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FAQs on Brackish Water Fishes

Related Articles: Fresh to Brackish Fishes, Marines in the Brackish Water Aquarium by Neale Monks, Brackish Invertebrates, Brackish Plants

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Tetraodon suvattii. Rolf Bandsma photo.

Brackish Tank Compatibility    5/17/13
Greetings! I have been doing research on brackish tanks, mainly mangroves.
<Can be nice. But while mangroves sound great in theory, they are trees after all, so not entirely long-term fixtures! A brackish water tank with mock-mangroves, on the other hand, can be stunning.>
WWM has been very helpful to me in the past and I'm hoping for some advice.
I've read so many mixed reports on what fish do and do not tolerate salt, and need to call the experts on this one. I just set up a 90 gallon, its future residents are, 2 female Senegal Bichirs(5",4"), a male Senegal (4"),
<Neither tolerate salt.>

and a Lesser Spiny Eel (7" with an awesome personality I might add).
<Macrognathus aculeatus? Tolerates low-end brackish conditions, up to around SG 1.003 say.>
Everyone is still quite young and small, so id like some neat tank mates.
Fish from other tanks I could introduce are, cichlids (Demasoni, Bumblebee, and Kenyi, all in male/female pairs, all around 2"),
<Hardy Malawian cichlids sometimes tolerate low-end brackish conditions, but not always, and as a rule it's a bad idea -- do read up on Malawi Bloat, and you'll see that salt is a very frequently cited factor behind this dangerous disease. Much better to look at true brackish water cichlids, among the best of which is the Orange Chromide, a very vivid little fish that is -- usually -- quite peaceful outside breeding. There are any number of large brackish to marine cichlids, but these are often aggressive and/or messy cichlids normally kept in their own tanks:
Geophagus brasiliensis and Sarotherodon melanotheron are two favourites, but hardly easy community fish, and hardly any of these cichlids really need brackish conditions to do well, so may as well be kept in their own freshwater tank.>
Black Skirt Tetras (very old and large for tetras, ~3"), a mid sized CAE (5"), a small school of "African Leaf Fish" ( as named by PetSmart, not sure if they are true leaf fish, or leopards. 1.5"),
an African Knife, and a Ghost Knife (both around 5").
<A definite "no" for all of these.>

So far my understanding is, the cichlids are possible, and the leaf fish are a maybe depending on species.
<African Leaf Fish are Ctenopoma acutirostre, and they aren't brackish tolerant. The only truly brackish-tolerant Climbing Perch are the Asian species (Anabas spp.) but these are very rare in the hobby, and even these only tolerate low-end conditions. Even Sarotherodon melanotheron, a species found mostly in estuaries in its natural range, does well in freshwater aquaria (and also lives and breeds in seawater, too).>
If you feel none or few of these are good fits, what's a fish I could pick up that would go well?
<If you're creating a low-end system around SG 1.003 at 25 C/77 F, then a selection of small gobies, livebearers, halfbeaks and glassfish would all work nicely with your Spiny Eel. Possibly some of the killifish, like Florida Flagfish, and also some of the Ricefish too.>
Also anything like a brackish Pleco or algae eater?
<Sadly not, except for Nerite snails which can thrive in low-end brackish conditions, and are actually better algae-eaters than catfish. Oh, Mollies are of course great algae-eaters, as are Florida Flagfish, but they tend to peck rather than scrape, so won't necessarily clean the tank.>
I do know that common Plecos hate salt.
<Actually not that simple. By all accounts Pterygoplichthys spp have become very well established in the brackish lagoons of Florida, but whether or not you want a 45 cm/18 inch catfish in your aquarium is open to debate!>
Thanks in advance for your help. You guys have the best site, great info and fast responses so far every time. Certainly my go-to website for aquaria.
Regards, AA
<Thanks for the kind words, Neale.>

Dragon Goby Stuck in Cave   /RMF     4/22/12
Hi, my name is Susan.  I have a BW tank for my dragon goby.  He is about 14" long and pretty thick. We also have hollow rocks that make great caves, especially when the dragon goby was smaller.  Well I was gathering up some mollies to move them to another tank and I think I spooked the dragon goby.
 When he didn't come out to eat, I searched the tank and found him squished inside a rock.  He is not coming out and feels pretty packed in there.  I can break the rock since its ceramic, but I don't want to hurt him in the process.
I also thought these fish might be air breathers and I'm thinking he is probably dead.  Is there a way to break the rock without hurting him? 
Should I break the rock?  Thank you very much for your time.  You guys have a great website and do a great service to the fish keeping community. 
<I would break this ceramic... just underwater... from the "head end" where the goby is stuck... with a metal tool... likely a wrench... Bob Fenner>
Dragon Goby Stuck in Cave   /Neale     4/22/12

Hi, my name is Susan.
<Hello, Susan!>
I have a BW tank for my dragon goby.  He is about 14" long and pretty thick. We also have hollow rocks that make great caves, especially when the dragon goby was smaller.  Well I was gathering up some mollies to move them to another tank and I think I spooked the dragon goby.  When he didn't come out to eat, I searched the tank and found him squished inside a rock.  He is not coming out and feels pretty packed in there.  I can break the rock since its ceramic, but I don't want to hurt him in the process.
<I can see that would be a risk.>
I also thought these fish might be air breathers and I'm thinking he is probably dead.
<Hmm… wouldn't bank on it just yet. These fish are normally quite resilient.>
Is there a way to break the rock without hurting him?
<Yes, assuming this is ceramic or lava rock rather than a tough rock like limestone. Put the object on a wet towel. Tap firmly with a hammer. Hopefully he'll slither out before the thing actually breaks, but ceramic is pretty brittle and should break with little harm to the enclosed fish. If actually rock, then things become riskier. I'd wait a 3-4 hours, but if he's still in there, I'd do as above, but carefully.>
Should I break the rock?  Thank you very much for your time.  You guys have a great website and do a great service to the fish keeping community. 
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Dragon Goby Stuck in Cave      4/22/12

<I would break this ceramic... just underwater... from the "head end" where the goby is stuck... with a metal tool... likely a wrench... Bob Fenner>
<<Ah, you see I thought to break the ceramic outside of the water… easier to be careful and less concussive force transmitted through air than water, so less shock to the fish. On the other hand, in the water will provide cushioning against damage, to some degree at least, lacking in air. Six of one, half dozen of the other… Neale.>>
<I just hope this fish will be okay. B>
Re: Dragon Goby Stuck in Cave    5/6/12

I greatly appreciate you both for your help. Sadly it was too late for my favorite fish. Again thank you for your quick response.
<Thank you for this follow-up. Will share w/ Neale. BobF> 

violet goby and flounder   1/8/12
Dear WWM
<Hello Aaron,>
I would like to get a Dragon goby and a flounder .
<Sounds fun. Just not in the same aquarium.>
I have a 30 gallon aquarium with a Madagascar Rainbowfish and an albino bristle nose Pleco (2"). I previously had 2 flounder and an dragon goby they are now both deceased.
<Oh dear.>
I found out the problem A no salt B I  had large gravel. Now I have sand instead and I will add salt but I would like to know how much is necessary and will it harm my current fish?
<Not compatible with your Pleco, that's for sure. The Rainbowfish may tolerate a very low salinity, but honestly, I'd rehome them as well. Now, let's be clear that Flounders aren't easy to keep. Where are you in the world? In the US, the standard species is the Hogchoker Sole, a subtropical (not tropical) species from the Gulf of Mexico area. It's a nice enough fish, gets to about 15 cm/6 inches in length, but like almost all soles/flounders, it's a nocturnal predator and very difficult to keep in anything other than an aquarium designed specifically for its needs. It'll eat wet-frozen bloodworms and the like readily, but not with any competition, so you shouldn't keep with the Violet/Dragon Goby or really anything else likely to feed from the substrate or at night. At a pinch, Mollies or Wrestling Halfbeaks would work, but that's about it in terms of the commonly traded stuff. The Violet/Dragon Goby has its own, very definite needs as well, and while it can work alongside other fish, such tankmates need to be chosen with extreme care. In any event, it needs 55+ gallons.>
Also will I have to relocate my old fish first?
<I expect so, yes. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: violet goby and flounder  1/9/12

Dear Neale
I now realize that neither of the fish were suitable for my aquarium
<Quite possibly.>
so I might set up a brackish tank but anyway I would like to know what "oddball" fish would suit my aquarium ( preferably no guppies, mollies, tetras etc ).
<Okay, when it comes to flake-eating, community-safe oddballs, options include Whiptails (weird alternatives to Corydoras); Halfbeaks (funky livebearers); Headstanders (characins); Hatchetfish (also characins, and a bit delicate); and Kuhli Loaches. If you can provide live, fresh or wet-frozen foods, then you can add to your list Glassfish (don't need brackish water, despite reputation); Gobies (Peacock Gudgeon for example) and Spiny Eels (specifically Macrognathus spp; need soft substrate). South American Puffers can work within very specific limitations, i.e., when kept in groups, properly fed, and only with fast-moving, robust tankmates. But otherwise Puffers aren't on the list, and I'd tend to leave off Knifefish and Elephantnoses too, though both of these can be kept in mixed species set-ups if their specific environmental, social, dietary and water quality issues are understood.>
I also found an invention called the "underwater oasis " at crabhomes.com ,which is basically a cave with a pump that stays at the bottom of your tank which allows you to keep semi-aquatic animals with your fish,
<Looks like rubbish to me. In any event, crabs crawl out of tanks regardless of "diving bells" at the bottom. They have an instinct to explore land, so why would this contraption help?>
what semi-aquatic animals might be ideal for my tank
<None; keep amphibious animals in a vivarium. Crabs, Mudskippers, Salamanders, Turtles, Hermit crabs all have their own specific needs.>
.P.S I live in the U.S MD and found the flounder, Brachirus pan, at a small exotic fish store called Ricks.
<Interesting. Brachirus pan is traded, but in my experience, is often confused with other species in the genus, including Brachirus panoides (a freshwater and brackish water fish) and Brachirus orientalis (a brackish to marine fish). Do have a look at my Brackish FAQ and follow the links there to the relevant Fishbase pages:
Cheers, Neale.>

A Newby~ Question about fish compatibility for stocking a BR tank, and population control  -- 1/3/12
I appreciate your forum. I'm new to the hobby, and have read a lot prior to starting, but now have some questions as I begin to populate my tank. I would like to have 3 compatible species.
I have a 29 gallon with fine gravel, two pieces of granite, one piece of limestone,
<This will harden the water, so do choose aquarium fish accordingly: hard water or brackish water species.>
some medium sized plants: 2 java fern on rocks, 2 Anubias on rocks, 1 crypticorn I think, 1 anarchis stuck on a rock that actually has roots and new growth, and a large mass of soft hornwort floating. I also have an air stone- column style. I can add more plants if needed. I am debating heavily which fish to chose.
I started the tank on 12-19, then while trying to decide on occupants and talking to the LFS, she told me that I need to cycle first if considering blue eyes or Bumble Bee Gobies which I was, and to put to 3 mollies and wait 3 weeks. I put 1 Molly in on 12-24, because I thought I didn't want to return 3, and I might later keep it in it's own tank. But it did nothing to the water, of course and became timid too, not happy without a group!
<Hmm'¦ not really; Mollies are fine kept singly. They aren't social fish, and the males are actually rather aggressive.>
Soon I really liked this tiny black balloon Molly and so I bought 2 more Mollies as instructed on 12-31. I had at that time added 1 tbsp of aquarium salt per 5 gallons. My starting test on 12-24 had indicated a hardness of 8.2!!!
<Really? Or do you mean a pH of 8.2?
Hardness is measured in degrees dH (or mg/l calcium carbonate).>
I live in Texas. However as I added the hornwort at that time, maybe that and the other plants helped get it to the current level of 7.6 tested 12-31. They told me that the limestone will actually buffer and stabilize PH and plants help to bring it a little lower.
<Uh, no. Limestone dissolves in acidic water, making the hardness and pH go up. Once the water becomes sufficiently alkaline, around pH 8, hardness 20 degrees dH, the limestone does very little. Plants don't have a big impact on pH unless they're under intense lighting and growing rapidly.>
I really like the Mollies, they're colorful and much more interesting than some of the other schooling fish that need acidic or neutral anyway, so I decided why not go this easier route since they like my water. I am up to six little guys now (they're immature- sized 1 to 2 inches).  There are two balloon males and 2 balloon females and 2 regular females, is this a good ratio?  These varieties grow to 3 inches.
<Hmm'¦ do read:
Mollies aren't sociable and they can be difficult to keep.>
I'm wondering whom to enlist as companions. I don't want to breed Mollies. I'd like 3 species, but I don't want to go over limit.
I read that neon rainbows might eat fry.
They're beautiful, but I worry my water is so hard (currently 7.6). Are there any small rainbow that would serve this purpose and like my setup?  I like fork tail blue eyes but don't know if they eat fry, or would have issues with the Mollies.
<Almost any reasonably large Melanotaenia species should work. I'd normally recommend something reliable like Melanotaenia boesemanni, Melanotaenia splendida or Melanotaenia lacustris, but your aquarium is a bit small for them. Melanotaenia praecox is smaller and viable here, but isn't so colourful.>
I heard that Orange Chromide are nice, peaceful, pretty. The LFS said she's had them successful in FW or Brackish--- I could go with FW version.
<Actually, under aquarium conditions they really are best treated as low-end brackish water fish, which is IDEAL for Mollies and the Rainbowfish mentioned. Maintain at 3-5 grammes marine aquarium salt per litre, SG 1.002-1.003.>
Would I need 2 or could one work to control soooo many potential fry?  Are the Orange Chromide females as colorful as the males? Would they be irritable if there were 2 or 3 females and no male? A source said that they become more aggressive when they breed so I don't want a pair. 
<Yes, pairs are territorial, but not wildly so, given their size. Depends on the aquarium really. Your tank is small, and a pair could easily dominate.>
Freshwater Bumblebee Gobies, interesting and cute, are supposedly compatible, but the issue is-- will the Mollies gobble their food?
These little Mollies like sleeping and scavenging on the bottom. I do need something to eat Molly fry, and not sure BBG's would do that.
<Not really. Glassfish or Knight Gobies would be better. Knight Gobies in particular are easy fish in brackish water tanks, and extremely predatory. They also eat wet-frozen bloodworms and other non-dried meaty foods.>
They sound like there are issues with it being difficult to get them to eat.  Is this true?
<Yes, almost all gobies are fussy feeders.>
Knight Gobies are very cute. But would one terrorize my timid school of Mollies?
A knight Goby and an Orange Chromide could finish off my school attractively IF the Goby weren't a terror. 
<Both need brackish water.>
In one of your articles you said Indian Glass Fish are disease prone in hard water.
<Does seem so, but we're talking Lymphocystis here, and it's still not a common problem. Just more common in my experience than when kept in soft water.>
Is my water too hard, and would my dose of 1 tbsp aquarium salt per 5 gallons be bad for them?
<Parambassis ranga, the commonly traded species, will tolerate this fine.>
I really kind of like the idea of 2 Glass Fish and one Orange Chromide, and I suppose if the Glass Fish fry usually don't survive to overpopulate I could do a pair. I heard Chromides don't mind schooling with other fish.
<No, they don't school with other fish.>
But would the glass fish be sickly in 7.6 water with 1 tbsp per 5 gallons ratio of aquarium salt added?
I would appreciate some input.  The goal is- three species, but with the size of fish I have, not sure that is feasible.  Unless there is some cute small little fish that can gobble up the fry.  I had read that Rosy Barbs eat fry, and don't nip, but I just don't know if they'd like the small addition of salt that I keep for the Mollies.  That is also the question with the Glassfish too.... hardness and small addition of therapeutic salt to keep Mollies a little less at risk for disease but not enough to kill my plants.
Thank you!
<Sounds like you're planning a brackish water community. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: A Newby~ Question about fish compatibility for stocking a tank, and population control

Thank you Neal.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Brackish fish compatibility   12/25/11
Hi, my name is Sandra. First of all, merry Christmas :) and thank you for all your help.
<Merry Christmas to you, too.>
I have purchased 3 Gymnothorax tile (between 12 and 16 inches) for my husband as a Christmas present. They are in a tank with a violet goby (Gobioides broussonetti, sorry for bad spelling, at 10 inches). We also have a figure 8 puffer in his own tank. I was curious if we could keep all of these critters together?
<Very, very difficult to say for sure. The Figure-8 puffer is small enough to be viewed as food by the Morays, so that's risky for sure. On the other hand, Figure-8s can be nippy, and they aren't good companions for Violet Gobies because of this. Violet Gobies are big but completely peaceful filter-feeders and substrate-sifters, so mostly get along best with small, inoffensive fish such as Guppies. Moray eels don't always coexist, but if they do, they should get along okay with the Violet Goby, provided all these fish have suitable long burrows (PVC pipes are ideal, perhaps with gravel or shells siliconed to the outside to make them look more natural, then half-buried in the substrate).>
All are in brackish to marine conditions and yes, we purchased all to get them out of freshwater and bad conditions. My other question is what foods are safe for the eels?
A good staple would be lancefish (from the pet shop, frozen) plus tilapia fillet, cockles, and, in smaller amounts, krill, mussels and prawns. Occasional offerings of earthworms, bloodworms and mosquito larvae will be fine. Ideally, use a vitamin supplement because frozen foods lose some of their vitamins; you can buy vitamin supplements in stores catering to marine fish, where the vitamin problem tends to be most acute (fish that eat flake or pellets don't need vitamin supplements, but not all marine fish routinely eat flake food).>
We have two eating frozen Silversides and krill. Once a week they get feeder crayfish.
The mollies that were originally in the tank quickly became food except for one (her name is Lucky!) What else can we add to their diet to make sure they're getting the proper nutrition?  Thank you again for your time and quick responses to previous questions.
<Do read:
And follow the relevant links at the top of those pages. Good luck! Neale.>

Salty Electric Blue Jack Dempsey    10/26/11
<Hi there Kyle>
I have a juvenile Electric Blue Jack Dempsey as the only inhabitant of a tank heavily planted (for now) with wisteria. I know that many freshwater fish and plants can adapt to mildly brackish conditions,
but I was curious about how salty the water could be before negative side effects and stress took their toll. I have no plans to do anything foolish, as I raised the Jack to his current 3.5" size from a baby (.5"), and needless to say I am attached, but I would just like to know if it was possible for the fish and
possibly the plants to adapt to brackish at all.
<Only to slightly brackish... a few thousandths... Bob Fenner>
Thank you for your time,
Re: Salty Electric Blue Jack Dempsey  10/26/11

Thanks Bob!
<Welcome Kyle>
So if I gradually upped the SG to 1.003, would a violet/dragon goby be able to cohabitate if the Jack was willing?
<Would be close. BobF>
Re: Salty Electric Blue Jack Dempsey  10/26/11

It would definitely be an odd pair. May experiment at some point haha.
you again for your time.
<Welcome. BobF>

Stung by stingray and now I want one   8/23/11
A couple months ago on a trip to Nag's Head, NC I was stung in the hand by a stingray in the hand. After 4 or 5 very painful hours in the hospital I found myself fascinated by them. I searched and searched for the culprit that stung me on the internet and as far as I could tell it was a common Atlantic stingray (brown, about 12-15in across and two rows of spines down its back).
<Dasyatis sabina, an interesting brackish water specialist, with one specific population confined to a freshwater habitat, St Johns River in Florida.>
Anyways I am starting a 55 gal brackish aquarium and would love to have a small enough stingray for the tank and hopefully look something like the one that got me. Is this possible? What species would be a match?
<Unfortunately, there aren't any stingrays this small; at least, none that are traded. I don strongly suggest you get hold of a copy of Richard Ross' "Freshwater Stingrays" book or else "Freshwater Stingrays" by Hans Gonella.
Both of these cover the basics of freshwater Stingrays, generally the "easiest" of the group to keep. Realistically, you're going to need a tank 4 times the size of the one you have, simply because these are big fish. If you get a species with a disc width of 14 inches (which would be a very small species like Potamotrygon scobina) then you need a tank at least 4 times that length from side to side, and 2 times that length from front to back. Remember, with Stingrays, you don't have any latitude with regard to water quality and water chemistry stability, so the size of the tank is as much about buffering against changes as anything else. They're also very expensive animals to keep. My rule of thumb is this -- if spending $10-$30 dollars on a book is something you aren't prepared to do, then there's NO WAY you can keep a Stingray! We're talking a giant tank, a massive external canister filter (if not two), very regular water changes, an RO system (or two, or three) to produce the relatively soft, nitrate-free water they need, and so on.>
Thank you,
<Do perhaps look at the various Flatfish on sale.
While they aren't as busy as Stingrays, at lengths of 4-8 inches depending on the species, they're infinitely easier to house and maintain. They're ideal for certain sorts of brackish water communities, and while predatory, they pose no threat to anything too large to swallow, which in most cases is anything bigger than Guppy fry. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Stocking Q's?!  4/22/11
Hello Neale,
I have a 55 gal brackish water tank set up at a very low salinity of about 1.002. Temp is around 77 degrees. PH around 8.
<Sounds good.>
I have Mollies, Platies, a Horseface Loach and a Blue Acara. I feed them mostly flake food, along with some parboiled veggies every now and then, a few freeze dried bloodworms along with lots of Molly and Platy Fry :s
I also want to get a small school of about 6 Indian Glassfish.
<Nice fish, but [a] predatory on baby fish and [b] fussy feeders -- generally live, fresh or wet-frozen foods only. Mine mostly ate things like bloodworms and finely chopped seafood.>
Eventually I want to get rid of the Platies all together and just keep a few Mollies (I have about 30 Mollies right now - woof). I'm wondering about additional tank mates.
I've been reading up a bit on Brackish water tank mates for my fish and I wanted your opinion on a few.
One type I've been looking at is a Mono (Finger Fish) I'm wondering if I could keep just one with what I have now? Or do they need to be in a group?
<They do well in groups, though often better in a mixed group with Scats for some reason. When kept in just twos or threes it's not uncommon for one of them to become a bit of a bully. Add a Scat to the mix and things seem to settle down. They can be kept singly, but such fish are usually nervous and skittish. Wouldn't be my recommendation here. A single Scat, e.g., a Silver Scat, or even a Siamese Tiger Fish might be more fun, though these latter are somewhat bigger and would do better in a larger aquarium.>
Also how about a Fan Dancer Goby (Knight Goby)? Good tank mate for my fish?
<Knight Gobies are excellent fish, but predatory, and they do have the same fussy feeding habitats of most gobies.>
And lastly Archer Fish. I've read they're picky eaters?
<Not really. Mine happily ate Hikari Cichlid Gold.>
Could I feed it mostly flake food along with some live food.
And if I were to feed it insects what kind of insects could I feed it?
<Oh, all sorts of things! Crickets and mealworms are popular. But also chopped tilapia fillet and prawn will go down well, alongside earthworms if you hold them with forceps so they don't fall onto the substrate.>
Lots of questions!
Thanks a million
<Cheers, Neale.>

Stingrays, Eels, and Brackish Water Fish... sel., sys... -- 06/10/09
Hello Crew,
I'm in need of some advice about what tank mates are most suitable for a Stingray.
<Depends on the Stingray; but for the Amazonian species (usually Potamotrygon spp.) they're best kept with docile midwater fish:
Osteoglossum spp. Arowanas, tinfoil barbs, Panaque spp. catfish, Oscars, etc.>
I'm going to get a custom made tank (3' wide 2' tall 4' long) I hope this will be big enough!
<The rule of thumb is that the tank should be at least twice as wide, front to back, as the maximum disc diameter of the species in question. So a tank measuring 3 feet front to back would be adequate for a species up to 18 inches disc diameter. That said, four feet length is really not much space at all, and you would be very well advised to get something around the 6 foot mark in this regard. Depth doesn't matter at all. There are some excellent books on Stingrays, including a very inexpensive one published by Barron's, "Freshwater Stingrays" by Richard Ross. I'd heartily recommend spending the $8.99 on this book before spending the $100s if not $1000s on the Stingray and what it needs.>
If I do fw I'm looking to put in 5 Silver dollars, 1 Fire Eel and a Stingray.
If I do bw I'm looking to put in a Stingray and a Monoray Eel, please advise me if this will be ok, if not can you please give me a list of fw and bw that will be compatible with my Stingrays.
<Amazonian Stingrays are not brackish water fish, so can't be kept with such tankmates. Asian freshwater Stingrays are often brackish water species. These are typically Himantura spp., or family Dasyatidae at the
least. These could be mixed with robust but non-aggressive brackish water fish: monos, archerfish, Siamese tigerfish, large sleeper gobies, etc.>
Thank you in advance
<Cheers, Neale.>

Transitioning guppies and violet goby from fresh to brackish water   8/18/08 Dear People: <Well, I'm a person anyway.> I recently acquired a violet goby and didn't get accurate information from the store where I bought it. <Not uncommon. A lovely fish; hardy and easy to keep, but does grow quite large (expect 40-50 cm) and will require at least slightly brackish water to do well.> I have been properly chastised by your site for "impulse" buying fish without doing the proper research on them. Wanting to keep my goby alive and healthy, now I am setting up a brackish tank (35 gallon) for my goby and hoping to settle some fancy guppies that were bequeathed to me in the tank as well. Is this possible? <Perfectly possible. I'd suggest a 35 gallon tank is slightly smaller than optimal given the size of these fish, but providing you have a decent filter and don't overfeed any of the fish, you should be okay. Violet gobies (Gobioides broussonnetii will not harm the Guppies unless starving. Violet Gobies are omnivores, and a mix of algae wafers (the things given to plecs), frozen bloodworms, and occasional feeds of live brine shrimp suit them well. Violet Gobies like to dig: use a smooth silica sand substrate ("silver sand", purchased from a garden centre) or river sand substrate. You'll see them feed by shoveling sand into their huge mouths. They also filter feed by gulping water, which is what the live brine shrimp are for -- brine shrimp aren't very nutritious, but boy, it's fun to watch! Wild fish scrape algae from rocks with their sharp teeth, and that's what the algae wafers are for. Provide some hollow tubes for hiding places; plain PVC tubes from a hardware store will do, but obviously hollow ornaments like replica tree trunks will look nicer. These are fun fish, and it really is worth getting a handle on their requirements so that you can enjoy keeping them and playing with them.> Also, do I need to transition the fish from freshwater to brackish? <Not really. Fancy Guppies will do best at around SG 1.005, and this is adequate for your Violet Goby too.> If so, how do I do that? <Start by "cloning" a freshwater aquarium filter for the new tank, i.e., take out 50% of the media from the old aquarium and put into the new aquarium's filter. Add your Goby and Guppies to the new aquarium. Over the next day or two check the nitrite stays at zero (it should do). Now, once you're happy everything is fine and the old filter media survived its "transplant", do a series of 10-20% water changes every 1-3 days, replacing freshwater in the tank with brackish water at SG 1.005. After a couple of weeks the tank will be at SG 1.005, and Lo! the fish and the filter will both be adapted safely.> Thanks for the great site. It is very informative. <Thanks!> Sincerely, Vickie <Most welcome, Neale.

Australian natives - Attention Neale, and his BW book 5/1/08 Hi Neale, Not a question, more of a conversation. You can tell me to stop bothering you if you want. I don't often get the chance to talk Australian freshwater natives (I use the term freshwater loosely), which are a bit of a favourite of mine. I have read some of Bruce's work, although I can't say I've read any of his stuff on Pseudomugil. Will have to try to get hold of a copy of your book. Just to make sure, its title is "Brackish-Water Fishes: An Aquarist's Guide to Identification, Care & Husbandry" right? <Indeed so; should be available at all good bookstores, or else via your library system. I have to admit to enjoying Bruce's chapter enormously, as well as Richard Mleczko's chapter on Mudskippers, another group of fish Aussies may well be able to enjoy better than anyone else.> I've done a fair bit of research on many Australian natives. Both personal and professional. I did my masters thesis on Melanotaenia splendida splendida. An often overlooked yet stunning rainbowfish if I do say so myself. Some of the regional colour morphs I've collected far outshine many of the more common rainbowfish sold in the trade. My personal favourite has to be the ones from a little stream on the way to Greenvale. Absolutely stunning. I still have some of those from my research (they'd be pushing 8 years now). <I would tend to agree with you on this species. It used to be quite commonly traded here in the UK (along with M. maccullochi) as the "Australian rainbow" but you hardly ever see these fish now. They always seemed incredibly variable, and also very hardy and reliable. Seemed to put with anything, even quite salty brackish water.> I do agree that the P. signifer colour up fantastically in brackish water, they also tend to live longer and grow bigger as well, but I've personally found they breed much better in fresh (more eggs, with a significantly increased fertilisation, hatching and survival rate). For several years I changed their water type seasonally. Three months full brackish, three months changing from brackish to fresh, three months full fresh, and three months changing from fresh to brackish. I do have to admit I've gotten rather lazy with that one of late and have had them in full fresh for at least a year now. I do tend to try to breed any that I wild collect so in some ways it's probably more practical to keep them in freshwater from the breeding point of view. I've had quite good luck breeding all the different specie of blue eye and found that even most of the euryhaline specie breed best in freshwater. That's one of the reasons I want to speak to more people about the P. cyanodorsalis. My prior experience tells me they should do well in fresh, but my gut tells me they may be more brackish then any of the others I've kept. <Bruce says P. cyanodorsalis is "more consistently found in brackish water".> I've had a few of the gudgeons as well and have had limited success with them. The Empire Gudgeon (Hypseleotris compressa) and Northern Purple Spotted Gudgeon (Mogurnda mogurnda) are my newest projects. I've had luck with the empire from the Rolling Stone area, and am working on my success with the purple spotted. I am hoping to go out west and get some from the interior in a year or so when I have their reproduction a bit more stable. I've heard the ones from some of the inland areas are beauties. <Oddly enough, Morgunda spp. and also Peacock Gobies are quite common here, and some stores have Chlamydogobius eremius as well, another superb little goby. Gudgeons (or Sleeper Gobies as we call them) are fairly popular, thanks to their good colours and generally hardy nature. Regular gobies always seem that bit more fussy about their food.> Unfortunately a lot of the regional colour morphs are being threatened. One of the reasons why I collect and breed according to location. Up here the Gambusia is doing a real number on the blue eyes and tilapia are threatening just about everything else. It's always disappointing to me when I go to an area to collect fish and discover an introduced species when I am there. I always try to remove any introduced that I can catch, some are harder then others. Unfortunately it seems every time I go out there are more introduced fish and more different types then the year before. The number of Oscar I've been finding of late has me a bit concerned. I also caught a disturbing amount of other cichlid species which I hadn't encountered before. I always take a deep breath and enjoy any place I go that I don't encounter any introduced fish although those seem to be getting fewer and farther between. The flooding we get during the wet season is the real problem. It allows the introduced fish to get to new water that they wouldn't be able to access otherwise. <This is a problem everywhere. The UK govt. has recently gotten serious about limiting the trade in species that could become established in UK waters. Aquarists do have to deal with the fact that they, or at least their trade, has been responsible for some terrible exotic species introductions. So while I'm not wild about the idea of "white lists" of species my government says we can keep, there's an argument for making the hobby a lot more aware of their potential to do harm. I can't think of any other hobby where for small amounts of cash a person can buy wild fish from location X and feel free to release them at location Y.> Anyway, I'll stop before this turns into a novel. Cheers! Amanda <Cheers, Neale.>

Black Moors, Not BW  4/9/08 I've been searching for info all over and I cannot seem to find what I need. Can Back Moors live in BW? I have a 50 gallon tank that is BW that has a Violet Goby and 2 Bumblebee Gobies as well. I was wondering if the Black Moors can tolerate the BW. <Mmm, no... Goldfish can tolerate some salt/s in their water (there is some "combination of metals and non-metals" in all source waters...) but really don't appreciate "added" salt of any kind. Oh, and Black Moors are a variety of fancy goldfish. Bob Fenner>

Brackish Puffers... sel., hlth. gen. 4/8/08 Hello, I have a 65 gallon tank, my salinity level is 1.006, 0 ammonia, ph is @ 7.8. I want to know what's wrong with puffers. I have gone through a ton of GSP & Fig. 8's! it seems that I can keep 1 out every 10. When I purchase them in the store they always seem to look good, bring them home and they look like they are starved or have worms. They last for 2 weeks maybe then they die. The fish are cool but I'm tired of spending money on them please help? I also have a fig 8 right now that is breathing very fast for 3 days now. he is eating but not swimming just laying around any info will help thank you Dennis <Hello Dennis. Pufferfish are *not* easy to keep, and despite their widespread sale, they're not fish to start a new aquarium with. They need a mature, stable aquarium with plenty of filtration (to remove ammonia and nitrite) and regular water changes (to remove the nitrate). I'd recommend a filter offering not less than 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and at least 25% water changes per week, and ideally 50% water changes. You need to have zero ammonia and nitrite, which means the tank should be matured for at least six weeks, and I'd recommend longer, before the puffers are brought home. Assuming that water quality is good, pufferfish should be easy to feed, and starvation isn't normally a problem. Indeed, overfeeding is generally a much more common problem with pufferfish. In any case, tell me some more about how old the tank is and how you matured it. Tell me also the turnover rating of the filter (this'll be in gallons per hour or litres per hour on the pump). Then we'll take things further. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Brackish Puffers? 4/9/08 My tank has been up and running for two years or more. <Should be fine.> I have 2 Whisper 60 filters with under gravel filters. <Whisper 60 filters have a rating of 330 gallons per hour, so should be adequate.> I do a 25% water change weekly and vacuum every month. I have 2 GSP's that have been alive for 7 months or so one's belly seems to be black more then white but he eats, swims, acts as normal as the day I bought him. <Though this varies, a dark belly is often taken to be a sign "all is not well" with puffers. There may not be a one-to-one relationship, but most sick or stressed puffers do become darker than normal in colour.> The other GSP is just fine swims a little erratic at times unknown reasons there. All the GSP's & Fig. 8's I buy last two weeks three tops. Are they hard to buy healthy? <Not especially.> It seems LFS's have and always sell sick ones. <Not particularly likely. These fish are collected from the wild, and in practise tend to be in reasonably good shape, provided they are looked after and properly fed. It isn't the same as with farmed fish where poor husbandry and overcrowding often allows a great deal of cross-infection of worms, viruses, etc.> Also it always seems like they have i.p.'s or worm's! <Unlikely. "Internal Parasites" and "Worms" are often catch-all terms used by aquarists who don't have any idea why their fish died. Unless you're a microbiologist or parasitologist, I'd steer clear of jumping to conclusions here. The vast majority of "mystery deaths" come down to water quality, water chemistry, and diet issues.> How many Puffers would you say would be enough in my 65 gallon? <Depends on the species. For Green Spotted Puffers, you need to allow about 30 gallons per specimen, because they get large and can be a bit testy. Figure-8 Puffers are smaller and generally ignore one another, so you could easily keep 3-4 specimens in a tank that size. Does rather depend on how many tankmates you have of course; the more fish you already have, the less space for additional fish. The "inch per gallon" rule doesn't hold for medium sized and large fish, and you need to be a bit more cautious, adding new specimens gradually and keeping a close eye on health and water quality.> The tank has 1 Silver Scat, 1 Red Scat, <Both potentially big fish, easily 20 cm/8" in captivity, so questionably suitable for this tank.> 1 Angel Fish, 2 Kissing Gourami's, 1 Red Rainbow. <None of these are brackish water fish.> 2 Mono Argenteus, <Hyperactive, so needs swimming space, and again, of questionably value here.> 1 Black Tetra, 1 Golden Nugget Pleco, 1 Leopard Pleco, <Not brackish water.> 2 Clown Loaches, <Has been said to be brackish water in the wild, but not convinced of this at all.> 4 GSP's, 1 Fig. 8. All of these fish have lived in this tank together for 7 months or more except 2 of the GSP's & the 1 Fig. 8 these 3 have been in there about two weeks ( almost there death time ) . Oh Yeah I change the filters every month two at a time. any info might help thank you for your time! <Given you have non-brackish water fish that are doing well, I'm curious whether you really are maintaining the salinity at a high enough level. In any case, you can't mix brackish water fish and freshwater fish in the same aquarium, so rather than fussing about which puffers to keep and how many, I'd concentrate on dividing up these fish. In the medium term, the Monos and Scats will certainly need a more saline environment than the Angels or Plecs will tolerate. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Brackish Puffers?  4/9/08 Neale Why do you guys and gals always tell people they are the ones wrong. you pretty much called me a liar about the maintenance of my tank. If I didn't do something i wouldn't tell you I did there's no problem solving in lying. <Ah, you misunderstand me. I'm only wondering whether you've been reading the hydrometer right, or perhaps your hydrometer is faulty. This latter problem often happens, and people think their tank is at one salinity, and it turns out to be something else entirely. The reliability of inexpensive hydrometers has been amply criticised on marine fishkeeping forums many, many times. Other folks misunderstand how a floating hydrometer works, and read the salinity above the meniscus rather than at the water level itself, so they think that have salinity X, and it's actually quite a bit lower. Not saying you're a liar at all!> All my fish except for the puffers have been in this tank for over 1.5 years when I first set the tank up salt wasn't even in there I gradually over 6 months time brought my salt level up. in which case these fish can and do handle the brackish water. <Doesn't work this way really. While it is true Angelfish and perhaps some of your other freshwater fish might be adjusted to 20% seawater, i.e., around SG 1.003, and perhaps slightly higher, in the long term this just isn't going to work. Monos and scats will need about 50% seawater, SG 1.010, and as sure as God made little green apples that will kill the Angelfish, loaches, etc. I don't need to debate this point, it's simply a statement of fact. Even at SG 1.005, the minimum GSPs and Monos will accept, is too high for most freshwater fish. In any case, maintaining freshwater fish in a saline environment isn't good for them.> I know which fish aren't brackish and which ones are. <In which case why combine them?> So do you have any useful info for my puffers not my other fish or are you just stuck on its the person never fish <From the information you've given me, there's no obvious reason why you should lose a succession of pufferfish. So if you're after an answer to that question, I don't have one. But the bigger picture is you have a collection of fish that doesn't reveal a clear understanding in what brackish water fish need in terms of salinity, carbonate hardness, and pH. And if a person doesn't fully appreciate what brackish water fish need in those regards, they are indeed going to have problems keeping those fish alive. Hence my concern about your mix of fish. That your freshwater fish are doing well suggests to me that the salinity isn't all that high, and certainly that the pH and carbonate hardness isn't likely very high either. Those factors imply an environment not optimised for brackish water puffers, and perhaps not conducive to their long term survival. What more can I say? Cheers, Neale.>

Oddball tankmates... GSP, brackish, Danios... What?    2/27/08 Hello, I have a green puffer, Sailfin molly, and a small Danio in a 7 gallon bowed out tank. <Please tell me this is a joke. PLEASE!> The green puffer is still a baby and will be moved to a larger tank when he starts to get bigger (about a year or so from what I've heard). <Not just a larger tank (at least 120 l/30 gal) but also a brackish water one maintained around SG 1.010.> The Danio kept harassing the puffer until I decided to section him off for about a week. <Doesn't work this way. Danios aren't smart enough to learn you're cross with them. All the Danio knows is that he is a schooling fish that spends his life scrabbling with his school-mates to establish a position in the pecking order. Kept by himself he is bored out of his mind because all his natural behaviours are being frustrated. This is not on the table for discussion: Danios are schooling fish that need to be kept in groups of at least 6 specimens and in tanks at least 60 cm/2' long so they have room for swimming. Anything else is animal cruelty, willful or otherwise.> When I released him, he seemed to want to school with the puffer instead. He doesn't bother the molly, and if he does, the molly can handle it. <Again, Mollies are not suitable for a 7 gallon tank. Even a tank three times that size would be borderline.> I dumped some freshwater salt into the tank to get rid of the ich because the general cure did very little. <"Dumping" salt isn't the way forward here. Have you asked why the fish are getting Ick?> I also have been treating with Melafix to help with the ich repair the puffer's fin damage from when I first bought him at Wal-Mart. <Long term, outside of brackish water, this pufferfish will not stay healthy.> Is it odd that the Danio wants to school with the puffer? <Absolutely typical when Danios are kept incorrectly.> Also, I heard that mollies can handle marine like conditions. So when I start to increase the salinity, will the molly be ok? <Both the Molly and the Pufferfish will do perfectly well in brackish or even marine conditions. I'd aim for SG 1.005 while they are young, and once the Puffer is upwards of 8-10 cm, gradually raise the specific gravity over the next few weeks to SG 1.010. Obviously the Danio cannot be kept in such conditions.> It appears that my tank is a bit small considering the fish I have, <Never a truer word spoken!> until I get a bigger tank, if the water parameters don't stay within a healthy range, can I add more oxygen and a stronger filter, on top of making more water changes until I can get a new tank? <Good money after bad. There is no way you can redeem this aquarium, it is simply too small.> (I already have a bubble stone and a pretty powerful filter meant for a 5 to 10 gallon tank). <Neither here nor there.> The puffer starting swimming around frantically and swimming near the surface when I fed him some flakes this morning. <Flakes are not the right food for this fish. Long term you will cause constipation and overgrown teeth. Lots of articles here at WWM about puffers: read them!> I tried burping him, but no air came out (he bit me the first time though), he seems to have recovered, but I'm not sure what made him do that in the first place. <Does happen. Try to avoid though, because sometimes puffers swallow air, cannot expel it, and eventually float so long their gills dry out and the fish dies.> I found something that works if you don't have a net. Small bubble wrap can be used to "section off" the tank to watch a fish more closely. I think all of the reflections in it chill out the fish. <Fish don't "chill". They are either happy or terrified. Not much in between. A fish confronted by thousands of reflections of itself is unlikely to be happy.> It worked wonders when I rubbed the stomach of the puffer, he didn't bite this time. <Very good. Anyway, I'm sure you are very fond of these fish and I can sense you want to do the best for them, which is great. But right now you are not even close to having a balanced, viable aquarium. Green Spotted Puffers are not reliable community fish, and often end up being kept alone. The Molly is potentially viable in a community with the Danio, though I usually recommend Mollies be kept in slight salty water, and ideally a brackish water aquarium. Danios must be kept in tanks that are long (I'd honestly recommend a 20 gallon tank) and in groups of 6 or more. Do sit down and read about these fish, and then plan your fishkeeping accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Changing to brackish...   6/25/07 Hi, I had pupfish (Cyprinodon) in a saltwater set up and as they did not appear to be doing well I've moved them into another tank to become brackish. <Better... which species?> The tank was set up totally from scratch... fine gravel, driftwood the kind that supposedly does not affect pH as much, artificial plants and a few river rocks. <How was it cycled?> The salinity was set the same as the previous tank they were in 1.020 and I added Marine BioSpira when I moved the fish into the tank. The tank has done well, no ammonia, nitrite or nitrates. It's going through the brown diatom algae stage. But to my total surprise I'm finding copepods all over the rocks and glass now. <Neat> I always assumed in a saltwater tank they came from the rocks and sand, but this was set up totally different, how can they appear? <On, with something wet... could be with the water the fish/es originally came with...> The fish had decimated the copepod population in their previous tank so I'm sure they'll enjoy them now. But as I begin to gradually lower the salinity to 1.010 will any other critters replace the copepod population? <Mmmm, maybe> Also, how gradually should I make this drop so that I don't upset the bacteria balance since my understanding is that different bacteria will take over at different salinities. Thank you. Debbie <A thousandth of spg every few days... remove some tank water, replace with "just" water. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Cyprinodon, changing to brackish... 06/25/07 Bob, <Marco here today.> I believe the Cyprinodon may be variegatus, I'm not sure. <For Cyprinodontidae ID please see http://filaman.ifm-geomar.de/identification/specieslist.cfm?famcode=212&areacode= . Cyprinodon variegatus is kept in aquaculture, mainly as feeder fish (is not the best), because it is easy to breed. It's also called Sheepshead minnow. They are somewhat euryhaline and occur in anything from fresh water to seawater (even hypersaline waters), but as you noted, they might do best in brackish water. 20 ppt (SG of about 1.014) was found to be the optimal salinity. They have one of the widest temperature tolerances known from fishes.> I took them from my brother, who wanted the free tank but not the free 'saltwater' fish and wanted to get rid of them. Anyway... After weeks of research I at least found out they were pupfish. The neat thing now is in their new surroundings their colors are showing more. <Good sign.> In the saltwater set up they were always whitish and their stripes could barely be seen (which made identifying what they were even more difficult). Now the females are showing their markings all the time and of course the males show their mating colors more vibrantly. It's neat. But one other question I forgot to ask.. what should the pH be for their set up? Currently I'm doing everything the same as for saltwater because as a new setup I wanted the tank to be more stable before I started lowering the salinity. Does that (pH) need to be lowered as well? <No. Around 8 will be fine for them, 7.5 should be okay, too. Keep it stable, however.> Are freshwater or saltwater products used to keep the pH stable/maintained? <Most buffers are the same or comparable (baking powder and similar salts). Crushed coral gravel/sand and calcareous rocks can be sufficient if the tank is not overstocked and regular water changes are undertaken. If the pH is dropping use a marine buffer product for short term improvement, but consider possible changes in the system/maintenance to reach a higher stability.> Thank you, Debbie <Welcome! Marco.>

Overcrowding a Puffer 5/31/07 <Hi Natalie, Pufferpunk here> I have spent hours on this website, thank you so much for your expertise in the matter of brackish water info. <We try our best!> I had a 33 g brackish aquarium that had 2 mono's, 1 F8 and a GSP. <Wow, that's a lot of fish! At adult size, your GSP will be happy in that tank alone. Have you researched the adult sizes of these fish? How about their requirements as far as whether they are schooling fish, like the mono? F8s prefer low-end brackish water, while the other species you have listed prefer high-end BW to marine conditions as adults.> After reading the FAQs, I realized that I was most likely keeping everyone content by pure chance. <Agreed> I moved countries, left them behind and they passed away. <So sad... Didn' you leave them in the care of someone responsible?> My question is this: I'm currently in the process of cycling a 46g and doing research on the GSP. 1. I was going to use normal aquarium gravel (since its' what I used before with success) but I'm reading from many sources that sand is better and even as far as play sand found at Home Depot-type stores. Is this correct? If not, what type of sand do you use? Crushed coral? <I prefer crushed coral for ease of cleaning & keeping the pH steady, around 8.> This would present a problem, since I was going to use the gravel used from a previous aquarium to help with the cycling process. <Unless the gravel is in a tank that has fish in it now, it will be useless. You can "seed" the new tank by putting a bag of gravel from a well-established tank, onto your sandbed & fishless cycle the tank (lots of good info on that subject at WWM).> I was also thinking that the sand would show much of the waste and since GSP don't like much current it would be difficult for the filter to pick it up without a power jet, which is the reasoning behind my going with simple aquarium gravel. Is this bad? <This is why I prefer crushed coral.> 2. I really want to focus on the GSP. However, in a 46g I think it would look kind of weird and empty only having one guy in there. <Not really, if you add the ton of decor they prefer, so they are kept busy investigating everything. Otherwise they get bored. I think mine would have been happy by itself in a 55g tank. You'd be surprised how much room these football-shaped fish can take up in a tank. They swim a lot. They are messy eaters & high waste producers & require a lot of dilution to that waste.> I know, I know, GSPs are best kept alone, however I was thinking of maybe putting him with a Silver Tipped Shark <Grows to 18". Much too large for your tank. Also they are a schooling species.> or two mono's (since they tend to be a quick and aggressive) <Grows to a foot & is also schooling.> or even a bumblebee that was suggested on some other website <Will be eaten.> as well as maybe a dragon fish. <Too sedentary & will be chewed up by the puffer.> Something to fill up the space aside from decorations. <Your puffer will be thrilled to be in that tank alone.> I know this must get monotonous but I really want to do this right and not go on my previous experience since apparently were completely wrong and apparently only managed to give me confidence that I could do this again, LOL. Thank you in advance for your help, time and most of all patience. <Please research adult sizes of fish you are interested in. Also Compatibility, tank size, salinity, etc. All the info is at your fingertips.> Yours, Natalie. PS: I hope the English is better this around. <Your English is perfect. I have corrected your punctuation & capitalization. ~PP>

Bullying in a brackish tank   5/18/07 Hi, me again <Hello 'me again'!> I have a brackish tank at 1.010 gravity on 110 litres <Very good.> livestock: x1 mudskipper, x1 silver scat, x1 mono argenteus, x2 archers, x1 bumblebee goby. most fishes are around 4-6cm. except the goby of course. <OK. The goby will eventually be archerfish food, and the mudskippers won't swim much with large fish in the water. And the scat and the mono and the archer all need much more space than 110 litres. Common archers will get to ~20 cm in aquaria, and scats about the same. Monos get to around 15 cm in aquaria. All these fish can get much bigger in the wild (archer to 40 cm, scat and mono to 30 cm) but for whatever reason don't seem to in home aquaria. Even so, I'd be planning on a ~300 litre tank at least for this selection of fish. Perhaps more, given you need some "land" for the mudskipper.> I have 2 bullies in my tank: <Oh dear.> 1) silver scat - picks only on the mono. now the mono hides in the back and i never see it. before the scat was added in it used to swim freely through the tank. now it just hides. the scat has grown quick and has become the largest. how do i stop him from bullying the mono. the scat is good for the tank as it seems to eat every single drop of food i give. <Scats will eat every single drop of food you have in the house! Your problem here is uncommon, as scats tend to be fairly sociable. I've kept this species with *groups* of monos and never had problems, but that was in a ~750 litre tank. Adding more scats and monos should fix things, but you can't do that in a 110 litre tank. Likely the problem is boredom more than anything else, the scat needing to burn off energy with others of its own kind. Similar to tiger barbs in this regard. With a 110 litre tank, really all you can do is remove one fish or the other.> 2) the larger archer - picks on the smaller one chases him when he comes out of hiding. due to the stress he has caught fin rot twice already. i have him being treated in a separate tank. how do i stop the bullying so he stops catching diseases. do i need 3 or more archers to spread the aggression? <Archerfish are notorious bullies, and should be either kept singly or in groups of 6 or more. Smaller groups never work, and eventually there is a very good chance the smaller fish will get bullied to death.> or do i already have too much fish in the tank? as i plan to get 1 mudskipper and maybe 1 more archer if its beneficial? <Yes, you have too many fish.> also leads me to ask would a tandanus catfish or  pleco be able to handle the salinity? i need a scavenger at the bottom of the tank... could you give advice on what's best to use. <No, neither of these catfish will work. You don't need a catfish at all. There are plenty of brackish water catfish, but they're all quite large and more or less predatory (will eat the goby and mudskipper). They are also very active and need lots of swimming space. The best scavenger for your tank is the standard-issue hose pipe and water change: siphon out the crud as and when you see it. Better yet, don't overfeed. Scats are herbivores and should be given lots of green food. That'll fill them up without dumping masses of ammonia in the aquarium.> i know the brackish fishes grow fairly large (20-30cms).. i will deal with it when they get to that size. <Not an approach I recommend. The scat and mono will be close to full size within 12-18 months of age, though archers grow a little more slowly. In a 110 litre tank you'd have been much better off with small fish like gobies, sleepers, livebearers, flatfish, halfbeaks, glassfish, killifish, pufferfish, etc. As it is, you have a variety of more-or-less problematic fish that have dumped a bunch of problems on you. Ideally, the scat, archer, and mono would be moved to a tank 3 times the size. Remove one archer, and then add more monos. That's one tank. In the 110 litre you could keep the goby with the mudskipper. Add some more of either, as both types of fish are most fun in groups, when they chase each other and display. One last thing: try and ID the archer you have. There are three species commonly traded, one of which (Toxotes microlepis, 12 to 15 cm) doesn't really like strongly brackish water. The other two (T. chatereus and T. jaculatrix) are twice the size and need brackish water.> Thanks again Wil <Cheers, Neale>

Keeping BW Fish in FW  1/4/07 Hello, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I was wondering if the Leaf Goblinfish (Neovespicula depressifrons) could adapt to a completely freshwater environment. I have read that they are found in freshwater, brackish, and even fully marine waters. Most sites have them listed as mainly brackish, can they thrive in a freshwater tank or even adapt to it? <This species is considered BW.  Many BW species do swim throughout the 3 systems (FW/BW/SW).  Since you will be keeping it in an enclosed system, where it cannot swim up & down the salinities as it chooses, it is best to keep it in BW.  Although it will "tolerate" a life in FW, it will be happier, healthier & longer-lived (stronger immune system) in BW.  ~PP> Thanks

Brackish water bottom feeders: who are they?  12/2/06 Is... <Are> ...there any brackish water bottom feeders except the Columbian  catfish? <Please read here for a comprehensive brackish water species list: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/bracfishes.htm Another good resource can be found here: http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?s=a64047193657883c4423c7267b06aa6d&showforum=48 Lots of information on the 'net be found out there...Jorie>

Re: Brackish water bottom feeders: who are they? Clown Loaches?   12/3/06 http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/bracfishes.htm Thank you for the help but one more question. On the site you  said to go to it has clown loaches up there. I was wondering if they  were brackish or not? 'Cause I have one now in a fresh water 55 gallon setup and I read that they are not tolerant to salt. <Many people keep clown loaches in pure FW, but they truly are a light-brackish water fish.  So long as proper, gradual acclimatization is done, they should be able to successfully live in pure freshwater, and brackish water up to 1.005 SG.  In fact, you may find that a bit of salt in the clown loach's water will make them healthier and more resistant to common diseases such as ich.  Hope this helps, Jorie>

Re: Velvet? - Ignore previous e-mail, P.S. Included here 8/24/05 PP, Thanks for the quick response. He's doing fine again by the way, with no intervention from me. <Glad to hear that.  Just keep an eye on the bullies.> Still discolored though, both of them. It does appear, as I watch them more closely, that the color comes and goes to some degree. <Many fish change colorations due to moods & camouflage.> I did rearrange with the water change. There's a few more hiding places that are further split apart now. It's a hexagon shaped tank and I need to leave the middle open for the sharks, so I can't really break up the lines of sight too much. Here's my plan and you tell me if I'm being realistic so far as growth rates go... First a hospital/quarantine tank, 10 or 20 gallon, within weeks... <Easily & quickly set up w/Bio-Spira or a bacteria source from an established tank & kept active by feeding w/ammonia.  Another way to do a hosp tank is to keep a small filter on an established tank to move over for hospital/quarantine use.> Then a 30 gallon to get the live bearers and glass cats out before anybody gets big enough to eat them, probably within 1 or 2 months... Then I'll get a 75g and move everything in the 55g to that, within 3 to 6 months.  Within a year I'll set up a 125g in addition to the 75g. I'll probably leave the puffer an sharks in the 75g alone and go with archers, the scats and Monos in the 125g. This will eventually be home to the mollies a well, but I'll keep them in the 30 gallon, slightly brackish (about 1.004) until then.  If I feel so inclined, I'll save the 55g and go with a cichlid tank at some point. Is this enough time to move everybody? Should I alter this plan in any way? <I didn't remember you mentioning you have Monos & archers.  Archers grow to 1' & Monos are schooling fish (5-6 min) that grow just as large.  A school would require a 300g min tank.  I still think you are not looking into large enough tanks for the species you want.  ~PP> Thanks for your help, Erik in Oceanside

Re: Velvet? - Ignore previous e-mail, P.S. Included here 8/24/05 PP, 30 minutes after I replied to you, I'm sitting and watching my fish and what happens? A scat chases the Betta down, grabs it by the tail and shakes him like a dog with a stuffed toy. <Yup, not surprised.> I moved him immediately to a fish bowl. I'm going to the LFS tomorrow to get my hospital tank started. I'll keep the Betta and platies in there (Bio-Spira for me, I have no patience for cycling). Once again, the WWM crew's wisdom prevails over my newbyness. That being said, I have to question your estimation that I need 150g for 3 scats though. I've done quite a bit of reading and never heard such a large requirement for these guys. If that's the case, as much fun as they are, they are officially up for adoption. <some species grow as large as your outstretched hand, others as large as a dinner plate.> I'd rather keep archers and Monos or reevaluate my infatuation with BW fish. <I'd reevaluate that decision also, as archers grow to 1' & Monos are schooling fish that grow as large, requiring a 300g min tank for a school (5-6). ~PP> Erik in Oceanside

Bettas and brackish This question is threefold, but background first. I have a two-year running planted tank with just about the easiest to grow plants in them (hornwort and Cabomba weeds) and a Betta (who is in heaven).  Ten gallons, inexpensive waterfall-type filtration turned all the way down to keep the water filtered but generally undisturbed at the surface, temperature at 82-84F, full spectrum lighting (as I pretty much used to use it as a plant-isolation tank to get the snails out of them... used to have a swarm of apple snails, which has since stabilized as the Betta tends to eat the egg sacs and young snails... basically anything he could fit in his mouth).  It was my first foray into plants and gave me the knowledge I needed to go into planting my goldfish tanks. <Outstanding> I am now interested in getting some (generally) bottom-dwelling small crabs, and according to the research I have done, while they can tolerate freshwater (poorly), they prefer brackish. <Most of the species sold in the trade, yes> I've done research into setting up a brackish system and I feel ready for it.  I've also been briefed in the requirements of the types of crabs I'm considering (but will eventually settle on a single pair of a single type, most likely the small red-clawed crabs) and feel ready to meet them. <Okay> Question one is:  Can the Betta tolerate a brackish or slightly-less-than-brackish salinity?   <Yes... as can the hornwort/Ceratophyllum... but the Cabomba may well do its falling apart act> I'd like to keep him (I got him as a fry and know he is around 19 months of age now) where he is, and possibly just slowly up the salinity to desired levels to get him used to it, as well as letting the microorganism population adapt to the change. <Good technique> Question two:  Would the Betta be socially compatible with these scavengers?  He generally will sleep on the plants and I've almost never seen him sleep on the gravel (I work nights, and keep the room dark on my nights off, so I have observed him during the 'night' part of his cycle). <The Betta should not harm the crabs, but the reverse may well not be so... almost all crabs are opportunistic omnivores... and if hungry, might attack, consume the Betta> Question three:  Answered on your brackish plants page, no, the plants will stick around. Thank you, Dan <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Monos & scats.. Marine Hi, <Hello there> I have a 70 half cylinder with 3 Monos ( not the saber!), 1 figure 8 puffer, 2 knight gobies, 2 green scats and 2 red in it <Okay> The tank has made the transition from brackish to marine wonderfully. <Good> I plan on adding a flame Hawkfish and was wondering if you have any fish recommendations. <Mmm, I would not keep a Hawkfish with the Knight Gobies... too likely to be eaten, harassed... Please take a look on WWM, the Brackish subweb for other fish, non-fish livestock ideas> Ideally there would be some coralline and possibly inverts, But I cannot find out enough info.. Can you folks lend some advise? <Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Brackish Fish 3/3/05 Thanks PP <Sure!> However, if frontosa cichlids aren't brackish water fish, then someone ought to ring up Petco, who sells them with other African cichlids as brackish water fish!! <I wouldn't trust anything a chain store like that says & believe less than half of what most LFS tell you.> The frontosa's been doing extremely well in my brackish water tank... <For now--they are not BW fish & are not equipped to handle the salt, long-term. Especially the salinities GSPs require.> ...with the silver- tipped cat sharks either way, eating small pellets and guppies. So now I have four 4 silver- tipped catsharks, 4 African cichlids, and one frontosa. Again this is a brackish tank. I have been adding one whole box of sea salt for my 36 gallons of which I change the water every 2 1/2 weeks. <You really need a hydrometer to know the exact specific gravity of your water.> I want to return 3 African cichlids and add 2 BW figure 8 or spotted puffers. <Sorry to tell you, but that tank is only large enough for 1 GSP, as they grow to 6" as adults & need a minimum of 30g ea. Didn't I give you the link on their care? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm  The catfish will grow to 18" each, so I'd return them too.> Please advise, -Raulph <I feel you have some rethinking to do on your tank. ~PP> 

Are These Fish Brackish?  1/17/04 <Hi Chuck, Pufferpunk here> Can you inform me if my Semiprochilodus insignis and Dianema longibarbis can thrive in a brackish water environment? <Neither of those fish are brackish, nor will they appreciate the high pH hard water that is brackish.  Both prefer soft, acidic water.>   I am thinking of switching my fresh water aquarium over. Thanks in advance. Chuck <If you want a BW aquarium, you must stick with existing BW species.  It is not a good idea to force a FW fish into BW.  ~PP>

Fish for Brackish Tank? 6/04/04 Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have a 29g that I have setup as a mangrove look, and planted with several stocks of anacharis (Egeria densa I think but not 100%) and 3 clumps of java fern, with a crushed coral substrate (I was originally planning mid- to high-end brackish but re-considered).  I have a H.O.T. Magnum canister for filtration, may add a small bio-wheel as well. I currently have 3 Rainbows in the tank. I am leaving open in the future a conversion to low-end brackish but not quite decided on that so I would like to add some fish that would tolerate low-end brackish (no more than 1.005) just in case, along with fitting the current mangrove look which is most important.  I am considering a few fiddlers (depending on the other livestock of course), they will be able to be out-of-water on the faux mangrove stump top.  I am also considering some dwarf puffers and possible glass or other freshwater shrimp (supposedly the dwarfs will be too small to bother either?).  I would also like to get some sort of eel, or ropefish, or similar, just plainly for effect, though again an eel would depend on being true FW or not, his maximum size, and whether I have any inverts or other potential snacks in the tank or not. I am also considering adding a couple more Rainbows for schooling effect. As the anacharis seems to be growing nicely, some over 3inches in just over a week, some plant nibbling from the fish would not be a problem Any ideas on the above and suitable or similar livestocking will be appreciated. <Hmmmm, this question seems vaguely familiar...  Maybe you posted it at another forum?  In that case, the answer I gave before still stands.  If it wasn't you, I sill state again: dwarf puffers are strictly FW & will tolerate no salt at all.  That's how I killed my 1st 2 dwarves, many years ago.  There are no BW eels, especially a FW ropefish (which isn't an eel at all). Most rainbowfish are not BW either, except the Celebes rainbow.  Your anacharis will "melt" in any amount of salt, it is not a BW plant, although you may have some success with java fern <1.005.  Fish good for a low-end BW tank would be the Celebes rainbows, glassfish (not painted!), knight gobies, bumblebee gobies, or figure 8 ;puffers.  I have a lovely low-end BW tank with 3 F8 puffers, 4 knight & 6 bumblebee gobies, with the mangrove root like you describe.  You can see it here: http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=userview&userID=1918  The shrimp & crabs you are interested in are also fine in BW.  Just be sure to buy only female crabs (2 small claws) if you want other creatures in there, or the males (1 large claw) may grab them at night.> Patrick <So what you really need to do is decide if you really want BW or FW fish.  Do more research.  Good luck with your planning!  ~PP>

Keeping Batfishes in Captivity  12/2/04 <Pufferpunk again> It's on WetWebMedia in the brackish section <I don't see it there.  What I do read about the more commonly available species is this: "proves almost impossible to keep alive, generally refusing all food. This species is secretive in the wild, found hiding in wrecks and other dark spots, and should be left there. In my estimation, less than one hundredth of pinnatus bats live more than a month in captivity." & on spadefish: "Spadefishes can be summarily ignored by aquarists on a handful of damning characteristics. 1) They're very skittish in captivity; nervousness showing in difficulty in adjusting to small volumes, poor eating, "mysterious" deaths. 2) They're really only happy in groups... and 3) They get pretty darned big, some more than two feet long, and at least that tall."  In addition to their being marine fishes.> -is there any marine fish that can be kept in brackish water? <Many marine fish visit BW occasionally, but are not to be kept there long-term, by any means. Even most BW fish wind up needing SW as adults.  Please research the fish you choose carefully.  ~PP.

Needlefish Hello, <Hi, Magnus at your service.>     I was hoping you could help me with a small kink in the planning of a mangrove tank simulating Sulawesi. <I'm here to help.> I am looking at putting archerfish, scats, needlefish, and maybe Monos in a saltwater mangrove tank. <Most of these fish are heavy brackish fish.  Archers tend to live best in a specific gravity below full marine conditions.  Scats and Monos enjoy full marine conditions when they have reached adult size. I have never kept needlefish, but I do know that they are found in Marine waters as adults.> I know they are brackish fish, but I have heard that you can acclimate them to salt.   <it's a gradual process.  It takes months to raise them up properly to marine conditions.  I simply did it by doing water changes every so many days and raising the salinity a small level.  giving them a break every 3-4 water changes, so they could get used to it.  Eventually the tank was up to marine conditions.> Also I can't find the species Strongylura urvilli in the aquarium trade near me. <It's extremely hard to find anywhere, I have never seen one for sale at any of the stores (in person or online) I have visited. I can only find Xenetodon cancila.  Do you know if the first species is available and from where? <Sadly I do not know any place.  I would speak to your Local Fish store.  they have a list of fish available.  Just because they don't have it there doesn't mean they can't get it.  Ask them, and see if you can specially order them.> Will the second work just as well?   <Xenetodon cancila, or the Freshwater Gar, or called Silver needlefish, are nice fish, but I believe that they aren't typically found in full marine conditions in the wild.  They are considered Brackish fish, and I have never seen anyone have one in a marine tank before.  Fishbase.org dose list them as possibly going into marine conditions, so I imagine if acclimated slowly it would be able to.  But, I'm not sure if that will be good for the long-term health of this fish.> Thanks, Daniel <Good luck with the tank. -Magnus>

Yellow tail trumpeter? (03/11/04) <Hi! Ananda here this morning...> Hi, your site has been great in helping me set up a native brackish tank.   <Australia has some fantastically cool fish... (presumably you're there, given the email addy)> I am curious to know if you know whether yellow tail trumpeters are typically aggressive to each other or with archers/scats. <I'm not certain which fish you're referring to -- Sillago maculata? One of the other Sillago species?> I have a 6x1.5x2 foot tank and want to stock it very low, and planning on 2 trumpeters. Do you know if they are likely to fight and should keep either more or even a single specimen? <Without more information, I couldn't begin to guess. Do check out http://www.fishbase.org, http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/FamilySummary.cfm?ID=307 for some basic info on the fish, once you know a genus and species for this fish. Many entries list "food items", and you could get some clues from there. If these won't work out, maybe some gudgeons might interest you... there are several gorgeous species. And if you haven't found this site already, spend on planning some time perusing it: http://www.nativefish.asn.au/ :-) > Thanks for your help and website!  Regards, Rob <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Re: Article Submission I am actually planning on writing other articles, is there need for an article on figure 8 puffers?  This should not be a problem, maybe I can shed some light on the freshwater/brackish water debate. <IMO there is a huge need for informational, inspirational material on brackish systems and livestock... most of these set-ups and their inhabitants are and have been "bumped off" through ignorance...> I have sent this article to Brian Scott at Tropical Fish  Hobbyist magazine. <Outstanding> Are there any other contacts for other hobbyist magazines I should try? <One at a time per any given article... "Multiple submissions" are a giant "no no" in the print biz. If you have other articles, and TFH can't run them (due to space, time, interest), I encourage you to try FAMA next... Sue Steele there is a delight to work with. Bob Fenner> Thank! Heather Cooan

Brackish loaches? (1/6/04)  Hello Bob. I enjoy your site immensely.  <Me, too. Ananda here tonight...>  I currently have a system set up for Archerfish, and as it establishes, I've been researching potential tankmates. As a beginner to brackish water fishkeeping, I've found it to be the most informative single resource on the net.  <So did I. Thanks!>  I do however have a few questions that aren't covered on the site:  (My substrate is an even mix of sand and crushed coral, with a small amount of smooth pebble-sized gravel. The specific gravity is about 1.005, and the temp is 80F)  Your section on brackish fishes mentions that loaches, and in particular the Clown Loach are happy in a brackish environment. However, I've found other resources that say loaches are extremely salt-intolerant. Do you know what the real story is?  <I believe that clown loaches may venture into brackish water, but do not stay there long-term.... Most other sources say *all* loaches are salt-intolerant, and I know that's not the case (more on that in a bit). I have clown loaches, but haven't had the guts to try turning their tank into a brackish system.>  I've always liked loaches in my freshwater community tanks, so I'd like to add a few. If they do tolerate salt, can you tell me what their upper limit of salinity is?  <I know they will tolerate 1.003 for at least a few weeks -- a friend treated her loaches for ich by adding freshwater salt, adding it slowly (over a couple of days) until she got to 1.003, and increasing their tank temp to about 86. I have heard of people who've had success keeping yo-yo loaches, Botia almorhae (formerly B. lohachata) in systems up to 1.006.>  I'm also a big fan of mollusks, and apparently "freshwater" clams such as Corbicula fluminea can adapt to fairly high levels of salinity. Do you have any experience or comments on keeping these clams (or similar species) in an aquarium setting?  <I haven't tried it. However, I've heard that freshwater mollusks can be disease carriers.>  Also, I've been searching for a type of snail that would be suitable for such an environment. Everything I can find on the net seems to be purely freshwater or marine. Any suggestions?  <Malaysian trumpet snails, also called cone snails, do just fine in brackish systems. They will reproduce to near-plague proportions if you give them a chance. Going from the other end of the spectrum, I've heard that some turbo snails can be adapted to brackish systems. Doing so, however, is a matter of weeks, if not months. And Pufferpunk recently got some freshwater Nassarius snails, so they, too could be adapted. Again, however, the process would be slow.>  Thanks in advance,  -Brian  <You're quite welcome. Do check out the WWM brackish forum at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk --Ananda>  Are Monos Reef Safe Can you tell me if Monos are reef safe <Mono Sebae (aka African Moony) though semi-aggressive and nippy to some of it's tankmates can be kept with caution in reef tanks.  Though the don't typically bother some of the LPS corals, they have been known to "sample" the smaller polyped corals, and some leathers.  Though I have known a few people with Monos that never had issues with them in their reef tanks.  The issue with Mono's in a reef tank is that they can and often times do pester the shrimp/crabs/snails in the tank.   Mono argenteus (or Fingerfish) are a bit larger than the others, but are found to be less aggressive and picky towards reef type inhabitants.  Though, I have never raised this myself.  But both of these fish if well fed with flake/pellet/dried seaweed and brine shrimp diets, they shouldn't feel the need to bother the rest of the tank.  -Magnus Champlin>

New Brackish water tank I will be setting up a new tank up in about 2 weeks. <Are you fishless cycling your tank?  Here's some great info on setting up a new tank: http://www.tomgriffin.com/aquasource/newtanksyndrome.shtml  Please read all the recommended links in there too.  (I apologize if you are already experienced in this matter.)> My plan was to set up a freshwater tank (not brackish). I wanted to get figure eight puffers, spotted puffers, and Bala sharks. I have been on my computer for hours every night doing all my research to make sure I know all I need to know about my puffers but I am going in circles. Every site tells me the opposite of the other. <It is a great thing to do research, but info on the net can be very confusing & misleading & just plain wrong> I want my tank to be freshwater but can they be without the salt??? and can the sharks handle salt if I need to have it in there?? <Bala sharks are freshwater fish.  They also are schooling fish that grow quite large.> I just don't want to get the puffers and then them die on me....I would feel horrible....The pet store in my home town said to put them in freshwater and not brackish. <Figure 8 puffers (Tetraodon biocellatus) & Green Spotted Puffers (t. nigroviridis) are both brackish water fish.  F8s prefer light BW (a specific gravity of 1.005-10) & GSPs prefer high-end BW-SW (1.015-22).  All the difference between FW & BW is some marine salt & a hydrometer.  As your LFS is obviously keeping them in FW, you can add the salt slowly, raising the SG .002/weekly water change, until the desired SG is reached.> (I am oh so confused.........I will take any suggestions I can get. <Here's a whole lot of info to keep you busy for a while: http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/intropuffer.shtml http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/8puffer.shtml http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/4742/puffer.html F8 puffers grow to 2 1/2-3" & will need at least 10g/puffer as an adult.  They are best kept singly, or 3 or more.  GSPs grow to 6" & need at least 20g/puffer as an adult.  Because puffers are aggressive fish, I do not recommend putting these 2 species together.>   Thanks a bunch......Angela <You're very welcome.  I'm happy to answer all your puffer questions!  Pufferpunk>     

Brackish fish list? (04/16/03) I planning on setting up a brackish tank and need some help on the type of fish I should add.  Please advise on the type of fish I can use in a 38 gal tank. <Hmmm. Part of the answer to your question depends on what your long-term goals are for the tank. There are many brackish fish to choose from... do check out the various fish listed on the pages linked from http://wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm ... figure out which ones are your favorites, then research those fish in more detail. Do check out the WetWebMedia chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk and post on our brackish board! Several brackish fans, self included, check the board frequently (daily, if not more often). --Ananda>

A mixed bag of used fish <Ananda here today answering the brackish questions...> I am going to buy a second hand aquarium with all the fishes size 5'9'' by 2' <Hmmm...how tall is this aquarium? Do get help to move it and set it up -- more info at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm and the linked FAQs, underlined in blue at the top of the page> fish: 2 silver dollars <See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/serrasalminae1.htm and the linked FAQs>        1 mono <See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/monos.htm and the linked articles and FAQs>        1 puffer<small> <See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm and the linked pages>        2 silver sharks <See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ariidcats.htm and the linked FAQs>        1 scat <See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Scatart.htm and beyond>        and others I do not know <Danger, Danger Will Robinson! You should always know which fish you are buying!> 1st question is it true that Monos and scats are brackish fish??? <Yes. And the puffer is possibly a brackish fish, also, and one that may nip the fins of your other fish. More brackish info here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm> 2nd can I make Oscars with those fish???? <Oscars are not brackish fish. Whether or not they would be okay with your other fish, I can't say, as we don't have your entire fish list yet.> 3rd what is the best ph???????? <That varies with the type of fish, and should be available on the pages listed above. --Ananda>

Brackish, fresh, brackish? So I cannot leave them in normal water forever because I risk that I kill them or not? <It may not kill them directly, but their lifespan will be much shorter than it could be.> I do not wish to change to brackish system it is too complicated. <My very first tank was a brackish tank. I have freshwater, brackish, and saltwater tanks, and  honestly, I think brackish is easier than freshwater! (Many of the things that cause disease in freshwater fish cannot tolerate brackish water.) The only thing you need for a brackish tank that you don't need for a saltwater tank is a hydrometer and salt. Just mix the salt in the water for each water change --  that's the only "extra" work you have to do for a brackish tank that you wouldn't do for a freshwater tank. You don't need to measure all the stuff that people doing saltwater tanks worry about!> I like Oscars are they difficult fish ?what other tank mates<big> can I do with them. it is difficult that I will have babies<I do not know what to call them>from Oscars? how I am going to distinguish a male with a female ? <I have never kept Oscars, as they get too big for the tanks I have. Do check the FAQs linked here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/neotropcichlids.htm> Tank you <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Brackish, fresh, brackish? <Ananda here...> the owner from which I m going to buy the aquarium had no problems when he made them live for approximately 2 years in fresh water (not brackish).  How come this was possible ? <Many fish that are considered brackish start their lives in freshwater, migrating to increasingly salty water as they mature. The mono, silver sharks, scats, and possibly the puffer (depending on species) fall into this category.> What shall I do with the fish now ? <If you wish to keep the majority of the ones you have listed, I would suggest you sell, trade, or give away the two silver dollars. Once you have the tank established in your home, you can slowly raise the salinity of the system. My favorite method for doing that is topping off the tank (replacing the water lost to evaporation) with brackish water rather than fresh water.> thanks for your immediate reply Aldo  (Malta) <No problem. I do hope you enjoy the brackish system -- I would love to have one that size! -- and I encourage you to read and join the brackish forums on http://wetwebfotos.com/talk. --Ananda>  

Re: Creating a Brackish Tank . . . I'm converting my 55 gallon tank into a brackish tank.  I've bought a floating hydrometer, and a bag of instant ocean.  I'm planning on the substrate being a mixture of silicate sand and the small gravel I originally had in the tank with a small amount of live sand placed on top.  probably going to add live rock and plants as well. <I would not use silicates as substrate here. Please read through the various articles and FAQs files on brackish system set-up posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm> Thought this site was where I had seen silicate sand recommended, but apparently not.  The site that recommended it said it would catch pockets of gasses under it that would be useful to plants, thus my plan to use it.  Silicate sand is out, gotcha.  Most of the brackish info I've gotten was here.  Great site! <I would not use silicate based sand for a few reasons (stated on the marine substrate article, FAQs)> I basically got into aquariums three years ago when I saw a display of oddball and eel fish at Wal-Mart and I had gotten away from that kind of fish, but they've always been my favorite.  Since most of these fish are really brackish I'm going to try to do it right this time.  I'm considering a freshwater moray, a couple of rope fish, and a dragon fish (violet goby) with possibly a F lionfish or banjo catfish as well.  I know I'll need to add them slowly.  Will these fish do alright together? <Mmm, no. Please insert the common names of these fishes into fishbase.org and/or www.WetWebMedia.com search tool and read what their water chemistry ranges are...> I was planning on having a salt level of 1.005 and a PH of about 7.8.  Does the setup sound O.K.? <No... the Ropefish, banjo cat live in acidic to neutral water...> I went to fishbase.org like you suggested and it says the whiptail banjo cat (which is the only one I'm sure is brackish) has a pH range: 6.8 - 8.2 which would fit fine with my plan. I should have specified the banjo I was referring to, but I've never heard of any other banjos referred to as brackish fish before.  I posted this on one your boards and someone talked me out of the banjo anyway. <Good. This, these species are very slow, difficult to keep fed placed with more eager eaters.> Just taking up room at the bottom of the tank. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Platystacus&speciesname=cotylephorus It says the Reedfish has a pH range: 6.0 - 8.0. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Erpetoichthys&speciesname=calabaricus Not much info given on the FW lionfish (aka three-spined frogfish).  It gives a minimum temp (same as others), but no pH range. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Batrachomoeus&speciesname=trispinosus Again, nothing about pH on the violet goby (aka dragon fish), but good reading. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Gobioides&speciesname=broussoneti Not much listed about the Moray Eel either. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Gymnothorax&speciesname=tile I'm a  little worried that there might be too many fish at the bottom of the tank though the rope fish and moray will explore the range of the tank at times.  I really know nothing about the banjo cat or FW lionfish.  I've read what your site has on the lionfish (toadfish), but couldn't find anything on the banjo at all.  I've kept rope fish, dragon fish, and a moray before and have read everything I could find on the web about all three.  I think all of these fish will at least be safe from each other and at least the three I'm familiar with will eat similar foods.  Any help would be appreciated! Chris Jones <Study for now, ahead of purchasing your livestock. Bob Fenner> I've had Archerfish suggested to add some thing to the top of my aquarium and either Mollies or Guppies to supply fry.  Would any of these do well to stop my tank from being so bottom heavy? <Yes... and many more possibilities for brackish livestock exist, are available. We list several on WetWebMedia.com and there are other brackish websites> Would they survive?  They all fit the pH range and brackish requirements. <Archers, mollies, guppies? Yes. Bob Fenner> Thanks!

Creating a Brackish Tank . . . I sent this directly to Bob Fenner on Monday, but hadn't gotten a reply, <Mmm, strange. Don't recall seeing.> so I'm resending it to the group at large.  Sorry if you've already read this, I was just afraid that my first email might have gone to the wrong place.  Alright, here's the actual letter and questions: I'm converting my 55 gallon tank into a brackish tank.  I've bought a floating hydrometer, and a bag of instant ocean.  I'm planning on the substrate being a mixture of silicate sand and the small gravel I originally had in the tank with a small amount of live sand placed on top.  probably going to add live rock and plants as well. <I would not use silicates as substrate here. Please read through the various articles and FAQs files on brackish system set-up posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/BrackishSubWebIndex.htm> I basically got into aquariums three years ago when I saw a display of oddball and eel fish at Wal-Mart and I had gotten away from that kind of fish, but they've always been my favorite.  Since most of these fish are really brackish I'm going to try to do it right this time.  I'm considering a freshwater moray, a couple of rope fish, and a dragon fish (violet goby) with possibly a FW lionfish or banjo catfish as well.  I know I'll need to add them slowly.  Will these fish do alright together? <Mmm, no. Please insert the common names of these fishes into fishbase.org and/or www.WetWebMedia.com search tool and read what their water chemistry ranges are...> I was planning on having a salt level of 1.005 and a PH of about 7.8.  Does the setup sound O.K.? <No... the Ropefish, banjo cat live in acidic to neutral water...> I'm  little worried that there might be too many fish at the bottom of the tank though the rope fish and moray will explore the range of the tank at times.  I really know nothing about the banjo cat or FW lionfish.  I've read what your site has on the lionfish (toadfish), but couldn't find anything on the banjo at all.  I've kept rope fish, dragon fish, and a moray before and have read everything I could find on the web about all three.  I think all of these fish will at least be safe from each other and at least the three I'm familiar with will eat similar foods.  Any help would be appreciated! Chris Jones <Study for now, ahead of purchasing your livestock. Bob Fenner>

Batfish in Brackish Tank Hi everybody, how are you tonight? <very well... thank you. I hope this finds you in good health and spirit as well> I was in my favorite pet store today, and I absolutely fell in love with two little two inch long batfish. I have read they can live in brackish water.  <err... some species and only as juveniles for a matter of months. They are marine species and if bought in seawater... they stay in> I was wondering just how brackish it had to be?  <too heavy for most other brackish species and the tank will need to go to full seawater in 8 to 18 months> Would I be able to keep them in my 125 gallon show tank with a few assorted large cichlids?  <hehe... if it was any of the common Platax batfish species... then without the cichlids they will still outgrow your 125 gallon in 3-5 years! They are huge ugly adults... reference a picture of these big grey diamonds as adults> I have about 1/4 cup of sea salt per gallon in there. About half the salinity of my salt water tanks. I've had a scat in there for a few months now, and he's doing fine with that setup. So I thought maybe the batfish would be all right with it too. What do you think? <too salty and too big. I'd pass on it. Batfish make freshwater Oscars look like slow growing minnows!!!> Thanks for your help, and Goodnight, Kristen:) <best regards, Anthony>

Brackish fish I am trying to find out if you can put Lo vulpinus/Foxface/Rabbitfish and Acanthurus blochii/Surgeonfish in a brackish tank. I have set up a 55 gallon tank for Brackish fish and am researching different species to put in my collection. If you know can you email me at XXX with the answer? Thanx Crystal <These species are not really suitable for a brackish system... or one of only fifty gallons. Real brackish water choice information can be found on the Net, including our section on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

African cichlids kept with brackish species Robert, Great web site. I would love your expert opinion on a number of questions that I've accumulated over 20 years of aquarium keeping. <Ask away> I'm having success keeping scats and Monos with my African cichlids.  <Good mix temperamentally, in terms of water quality preferences> I maintain salinity at 1/2 teaspoon/gallon. What is your opinion of the salinity level with respect to the ongoing health of both types of fish? <If this is working for you, I'd stick with it... An important mention should be made that there may be substantial salts in your source water to start with... I would shoot for a specific gravity of about 1.005 or so...> Should the brackish fish have a higher salinity level? If so, at what point will the increased salinity start to harm the Africans? <Once again, we need to define a few terms... all this depends on the type of "salt" you mean... not just sodium chloride... the brackish fish groups you keep live in a varying mix of natural sea salts... Malawi cichlids live in a very different mix (and Lake Tanganyika ones very different still)...> In order to keep brackish fish for a long time, i.e., more than 4-5 years, is it necessary to eventually raise the salinity to full sea water? <No> What is the ideal salinity level for brackish fish? <Please take a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brackish.htm There are widely ranging tolerances/preferences by species... as stated, a spg of about 1.005 made with synthetic sea salt/s... is best for you, your livestock mix overall.> Any help, especially with the first question, will be appreciated. Thanks, Kevin <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: the "spinning top" molly... Hello! Thanks for including all the brackish stuff on your site -- it's easily the *best* brackish site I've found. <! and it's just barely begun... much more to come.> Wonderful. Would you be interested in contributions? I was thinking of doing a "brackish.info" site until I found yours. <Don't know how to "do this" just yet... Perhaps a link to your site, place of storage... Will have to ask friends Mike and Zo who help put the sites together how we might go about this> I've got an orange Sailfin molly female that's been acting bizarre the last few days. She goes absolutely berserk and swim/spins like a wobbly top for a moment, and then acts normal for a while. <Not good.> She's been pretty placid in the isolation tank, but I'm not sure she's eating, either. <I suspect the "whirling" is due to an internal complaint... and not catching... I would place this molly back in the main tank... and elevate the specific gravity over time> She's not moving around much, typically hanging out at the bottom of the tank. I'm starting to think it might be some sort of swim bladder disorder.....? <<Possibly. "Fancier" livebearers seem to come up with these complaints more and more as the years go by.>> >I keep having trouble with high phosphates and red-brown algae. ><Mmm, I would try some live rock, growing plants to greatly reduce  >the >phosphate> Live rock?!? I thought that had to be in full-strength marine water... hmm. For the tank with the sand substrate, would live sand work as well? <<Yes... and/but as with marine systems, all substrate becomes "live" to an extent over time. Adding some "live rock" speeds this along>> Meanwhile, my husband is thrilled that you're suggesting plants. He's wanted to have plants in the tanks from the start, but everyone has always told me you can't grow them in brackish. <<Not so, there are many plants that do fine, especially in the lower range of spg (1.005). Please read the Brackish Plants piece: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brackishplts.htm>> ><Do read through what you can find on the internet re culturing  >foods >like Brachionus... >You need useful foods of the right size available immediately when  >the >young hatch out. Look to "The Breeders Registry" for much input.  >Link >on our Links Pages> For food, I've been using Liqui-Fresh so far. My three screw-ups: 1: far too much water movement -- using a sponge filter on its own smallish air pump 2: still too much water movement -- using a sponge filter, but sharing an air pump 3: adding a filter bag containing charcoal to the tank -- after the fry had already hatched....(Doh!) I checked The Breeders Registry, and they have only a handful of breeding reports on gobies. I've been considering doing an article or at least a write-up on my tank conditions and the knight gobies' breeding habits. Should I submit a report for my gobies, even though they're brackish and this is a marine breeders' registry? <IMO yes. Direct this to Stanley Brown who runs the BR... and send your article/report into FAMA Magazine... and if they don't have time/space for it, TFH, AFM...> ...is there a brackish breeders' registry anywhere? Fishbase.org doesn't have a whole lot, either..... <Not as far as I'm aware... perhaps you will start one. There are hobbyists who have "brackish sites" with some very good material on them... but none I've found that are very complete. Am continuing to work about at topics in the field... more of the Rainbows, Melanotaeniids this AM. Bob Fenner> Many thanks, Ananda Stevens

Marine fish to brackish? My Man I've been receiving mixed reports; wondering which (if any) "marine" fish can be acclimated to a brackish tank... <Mmm, good question. Think we'd have to begin by defining or at least describing what we mean by "brackish"... as there are many groups of fishes that can/do live in-between marine and fresh, or can/do make periodic forays into these regions> current residents include 5 young Monos, (about 2" each), some bumblebee gobies, 2 figure 8 puffers and 2 green spotted puffers, 2 scorpion (wasp) fish, 2 orange Chromides, and 2 night gobies. most of these fish are small (though I know the Monos will grow, fast) and there is still lots of room in the 70-gallon tank. I have been wondering about the "dog-faced puffer" as well as batfish, both of whom I've heard can make great brackish aquarium additions provided they are introduced as juveniles and receive a proper acclimatization...clown gobies as well...what's the deal?  <Mmm, not in agreement on the Clown Gobies... and the Puffer and Batfish I'd leave out due to their getting much larger, more rambunctious... eating all the food if not their tankmates> are there any other recommended "marine" species I can think about? anemones?....thanks for any help you can offer... Toronto fish nerd <Do have to write up more on the brackish water index on our site: hopefully some of the introductory pieces this month. Please see the few livestock pieces, their references posted there now. One is of a nice Internet site which lists marine/brackish water fish species. Bob Fenner>

Target fish Terapon jarbua Mr. Fenner, my name is Ruben Teurbe-Tolon, and I want to ask you if I could use the picture of the Targetfish (located in the Scat section) for my homepage which is a basic page for Brackish fishes--it is not a commercial page and the picture would have the proper credits. The page is at http://www.geocities.com/rubentolon/index.html <Yes my friend, certainly. Will look around for better images. And add your site on the Brackish Index on WWM. Well done. Bob Fenner> Sincerely,

Brackish to fresh hi. I've got a friend who is trying to convert what few fish she has left from a saltwater incident into a new freshwater tank. She has some brackish fish which she needs to know how to convert to freshwater, and which have been living in the saltwater. I would appreciate any advice or referral you could give me. thanks for your help <Hmm, some species can make this transition easily... or at least more easily than others... Might you know what types of fishes these are? The general approach is to lower specific gravity about a thousandth per every day or two... and pH to tolerable levels about two tenths per week... but not too low. Fishbase.org will give you the values for pH, dKH... Bob Fenner> Dan Frederick pits

Bumblebeefish (Gobies), salt, gear in S.A. Hi Bob, I've got a tropical, community tank. I have a few bumblebee gobies and wondering if I should put any salt in the water and if so how much and what sort? <Yes to adding salt here... best, a type of good marine aquarium synthetic (not just sodium chloride)... and a teaspoon or so per gallon (not all at once to start with... a few teaspoons per day, replaced when doing water changes. This is stipulated your other livestock (fish, invertebrates, plants) can tolerate salt... otherwise do keep your pH elevated and alkalinity sufficient to maintain it stably> also I'm getting a 5ft aquarium and I was wondering if you could give me a list of equipment I would need and if you know in cheap places in S.A. to buy accessories? <Hmm, please read over our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for the former, and I'll post your message and address on our site in hopes that others will contact you with information re the last> Thanks a lot Matt <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Marine and Brackish questions Hi Bob, Great site. I have spent countless hours reading through the articles and FAQs on your site. It is a great service you are doing for the hobby. <Thank you. Great to hear/read.> I have a 55 gallon acrylic with a 10 gallon sump, running a Red Sea turbo skimmer. For lighting, I have 2 Triton 40 watt fluorescents and 1 blue moon 40 watt fluorescent. I am currently curing about 65 lbs. Florida manicured rock and about 40 lbs. Tonga Branch and about 10 lbs. Tonga Slab rock. The Florida and slab had been curing for about 3 weeks when I added the branch rock about a week ago. I am waiting for the rock to cure before adding any substrate. Everything seems to be going fine...ammonia remains barely detectable and nitrite is around 3 ppm, but there is still considerable visible die-off on the branch rock, so I am going to give it a few more weeks to make sure it is cured before adding anything else.  <Good idea> Temp. is about 78, Ph about 8.1, SG about 1.025, calcium about 350 ppm. My question is this, last night I was staring at the rocks, looking for little critters and noticed very tiny, white flea looking critters - most that I can see are on the front glass, where there is a small amount of algae growth. They are so small, I didn't think they were living until I watched closely enough to see them moving along the glass. I am worried that they are parasitic or something, and want to make sure before I think about adding fish or inverts.  <Not to worry... likely just an innocuous type of crustacean... perhaps amphipods... much more likely to be beneficial... as food, scavengers...> Can you tell me if these are problematic, and if so, what to do to get rid of them?  <I would do nothing> While I am here, I wonder if you could critique my plan for livestock. I plan to start with a pair of clown fish, for which I will eventually get an anemone. (should I wait a while before adding this?)  <Yes, a few months> I know I will need to put the anemone close to the top of the tank, to be closer to the lights.  <It will move itself to where it should go.> Along with those, I would like to get about 3 blue-green Chromis, one Hippo tang, and maybe a fox face rabbit fish. For inverts, I was thinking of getting one of the clean up crew specials from FFE or something along those lines. Do you see any flagrant fouls as far as the mix of species I am planning? <No, looks fine...> The last question I have is for my 10 gallon Brackish tank, which houses 2 green puffers. They are very healthy and eat with gusto at every chance. I have been feeding them freeze dried shrimp and they are very messy and wasteful. <Yes, akin to government bureaucracies...> I was hoping you could recommend some kind of hermit crab or snail or bottom feeder that could hold its own against these guys. They are both about an inch in length and very healthy. My LFS suggested a freshwater catfish, which I acclimated to the Brackish conditions. He was fine for a few days, but they ended up eating him. Any thoughts? <About the catfish? Just joshing. I would just increase your water movement, filtration here... perhaps an added outside power filter... a vigorous hang on type... to keep more stirred up, mechanically remove particulates... and the requisite regular weekly gravel vacuuming, water changes, replacement with pre-made water of same make-up...> Thanks again for your help and the great site! Jason Beloncik <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Lymphocystis??? Hi Bob. I have two Periophthalmus in my tank. One of them have a strange formation on his fins -- one on the tail fin, one on the chest fin, and one on his back fin. It looks like a clump, which consists from small bolls, about 0,5 mm diameter (like ick). And there are some 'bolls' on his back skin. Those clumps are white, with a pink nuance. Another fish have no signs of illness. Both fishes are so healthy, have a great appetite. It is in progress about two months. I think it must be Lymphocystis. I don't know what can I do for my lovely fish, would you please to help me? Victoria, Moscow, Russia <I really like these fishes... and they can be incredibly robust. I do hope you are keeping them in a brackish water environment, doing very regular water changes... These growths could be what is popularly called lymphocystis (a viral/environmental complaint of many fishes)... I would attempt the "pinching off" remedy if you have occasion to handle these fish... otherwise, increase (slowly, a thousandth a day) the specific gravity of their water... increase the rate of water changing... perhaps supplement their foods with vitamins... There is some pioneering (experimental) work with this sort of situation and the anti-viral agent, Acyclovir... Bob Fenner, who refers you to the Lymphocystis section on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com, Marine Index.>

Re: Lymphocystis??? Dear Bob, It is very kind of you to reply me so fast. Don't worry, certainly I keep Periophthalmids in brackish water.  <Ah, good. I had to ask to be sure> They live in aqua terrarium that closed almost hermetically. I do water changes weekly like in my other aquariums. T 25`C, Hagen Repti-Glo with UVB, internal filter with biologic filtration, etc. I am planning to make a big aqua terrarium or paludarium. Their food: Sun, Vipan, Granumix by Sera, and every day alive food (mosquito grubs? Sorry, I'm not sure it is correctly name in English) + Sera fishtamin. <I understand> I receive these fishes like dogs. From time to time I touch them; they eat from my hands. They always recognize and look out me. I so fear to heart them. In any case it seems to me that it's impossible to remove all fragments wholly. <Yes> Is it really important? <Not really... perhaps some of the same sorts of mechanisms work here as for "warts", other viral-mediated growths of humans, other animals... in that response within the host is "woken up" by their viral colonies disruption> Would you please to write me about a treatment by Acyclovir? <Wish I could... only can recall reading about same... no further knowledge. Perhaps a computer search?> I believe it's a perspective methodic. I can use an injection solution. What do you think about Ciprofloxacin? Does it work with viruses or just with bacteria? <Directly, only with/against bacteria. Perhaps indirectly?> Periophthalmus is an infrequent fish in Russia, I saw them in Moscow zoo only, and it is very difficult to find companion-in-arms. So I am happy you reply me. Looking forward to continued cooperation, I remain, Victoria, Moscow, Russia <I had a roommate in college who did physiological experiments with these "mud-skippers"... and have seen beautiful specimens, mainly in public aquariums, vivariums about the world... Intelligent, comical, very fast moving fishes. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Lymphocystis??? Dear Bob, please accept my sincere appreciation for your help. I'll try to follow all your advises and will report you about results. Wishing you the best of success, I remain, Victoria, Moscow, Russia <Thank you my friend from the East. Will endeavor to place my materials on the Periophthalmids on the website: www.WetWebMedia.com and notify you of their arrival. Bob Fenner>

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