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Toxotes jaculatrix (Pallas 1767), the Banded Archerfish. The principal species used in the trade in the west. Asia and Oceania; India to the Philippines, Indonesia, Vanuatu, the Solomons, New Guinea, northern Australia. To one foot in length. An adult in an aquarium.
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Updated 12/11/2019
Other Specialized Daily FAQs Blogs: General, Planted Tanks, Ponds, Brackish, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs,
Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Darrel Barton,
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New Print and eBook on Amazon

Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

911 Betta Help      12/11/19
Hello WWM Crew,
Background:
20 gallon tall tank
<Mmm; Betta's are better kept in shallower/less deep systems... it's a haul to make it to the surface to grab gulps of air>
Filtered and heated
CO2 day —airstone at night
<Ahh!>
Planted
Stock: albino bristle nosed pleco, 2 adfs, 1 mystery snail, 1 amano shrimp, half moon dragon scale betta, sword tail
My betta has always had fin rot ever since I got him almost a year ago.
<? Unusual... are you sure this appearance is not some type of coloration of the fins?>

I have been able to keep it under control and keep it from progressing and had it come and go. Never had regrowth I think but never done any treatments. Only water changes every week and prime.
<This sounds like (it should be) a fine set up, maintenance program>
Last week I got my tank back in order after letting it go for two weeks where I didn’t do water changes and run my CO2. I had my parameters fail and an algae outbreak. Now that is cleaned up and my parameters are stable
again. I fed everything but did not really pay attention to how everything looked. After I realized my bettas fins were destroyed and he had a white spot on his fins.
<"A" as in a single spot I take it>
I quarantined him in a one gallon and did daily 50% water changes for a week with bettafix.
<Not a fan of this API product, nor Melaleuca for medicine period>

Things are not looking better and the white spot has grown. It’s not fuzzy just white. His right eye is bulging and when taking pics I noticed his scales are a golden shiny color. It’s not dusted but solid except for on his lower fin below his body where it is dusted looking. His fins are shredded and crumpled down.
<... could this fish, system be infested w/ Velvet, Amyloodinium?>
After noticing this I couldn’t tell if it was velvet so I looked at the swordtail which I added two months ago. He didn’t look like this when I got him but is now covered in a dusting of gold shiny metallic. It was really hard to get a picture of as he is constantly moving and the flash light has to reflect on it just right. He is black with a blue hue in the right light and a metallic silver eye normally. But now there is gold all over him in the right light you see it.
<I would treat for Velvet>
First I want to address the betta. I think he has multiple problems, I’m not sure what, I don’t know what to use to treat them, or in what order. It could be bacterial, fungal, Velvet. He has the white spot, bulging right eye, and shredded fins. He wants to live I can tell and is trying to hang in there. He is eating again but wasn’t for the first few days of quarantine. He needs to be medicated at this point and I think I need to make it the right moves or it will progress to far before I can get to it.
<I would return this fish to the 20 (more stable) and treat all for (just) Velvet for now... there are a few approaches; from depriving light to less-than discriminate dyes and metal solutions. You may well have to remove the snails, frogs to elsewhere, perhaps your plants (and run them through a dip/bath to remove the dinoflagellates on returning)>
Please give me your insight with what you think all he has and what medicine as well as brand names to use.
<I'd have you search, read re "Velvet" (for freshwater) of WWM, esp. reviewing this list of medications by Neale Monks: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfishmeds.htm
AND carefully pre- and re-reading the manufacturers information on use>
Pics below include:
Both tanks
<Both? You mention one, and a bowl for treatment. You provide an image of the tank... am not a fan of round/smooth pebbles as substrate... Is the filter here keeping ammonia, nitrite at 0.0 ppm? Nitrate under 20 ppm?>
Betta a month ago at his maintained fin rot state
<I see this>
Betta now with gold coloring on scales and dusting in lower fin
<Can't make out the gold dusting>

White spot on tail fin 7 days ago when moved into quarantine And it now Bulging eye
<Okay; seen>
Sword tail gold dusting
<Again, not discernible (by me). Am going to ask Neale here to review all, present his own response. Bob Fenner>



911 Betta Help     /Neale
<<It is not obvious to me that the the Swordtail is sick at all. Velvet is usually quite obvious (think: icing sugar) and infected fish almost always 'flash' (move rapidly) against rocks as if trying to scratch themselves.
Heavy ventilation of the gill covers is usually obvious too, because Velvet infects the gills almost before anything else. Swordtails are moderately demanding by community tank standards: they are active swimmers, so a tank
at least 2.5 ft, and ideally 3+ feet in length is surely essential. They despise high temperatures, so best kept around 22-25 C (72-77 F) but no higher. Hard, alkaline water is essential. Like other livebearers, they're sensitive to 'old' water and prone to mysterious ailments, such as wasting away, in stuffy or overstocked tanks. Your Betta just looks like a specimen with indifferent genetics. Colouration is normal enough, just not uniform, and the raggedy edges seem to be genetic, rather than the result of Finrot (which would tend to expose fin rays that look like fine bones, as well as patches of white dead tissue and pinkish, inflamed areas). I don't see obvious eye bulging, but if it's just the one eye, that's most likely caused by an injury, and should go down by itself. The use of Epsom Salt
can help to reduce swelling. A dose of 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres will do the trick. Note that Epsom Salt isn't the same thing as tonic, table, sea or cooking salt. It can be purchased inexpensively online or via drugstores. As for treating Velvet, commercial medications such as eSHa EXIT will do the trick, but with livebearers, if they're all you're keeping, adding salt at a dose of 2-5 gram/litre will do the job with less risk of stress. Indeed, marine salt mix added to livebearer tanks has a mild tonic effect on these fish, even the true freshwater ones like Swordtails, and can be used for some weeks without risk. Cheers, Neale.>>

re: Skinny guppy not eating     12/8/19
Thanks so much Neal,
<Welcome.>
Also the guppies have been medicated 2x previously with Levamisole and Praziquantel so unless the fish has been somehow reinfected with worms I think worms is probably unlikely.
<Indeed.>
I'll look into that disease.
Though I mean Id rather try and treat the guppy alone or something rather than do nothing? Unsure.
<Understood, but sometimes with small fish, it simply isn't cost effective to treat them. By the time symptoms appear, the time scale available to actually turn things around is very limited, and the medications may cost several times more than the fish itself. Furthermore, excessive medications
are in themselves stressful for fish, and your aquarium filter, so may create problems beyond the ones you're dealing with. This isn't to say we shouldn't be humane and leave small fish to suffer, but rather to observe that the chances of fixing things may be very slight, and the easiest approach may be to euthanise the fish if it isn't getting better, if only to prevent further suffering and to minimise the risk of infecting healthy fish kept alongside it. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Skinny guppy not eating     12/8/19

Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply
I just saw the guppy scratch himself on the gravel 4x in a row. Does that point more strongly toward a particular disease?
<Such behaviour, called 'Flashing', can indicate external parasites like Whitespot, but might equally mean the fish is simply itchy, just as humans can be itchy without implying they have fleas!>
Also a rummy nose has 3 white dots but the white dots look a lot smaller than ich. (Tank was at 29 degrees incase of ich but it dropped to 28 unsure why) How do I treat that? And what is it? Is it guppy disease?
<More likely Velvet, which resembles powdered / icing sugar, whereas Ick is more like the size of salt grains.>
Thanks so much.
<Velvet is quite common, but easily treated using standard commercial medications. It infects the gills first, which can cause laboured breathing in fish, so that's another sign to look for. The old 'salt and heat' method can work well, but if you're able, a reliable anti-Velvet medication such as eSHa EXIT or Waterlife Protozin is the best approach. Do remember to remove carbon, if used, while medicating. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Skinny guppy not eating     12/8/19

Hi again Neale,
Thanks for your reply.
<Welcome.>
Looking through my tank records I now realise this guppy was a new guppy (one of the survivors from the ones I got in late October) has not been treated with Levamisole so it is possible and even probable it has worms.
Thinking of QT it in tank water in a tub and medicating it tomorrow.
<Fair enough.>
If it doesn't improve then it may have an internal infection or something more vague.
<Indeed.>
Though the dots on the rummy nose are concerning. Should I put my temperature slowly back down to 26 or leave it around 29?
<Up high will be fine for both Guppies and Rummynoses, which can thrive at 28-30 C, assuming good oxygenation of the water. Cheers, Neale.>

giant gourami diet       12/7/19
Hi Neale,
I hope all is well,
Firstly - thanks again for your advice the other week on the giant gourami.
It took a while but I am pleased to say he is now fully healed. I am also pleased to say he is thriving.
I have been feeding him mainly different pellets and some fruit. A combination of:
1. Vitalis Pleco pellets
2. Hikari Algae wafers
3. Grapes (on occasion)
4. Banana (on occasion)
5. Mussels (on occasion)
I have read conflicting reports as to whether they are herbivores or omnivores. I was hoping you could advise on what an ideal diet would be? I know it should be varied and not feeding the same thing every time, but not sure what an 'ideal' diet regime would look like?
I was thinking of making defrosted frozen veg a 'staple' of their diet, but then I am not sure what veg they can and cant eat, and also whether that would be suitably nutritious if it formed the majority of their diet?
Also any other pellets I should add into the mix? Given his size there isn't that many veg based pellets on the market that are big enough.
The other point is how much to feed? He eats a lot very quickly, I know there is a '5 minute rule' in terms of feeding how much they could eat in 5 min.s, but If I let him he would probably eat an entire bunch of bananas in 5 min.s which can't be good for him!!
Thank you!
<Hello again! These fish are absolutely omnivores. So your menu should fit the bill never nicely. In terms of bulk, green foods are probably the ideal, but some protein-rich foods, like the mussels, will help keep him growing nicely. Koi pellets would probably make an inexpensive staple, so certainly try those. Now, when it comes to feeding, plant foods (which contain little protein) can be left in the tank indefinitely. Often, fish wait for them to soften up anyway, so it can be some days before they eat tougher plants and fruits. I agree, five bananas is probably overkill, but letting him eat half a banana a day wouldn't cause any water quality problems because there's so little nitrogen in such foods. Experiment, and see what works for you! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: giant gourami diet      12/9/19

Thanks as always!
<De nada, Neale.>

Skinny guppy not eating       12/7/19
Hi again!
No fish have died so far and there are 2 fry that are going well. Only one smaller male seems to not be eating now. What could be causing it? Worms?
He is skinny too and I remember last time I saw his poop it was kind of stringy. Im thinking of putting him in the QT tank with Levamisole. Is that a good idea?
<Worms are a possibility, but to be honest, with farmed Guppies, the so-called 'Wasting Disease', Mycobacteriosis, is more probable. There's no treatment as such, beyond optimising living conditions and hoping for the best. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Skinny guppy not eating       12/7/19

Hi Neale,
Thanks for your reply,
I got him from a private breeder. How do I distinguish worms vs. mycobacteriosis?
<Unless you're a vet or microbiologist, you can't. Broadly speaking though, worms do two things you can sometimes observe clearly: either emerge from the vent as red threads (Camallanus worms) or cause abdominal swelling while the rest of the fish becomes skinny (intestinal worms).
Mycobacteriosis causes a range of symptoms, including wasting, bloody sores, strange behaviours such as hiding away, and eventually death. But because Mycobacteriosis shares those symptoms with other diseases, for example Aeromonas and Pseudomonas bacteria can cause sores, and worms can cause wasting, it's really difficult to positively diagnose. It's normally implicated by default, where a fish fails to respond to reliable antibiotic and/or anti parasite medications. Make sense?>
Is there any way to treat mycobacteriosis + worms at same time? Should I QT him or not bother?
<For the sake of a single Guppy in its own tank, I personally wouldn't do much beyond observe. If I had a tank of Guppies, then deworming on a prophylactic basis isn't a bad idea at all, and products like PraziPro do this reasonably reliably. Medicating for Mycobacteriosis is essentially impossible, but if you use an antibiotic, it won't do any harm, can work just fine with PraziPro, and might solve the problem if some other bacterium is involved.>
Thanks again
<Welcome. Neale.>
re: Skinny guppy not eating       12/7/19

Hi again Neale, Just sending this along with my last reply I got a video of the guppy
Its the tiger one, he's been thin like that the whole time I had him. Same with purple one. Though recently the tiger one isn't seeming to be eating.
Unsure how long he hasn't been eating fir
https://youtu.be/3NpJ05Mh1io
Thanks again
<Yep, have seen this many, many times with livebearers, including my own colony of Limia. Doesn't seem to kill the fish particularly quickly, so I don't think it's a Mycobacteria infection. It might be something called Tetrahymena pyriformis, also know as 'Guppy Disease'. Do look at some photos online. Difficult to treat (no commercial treatment available so far as I know) but equally doesn't seem especially contagious, so may affect fish that are otherwise stressed or genetically weak. So do some research on these possibilities, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Orandas with raw reddish patches and white bumps    /RMF     12/6/19
<Edward, hi; am unable to either download your zip, nor open the indiv. jpegs here. Would you place them on the net and send the link along?>
I’ve spent hours looking through your site, (THANK YOU for it’s existence!), but couldn’t find any images with descriptions that I could be sure matched mine. So, I’ll give writing in a try!
<Ah, good>
Several weeks ago I thought I noticed the beginnings of an inch infection and treated the entire tank with salt. I added a tablespoon for every 5 gallons, then repeated two days later. The white spots seemed to have gotten better, but there’s been a raw “meaty” outbreak on the tail of one for a while now that has gotten worse, and another has a white round eruption and is hanging out at the bottom of the tank more than usual. The third seems fine.
I have a 65 gallon tank with a 406 Fluval and have under gravel filters with 2 power heads. The air pump is for a 100 gallon tank and the tank has plenty of aeration. I used to feed them Tetra Goldfish Flakes and sometimes frozen brine shrimp, but I thought I might be introducing disease with the shrimp and stopped that.
<Actually, the frozen Artemia shouldn't harbor any goldfish pathogens. I would supplement the flake food for sure>
Now I feed them North Fin Premium Goldfish pellets that sink. (I haven’t noticed any difference in the fish with the change of food and it’s been almost a year.)
<Unfamiliar w/ this brand, and their site doesn't offer specifics as to formulation, guaranteed analysis.>
I measured the ammonia levels and they are zero. There are 3 goldfish, two of which I need help with.
I have sharpened the images so their scales appear more pronounced in some images more than they actually are, but I wanted the outbreaks to be well defined.
<Need to see these pix>
Fish one has had a reddish outbreak for months now and it’s getting worse. Changing the tank water and using Melafix alone, then later Melafix with Pimafix, hasn’t cured it.
<Am decidedly NOT a fan of these plant extracts. Google WWM re>
About a year or so ago I had another fish that was also having eruptions and treated the tank with Amoxicillin. I used 1 Capsule (500mg.) per 20 gallons every day for 7 days. Overall, there seemed to be improvement, however one fish may have had some kind of scale damage that could not be repaired and had a large, cottony “growth” on it’s side. It behaved normally and seemed unaffected by it. Fish one behaves normally, but the red and raw looking patches are getting worse. Did the salt make it worse?
<Can't say; but I would (again) augment this food... with a mix of frozen that has a good deal of plant material (or fresh, blanched/microwaved fresh; see WWM re GF nutrition), and mix in some (to me known) dried prepared of good value (Hikari, Spectrum)>
Fish two was fine, except that now it appears that a white growth is appearing on it’s side. There appears to be some white on it’s head too. Is that ich?
<Doubtful; Ich appears as discrete pin-head size white dots... more on the fins than the bodies in goldfish>
However, this is the one that’s bothering me because it suddenly is spending lots of time on the bottom of the tank and none of them have ever done that before without dire consequences. (The end is near.) Tomorrow I’ll change the tank water. I was thinking of leaving the charcoal out of the fluvial and treating with the Amoxicillin again.
<Mmm; I'd give up on antibiotic use. This situation is environmental, nutritional in etiology. Water changes and food additions is the route I'd go>
All of their fins appear pretty normal. No pronounced red streaks or tears. I am desperate to get my fish healthy and happy again. I’ve kept fancy goldfish for about 40 years and I’ve never had struggles like this before.
<Ahh, I too am a giant fan of fancies... for more than this duration. They are "not what they used to be" health/quality wise; nor is the water in many places.>
I do believe there might be something in the tap water, but I don’t know for sure. I always use AmQuel Plus and NovAqua when I change the water and add 5 tablespoons of aquarium salt for every 5 gallons of new water.
<I'd cut back the salt by half, but the water treatments you list are good>
My fish and I thank you in advance for any expert advice we can get! Thank you SO much!
Fish 1:
Fish 2:
<Bob Fenner>

Orandas with raw reddish patches and white bumps       12/7/19
I’ve spent hours looking through your site, (THANK YOU for it’s existence!), but couldn’t find any images with descriptions that I could be sure matched mine. So, I’ll give writing in a try!
<Sure thing, and thanks for the kind words.>
Several weeks ago I thought I noticed the beginnings of an inch infection and treated the entire tank with salt. I added a tablespoon for every 5 gallons, then repeated two days later. The white spots seemed to have gotten better, but there’s been a raw “meaty” outbreak on the tail of one for a while now that has gotten worse, and another has a white round eruption and is hanging out at the bottom of the tank more than usual. The third seems fine.
I have a 65 gallon tank with a 406 Fluval and have under gravel filters with 2 power heads. The air pump is for a 100 gallon tank and the tank has plenty of aeration. I used to feed them Tetra Goldfish Flakes and sometimes frozen brine shrimp, but I thought I might be introducing disease with the shrimp and stopped that. Now I feed them North Fin Premium Goldfish pellets that sink. (I haven’t noticed any difference in the fish with the change of food and it’s been almost a year.) I measured the ammonia levels and they are zero. There are 3 goldfish, two of which I need help with.
I have sharpened the images so their scales appear more pronounced in some images more than they actually are, but I wanted the outbreaks to be well defined.
Fish one has had a reddish outbreak for months now and it’s getting worse. Changing the tank water and using Melafix alone, then later Melafix with Pimafix, hasn’t cured it.
<Indeed; both are fairly useless, or at least, unreliable.>
About a year or so ago I had another fish that was also having eruptions and treated the tank with Amoxicillin. I used 1 Capsule (500mg.) per 20 gallons every day for 7 days. Overall, there seemed to be improvement, however one fish may have had some kind of scale damage that could not be repaired and had a large, cottony “growth” on it’s side. It behaved normally and seemed unaffected by it. Fish one behaves normally, but the red and raw looking patches are getting worse. Did the salt make it worse?
<Nope. Low salt concentrations are completely harmless to Carassius auratus.>
Fish two was fine, except that now it appears that a white growth is appearing on it’s side. There appears to be some white on it’s head too. Is that ich? However, this is the one that’s bothering me because it suddenly is spending lots of time on the bottom of the tank and none of them have ever done that before without dire consequences. (The end is near.) Tomorrow I’ll change the tank water. I was thinking of leaving the charcoal out of the fluvial and treating with the Amoxicillin again.
<Which won't help if the problem is viral, which is what I suspect.>
All of their fins appear pretty normal. No pronounced red streaks or tears. I am desperate to get my fish healthy and happy again. I’ve kept fancy goldfish for about 40 years and I’ve never had struggles like this before. I do believe there might be something in the tap water, but I don’t know for sure. I always use AmQuel Plus and NovAqua when I change the water and add 5 tablespoons of aquarium salt for every 5 gallons of new water.
My fish and I thank you in advance for any expert advice we can get! Thank you SO much!
<Do look at photos of Carp Pox on Goldfish. This is moderately common, but alas, there's no treatment. A vet may be able to remove some lesions, but beyond that, it's a case of waiting for the immune system to deal with it. Under good conditions, that can happen, but it will take months, even years, of good care. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Orandas with raw reddish patches and white bumps       12/7/19

Hi Neale. Thank you SO much for your kind and generous response. Does this reply mean that you were able to open the jpegs?
<Yes, no problem opening and examining the images. The thing is, bloody sores and white growths are actually characteristic of a range of diseases. Bacterial infections including plain old Finrot on the one hand, and the much more sinister Septicaemia on the other. Viral infections, notably Carp Pox, can produce pinkish-white growths on the body too, though usually without obvious evidence of bleeding. So to some extent I can point you in the right direction, but you need to look at those possibilities, compare them with images online, and study things like the behaviour of your fish, and whether the tissue looks actively flaking and bleeding (bacteria infection more likely) or simply wart- or tumour-like (in which case a viral cause might be suspected). It's really difficult to diagnose viral infections in fish, with only one or two having obvious symptoms (Lymphocystis springs to mind).>
If not, I wonder where I would post the images? Would it be helpful to resend them at a smaller size? I’m a photographer and spent some time getting the best images I could. I will search for Carp pox on goldfish. And, yes, I have wondered if some of the issues were viral. I suspect for sure that was true on one fish I had that never got better no matter what I did. I hate to admit it, and still feel horrible about it to this day, but he was so unsightly with a large growth on his side that I euthanized him, even though he wasn’t bothered by it and in face seemed kind of happy. Oh Lord… I’m a murderer!
<Yikes!>
So - if you have time to let me know if you were able to see the images and if not, if it would help to resend them smaller, please let me know. Otherwise, I’ll just work on keeping the water as clean as possible and monitor carefully.
Thank you again! Edward
<Glad to help, and feel free to keep us posted with any further changes or symptoms you come across. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Orandas with raw reddish patches and white bumps       12/7/19

Hi again. I looked at images of Carp pox, and that is what I concluded the fish I euthanized had.
<Understood.>
However, the sores the two fish have now don’t have the same look as he did, but I know that that virus could be contagious.
<Tricky this one. Yes, viruses should be contagious. But in reality, with most if not all of the fish virus infections we encounter, they are unlikely to transfer to otherwise healthy fish. For some reason there needs to be a stress factor at work, such as inappropriate water chemistry or acute physical trauma (such as fish tattooing) before the virus 'jumps across' to other fish.>
That could explain why two have sores and one doesn’t. Perhaps that one is immune to it?
<Exactly so.>
And maybe there is a secondary infection on top of it in the one fish with the red sores?
<Certainly possible, and treating as per a systemic bacteria infection is worth a shot. There is a form of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia occasionally seen in fish that does seem to be a combination of virus and bacterial agents, so the use of antibiotics can help. Symptoms include reddish patches on the body, bloating, disinterest in food, and eventually death. There isn't a known cure as such, but thankfully it's pretty rare. Caught early on, as I say, antibiotics may help, and the fish's own immune system kick in strongly enough to remove the virus. But with most of these viral infections that's about all we can do, because there are no commercially available antiviral medicines useful on fish. Fortunately, they are rarely contagious, so we don't encounter them very often.>
Doing all that I can. Thanks again! Edward
<The best you can do is all you can do. Good luck, Neale.>

Identification of an aquatic worm/possible parasite      12/5/19
Hi there! I've been all over the place trying to find someone to help me ID this Suspected freshwater aquatic parasite so I can determine how to treat it. You were recommended by someone on a Facebook Fish group (fish talk, I believe). - (and before you look at the video, say "it's a Tubifex worm, you N00b", please read below- that's what I think it looks like too, but some sort of immaculate conception had to have happened if that is the case. And I'm not ready to admit the existence of the sewage fairy, or of
Tubifex eggs hatching inside a fish's Pyloric caeca, growing to an adult size, and then hatching out and leaving the fish through feces. because that would just be weird.
A rift lake Cichlid (frontosa) came into my Ultra small, self funded rescue with double eye infections about 2 weeks ago. I dosed him with both gram pos and gram neg antibiotics which has cleared up the infection, and he is doing much better. He started eating, which the previous short term owner had not seen. She had only had him for a few weeks, as she bought him and 5 others from another guy who had them 8 years, so he said. It's unknown how long since he last ate. Ph is about 8.5, which is about ideal for these fish, and temp is around 78 degrees. the previous owner was keeping him in non brackish water- and our water around here is soft. I'd guess ph somewhere in the 6s. The fish is stunted and still has not regained color- but at least his eyes are no longer threatening to leave his head.
However, Last night, I did a water change on his hospital tank: this included moving the hide, vacuuming the very small amount of gravel (about a cup of crushed coral to buffer for PH) and squeezing out the sponge filter. (as a note, no worms were found. I'm pretty sure I would have noticed. there is just no place for them to hide. )
I left the room to get him frozen Omega 1 food blocks, threw them in the tank, left the room for about 10 minutes (he is super shy, and won't eat when I'm there) , and when I returned to get photos of his eyes to document improvement, I noticed hundreds upon hundreds of little black worms all over the place- floating, crawling, and in general, being.. well. gross. they are about an inch in length- far larger than detritus type worms. at first I thought they were some sort of black worm- but looking closer it was clear that they were definitely not.
My first assumption was they came from the food blocks. I defrosted the rest of the food I had in cups of his tank water- but no worms showed up.
Then I sucked as many of the worms out as I could get, and threw them into a container, and pulled out my USB microscope.
I captured this video:
https://youtu.be/-9VqFEeA0o0
(please Disregard the dead bloodworms, as those were left over from the Frontosa's dinner and sucked up when I was capturing worms)
They look, to my exceptionally untrained eyes, Like Tubifex worms- but there is literally no way Tubifex worms could have gotten into the aquarium. I've already contacted Omega one to verify that there was no way that any worms could survive their sterilization or freezing process: I asked them to help ID, as if it's not a parasite, their food is the only reasonable explanation if it's not an egg-laying larva etc, but they
declined (a little rudely, in fact) . None of the foods I fed last night (omega one frozen Super carnivore ( Mysis Shrimp, Brine Shrimp, and Bloodworms) , and, I believe frozen Omega One Baby Krill- if not it was a block of brine, mysis, or bloodworms.) have any T.F. worms in them. heck.
none of the other foods I feed do ether, as the amino acids are not really ideal for many things. I have no TBFX worms in my food arsenal or in our home.
Are you able to help me figure out what in the heck these are? They don't look like any of the common parasitic worms I have seen, or could find photos of (I looked at the roundworms, tapeworms, Thorny headed worms, Flukes, or any of the nematodes I've seen- But I'm just a fairly new hobbyist, doing my best. But If they did not come from the fish as parasites, I have a whole different "where the heck did the worms come from " issue. did they survive the intestines of this fish for months? Did the Omega 1 people lie? is there actually a sewage fairy who drops worms into aquariums?
I have a number of antiparasitics on hand- I just need to know which one to use (and gosh, an ID so I understand lifecycle would be awesome too!) - I have Levamisole, which I think is the most all-encompassing of the antiparasitics that I have, but before I start that I just wanna know I have the right ID.
Thanks so much. I'm loosing my cool over here at this as I can't find any logical cause for them other than parasites, and the illogical ideas are all far past borderline of absurd.
Thanks so much!
Andie
<Andie, the short answer is that these do look like Oligochaetes, and you can check that yourself by looking to see if they are (a) segmented; and (b) possess bundles of tiny hair-like structures, chaetae, on the segments, often on the underside. Very few, if any, of the Oligochaetes are parasitic. So generally if you have these, they're not going to do much harm. Tubifex are of course the best known, but Lumbriculus variegatus, the California Blackworm, is an aquatic variety that is quite commonly seen in
the aquarium trade. It is sometimes used as fish food and sometimes as part of a 'deep sand bed' filter where it helps to aerate the substrate and promote good water quality. Tapeworms do of course have segments, being closely related to the Oligochaetes within the Annelida phylum, but they have distinctive flat, leaf-life segments and the famous set of toothy mouthparts on the round head used to hold themselves into position. Your worms don't look anything like those. On the other hand, if you can't see
segments, then roundworms (Nematodes) or some other group of worms will need to be considered, and some of these are indeed parasitic. But the fact your worms seem to have a well-developed gut seems to suggest a free-living, rather than parasitic, mode of life. So far as your Frontosa cichlid goes, there are all sorts of reasons cichlids get sick, but de-worming and treating as per Hexamita infections (i.e., Metronidazole) generally make sense when dealing with vague wasting-type problems. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Identification of an aquatic worm/possible parasite      12/5/19

Thanks so much! I actually don't see much wasting in this guy. Other than the eyes he looks ok. He was skinny when i got him, but he was being bullied. He is filling out as expected with access to food. I will use an antiparasitic fir good measure to hit the main common things now that I know i don't have some weird parasite i need to make sure is involved.
<"Antiparasite" medications aren't my favourite approach. Best to choose specific medications for specific parasites. Often the "cure alls" are really "cure nothings". 'Jack of all trades, master of none' as they say. With commercial cichlids, Hexamita and various intestinal worms are the two commonest problems. So may as well choose medications specific to them in the absence of anything indicative of some other problem.>
My main issue now is. "Well, if they didn't come from inside him, where the heck did they come from!" But that is definitely not your problem.
<Indeed. But Oligochaetes usually get in via substrates, via live food, or possibly via live plants if those came with soil or sand around them.
Otherwise unlikely to get in under their own steam.>
Thank you so much for clarifying my suspicion, and providing specific information about WHY. (I didn't know about the specific gut structure, but that makes total sense, for example.
I really appreciate your time!
Andie
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Identification of an aquatic worm/possible parasite      12/5/19

yup- just to make things difficult, it's a hospital tank- nothing goes I or out without being sanitized, the substrate was a rinsed cup of crushed coral from the 40 lb bag I use to try to combat our "might as well be reverse osmosis" water. I'll go through the filter and tear it apart- that is the only place I can think of as I did pull a filter from another tank
<A mystery, for sure. But if the worms are segmented and have chaetae, they're likely harmless. Indeed, probably something worm-eating fish like loaches would normally eat.>
Thanks for the tip on antiparasitics. I agree with you on that, - I'll keep an eye for any real suggestions that h needs it before I dose anything at all, as long as he keeps getting fatter.
Your help literally saved my sanity. All my thanks to you and yours!
<Thanks for the kind words. I do hope the Frontosa recovers. Cheers, Neale.>

Now... Phractocephalus; using WWM, the Net       12/3/19
Hai,I need the complete details about the requirements for a red tail catfish of about one feet size.
<This Pimelodid won't stay just a foot in length>
Especially about the water quality and necessary requirements.
I need to know that whether it can be grown in a cement pond without aeration
<No; needs filtered tropical conditions>
and with an occupancy volume of about 2000 litres???
<Not indefinitely>
...Waiting for your response
<READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rtcatfs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Hai, I’m planning to buy an Arapaima gigas.      11/26/19
<Seriously? These things are enormous. Literally the biggest freshwater fish in the world.>
Size of about 6 inches.
<Not for long it won't be! Wikipedia informs me the average specimen is 2 m long, and some specimens are more than twice that size. The species is farmed for food, and reaches around 1 m within the first year. Growth likely slows down a bit thereafter, but I think you could realistically expect a common adult size of 2 m within 2-3 years.>
What all requirements should I have?
<A tropical pond of some sort, first of all. I can't see any commercial aquarium being viable for more than the first six months, and thereafter, you'd need a custom aquarium around 2 m front to back, 2 m deep, and 4-6 m in length for maybe the next 6-12 months. Once the fish is over 1 m in length, it's hard to imagine anything other than a tropical pond being viable.>
I need a complete specifications about this, to be more precise Its tank requirement, water quality and diet.
<This species is fairly widely kept in public aquaria and zoos. I'd suggest visiting some of these, or getting in touch with the aquarium directors, who might be able to provide you with further information. Alternatively, look at aquaculture supply companies, because realistically, what you're going to want is a large tropical pond as would be used for rearing large aquaculture species like Ictalurus.>
So could you please provide me it when you are available....
<Basic care is pretty much the same as any other Arowana, except everything needs to be multiplied upwards given Arapaima are 2-4 times the length. Cheers, Neale.>

Gill curl in Arowana fish and curing methods       11/18/19
Hi, I have a silver arowana fish of size about 55cm.
<How big is its aquarium? A half-grown specimen like yours should be in a tank around 1000 litres (220 Imperial gallons) in size, and even bigger specimens will need even more space. I mention this because Gill Curl is almost always caused by being kept in a tank that is too small. One problem with small tanks is that the Arowana can't turn around easily, and that seems to be one factor. But more probably, it's to do with insufficient oxygen dissolved in small tanks, as well as poor water quality (i.e., nitrate levels too high between water changes). Hard to say exactly, but really, aquarium size is the key.>
Now it has got gill curl. Its gill covers has been curled and it’s gills are exposed in the water.
<Indeed.>
Its hard cover gill plates has also been curled. Could you please suggest me a method to cure this.
<There really isn't one.
In the early stages (where just the soft part of the very edges of the gill flaps are curled) moving the Arowana to better conditions may cause the gills to get better by themselves. Some vets will remove this damaged tissue, and healthy soft tissue will grow back. But the operation is very difficult to do, as Arowanas do not handle this sort of treatment well. However, once the gill flaps are firmly curled over, with the bony parts of the gill covers deformed, there is no treatment. It's done. Too late to fix it.>
I’m waiting for your response eagerly....I’m quite tensed about this condition
<I would imagine. Do read about the needs of Arowanas, especially the Silver Arowana, which will get to at least twice the size your specimen is now. These are very expensive fish to keep properly, and sadly, most are not kept well at all. Cheers, Neale.>

Arowana with gill curl      11/18/19
The bony portion has also been affected by this girl curling problem.
<So, that's that then.>
Is it curable with surgery.
<Not really. Bone doesn't grow back. Once damaged or deformed, the bone is that way for life.>
Could you please suggest me
<Next time, use a bigger tank.>

Anything about this.
<Nope.>
Waiting for your reply....I consumes regular food daily.
<Good stuff. Arowanas with Gill Curl aren't seriously harmed, but they will find it more difficult to pump water through their gills. So ensuring the oxygenation of the water is top notch becomes even more critical. This is because the gill covers normally form a pressurised seal that allows the fish to inhale each fresh gulp of water. With the gill covers damaged, that pressurised seal is lost, and the ability to suck in fresh water becomes compromised.>
I feed him live foods and chicken liver.
<Not sure about chicken liver to be honest, because of the risk of Salmonella and other bacterial infections. Beef heart or lamb heart would be much safer. These fish are primarily insect and small fish eaters. So the best foods are small insects of various kinds, and as they get bigger, safe (i.e., not live) fish, ideally saltwater fish. Tilapia fillet is safe too. As always, never use live feeder fish, and minimise the use of foods with thiaminase (cyprinids, shrimps, mussels).>
He is kept in a 5 feet length aquarium.
<Ah, much too small! Problem solved.>
One 30 Watts internal filter and air filter with sponge are provided.
<Likely under-filtered, too. You need something like 8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So if you have 1000 litres, the filter needs a turnover rate of 4000 litres per hour. Most likely this will be a number of filters added together, but you get the idea, hopefully!>
Before buying this aquarium, it was in 2.8 feet aquarium. I think this limited space may be the problem for this current condition...
<Yes.>
please suggest me anything..please..
<This is one of those situations where the ONLY cure is prevention. Once it's happened, it's happened. You can't fix this. Sure, people will try and sell you products or tricks, but they either don't work or are too unsafe. Anything involving surgical intervention is unlikely to work, and will be very stressful to your fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Arowana with gill curl      11/18/19

If this condition is not curable,
<Indeed not.>
how long will it live and survive.
<As long as a healthy Arowana, but do see previous message.>
It takes regular food every day. One 30 watts internal filter and air filter with sponge are provided in the tank.. Can it survive for a long duration...
<Yes, with care. Cheers, Neale.>
Arowana with gill curl      11/18/19

So will my Arrowana live as long as a healthy one..?
<All else being good, yes. It will need a good environment (including swimming space) and plenty of oxygen, but apart from that, it isn't at risk of premature death.>
Will it grow up bigger than this..
<Silver Arowanas, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, get to about 90 cm in length.
Occasional specimens may well be even bigger. But they do need an aquarium (or pond) suitable for very large fish. 1000s of litres, really.>
Now it is in 5 feet aquarium and it is taking regular food daily..... Can I hope for the best..
<Yes.>
Is this condition a serious problem to its health...
<Yes and no. Read my previous replies: Gill Curl affects their ability to pump water across the gills, so additional aeration of the water may be needed. But beyond that, Gill Curl doesn't cause any major health issues.
Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Flowerhorn      11/16/19
Hello,
<Hello Sue,>
I am really hoping that you can help me we’re all out of ideas.
<Will try.>
Approx six weeks ago I noticed a small swelling on the side of my Flowerhorns abdomen. The swelling has since got larger and the other side of her abdomen is now swelling (the swelling appears to be internal and she is not displaying any external signs of illness.)
<Let's just be clear on this. The fish has a swelling, but apparently internal, meaning you can see that the skin and scales look normal, just stretched out because of the swelling? The swelling was more obvious on one side first, but now seems to be on both sides?>
With the help and advice of my local aquatic shop, I treated her with aquarium salts for 2 weeks which I removed with water changes and then I tried ParaGuard for 2 weeks, which I removed with water changes and carbon. (neither of which have worked.) I have removed the carbon from my filter and I am currently dosing the tank with API general cure (today is the last day of treatment) but I can see no improvement.
<Understood. API General Cure was a good call, containing metronidazole, and therefore a good treatment against Hexamita infection, which the stringy white faeces would be consistent with. On the other hand, the fact we're dealing with abdominal swelling points more towards Dropsy, which though it is a symptom rather than a disease, tends to be related to opportunistic bacterial infections and general environmental stress.>
She has white stringy feces (indicating an internal parasite?) but none of the treatments are working. I am going to make a medicated food using the last sachet of API general cure, garlic juice, her fish pellets and Epsom salts.
<Epsom Salt is a good choice for Dropsy, and can reduce the swelling, but by itself isn't a cure.>
Thing is, she’s stopped eating so I’m not sure how successful this will be. The aquatic shop staff and I are now out of ideas on how to help her.
<Indeed.>
I have noticed lots of very tiny snails in her tank. I’m assuming they came in with some water lettuce plants that I added to the tank approx 2 months ago (I’ve since removed the water lettuce.) I suspect that I hadn’t noticed the snails before as maybe she had been eating them. She had also eaten all of the roots of the water lettuce plants (could these have caused a blockage?)
<On the contrary: fresh green foods provide fibre, which (just as in humans) prevents all sorts of problems with the digestive tract. Small snails, while unsightly, are unlikely to cause problems, and some cichlids enjoy eating them, using the pharyngeal mill to grind up the shells. So again, no risk.>
My main thinking is that although I rinsed the water lettuces prior to adding them to the tank, if I inadvertently missed a snail on them then maybe I didn’t rinse them well enough and introduced parasites too.
<Yes to how the snails got in, but no, unlikely to have been a source of parasites. Yes, snails can carry parasites, but most of the bad ones have complex life cycles involving water birds and mammals, so don't persist in aquaria. So while snails are unsightly, they're almost never a danger. Fish are MUCH more likely to pass parasites between themselves, which is why "feeder fish" are so dangerous.>
She is in a 55g tank, I have tested the water and the readings are all fine.
<Need some data here, rather than "fine". 55 gallons isn't particularly big, especially for a cichlid that should be at least 30 cm long when fully grown. Let me have you do some reading, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FHParrotCichArtNeale.htm
My concern here is that cichlids of all types are subject to health issues when 'cramped'. Whether it's the lack of oxygen, or excessive nitrate, I don't really know. But I've seen it many times, and learned the hard way when breeding various kinds at home. Again, the link above will provide some water chemistry range values to aim for (but in brief, hard, alkaline water is what you want) and besides 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, you want to aim to keep nitrate below 20 mg/l, and certainly not above 40 mg/l for any length of time. Skipped water changes cause cichlids real problems because they are so much more sensitive to nitrate than most other freshwater fish.>
As we live in the U.K, I am limited on what medication can be used (I had to order the API general cure from the U.S.) Please have you any idea on the next step for me to take? Blossom means a lot to me and my husband and we’d hate to lose her.
<Treating Dropsy is hard, and best done with antibiotics from a vet, but my favourite medication available in over-the-counter from UK stores is eSHa 2000. It's relatively inexpensive (around £5 a bottle) and tolerated very well by virtually all fish, even sensitive species like Pufferfish.>
I’d really appreciate any help that you can give.
Many thanks,
Sue.
<Welcome. Neale.>

Fahaka Pufferfish       11/15/19
Hello I bought a baby Fahaka Pufferfish over a year ago maybe and he has always been healthy but now he is over 11 inches and he had a spot about half an inch in diameter that looked the same color as his skin a week ago but now it is bleach white and I am not sure what is causing it or what to do. If you could please let me know I would appreciate it so much we do not want to lose him.
<That would appear to be some sort of lesion. Possibly a burn or a bite.
Pufferfish do like to 'sit' for a while at the bottom of the tank, and if there's a heater in the tank, they can burn themselves on that. Pufferfish will also bite one another, producing circular bite marks that are quite distinctive. I'm assuming this chap is kept alone though, Fahaka Puffers not being particularly social. Basically, review the tank for sources of potential injury, including rough surfaces or sharp edges. Treat as per Finrot, using a reliable antibiotic. Such lesions usually heal up well, but they are at risk of infection. Cheers, Neale.>
I have a question about a Pufferfish.

Yes sorry I just emailed you and sent too many pictures I apologize but my Fahaka Pufferfish had a spot that was the same color as his skin about a week ago. But now it looks bleach white and did not know if you could please help. Thank you.
<Appreciate your understanding about image size. Still, the photos suggest the white area is recessed, i.e., a wound or lesion, rather than normal skin that just happens to have an odd colour. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fahaka Pufferfish      11/16/19
Okay thank you so much. I will take everything out of his tank and also do a water change. I bought him a 180 gallon aquarium 2 weeks ago and he was in it for 3 days and it started leaking at the seal so I had to put him into a 40 gallon I had and 3 days later I moved him back into his 75 gallon aquarium so he has been thru alot lately.
<Does sound as if he's perhaps gotten scratched at some point, and what's happened is the wound has become slightly infected. A suitable course of antibiotics or antibacterials should clear that up, and if the lesion remains white rather than sore, red or bloody-looking, chances are good that his own immune system has everything under control. Such wounds on Puffers are not uncommon, and they are hearty fish that heal well given a balanced diet and good water quality. Keep nitrate as low as possible (as
well as 0 ammonia and nitrite, of course) and focus on safe, thiaminase-free foods such as cockles, squid, earthworms, and white fish fillet. Don't use anything with thiaminase (like mussels and shrimps/prawns) because he needs his immune system in tip-top shape, and certainly don't use anything likely to carry bacteria (Tubifex, feeder fish, live shrimp, etc.).>
I appreciate you taking the time to respond, hope he will heal up and I will do some research to see if there are any antibiotics or anything I could get to help. Thank you so much
<Most welcome.>

Sick giant gourami       11/14/19
Hi Neale
I recently rehomed a giant gourami into my monster tank.
The poor thing has a weird cut/chunk missing type thing on one side of him and some white fungus looking spots on the other side. Pictures attached.
I have never seen anything like these white spots, I don’t think it’s ich. I am halfway through a course of waterife Myaxin but doesn’t seem to help, it’s actually getting worse I think.
He’s happily eating etc.
Any suggestions?
Thanks
<Hello Nathaniel. This is some sort of bacterial infection, though the white specks are slightly mysterious. Do these look like bubbles of dead tissue? If so, then yes, bacterial in origin more than likely. A decent antibacterial (such as eSHa 2000) should do the trick, though if a vet can prescribe antibiotics for you, so much the better. If the white things are more crusty, off-white in colour, and look like drops of molten wax, then I'd lean towards a viral infection as well. Some viral infections are rarely fatal in fish, such as Lymphocystis, but are impossible to treat directly. They can heal after some months (even years) of good conditions. A few viral infections, such as Carp Pox, are potentially more immediately lethal and need veterinarian intervention. Still, let's assume it's bacterial. The shape of the wound suggests physical damage, and I wonder -- is there a Common Plec in the tank? These can (and do) 'latch' onto slab-sided fish given the chance, rasping away at the mucous. Otocinclus are notorious for this, too, largely because they starve in most tanks. Some Loricariidae are very safe, Panaque for example, being pretty much herbivorous, but the more general purpose Plecs are distinctly hit-and-miss in tanks with Oscars, or really anything big enough to support their weight. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick giant gourami       11/14/19
Hi
Thanks for your reply,
Nothing in the tank to latch on, having looked closely these white things look a bit like blobs of cotton wool - does that sound bacterial?
<More like fungus. Very common on infected wounds. Distinctly tufty, furry appearance. Do look at pictures online or in fish health books.>
Can I get antibiotics from any vet?
<In the UK, yes, absolutely. But finding a 'fish vet' locally is often hard.
https://www.fishvetsociety.org.uk/interest-areas/ornamentals/list-of-vets-willing-to-treat-pet-fish/
It's worth a call to your local vet if you already have one for a cat or dog, and discussing the symptoms. I've done it once before, and got some erythromycin this way. It's a hassle to be fair, and if the fish is hearty and feeding, I'd probably try a course of eSHa 2000 first and see if it helps.>
Thank you
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick giant gourami       11/14/19

Thanks Neale,
<Welcome.>
I have been treating with Myaxin from Waterlife (anti bacterial), still have 2 more nights to treat. Should I discontinue now or finish the course first?
<If the fish isn't actively getting worse, you may as well finish the course and see what happens.>
(Doesn’t seem to be doing much).
<My experiences with Myxazin have never been that great, to be honest. I find eSHa 2000 a much better bet, perhaps because it targets bacteria and fungi simultaneously.>
Would 3 days and 30% water change each day be a good enough separation?
<Likely so. Most fish medications are oxidised or otherwise metabolised by the bacteria within a day, or so I understand.>
Thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick giant gourami        11/20/19
Hi Neale,
I hope all is well,
<All good, thanks!>
I used the ESHA 2000 last night (first dose) and I can see already an improvement this morning (thanks for the tip!).
<No problem.>
I wanted your advice,
<Sure.>
It basically works out per the instructions that I would do a 20ml dose on day 1 and then 10ml day 2 and 10 ml day 3. So 20:10:10
It says on the instructions that if needed one can double the dose.
<Indeed. Have never done so. But would not expect them to lie about this!>
I used 20 mil last night (so a single dose), however I am debating, given the issue has been ongoing for a while, to use 20 mil tonight too? It says you can also extend beyond days 2 and 3 too, so I am thinking instead of 20:10:10, to maybe do 20:20:10:10?
<I would prefer to try the regular dose for the first 'course' of the medications. If the fish doesn't get better, repeat for another dose, rather than increase the dosages. The risk is that too much could stress
the filter bacteria, resulting in an ammonia or nitrite spike, which would undo all your progress.>
There is a catfish in there too which I know are sometimes more sensitive as they are scaleless but it says on the packet it should be fine and he doesn't seem bothered so far.
<Indeed; I have never had problems using eSHa 2000 with catfish.>
Please let me know your thoughts.
Thanks!
<Repeating courses, rather than increasing dosages, is my gut reaction if the fish is showing signs of recovery and still otherwise in good condition (swimming, eating, etc.). But if you felt a higher dose was warranted, I would not feel afraid to try, but would remove some filter media to a safe place just in case something goes wrong. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick giant gourami    11/21/19
Thanks Neale
<Most welcome, Nate.>
Re: Sick giant gourami      11/22/19

Hi neale,
<Nat,>
Unfortunately whilst after day 1 things looked to be improving with esha, day 2 and 3 seem to have had little impact and in fact seems to have spread to mouth fungus. Shall I try esha again next week with a stronger dose given that day 1 things seemed to get a bit better (the dose is twice as high on day 1)?
<Yep, sounds like a good plan to me. Do a water change before running the medications though.>
Or is there anything else you can recommend?
Thanks
Nat
<Apart from visiting a fish vet, nope, nothing better. Cheers, Neale.>

FW Shrimp ID         11/11/19
Hi
Can you please help me with the identity of these shrimp.? They are freshwater . Thanks
Wendy
<.... 30 megs... PLEASE read and comply w/ our limit on file size. >
Re:        11/11/19

Thank you!
<DO re-size and resend. Cheers, BobF>
Re:        11/11/19

Ok, I will.
<Cheers; we don't have sufficient webmail space, and when in some other countries, large files are near impossible to download. B>
Shrimp identity        11/11/19

<Dear Wendy, your message appeared to contain no greeting or text, just what seems to be a header ("Shrimp identity"), and the attachments were over 15 MB altogether. We do ask people trim photos down to under 1 MB each, because such large attachments block the server and prevent other emails arriving. We also seem to have lost the text of your message as well, so if you can re-send, ensuring the attachments are kept small, that'd be great. Regards, Neale.>
<<Thank you Neale. This appears to be a grass shrimp species of sort: genus Palaemonetes. BobF>>

Fire Eel, fdg.        11/11/19
Hi Crew! Haven't stopped by for a while, but a question has come up and you've always been my source for the right/best answers.
<Ahh!>
I have a year old Fire Eel, about 8 - 10 inches long in great health, very friendly, good body weight, everything's good. I got this fish at 2 inches about this time last year and I've always fed it Hikari
Blood worms, Tubifex worms, and the occasional shrimp from the grocery store. He/she will NOT eat beef heart, brine shrimp, or krill.
Recently, a fellow fish enthusiast has been brow beating me to start feeding him/her fresh fish from the grocery store. I have no problem with that, except for the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Also, I've read stories of people feeding fresh fish to young Fire Eels, causing them to grow too fast, overtaxing their bodies with too much protein, fouling their water, and eventually causing death. Is this true?
<Mmm; I do think that there can be danger in growing stock too quickly... Health, shortened lifespan issues>
If so, what would be the appropriate age/size to start feeding fresh fish?
<Fresh as in cut strips of muscle? IF small enough bits, at any size.
However, as you state, if the animal is happy, healthy w/ the current regimen... I would particularly skip beef heart. Bob Fenner>
*Renee *
Fire Eel         /Neale      11/13/19

Hi Crew! Haven't stopped by for a while, but a question has come up and you've always been my source for the right/best answers.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have a year old Fire Eel, about 8 - 10 inches long in great health, very friendly, good body weight, everything's good.
<Sounds like you should carry on doing precisely what you're doing now.>
I got this fish at 2 inches about this time last year and I've always fed it Hikari Blood worms, Tubifex worms, and the occasional shrimp from the grocery store.
<Sounds good. Usual reminder about Tubifex being a potential risk, and that shrimp are high in thiaminase, so as you say, use sparingly.>
He/she will NOT eat beef heart, brine shrimp, or krill.
<And neither will I! No big deal.>
Recently, a fellow fish enthusiast has been brow beating me to start feeding him/her fresh fish from the grocery store.
<If your Spiny Eel wants to eat some white fish fillet, provided such is thiaminase-free, then sure, go ahead. No live feeders, however.>
I have no problem with that, except for the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
<Agreed; but as fish get bigger, chunkier meals made from less expensive foods, such as tilapia fillet, become more economical than aquarium shop blister packs of frozen invertebrates.>
Also, I've read stories of people feeding fresh fish to young Fire Eels, causing them to grow too fast, overtaxing their bodies with too much protein, fouling their water, and eventually causing death. Is this true?
<Overfeeding fatty foods can cause problems for fish, much as with humans.
But excess protein is eliminated as urea because the body cannot store amino acids, so while unlikely to "over tax" the body of the fish in any meaningful way, there is a connection between excess protein in the diet and poor water quality.>
If so, what would be the appropriate age/size to start feeding fresh fish?
<Try small offerings any time you want, and see what happens. Remove uneaten items. I'd suggest the old "wiggle on the end of long forceps" trick to entice your Spiny Eel, but however you're feeding frozen shrimp should work. Cheers, Neale.>

Cichlid with a growth      11/3/19
Hello!
I have a 50 gal cichlid community tank, one of my cichlid (golden Sovereign) has this growth near its anus and I'm not sure what it is or how to help.. please advise! See attached pictures.
<27 megs of pix?!.... SEE as in READ on WWM re prolapsed colons in cichlids.
The search tool on every page. Bob Fenner>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat... Now GH, test kit      11/3/19
Hi again Neale,The gh test kit just doesnt work.It only goes to yellowy then orange and will not go to green. I dont know why
<Not sure I can help you here! Consult with the manufacturer, maybe? I've already suggested the JBL EasyTest 6-in-1 test strips as cheap and easy to use, and they're the ones I tend to recommend. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/3/19

I added 50 drops and it just stayed this orange color so the gh must be really high right?
<I don't know; I don't know your test kit or how it works. Read the instructions, and go with those.>
Though the test strip on the other one didn't really change. Kinda feels like im wasting money at this point because I keep buying different stuff to test it and nothing works.
<Perhaps, but fishkeeping is an imperfect science. Identifying diseases by email is tough, and you wouldn't expect a vet or doctor to work that way.
Test kits are generally reliable enough to give ballpark answers, but if used incorrectly they won't be so useful. Medicines will treat the diseases they are designed for, but random usage is unlikely to work out well, and they do nothing for a misdiagnosed disease. Fish mostly stick to the descriptions in fish books, but some specimens will be more or less hardy than suggested, just as they may be more or less aggressive.>
The other strips seemed like it was between 0 and 25
<As we have discussed before, general hardness needs to be in the "moderate" to "high" range for Guppies (and Rainbowfish) to stay healthy.
Deviations from this will lead to sickness and failures. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/3/19

Hi again Neale,I was wondering what it means if the gh teststarted yellow tgen went more orange and stayed orangy after 50 drops? (I gave up) is that really gh? Or defective tester? I think its new tho
<I know nothing about your test kit. What I would suggest, simply because it's the easiest approach, is to take a water sample to your local aquarium shop. Bring your test kit with you, if you want. Have them test the water (ideally, using your test kit) so you can see what happens. Any decent aquarium shop would be happy to do this. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/3/19

<<But by way of a PS; don't ask them to diddle around with test kits during peak business hours for them (e.g., Saturday mornings) but during more quieter times when they have staff to spare. Neale>>

Re: Tanganyikan spiny eel skin problem     11/1/19
Hello again!
<Hello Gerald.>
I only just discovered that you replied to my 9/22/19 enquiry (below) online at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/spinyeeldisfaqs.htm 
rather than by return e-mail.
<Nope; we email a reply first, and copy it onto the web page only as an archived message. Even then, it's only archived a few days after being on the Daily FAQ page. Just check your spam filter isn't blocking our messages, maybe?>
(I should have known to look there - D'oh!) Without the benefit of your reply, I had cobbled together what seemed to be an appropriate treatment for my ailing M. ellipsifer eel from the various earlier posts on that webpage. I'm writing today to let you and interested readers know what I did and how things went.
<Thank you!>
By the time I began treatment, two clearly de-pigmented spots (not quite completely white or fuzzy, but rapidly heading there) which were each about 1 cm in diameter had formed in the affected area on the eel's side, and the dorsal fin adjacent to that area had a clearly ragged appearance. I decided to throw the kitchen sink at it:
<Indeed!>
I removed chemical filtration and treated the water with aquarium salt dosed at 75 g/10 gal, KanaPlex at 125 mg (= 1 "scoop")/5 gal and MetroPlex at 125 mg (= 1 "scoop")/5 gal. Every other day I changed 20% of the water, replaced the salt removed thereby and re-dosed with fresh KanaPlex and MetroPlex, for a total of 3 doses of the medications. The eel was much improved - remarkably, the spots looked at least somewhat better almost instantly! - but still affected, so I immediately repeated the entire process through 3 additional doses.
Now, a month later, the eel looks fantastic!!! (See attached picture.)
Very active, always hungry, great color! Its dorsal fin isn't quite intact, but I'm sure that will come with a bit more time.
I'm extremely grateful for the helpful advice I found on your webpage, and I hope that this contribution will likewise help others in the future.
My best, Gerald.
<Thanks for this useful and clear method, which I am sure will be helpful to others. Cheers, Neale.>

Clown Loach Choked To Death     10/31/19
Hi, I have a, hopefully, simple question. Unfortunately, I lost one of my 15 clown loach school this evening. This clown loach was just over a year old and apparently choked to death on one of the ghost shrimp added to the tank several hours before. I know this to be true because by penlight, magnifying glass and tweezers I pulled a deceased ghost shrimp from the deceased clown loach's mouth. I've been stocking ghost shrimp (30 to 50 at a time) into my tank for the past year or so to keep the South American Puffers happy and entertained so they don't nip the Cory's fins or attempt to pick on one of the clown loach (a dangerous undertaking because if you pick on one, you pick on them all apparently.) This has been working quite well and my tank has been completely harmonious until the poor clown died
choked to death on a shrimp. So my question is: am I ok to continue with adding ghost shrimp to the tank? Is this a freak 'just one of those things' accidents or are clown loach choking on shrimp a more common occurrence?
Thanks so much for any knowledge you can pass my way. Carolyn
<Hi Carolyn. This does sound like a freak misadventure, though I would keep an open mind about the cause of death -- fish don't really 'choke' because the place where food gets processed is in the throat (what we call the pharyngeal jaws) which lie behind the gill openings. So the gill cavity is really more of a big open space with the opercula on either side, and while food may get stuck in the pharynx for a while, it shouldn't interfere with the flow of water in through the mouth or out through the opercula. This
isn't to say something like choking is impossible, but rather that it is very rare, and requires the fish to do something very stupid, such as consume dangerous prey (a spiny fish for example) or a solid lump too big for its pharyngeal teeth to grind up. Now, there is a risk here with perhaps adding too many shrimps, or shrimps that are too large to safely process, as a way of getting your South American Puffers to behave. I'd perhaps handle this a different way. SAPs are mostly surface explorers, so floating plants are really good for this, and they appreciate ample swimming space. In a sufficiently large tank for adult Clown Loaches, by which I mean something like 100 gallons or so for a small group, and two or three times that for 15 Clowns, I'd rely on depth and benthic hiding places (such as hollow logs) to keep them safe. Clowns can easily swim fast enough to avoid trouble, and in sufficient numbers, a small group of SAPs shouldn't be persecuting any single specimen. I have kept SAPs with Cherry Fin Loaches, without major problems, but hungry or bored SAPs can be nippy, even if they lack the aggression of some pufferfish species. Floating plant roots give the SAPs something to explore where the Clowns don't go, so could help, especially alongside a floating bloodworm dispenser or similar to occupy the SAPs throughout the day. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Clown Loach Choked To Death     11/1/19

Hi, again and thanks, Neale, for the quick response.
<Welcome.>
I had wondered about the fish's gill/throat/respiration anatomy and the ability to literally choke to death. I did notice one of the deceased clown's eye looked odd in death but didn't place any real importance on it.
It is possible that it may have taken a spine to the eye if the group was scrumming for that particular shrimp. I would assume an accidental spine to the eye would usually result in rapid death?
<I would imagine so!>
The clowns and the SAP's are all young, just over a year old or so and purchased at barely an inch. I ended up with so many clowns because they were all together at the LFS and the way they shoaled was just amazing. I had never seen shoaling clown loach before the way LFSs stock small numbers of them. I figured I would have to deal with white spot (which, luckily, I did not) and have some natural attrition (which I also did not.) I'm quite fond of my clown school and a bit proud of the fact I've had no fish loss
so the clown's death is distressing me. (Full disclosure, I lost one of the SAP trio from banging into the tank lid chasing a Cory cat to the surface.
That SAP was so mean and so predatory that I and the tank felt relieved at the mishap and don't really count him in the numbers.)
<SAPs will nip at Corydoras, though genuinely aggressive SAPs are rare.
Will direct you to some reading, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/ColomesusartNeale.htm
Arguably, the species is best kept in groups but away from other species. I kept mine with Carinotetraodon irrubesco, a similar-sized pufferfish that stays close to the substrate. But the general advice, and certainly the safest, is keep a group on their own.>
They are currently in a 55 gallon tank while I've been saving and planning for a custom 150 gallon corner tank (due to room space limitations) which I should have the beginning of the new year. Assuming successful fish keeping over the next 10 years, I know I will need to double that tank size.
<Understood.>
The tank is set up with plenty of driftwood, hollows, and hides, as well as, live plants on the sand bottom and a large artificial floating plant at the surface where the majority of the shrimp like to stay. Twice weekly water changes keeps the nitrates in check for my currently overstocked tank with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites and I test at least twice weekly. I will be relieved to move everyone into a larger, more appropriate tank size.
<As will they!>
Anyway, the puffers definitely prefer to search for the shrimp at the surface as you described.
<Yep. This can be useful for feeding them, e.g., with prawn or white fish fillet smeared into pumice stones. The stones may even help to wear their teeth down a bit.>
The puffers are certainly not predatory to the clowns or Cory cats in the tank but will certainly attempt to fin nip any unsuspecting tank mate when bored or move obsessively along the glass of the tank. I've found that adding in only 10 shrimp creates a shrimp 'massacre.' I've noticed that the large quantity of shrimp seems a little overwhelming and distracting for the puffers (they scare me when they glut on so many shrimp they are bloated and can only move listlessly along the bottom.) The shrimp seem to
be helping to keep their teeth down as well as I've yet to do dentistry and they're over a year old. I'm wondering why would adding too many shrimp at one time not be ok? Is it a bio load issue?
<Yes; and in any case, shrimp (and mussels) should collectively make up no more than one-third their diet. Shrimp, mussels, and a few other commonly used foods contain a chemical called thiaminase that breaks down vitamin B1. Over recent years, aquarists and reptile keepers have become aware that
many mysterious failures with carnivorous fish and reptiles may be due to thiaminase deficiency. So thiaminase-free foods should make up the majority of the diet to avoid this; such foods as cockles, earthworms, and most types of white fish fillet including Pollack and tilapia. Squid may or may not be good depending on the species.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
So while frozen shrimp are popular, they should be used sparingly. Live shrimp are 'safe' if gut-loaded beforehand, but should otherwise be treated like frozen shrimp and used as treats rather than staples.>
Thanks again, Neale! And sorry for the book! Carolyn
<Not a problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Best filtration for floating plants in Amazon blackwater      10/29/19
Hi Neale,
I have a quick question regarding water in my Amazon tank.

<Sure thing.>
I’ve heard a few people on social media talk about using rooibos (red bush) tea to get that stained water look.
<Never heard of that before!>
Sounds like a great low maintenance idea to me as long as it doesn’t hurt the fish or affect the water chemistry.
<Indeed.>
Do you have an opinion on this?
<Go cautiously. A variety of leaves have been used in aquaria for this sort of job, famously Indian Almond leaves, but also things like Beech and Oak leaves. Given Rooibos (or Redbush) tea is distinctly non-toxic, it'd be worth a shot! I'd suggest using a small quantity at first, perhaps a small handful, ideally in a suitable nylon media bag that can be easily removed if necessary. Observe the fish, and check the pH after a day or two, just to see what's happening. Generally these tannin sources slightly acidify the water if the alkalinity (carbonate hardness) is low, but otherwise have minimal impact.>
Couldn’t find anything in the faqs.
<Indeed not. Never heard of this method!>
Thanks once again!
Christine
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Best filtration for floating plants in Amazon blackwater, H2O qual.    10/30/19

Thanks, Neale,
<Welcome.>
The recommendation I read was to brew a weak tea and add it to the water change. If I find it, I’ll forward to you.
<Cool.>
Yes, I will take it very slowly. My tap water is already acidic. I get readings of 6.4.
<Yikes! That's pretty low for general community tanks. I'd not go below 6.5, and realistically, 7, for general communities.>
I hate using buffers, as my hardness levels zoom up.
<Shouldn't do it you're using a phosphoric acid buffer (i.e., typical Discus buffer products). Rift Valley salt mix will, of course, raise the carbonate hardness and general hardness, but remember, pH is secondary in importance to hardness, so provided the Rift Valley salt mix is used in small amounts to provided pH stability, it doesn't matter if the pH hits 7.5 even. It's not like South American tetras will care, provided the general hardness is 10-12 degrees dH or below.>
There are no fish in the tank yet, but for the first time ever, I have happy Frogbit!
<Yay!>
Want to make sure the water is stable before I add fish, even though I’m chomping at the bit.
<So if you have soft, acidic tap water, some understanding of buffering, and a willingness to stabilise the pH will be important. The easiest approach is take the tap water as it is, don't add anything, but limit stocking level and do many, small water changes to ameliorate any changes. If that's not the way you want to work, and prefer higher stocking levels and/or doing larger water changes every 2-3 weeks, then some sort of buffering will be needed.>
Best, Christine
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Best filtration for floating plants in Amazon blackwater    10/30/19

Hi Neale,
Here is the post I found on Facebook from a woman in Ottawa, Canada, which I’m guessing has harder water than Vancouver where I am.
“I steep 2 bags of pure rooibos tea in about 8 cups of hot tap water for several hours. When it is cooled, I add prime and then add it to my fish tank, which has been temp matched. Instant tannins.”
She also has leaf litter and Mopani wood. I have a large chunk of purchased Malaysian driftwood in my tank, no leaf litter.
I was looking at Seachem’s Neutral Regulator and thought that might be appropriate?
<If your tap water is already soft, then yes, this sort of product would indeed be appropriate. The trouble with these products is where the water is hard, and people (misguidedly) use them to try and 'soften' or at least acidify their tap water.>
But first I am going to take a water sample to my LFS and get them to test, to make sure my low readings are correct. I am also in the habit of using Prime and Stabilizer with water changes, although I haven’t used either while cycling this new tank. No other plants than Frogbit; livestock will be schools of 8-10 silver Hatchetfish, Rummynose tetras, and sterbai or Pygmy Corydoras. I know I’m going to be tempted to add a school of cardinals too. Will that be overstocking a 26 gal. tank with Eheim 250 external canister?
<The filter will cope, the classic Eheim 250 being a veritable bucket when it comes to stuffing with biological media. Silver Hatchets are a great choice, but do get quite large; however, your absence of plants beyond floating species should work out well. Hatchets seem to be greedy feeders, and might be a bit picky at first. But once settled Silver Hatchets at least are quite hardy.>
Thanks again for this awesome service you guys provide.
Christine
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

BOX TURTLE      10/26/19
Hi again.
Hope all is well.
So I want to put my turtle back outside but I hesitate because there are two plastic things in the pen that I'm wondering if the germs from previous eye infection would be in them.
<Possible, but unlikely. Could the plastic items be removed or at least cleaned using bleach? Obviously rinse thoroughly after cleaning.>
I's only been about a week since the infected turtle was in them and I sprayed everything with white vinegar twice.
How do I know if everything is OK?
<Same way as when you clean anything -- you really don't know for sure! If these items are outside, they're probably exposed to ambient bacteria. Eye infections are usually some combination of physical damage, vitamin deficiency, and insufficient warmth. So try and get those right, and the turtle's own immune system should keep it safe.>
Thanks much
Shirley
<Cheers, Neale.>
BOX TURTLE           10/28/19

THANK YOU
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Reggie 10 year old Goldfish; env. dis.        10/22/19
Hi,
<Hello>
We have had Reggie for a very long time. He has lived in his 10 gallon tank alone for all this time and has been quite healthy.
<Yikes; even a single goldfish needs more room than this... Likely this fish has been "Bonsai'd", its life foreshortened by long-exposure to its own metabolites. SEE, as in READ on WWM re gf care.>
He has eaten only Spectrum pellets for years now and would normally get maybe 6-7 per day.
<Am a huge fan of the Spectrum line; fed it for years to my fancy goldfish, and to tropicals>
Recently he has been having a hard time getting his pellets. He would always come to the top and we would try to get them as close to his mouth as possible. Sometimes he would even come up and take right from you. Other times they would fall and he would end up searching them out. Lately I would drop in the food always one at a time and he would go for it but keeps missing it. Eventually with much patience would keep trying and he would get. In the past week he would go for the food but go right by it. My son came home from college and said he thinks he got a tumor or something because there appears to be a bulge under his skin near his back.
<Possible>
Hard to really even see it. He thought he was dying but he hasn’t. Was still swimming around until a few days ago when he would try to come up to get food and totally miss it and drop back down to the bottom and stay there.
<Perhaps blind?>
He moves a bit and seems to be breathing but gasping a bit. I decided to do a water change since it had been close to a month and did so.
<... should be done weekly. READ: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm
and the linked files above>
I took out maybe a third or less of the water. I read on the internet to make the water a little warmer so that’s what I did.
<Good technique, percentage>
Now he is really on the bottom and not moving around very much. I took the water to the aquarium store yesterday and she said she thinks I cleaned it too much and the ammonia level is too high
<... any (appreciable, measurable) is too high, toxic>

so she said to scoop out some of the water from the top and add room temperature water and a few drops of the water conditioner as I always do. I also always add aquarium salt but she said not necessary now. Is there anything else I can do?
<A bigger world (at least twenty gallons), more (redundant) filtration, frequent partial water changes (25% weekly)...>

We are going away next week and out of the country to visit our daughter at school for over a week and concerned how someone else will be able to care for him. Even concerned for now! Can you offer any suggestions??
<The reading...>
Thanks Olivia
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Reggie 10 year old Goldfish... deflection      10/23/19

Hi
So my question about him sitting on the floor of the tank wasn’t addressed. What do you do?
<Umm, as stated...>
From reading what you said to read about goldfish care it says constipation can be an issue? How would you even know that?
<Not constipation w/ the food you're using>
I am not clear about what I can do to help.
<Please re-read the previous message. BobF>
There has always been a filter in the tank. He has lives so many years in the 12 gallon tank don’t really think he has a problem with this.
Please reply.
Thanks
Olivia

re: New rainbow fish won't eat... more fish sickness     10/18/19
Hi again Neale!
<Hello again,>
Thanks for your reply.
<Welcome.>
Good news. So the fish weren't improving and the pet store offered a refund and allowed me to return the 5 sick fish. They also replaced the 4 Otos.
Recently my friend gave my Rummynose back only his rams had bad ich and now the Rummynose has 2 ich spots and mild what looks like fin rot.
<Sounds like his/her tank has some underlying problems, with both Ick and Finrot being opportunistic. But in any case, caught early, both should be easily treated.>
So I caught it and QT it in a 15 liter container with a heater and filter thing. Working on putting temp up to 32 to cure the ich. Is that a good idea?
<It can work, but it isn't my favourite approach. I prefer to include salt (non-iodised cooking salt is fine) at 2 gram per litre. At 28-30 C, this should work nicely. The heat is about speeding up the life cycle, such that the mobile form (which the salt kills) emerge from the fish within a day or two. Additional aeration is usually essential, since warmer water holds less oxygen.>
What should I use to treat the mild fin rot?
<A good antibacterial medication is the default. Antibiotics are ideal, else reputable Finrot medications such as eSHa 2000 or Waterlife Myxazin.
Avoid anything marketed as "mild" or "natural" as these usually include tea-tree oil or some other vaguely antibacterial product that have proven to be unreliable in aquaria.>
Thanks
Oh also this is a vid of the tank now. You can't rly notice the ich on the 1 fish in this tho. I put Praziquantel in main tank due to some fish scratching. I think they may have gill flukes possibly.
https://youtu.be/UQS4iYjqp94
<Looks a lovely tank. Nice to see the Anubias flowering! Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat... rechatting re FW ich      10/21/19
Hi again thanks Neale. I'm starting to question if it is in fact ich at all.
It looks a bit too large to be but unsure.
<Ick tends to look like salt grains. Velvet more like powdered sugar.
Anything bigger than these is likely dead tissue, whether bacteria-caused or otherwise.>
At the moment the 15 liter is at 32 degrees and has seachem ParaGaurd in it. I also medication soaked the food in metronidazole, Praziquantel and Levamisole.
<That should do the trick! Quite the cocktail.>
The main tank has been treated with Praziquantel because some guppies were doing scratching. 1 guppy has some clear poop. Unsure what to do with that, the food may fix it unsure.
<Good luck, Neale.>
re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/21/19

Hi again Neale,
Thanks for your reply.
<Welcome.>
I wasn't sure if it was ich or a small fungal infection since it didn't change in days (maybe a week) and ich should of so I turned temp in QT tank down to 26.
<Fungal infections typically look like cotton wool. They are very distinctive. 'Mouth Fungus', which is a bacterial infection also known as Columnaris, is different. It forms dead white patches, often on the face,
but also on the gills, and the sick fish will quickly become lethargic and lose weight. Since it isn't a fungus but a bacterial infection, it requires medication as per Finrot.>
I also added blue planet fungus cure in the dose recommended for tetras.
<Fungal infections usually clear up quickly, but do remember that carbon removes medications from the water. Sometimes when medications don't seem to work, it's because the carbon neutralised them.>
I think the bubbles may of been from a supplement I added possibly. Maybe the Hoffa by continuum (fats) or from something else I added. Unsure. Will water change of 30% improve it?
<Water changes rarely a bad idea! But wait 24 hours after dosing the tank with any medicine, otherwise you'll just dilute the medicine.>
Or should I be using something like Purigen or Polyfilter (removes organics)?
<See above re: carbon; any chemical medium is likely to interfere with medication.>
Thanks again
<Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat; dis.       10/22/19
Hi again Neale thanks for your reply. Oh yeah the main tank is not where the QT tetra is. The infection is like a dot but slightly fussy I think I dont know if its ich. Kinda doubt it. Could it be neon tetra disease.
<Possibly, though I think some sort of bruise or scratch looks more likely from the photo. If you've medicated as per Finrot and Fungus, and he's not getting any worse, I'd stop treating and simply observe for now.>
I think he's hating it in the QT tank. Could I put him back in main tank?
<Yes, I agree that this would be kinder.>
Should I swab treat with Methylene blue?
<No real point unless it's a fungal infection. Best to just avoid stressing the fish and see what happens. If he's swimming and feeding normally, I'd not do too much beyond that. Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat; dis.       10/24/19
Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply.
The Rummynose didn't improve and looks very white after moving it. Do you think it will improve? I assume the dot must be a scale damaged from move.
<Perhaps. Hard to say. White slime patches can be a disease called Costia.
Quite difficult to treat. Look up some pictures and see if that looks plausible.>
The Kutubu has 1 white dot on its tail so thinking I will add more ParaGaurd. As it may be early ich. Or is something better I can use on whole tank?
<If Costia, worth treating the whole tank.>
My friends guppy that Im borrowing has a split in its tail from being moved I think. Do you think it will get better?
<If the tear is clean, and stays uninfected, yes, it'll heal.>
The froth persists so Im using Polyfilter (chemical filtration to try and remove organics). Hopefully I dont have to get a hob protein skimmer.
<Skimmers don't do much in freshwater.>
Planning on doing a water change soon
<Always a plus. Good luck, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat (RMF any ideas?)<<>>... dis., ongoing       10/25/19
<<W/o sampling, can only guess at the probable cause here. I would proceed as you've outlined. RMF>>
Hi Neale, thanks for your reply
The Rummynose looks much better and normal now. The guppy split persists. The dot is still on the Kutubu so I added more ParaGaurd and removed Polyfilter. If that doesn't work what else should I add?
<I'm against medicating unless you have a diagnosis. Often watching the fish carefully, optimising living conditions, and removing sources of stress, will allow the fish to heal itself naturally. Or at least, worsen
slowly enough than you can start to see obvious symptoms, and then medicate, more precisely, in time.>
Im slowly raising temp up to be 32 degrees so to kill any possible ich is that a good idea?
<For short term, won't do any harm -- most tropicals can handle 28-30 C for a while. 32 is overkill, I think, but follow your instincts, and be sure to observe the fish, providing extra aeration at high temperatures. The other option is to "black out" the tank for a few days, which alongside small amounts of salt (2g/l) and heat, will exterminate Velvet as well as Ick. The tank needs to be pitch black, so a heavy blanket is the order of the day! Do this for a few days, and surprisingly enough, your fish and
plants will be just fine -- but the Velvet parasite will not.>
The guppy split is still there also and so is foam so the Polyfilter didn't help. Must be protein as you said and needs cleaning.
<Let's hope! Cheers, Neale.>
re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/25/19

Hi Neale, Terrible news. So I was looking at my tank and couldn't find my favorite guppy. Then I finally find him and he's laying on reads breathing heavy. I panic and do 35% water change and gravel vacuum thinking it was from the ParaGaurd or 27C.
Then when I look at him closer I see a long reddish worm hanging out of his butt by about 6mm. Seems he has Callamanus. He is looking real bad I actually thought he was dead because he got stuck to intake at one point.
Is the heavy breathing from Callamanus or something else?
<Could easily be stress at this point. Camallanus worms are quite common in farmed livebearers.>
So I medicated whole tank with 13 tablets of Avitrol+ (Levamisole). And blacked the tank out and covered it with towels. Other fish seem fine but some a bit bloated/fatter than what they should (some guppies) so they probably have worms. Intending on feeding pea later tonight and tomorrow to help pass worms
<Epsom Salt can help too, but the Levamisole is really the main treatment here. Sometimes multiple courses are needed, as some worms are more resistant than others.>
I tested water and it was: 6.6ph, about 0.25 ammonia (always has trace ammonia unless tanks are cleaned way excessively), 0 nitrite, 0.5 nitrate, 0.25 phosphate.
<This pH is really too low for Guppies, which prefer hard, alkaline conditions.>
I added seachem Alk to bump ph/kh a bit.
Am I doing the right thing?
<See above; I'd be thinking about water chemistry as much as anything else.
Whatever else, livebearers won't live long in soft, acidic conditions, and the wrong water chemistry will make them more prone to diseases of all sorts. Cheers, Neale.>
re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/25/19

Hi Neale, more terrible news. The guppy died and there seems to be non-moving worms in its net.
<Sorry to hear this, and yikes!>
I took a picture and did a mild dissection of the fish. I think some worms left before the fish died and some after. Thats worms isnt it? Is his gills bleeding or is that an after death thing?
<Hard to say. Dead fish will have bright cardinal red gills immediately after death, but these turn red-brown very quickly. Now, Velvet in particular will damage gills quite badly, but really, spotting this without a microscope will not be easy. Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/25/19
Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply.
<You're welcome.>
I moved all the snails out of the tank and into a QT mini container.
<Prudent.>
My friend is going to keep or mind them for me. Also intending on giving a Siamese algae eater away to lessen bioload.
<Wise, and might be interesting to see if things improve for the fish without him. Sometimes SAEs are misidentified, and the aquarist ends up with slightly more aggressive species (like the Flying Fox) or the
sometimes very nasty Chinese Algae Eater.>
The Rummynose seem to take the medication a bit harder than the rest .Is there any way to more safely worm the fish more routinely?
<Not really, and used correctly they shouldn't cause harm -- indeed, they're widely used on 'sensitive' species like Discus as a matter of course. That said, if a certain fish isn't well to begin with, predicting
the effect of a given drug is hard.>
I think the guppy may of gotten the worm from possibly left over eggs from those sick rainbows. Since he was fine for ages.
<Possibly.>
What Ph and KH should guppies have?
<Farmed Guppies need hard, alkaline conditions: 10-25 degrees dH, pH7.5-8.5.>
Kinda thinking of adding a small amount of crushed coral because the ph just drops and drops so fast.
<Yes, but once algae and bacteria cover the coral, the benefit will be reduced. So you need to plan a way to keep the crushed coral clean, e.g., by rinsing under a hot tap every couple weeks. Furthermore, if your water is very soft, or at least lacks any kind of pH buffering capacity, then using an appropriate aquarium buffer may be necessary. All fish tanks acidify between water changes, unless something prevents that.>
Its like Id have to be adding seachem Alk almost daily to maintain it
<Used correctly, and in sufficient quantity, these should really only be used with each water change. Something is amiss here if the pH is dropping dramatically across a few days. Let me have you do some reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwsoftness.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat; dis, H20 qual., no rdg.      10/26/19
Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply,
<Welcome.>
I think it is because I have a lot of wood. I noticed that even with less plants it was acidic but I expect that the nitrifying process of all the fish and mass of snails was also making it acidic.
<Yes, wood will lower the pH because it releases tannins and other organic acids. In hard water the impact is trivial, but in very soft water without any sort of chemical buffering, yes, the pH will drop.>
Is aragonite better than crushed coral?
<Much the same.>
I was having trouble keeping it above 6.6 just dosing alone.
<Sounds like your water is way too soft. Is this drinking water? From a domestic water softener perhaps?>
My friend has the snails and a Siamese algae eater now. The ph drops by about 0.5 after about 2 weeks it seems.
Wow that's soo high seems aragonite is way to go?
<Do read the article linked earlier today; do also read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
Without buffering capacity (whether a salt mix, or commercial pH buffer) very soft water will change in pH rapidly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat

Hi again Neale, I was wondering if this is suitable? Or if it should be larger pieces? I was thinking of putting maybe 1/2 cup of it in the HOB filter.
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com.au%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F182227892624
My tank has a HOB filter it came with usually empty though, plus a Nautilus 800 plus a small 300L/hr pump
<Do see, read the previous articles and correspondence. The addition of coral sand and other such substrates to your filter will provide buffering, but the effect can be unpredictable. Questions like how much to use, and how often to clean, are completely unanswerable, and end up being a 'suck
it and see' type situation where the aquarist has to establish what works best in their situation. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/26/19

Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply.
I'm getting new guppies of high quality tomorrow as I already had it planned for a few weeks before this disaster. Am I better off putting the 7 new fish (3 yellow-red mosaic and 3 blue grass + 1 Dumbo ear female) in the same tank for the rest of the worm treatment or in a 70L uncycled newly set up tank?
<Never put new fish, especially not expensive ones, in an un-cycled tank.
There are situations where you might have to cycle a tank with a few hardy fish, such as Danios, but this can stress the fish if you don't know what you're doing. On the other hand, de-worming new livestock is actually a good idea, and many aquarists do this as a matter of course.>
Also the fish being treated with Levamisole (2nd day) seem to have reddish gills and be breathing more heavily. Is this normal or do they have some other disease?
<Levamisole shouldn't have any effect on the gills. But hard to say for sure. It is regarded as a safe and reliable medication for most fish though, so I wouldn't be overly concerned. Of course, if fish are breathing heavily, check water quality and chemistry, and supplement oxygen levels with an airstone or increased filtration. Remember, if the pH is very low, hard water fish such as Guppies will be stressed, and heavy breathing is a standard symptom of that. Low pH levels generally aren't a good idea for
most community tanks because biological filtration works better above pH 7, and hardly at all below pH 6, so unless you're keeping blackwater species that need soft, acid conditions to survive, it's best to aim for middling conditions, around 10 degrees dH, pH 7-7.5 being ideal for a mix of soft and hard water community species (i.e., Corydoras, Angels, Danios, Guppies, Rainbowfish, etc.)>
I'm thinking of adding a few teaspoons per day to raise ph to 7.6. And a bit of crushed coral in-between. Is that a good idea? Is that high enough for my strains?
<See previous messages re: water chemistry. Have gone into this already.
Would just be repeating myself, I fear! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/26/19

Hi again Neale,
<Good morning, Sarah.>
I just found out the fancy guppy breeders guppy tank has ph 7.6 and they add salt.
<As do most Guppy and Molly breeders. Under such conditions these fish are much less disease-prone.>
My tank ph is about 6.6-6.8. Should I just add them to a newly set up but uncycled 70L tank with a ph 7.6?
<See earlier message.>
Rather than stress them by having them in low ph?
<Sticking Guppies from hard/saline conditions into a tank with soft, acid water will, at best, make them prone to disease. At worst, they'll simply die from shock or acidosis.>
I have seachem prime and am guard to protect from ammonia.
<Neither of which are relevant to water chemistry.>
What's your thoughts?
<I think I've made them clear in previous messages and links to articles.
Hope that they help, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/27/19
Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply.
Is it safe for my Rummynose and my rainbow fish?
<What, the Rift Valley Salt mix? Rainbowfish will love it. Rummynoses are soft water fish, so less happy about it. But provided you use it in
moderate amounts and aim for no more than 10-12 degrees dH, pH 7.5, you should be fine.>
Where can I buy it from?
<The whole point of the mix is that you can buy Epsom salt and baking soda pretty much anywhere on the High Street, since both are used domestically.
Marine salt mix can be substituted with non-iodised sea salt, or simply left out completely, as the case may be. What does matter is that you check the water chemistry carefully using appropriate test kits. You can of course buy 'cichlid salts' from many aquarium shops, but don't confuse these with 'aquarium salt' or 'livebearer salt' which is just overpriced sea salt (sodium chloride) and does nothing for hardness or pH. Cichlid salts will state that they contain magnesium sulphate, sodium carbonate, and other minerals found in the waters of Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika.
They're more expensive than aquarium salt, but the amounts used in freshwater tanks is trivial, so a small package will last years. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/27/19

Hi again Neale, So I got the new guppies they look great
Though they made me realise the guppies I already have are breathing harder than they should be.
What do you think it is?
<Have stated this already: Poecilia spp. will not be happy in acidic conditions, and simple acidosis can explain heavy breathing and stress.>
Could it be Oodinium or gill flukes or something?
<Unless you have other symptoms, and the water is still acidic, then I would not jump to these conclusions.>
How do I treat it?
<See above; don't.>
Thanks
Would aquarium salt alone treat it?
<Aquarium salt treats Whitespot, and sometimes Velvet, and while salt is helpful to Guppies in soft water, used at the required amounts to create slightly brackish conditions you'd start stressing your tetras and plants.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/27/19

Hi again Neale, I think I figured out what the guppies have I think it is Trichodina or some other gill parasite.
Since I have treated for gill flukes and it didn't improve. I watched a YouTube video of a guppy with Trichodina and my guppies I already have breath in the same way.
What should I medicate with? Thanks
<I am skeptical of any such diagnosis while Guppies are being maintained in soft, acidic water conditions. If they're in hard, alkaline conditions, then sure, start reading up on parasites and pathogens. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/27/19

Hi again Neale So I was researching and was thinking I should try Protozin by Waterlife for the gill parasite?
Though it could take 2 weeks to arrive and that seems less than ideal. Also seems like a very hardcore medicine.
I have some meds here already and apparently ParaGaurd kills them though it didn't seem to stop it before? Hmm unsure what to do. I guess Ill use the ParaGaurd and fingers crossed.
Though last time I used that a guppy died but I dont know if related.
Or should I use something purely copper based? Im unsure
<Fix the water chemistry first, and if the fish remain stressed, then go all Dr. Kildare; not before. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat          10/28/19
Thanks Neale for your reply.
The aquarium should have ph 7.2-7.4 now. As it was 7.2 earlier today.
<This is better. Closer to what Guppies want. But can we start testing hardness? To stress this point, it is hardness rather than pH that fish care about the most.>
If the heavy breathing is from just the water how long will it take to fix?
<Could be due to stress, and once water chemistry is better, your Guppies may well behave normally; only time will tell.>
Also it seems like the Siamese algae eater is also breathing more heavy.
Unsure
If I were to treat it what is safest yet effective?
<As have stated repeatedly, while the aquarium is unstable, and you're having to diddle about with water chemistry, I would assume symptoms of stress are simply that, and not randomly medicate the fish. Only medicate when you can positively identify a disease, never "just in case". Be like your own doctor. Does he/she randomly give you drugs?>
Im just waiting on the crushed coral to arrive and thinking of ordering that rift salt mix. Though how do I know how much to add that's safe?
<As have also stated before: while the Rift Valley salt mix, used at 25-50% the recommended dose should be fine for a mixed tropical fish community, you will want to use some sort of water chemistry test kit to confirm. Make up a bucket of hardened water, test, and if it's good, write that recipe down and re-use each water change. If the water chemistry is wrong, then reduce or increase the minerals accordingly, i.e., more/less Epsom salt for general hardness changes, and more/less bicarbonate of soda for carbonate hardness changes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat          10/28/19

Hi Neale thanks for your reply
<Welcome.>
The guppies aren't breathing as heavy today so I think it may of been from medication or stress
Do you mean kh?
<KH and pH are different things. KH is an abbreviation for carbonate hardness in German, and widely used to indicate the 'degrees of carbonate hardness' in the same way as C is used for Celsius or m for metres. For Guppies, something upwards of 5 degrees KH is the aim. The higher the KH, the more stable the pH will because carbonate hardness provides alkalinity, i.e., the ability the water has to neutralise acids. pH is a measure of how acidic or basic the water is. A pH below 7 is called acid, a pH above 7 is called basic, and a pH of exactly 7 is neutral. While the scale runs from 1 to 14, aquarists are mostly concerned with a range of 6 to 8, with 7 being good for general community tanks, but 7.5 better for communities that have hard water fish such as Livebearers and Rainbowfish. If the carbonate
hardness is at least moderately high, say, 5-10 degrees KH>
Oh so you are saying to make my own mix and not use a premade mix?
<Use whichever suits your budget. Mixing your own is more fiddly but cheap, while a commercial mix will be easier to use but you'll pay a premium for the convenience. They're very similar in usage, and the same warnings about using a simple test kit to check the results will hold true. Dip-strips like these are easy to use, and will test pH, KH and general hardness (GH) all at the same time, so are well worth using if you don't have the time or budget to buy separate test kits:
https://www.jbl.de/en/products/detail/4490/jbl-easytest-6in1
While not especially accurate, they work well enough for community fish tanks.>
My general hardness tester doesn't seem to work it never changes color not even for tap water and its not an "old" tester either
<See above for an alternative approach. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/29/19
Hi again Neale thanks for your reply I will try to test gh like that then
<Good oh.>
Oh I was wondering if my Siamese algae eater looks healthy? He jumped into the female enclosure last night then jumped out
<His head looks a bit scuffed, but other than that, yep, looks fine. If he's swimming about and feeding normally, I'd not be too bothered. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/31/19
Hi again Neale
So later today (now)The female guppies are acting a bit odd. Clamping their tail?
<Classic signs of stress in virtually all freshwater fish.>
And kinda swimming slowly?
<Known as 'shimmying'. Again, a classic stress symptom in livebearers especially, usually linked to water chemistry problems.>

The other fish are acting fine only the females are acting weird.
<If by "other fish" you mean other than Guppies, again, I'd refer you to our previous conversations about water chemistry. Livebearers need hard, alkaline water conditions and quickly become stressed in anything else. The degree with which they react varies from fish to fish, some breeds of Mollies being notoriously quick to get stressed. But beyond that, this looks more like stress than a specific disease, so review living conditions and act accordingly.>
Any ideas what it could be? This is a video of them. I turned the light off early incase they are tired.
https://youtu.be/aCTRWVZaOgk
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/31/19

Thanks for your reply Neale,
Why is it only the female guppies that are affected? All the other guppies are fine
Or are they more sensitive?
<As I said before, some fish react more quickly than otherwise. Trapping females in breeding traps increases their stress levels too, and contrary to how they're sold, they are really only safe for trapping the fry, not the adults. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/31/19

Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply
Oh I see. I added some kh up. I will test it today.
My friends male guppy and maybe 1 other is breathing kinda hard and has inflamed gills what could that be? Could it be a gill parasite?
One of his guppies had that before it died, so I think whatever it was this guppy has
<It's impossible to answer this, Sarah. While water chemistry is wrong, laboured breathing is entirely possible, indeed, expected. Guppies will not be happy in soft, acid water; end of story. But as/when water chemistry is improved, if they are still behaving oddly, then certainly start thinking
about other possible explanations. Velvet for example is a common parasite that damages the gills, causing heavy breathing and death of gill tissue.
It's fairly easily treated once caught early on, and has other symptoms to look out for, so shouldn't be too difficult to diagnose. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/31/19

Hi again Neale, I think Im about 95% sure some of the fish have gill mites so Im thinking of doing a water change then treating with API general cure
<Never even heard of "gill mites" before, and going online I'm struggling to find anything close to a meaningful summary of what they are. To be 95% sure of anything like this, you'd need to have had some gill tissue removed and observed under a microscope by a trained fish parasitologist or equivalent. There are literally dozens of diseases and syndromes that cause heavy breathing and damage to gill tissue.>
Is that a good idea?
<Not especially. About the only halfway useful page I can find on "gill mites" is on the Tetra website, where they recommend Praziquantel, here:
http://www.tetra-fish.com/learning-center/troubleshooting/fish-illnesses-how-to-spot-them.aspx
General Cure contains Metronidazole, which may or may not be helpful; I just don't know, without actually knowing what the pathogen involved is.>
Will also increase KH a little.
<And as/when you have a carbonate hardness above 5 degrees KH, a general hardness above 10 degrees dH, and a pH between 7 and 8, then you'll have water chemistry appropriate for Guppies -- and not before! I cannot stress this too much. Fish have an immune system like us, and many diseases in
fish ONLY become serious once the fish itself is weakened, for example by exposure to the wrong water chemistry. It's virtually impossible to diagnose a fish from vague symptoms like heavy breathing in much the same way that a cough in humans can mean anything from a sore throat to TB.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     11/1/19
Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply
<Most welcome.>
A few days ago the ph was 7.4 so it should be around that still. I just added more kh up today and yesterday. Ill check kh soon and pH. I ordered the rift lake salt and well as crushed coral.
<Understood.>
Also treated with API general cure.
<Shrug.>
I was thinking since the ph is so close to what is ideal it doesn't make much sense that they seem to be irritated unless they have gill flukes or gill mites.
<Yes, it's possible, but you simply cannot be 95% sure of anything in diagnosing fish diseases from commonplace symptoms like heavy breathing.
There are probabilities, of course. So a fish in a new aquarium with eroding fins almost certainly has Finrot simply because that's easily the most probable outcome.>
I read the symptoms is similar to what they have. At first I thought it was hardness related but as hardness improved the symptoms didn't. I have a theory that a lot of pet store guppies have gill mites or flukes and it is what causes the deaths of some guppies at the store that have it most advanced.
<Gill mites (whatever they are) and Gill flukes (rather more well attested) are possibilities, but pet store Guppies are hopelessly inbred, handled with very little care throughout their lives, primarily because these are fish bred to a price rather than a standard. Antibiotics are used widely in the fish farms (and I dare say by some wholesalers) so that by the time they arrive in your tank, they're starting to lose the benefits of the antibiotics and now exposed to all the different bacteria in their world.
End result is cheap, colourful fish that inexplicably get sick a couple weeks after purchase. Some retailers are so fed up with Guppies they don't really like stocking them, but have to buy them in because people want them. A good number die in the retailer's tank, but he hopes he'll sell enough of them to offset that and turn a profit.>
Their water also tests fine for ammonia so I do think the fish get stressed and come down with gill mites or flukes then the ones with it worst die. It may be in part why my other guppy died.
<Perhaps.>
I feel bad for the females but they came as part of a trio deal and it was too risky putting them in the uncycled tank. The 70L is just started cycling now and Id like it to be planted out and finished cycling before they go in. Im doing a fishless cycle with ammonia. I ordered a bigger net so maybe the females will like that more. But i think they are irritated due to water kh/gh/salt or from gill mites or flukes.
<I'm going to save myself some repetition here and direct you to some reading:

http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm 
Follow the links at top to the Disease FAQs; you will find these sorts of problems with Guppies are hardly unusual. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/8/19
<Please (simply) search these topics and READ on WWM for complete answers.
READ don't write. BobF>
Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply.
One thing I notice when I gravel vac is every time loads of bubbles come out of the substrate. The substrate isnt even deep I think 3cm but I think it must be not a good shape to allow movement of water.
Is it possible these bubbles released was somehow toxic to the fish?
It happens every time I gravel vac which is once every week or 2.
Im treating with blue planet fungus cure. Do you think that will help?
Yes the nitrate is always virtually 0. I have been dosing quite a lot of nitrate for the plants but even that doesn't seem to be raising it much. I guess the plants do require it a lot.
I dosed enough Ultimate Aquacare nitrate for it to be 5ppm and within a week it was virtually 0.
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/8/19

Thanks for your reply but I tried searching bubbles coming out of substrate and nothing is coming up?
<Ummm; did for me:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/results.html?cx=partner-pub-4522959445250520%3Ap7
g47g81naq&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=bubbles+coming+out+of+substrate&sa=
Search&siteurl=wetwebmedia.com%2F&ref=&ss=>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/8/19

Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply.
One thing I notice when I gravel vac is every time loads of bubbles come out of the substrate. The substrate isnt even deep I think 3cm but I think it must be not a good shape to allow movement of water.
Is it possible these bubbles released was somehow toxic to the fish?
<Yes and no. In a properly set-up aquarium, some decomposition in the substrate will happen, and any gases produced will either be harmless (nitrogen) or in such small amounts they react quickly enough with oxygen in the water column to be rendered harmless (hydrogen sulphide). However, to get either gas requires anaerobic conditions that are not likely in a properly set-up tank with less than a 8-10 cm depth of substrate. Even then, the amounts of gas will be small. If you're seeing a lot of bubbles, and they're quickly produced, this isn't normal. It might be nothing, and some plants will transport oxygen into the soil via their roots, but it might also mean the substrate is wrong somehow. Unless the tank is
well-planted with roots throughout the substrate, it's a good idea to keep substrates shallow (2-3 cm is fine if there are no plants or epiphytes only) or maybe 6-8 cm if you have plants. Either way, stir the areas without roots periodically if you must, but otherwise leave the substrate alone>
It happens every time I gravel vac which is once every week or 2.
Im treating with blue planet fungus cure. Do you think that will help?
<Not with bubbles in the substrate, no.>
Yes the nitrate is always virtually 0. I have been dosing quite a lot of nitrate for the plants but even that doesn't seem to be raising it much. I guess the plants do require it a lot.
<If you're removing literally armfuls of leaves a week, then sure, that's where the nitrate is going. But otherwise I'd be suspicious of the test kit or the way it's being used. It's rather like a car exhaust containing no carbon dioxide at all. You'd be very skeptical, I'm sure! Since nitrate is the end point of biological filtration, it accumulates between water changes, and should measurable go up from whatever nitrate level is in a bucket of new water (i.e., you tap water nitrate reading).>
I dosed enough Ultimate Aquacare nitrate for it to be 5ppm and within a week it was virtually 0.
<Weird. I guess nitrate reduction might be happening, but at an astonishingly unique level for a generic community tank. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/8/19

Hi Neale thanks so much for your reply.
Yes the substrate is only 1-2cm deep at front. The plants have it about 2 inches with aquarium pebbles and Oliver Knott Aquasoil and Palagonite.
<If the aquarium substrate is dubious, one thing I'd suggest is this: remove the substrate. Leave the plants in pots (either the aquarium shop sort, or with. bit of substrate in small clay pots). But otherwise bare glass. Why? This removes a variable. The fish won't mind, and you can scatter a few pebbles over the substrate to block upwelling light.
Double-check the pebbles are aquarium-safe by dripping acid on them (lemon juice or vinegar) and seeing if they fizz. If they do, they're not safe.>
Even the plants have signs of nitrate deficiency despite my desperate dosing schedule lol.
<If there's something amiss with the tank, they may simply be stressed, much like the fish. To recap: most plants dislike strongly acidic water, and few handle very soft water well.>
Some have yellowing.
<See above.>
This is my tank from today with my surviving fish.1 Kutubu, 2 boesemani, 3 Rummynose, 6 guppies, 2-3 Oto.
The 2 females are elsewhere for fungal treatment. Dead: 6 Otos over time (some from prawn I suspect and some may of had disease as bodies were found for some recently), 1 Rummynose, 5 guppies, 1 SAE. Rummynose, guppies and SAE all died within last 1-2 weeks.
My tank today: https://youtu.be/egcBiXd7IEQ
Does anything look drastically wrong from this video?
<Hard to say with a video. If this was me, I would be stripping the tank down, while leaving the filter running and the fish in place (I'd put them in a bucket while doing the stripping down, mind). So it's basically a hospital tank (all glass) with a few hiding places (clay pots for example).
Move the plants to another tank (even a bucket somewhere warm is fine, even better if you can point a light over them). Ensure the water in the tank is as it should be in terms of temperature, pH and hardness. With the substrate removed, you've simplified things. If things seem better now, and the fish show signs of improvement, you can then start thinking about adding the decorations back. I'd suggest plain gravel substrate, and while the plants will be ticked off about being unrooted, if you stick a few fish
nutrient tablets into the substrate after a couple of weeks, they'll grow back. They'll likely die back a bit though, hence no need to add the fertiliser tablets for a couple weeks at least.>
Thanks so much again. I really appreciate it
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/2/19
Hi Neale, Terrible news Two of the female guppies just died this morning.
<Sorry to hear this.>
They are super fat and their gills were red and kinda pointing outward. The one on the right only just died.
<I'm on holiday at the moment and don't have my fish health books to hand.
But the photos don't look especially diagnostic of anything. Bloating can indicate a range of problems.>
I don't know if it was from what was already irritating them or if I somehow overdosed with the General cure. Or if they had internal parasites (they were huge).I think the other females look alright though. Unsure. It said 1 pack per 10 gallon so I did 3.5.
<Which for a 35-40 gallon tank should be fine. That said, medicating fish randomly, as we've discussed, can have unpredictable results.>
Not sure what to do, just did a close to 40% water change. I think some males look fat, what is that from?
<Can't really say without seeing the fish. But generally, if the fish are looking stressed, the safest steps are these:
(1) Do a decent water change, 25-50%, ensuring new water has approximately the same temperature and water chemistry as the outgoing water, so as not to stress the fish.
(2) Up the aeration
(3) Check thermometer, and if necessary, adjust the temperature up or down depending on the species being kept. For Guppies, around 25C/77F is ideal.
(4) Double check ammonia and/or nitrite levels to ensure filter is working properly.
Unfortunately, sometimes we just have to accept a given species (or at least batch of fish) just isn't working in the tank we have. If it's an option, returning any remaining fish can work well, allowing time for the aquarium to settle down. Don't add anything new for at least two weeks, and ideally a month. Then, reflect carefully on the water chemistry of the aquarium, and choose a species ideally suited to those conditions.
Livebearers are increasingly disease-ridden and unreliable, and you may prefer to select species, such as X-Ray Tetras, that generally present few health problems. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/2/19
Hi again Neale,
<Sarah,>
I checked the water and it seems like there was an ammonia spike.
<Oh dear.>
Also a rummy nose is missing. I think it may of died and caused that in part.
<Certainly possible, but if one little fish dying causes an ammonia spike, it may mean your aquarium filter is either under-sized or wrongly used. As a reminder, on a community of small fish, your filter should be offering a turnover rate of 6 times the volume of the tank per hour. So for example, a 100-litre aquarium needs a filter rated at 6 x 100 = 600 litres per hour.
As for using a filter, it needs to be stocked with biological media, such as sponges or ceramic noodles, but generally not chemical media like Zeolite or carbon.>
The ammonia: 0.25-0.5.
<This is indeed bad, lethal in the long term.>
Ph:7.6
Kh: 5
Nitrite: 0
Gh 0-25
<Is this 0 to 25 degrees dH, which is so broad as to be meaningless, or 0 to 25 mg/l, which is extremely low?>
My SAE seems pretty stressed and his head still has that white stuff.
Unsure if an infection or a graze.
<Could be either, given the ammonia level.>
Something was reeeeally stressing the fish.
<Yep.>
Unsure if it was the med or maybe adding kh too much. I think it was the medicine tbh.
The females were fin clamping for days. The other females stopped fin clamping now so maybe the medication did help. Of the two that died I saw one die just before. It was breathing somewhat heavily and was like it couldn't swim.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/2/19

For some reason water always has ammonia in trace amounts from the aquarium.
<Does your tap water? If your tap water has no ammonia, but your aquarium always has some, then the tank is overstocked or under-filtered, or at best, has more food put into the tank than necessary.>
The filter has Biohome ultimate and seachem matrix and a few 35ppi sponges.
<By default the Nautilus filter comes with a black sponge that contains carbon. This will remove any medicine put in the aquarium. It is very common for people to find their fish constantly die, despite medication, because they have left the carbon filter in place.>
Its AquaOne nautilus 800.
<800/6 = 133, so at best this filter is suitable for tanks up to 133 litres. Realistically, no filter performs at its peak rate of turnover once filter media is added and starting to get clogged with detritus, so a more
cautious rating might be to suggest an aquarium up 100-120 litres. If your tank is bigger than that, then your filter is too small.>
I read that Levamisole could of killed all the worms in tank and may of in part caused it.
<Seems unlikely, unless there were truly millions of worms all over the aquarium.>
Or maybe I need to clean filter.
<Aquarium filters should be maintained, yes, but always remember not to over-clean the media and so kill the bacteria: safest approach is to rinse media in buckets of aquarium water.>
Unsure.
<Indeed.>
The shark was fine before the medicine so I think it was that.
<Perhaps.>
The females had issues before that though.
<Apparently so.>
How can I make the ammonia 0? It is never 0
<See above. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/2/19

Thanks so much for your reply Neale. I guess all I can do is see what tomorrow brings.
<Que Sera, Sera...>
Maybe try to improve my filter because the fact that ammonia is never 0 bugs me.
<See previous message.>
I had the same issue in my two old tanks as well. My friend also has the same issue. Any idea what's causing it?
<Not without data, no; and realistically, it's hard to diagnose vague, general aquarium problems without actually being in the room looking at them! But as a reminder, the majority of generic aquarium failures come down to water quality and/or water chemistry, so nailing these first is always a good step. Poor quality livestock, maintenance mistakes, and just plain bad luck account for some problems, but they're that bit less likely.>
I definitely won't get more females till their tank is ready and everything has stabilized i.e. no deaths for 2-3 months.
<Wise. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/2/19

Hi again Neale,
I think it was because the GH is so low the test strip wasn't reading it.
<So it's the 0-25 ppm or mg/l reading, then?>
I added some seachem equilibrium.
<May help, but rather than just chunking some in, put some into a bucket of water, then after it's fully dissolved, do a water test on that bucket of water. Find out what you are making. Any aquarist (or website) that throws around "teaspoon per gallon" amounts is giving, at best, incomplete advice.
It's not the amount of these products that matters -- it's the water chemistry produced!>
The female guppies still seem irritated and the new males. 1 female in particular is shimmying. I also saw 1 scratching.
I put in some seachem ParaGaurd half dose so far as well.
<See above.>
Some of the males are very fat so Im not sure what that is.
<Nor I.>
I intend on feeding Fluval veggie flakes soaked in metronidazole and Praziquantel (maybe Sulfaplex) and some garlic. Then tomorrow adding some Epsom salt to the soak. Hope that helps
<These are rather harsh medicines, and while I can see your reasoning, I'm not wild about random medications where water chemistry or quality may be more significant. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat       11/2/19

Hi again Neale,
Thanks for your reply. The tank also has a HOB it came with but I use that for chemical filtration.
Tap water has no ammonia.
<So any ammonia detected is being produced by the fish or decay of organic material. This, in turn, by definition means the biological filtration is inadequate. Ensure all filters are optimised for biological filtration.
Remove anything providing chemical filtration of any kind, whether carbon, Zeolite, peat, or whatever. Replace with more biological media.>
My tank is 130 liters.
Is it possible its over feeding or do I need more filter media? Like another whole filter?
<Perhaps, but it may be the filters are not maintained properly, not being used correctly, or the aquarium is overstocked. Lack of oxygen can cause biological media not to perform well, and finally, the filter bacteria work best in hard, alkaline water and work more slowly in soft, acidic conditions. Supposedly they all but stop working below pH 6 and in very, very soft water. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/5/19
Hi again Neale,
<Sarah,>
Just a quick update
1 more female died after exhibiting signs of TB. Back arching and hanging around at top. The blue grass male is doing the same and probably on the way out.
<Does seem likely.>
I'm convinced these 2 have fish TB and the others also but a strain that causes bloating.
<It is certainly possible, but Mycobacteria infections can look very similar to a range of other diseases. So while certainly worth considering -- and not uncommon among farmed Guppies -- I don't think you can be sure.>
I think the other fish will be ok. The rift lake salt arrived, do I do a quarter of the Victorian dose?
<Yep. But to remind you, again, make up a bucket of water using the appropriate amount of salt for that bucket, and THEN do a water chemistry test. Make sure the values seem appropriate for the fish being kept. But I agree, by default, one-quarter the dosage for a Rift Valley tank should be sufficient.>
Or do I just do the Victorian dose? Or do I do something else? Is it safe for plants?
<Yes.>
My friends fish have similar symptoms. May be possible my fish got it from bringing a guppy from his here. 2 of his guppies died with bloat and 1 is on way out.
<More likely the fundamental problem was with the batch of fish you/they bought. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat       11/5/19
Hi again Neale Forgot to add I ordered an 8 watt UV to try and get rid of this disease.
<Unlikely to do so.>
Sunsun 8 watt 800L/hr UV steriliser.
<To be clear: UV filtration is very good at killing the motile phases (free-swimming forms) of parasites such as Whitespot and Velvet. These, as you know, have a life cycle that's split between a free-swimming stage and a parasitic stage. When the Whitespot or Velvet cysts burst, they release free-living stages that try to infect another fish. As water goes through the UV filter, the UV radiation kills these free-living stages. This, in turn, slows down or stops outbreaks of these kinds of parasitic infections.
What UV doesn't do is kill bacteria or viruses that either lay dormant in the tank, come in from the air, or infect fish directly, one to another. So something like Mycobacteria certainly won't be much/at all reduced by UV filtration because it passes from fish to fish, and nor will something like Finrot, because that's caused by bacteria that are ambient in the environment.>
Hope it comes soon. The coral sand hasn't come yet
Thanks
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat (Perhaps an overall fish/health/aquarium book? RMF)      11/6/19
Hi Neale thanks for your reply
Terrible news My big Siamese algae eater just died :(
Feeling devastated atm
<I would imagine. When many fish from different species die, you can be VERY confident the problem is with the tank, not disease (and any symptoms of disease are caused by environmental stress, rather than anything more species specific). Review tank conditions, including temperature, pH, hardness, and water quality; then act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/6/19

Hi again Neale,
More bad news, my friends guppy I was lent is dying.
Its cork screwing and breathing pretty hard.
<Oh dear. Doesn't sound promising, I admit.>
Is it possible the infection is waterborne because the females in the QT net weren't near any of the other fish yet 4 of them died.
<You can rule this out! A breeding net won't stop pathogens getting between fish.>
And outside of the net a Rummynose died an Oto, my sae, and 2 guppies
<See previous message. Something is wrong with the tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/7/19
Hi again Neale,
Thanks for your reply
Nothing is wrong with the tank parameters.
They are all the same as the other day
<Something is evidently wrong if multiple fish all die within days of each other. A disease can sometimes affect a succession of fish, but usually this is a slow process over weeks or months. Neon Tetra Disease for example will eliminate all your Neons, yes, but not overnight. Similarly, while
Whitespot or whatever can affect many species of fish, each species will be more or less resistant. So while one species might quickly become infected (Clown Loaches are the classic example of a fish that exhibits Whitespot almost at once) other species are affected very slowly (fish with thick slime coats for example). But if you lose a bunch of unrelated fish all of a sudden, it's unlikely a disease is, in itself, causing the problem.
There's something causing the fish to be severely stressed, and this in turn is causing them to become vulnerable to whatever pathogens are knocking about. Put another way: you need an open mind here. Something IS wrong, the question is what! You'll get more help from me if you can report back to me the exact parameters, rather than "nothing is wrong". The numbers, alongside the list of remaining fish species, will be helpful.
Cheers, Neale>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat <RMF tries to encourage an overall education>      11/7/19

<Might I suggest you read a good book (or two) re general aquarium set up, operation? Please see Neale's shortlist here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bksfwbrneale.htm
Your problems you've detailed over and over are iatrogenic... You'd do well to "start at the beginning" in discovering, studying. Bob Fenner>
Hi Neale, thanks for your reply.
Ill test the water again but I doubt much changed
I even did a 30-40% water change 1-2 days ago incase it was a toxin.
Everything was fine last time i.e. 1-2 days ago when I did water change: Kh 4.Ammonia: 0Ph: 7.6Nitrate: 0-1 (low as plants r eating it, i even dose nitrate in plant ferts and its still low)Temp: steady 25.Phosphate: 0.50
After these parameters 4 fish died in 2 days. First female guppy (was on way out). Then blue grass male on second day. Both TB signs of arching back and surface swimming and clamped tail. Not eating and wasting. Then my shark had some small white skin defects for days and swimming up and down at
certain times. Was bloated Found dead about 5am yesterday with red areas on ventral. Yesterday friends guppy was corkscrewing and breathing heavy. I gave it back to him but told him specifically not to put in his tank.
Later today Ill check again for parameters and see if more died.
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/7/19

Hi Neale just an update
<Hello, Sarah,>
I have been keeping an eye on the 2 female guppies. One seems to of come down with something nasty. Skin defects and looks like fuzz or infection is bursting out of scales. Also has lumpy areas on body. Is this TB?
<This could be anything. The white fuzz might be excess mucous, a common reaction to improper environmental conditions and some types of protozoan parasites, such as Costia. Might be dead skin tissue, as per Finrot or Columnaris. Really difficult to say without doing microscope work. It's generally a process of elimination here, looking at other factors and symptoms, alongside what you're seeing here. Now, my gut reaction, given some experience at keeping Livebearers, is that this is Costia or some
other bacterial infection; I would treat as per Costia, while also trying to establish what the issue is. From (bitter) personal experience, I've found two extra factors with Livebearers you need to keep tabs on, beyond the usual: the first is nitrate level, and the second is oxygenation.
Stuffy tanks with limited water changes will tend to cause this sort of problem with Livebearers. Of course they're also sensitive to Costia if it's about, doubly so if the tank is experiencing 'new tank syndrome' or the water chemistry is wrong. So we've been going around and around this a bit, but something *is* amiss with your tank. You shouldn't be losing fish after fish. A balanced tank is normally very easy to keep, and compared with most pets, fish are usually pretty undemanding.>
Got a video of it here. Should I remove and try to treat the fish or euthanise it or just leave it? I think the other female is also infected
https://youtu.be/4hvJ2oecLvQ
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/7/19

Hi again Neale
Thanks for your reply
<Welcome.>
Yea it doesn't seem as severely life threatening as the other diseases the fish had.
<Yet; but I have seen this sort of cloudy covering on livebearers that I keep (such as Limia) and while it takes some weeks, these fish do eventually die without treatment. Even with treatment, they seem to be
sickly compared to the others.>
The nitrate is at close to 0.
<I'm skeptical about this. Zero nitrate means that not only is the filter turning ammonia into nitrite and then nitrate, but that nitrate is either absorbed by very fast-growing plants or else turned into nitrogen gas in an anaerobic environment. Such conditions are rare, and almost never exist in home aquaria.>
I didn't get to check other parameters today because I was moving and medicating the females. I hope they pull through. I wanted to put them in the other tank but its doing a fishless cycle atm and the ammonia and nitrite is too high so couldn't.
Is it possible that increasing kh/ph too fast caused the mass outbreak of disease?
<Over rapid changes in pH and hardness can be stress factors, but the fish usually recover within a few hours or days, assuming the change was from worse to better conditions.>
Or could it be related to something else?
<Indeed; see previous messages.>

The aquarium has a lot of aeration and surface agitation. Its also heavily planted
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat       11/14/19
Hi again Neale thanks for your reply.
I was thinking about it and think maybe adding too many fish so fast stressed the system and caused some sort of downward spiral. Plus adding the API general cure maybe depleted oxygen. Today I noticed a big fat white poop out of one guppy and was wondering if I should treat with Praziquantel?
<If you suspect worms, then sure, treating with Praziquantel should do no harm and perhaps some good.>
The poop is like this
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcT69acBC3gpjHU3ZvEwVr-U2v6lZQpy-cGqs3B5TXPCGLN46NcZ
<That photos doesn't seem to show anything diagnostic, so I can't really help here.>
No other fish seemed to of died now except 1 of the sick females that were in QT.
This is a summary of what happened:
So I have a 130L tank. Set up since mid year with 2 SAE. Then neon rainbows that were sick and got returned.
It had 2SAE, about 14 guppies, 4 Rummynose tetras, many snails and 2 mystery snails, 2 boesemanni rainbows, 1 Kutubu, 5 Oto. Left after: 2 boesemanni, 1 Kutubu, 3 Rummynose, 5 guppies, 3 Oto
Week 1: 1 dead Week 2: 4 dead, total 5 dead Week 3: 7 dead: total 12 dead Order of events: Week 1, mon 23rd Oct: 1 guppy dead, tank treated with Levamisole incase of worms. Week 1, sun 27th Oct: added 7 new guppies (2m, 6f). Treated with general cure then stuff was massively down hill. Week 2, thur 31st Oct: 2 female guppies dead bloated and had been breathing hard. Other fish seemed stressed. Week 2, Fri 1st nov: 2 female blue grass guppies dead with fin clamping and heavy breathing. Gave 1 SAE to friend, its doing well. Also gave them all snails. Week 3 tue 5th Nov: new blue grass male dead after back arching and being at surface (gasping) female had same thing, also dead. Big SAE dead after having white like scuff looking mark (since 29th)and up and down swimming, found dead.oto dead and a Rummynose. Friends guppy also corkscrewing and I gave it back to them and it died.Week 3, thur 7th nov: 2 female guppies look ill. One showing signs of fungus/skin defects. Put in QT. 1 female died.Week 4: no more deaths. 1 Guppy in QT seems alive, unsure if infected.
<Yep, I agree, seems a very hard ride for you and your fish. I think sitting back and letting the tank run for a few weeks without adding any more fish must be your priority. I'd go so far as to let nature take its
course if some of your livestock were sickly from the get-go. Medicate if you can be 90% sure you've identified the problem, but don't randomly medicate, and focus more on good water quality than medicine. Once the tank has been disease-free for 4-6 weeks, then we can discuss tankmates and what
to do next. Fishkeeping shouldn't be a slog, and honestly, if a tank is set up slowly, and the right fish are added, they're virtually maintenance-free. The fact you've had all these battles suggests you did indeed try to do too much, too soon. Lesson learned, hopefully. Meantime, as Bob F has suggested, sit back and read some books of fishkeeping, and reflect on what happened and think about what might have been the causative factors. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat

Thanks Neale
<Welcome.>
The uv filter arrived and the crushed coral will come soon.
<Do read up on these, and use carefully. UV filters only help in specific ways, and need regularly (likely monthly) cleaning or dirt will block the UV from hitting the water. Once that happens, they're just a waste of electricity.>
Yeah I have researched a lot for years so I guess it just came down to being overconfident and adding to many non-quaranteed fish in one go or from the general cure or even the sick rainbows at the begining. Hard to say.
<Agreed.>
I think less changes at a time should help.
Ive never had something like this happen before.
I have a QT tank set up and almost cycled for any future fish.
Hoping things will not go bad like that again :)
<I would hope not, too. Cheers, Neale.>


re: New rainbow fish won't eat... chatting re bubbles      10/21/19
Hi again Neale, Recently I've noticed bubbles on the surface of the water of my aquarium. Like bubbles are forming from the normal agitation but not popping that fast.
Do you know what could be causing the bubbles? Thanks
<Persistent bubbles on the surface are usually down to organic material, the "protein" removed by protein skimmers in marine aquaria, or the froth you sometimes see at the seaside. Increasing water flow while ensuring the stock isn't overstocked or under-cleaned should do the trick. In the short
term, paper towel laid on the surface can wick away the oil. Switching the filter off while doing this, so the water is flat, can help, but don't leave the filter off for more than a few minutes at a time. Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat; bubbles       10/22/19
Hi again Neale, I just got a photo of the bubbles what do you think could be causing it? Is it possible its from Seachem Nourish or Continuum Hufa or continuum C? Or from a plant fertiliser?
<Any/all of these are possibilities. It looks like plain vanilla 'protein' froth, as you see on any well-aerated tank with substantial amounts of organic material in the water column. Doesn't do any harm, and improved filtration, alongside frequent water changes, generally helps. Something to adsorb dissolved organic matter can help, such as carbon, but these can produce problems of their own, not least of which is the fact they're replacing useful biological filtration and will need frequent replacement if they're to remain useful.>
Thanks again
<Cheers, Neale.>

Neolamprologus multifasciatus stopped breeding     10/20/19
Hi crew,
I have 20 gallon hexagon tank with multies colony for about 7-8 years. In the past I bought 6 juveniles and since then they multiplied in my tank. I did not do anything to protect fry but I was able to keep steady population at about 9-10 fish at a time. But for last year they stopped breeding. My guess it’s due to inbreeding. Currently only 5 fish left. They look happy to me but does not look they will ever breed again. Do you think adding few new juvenile will help to resolve the problem?
Thanks,
Mark
<Hi Mark. While fish probably don't have a "menopause" as such, it's certainly true that fertility declines with age, especially with fish (like these small cichlids) that have lived much longer in captivity than in the wild. Inbreeding can also cause problems, so if your colony is mostly descended from a single batch of locally bred fish, chances are they were all siblings. Even if farmed, there's still a good chance the original six were related. Either way, after a few generations you can end up with a situation where most offspring came from a single dominant pair within the colony, and all the younger fish are closely related to some degree. So yes, freshening up the gene pool with some newly imported offspring may help, ideally wild-caught specimens. Needless to say, a quick review of the environment is always worth doing. Older tanks suffer from pH and hardness declines than can stress Malawian and Tanganyikan cichlids, even if not actually killing them. High nitrate levels also have a strong negative effect on cichlid fertility, so clearing out organic muck while freshening up the filter media in a canister filter, if used, will do something to offset this. Cheers, Neale.>

Stocking shoaling fish, FW        10/19/19
Hi,
A quick question while my 100 litre tank cycles. I am planning to stock with groups of 8-10 of sterbai corydoras, rummy nose tetras, and silver hatchetfish. My question is when stocking a shoaling species, how many can I add to the tank at once?
<Mmm; depends on such factors as what you have placed already, the size of the system, filtration, species being added... >
for instance, can I bring home 8 corries, and introduce four at once, keeping the other four temporarily in a QT, or is it better to buy them at separate times? I know you shouldn’t introduce too many fish at once, but don’t want to stress them by being alone. Also don’t
want to establish pecking orders by having different size/age of fish.
As always, thanks for your help.
Christine
<Ahh, for these Corydoras and your 100 liter, I'd add all at once, after the system is cycled. Bob Fenner>
Re: Stocking shoaling fish     10/20/19

Thanks, Bob. Tap water pH 6.4,
<Oh; may want to raise this up a bit... perhaps 6.8 or so... with simple sodium bicarbonate or commercial product... for the catfish>
temp. 27, KH & GH near 0. Only purchased
driftwood and Amazon Frogbit in tank, Eheim external canister 250.
<Nice! A fave plant and my most favorite brand/make of filters>
So I’ll
add entire shoal of each species one at a time after cycling complete.
C.
<Ah, good. B>

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