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Astronotus ocellatus (Agassiz 1831), the Oscar. To seventeen inches (45.7 cm). South America: Rio Amazonas basin in Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Northern Paraguay and French Guiana. Freshwater: pH range: 6.0 - 8.0; dH range: 5.0 - 19.0, temp. 22 - 25°C. Wild type at  the Shedd Aq. 2015 
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Freshwater FAQs, Ask us a question: Crew@WetWebMedia.com

Updated 9/23/2018
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,
Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized daily Current Crew Bios., Not so current Crew Bios

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Bettas and Epson salts      9/23/18
Is it ok to put a little Epson
<Epsom, Magnesium Sulfate>
Salts in a 10 gallon tank (1-3 tsps/gallon) for a new Betta in case there is a problem, like the fish left the store with possible parasites due to the conditions they were in or is Epson Salts something that is kinda hard on them and should only be used if there is an obvious problem? thank you
<Tis fine. Please see Neale's pc. re MgSO4 use here:
Bob Fenner>

Re: Need advice urgently; follow-up on glass tank repair      9/23/18
Good morning ��
<Bon après-midi !>
I just thought I would give you an update on my tank that you were so kind to help me out with some advice
<Sure thing.>
The tank has not leaked at all since I set it up.
<Always a good thing when it comes to fishkeeping.>
And is running fully stocked with my all male Cichlid show tank ...... here is a picture of it now
<Looks good. You might try removing the plastic plants, letting them dry, then using aquarium silicone to glue on small pebbles or stones. Leave to dry for a couple days or however long the instructions say. Then put them back in the tank. Result: not only are the plastic plants harder to move and easier to root into the sand, they also look more natural, and even if they are uprooted, still look good. The stones or pebbles will act like anchors too, keeping the plants more or less vertical and in place.>
Please excuse the wire in the background as I’m having a background made for it at the moment
Thank you so much for all your advice ..... you guys are awesome ������ if it wasn’t for you guys I would of thrown this tank away
<I'm sure BobF appreciates your kind words and interest in our website.>
Kind Regards
<Cheers, Neale.>

Unidentified "bug" on Betta Fish - Ich/velvet/???        9/21/18
Hello gang. Friend of Bob F here
<Hey Ad!>
Long time SW keeper, first time FW fish lol. Well the second Betta I've owned.
I will start off with the shock factor: My Betta “Ting” has had this bug for FOUR MONTHS.
He is VERY active, eating like a horse, chases a laser pointer, loves hand fed swatted mosquitoes and overall acts like a perfectly healthy Betta. No scratching or scraping.
4gal planted bowl. Heater but no filter. Has been set up for 3.5 years with a 4 month break after I lost my three year old Betta last December.
Ammonia - 0 (always)
NO2/3 = 0
PH 7.6 using high range test - although I have added Indian almond leaves so it may be lower. Will have it re-tested tomorrow.
Gets 5 stage RO water from the 5 gallon refill station at grocery store. I have never add water conditioned until two weeks ago thinking maybe the filters in the unit aren’t being maintained and
<Interesting... that these plants are growing in... straight RO? They and the Betta do need mineral content... is this coming simply from the substrate, foods...?>
I went on a vacation in May for three weeks and had a house sitter. The heater in his bowl stopped working and when I got back he was lethargic and had a loss of color. I added a new heater and after a couple days, he perked right up.
I noticed at this time that he had what looked like very tiny ich. I started feeding him a little more - cheap pellets all we have here - and got some freeze dried bloodworms which I soak in water + minced garlic. I saw very little results so I upped the temperature of the tank to 86-87 for a week.
<Good. This IS the very treatment that I would suggest...>
This did nothing. I avoided adding salt to the tank but I did give him a salt bath 1tsp per gallon and then a second half saline second bath. He was visually stressed during this, breathing at the surface mostly so I only did one of these baths.
About three weeks ago I was able to get some good photos and post them on a Betta group. Several people have said this looks like velvet not ich based on size. It’s nearly impossible to see with your naked eye unless you have very good vision and only when the fish is head on can you see it on the sides of him - pic below. You can see it behind the eyes mostly, if you look VERY closely. The size said velvet BUT its NOT gold. At all.
<Don't think this is Velvet... small/er size than Ich, but usually very virulent; killing fish hosts w/in days>
Next I added Indian almond leaves. They grow where I live so I added a couple after cleaning and soaking. Temp still at 84
My LFS is VERY limited in supplies. I live in St. Thomas USVI
<Yes; have visited w/ you and Hakko there>
I was able to find Betta revive locally.
Ingredients. Water, neomycin sulfate (<10%), Methylene blue (<0.5%), proprietary polymer mixture, buffers, EDTA, malachite green chloride (<0.01%), cyanocobalamin and electrolytes.
<Worth the risk... if it were me, I would treat w/ this product, though... your plants are likely to show it>
I was able to order Ich-X
I added a full dose about two weeks ago. I didn’t realize there was carbon running in a tiny Betta filter that I had added (and since removed), so I had to do a large 90% WC (down to the sand) and re-dose. I do a 30%-50% WC every day re-dosing the new water appropriately. This is on the bottle of instructions. While I am doing the water change he is getting a 15-20 min bath in two drops of Betta revive in a 12oz solo cup floated for temp stability.
<I want to be reincarnated as your Betta>
My thoughts is too small for ich and too hardy for ich. So many people have said he would be dead if it was velvet.
<Yes; there are other protozoan external parasites; and this could "still" be Ichthyophthirius... the spots (white dots) are reaction to the actual ciliates... can be small depending on the nature... of the disease, conditions. As we e-chatted on FB, really need to sample, look at under a low power 'scope. Procedure is posted on WWM>
So maybe its an unknown. I don't really have the ability to use a microscope. I probably could but I do not feel comfortable doing a scraping.
<Ahh, I see>
He is not a calm Betta, always moving and as he gets better he is even more active, rocketing to the front as soon as he sees movement.
<Good signs. Does appear healthy otherwise to me>
I am attaching as many images as I can, and hopefully you have some advice. I would rather not QT him and I would rather not lose all my plants as they're very expensive here. My course of treatment IS working but its very slow and I worry about more stress and chemicals counteracting the treatment. I have ordered some better foods, bug bites and tomorrow I plan on leaving out some pitchers of water for mosquito larva.
<Mmm; well my choice in treatment is either Metronidazole/Flagyl and/or a Quinine compound... Either or both should knock this out if it's a Protozoan. Will likely have to be ordered/shipped to you.
Please keep me/us informed as to your actions, observations. Bob Fenner>


Re: Flowerhorn/Red Devil Cross with swim bladder disorder symptoms       9/21/18
Hello again. I have an update on Jiana, our Flowerhorn/red devil cross with the balance issues. She has had a full 2 weeks of treatment (Metronidazole, Nitrofurazone, Epsom salts) and daily or every second day 30-40% water changes. She has improved as far as alertness and activity (playing again) but her balance has not improved.
My biggest concern is an area on her side about 2 inches by 3 inches that is always out of water.
<Not good.>
She is pretty good about moving around and keeping it damp and I have also used Polysporin on the area as well but it appears to be infected. Tonight it looks swollen, and there is evidence of skin breakdown. Do you have any suggestions about how I should go about treating this?
<Not really. Fish skin is meant to be wet. There's really not anything you can do to help it once it's in the air and drying out. For example, you can't rub skin cream onto the skin without some of it getting into the
water and greasing everything up, and potentially poisoning your fish.>
Her reactions indicate that it is painful for her.
<I bet.>
We have rigged up a harness of sorts and a weight to keep her below the surface of the water - not sure how long she will put up with that but she appeared to be fairly comfortable with the latest experimental
<Ingenious! Probably about the best thing you can do here, really. Do review diet (especially constipation) but I do fear that this fish is simply deformed. Flowerhorn cichlids are messed up to begin with, and a hybrid could be even less lucky.>
I am wondering about what I can do topically and systemically for her issue.
<Not much. There are products like Stress Coat that help the mucous layer on your fish, and they're worth a shot, but they're not really designed to help "a fish out of water" for hopefully obvious reason.>
Her tank has been treated today with Nitrofurazone but I am wondering if we need a different antibiotic for this.
<Worth a shot.>
Thanks for any ideas or help you can suggest. Andrea
<I'm not optimistic, to be honest. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Flowerhorn/Red Devil Cross with swim bladder disorder symptoms       9/21/18

Thank you for your input and honest opinion on her condition.
She has agreed to wear a wet gauze soaked in Epsom salts for 10 minutes at
a time this afternoon which has cleaned up the site considerably. The
Nitrofurazone also seemed to help overnight as well.
I will continue with the development of a harness and weight system to keep her below the surface but am also not very optimistic about the final outcome here.
<Nor I; but medical miracles do happen!>
Thanks again
<Cheers, Neale.>

Problems with "dragon scale" Bettas       9/21/18
We have Dragon Scale Bettas at the LFS here. They tend to have thick scales that tend to be shiny although I am seeing this less and less. Also the scales apparently can grow over one eye or both eyes blinding the fish completely.
<Indeed, just what the hobby needs -- another fish that's crippled by the mutant genes we've bred into it.>
The one I saw today had one good eye and one seemed clouded or maybe it was a thin scale over the eye. Does anyone know about these Bettas?
<The International Betta Congress are probably the best people for information about new Betta breeds.>
As in it maybe being a case of trying to breed for characteristics that backfires when it leaves the fish blind?
<Yes; so far as I can ascertain, all dragon scale Bettas are handicapped to some degree. Some fry die very early on, others survive for months or a year or two, but they don't seem to have the same 3-4 year lifespan of typical fancy Bettas. Even those that live some years will usually end up blind.>
Also it seems that when Bettas are inbred for interesting characteristics they seem to lose their feisty nature and tend to be slower and timid, not the usual "natural" Betta wanting a fight with another Betta. Thank you
<Cheers, Neale.>

African butterfly fish     9/19/18
You previously said about a fish losing its colour being bad my ABF occasionally loses some of its, about 2 months ago I had a problem while on holiday with an auto feeder over feeding my tank and not working properly.
<Yikes! They're a bit of a menace, to be honest. If you're gone less than two weeks, best simply not to feed your fish. Anything over that, have a friend add a tiny bit of food once or twice a week. Large fish (big catfish for example) can go 4-6 weeks without food without any health problems at all.>
My ABF now seems to be very skittish it was grumpy before a bit but just seemed like it’s personality as was eating aggressively from the food hole where I drop it in but it now seems scared and runs when I put food in or take the lid off, if the lights are off and the aquarium is closed it will eat a bit but is hard to monitor how much it is eating is there any solution to maybe why the fish is so scared, hope this is clear thank you for the help
<Sometimes fish become skittish if their environment has changed. Check water quality in particular, as non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels will certainly be registered as 'threats' by your fish (a bit like the smell of burning to humans) and they become more anxious and won't eat. Do also check the pH hasn't suddenly changed, as that will also cause fish to become nervous. African Butterflyfish are jumpy fish, particularly in small tanks or tanks with bright lights and no shade, so review and act accordingly. Do also check diet: while a varied diet of frozen foods or good quality pellets/flake should provide all the right nutrients, a monotonous diet or one including live feeders can introduce health problems, including thiamine deficiency and parasites of various kinds. Finally, look how any tankmates are behaving, including at night. While some barbs and tetras will nip at African Butterflyfish during the day, there are some nocturnal species, notably Synodontis, that can occasionally nibble at their fins during the night. So again, review and act accordingly.>
From Josh
<From Neale.>
Re: African butterfly fish       9/21/18

There is nothing nipping at the fish as I can sea I am going to increase water changed to make sure 0 nitrates and ammonia the tests have said it is very low.
<Low is not zero; review, and act accordingly.>
When feeding should I keep to feeding it in the dark or get it back used to normal feedings.
<They are visual hunters, and active by day, but do prefer shade, so that should help you understand when and how best to feed them.>
Thank you
From Josh
<Cheers, Neale.>

Apistogramma; head down       9/17/18
I have a dwarf cockatoo cichlid that has been breeding recently the last batch of fry were about 2-4 weeks ago but on the last week he has been acting strange by going vertical as the picture shows Amy ideas why he is behaving like this.
<I'm surprised if this fish is still alive by the time you get my message, to be honest. Usually this darkening colour and spiraling loss of control implies severe stress, if not imminent death. If the fish is still alive, I'd be doing the following: First, isolate from the other fish (probably best to remove that one, rather than stress the sick fish; if all else fails, a floating breeding trap can be used to confine the healthy fish for a few days). Second, ensure water quality excellent, with low nitrate and generous oxygenation. Thirdly, if after a few hours of improved conditions, the fish becomes more active and shows some signs of looking better, then medicating with Metronidazole would probably be a good idea. It's as close to a cure-all as there is for cichlids, covering a variety of possible problems.>
Thank you
From Josh
<Dwarf cichlids can be easily stressed, often by increasing temperatures, dropping oxygen, and/or elevated nitrate level. In addition, any sort of accidentally dissolved toxins, such as household solvents and aerosol sprays, including things like insecticide, can cause immediate stress and/or death. I've seen this myself with Nanochromis when placing a small piece wood into their tank that came from a garden that had, without my knowledge, been recently sprayed with weed killer. The pair of cichlids were dead within 20 minutes. If just the one fish is sick, and the other fine, then still keep an open mind, but do review environment, and think about how/why this particular fish might be stressed. Let me make an additional point -- Apistogramma aren't really "pairing" fish in the wild, most, perhaps all, are harem spawners to some degree. Usually the female guards the fry, while the male will defend a territory containing the smaller territories of one or several females. The upshot of this is that female sometimes decide the male is a threat, and will shoo him away. In a big tank, or the wild, that's fine, and he'll scoot off; but in small tanks, say, a 10 gallon breeding tank, she might decide that the male is still too close to her brood. She can then become very aggressive, harassing, even killing, the male. Review, an act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Apistogramma      9/17/18
I am putting the fish in a breeding net as instructed, u said would die soon the fish has been like this and it’s colours for a while on further inspection it is the behind of the fish floating up causing him to be vertical
From Josh
<Obviously such behaviour is not normal, and must have some underlying cause. Constipation can cause fish to lose balance, but their colours generally remain normal and their behaviour doesn't change otherwise. So review my last message as a starting point, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

<Hello Gail,>
My six year old grandson's turtles are in my care as his parents won't allow the turtle at their house and I desperately need your advice and help. I don't know what I am doing although I am trying.
Attached are pictures of the turtle in question.
<I see them.>
Two turtles were purchased as hatchlings in January, 2018. One grew normally and is a 4 to 5 inches and the other is only two inches and has developed a growth on the side of its face.
<I see this. My gut feeling is goiter -- or goiter in American English -- which is usually caused by poor diet; specifically, a lack of iodine. Is this common in turtles? No. But it does happen, especially if the turtles are fed exclusively on a monotonous diet. Iodine is most abundant in sea algae, such as the Nori sheets sold in Asian food markets for making sushi rolls, and for many pet animals, this is by far the cheapest green food to give them if you want a safe amount of iodine in their diet. Meaty seafood will contain some iodine too, particularly filter-feeding mollusks such as clams, mussels and cockles. Good quality dried turtle foods (such as ReptoMin) and good quality herbivorous fish foods (such as Koi pellets) should contain enough iodine for pet turtles, so if you've been using these, a goiter isn't very likely. Can I stress though that once the goiter is apparent, simply fixing the diet is unlikely to help by itself. At the very least, an iodine supplement should be provided as per the manufacturer's instructions; ideally, and most effectively, a vet will prescribe appropriate medications and/or provide injections of the right amount of iodine needed.>
I read that because they are the same species that one is dominant and the reason for the one with the growth not growing at the same speed as the other.
<While this is (sometimes) true when you have two sexually mature adult males, juveniles shouldn't really be causing any real problems.>
I followed the instructions and separated them immediately, new tank (one 50 gal and one 20 gal) heat lamp on 24/7 and UVB lamp on 10 to 12 hrs a day plus basking pad, etc. in each tank.
<This is, of course, the other obvious possibility, a metabolic bone disorder. Provided turtles are getting a good diet (specifically, something with calcium in it) as well as a UV-B source, then such problems are
normally rare. Calcium should be present in good quality staple foods (ReptoMin, Koi Pellets, etc.) but may also be supplemented with a calcium-rich powder that's dusted on fresh foods. You can even offer small bits of cuttlebone for them to chew on. UV-B tubes are excellent, but they do have a life span, most 'wearing out' in 6-12 months. So that's worth bearing in mind when trying to figure out what's happened here.>
Any advice and help you can provide me would be greatly appreciated.
<Realistically, it's hard to be sure if goiter, metabolic bone disorder, even bad genes are to blame here. If the turtle is otherwise happy and healthy, and there are no other signs of infection (such as smell shell,
puffy eyes, wheezy breathing, etc.) I'd perhaps focus on the iodine, calcium, and UV-B angles first, and if there's a shortcoming in that direction, see if the turtle improves once you fix the problem. But if the
turtle has other health problems or symptoms, I'd definitely go visit a vet as soon as practical.>
<Good luck, Neale.>

Neale, Thank you very much for your prompt reply.
<Most welcome.>
I found it most helpful and will definitely follow your advice.
I do have ReptoMin but the little turtle prefers Aquatic Turtle food with added vitamins and minerals - the hatchling formula.
<Sounds a fine staple, but I would also add some fresh greens periodically -- starving the pellets for days if not weeks if such are ignored. Goldfish weed, sold cheaply by the bunch, is a good choice. Some cuttlebone, or even unshelled shrimp, now and again provides useful calcium.>
It is also a fussy eater contrary to the other turtle that was obtained at the same time. Also, the other turtle is a normal size for its age, is a good eater, etc. Thank you again for the great service you provide.
<Good luck! Neale.>

Re: some mudskipper questions       9/16/18
I was looking on feeding options for my mudskipper tank and happened on 2 species which might even survive in there: Palaemon varians which is a brackish shrimp (sold as river shrimps here) and Gammarus oceanicus which is a gamble, they are a marine species of scud but some sources say it can be fine in brackish. I am thinking if going for a salinity of sg 1.007 and a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. Can either of them survive in these conditions?
<Salinity will be fine for Palaemon varians for sure, and probably Gammarus oceanicus long enough for the Mudskippers to find and eat them. I'd be offering the Gammarus just a handful at a time, keeping the others in a cold, fully marine bucket or even nano aquarium until required. Now, the Palaemon varians are a bit more durable, and they're often sold in the UK as live food. They will live some days in tropical conditions, and indefinitely at room temperature. Nonetheless, you will want to remove any dead ones before they decay.>
Also i am looking for plants to grow emersed, so far i have found, java fern and red mangroves. Unfortunately the mangroves will need to be replaced as they grow too big. (Bonsai techniques seem impossible with them.) I may be able to also get seeds of a Japanese Salicornia sp. I wonder if that is an option?
<It is entirely possible to make the vivarium a freshwater system as far as the plants go, and that opens up the option for all sorts of houseplants.
Epiphytes are ideal, as these can be attached to bogwood and rocks, and misted with freshwater as needed, without worrying about their roots being in brackish water. Otherwise you can glue or wedge small pots into the bogwood, and again, that keeps their roots away from the brackish water at the bottom of the tank. I've even seen Nepenthes pitcher plants in these sorts of tanks! So instead of growing plants up from the bottom, you're growing trailing plants and vines that go downwards. But the key thing will be that there needs to be a basin of some sort in the vivarium that has brackish water in it. Your Mudskippers will visit the brackish water as/when needed, and have no problems at all handling freshwater misting inside the vivarium. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: some mudskipper questions       9/21/18
The tank is starting to get together, going to extend the land area until i have a 75*40 cm land part, leaving me with 25*40 water.
<Looks cool.>
But i can't find a good source on how many mudskippers will fit. how many Periophthalmus novemradiatus can go in this tank?
<Overstocking is beneficial here, because it prevents males from establishing territories. Keeping just twos or threes often goes wrong. But in any case, I think you could easily keep at least 6-8 specimens, perhaps more. Mudskippers are much more ammonia tolerant than many other fishes because of their unique ecology.>
And i read adding fiddler crabs is a possibility, i might want to add a couple of them as well.
<These are a bit tricky to maintain. Do read up on their needs.>
I am still waiting for red mangrove propagules to get back in stock, and i am adding some java ferns, I'll put some rocks under the wood to keep it out of water to slow the decay brackish water causes.
<Indeed. Decaying wood isn't a problem for the Mudskippers, so long as the water is properly buffered against pH drops.>
The green hose will twice a day pump in some water from a sump, and then siphon it back out as the water level does not allow easy filtering in the tank...
<Sounds like a plan. I've used an internal canister lying on its side where water depth is very low. Good luck! Neale.>

Epistylis on crawfish       9/14/18
Hi, my name is Susan, i have 6 Louisiana swamp crawfish that i rescued from one of our crawfish boils. In the last month they have developed a white fuzz all over them. the best i can tell from all the internet searching is that it is Epistylis. But i cant find anything on treating it. 3 of the crawfish are berried and some of the eggs on 1 also has the fuzz. Please advise on how to get rid of it. My perimeters are all good, and i do monthly water changes.
<Epistylis spp. are commensals, not parasites, so while they might be unattractive to look at, they don't do any actual harm. However, because they grow in water with plenty of planktonic algae and bacteria that they can feed on, they're seen as indicators of poor environmental conditions.
More specifically, high levels of organic material and mineral nutrients in the water. So your best approach to tackling them is two-fold. First, find out how to improve ambient conditions. More water changes/removal of uneaten food, more filtration, and less (wasted) food would all be part of this. Secondly, understand that since these ciliate Protozoans are attached to the exoskeleton of the crayfish, they will be "shed" during successful molting, in which case quick disposal of the old exoskeleton would be helpful. I would remind you of the need for iodine in the diet to ensure successful molting (for some reason moults frequently fail under aquarium conditions otherwise) and also for a source of calcium, such as unshelled shrimp, if you're going to remove the old moult (crayfish normally consume the moult, in part, to recycle the minerals). You could also try medications used against other ciliates (such as Velvet and Whitespot) but they are likely to be toxic to crayfish unless clearly stated as "safe for
invertebrates" on the packaging. Cheers, Neale.>

Mystery Snails and Fish     9/13/18
Hi WWM Crew,
I have two Golden Mystery Snails and I am quite interested in stocking fish with them. I have a 10 gallon tank and my snails are thriving, however, after reading through these forums I have seen that you do not recommend stocking fish with Mystery Snails. My original intentions were to create a self-sustaining ecosystem by adding a mixture of snails, shrimp, and fish, but after watching my little guys thrive and reading through your forums I am nervous to do so. Should I throw away my idea of a self-sustaining
ecosystem, or can I still stock fish with my snails? I would even be willing to cut it down to one fish as long as I was confident my snails would be alright and my efforts weren't wasted.
Thank you very very much,
<Hello Maddy. Apple or Mystery Snails are easiest kept alone. They will grow steadily and feed happily, and as/when they lay eggs, you might be lucky enough to have a few young snails to grow on! As you may already know, Mystery Snails sometimes struggle to live for more than a year in an aquarium, perhaps because they don't experience the 'resting phase' they would normally have in the wild, but if you're lucky these snails can live for 4-5 years. So far, so good. Now, when it comes to adding fish, you've got some challenges. Usually the fish pose the threat. Active fish (like tetras and barbs) peck at the Mystery Snails more out of curiosity than anything else, especially the tentacles. Any slight damage becomes infected, and before you know it, the snail gets sick and dies. Some fish simply view snails as food, though admittedly Mystery Snails are a bit big for casual predation in most cases. But even relatively small loaches and catfish will consume Mystery Snail babies. Occasionally you hear stories of
certain Apple Snail species catching and eating small fish. While that doesn't sound terribly likely where armoured or midwater fish are being kept, slow moving or dozy species that hang about at the bottom, especially while sleeping, might be more at risk. Hard to say. But in any event, you can probably get the sense from me that Pomacea spp. snails aren't ideal companions for fish. It's certainly been done, with Corydoras and Whiptail species being especially good, being completely harmless but also heavily
armoured, so neither species poses a threat to the other. A singleton Betta might work, too. Snails and shrimps has been done, but again, there's a risk they'll pick at the snails, damaging them in the process. Certainly no guarantees it'll be safe. Let me also stress the fact you 10 gallon tank is rather small, and while perfect for snails, it's a bit small for most fish. Very few of the commonly traded community species are truly happy in 10 gallons.
So really, if this tank works, I'd leave it the way it is. Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: Mystery Snails and Fish      9/14/18

Thank you for the reply Neale!
<Most welcome.>
I don't quite want to add a Betta, I've been watching it pick at my friend's Nerite snails to no avail and I can only imagine what it will do to my poor Mysteries!
<Indeed. It's a crapshoot, as the Americans like to say.>
Although his tank setup is only a 2.5 gal (of which I had advised against based off what he had stocked it with) and mine is a 10 gal, I still worry about the Betta choosing to pick on them.
<It can happen. Depends a lot on the Betta. Most are pretty passive, but Apple Snail tentacles are fascinating to watch, and perhaps nibble on, especially if you're a bored little fishy!>
I could be wrong as it is a bigger tank but I am one to play things safe. I may end up adopting his snails as well, I worry for them very much!
<They're very well worth keeping alone. Full size adults are dramatic and impressive pets, and kept singly or in groups, they're pretty low maintenance. There's a website called AppleSnail.net that provides lots of info; well worth a visit.>>
Thank you for the advice, I think my snails will be happy alone with lots of room :)
<Wise move.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

There is no way to do a safe divided tank for Bettas is there?     9/13/18
<Hey Jude>
I have a 10 gallon tank with one male Betta. He looks kinda small in there.
There is all this info on the net about divided tanks, but they seem not to be long term things even though people seem to claim that they are.
<Can be long or short term; medium even>
We have Lexam <likely Lexan> here, it is 1/8th thick and a Plexiglas type thing, but people say that silicone doesn't adhere well against glass.
<Actually, well enough inside a tank... not for adhering a plexi tank together though>
Glass that fits the tank perfectly can't be drilled it seems or it will shatter and if not the fish could really see each other leading to stress, plus needing another filter for the other side. Someone said plastic egg crate material with screen around it, but if it ever fell down in the tank, the Bettas would have at it to the death. So does anyone do this type of thing to a ten gallon for two Bettas or is it just better to get an extra tank? Thank you
<I'm all for innovation here... One can stand up a "hurricane lamp cover", w/ one inside and one out, situate a piece of glass or plexi diagonally that will fit close enough to keep each other on a side... There are commercial tank dividers that work well enough... Try Googling; here's one on Amazon:
Bob Fenner>

Parrot fish gill issue?     9/13/18
I hope you can forgive me.
I’m not to tech savvy with forums. I need help. I have a parrot fish that has some sort of red worm looking things in her gills.
<Mmm; all I can see are the fish's gill lamellae, the outside gill filaments... No worms in evidence>
I’ve had two parrots years ago. I don’t remember them having gills like this one. She was given to me by a neighbor that had to move.
I don’t know her history. She seems pale but healthy ,sassy and fun. I’d like to her help if this gill issue is not normal.
Thank you so very much,
<Thank you for sharing your concern w/ us. This sort of "genetic abnormality" is quite common w/ Parrot Cichlids; a hallmark of too much inbreeding of this hybrid mutant. There is nothing to be done in the way of treatment here, and the fish may well live a good long while. There can be a concern w/ having too-aggressive tankmates nipping at the exposed gill membrane, but otherwise I would not be worried.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Parrot fish gill issue?     9/13/18
Thank you so much!
<Welcome Sonya>
I’ll just let her enjoy life. She’s pretty much left to herself. So hopefully no nip‘ will take place. Thank you for these tips and the fast response.
<Ah, anima bona fac; be of good life>
<Cheers, BobF>

Betta; investigation re hlth., beh.       9/11/18
My male Betta is about a year old with long flowing fins. At least he did, he keeps eating them. So I started him in a bowl about 9 months ago, and noticed he was sad.
<Yes; Bettas need a heated, filtered world of a few gallons volume>
I put him in a 10 gallon tank by himself at first after 3 months. Then, I added 3 ADFs. All was well until 2 of them died in June, one from malnutrition I think and the other because the tank water got dirty as the other decomposed (I was on vacation for 3 days). The last frog survived and once I cleaned the tank and water I put them together in the tank. The frog started chasing my Betta around, nipping his tail. Then I noticed the Betta biting his own tail. I was told by a friend to put more frogs in the tank, so the remaining frog would leave my Betta alone.
Well his tail bites got so severe from his own stressful biting I decided to get a tank separator. The frog is on one third side, the Betta has two thirds to himself. It's been about a week and a half and I'm noticing more bite rips in his tail. The water parameters are safe for both of them, no ammonia.
<Nor nitrite... how much nitrate? Water hardness, pH? Temperature... steady, high? What foods are you using?>
The two are separated. There are plenty of plants and huts for my Betta to hide in.
<Ah, good>
I cant understand why he'd still be stressed! All of these events happened over months, not all in one week. There are no back to back factors of stress to cause this. I just really don't want my Betta to eat his tail away. Please help me if you can!
Sincerely, Savannah
<Please respond to my questions above, and send along a cropped pic of all.
Bob Fenner>

Re Betta <39 megs!>     9/13/18
<You've crashed our ISP server... PLEASE see our file size requirements... hundreds of Kbytes... B>
Re: Betta     9/13/18
Are these okay? Does the whole email have to be less than 500kb or just each picture? I'm sorry for the inconvenience, I wasn't clear on the instructions.
<Ah, yes; these are fine; thank you>
I'm responding with all the answers to your questions. The temperature stays steady usually, give or take one or two degrees.
Their tank is heated
and filtered.
<Very good>
The nitrate is up, but it is time to do my weekly water change which I am about to do. The nitrate is usually steady, but I admit I haven't seen it like before.
<Do strive to keep below 20 ppm>
The pH is 7.6, ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, and nitrate is 20. The picture makes it look darker. I have attached pictures of the food, the water tests as of now, the tank, my Betta, and the temp.
The tank looks more roomy than it actually is.
Thank you, Savannah
<I would add a bit of fresh, or frozen food to the diet; perhaps just frozen/defrosted brine shrimp every other day. Otherwise, time going by should find improvement here Sav. BobF>

My Betta; /Sav     9/19/18
I emailed a few days ago about my Betta and followed it up with pictures after asked to. I haven't received any word back yet and I was wondering if you found any answers. My Betta ripped his tail yet again. I'm really worried about his safety. The rips are getting close to his body.
Thank you, Savannah
<Yes Savannah; I did respond... Our corr. is archived here:
Scroll down... Bob Fenner>

Blue crawfish has a large, misty eye        9/7/18
Hi, I recently moved into college and started up a 10g tank for a crawfish. Sal is an electric blue, around 2 inches, obtained from a nearby pet store, and he’s been in the tank around two weeks.
About a week ago, his left eye started getting cloudy. If it was both then I’d be pretty sure he was molting, but there’s been no change anywhere else… And today I noticed the eye is getting more milky white and may even be getting larger? Is there something I can do? I don’t want anything bad to happen to him when he’s so new to the tank.
<Mmm; perhaps a physical injury... something infectious secondarily>
Water quality seems good. Hard, 100ish alkalinity (ppm) and pretty much exactly neutral. I have just heard of the iodine for a tank
<Yes; Iodide-ate use I'd apply every weekly maintenance routine; after partial water changes>
What should I do for his eye? He’s getting a bit more reclusive now and I’m afraid he’s losing his vision in the eye.
<I'd double dose the Iodide for now; and try not to worry. Likely whatever the issue is, it will be resolved w/ the next molt.>
If you have any more questions you can reply to this email or call XXXX. Please leave a voicemail if I don’t answer.
<Do read over our articles on Crayfish on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Aging Betta to new environment?      9/3/18
Good evening, Crew!
<Good morrow Kara!>
I have a question about whether or not moving an aging Betta to a new environment is a good thing to do.
Flash, the Betta, (male) has been with us for just over 2 years. We purchased him (rescued from one of those wretched cups) to be the centerpiece fish of a planted 60 gallon aquarium. The tank is densely
planted, furnished with sprawling branchy driftwood, and large chunks of granite. Current tank specs: Ammonia: 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20, Ph 7.6. Temp 77F.
His tankmates are peaceful, but are rather more boisterous than he seems to be comfortable with now: A pearl Gourami and his harem of 3, 4 active but old smallish, but active (letting them "age out") schools of harlequin rasboras, black neon tetras, white cloud minnows, and Glowlight tetras, with several Corydoras and Kuhli loaches at the bottom, with many years to go.
<Sounds/reads as very nice indeed>
Flash still has a tenuous position as "boss" of the tank, but I think he is getting tired of it. He spends more and more time hiding behind the Vallisneria in the corner, when he is not flaring at everyone at feeding
time so that he still gets the first bite. He is still in the pink of health, although obviously getting old. He's slowing down and no longer patrols the tank as he used to. I may be anthropomorphizing, but to my
mind, he deserves and needs a quiet, cozy cottage on a cul-de-sac for his remaining time.
<I understand; in fact, am feeling about the same way m'self>
I want to/feel I should move him, but don't know if it would shock him too much at his age. (My other 3 community tanks have resident Bettas already, so that's out.) The only other possible home I have for him is a 5.5 gallon lightly planted tank that currently houses a trio of African Dwarf frogs.
Current specs: Ammonia: 0 Nitrites:0 Nitrate:5 Ph:7.4 Temp 80. I don't worry about the tank specs for him so much as the shock of going from a 60 gallon world full of fish to a 5.5 gallon world with creatures he has never seen before. Would that be too much of a change?
<Actually; I'm quite confident that this change would be greatly beneficial for your Betta. A smaller, bit warmer world will be easier to navigate (and rule), and the frogs will be good company>
Should I leave him where he is? Could he adapt at his age?
<I would move this fish; and yes>
He is getting less respect and deference from the mates in the 60 gallon, I don't want him to eventually be cowed into a corner to die, but I fear such a drastic change might harm him, too. What do you think? Old fishy psychology is not exactly my area of expertise...
Thanks in advance,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Aging Betta to new environment?        9/7/18

Good evening!
<Hey Kara; good morrow to you>
I appreciate the quick response, and was tickled to death to have a response from THE Mr. Fenner, himself, no less! (squeee!)
I just wanted to thank you for your good advice and give you an update!
"Flash" the Betta has practically been reborn since moving him from the 60 gallon to that tiny little 5.5 gallon tank-o-froggies. Here, I was, so worried that such a radical change at his advancing age would stress him to death!
<Very good; and, as expected>
He was plenty mystified by the frogs, at first, although the general venue seemed to please him well. He took the abrupt plunking into the new tank in his stride, poking at every leaf and blade, and measuring the tank perimeter straightaway. He really likes the frogbit overhead.
<Oh yes; more like their natural habitat>
He has since become accustomed to his eccentric room mates, although I must admit to a hearty chuckle or two at his expense in the meantime. I wish I had thought to take a video of him on this one occasion- picture this, if you will: Flash is creeping slowly along on his belly, trailing millimeters behind a very untidy 3-way amplexus of silly frogs as it bumbled around the tank. When that wad-o-froggies stopped still for a moment, Flash flared at them, and seemed totally perplexed as to why his magnificent display failed to impress. He came waggling up to my laughing face, then resumed trailing them, nervously glancing forward and back. Funny!
<I'll say!>
Flash has now constructed 2 different bubble nests, on each end of the tank, is very interactive, and has really has become his old self again.
Thanks again for your kind reply to my little dilemma!
<Glad to assist you>
Sincerely, and with great admiration for your knowledge of all things fishy,
<I washed Betta bowls for a few years; B. splendens has always been a fave.
Cheers, BobF>

Orange scales now with black tips on goldfish      9/2/18
Dear crew:
<Hey Luis>
I am writing to ask of is normal that an Orange carassius can turn its scales with black tips?, I don’t really know of it is normal. Please see the attachments.
<Have seen your excellent pix; not only the edge-darkened scales, but apparent "pine coning" of the flank scales is worrisome. There are a few possible causes, influences here, but water quality and nutrition I should mention. Your goldfish may have an internal bacterial infection; but this is caused by something/s amiss w/ foods and/or aspects of the environment. Please do check re the presence of ammonia, nitrite in particular, and switch to a near all plant matter diet for the next few weeks. Take a look on WWM and the Net re pine-cone disease as well>
Kind regards,
Luis Prado
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
*Biólogo Marino*
*Acuarios Chile*
Bilbao #3836, Santiago

Re: Orange scales now with black tips on goldfish      9/2/18
Thank you very much for your kind and quick reply. I will proceed following your advice.
<Ahh; do take heart Luis. These "dropsy" cases can be cured in time>
Kind regards,
Luis Prado
<And you, Bob Fenner>


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