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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

Updated 5/29/2017
Other Specialized Daily FAQs Blogs: General, Planted Tanks, Ponds, Brackish, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs,
Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: 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

Green neon tetras for large tank question     5/29/17
<Hi Andrew>
I am getting to stock my 120 gallon planted tank. It's been set up for over a year but so far only has shrimp and Otocinclus. The tank is heavily planted with plenty of stems and hairgrass, filtered by 2 Eheim 2217 (cleaned monthly) and receives a weekly water change (30-50%).
<I'd like to use the change water on my house plants>
The main fish will be a school of green neon tetras (Paracheirodon simulans). Tank mates will be 20 Corydoras similis, 4 Otocinclus, 75 Amano shrimp, and probably what will end up being 100 or more tangerine tiger shrimp (after breeding).
<Sounds good>
*How many tetras can I get while still keeping the bioload reasonable?* I'm not concerned with nitrates and phosphates (as it is I have to add some daily for the plants), but rather other dissolved organic compounds. I've
found minimizing these to be essential for planted tank health. I'd love to have a large number to see the social interactions at their best.
<Fifty individuals wouldn't be too many, and would make for a nice school here>
Also I run the tank at 74 degrees - is this too cold for them?
<Mmm; yes; as well as the other life listed... I'd raise this to 77-78 F. for all>
Many fish database sites seem to list a wide temperature range for this species.
<Tis so>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Green neon tetras for large tank question /Neale      5/29/17

<<No real disagreements with BobF., but would remind you that this species is very Cardinal Tetra-like in requirements; as Bob suggests, middling to warmish conditions preferable to cooler low-end tropical (i.e., the
opposite to true Neon Tetras). Avoid strong currents, but ensure a good oxygen level by under-stocking the tank and providing steady but gentle circulation. Softer water also essential here; not necessarily mineral-free, but lowish, maybe 2-5 degrees dH, certainly no more than 10 degrees dH. Keep the pH between 6 and 7.5 depending on your ability to maintain stable water chemistry. Specifically, if you're using carbon dioxide fertilisation, for example, link this to pH, and perhaps use a commercial Discus buffer to ensure stable conditions. Green Neons (Paracheirodon simulans) have a poor survival rate in busy community tanks, so choose tankmates accordingly. Small foods, fed in frequent but rather small amounts rather than one feed per day probably best. Bob is spot on in
suggesting a big school is best here -- Paracheirodon simulans does not do well in the usual 6-10 specimen schools people often buy. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Green neon tetras for large tank question     5/29/17

Thanks for the information and welcome! What an honor to get information from the man himself, Bob Fenner.
<Hee heeee. Just a petfish kind of guy Andrew>
I look forward to interacting more with your site in the future. I only discovered it recently but quickly found
it to be a wealth of knowledge.
Wishing the crew a happy Memorial Day holiday,
<And you, BobF>

Large white growth on goldfish      5/29/17
Dear WWM Crew,
I was wondering if you could help me.
<We do our best...>
My goldfish has a very large white growth on the right hand side of his body.
<I see this... apparent carcinoma in you pic.>
It has slowly been getting larger over the last month. Recently, some of the lumps seemed to have burst and a white goo like fluid seemed to have come out. Other than this he seems happy, eating and swimming normally. He is very old, being at least 13+ years old, and has lived in the same large fish tank with a filter and lots of plants for these years. I have attached a photo for more information. I hoping you would be able to tell me what this lump is
likely to be and whether there was anything I could do to help him.
Best wishes,
<Other than your ongoing good care... steady, beneficial water quality and nutrition... No. Some folks try excising such tumors... But I would not.
Many more anecdotes re these growths here on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GFGrowthsF7.htm and the linked FAQs files of the same title linked above. Bob Fenner>

Callamanus worms!        5/26/17
Hello crew! Hope you are doing alright.
<Thank you Robert; yes>
Direct to the point, I've wrote a few times these past months due to many unexpected and sudden deaths/ wasting, and I think I've finally found the culprit. The pic is of an Iranian red rainbow that suddenly waited in less than a week, and only when I found its corpse today could I conduct a proper examination of it. Many times before the corpse would be half eaten when I found it. But now I'm pretty sure that my planted tank is suffering of Callamanus worms right?
<I agree; appears to be to me as well>
I'm planning on medicating with Fenbendazole, although I would appreciate if you could give me other possible effective treatments. I also cant find a correct dose to medicate the tank. ( should I dissolve it? Get the fish to eat it?)
<Again; yes; and do please read here Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/nematodesfwf.htm>
as of right now all fish are eating and have a colorful appearance so I'm in time to save them all. It is a 150 gal tank heavily planted with dirt substrate. A collection of tetras, rainbows, fancy Plecos, Kuhli loaches, rasboras, and dwarf cichlids inhabit the tank. There is also a 6 inch vampire shrimp which I really would like to protect from medication. I hope you can help me crew.
<Read on! Bob Fenner>

Re: Seeking ACF Medical Advice        5/26/17
Hello, the ammonia problems have been sorted and all frog behavior has been normal for the last few weeks.
Unfortunately, today I noticed that the female has one bloated leg.
Behavior and appetite are normal and neither of the other two frogs show any abnormalities. Do you have any suggestions?
<I would check water quality again, do a substantial water change, and see if anything improved within a day or two. Epsom salt, at 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres, can help with swelling. If no better after a few days, then try antibiotics again.>
Images: http://imgur.com/a/RCU9I
<Goofy looking animals, aren't they? Nice clean tank though.>
Thank you,
<Welcome and good luck! Neale.>

African dwarf frog help please        5/26/17
I've spent quite a few hours reading over your information and questions regarding African dwarf frogs, but nothing seems to be quite the answer I needed. I have three ADFs living in a 5.5 gallon aquarium with one Betta.
It is filtered and heated to 80 degrees.
<Sounds good.>
Recently I caught my male "hugging" one of my females about 36 hour s ago.
He held on for about 3 hours, and she laid 4 eggs (which were apparently not fertilized).
<Quite possibly.>
Ever since then, she has not eaten, and has a bump on her back, which is right above her tailbone, and is pointy in shape rather then round and soft.
<The bump may well be a result of Amplexus. Post-mating, female frogs can/do become relatively inactive.>
Until this morning her vulva appeared very swollen. For several hour after he let her go she would go upside down at the surface and hip thrust at the air, like she did when he was attached, but that behavior has stopped. The other two frogs and Betta seem to be doing fine, with ph at 7.6, no ammonia or nitrites. I feed a variety of frozen thawed bloodworms, Mysis, and brine shrimp, and I've no doubt they occasionally steal some Betta pellets.
She is also hanging around the heater at the top of the aquarium much more then usual. I'm very worried about her. Since the issues I've done 3 50% water changes, and I use Prime each time. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<This is one of those times where "wait and see" is the best advice, in the short term anyways. Separating the female, for example in a floating breeding trap, isn't a bad idea, but keep the trap not-too-close to the heater or light otherwise there's a risk she'll overheat and suffocate. If she isn't perking up within the next day or two, write back and we'll think some more. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African dwarf frog help please     5/27/17
Thank you so much for your fast response! It's reassuring to know they can be inactive after Amplexus, and that I've got someone knowledgeable to give advice. I'll wait and see and hope she gets better soon. The male grabbed
the other female right as I am writing this, but he let go quickly. I'd love to have some tadpoles, but not at the risk of my females lives.
<Understood. Adding fluffy plants (whether real or fake) such as Java Moss can go a long way towards creating safe spaces for eggs and tadpoles.
Surprisingly, people do sometimes find a few survive long enough to be removed (for example with a turkey baster) into a floating breeding trap, and raised in there. Breeding dwarf African frogs is done, and many reports are online for your perusal.>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: African dwarf frog help please     5/27/17

Thank you so much for your fast response! It's reassuring to know they can be inactive after Amplexus, and that I've got someone knowledgeable to give advice. I'll wait and see and hope she gets better soon. The male grabbed
the other female right as I am writing this, but he let go quickly. I'd love to have some tadpoles, but not at the risk of my females lives.
<Understood. Adding fluffy plants (whether real or fake) such as Java Moss can go a long way towards creating safe spaces for eggs and tadpoles.
Surprisingly, people do sometimes find a few survive long enough to be removed (for example with a turkey baster) into a floating breeding trap, and raised in there. Breeding dwarf African frogs is done, and many reports are online for your perusal.>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Neale.>

fresh water tank. Coating on inside glass panels        5/24/17
Hi, I have a 30 gallon tank. Two fancy tail guppies. Change filter every 30 days. My water is crystal clear but tank sides all the way around have a cloudy residue. I can wipe off with finger but is hard to remove with a
towel. Do I need to drain and re do whole tank?
<Mmm; maybe... being both lazy and adventurous myself, I'd first try a "razor blade" type aquarium scraper, or a single edged razor blade itself>
My fish are happy and healthy. Close to bearing young. My filter is running on high. I have a bright light on during the day and soft light at night. Help. Karen
<I suspect the material here is biological in nature... rather than a simple/r chemical "scale" type problem... as your fishes are healthy as you state. Bob Fenner>
Re: fresh water tank       3/25/17

Thank you!
<Welcome. Have seen/experienced such "light-white" glass (and acrylic) coatings at times... as the system "matures", other organism groups supplant... Bob Fenner>

"Found" turtle; not eating, wheezing?      5/23/17
hi I found at turtle on the side of the road and it was not moving scared that it was going to be hit I took it home where I found out that it was a midland painted turtle but now it isn't eating and it is making a weird grunt noise what does this mean.
<The best thing to do with wild reptiles is to leave them where they are.
This has to be close to a safe, turtle-friendly body of water already inhabit by the species in question. Just dumping a turtle in "the woods" or a backyard isn't acceptable because there's no knowing if the turtle will
find the food and shelter it needs. Your local herpetology club or natural history society may be able to help here. The next best option is to contact your local animal rescue charity or agency. Wild animals can be acclimated to captive life, but there may be legal issues here (many reptiles are protected at city, state or national level) and on top of that wild animals can come with parasites and other issues that need to be taken into account. If you want to keep this animal as a pet, then please write back and we'll offer up some help. Cheers, Neale.>

Algae stuck on fish; Helostoma        5/21/17
Hello! I have Kissing Gourami for a few years now, eating algae here and there. One morning however, I notice a green spot of algae on his head. I never seen algae do this before, what do I do?
<Nothing... this too will come off in time. No worries. Bob Fenner>
Re: Algae stuck on fish      5/22/17

Ok, thank you very much.
<Certainly welcome. Have seen such algae on Helostoma spp. quite a few times. Again, not problematical. BobF>

lump on goldfish tail       5/21/17
Sent from my iPad
<Claire.... text? Image? Bob Fenner>
Goldfish With Lump on Tail       5/21/17

Hi there I'm wondering if you can help me
Please see the photo below with my fish with the white lump on his tail.
<I see this>
We have had this fish for approx 3 years and the lump appeared about 6 months ago and has got bigger over time.
The lump does not appear to be affecting him at all as he is still swimming and eating well
Do you have any idea what it could be and if there is any cure
Many thanks for your help
Kind regards
<A growth of some sort... common; genetic, viral?... environmental, likely partly a matter of nutritional issues with goldfishes. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/GFgrowthsFAQs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Fwd: Goldfish With Lump on Tail       5/21/17
Hi again
I don't think it's anything to do with feeding or the water as there are 2 other fish all of which we've had for 5 years and seem to be extremely healthy with no lumps or problems
Could it be a cyst?
<Mmm; yes ("a thin-walled, hollow organ or cavity containing a liquid secretion; a sac, vesicle, or bladder."); but doubtful... peruse where I've referred you. B>

Super soft water... in FLA!       5/19/17
Good day! I could really use some help. I keep and breed show quality Bettas as a hobby. I have a good grasp on basic fish care. I have run into trouble in my new home. I'm not even sure how it's possible because I live in Florida but the pH is 6 and hardness is zero.
<Strange... all the times, places I've visited FLA, the water was hard and alkaline...>

Doesn't even register with KH or GH tests. My fish simply don't thrive in this new water and I can't keep plants alive either.
<Not surprising... there's likely nitrification issues w/ a total lack of hardness and such low pH
. Do you add... oh, I see this below>
I didn't realize the importance of water hardness keeping water stable until now. I currently add baking soda to my fish water to a hardness of 4-5 with the API test kit.
Can you point me in the right direction as to the best way to keep such soft water stable?
<Yes; please read over Neale's article here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
and consider making up his "Malawi mix">
I'm very careful to quarantine all new arrivals, I do regular water changes and feed only quality food yet my fish constantly get fin rot, dropsy, velvet, etc etc etc. never had many issues until the new water��
Thanks in advance!
<Hope this helps. Bob Fenner>
Re: Super soft water       5/19/17

I forgot to add that I use 1 tbsp of salt per 5 gallons. I will switch that for the marine salt with the Malawi mix recipe.
<Good; there are many salts... simple table/NaCl is of little use>
Yeah, this water is from my irrigation well. My house water has .1 ammonia straight out of the tap but all other parameters were good for Betta. It wasn't working out very well in the fish room either so I switched to the well water.
I thought it was really strange when I started using the well water that I didn't have to scrape white crust off the glass anymore, lol. Now I know why. I thought my API test was possibly faulty so I took the water sample to my LFS and they confirmed the super soft water. It's a shallow well under a massive oak tree.
I have ordered a TDS meter as well. I'm sure there is going to be a learning curve to this, lol.
<Perhaps your source water is RO filtered...? Would be quite expensive>
The article was very helpful. I didn't realize bacteria for the nitrogen cycle doesn't function well in my water. That explains a lot.
<Ah yes>
Well, hopefully my fish will recover.
Thanks so much!
<Certainly welcome Amanda. BobF>
Re: Super soft water     5/20/17
Ok. My water parameters after using the rift salt mix at 25% are:
pH 7
GH 8
KH 2
<Ahh! Much better>

I'm thinking add a tad more baking soda and a little less Epsom salt. I'm thinking the salt mix I bought may have a little more magnesium than other brands.
<I think you're right on here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Super soft water       5/21/17

Just one more thing. To raise the GH-where is the calcium coming from with the rift salt mix? From the marine salt? If so, is that sufficient?
<Epsom salt raises general hardness; bicarb raises the carbonate hardness.
The marine salt adds a bit of both, plus a few extra ions that round out the mix so it's more "natural" in its range of ions. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Super soft water      5/23/17

Just got my TDS meter today. 315TDS after adding the rift mix to my well water (60ish TDS).
All my tanks were well over 1000 TDS so I immediately did 50% WC and will continue that daily until the number is closer to the pre tank water.
My question is how high TDS is too high knowing now what the TDS of the clean water is?
<Mmm; depends on what the "total dissolved solids" are made up of; and what livestock you are keeping, and to some extent, what you're trying to do with it... For a general mix of aquatic life, a few hundred ppm TDS is
'about right'... 60 ppm is too small for most all other than wild-collected organisms from very soft water (much of the Amazon e.g.)... 1000 ppm and thereabouts in Lake Malawi, Tanganyika type water...>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Super soft water /Neale       5/23/17

Just got my TDS meter today. 315TDS after adding the rift mix to my well water (60ish TDS).
All my tanks were well over 1000 TDS so I immediately did 50% WC and will continue that daily until the number is closer to the pre tank water. My question is how high TDS is too high knowing now what the TDS of the clean water is?
<The exact upper limit will vary with the species. Livebearers and Central American cichlids for example would enjoy much more hardness than, say, Neon Tetras and Angels. I'm not familiar with the "TDS" scale as you quote it. Normally, hardness is described in mg/l or parts-per-thousand/parts-per-million. Anything that approximates to "medium hardness" should be about right for the average mix of community species.
Cheers, Neale.>

Identification of possible parasite       5/19/17
<Karan... we ask that folks send image files of a few hundred Kbytes; yours is some 17 megs... >
Hi there
I have a very poorly Betta who has been battling a number of issues for a few months. He has PopEye in one eye which has not responded to any treatment - daily water changes, Indian almond leaves, Epsom salt baths, Myxazin, meth blue baths (all treatments spaced out over a few months).
<Unilateral exophthalmia can be the "Dickens" to cure, depending on root cause, how entrenched it has become
He has lost a lot of colour and energy but still eating and I have now spotted something attached to his side which I think is a parasite but I'm not sure. Would you be able to help identify if it is a parasite and what
type it is and what treatment you would advise?
<Yes; I see what appears to be an "Anchorworm" (actually a crustacean parasite) on the "chest area"; please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/anchorwrmfaqs.htm
He is in a filtered 12L hospital tank (half filled as not swimming to bottom great - swim bladder?) temp 82 with ammonia and nitrite 0 and nitrate 40 (tap water 40 too at the moment) I use Prime to condition water.
<Please write back if your course of action is not clear here (after reading); I would carefully tweeze this adult Lernaeid off, dab the wound site w/ a proscribed topical antiseptic... and treat the system per the above reading to eliminate unattached stages. Bob Fenner>

Re: Identification of possible parasite     5/20/17
Thanks Bob. Apologies for size of pics! I attempted to remove the parasite but it didn't go well and the head is still buried.
I now have one very stressed out fish and half an anchor worm!
<Well; a bit more chance for secondary infection... but the rest will decompose in time>
I'll get some Waterlife Parazin and treat with that. Hoping that will sort the worm and improve his overall health if he survives tonight.
Thank you :)
<Steady on Karan. Cheers, BobF>

Oscar discoloration        5/17/17
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to assist me with the discoloration on my Oscar. I'm so grateful for the work that you do! I'm very sorry for the length of this email but I want to be as detailed as possible. My husband and I have researched this thoroughly and are quite stumped.
<The length is okay; the 6.5 megs of blurry pix not so much>
I have a 180 gallon tank stocked with two juvenile Firemouth cichlids (roughly 3" each), two juvenile jack Dempseys (roughly 3" each), an Asian upside cat fish (5"), a common Pleco (4"), a 10" marbled sleeper goby, a
10" tiger Oscar and a 12" red Oscar.
<A nice mix>
Ammonia reads 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, and Nitrate 20ppm. Ph stays consistently at 8.2. The tank has been running in my home since October and was previously set up for more than 3 years at my brother in law's house. It has two CFS 500 canister filters and a custom built 55 gallon sump with biological media and filter pads that runs
approximately 1800 gph. A 25-30% water change is done each week and if nitrates go higher than 20ppm (usually after the kids help feed the fish) I do a 10% water change daily until it is lower.
I use prime as a dechlorinator. We use cistern water in our home, the water parameters at the tap are 0ppm for nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia. The temperature is 80°F. The Oscars eat Jumbomin large floating sticks, gut loaded crickets and mealworms. Occasionally, the red Oscar will steal a shrimp from the sleeper goby. There was a slight Cyanobacteria outbreak, however, that was resolved by water changes and switching from t5ho to led lighting.
The red Oscar was rescued from a LFS, previously housed with two other red Oscars (also 12" in size) in a 75 gallon tank before being traded in to the store. The tiger Oscar was rescued from a Craigslist post. It was living in
a 125 gallon tall cold water tank. It was housed with a Bala shark and a wild caught Kentucky Bluegill. Both of the Oscars were rescued and added to this tank at different times in December.
The tiger Oscar started losing patches of color about two months ago. (I have attached photos of the progression in chronological order.) After water changes they will either clear up or get worse, it is not predictable. They are not upraised or "on" the scales and fin. They are also not pitted or sunken. It is as if some of the scales are losing color and becoming opaque on the fins. The fins and scales seem to be intact, no fraying or sloughing. There have been a few instances of a single gill and fin being clamped temporarily but no other symptoms. Even during the times with the clamped Gill and fin it had normal behavior. Still eating and swimming well, no gasping or lethargy. I treated with Prazipro and Maracyn
<Good choices here>
at different times as suggested by a couple of my aquatic enthusiast friends but have not had any luck in resolving it.
About two weeks ago, the red Oscar started displaying these spots as well.
It has not had gill clamping or fin clamping at this time.
After performing the usual water change this week, the patches have gotten dramatically worse. (This is the last photo attached)
I am unsure if this is something contagious or if it is environmental 
<A wise speculation... I discount the latter; and would REALLY like to sample these areas, take a look under a microscope...>
but I have had no luck attempting to find the answer on my own.
Thank you so much for looking in to this for me,
<Could be that this issue is protozoan or (still) bacterial... that Erythromycin/Maracyn didn't "get". I would lace taken foods with Metronidazole/Flagyl and treat in three doses... as gone over on WWM, the Net and in reference works like Ed Noga's. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dwarf Gourami dilemma.      5/13/17
Hello Neale, Crew!
I hope this email finds all of you happy and well! It sure does me!
<Hello Kimberley,>
Some good news! Neale, your assessment, as ever, was correct.
My little Gourami has almost made a full recovery! He's still got some distension in his swim bladder, but it is no longer herniated and he is swimming upright and in full control over his movements.
A far cry from 7 weeks ago, when he was curled nose to tail on the bottom of our other tank!
We've had a few minor setbacks along the way, of course. After introducing him initially into his new home after exhibiting vast improvement in his cup (it was a clear plastic cup that I taped to the rim of the aquarium,
suspended inside the tank) he immediately decided to exact vengeance on all the snails in his tank. Apparently, he really likes to eat them.
<Some fish will, and Gouramis generally have a reputation for eating snails if sufficiently hungry. Dwarf Gouramis are also known to "spit" water above the waterline to knock down food, like Archerfish. Try floating tiny bits of food on the surface first, like minced prawn, then stick some small bits on the waterline and see if he'll go for them. That certainly worked for my Archerfish!>
I've had to remove him back to his cup to stop the hunting (and consequent intestinal stoppages, or so they seemed) on a few occasions, and this morning when I released him, I did not feed him, knowing he'd go for the
snails. (For the longest time, I couldn't figure out why his he shared with the BGK tank had no snails, and our other tanks did. Now I know!) He's been relentless in his hunting of them.
<He's unlikely to have trouble feeding on the softer snail varieties like Physa and Physella spp., but I would avoid Melanoides spp. because these have very tough shells that aren't easily crushed or broken and might cause
In any event, I just wanted to give you an update and let you know that so far all is well with my little guy; I'm glad I didn't euthanize him, and I'm glad I took your advice.
Cheers all, and thank you again for all that you do. WWM is the FIRST place (and usually last) I go to get information on my aquariums!
Have a wonderful day! Regards, Kimberly
<Always good to hear about happy endings, so thanks for writing. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dwarf Gourami dilemma. (Soon to be solved!)       5/21/17

Hello Neale!
I'm not writing you today for advice, but in the last 2 months of caring for my little Mr. Gourami, I think I may have found something significant..
I searched on your site for it, but I couldn't find anything about it.
When I reintroduced Mr. Gourami into his solo 10gal tank, Ammonia-0, Nitries-0, Nitrates <20ppm (planted), I told you that he started chasing all the snails in his tank and eating them. He would get his normal flake food, and some shrimp/Spirulina mix at night. What I noticed, though, was that after eating, he would start spinning uncontrollably really fast, and have a very dark stress line across his abdomen. That reminds me of another observation I had. Back to the spinning. At first I thought that he was so damaged from his injury, that anything passing through the injured part would cause pain. Not a way to live, I'd imagine. I also thought the snails were causing the reaction. But then I noticed that his tail (and his swim bladder! Re: initial herniation) was very, very thin. Then his abdomen swelled. I thought maybe because his anterior gas bladder chamber was so thin, it was getting trapped in the posterior chamber. I also looked up DGD.. no other symptoms. I tried fry food, since it was so fine, maybe easier for him to digest, but then after seeing the same reaction, I remembered that such foods high in protein could/would cause constipation.
So then I tried some algae wafer a little later... same effect. So I was lost. Then, I looked at the ingredient list for the flake, fry food and algae wafer. All 3 had some form of wheat flour, or wheat gluten. Do you think, that with the industry continuously feeding the same processed-type foods to fish, as humans get, it could stand to reason that they could have developed a gluten intolerance? That, or the fact that no fish I've ever seen or heard of ever came into contact with any kind of wheat in the wild.
So what say you? Do you think it's viable, that a gluten-free diet (most commercials have it) could really help all of these fishes' sensitive digestive systems?
<It's really hard to know. In the wild, fish wouldn't really be eating much, if any, gluten. For sure herbivorous and omnivorous fish will consume some terrestrial plant material that falls or otherwise ends up in ponds and rivers. It's also true that grains of various types have been used to feed food fish like carp and tilapia for many years. But whether they're well adapted to digesting gluten isn't known to me, and it's certainly possible that for some species -- such as the less herbivorous gouramis -- it may be something they find hard to digest. That said, good quality flake
food mixes have been used for many decades now with great success, and across a wide range of species. There's nothing to stop you switching to alternate brands/formulas though; I happen to value the Hikari micro pellets for small fish like gouramis, but the Tetra brand foods are also extremely good and unlikely to cause health problems if used correctly. One thing I'll mention is that fish food can go bad very quickly in damp and warm environments. Certainly packages should be kept cool and dry, and if you can, use packages that run out within a month or two (if you buy bulk, consider storing the tub somewhere cold, dark and dry, while decanting just a small amount into another container for daily use).>
My Gourami is now being fed seaweed and shrimp/Spirulina mix only, and he has not had the same reaction to the foods that contain wheat. In fact, he's had no mishaps since the change in the diet, only one day ago. Not to be macabre, but his feces was a tad thin (not stringy) at first, but he just evacuated a solid, substantial seaweed movement. And had no issue passing it.
<Definitely worth experimenting. If this one food causes problems, stop using it! Even if gluten isn't the issue itself, there does seem to be something amiss.>
Just some info, maybe gluten is the culprit for some underlying issues FW keepers have.
I'm not a marine biologist, and it's only one fish, but so far so good with this one. Hasn't hurt him to only have a veggie/meat treat diet.
Cheers Neale, and Crew. Have a great weekend. Regards, Kimberly
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions       5/12/17
Thankful for your help, Bob. In terms of trying to assist in preventing anything spreading, would 1 tablespoon of salt for this 10 gallon be good to add for this situation, with a Corydoras paleatus, Synodontis petricola, Otocinclus, and a beloved apple snail?
<As long as your water quality is fine, I would leave off w/ the salt addition here. Of the fishes you list, none appreciate more salt (combinations of metals and non-metals)>
I heard it could be beneficial in preventing any illness spreading, but wanted to make sure it won't hurt the cats.
<... there is quite a bit to relate re "adding salt/s" issues. Again, I would not do so... though the source water here has little dissolved solids (including salts)... am out/up in Waikoloa presently... the ponds about A Bay were about filled in from the storm a few years back. Am hoping the ones near Kaloko fared better>
I am doing a 50% water change daily, room temp water (74/75) / same as tank, all stats are solid (0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10-20 ppm nitrates, 7.4 - 8.0 ph), so would I add the salt after one of those water changes and just do it once? Thanks. No sign of anything but some of the Synodontis bar bells are a bright white. Also could be I never examined them this closely too. No white fuzz or patches I can see. Thanks so much. Be safe bro. Dave
<Maybe read Neale's short treatise here:
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Got My First BGK       5/10/17
Hi Neale!
As we last e-mailed, I have put getting an Elephant Nose aside for now and I'm focusing on my BGK. I feel so privileged to be able to care and enjoy such an exquisite creature that I may be getting a bit neurotic, but I have
a concern, so here goes.
First of all, I had to take the Tetra dither fish out - they seemed to be bullying her away from the food - so they're back in their old tank.
<Understood. There are some very peaceful characins out there, to the point they're "boring" in many community tanks. Hatchetfish for example, and Pencilfish. Both ideal tankmates for juvenile Black Ghosts. As they get
older/bigger, and their predatory instincts become something to consider, there are possible tankmates, though placid catfish are probably the easiest to accommodate, Dianema species for example.>
The Brochis are on back-order so now she is sharing her tank with a 2 inch albino bristle nose Pleco - ONLY! They seem to pretty much ignore each other.
<Correct; the small to medium-sized Loricariids and L-numbers are ideal tankmates for Black Ghosts.>
So, despite the fact that I know my tank was cycled before I got the BGK, I've been doing water tests every few days and the biological filter is working well (never a hint of ammonia or nitrite, and nitrate is staying below 10 ppm as the orange color in the test tube is fairly translucent).
The canister filter and powerhead are keeping the tank clean and the water moving. I feed her Cyclops, daphnia, and now BABY brine shrimp, along with some mashed bloodworms. I defrost and rinse these foods and drop them in the tank at the top of both of her fake hanging plants (remember the blurry picture?) which allows the food to drift down and get caught among the leaves and flowers where she can get to them without the current taking them away to be sucked up by the filter.
<Sounds great!>
I feed her three times a day plus once at night just before I turn out the lights. She looks beautiful! The PraziPro did its job well and she has a nice roundness to her body around her pectoral fins.
<Glad to hear this.>
Her color is pristine black and white and her body and fin are perfect. So what's my problem? Well, every article I read about this species, here and around the internet, says they are nocturnal and don't come out at night; that they stay in their glass tubes or caves during the day. But my fish is not doing that.
<These fish are intelligent, by fish standards anyway, and perhaps more generally. They can and do adapt to daytime activity if there's something in it for them. Peace, subdued lighting, and plenty of food usually does the trick.>
I see her out multiple times of day (mostly in the afternoon). She's in her hanging plants looking for food or swimming between them. She swims through her glass tube and eats what she finds along the way but doesn't
stay in there. I don't see her out at night as the tank is dark, but every morning the food I put in before lights out is gone - nothing left. I know she's sleeping because if I look in the plant on the right side of the tank around 11am, I see her laying in a tangle of the plant's silk leaves. I guess she can hear me in the water,
<Correct; as members of the Ostariophysi, knifefish have excellent hearing and an ability to hear vibrations such as footsteps.>
or maybe she can sense me somehow, because if I say something she'll wake up and drift over to look at me to see if I brought more to eat. I believe she's doing well, but I don't know this species beyond what I've read and
she's not following the script. Do you see anything here that I should be concerned about?
<All sounds good to me! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Got My First BGK

Thank you!

Unknown disease        5/10/17
I've seen my share of diseases and parasites since I've rescued fresh/salt water fish from LFS and people but this one is a tad different.
I have 150 gallon, sump with about 13 varying sizes of goldfish (Moors, ryukins, calico) Last week I lost my 6 year olds and blind Moor that rather unexpectedly but all the other tank mates showed no signs of distressed.
The Moor appeared to have a lump on the forehead/nasal area. I wrote it off as a tumor or an injury thinking he bumped into the glass but now 7 days later I see the same lump but now LUMPS on my Calico...the lumps almost
look like a fluid filled blister aand they are growing. The Calico shows signs of dropsy and I know the prognosis and will most likely put him down but WTH is this? I haven't introduced any new fish in over a year...guesses?
<... either genetic trouble and/or poor environment, and/or bunk nutrition.
You offer no information of use.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Unknown disease....       5/10/17
I offer no information of use? Just because I didn't include ammonia levels pH and so forth it's automatically genetic or environmental aka I don't keep a clean tank?
<GIGO... vague generalities in response to no data proffered>
Apparently you Bob aren't the expert
<Previously married, flow under pressure.... I stand or sit accused>
just as I am not because you can't identify the alignment.
<... ailment?>
...<Vulgarisms deleted. B>

Yellow Bellied Slider turtles       5/10/17
I need some advice on my two yellow bellied slider turtles.
<Sure! Seems like this message has been "maturing" awhile in somebody's inbox, but let's see if I can help...>
I purchased these two almost 3 yrs ago as a birthday gift for my daughter.
<Hmm... the usual reminder to other folks: pets make poor presents unless the recipient has specifically asked for them, and is able/willing to provide the necessary long-term care, which in the case of Sliders is something around 20+ years.>
She has decided to not keep them any longer at her father's house and I have moved them back to my place today.
<Thank you for taking them back. Shelters are overwhelmed with unwanted Sliders and other freshwater turtles.>
I noticed that the smaller of the two seems to be favoring the back right leg and the tail.
<May be injured, but "metabolic bone disease" (MBD) is more likely. Lack of UV-B lighting and insufficient calcium in their diet is a MAJOR cause of such problems in pet reptiles. Can be improved through better diet and
calcium supplements, though the actual damage might never heal 100%. So do review their (previous) behaviour and diet, and look to see if there are signs of physical trauma (a bite or bruise, for example) or else if everything looks okay from the outside, but the limbs aren't working properly. If the latter, then MBD is fairly likely. A vet can help, as can some reading, here:
Check the UV-B lamp is working/no more than 12 months old (they wear out within 6-12 months, after which point they might be "on" but not pushing out enough invisible UV-B to be useful. Revise diet as needed, adding a
calcium source to their usual feed.>
I have observed the larger of the two attacking the smaller one. I have tried to look for details as to whether the smaller one is a male and the larger one is a female, as I had requested two females when I purchased them as babies.
<Males smaller, but have longer claws on their 'hands'.>
However, I am concerned about why the one is tucking his/her leg and tail inside it's body. I see some scales hanging onto the leg. I am going to separate them for tonight by putting the smaller one in a plastic bin and
keeping it inside the main tank. However, I need to know if I should 1.
seek vet care for the smaller one or if this will repair itself
<Visiting a vet is always a good idea, funds allowing. Some animal rescue charities can help too, providing low-cost or free vet services.>
and 2. should I remove the turtle from the tank so that it can heal?
<If there's no obvious wound, then no need to remove from the water. If they're fighting, then separation will be useful, but if they're not fighting, then no need to separate them. Do bear in mind turtles aren't social, and they both need access to the UV-B lamp for some of the time each day. Sometimes creating two separate basking spots helps. Perhaps one under the heat lamp, one under the UV-B lamp. Even better to use two combo heat-UV-B lamps, but whatever works best for you.>
I read an article where if a turtle is injured that water only keeps it infected due to the bacteria in the water.
<If there's an open wound, then yes, "docking" is a good idea. But if there isn't a wound, there's no particular advantage to this.>
However, I am concerned about whether an aquatic turtle can survive outside of water.
<Yes, indefinitely, if bathed in water for 30-60 minutes a day for feeding and drinking (they can't do either on land, really) but will otherwise be fine kept dry.>
Please give me advice, otherwise, if my boyfriend has his way, he'll turn them into turtle soup (just kidding).
<Sorry if this is late, but hope of use! Have cc'ed our turtle expert just in case I've missed something. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Yellow Bellied Slider turtles       5/10/17

Thank you for your response.
Since emailing you, things have gotten better between the two. Bigger one has longer claws than smaller one.
<Likely the male.>
Smaller one is NOW fighting back whenever bigger one is aggressive. It will push it's claws into other's face and shove it away. Or it will tuck its back legs/tail and swim away. It will put its back away from the bigger one.
Leg looks better, no scales flaking off. So it seems that they are getting along better. I have a 75 gallon tank, so plenty of room to swim for both.
I have two docks under lights for both to rest on.
<Good. Just be careful with the UV-B; it's crucial, but often overlooked, and saves a lot of money in the long run.>
Their diet is 65% plant matter and 35% protein (consisting of crickets, super worms). Plant matter is organic kale, romaine, shredded carrots. As the greens come into season, I will add them to the mix.
<All sounds ideal. But again, do think about calcium. While there's some in leafy plants, there's not a lot, and very little in insects. What you really want to do is dust small bits of meaty food, like earthworms or tiny bits of fish, with calcium powder (easily found in reptile stores, or simply grind up some cuttlebone). This will dump lots of calcium into the turtle, and if you do this once or twice a week, you'll be fine. Some turtles will actually eat cuttlebone directly, so try putting a small bit in their tank and letting them have a nibble. I've seen terrestrial turtles
(tortoises) go for cooked bones from the barbecue, but this probably isn't as healthy.>
As for asking for turtles, my daughter had asked for them. I had consulted with the ex-husband to ensure that he would assist in the care of them.
However, they both decided to half-ass the care. So, they are back with me and doing well.
<Thank you for doing this. They're nice pets, but like reptiles generally, you have to do a fair amount up front to keep them healthy. Compared to cats and dogs, they're a lot less hassle over their lifespan, but it's the up front expense that often causes problems for less than perfect pet-owners.>
As for social, I had researched and asked the company that I bought them from about whether I should have two or just one. They said that two would be fine, so that is why I requested both females.
<Hmm... kind of sort of. The flip side to females is egg-binding; do read on WWM re: this topic. It's not common, but not unheard of either, even when females are kept singly. A single male is actually probably the easiest way to keep turtles.>
I realize that at the size they were when babies, you can't tell, so it is possible that they are 1. both males or 2. one male/one female.
Again, thanks for the response.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>


Freshwater Aquarium  Articles & FAQs

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

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

    by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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