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Cardisoma sp. (likely C. armatum). Southeast Asia, Indonesia Land Crabs. Soap-Box Crabs for how they're individually shipped (in plastic soap-dishes closed with rubber bands) to prevent cannibalism. To eight inches across... Not a community tank item... Actually not totally aquatic... if you're lucky, yours will crawl out of the tank and leave.  Full Size Link

Updated 4/8/19, Ask us a question: Crew@WetWebMedia.com
Brackish INDEX to Articles and FAQs;
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Other S
pecialized Daily FAQs Blogs: General,
Freshwater, Planted Tanks, Ponds,   
Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: 
Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Eric Russell, Chuck Rambo, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized into individual FAQs files!
 ________________________________________________________________________

Brackish puffers; sel., sys.        4/5/19
Hi Neale,
<Nathaniel,>
I am setting up a brackish water tank, currently it is 1.006 and I am slowly increasing it to 1.010 (the reason being that it is a mature freshwater tank and I don't want to kill all of the good freshwater bacteria by increasing the salt content all the way to 1.010 on day one).
<Understood, but for most brackish species, 1.005 would be just fine.>
I am wondering, which of the 'marine' puffers will do OK in a brackish around 1.010?
<Interesting question! The obvious pick is Chelonodon patoca, which is a marine species, but routinely inhabits estuaries and rivers. It seems completely indifferent to salinity, and should do well in a half-strength system indefinitely.>
I understand dog faced puffers are OK?
<Arothron hispidus will remain healthy for a long time in half-strength seawater. Whether indefinitely is hard to say. The species enters estuaries, and the juveniles live in them. But adults are really coastal marine, even reef fish. Not really river dwellers. So fun inmates for a brackish tank while young, but I'd probably move adults to marine tanks.
BobF?>
<<Yes; this species lives in full strength seawater as adults>>
Can a porcupine be kept in 1.010? - I am really keen on this one.
<Never seen these in brackish tanks, nor heard of them being recorded in such conditions for extended periods. Adults are open water marine fish, and while juveniles surely do inhabit estuaries, it's probably a temporary thing. I dare say you could experiment, and if they showed signs of distress, returned them to full marine conditions. But not convinced it'd be worth the effort.>
If so can these two be kept together?
<Generally these puffers are solitary and squabble in anything other than public aquaria.>
is there any others you can recommend?
<See above re: Chelonodon, a lovely, and actually quite sociable, species.
It used to be very rare, but gets exported out of India fairly regularly.
There's a "Golden" subspecies or related species available as well, and it's even nicer. If you have a really big tank, Colomesus psittacus is another marine species that inhabits estuaries more or less permanently, but it's very rare in the trade. You'd need good contacts in the South American trade to get it, and unfortunately the more casual importers are likely to confuse it with the strictly freshwater Amazon Puffer, Colomesus asellus.>
Thanks
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Brackish puffers (BobF, some input please)<<Ok>>       4/5/19

Thanks Neale,
<Hello again!>
With the Arothron hispidus, could they be introduced whilst the salinity is still at 1.006 or best to wait until 1.010?
<When I bought my two specimens, they were sold as freshwater fish!
Juveniles (say, 1-3 inches long) would be just fine in a low-end brackish system at SG 1.006, provided the water was reasonably hard, alkaline and well oxygenated. Observe their behaviour, and if they are lively and feeding well, act accordingly.>
Do you have any suggestions where I can locate a Chelonodon patoca? None currently for sale at any of the regulars...wharf aquatics..wildwoods etc.
<Wildwoods is where I've seen them at least twice. Keith Lambert at Wildwoods is pretty good at getting stuff if it's out there. Aquarium Glaser has them on their (wholesale) stock lists so finding a store that works with them could be a start.
https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/chelonodon-patoca-2/
Again, speaking with the likes of Keith is going to be helpful.>
Thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>
<<AquariumFish.Net lists them for sale:
https://aquariumfish.net/catalog_pages/puffer_fish/puffer_fish_for_sale.htm
Otherwise I'd contact the folks at LiveAquaria.com if your LFS can't/won't special order for you from their wholesale suppliers. Bob Fenner>>
Re: Brackish puffers (BobF, some input please)<<>>       4/5/19

Sorry, one last question,
<Sure.>
Could either of these species be kept with a green spot or figure 8 puffer in a big enough tank?
<Juvenile Arothron hispidus are quite tolerant, but may be snappy if they feel cramped. Adults are distinctly territorial, but otherwise not too aggressive. By all accounts Chelonodon patoca is very easy going, and
should tolerate dissimilar species just as well as they tolerate one another.>
<<I would NOT mix the larger Tetraodontids with much smaller species; too likely to be harassed and all food outcompeted for. BobF>>
Thanks.
<I'm going to direct you to some writings of mine on marine puffers that tolerate brackish, here:
http://brackishfaq.blogspot.com/2016/08/marine-fish-in-brackish-water-aquarium.html
Some day I should import all of this into WWM, but for now, hope it's
useful. Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Brackish puffers     4/8/19

Hi Neale
Good news!
My LFS has found Chelonodon patoca on an import list with 17 available at £10.99 each. Great result.
<Indeed. And a very decent price, too. When they were in at Wildwoods they were going for something around the £50 mark, I think.>
They’re going in a 5 foot by 2 foot that I’m going to slowly make brackish.
<Nice.>
At that sort of size tank - how many should I go for?
<Tricky. As juveniles, either a singleton or at least three. While a fin-nipper according to some, it's apparently pretty peaceful towards its own kind given adequate space and hiding places (they like to dig into the sand). But twos can sometimes work out poorly in any species, so adding at least a third ensures bullying is spread out a bit. Adults can get pretty large, though 30 cm/12 inch specimens seem exceptional. Nonetheless, you should be expecting something around 20-30 cm/8-12 inches when fully grown, and even in your very large aquarium you might struggle to house three adults, let alone more. Rehoming semi-adult specimens of these very rarely seen pufferfish shouldn't be a problem though, especially given their utility in marine aquaria. So I'd be tempted to get three and grow them on, but with the proviso that in 3-4 years I might need either a bigger tank or to rehome two of them.>
Thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>

Green spotted puffer      3/30/19
I have had my green spotted puffer for 2 years now. I have him in a 5.5gallon tank, ( I know he needs a 10 gallon tank)
<And the rest! More like 20+ gallons -- adult GSPs are, what, 12-15 cm/5-6 inches long.>
but he has been fine, until now.
<The "until now" is the key part of the sentence, really. Two years isn't bad at all, so obviously you're doing some things right. But some things evidently aren't right.>
His belly goes from white to black, and he is staying at the top of the tank at a vertical angle.
<Signs of stress; when GSPs become inactive, dark in colour, and disinterested in food, then something is very wrong.>
Or stays with his beak pushed into a corner of the tank. But the last 3 days he has not been to the bottom at all and is being tossed around or flipping around like an acrobat & I know that's not normal.
<This is very bad.>
I just did a 60 percent water change.
<What sort of water chemistry values are we talking about here? To recap, a GSP this age really needs strongly brackish water; I'd be aiming for SG 1.005-1.010. Needless to say ammonia and nitrite must be zero, but nitrate should also be as low as practical; below 20 mg/l is ideal, and certainly no more than 40 mg/l.>
Filter is only a couple weeks old.
<I don't understand this exactly. Do you mean you changed the old filter for a new one? If so, then the new filter could be cycling and ammonia and nitrite above zero. That could easily account for the problem. If you mean the tank had no filter at all until two weeks ago, I'm surprised this puffer survived until now.>
I know not to change everything all at once. Is he dying? I think I'll die if he does.
<My first step would be to check the salinity. Strongly brackish water will help. If you're dosing salt in "teaspoon per gallon" amounts then you're not doing it right. You really need substantial amounts of marine salt mix. For SG 1.005, at 25 C you'd be dosing the salt at 9 grams per litre (1.2 oz per US gallon) which is quite a bit -- 9 grams is about 1.5 teaspoons of typical salt mix. I'm also going to ask you to check the ammonia and/or nitrite levels. If they're not zero, then that's a major problem that needs
urgent attention. I'm finally going to have you do some reading, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brackishsubwebindex/gspsart.htm
Hope this helps, Neale.>

More Spaghetti eel observation      3/10/19
Hello Neale, Marco and all of you good people at WetWebMedia,
<Hello Ben,>
Here are more observations of spaghetti eels behavior.
https://youtu.be/0h3ZRQzUKXQ
https://youtu.be/miFpO_fSUP4
<Very cool. Looks like a great brackish water community tank you've got there.>
I traded the larger eel with a medium sized one. Now they both seems to be same species. I also look forward to receive a Lamnostoma kampeni eel maybe within a few months.
<Now that's something you don't see in the trade very often!>
My spaghetti eels now spend much more time under the sand. Often for days.
They only come out when hungry. But once they feel hungry, they will come out and will take chunks of shrimps bigger than their mouths.
<Cool. Do be careful with shrimp, prawn and mussel meat though. Contains a lot of thiaminase. Implicated in long-term vitamin deficiency problems in carnivorous animals. Use as maybe one-third or less of the food offered. Use white fish fillet, cockles, squid and other thiaminase-free foods for
the majority of their diet.>
They also make the interesting body knots like morays when eating. And they also capable of snagging food 'from above' like a snake eel.
<Interesting.>
My procurer recommend me to put my moringuas in full FW, or if I really have to have brackish (for my GSP and brackish tilapia), he recommend low-end brackish. Higher brackish would make uncomfortable both Moringua and Lamnostoma, he said.
<Certainly worth experimenting. With these eels what you tend to see is a hunger strike if the salinity is wrong, weeks or months before the fish dies. So if the fish continue to eat well in low-end brackish or freshwater conditions, and there's no evidence of skin infections, then they could well be fine. Realistically, they likely move in and out of estuarine conditions, and there might be no "perfect" salinity, and instead offering a few months in salty water, then a few months in fresh, would actually be best.>
Well, that's my current observation. I will report more when I received the Lamnostoma. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!
Best Regards, Ben
<Thanks so much for writing. Lovely videos! Neale.>
Re: More Spaghetti eel observation     3/12/19

Hello Neale and all you splendid people in WetWebMedia,
<Ben,>
Thank you for your quick reply! And thank you for complimenting my aquarium. Indeed it is a nice brackish aquarium community, low brackish at 1.005sg.
<Sounds great!>
The happiest inhabitants of my aquarium are the huge brackish tilapia (never get to know its Latin/scientific name. It is caught in the estuarium together with the mollies. I wonder what kind of tilapia is that?) and those two lovely Tetraodon nigroviridis. Interestingly, all those scary stories about pufferfish being aggressive barbarians does not apply on my tank, the puffers doesn't harm anyone, not even the smallest of mollies. In fact the tilapia is much more aggressive and greedy.
https://youtu.be/oUDXNEfEEeM
<Well, Sarotherodon melanotheron is the 'true' brackish water Tilapia, but most of the farmed species will handle brackish, even marine, conditions, including Oreochromis mossambicus, Oreochromis niloticus, Sarotherodon galilaeus and Tilapia rendalli.>
My puffers loves to bite on empty clamshells & sea snail shells, maybe they try to eat the worms and/or pieces of shrimps which sticks on the shells. Or do they like to munch on those to get more calcium?
<Might be either explanation, or both.>
As for shrimps, thank you for your advice, I will try to give my eels more varied diets as per your advice. Fish fillets usually does not survive human predation in my refrigerator ;) . So I will stock on squids for the eels. BTW what are cockles?
<Cerastoderma edule. But other burrowing marine clams probably just as good.>
Spaghetti eels are nice to have but I now understand why they are not popular as pets around here. Their lifecycle seems to consist of hiding under the sand, only came out for taking bits of food, then went back hiding for days. So most of the times, a keeper of spaghetti eels would feels like having no eels at all. They also said that larger morays would see much smaller eels as worms. So maybe I will have to rehouse my Whitecheek to accommodate more smaller eels, considering I will have Lamnostoma coming.
<Understood.>
I really hope I could upgrade to a bigger aquarium someday. Right now I usually give away my eels once they grown too big for the aquarium.
Well, thank you very much for your kind comments, and I will keep you posted!
Best Regards, Ben
<And to you, good luck! Neale.>

Dragon Goby Injury      3/3/19
Good afternoon,
<Hello Joel,>
About three weeks ago, I noticed some injuries appear on my Dragon Goby. A few round holes appeared on his skin (see attached pictures) as well as redness localized to a few areas such as on the underside of his head, though these have since faded. He is also less interested in food and more
lethargic. I honestly thought he was dead yesterday given how little he moved during the day but it picked up some at night.
<I see these holes. While clean, which indicates bacterial infection is minimal, you're obviously looking at muscle, so the skin has been punctured quite deeply. Usually such wounds indicate either physical injury (e.g., abrasions) or attacks by other fish.>
The tank is a 55 gallon brackish tank kept at about 77F and 1.006 specific gravity.
<Sounds fine.>
I am unsure of the pH/hardness of the water, but the water used in tank changes causes hard water stains so I never was too concerned with brackish fish.
<Indeed. If you're using a good quality marine salt mix, pH and hardness should be taken care of automatically.>
Ammonia and Nitrites are 0, Nitrates were at approximately 40 ppm when I noticed the issues but this has been reduced to about 10 ppm. Tank filtration is done with two power filters adding up to about 7x tank turnover per hour. Current tankmate is a Silver Scat, about 6.5" long. I have seen no new issues with the Scat, though for the past year she has been skittish.
<They are skittish fish, and often settle down better alongside similar fish or even Monos or Sailfin Mollies. But even then, they are restless and they can be nervous. Silver Scats are beautiful though, and never seem to get too big, maybe 20 cm/8 inches under home aquarium conditions. So in a big tank, keeping three or more might be a possibility. My specimen, however, cohabited with a trio of Monos, a West African Mono, and an Archerfish. All got along fine in 200 gallons.>
Understand that this tank is too small for the adult size of these fish; I have purchased a new home that I move into in about 6 weeks which has a basement suitable for a 150-200 gallon tank.
<Ideal.>
After noticing the injuries, I tried a few things in an attempt to fix what I perceived may have been environmental root cause:
1) I did 33-40% water changes every other day for about 10 days. I also added a bit of marine iodide into each water change on three of the days.
Nitrate levels reduced but no positive change in behavior. In the event that low hardness was a concern, I also added in approximately 1 tablespoon of unscented Epsom salt per gallon of water changed to the buckets on two of the days.
<Certainly ensuring good water quality will be key, alongside a reliable antibiotic or antibacterial.>
2) I noticed gray areas in sand where anaerobic bacteria patches are. The sand bed is about 3" deep so understood that this is normal. I cleaned up the areas and added another half inch of sand to the bottom of the entire tank. No change in behavior.
<Is the sand too sharp perhaps? Are there any rocks in there, such as Tufa rock or dead coral, that might scratch the fish? One popular approach with these Gobies is to find some PVC pipe work of appropriate diameter and length, silicone on a nice layer of sand and gravel, leave to dry, and once cured, partially bury in the sand. The Goby will happily use this, and being smooth on the inside, it's nice and safe. Any hollow ceramic ornament is likely to be used, too, and things like clay sewerage pipes (obviously new ones!) look very authentic once covered with algae, giving a harbourside feel to the tank if used carefully, perhaps with a few empty oyster shells silicone on for decoration.>
3) I added in an air power box filter to the bottom of the tank, thinking additional oxygenation may be helpful. No change in behavior.
<A good call, though these fish are actually quite well adapted to low oxygen levels.>
I can think of a few potential root causes; physical injury from something rough in the tank or envenomation from the Scat are two I am leaning towards. Looking through the Handbook of Fish Diseases by Dieter Untergasser, the only skin condition which may fit the symptoms is Fish TB, but I am unsure if I see any bent spine concerns given how sinuous they move to begin with. But if that is the case, I'd like to take action sooner rather than later.
<I do not think a Mycobacteria infection is the issue here. The wounds are very clean, with little evidence of dead tissue or bacterial scum.>
The pH of my tap water is approximately 7.5, but the tests I use do not seem to work well with the brackish water and so I get varying numbers. I am confident, though, that the water here is hard and basic.
Any thoughts you have on the matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Joel
<Hope the above helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dragon Goby Injury (RMF?)<I'd remove the Silica substrate>      3/3/19

Neale,
<Joel,>
Thank you so much for following up.
<Welcome.>
The sand is approximately 85% pool filter (silica) sand with the rest being aragonite sand mixed in for buffering purposes and a small amount of rounded gravel for aesthetics.
<Sounds fine.>
There is a few pieces of lava rock in the tank which could very well be the cause here.
<Would agree; remove.>
I sanded down the rock until it was smooth to my skin (though "your mileage may vary" as the saying goes) and used cyanoacrylate to adhere oyster shells to it, creating an oyster reef look which I had gotten from WetWebMedia. When I upgrade I will consider whether I want to leave this out or not.
<Understood. I'd be removing any/all abrasive rocks/shells for now. Have only the soft substrate and water worn cobbles or whatever. See how the fish recovers. If all goes well, you can probably be sure the rocks were the cause of abrasions, e.g., when the Goby was burrowing. They're adapted to mudflats and have little need for rocks, nor understanding of how to avoid them.>
Interestingly, I do have some PVC pipe in the tank but the Goby mostly ignores it. Half the tank I have unlit to allow the fish to come out only if they choose and the Goby historically spent it loafing openly on either side.
<Fair enough!>
As an aside, I have gotten great mileage out of your book Brackish-Water Fishes, and have used it for reference on many occasions. It is by far my favorite aquarium hobby book in my collection.
<Thanks for saying so. It was a team effort, most of the authors being other hobbyists who I met on a long-defunct mailing list (remember those!).
While I'd change a lot if writing the book now, I'm pretty proud of what we achieved.>
I will look into a suitable antibiotic for this situation.
<I am optimistic that together with clean water and removal of sharp rocks, this Goby should recover. Have seen fish survive similar deep, but clean, wounds before.>
Thank you again for your assistance with this.
Joel
<Glad to have helped. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: what kind of pipefish is this?
Hello dear Neale and all you good people at WetWebMedia!
<Hello Ben!>
Sorry for the late reply. I was distracted by other things for a few weeks so I was unable to visit the sellers. When I finally get back, the Pipefishes has been sold. But they said new batches will be coming. I'll keep you posted!
Best Regards, Ben
<Maybe you can get a Latin name from them, and failing that, a geographical location. Do bear in mind many species are estuarine, so even if caught in freshwater, they might well live in brackish or marine conditions at times.
Cheers, Neale.>

F8 puffer care       2/5/19
Hi, I have an extra 10 gallon tank and really would like to put an Figure 8 Puffer fish, max size 3in. but the recommended size tank is a 15 gallon I could get a 20 gallon but I wanted to know if you think the F8 puffer could thrive ( no other fish) in a 10 gal.? Thank you!
<Short answer, is no, a 10 gallon isn't really going to work in the long term. A juvenile might be fine for 6-12 months, but they do grow quickly, and like all puffers, they're very sensitive to poor environmental
conditions. If the Figure 8 is a species you rarely see in your hometown, and there's one on sale now, then sure, a 10 gallon tank for the short term, until you buy a bigger tank, will work. But longer term, nope.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: F8 puffer care       2/5/19

Thank you so much I just picked up a 20 gallon
<Good move! Enjoy your new pet. Don't forget this is a brackish, not freshwater puffer, so you'll need to add some marine salt mix to the water; around 5-6 gram (1 teaspoon) per litre works fine. Cheers, Neale.>

Green spotted puffer     1/28/19
Hi
<Hello!>
I have a 13 year old green spotted puffer. The last week he is refusing to eat looks massively bloated and is pending his time either hiding at back of tank or vertical next to the filter.
Water parameters are the same as his usual Ph7.8 nitrate 7.5 nitrite 0 ammonia 0 temp 24 degrees
<No salt?>
He’s in a 180 litre tank with about 8 ghost shrimps ( originally put in as food about 2 months ago- But he seems to prefer the company!!)
<Understood.>
No changes to food/tank/ inhabitants etc
I am very attached to him and it’s heartbreaking to see him like this.
Do you have any idea what I can try? I know he’s old now but I’ve had him longer than my kids! :-(
<Hah! He's a fair age for a GSP, but with that said, the species isn't really a freshwater fish, and the bloating you describe could easily be caused by some sort of osmoregulation problem. Adding marine aquarium salt, even at a relatively low dose (say, 5 grams per litre; SG 1.002) will probably help enormously. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Green spotted puffer     1/28/19
Thank you so much for replying. I’m so stressed. :-(
<Oh dear.>
I’ve always added Interpet aqualibrium salt ( 1tsp per 10litre)
<Much too little, and the wrong kind of salt. 1 teaspoon is around 6 gram, so that's 0.6 gram per 1 litre, which isn't nearly enough to register as 'brackish'.>
I’ll get some Marine salt tomorrow.
<Ah, much better.>
Tonight he looks like he has a load of tiny white spikes.
<Those are his spines.>
Sent from my iPhone
<Useful to know, I guess? Cheers, Neale.>

Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)  SW/BR/FW   12/9/18
Hi Neale,
How are you?
<All good.>
I have come across an interesting and seemingly rare puffer for sale. Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca).
<Does turn up very occasionally in the UK trade, mostly at the stores specialising in oddballs; I've seen them at Wildwoods for example. A second variety, known as the Golden Milk Spotted Puffer, is also traded, which may or may not be a regional or colour morph of the same fish.>
I have a tank available in my fish room. I can't find much at all by way of information about this fish?
<Very few people have kept it. I haven't, for a start!>
I saw you made brief reference to this fish in a PFK article.
<Yes.>
Do you know much in terms of care requirements?
<Very similar to the standard issue GSP, though potentially much larger, up to 30 cm. Much more peaceful towards its own kind though, but still a fin-biter, so tankmates should be chosen with care. Might work okay in a jumbo reef or FOWLR system alongside suitably punch, fast, and robust fish such as Sergeant Majors and Damselfish that would hide among rocks when resting. Otherwise very undemanding; hardy, euryhaline, eats all the usual meaty foods. Wild fish probably consume a lot of algae, too, so stuffing some Spirulina flake into, say, mussels would be a good way to keep their vitamin levels topped up.>
Also is £140 an OK price?
<About right. It's never cheap, but is very beautiful.>
Thanks!
<Hope this helps. Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thanks Neale that’s really helpful. He’s in freshwater at the moment - what sort of salinity is required and how is best to ease him in to it?
<Oh, they're nominally marine fish, but completely euryhaline coastal fish, meaning move in and out of freshwater and saltwater habitats all the time. Juveniles are common in estuaries, and adults seem to be all over the place, from the freshwater part of estuaries all the way to offshore reefs. Good water quality and an alkaline pH are probably more important than the precise salinity. I'd probably keep a youngster around 1.003-1.005, aiming for 1.010 upwards by the time it's above, say, 8-10 cm.>
Could I keep him with. GSPs or figure 8s whilst he is small?
<Definitely worth a shot, and similarly, adults might be tried with the less aggressive Arothron spp. All the limited accounts of this species in captivity seem to agree with the general idea it's non-aggressive, just nippy. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thank you .
<Most welcome.>
If they are constantly moving between freshwater - could I have a go at keeping it in freshwater- or is that not worth the risk?
<Short term, probably fine. I mean, I've kept Arothron hispidus juveniles in hard freshwater -- but that's another story! Regardless, if you're forking out £100+ for a fish, you'd not be wanting to take too much of a gamble! I'd certainly keep the pH and hardness high, and ensure good water quality. Probably better to add even a little salt, to start with. 1.003 would be ample for juveniles, and easily tolerated by brackish water tolerant plants. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thanks - sorry last question - how best can I introduce salt without killing my filter bacteria?
<In stages! From freshwater to 1.003 there'll be no noticeable effect.

There on upwards, do small changes, wait a couple of weeks, do the odd nitrite or ammonia test, and act accordingly. Since these puffers are euryhaline, you may choose to grow the fish onto subadult size in low-end brackish, then simply convert the tank to marine -- complete with skimmer and live rock -- on a Sunday afternoon, the puffer sitting in a large, securely covered bucket until you're reading to acclimate it to full marine conditions. The live rock will bring in the entirely new batch of bacteria required for filtration, as per setting up a reef or FOWLR system. Klaus Ebert of Aqualog fame says you can chuck euryhaline brackish fish into marine conditions instantly, but I'm a little kinder, and suggest plain vanilla drip acclimation across, say, an hour. Either way, these fish can, do experience such things in the wild when the tide turns. Cheers, Neale.> 

Bumblebee goby parasite?     1/6/19
Hi .
My Goby, Crazy Horse, developed the growth in the attached photo. It started maybe two months ago as a small white spot on one side growing larger and then appearing on both sides. Then it looked as though it was falling off, resembling a loose fish scale (but too big to be one of Crazy's scales) or looking very similar to the fin it is behind, I treated with Praziquantel and it seemed to calm down for a while but is back now with vengeance. Pictures may not show clearly it is now a opaque sack like growth, when I netted her I tweezered one side removing the ‘sack’ which is about 2-2.5mm. In the area I tweezered remains a white spot/growth about .5-1mm, she is currently in a bag and I am treating her with Avitrol plus, a Levamisole and Prazi combo bird wormer and I gave her a Potassium Permanganate dip the other day, neither of which seem to be having much of an effect (other than stressing the poor little soul) She also seems to have developed a bit of a humpback over this time, it has not effected her appetite or weight but she is quite pale on and off. Tank is 65 litres has a total of 7 Gobies and a ton of trumpet snails, salinity 1.005, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates never been above 5, PH 7.6. None of the other Gobies showing any issues. Appreciate your time, and ideas if you have some.
Kind regards, Teresa.
<Hello Teresa. I don't think this is a parasite, but some sort of bacterial infection. Still, you could see if saltwater dips help. These aim to stress any external parasite before the fish gets stressed, and with brackish water species, you can immerse the fish in full strength seawater for a long time, in some cases indefinitely, which will usually kill any freshwater parasite such as Anchor Worms. Conversely, freshwater dips will shift marine parasites like Sea Lice. In this instance, some dechlorinated water at 25C with 35 gram marine salt mix dissolved into each litre should produce seawater (SG 1.025 at this temperature) and you can immerse the Bumblebee Goby for anything up to 20 minutes. Remove if the BBG looks stressed, but from experience I've seen them handle seawater for some days, so 20 minutes should be fine. Anyway, if this is an external parasite, this should work. But as I say, this looks more like a pocket of tissue fluid under the skin, whether caused by a physical injury or a bacterial infection is hard to say. Medicating as per internal bacterial infection with a reliable antibiotic is probably the best approach. Kanaplex or something along those lines would be my suggestion. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Bumblebee goby parasite?     1/6/19
Thanks so much Neale. I am in New Zealand and Kanaplex is not available here but I see I can try to get some from overseas, unsure if it will make it through though.
<Understood. Here in the UK, and most of the world in fact, antibiotics are prescription-only, so you can get them from a vet. This isn't often cost effective for small aquarium fish, but some reasonably reliable
alternatives to exist. My particular favourite is a product called eSHa 2000. Waterlife Myxazin is often recommended too, but I haven't used it, so can't vouch for its efficacy. The main thing is to avoid tea-tree oil and other such herbal treatments as these generally don't work at all.>
Otherwise (I have not found a vet in my area with any decent experience/knowledge) I will try my vet and see if they can come up with an alternative now I have an idea of what we are dealing with.
Much appreciated
<Good luck, Neale.>

Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)  SW/BR/FW   12/9/18
Hi Neale,
How are you?
<All good.>
I have come across and interesting and seemingly rare puffer for sale. Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca).
<Does turn up very occasionally in the UK trade, mostly at the stores specialising in oddballs; I've seen them at Wildwoods for example. A second variety, known as the Golden Milk Spotted Puffer, is also traded, which may or may not be a regional or colour morph of the same fish.>
I have a tank available in my fish room. I can't find much at all by way of information about this fish?
<Very few people have kept it. I haven't, for a start!>
I saw you made brief reference to this fish in a PFK article.
<Yes.>
Do you know much in terms of care requirements?
<Very similar to the standard issue GSP, though potentially much larger, up to 30 cm. Much more peaceful towards its own kind though, but still a fin-biter, so tankmates should be chosen with care. Might work okay in a jumbo reef or FOWLR system alongside suitably punch, fast, and robust fish such as Sergeant Majors and Damselfish that would hide among rocks when resting. Otherwise very undemanding; hardy, euryhaline, eats all the usual meaty foods. Wild fish probably consume a lot of algae, too, so stuffing some Spirulina flake into, say, mussels would be a good way to keep their vitamin levels topped up.>
Also is £140 an OK price?
<About right. It's never cheap, but is very beautiful.>
Thanks!
<Hope this helps. Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thanks Neale that’s really helpful. He’s in freshwater at the moment - what sort of salinity is required and how is best to ease him in to it?
<Oh, they're nominally marine fish, but completely euryhaline coastal fish, meaning move in and out of freshwater and saltwater habitats all the time. Juveniles are common in estuaries, and adults seem to be all over the place, from the freshwater part of estuaries all the way to offshore reefs. Good water quality and an alkaline pH are probably more important than the precise salinity. I'd probably keep a youngster around 1.003-1.005, aiming for 1.010 upwards by the time it's above, say, 8-10 cm.>
Could I keep him with. GSPs or figure 8s whilst he is small?
<Definitely worth a shot, and similarly, adults might be tried with the less aggressive Arothron spp. All the limited accounts of this species in captivity seem to agree with the general idea it's non-aggressive, just nippy. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thank you .
<Most welcome.>
If they are constantly moving between freshwater - could I have a go at keeping it in freshwater- or is that not worth the risk?
<Short term, probably fine. I mean, I've kept Arothron hispidus juveniles in hard freshwater -- but that's another story! Regardless, if you're forking out £100+ for a fish, you'd not be wanting to take too much of a gamble! I'd certainly keep the pH and hardness high, and ensure good water quality. Probably better to add even a little salt, to start with. 1.003 would be ample for juveniles, and easily tolerated by brackish water tolerant plants. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Milk-spotted puffer (Chelonodon patoca)      12/10/18

Thanks - sorry last question - how best can I introduce salt without killing my filter bacteria?
<In stages! From freshwater to 1.003 there'll be no noticeable effect.

There on upwards, do small changes, wait a couple of weeks, do the odd nitrite or ammonia test, and act accordingly. Since these puffers are euryhaline, you may choose to grow the fish onto subadult size in low-end brackish, then simply convert the tank to marine -- complete with skimmer and live rock -- on a Sunday afternoon, the puffer sitting in a large, securely covered bucket until you're reading to acclimate it to full marine conditions. The live rock will bring in the entirely new batch of bacteria required for filtration, as per setting up a reef or FOWLR system. Klaus Ebert of Aqualog fame says you can chuck euryhaline brackish fish into marine conditions instantly, but I'm a little kinder, and suggest plain vanilla drip acclimation across, say, an hour. Either way, these fish can, do experience such things in the wild when the tide turns. Cheers, Neale.> 

Spaghetti Eel... which reminds me of bugs bunny    11/9/18
Good day Neale, Marco and all you good people in WetWebMedia,
<Hello!>
Neale, I remember this chat in fishforum, many many years ago (2006)
http://www.fishforums.net/threads/got-my-freshwater-snowflake-eel-today.140196/
In the chat you are advising a brackish aquarist to get an Echidna Rhodochilus (I already have it) and/or Spaghetti eel.
<Ah, yes. Back when I had time to do online forums! A distant memory, sadly.>
Well, since I already have E. rhodochilus (a model citizen, very nice, stay small and docile),
<Yep, this is the usual experience.>
and I have given away most of my eels to other eel lovers (except for my E. Rhodochilus), I decided that I still have room for small slimmer non-aggressive eel, so I asked my procurer to get me a Moringua
raitaborua.
<Nice!>
What he ended up sending me are these two eels (pictures included), which a bit surprising to me. What bizarre eel, I thought, when I saw them first time. Body like Monopterus albus, paddle-like tail (like some kind of fish.. well eels are fish anyway), face like moray... but they behave more like Bugs Bunny!
<The paddle-tail is presumably to help with digging. As you're seeing, these fish are extremely happy when half buried in the sand.>
That is, not long after I plunge them to my aquarium, they immediately burrowing! I just turn my back for a short while, then as I look back, they already gone beneath the sand. They stuck out their head every now and then (like Bugs Bunny!), but every time I bring my face closer to my aquarium, they will pull their head back in and swim underneath the sand, making curious patterns. Even my white cheek moray got confused (I think ;) ) as it remained home and not coming out at all.
<Neat.>
So, are they Moringua raitaborua? But they are not pink, their color are more like Monopterus albus. The smaller one is about 30cm in length, the bigger one is about 40cm. They have slim bodies, shaped like Monopterus albus... kind like spaghetti :D so the name is proper. They are caught in a freshwater river several kilometers away from the estuarium, and they were being kept in freshwater for months before my procurer bought them and send them to me. Maybe M. raitaborua change colors when they grow bigger? or maybe they are M. microchir? but isn't M. marine eels?
<It's really hard to say. The pale colour could easily be down to the light coloured substrate -- many fish adjust their colours, becoming paler if the substrate is pale. I'd be looking at the pictures on Fishbase for a start:
https://www.fishbase.de/summary/Moringua-raitaborua
https://www.fishbase.de/summary/8051
While both occur in brackish water, as you say, of the two, Moringua raitaborua is the one more associated with fresh and brackish conditions, and presumably the more adaptable in the longer term, Moringua microchir being more marine when adult. That being the case, I'd be maintaining the tank around 1.003-1.005, and seeing what happens. If the fish stop eating or get ill, upping the salinity may be required.>
Well, thank you for your time, and have a wonderful day with your fishes!
Best Regards, Ben
<And to you! Cheers, Neale.>


 

Re: Spaghetti Eel... which reminds me of bugs bunny      11/10/18
Hello Neale and all you cool people in WetWebMedia!
<Hello Ben,>
Thank you for the reply. The smaller eel immediately begin eating chopped shrimp and bloodworms, while the larger eel looks like it's not hungry yet.
Or maybe it's eating the bloodworms when I wasn't looking. Closer examination reveals that the larger eel actually does have a pinkish face.
It's the smaller one that is not pink. But both has the same morphology.
The smaller one is now more outgoing and will leave the sands for food, while the big one is still behaving like a mole or a bugs bunny.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHaDQgCWiZ0&feature=youtu.be So, maybe one of them is M. Microchir and the other one is M. Raitaborua?
Or maybe they are both M. Raitaborua, and simply changed colors when getting old! :D
<Could be either situation. I admit they don't look like the same species, and maybe their behaviour is different too. But you really can't be sure without contacting someone who actively studies this genus, or at least knows the common fishes collected in this area. Indeed, there may be other Moringua species (described or otherwise!) that we aquarists aren't aware of, and without photos online, we wouldn't be able to compare them to the fishes in front of us.>
My salinity is 1.005sg (fluctuating) at the last water changes, so I hope it's still within range.
<If they're eating, it's probably fine; with Moray Eels at least, refusing food is a good sign the salinity is wrong.>
These eels will hide under bright lights (just like my white cheek moray), but when I reduce the lights, they will eventually come out, especially when smelling food.
<Correct.>
It is rather difficult to find more online info about these spaghetti eels, even though our local fishermen and procurers here are familiar with them and their behavior.
<They are extremely rare in the aquarium trade, in Europe at least. So likely very few experiences among the sorts of people who write web pages!>
They are known as agreeable pets, but not as desirable as morays (morays are considered more "beautiful"). And to catch them would require some patience as they only easy to catch in the rivers at certain times of the year.
<May well be migratory, by the sounds of it.>
Well, thank you for your time, and I hope my report will be useful for all you WetWebMedia fans out there who wish to know more about these spaghettis!
<Oh, I am quite sure this will help those luckily enough to obtain Moringua spp.>
Best Regards, Ben
<Cheers, Neale.>

Some mudskipper questions     9/4/18
I've gotten interested in keeping some Periopthalmus novemradiatus (dwarf Indian mudskipper) in my 180 liter tank (47.55 gallon) and i was wondering about several things:
<Fire away.>
how to make substrate thy can burrow in? i have found that a combination of sand and pottery clay should work, but it will stink after a while, any other options?
<In terms of actually doing this, it's very hard in a home aquarium. You will find it easier to buy various pieces of straight and bent PVC tubing (as used for domestic plumbing) and create some burrows, then bury them in the sand or gravel. Your Mudskippers will usually use these without complaint. You can use coral sand mixed with smooth silver sand, but it won't really 'stick' together in the same way as mud. By all means experiment though.>
i was also wondering about algae control and was thinking about adding brackish water snails, i have Nerite snails in my other brackish tank of which i could get more, however i can also get Littorina littorea (common periwinkle) for it which is cheaper, but I'm not sure if they can stay in brackish water.
<Littorina littorea can tolerate strongly brackish water, but only down to about half-strength seawater, so maybe SG 1.012 at 25 C. Your bigger issue is that these snails are temperate zone animals, with only limited tolerance for high temperatures. They may adapt to maybe 25 C, but their mortality is likely to be higher than at, say, a normal 15-18 C. That said, these snails are strongly intertidal and will spend all their time trying to escape from warm water -- that is my experience simply keeping them indoors at room temperature. So certainly worth trying, but don't expect miracles.>
and is lava rock safe for mudskippers, as i have a couple of nice pieces around but they are kind of rough, so i wonder if mudskippers can get damaged by it?
<It is certainly a risk. I would suggest not using it. Best stick with bogwood roots, water worn cobbles, etc.>
Met vriendelijke groet,
Thijmen
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: some mudskipper questions     9/4/18

thanks for the answers, you are fast.
<Glad to help.>
i still have some pottery clay somewhere so I'll mix some with sand put it in a bucket and check for smells for a few weeks, just to check how bad it is.
<Is this unfired (soft) clay? Seems an odd addition to an aquarium. Can't
think why it wouldn't work, but never seen it used in an aquarium myself.>
since i prefer not to experiment with animals I'll get some Nerite snails for algae control
<Probably best. Various estuarine species available, such as Clithon and Neripteron species, do turn up in the trade. There are some true freshwater species (mostly Neritina spp.) so check first.>
i kind of like the looks of lava rock but i guess I'll find another rock to keep the land part from collapsing
<Wise. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: some mudskipper questions        9/5/18

The clay i have is unfired river clay that has been filtered of impurities, the bag even states the river it's from. (The Waal from memory)
<Interesting.>
I'll be adding some sand and pea gravel to reduce the amount if clay i need. (Keeping the top layer mostly clay.)
<Understood. Mudskippers are diggers though, and in water, small particles (such as clay) will eventually sink to the bottom, below larger particles like gravel and sand.>
A tip i got from another place was to add some mud from a river, lake or estuary to seed it with bacteria, is that a good idea?
<I can't think why clay would have filter bacteria on it. So no, doesn't sound like it would help. Filter bacteria live on solid surfaces exposed to oxygenated water. The best places to get them into your fish tank are things like floating plants (their roots are covered with bacteria) and the surface layer of sand or gravel from a mature tank.>
And i'm currently busy figuring out how to make a tidal system, working on airlift pumps, though i wonder if it would be able to lift water high enough.
<Indeed. There's no real reason to create a tidal flow here. Tidal systems are available and used in some reef tanks, but they're often expensive. Mudskippers spend almost no time in the water if they're happy, and really you only need enough brackish water for them to bathe and osmoregulate. The rest of the time they'll be much more interested in the bogwood roots, rocks, hollow ornaments, plastic plants, and any potted plants (kept out of salty water!) in the vivarium that they can explore. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: some mudskipper questions      10/21/18
The tank is finished, I put in 4 Periophthalmus novemradiatus, I plan to get some Clithon snails for the water part at a fair that is happening in 2 months.
<Cool.>
Other than that I want to set up some live food cultures, do you have any suggestions?
<Only that there's no real need. Mudskippers feed on a range of foods, and will do very well on flake and frozen foods smeared on the sand or rocks.
River shrimp could be offered of course, and flies such as wingless Drosophila and even Houseflies will be readily taken while they're foraging on the land.>
And I wonder if Artemia nauplii are too small as food.
<Probably, yes, because Mudskippers aren't very effective hunters in the water. It's better to offer them terrestrial prey, such as small insects.
Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

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

Green spotted puffer      7/12/18
I have a green spotted puffer and I have had him for about a month now!
<Do remember these are brackish water fish, despite what pet stores tell you. They will not live well or live long in freshwater conditions. Adults may even need marine conditions, though I'd argue around SG 1.005 is perfectly adequate for a long and healthy life, i.e., about 9 grammes marine aquarium salt mix per litre of tap water (that's about 1.2 oz per US gallon).>
He is still very small and bright!
<Neato!>
But I noticed tonight his left side by his tail is almost flat looking but his right side and head are fine! I’m not sure what could be wrong with him I just didn’t a total tank clean.
<Puffers can/will change their shape somewhat, especially when they're overfed. But they can also turn dark when stressed, which can make them look very different.>
But I also was wondering could he need his teeth trimmed this little and what could I feed him other then the flakes they gave me at the pet store?
<Yikes! Flakes are not an option here. Sure, if he eats them, once in a while they're useful. But he should really be eating mollusk and crustacean foods, whether small snails, or small shrimps, or slivers of seafood. A variety, really. Even if your puffer can't eat whole 'cocktail' shrimp (which shouldn't be a staple anyway) he should be able to eat krill or brine shrimp. Do let me have you read, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brackishsubwebindex/gspsart.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brackishsubwebindex/gspfdgfaqs.htm
The key things are: use mussels and prawns/shrimps sparingly; use snails and cockles liberally; choose crunchy foods where you can; visit marine aquarium shops for suitable bite-size frozen foods such as krill and Spirulina-enriched brine shrimps for economical staple foods.>
I’ve been looking into his diet and such but no one can seem to help me and I don’t think he is big enough for shrimp.
<He'll manage small frozen whole shrimp when he's bigger, but as a youngster, frozen krill and brine shrimp are more realistic. You can also try woodlice from the garden -- assuming no pesticides have been used. Bloodworms, daphnia and other pond foods are an option too.>
Please help and the faster the better!! I am worried he has become my baby quickly
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Green spotted puffer    7/13/18

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

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

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