Please visit our Sponsors

All "framed" images are linked to desktop sizes.

We ask that, before submitting a query, you refer to Neale Monk's: Before You Write; A Checklist of Common Problems with Freshwater Aquaria, Bettas, Goldfish, and Freshwater Turtles (Terrapins), Tips on Asking Questions, Ask the WWM Crew a Question, FAQs on FAQs. EDFP, TBPFWFAQs, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs, Subscribe to the Daily Pics

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 
  Freshwater Pix Archive Link

Freshwater FAQs

Updated 2/27/2017
Other Specialized Daily FAQs Blogs: General, Planted Tanks, Ponds, Brackish, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs,
Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Ian Jablonka, Al Evans, Darrel Barton,
Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized daily Current Crew Bios., Not so current Crew Bios

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

My flower horn    2/26/17
My flower horn is sitting very quietly at bottom or near the bio filter an hiding himself and he eats his pellet depending on his mood n I give him Taiyo humpy head , I m not knowing if any disease he is having plz help me out what should i do I bought him three days before
<Hello. You've given me no useful information here. So let me instead direct you to some reading, here:
The vast majority of sick Flowerhorn stories come about because of poor environment. So check the size of the aquarium (250 litres or more, please); water quality (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and nitrate levels below 20 mg/l); and water chemistry (should be at least medium hard and slightly alkaline; 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7-8). Review, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta has a growth, 4 megs, no rdg.      2/25/17
This has been growing on my Betta for a couple months now. I recently put him in a 3 gallon tank with a filter. He was originally in a 1.5 gallon bowl with just a heater. I have tried lifeguard all-in-one and fungus  cure.
The lifeguard looked like it was working, the white spot was turning black.
But when I stopped the treatment as directed on the package, it came back with a vengeance. It has a pearly white shine and looks like a blister about to pop.
<Likely a tumorous growth, exacerbated by environmental stress/pollution.
Not much can be done at this point but hope.

READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/BetDisViralF.htm
Bob Fenner>

More re Betta Tumour        2/27/17
Please.. Realize you may not have replied last night, as it was getting later when I sent messages about problem opening your message.. But im terribly anxious to learn if there's anything I can do for "Finny." refer to previous messages.
<Please re-read prev. corr.>
It's been a terribly stressful couple of weeks since lump first appeared.
:( don't know if im imagining, but at times it looks like his "opposite" side may have a bit of swelling too. But more forward on his body? And of course the ever so slightly raised scales, just over the immediate location of lump, or "lumps" if im not imagining the effect on opposite side of body. Also concerned that i used that 7 day course of
Kanaplex antibiotic, only adding to water. Would it work if I needed it "again?" this time mixed with food?
<Not likely; no. Read where you were referred>>
Only reason I didn't mix with food initially was because no one could describe how you could accurately dose him, without "over dosing" him by adding it to food :( the KanaPlex is incredibly concentrated. Please email reply. Text just didn't seem to work properly. Thank you.
<Can you not see our messages? Bob Fenner>
Subject:         2/27/17

These pictures to show body shape on other "right" side of body.
<Same resp.>

Im confused??? CAEs gone; wild!      2/25/17
Dear WWM crew,
I had two Chinese algae eaters and they were brown and clearish, they both died last night with their scales orange. i also have a Betta. Did the Betta do something or was is just natural???
- Melanie
<Yikes! Something very wrong-gone here.... Did you do something recently, like change all the water out?
Spray an ammoniated cleaner near the tank? CAEs are VERY tough; oh, and should never be placed with Bettas. See WWM re the neither Chinese, nor really algae eater. Oh, and send along useful data re water quality, the system set up, maintenance, foods/feeding. Thanks. Bob Fenner>

Hole in the head?!  Crayfish      2/25/17
Hey Crew,
(Disclaimer: It's 2:00 in the morning so this is going to be so very NOT articulate.)
You guys were awesome helping me before and my crayfish is doing much better. She molted a few weeks after I started giving iodine and while she did not recover her pincer yet, I think she will eventually.
The soft tissue of her "shoulder" (I know actual terminology I swear I'm just really tired) is coming back so I think once that has recovered, she will start getting the actual claw.
<Precisely. The first few tries though will often seem very odd, like a tiny claw totally out of scale to the adult.>
I was worried the arm wouldn't recover at all so I'm relieved. Another good thing is that her gills are no longer exposed. It could be that the ones that had been exposed were actually lost during the molt, but in any case there aren't any exposed now and she was doing well. It's been a relief.
She was active and awesome. But just now I saw her from an angle where I saw the top of her head and SHE HAS A HOLE IN HER FREAKING HEAD. Ok it is pretty small, and I will get pictures tomorrow, as well as test the water
etc, but right now I'm freaking out and had to shoot you an email. I worked with fish for years in pet stores (don't judge me for this lol) and have seen "hole in the head" disease in fancy goldfish and stuff but WHAT THE EFF IS IT DOING ON MY CRAYFISH? It wasn't there a week ago for sure, that's the last time I really saw her from that angle.
<Likely harmless. Crayfish have calcareous, non-living exoskeletons. Unlike our skin, the shells aren't capable of healing, so if they crack, dissolve in soft water, or get scratched by something harder, that's it until the next moult. It seems a crummy system to us, but heck, arthropods have been operating this way for something like half a billion years, there are
literally millions of species around, and they form the bedrock of just about every possible ecosystem you can think of. So it works. Check the pH is over 7 (acidic pH will cause "pitting") and offer something calcareous for her to eat (like an unshelled shrimp or some krill) and she can recycle that calcium carbonate into her next skeleton. Do also understand if she hasn't eaten enough calcium carbonate in her diet, her new skeleton will be weaker and more prone to damage.>
Uggghhh I should never have taken this poor creature out of the pond I have doomed her!
<Possibly, but I'm sure she's fine.>
Ok I'm going to bed now, I obviously need to. Good night.
<And to you! Neale.>

Need advice for very old clown loach; HLLE?      2/25/17
I recently moved my 20 year old clown loach to a new larger aquarium. He was healthy and happy in my 29 gallon ( I know, way too small for a clown) I had hoped to rehome him as he is the lone survivor from a larger tank many years ago.
Because I could find no suitable home, I got a 55 gallon to give him and his angelicas Botia buddies more room ( I do not have room for a larger tank).
<Also understood. While not ideal, there are plenty of Clowns that have lived good lives in 55-gallon tanks, provided water quality is good.>
The move was stressful for him and he does not look well. He would not eat for the first two weeks and then looked like he had hole in head disease with small pits on his face and lateral line. He appears to be eating or at least dragging food into his cave.
This morning he looks like he is developing pop eye. I cannot quarantine him as the stress of moving yet again would likely kill him.
<I agree; at least, it would be stressful and unlikely to help.>
My water parameters for the tank are: ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate=40ppm, ph=7.9.
<All sounds fine.>
I’ve done a small water change and am trying some medicated food, a mix of SeaChem focus and Sulfaplex soaked in garlic guard. Any advice you can give to help me save my fish would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
<I do think you need to treat as per Hole-in-the-Head and Hexamita. Metronidazole is the drug of choice. Be sure to remove carbon and other chemical media from the filter, if used (carbon removes medicine). The pitting will heal over time, but you need to keep the fish free of secondary infections, so ensure an optimal, vitamin-rich diet (fresh greens, in particular, such as peas and Spirulina-enriched brine shrimp) alongside top-notch, oxygen-rich water. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Pleco with Heavy Breathing     2/24/17
My common Pleco has been breathing hard a while. What I mean by that is that her gills move rapidly and her mouth does too.
<Do try (a) doing a substantial water change; and (b) making sure there is plenty of aeration, and if necessary upgrading such using an airstone or spray bar; and (c) checking the water isn't too warm, 22-26C/72-79F being optimal for most of the common Plec species and varieties. Many aquarists keep their Plecs much too warm, with the result their fish are somewhat stressed, especially as the fish get bigger and consume more oxygen than they did as youngsters.>
She appears to be normal other than that. Her appetite is good. Her body is light at times. She gets faded patches on her and faded stripes. It appears to get better in the dark, but they are still there. She does have a more white patch towards her tail (it seems different colored than the others), but it is not raised. She doesn't appear to be thin. No breathing at the surface. I am current trying to watch her poop for parasites. It appears it is always the color of the food she eats, and it occasionally gets small clear connections between.
But not all the time. Would that still mean parasite?
<Hard to say, but de-worming is usually worthwhile with Plecs and L-numbers generally.>
She seems normal, just breathing hard all the time. I just started feeding her veggies. I didn't realize the importance of them. She was just eating algae flakes. I am highly concerned. I would be devastated if something happened to her. She lives by herself right now, she has since I have had her for the last year. She wasn't very healthy when i got her. What I mean is she was pale all over, never fed, and lived in ammonia (this was at her old home). Here current tank has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and, 40 nitrates.
The tank recently had tons of nitrAtes! Very high, I could not tell if it was over 80, or over 160.
I don't know how long it was like this. It could have been a long time. I started doing daily water changes and got it to 40. It appears I have to do one everyday to keep it to 40. There are no or low nitrAtes in the city water. I know my tank is over stocked.
<See above; Plecs are riverine fish that are sensitive to low-oxygen levels and will breathe faster (and in extremis, gulp air) under warm, stuffy conditions.>
I am about to move her to a 150 gallon, but I don't want to move her if she is sick. I bought this tank just for her! She also jumped out of her tank a few months ago. I do not know how long she was out. Could this is damaged her gills, and cause rapid breathing?
<Certainly gill damage, e.g., from Velvet, can cause these sorts of symptoms, but I'd review environment first.>
We also moved a couple months ago, but her tank is just like it was. Could nitrate poisoning have caused this? I thought maybe she had gill flukes but I don't see her scratching.... Since their gills are underneath them would they just rub on the rocks? I don't know what to do! I am worried sick, I have been researching for days! What should I do? Thank you!
PS. OK so I have been watching her poop. I have been giving her sweet potatoes so I could see the color of her poop better. Most of the time, like 80% of her poop is the color of the food. However about 20% of the time her poop is the color of the food with clear, whitish sections in between and sometimes you just get a very thin, kind of curly looking dirty white stand.
<Mucous; it's fairly normal for Plecs and L-numbers to consume silt and organic detritus in the tank, and this binds with mucous to form stringy parts to their normal faeces. Some bogwood to rasp away at is worthwhile, offering extra roughage!>
Way thinner than normal poop. And just like I said in the last email. She is active and eating just fine. Parasites? Stress? I don't know. Would this cause the heavy breathing?
<Hope the above helps. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Pleco with Heavy Breathing     2/24/17

So my temperature is 76 always. There should be a good amount of oxygen because I have bug filters on the tank with a lot of surface movement.
<Do you mean "big" filters?>
Should you suggest moving her to the new tank where she may be more comfortable?
<Adult Plecs need at least 55 US gallons, and realistically 75+ gallons.
They also need a filter with turnover rated at least 8 times the volume of the tank per hour; i.e., for a 55 US gallon tank, the filter should be rated at 440 gallons/hour. Obviously filter media needs to be mature.>
Also, I'm assuming you mean it would be a good idea to deworm her? What would I use? Is it safe to do it not being 100% sure?
<Antihelminth medications are widely sold in aquarium shops; for example Prazi Pro. They are generally safe to use.>
Also is it normal for her to hold her head up? She holds if off the ground all the time. Like an inch usually.
<Sometimes this means the bottom layer of the tank has poor water quality, for example little water flow, or an abrasive substrate that irritates the fish, as is sometimes the case where "funky" coloured gravels are used instead of smooth river grave. Review, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Pleco with Heavy Breathing     2/24/17

She started holding her head up with the heavy breathing. And it is common for nitrate poisoning to cause breathing problems right?
<Nitrate isn't normally toxic to catfish like Plecs; regular water changes should dilute nitrate sufficiently. Of course nitrate levels above 100 mg/l aren't healthy, even for robust fish, hence the need to control the amount of food that goes into the tank, the frequency of water changes, and the overall volume of the tank.>
Thank you!
<Welcome. Neale.>

Re my Betta    2/23/17
I emailed you a few weeks ago about the issues with my Betta I lost three to septicaemia. Then all was fine until whatever the issue is reoccurred my giant girl became lethargic I isolated and treated with antibiotics ( Oxytetracycline) sent by my supplier. I lost one girl. I was advised to put remaining girls in another tank and give them a course of Oxytetracycline change the substrate in my tank I did this along with dipping plants in potassium permanganate soaking ornaments and I also cleaned the tank with pp left for 24 hrs refilled once the girls treatment was completed ( no
further symptoms) they were returned to the tank. Yesterday I noticed my giant was lethargic had a red patch again so removed to qt then overnight I lost 4 girls and the giant. I have 2 survivors no symptoms as yet ( the girls lost were all from supplier). He's told me to remove the remaining two girls and qt them.
The tank has some Cory and Oto in that have been fine throughout.
<The Otocinclus may be "riding" your Bettas, causing stress; perhaps sores leading to bacterial infection>
He's told me to run the tank for two weeks Betta free ( it does have a UV filter running too ) does this sound the right advise.
<Worth trying>
The symptoms have been fine one minute then red patches on body then death each time roughly two weeks apart.
Tank parameters
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrates 10
Ph 7.4
<Will share w/ Neale Monks; who has been communicating with you I believe.
Bob Fenner>
Re my Betta     2/24/17

<<Concur with BobF; and more generally, not a fan of mixing domesticated Betta splendens in with standard community fish anyway. It does sound like a systemic bacterial infection, and an antibiotic is really the only way
forward. Will also opine (and BobF may have another view) that domesticated Betta splendens are *not* long-lived animals in general; some six months or more in age before they arrive at the retailers, and unlikely to live more
than a year thereafter, so if they've been at your pet store for two or three months, could well be past middle age. Is this is a factor of genetics? Of over-use of antibiotic on Betta farms? I don't know; but certainly my experience is that relatively few reach "venerable" status of 3, 4 years of age. If any consolation, will Betta splendens are said to be
pretty much annuals. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re my Betta     2/25/17

Thank you for your response my Betta aren't / weren't shop bought but are from a reputable uk site that breeds Betta in Indonesia and are only 3-4 months old when bought by us/me. I don't know if this makes any difference to your reply.
<If you're quite sure these Bettas are less than a year old, then yes, "old age" isn't likely a factor.>
I'm on advice going to run the tank Betta free just with Otto and Corys for 3 weeks my two survivors are in qt and are showing no symptoms. I do have a uv steriliser now running do you agree with the timeframe before adding new Betta girls.
<I would wait at least a month between the demise of one fish and the addition of another, regardless of the species involved.>
Thank you.
<Welcome. Neale.>

molly sick? Env., worm....    2/22/17
Hi my name is Steve.
<Kbytes, not Megs Steve>
. I have a 37 gal tank which I started from brand new in a new hobby .. and of course I made the rookie mistake of adding too many fish too soon… eventually all died off due to overstocking and ammonia spikes
<Yikes; toxic; debilitating>

at the end I had a Pleco (was a real trooper through all medications etc.) and 3 mollies 2 female and 1 male, my other fish had no real symptoms other then swimming upside down and eventually dying. My remaining mollies were both pregnant several times but the male was very quick at eating the fry straight from the oven so to speak! He eventually became lethargic and I noticed (and through research) he had Camallanus worms and shortly after the birth of 2 litters of fry the females finally showed signs of it as well. 30 fry were in the tank and the male and eventually the 2 females passed away, over time only 2 of the fry survived.. eventually as well the last of my “first” fish the Pleco died of Finrot… since then I have only added 2 baby Plecos, one I had to put in because another of my tanks got 2 cold in the garage (supposed to be hospital tank but the heater couldn’t keep up with weather conditions) so I put the Pleco in the 37 gal. the tank I have left alone to see if these 2 mollies would survive or show any sign of the Camallanus it has been 2 months now and they seem to be doing fine other then the smaller of the 2 mollies always had a real thick white almost cylindrical something hanging from its anus… I have been watching it closely and it was hanging out 1/8th to ¼ of an inch from its body and yet feces was travelling through it.
<Reads like a prolapsed colon. Search this on WWM>
No change at all until this week when I noticed the thick white was now getting longer and curving and bunching up underneath but not falling off.. today I noticed that the center of the white stuff is red (no sign of Camallanus) and the outer part of the white looks almost cottony. My question is .. because I have read that Camallanus reproduce through the feces of infected fish could this be a sign that the mature Camallanus had died off with the last of the infected fish and could this be the natural reproduction cycle of Camallanus as I have read it takes several months to cycle?
<Possibly; but again, this brings to my mind the poor fish's alimentary canal protruding out of the cloaca, rotting off>
Sorry about the long winded explanation figured you should know the history of my tank (failures) again the tank is a 37 gal , bio wheel filter, ph 7.5-8, 0 nitrites, just over 80 nitrate,
<MUCH too high. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwnitrates.htm
and the Related FAQs linked above. You need to get this below 20 ppm... there are ways detailed here to do so>
0 ammonia, 80 degrees F, 120 kH and 120 gH, I know my nitrates are high and I am doing a 25% water change tonight to help lower it also I am attaching a few pics of the fish in question..
<Need to crop, spiff and then send>
couldn’t get good focus on the blob but figured it might help. Should I remove this fish all together to stop the respreads of Camallanus to be on the safe side or could it be the fishes natural immune system killing off the parasite?
<How did you treat for the roundworms?>
Since these fry were born in the infected tank my home town supply store said they could have an increased immunity to Camallanus.
<Mmm; no such thing as far as I'm aware>
Thank you for any advice you can send my way!
<Welcome; steady on; you appear to have a good mind, steadfastness in your favour. Bob Fenner>

Re: molly sick?    2/23/17
Hi and thank you for the reply.. the round worms I attempted to treat using a pig dewormer in small doses soaked into their normal flaked food.
<Likely one of the anthelminthic compounds that are used for fishes...>
. I believe it slowed the growth of the round worms in the tank to allow the fish time to react to it (and I know this was a long shot) but eventually they all succumbed to the very hard to get rid of round worm, having no fish in the tank to supply the worms with a host seemed to be my only course of action and so far it worked, yay.
<.... Please read here Re Camallanus: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwwormdisf2.htm
As far as my molly in question if you don’t think it could be “the return of the round worm” then I will leave him alone and hope he gets better.. doesn’t seem to affect him, he’s swimming eating and acting normal as compared to the other molly, I resized and cropped the photos.. hopefully these pics will help you and others determine what is wrong with their fish.
<Mmm; mollies are easily lost... for a few reasons. Try the search tool on WWM to review. Bob Fenner>


Midge Larva control     2/21/17
Good Morning,
I have spent countless hours here and on Google trying to solve my problem. I have identified what I think is midge larva in my tanks, first they were in my sponge filters, which I removed and cleaned replaced with hang on the back filters. Now they are back, which are driving me crazy!
<Mmm; windows screened? The adults are getting in somewhere>
I have a 30 gallon tropical tank with 6 Cory catfish and 7 neon tetras, in this tank I never see them free swimming, however they are in the filter and filter media. Within days I can see their little casings in the media and if I rinse the sponges there are hundreds of them!
My second tank is a little more of a pain, in it a have an adult axolotl and the larva are in everything. Sand, filter, sometimes on the glass resting. I’m assuming this is because my axolotl is too big to make a snack of these critters. Everything I have read says they make good free foods and to leave them however, larva turns into something, and I do not want an infestation in the rest of my house!
I also have two 10 gallon tanks in another part of the house with two juvenile axolotl that is completely healthy and pest free, just these two tanks in my basement living room.
How can I get rid of these things for good?
<For good? Really, the only way is to remove the life you want to keep and "nuke"; likely bleach all (There's an S.O.P. on WWM Re)... Then rinse, refill, move some old media, gravel from the upstairs tanks to the ones in the basement to establish cycling and... start over from there. Otherwise, you could try relatively arthropod-toxic treatment/s... or possible predators. BUT, you've got to fix however adult flies are getting into the tanks>

I am constantly changing water and filter media to control the numbers but never see flies, just the worms in the filter and axolotl tank.
I greatly appreciate your advice,
<Sure. Bob Fenner>
Updated: midge larva control     2/21/17

* I apologize, I forgot to attach the photos I was able to take of the larva.
<Got them. Thanks. BobF>

Fw: Please help      2/21/17
Bob a request for fish ID from William James in Swaziland.
Please help     2/21/17

Hi Pete,
I am just hoping that this gets to you as I have not been able to send to hotmail accounts, but I am hoping that the error has been fixed now.
William asks if your friend can possibly identify the attached pic of a fish.
I hope you are keeping well, I do kinda keep up with your whereabouts on Facebook at least.
Take care
Hope you get this
Re: Please help     2/21/17

Yikes; a cichlid, but... Where is this from, as in what lake/area? BobF
RE: Please help     2/21/17

Hi Bob/Pete
I trust you are well my son found it in a small irrigation canal and brought it home to put in my fish tank when I had a Closer look at it it did not look like any Bream I had ever seen but more like a cichlid from Lake Malawi however I thought that would be impossible to get a cichlid coming all that way to Swaziland through a river system. I'm fascinated to try and find out what type of fish that is. I hope you can help
kind regards
Fwd: Please help     2/21/17

Hello Liz and William,
Your fish looked to me like a Haplochromine cichlid of some sort, and given its shape and size, I was thinking of the dwarf mouthbrooders of the genus Pseudocrenilabrus. So I passed along your photos to Mary Bailey, a well-known cichlid expert with a particular interest in the African species. She was able to go one better than me, suggesting Pseudocrenilabrus philander, the Southern Dwarf Mouthbrooder cichlid. Additional photos would, I am sure, be useful.
Pseudocrenilabrus are interesting fish, small but colourful, but the males are quite aggressive and ill-suited to the average community tank, so be careful with whatever else is in with them!
Regards, Neale



Freshwater Aquarium  Articles & FAQs

  • Set-Up: Gear/Components:, Set-Up, Tanks, Stands, Covers:, Water, Filtration of All Sorts, Sumps, Refugiums:, Circulation, Pumps, Powerheads, Aeration, Electricity, Heating/Chilling,  Light/Lighting:; Types of Systems:, Substrates, Aquascaping:
  • Livestock 1: Stocking/Selection, Biotopes, Quarantine, Acclimation. Fishes: Stingrays, Inadvanced Bony Fishes, Eels, Tetras & Their Relatives, Killifishes, Livebearers, Catfishes, Goldfish, Barbs, Danios, Rasboras, Minnow Sharks, Loaches, Misc. Fish Groups

    New Print and eBook on Amazon

    Goldfish Success
    What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term

    by Robert (Bob) Fenner

    Livestock 2: Gouramis, Bettas, Cichlids, Fresh to Brackish Water Fishes, Invertebrates (Hydra, Worms, Snails, Insects, Crustaceans...),

    New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

    by Robert (Bob) Fenner

  • Herps: Amphibians, Turtles,
  • Maintenance/Operation: General Maintenance, Algae, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health,
  • Freshwater Aquarium Science:  Behavior, Topics, Reference and Aquatics Writing Business, Reviews, 

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: