could be the start of a Hexamita issue. I did see some slimy feces on the floor of the tank, but it also had some undigested green bean pieces so I was unsure of what to make of it. She also occasionally rests on the floor of the tank, but still eats and swims normally as well.
The concern is that I have given her two courses of Metronidazole and other anti-parasite foods when I first got her because she seemed underweight (one of these foods killed my Geophagus after he butt in and ate too many of them by mistake, if you recall). I’m not sure whether I could give her another dose...
<I do agree that the Metronidazole plus Nitrofuran approach is probably best here. Cichlids do get these off-colour patches on their bodies, together with wasting and lethargy, when stressed. The Hexamita parasite may be involved, or it may be something else. High nitrate and low oxygen levels are two stressors I've come across. Review the tank, improve diet (fresh greens that offer vitamins seem to be one key to keeping Hexamita at bay) and then medicate as suggested.>
3. I found out my family has been changing the water only every two weeks, not every week while I am away. I’m not sure whether I should just give up on cichlids at this point and keep only non-nitrate sensitive fish until I am done with grad school and can be home enough to ensure the water is being changed enough...
<Understood. I don't bother with cichlids in 'semi-neglected' tanks where water changes are likely to be sporadic. There are some tough cichlids that don't seem to mind, but most of the small and pretty species seem to be sensitive to old water. Catfish and many of the 'old school' characins and barbs are far less sensitive, and so long as the tank is basically set up properly without overstocking, they're indifferent to nitrate.>
I will send you pictures later today.
<Sure thing.>
Thank you,
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Unexpected Dilemmas...    7/11/18

Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
I attached photos of the female blue acara and the weather loach's heads (yes I give my fish silly names. Sorry).
<My catfish was named Claire by a young friend. I tend to call her Clarabelle. Depends on my mood!>
I'm planning to give the acara to my LFS which specializes in cichlids. I could give her the Metronidazole food + Nitrofurazone bath treatment in the main tank, a quarantine tank, or just give her to the LFS and have them treat her (they treat their sick fish). What would you recommend?
<If the LFS know what they're doing, and have everything to hand, then it's obviously more convenient to let them treat the fish. But moving fish is stressful. I'd tend to treat at home, probably in the main tank since the medication shouldn't harm the filter.>
I think you're probably correct about the loach's eyes having been injured at least. As you can see the gravel is coarse and full of empty MTS shells.
The loach also has some warped fins, perhaps also caused by the substrate.
<Agreed; might simply be some sort of Pop-eye type thing. Epsom salt (1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres) can help, ideally alongside an antibiotic. The Nitrofurazone you're already using should do the trick
here, so I'd leave the Loach in with the cichlid and treat all the fish with the Epsom salt, the Metronidazole, and the Nitrofurazone.>
The reason I have not gotten rid of my coarse gravel is that it is part of my undergravel filter, so I don't want to mess with it, especially after the biofilter crash last year that wiped almost all my fish.
<Understood. But nothing to stop you replacing the gravel in stages, perhaps one-fourth the substrate every couple of months.>
As far as fish to get instead of cichlids, would tiger barbs be doable with the elongate fin rays of the male silver dollars, or should I try ruby barbs instead? And are Rainbowfish very nitrate sensitive as well?
Furthermore, are there any bottom feeding fish that would tolerate coarse substrates? My panda garra seems to do okay.
Thank you for understanding,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Re: Unexpected Dilemmas...    7/11/18
Just a quick question: the Nitrofurazone packets all say they are a known carcinogen and have been shown to cause cancer in animals. How concerned should I be about this?
<Not. Many things are carcinogens when exposed to organisms in large amounts and/or across long periods. Not the case with a one-time course of medications used as described by the manufacturer.>
Do I need to wear goggles and a mask when pouring the powder into the water?
<Nope. I mean, I wouldn't. But consult with your physician if you're concerned. I'm a "doctor of rocks PhD" not an MD, so it's not for me to offer medical advice.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Facial growth/white stringy stuff on Betta    7/11/18
I have had a male Betta for about a year now. Yesterday I noticed he had a decent-sized bump/growth between his mouth/nose and right eye.
I did a 100% water change last night, and this morning I noticed some white stringy stuff on his head, and the bump on his face seemed a little larger.
<... environmental>
I took some photos this morning (attached) trying to get a good shot of his head.
I just mail-ordered him a 3-gallon filtered tank over the weekend that should come next week, but he has been in a .7 gallon heated tank this whole time (no filter/pump). I hope he isn't too sick to make the move to a better environment!
<Me too. 0.7 gallon is too little and unfiltered? Won't work.>
Tank temperature is kept at a fairly consistent 80-82 degrees F. I have been doing daily 50% water cycles and 100% water changes every 2-3 weeks to try and keep the water from getting too gross. I use Imaginarium Betta water treatment in warm tap water. His tank also has a Marimo ball in it.
He is fed a small pinch of Betta flakes with shrimp and about 3-4 dried bloodworms per day.
His behavior still seems normal so far. He is active, comes to the tank to greet me, and vigorously eats his food. He flares and swims around rapidly when I put his mirror toy in the water.
<Ah, good signs>
I'm guessing he has some kind of fungus or bacterial infection going on (white stuff), but I have no idea what's up with that facial growth. I am hoping it's not a tumor! I have never had a sick fish before, so any and all advice is appreciated. I have a Petco very close to my house so I can go pick up medication or whatever is needed fairly easily. Thanks in advance for your help!
<Well, I'd have you read here:
and where you lead yourself with the links at top. This fish REALLY just needs a viable environment. You might consider it expedient to treat the system... Bob Fenner>

Re: Facial growth/white stringy stuff on Betta    7/11/18
Thanks for the quick response, Bob! I have been browsing through the links on the page you recommended.
<Ah, good Deja>
Little Buddy was a juvenile when we purchased him for my 10 year old daughter--she also picked the tank. She soon tired of the constant maintenance, so I inherited him. The tank seemed to work okay when he was smaller, but he definitely needs more room now that he's grown. I was hoping that Petco carried the tank I wanted in stock, but I had to order it.
<I see. Do move the water, gravel et al. from the old to the new system>
Since the new tank won't be here for a week or so, I was planning on picking up an antifungal from Petco on my way home tonight (someone on your site mentioned Mardel's Maracyn tablets for fungus but it looks like Petco carries Kordon Rid Fungus instead) to treat the tank/fish with in the meantime to hopefully get rid of the white stuff or at least keep it at bay. I have been researching online and the white stuff appears to be fungal rather than ich (stringy, no spots). I know my photos aren't that great, but do you also think the white stuff is fungal?
<Likely bacterial... most "fungal" infections of fishes are actually bacterially mediated>
I am concerned that the bump on his face is Lymphocystis--I've been doing some research and read that since this is a virus it basically has to run its course and all I can do is keep the tank water as clean as possible and not stress him. I wish I had been able to get better photos of the bump, but he kept turning the side with the bump away from me when I tried to photograph it.
Is there anything else I can do to make him more comfortable until his new home arrives?
<I'd add a modicum (like half a tsp.) of non-iodized salt here. Dissolve in some water and pour in.>
I already do 50% water cycles but I can do more than that if it would help.
I can also do a full water change again over the weekend. I just don't want him to stress any more than he already is by upsetting his habitat. Thanks again for your help! Deja Lee
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Golden Arothron puffer     7/10/18
Thanks Bob
This moray eel seems to be very docile indeed “ famous last words”
<Mmm; yes... the genus Enchelycore are changeable temperament wise....>
The two have been together for a few years without any issue. Hopefully the puffer will behave himself too.
<As it got along with a Moray before.... am hopeful it will be here as well. BobF>

Breeding German Blue Rams     7/10/18
Hi again Neale,
I have a question about breeding German Blue Rams this time.
<Very soft, very acid water; lots of heat; minimal nitrates. The Rams will do the rest, albeit the 'fancy' forms do not seem to have particularly high fertility or good parenting skills.>
If you remember, previously I had Bumblebee Gobies together with my 2 Rams and Neon Tetras. I have since then relocated the BBGs into their own tank (60×30×36). Still freshwater for now.
Since then, I have had 2 spawnings 10 days apart from the Rams. The first batch I removed from the tank (the Neons were overly interested in the eggs) and hatched them out separately.
<Neons and Rams need much different water temperatures. So bit confused why you're keeping them together. Do you mean Cardinal Tetras? These are fine at the 28-30 C that Rams need; Neons prefer 22-25 C, and tend to be sickly when kept too warm for too long.>
I managed to get the eggs to free swimming stage for 2 days then they all suddenly died overnight. Water parameters were all fine.
<What numbers? Let's be clear, Rams need very soft water to breed successfully, maybe 1-2 degrees dH, at most. In harder water (even "soft" by aquarium standards, e.g., 5 degrees dH) the eggs become fungus-prone, or the fry simply wither away.>
I use JBL 6 in 1 test strips and results were in the green o.k. range.
<I don't know what this means. What are the actual numbers?>
Second batch I left the eggs with the parents and removed the Neons to the BBG tank. I added a foam filter and switched off the HOB once we got to the wriggler stage. Female Ram was all motherly, guarded the fry and kept the male Ram away from them. This morning the fry were all gone. Eaten by one or both of them.
Would appreciate any suggestions and directions on how to keep the fry alive. Which would you suggest, letting the Rams raise the fry themselves or would I get a better survival rate if I hatch the eggs out separately?
<The parents will (usually) look after the eggs reasonably well, and better than the average fishkeeper! But some pairs are better than others, it's true.>
Will it be better to set up a separate spawning tank and move the Rams over when the female gets fat with eggs? Will a 45x30x36 do? I understand that it is really difficult to breed rams but I'm hoping to get at least a few.
<They're not difficult to breed in the conditions outlined above; in others, yes, they're a struggle.>
And for the BBGs, do I leave them freshwater or would it be better if I slowly turn the tank brackish? (Will move the Neons back to their original tank) I'm also thinking of adding some mates for them, what would you suggest? I know guppies and Endler's would work, how about Mollies?
<If the BBGs are happy and feeding well, I see no point to moving them. But if you want to, go ahead! They're a bit peaceful to live with Mollies, but Endler's should work nicely.>
It seems that this hobby involves having more and more tanks in the house but the pleasure and feeling of content derived is none other :)
<A well known problem, yes.>
Thank you, Effie
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Breeding German Blue Rams     7/10/18

Hi Neale,
Thank you for the reply.
Water parameters currently in my Rams tank are as follows:
No3 - 10mg/l
No2 - 0.5mg/l (can't seem to lower this. Even fresh water from the tap shows this reading)
<Non-zero nitrite could easily account for problems with eggs and fry. Extra filtration should eliminate nitrite. Perhaps a larger sponge filter? I would not increase turnover rate (these cichlids dislike strong currents) but more bacteria would help.>
GH - 4°dGH (too hard?)
<Quite possibly.>
KH - 3°dKH
<Also a bit high.>
pH - 6.4
<Could be lower, maybe pH 6, if you can get some Discus Buffer to maintain a safe and steady pH level.>
Temperature - 28°C
I live in Singapore where water temperature stays almost constant 28°C all year round. What would you suggest to soften the water?
<Ideally, rainwater or RO water; though I admit that urban/city rainwater is probably too polluted to be safe to use. So perhaps better to use RO if available.>
Indian Almond Leaves, peat or Blackwater?
<Indian Almond Leaves may soften the water a bit. Blackwater extract doesn't. Peat can, but it's ecologically difficult to justify, so I tend to recommend against it.>
I do use Eiho 6.5 buffer to stabilise the PH.
As for the Neon Tetras (yes I'm sure they are Neon Tetras), I can remove them from the Rams tank and have them in my other community tank but short of having the AC on 24 hours a day, I don't think I can lower the water temperature.
<Understood. Yes, they'd probably be better in the other tank.>
Thank you. Effie
<Most welcome! Neale.>

Devils hand.     7/10/18
Good afternoon Bob,
<Hiya John>
I was wondering if you could weigh in on something. I have a HUGE devils hand in my 750 that I’ve had for about 6 years. He’s about 23” across and 14” tall. He’s always been healthy and no issues that I know of.
Over the last couple weeks I’ve noticed that one of his lobes is turning a blackish color and there are 2-3 other spots in different areas doing the same thing but the other 2-3 spots are about 2.5-3cm in diameter. He is still fully open and great polyp extension except in those areas. Any thoughts on what’s going on?
<Mmm; may be nothing... but... if these areas turn out to be obviously necrotic (wearing through, expanding), I'd consider excising (cutting them out); IF the whole colony suddenly appears to be collapsing, I'd frag several areas of good tissue and toss the rest; raise the frags in a few systems>
I’ve never seen this before.
<Unfortunately, I have>
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Devils hand.
Thanks Bob. If I get a chance tomorrow when the lights are on I’ll get you some pics of the areas.
<Ah, good. B>
Thank you.
<Oh! John, do try "rubbing the spots off" with your finger/nail. BobF>
Re: Devils hand.     7/10/18

Will do. Thanks Bob. If it removes with my fingernail does that mean algae or a fungus?
<Mmm; that it's likely something (more) superficial; less worrying. Bob Fenner>

What is killing my gobies     7/10/18
Hi guys,
<Hi Chris>
I hope you can give me some advice. I have a new 50g reef tank that is 2 months old with only a few tankmates - 1 Anthias, 3 small Springer damsels, 1 cleaner shrimp and a cleanup crew, all very peaceful.
<You didn´t mention your tank equipment and water readings/parameters.>
I really want to keep a yellow watchman goby, but I've had 3 now and every time they mysteriously die within a few days I acclimate them slowly and for a few days they seem very happy, eating and burrowing, not bothered by any tankmates, then suddenly they just die for no apparent reason.
<Do you quarantine fish before placing them into the DT?>
The only thing I add to the tank at the moment is a small daily dose of Nopox, don't know that could perhaps cause a problem. Can you give me any idea what could be causing their deaths?
<If it were me/my tank, I would stop dosing Nopox and try more natural means to deal with nitrates and phosphates; a DSB refugium with Chaeto algae will give you better long term results.>
I'm ready to give up on gobies. Thank Chris

Re: Freshwater black leeches in tank    7/9/18
You are awesome.
<Nice to know!>
Thank you so much.
<Most welcome.>
Yes, I am aware they can be very helpful in micro surgery cases. But I have watched/loved African Queen movie...
<Ah, great film.>
Again, thank you so much. Google actually confusing, could find no photos of eggs, much non-info.
<Oh? Well, simple small off-white to grey spheres, maybe 1 mm across.
Different for different species.>
Yours the best.
<Glad to help, Neale.>

Re: re: Bristlenose Plecos sick    7/9/18
Dear WWM, dear Neal, thank you for the kind answer. I will look into this.
best Aron
<Glad to help, and good luck! Neale.>

Golden Arothron puffer    7/9/18
Hello crew,
I have the opportunity to rescue a golden puffer from an overstocked tank. But I wanted to see if anyone on your team could see any potential issues.
My tank is slightly under 180 gallons acrylic 72x24x22 with a 60 gallon sump with skimmer, live rock and lots of macro algae. The current inhabitants are a 27” dragon moray Enchelycore pardalis sp. and a 4.5 inch yellow tank. <Tang likely>
The golden puffer is approximately 7 inches.
It was housed with another dragon moray along with several other large angels without issues.
Do you see an issue with my set up or stocking levels?
<The size, shape of the tank should work, and the fact that the Moray hasn't consumed the Tang is propitious. I think you should be fine here>
Thank you
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Bristlenose Plecos sick      7/8/18
Hello, I really appreciate your attention in this time of need. I have been struggling with this and come to no solution - would not want to risk more damage, so I feel I need experienced help. I have been into aquaria for three months only. I set up a 150-liter tank, with two juvenile (3 cm) Bristlenose Plecos, 6 gold barbs, 3 corys, two snails, some shrimp (of which 2 survived) and later one xypho. I used JBL Manado for a substrate, which is just finely rough. I have used Aquael 3 plus as a filter, one that is nominally capable of filtering up to 250 l. First, I lost lots of shrimp due to an ammonia peak. 2 corys got fin rot, which I treated. They lost most of their barbells though. Later, I used some sand that I got from a creek - this caused algae and agitation in the fish, so I got it out.
Everything seemed fine, except for the algae. For that, I got two SAEs, reduced the lighting, scheduled a siesta, and all was fine. Then, suddenly my two SAEs died (haemorrhaging around one gill in one of them, haemorrhaging on the belly in the other), and my other fish got sick. Since I read a slight ammonia peak, and people told me the filter was insufficient for a substrate tank, I added an external filter with 1 liter of Sera Siporax, and ammonia and nitrites came down to 0. The sickness didn't go away though. Most symptoms - sudden movements, rubbing against object, torn fins in the Plecos, redness in part of the body, weight loss - pointed to flukes, so I treated that - first by universal solutions with formalin and such, then with Praziquantel, taking the Nerite snail to a smaller tank (other invertebrates are fine).After 2 weeks, after a treatment with Prazi repeated on day 6 and 7 there is no improvement in my Plecos (see the pictures - redness in varius spots, weights loss, ripped fins, large reduction of movement). The corys have a slight rosiness on their bellies, the barbs a more pronounced one, and are all unhappy. Could they have a different parasite? Could it be bacterial? Could it be just starving (no algae) in the Plecos and a natural behaviour in the others? I have no nitrate test, but have lots of filtration now and a large external plant sucking up nitrates having its roots in the water...I deeply appreciate your help. best Aron
<Looks like an opportunistic bacterial infection, likely caused by the ammonia peak. As always, avoid 'general' cures as these simply waste time. Formalin is toxic, while Praziquantel is specifically for treating worms, for which there's no evidence here. The fact it's the catfish generally that are struggling is a good clue that the problem is environmental. Rough gravel can scratch catfish and loaches, and poor water movement along the bottom of the tank means a lack of oxygen, which means scratches quickly become infected with opportunistic bacteria such as Aeromonas and Pseudomonas. These cause inflammation of the skin and ultimately the death of skin tissue, especially around the fins and whiskers. The disappearance of the barbels on your Corydoras is an extremely reliable sign that this is the problem. So bottom line, review the aquarium! Is the gravel nice and smooth? Ideally, use smooth silica sand. Also remember some 'plant friendly' substrates are too sharp for catfish. Next up, ensure there's a
good strong flow of water along the bottom. Plenty of oxygen needed! Once these issues are reviewed and fixed, then a standard issue anti-Finrot medication (such as eSHa 2000) should do the trick nicely. Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater black leeches in tank      7/8/18
They must have come in on plants. I read that getting rid of them is impossible. Have been removing gravel, but eggs will remain?
<Hard to say.>
Never knew such a thing existed. Identification is definite: inch long extended, collapse to about half inch, black, hang on with mouth end, can wiggle through water but mostly hide.
<Do bear in mind many of the common leeches you find in clean freshwater are carnivores on small invertebrates, and pose no risk to fish. So there's no need to be completely paranoid about them.>
What do eggs look like?
<Varied; small, often nondescript; do see Google Images, re:>
Will my weather loach eat them, especially with less gravel for them to hide in?
<Yes, but I wouldn't completely rely on it to get rid of all of them.>
Any other fish eat them?
<Most fish that eat worms will eat leeches if they can.>
Also have mystery snails....will they be contaminated by them?
Any chemical solution that won't hurt snails, loach, tetra in tank?
<Anti-helminthic medications should work, such as PraziPro, but these may harm invertebrates such as snails and shrimps. I would remove the Mystery Snails to another container for a few days while using such medication.>
I really hate these creeps. Have gotten evil pleasure washing gravel in small batches in very hot water and watching dead leeches flow away.
<Leeches are important predators on genuinely annoying organisms such as mosquito larvae, with very few species actually posing a threat to humans, and even then, they're more of a nuisance than a health risk. Modern medicine doesn't use them as much as in medieval times, but they still have value in reducing certain types of swellings and inflammations better than anything else. So while few people want them in their fish tanks or ponds, they do deserve a bit of respect, even appreciation!>
But I know this is only reducing population. Does this harm eggs?
<Anthelminthics should handle worms and their eggs.>
Thank you.
B Burg
<Cheers, N Monks.>

Identity my fish please. FH, sex...      7/6/18
Hi I have a Flowerhorn fish. I am a newbie. Please tell me what type of my
fish. Female or male sir. I really need a help .
<Hi, could you send us a picture?(few kb´s resolution please).>

Bunny Snail Problem - Valentini Puffer?      7/6/18
Hi Crew!
<Hey Dave>
60g shallow reef, 2 Picasso Clowns, Canary Wrasse, Yellow Watchman Goby, Rose BTA, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 peppermint shrimp, 6 x Nassarius Snails, maybe 15 blue legged hermits, one banded serpent starfish. Corals: Toadstool, star polyps, frogspawn, Kenya tree, and a variety of custom Zoas. I had a
terrible Aiptasia issue, and one peppermint shrimp fixed that in a week!
Now, I have this bunny snail issue. They don't seem to harm anything, but somehow they manage to get into my pumps, my protein skimmer, etc...
They're going to cause a pump failure! Two different people on Facebook forums suggested a Valentini Puffer. I Googled it, and another forum post on ReefCentral indicated their Valentini Puffer left all corals, shrimp, their BTA, and crabs alone, but devoured every snail in the tank and decimated their bunny snail issue. I can remove the Nassarius snails easily enough. Without bleaching all my liverock, I have no idea how to get rid of the bunny snails. To be clear, I'm not after a Valentini Puffer... I want
rid of these bunny snails. It seems like a Valentini Puffer might be my best choice? Thoughts? Recommendations?
<Any Toby/Canthigaster/ine, Sharpnose puffer species will do; but yes to their employment here. Bob Fenner>

Moorish Idol; porc. puffer incomp.     7/5/18
I purchased 2 Moorish Idols after determining they seemed viable based on appearance and eating habits. After acclimation into the main tank, they were doing amazing.
<What are you feeding them, for how long have you keep them?>
After a short time, I witnessed my porcupine puffer bite directly onto the face/beak of one. By the time I ripped the lid off and grabbed something to interrupt, the puffer had caused a serious amount of physical damage to the Idol. His lips and such are missing. I separated the puffer last night as well as the injured Idol. I fully expected it to be dead this morning. To my surprise, it wasn't. Will the tissue regenerate?
<It will, in time>
Is it likely the porcupine puffer will strike again (attack the other healthy one) if released?
<Besides the fact that the Puffer is an aggressive fish and will “attack” again as soon as it is put back in the tank, I give you very few odds with your Idols as these are a very delicate species and in the best of the cases, will only live for a few months in captivity, even in the best of conditions. I am sorry to disappoint you but if you see these beauties for sale it’s because people buy them, not because they thrive.>
Thank you so much.
<You´re very welcome, Wilberth.>

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