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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 
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Freshwater FAQs, Ask us a question: Crew@WetWebMedia.com

Updated 1/20/2019
Other Specialized Daily FAQs Blogs: General, Planted Tanks, Ponds, Brackish, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs,
Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Darrel Barton,
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

I would like the opportunity to be allowed to sell items in the categories      1/20/19
Hello my name is Robert Massey and I just located your very cool website I found it when I Google searched websites similar to Aquabid.
<Interesting; as we don't sell, have others sell anything directly on WWM>
I have been a seller of aquatic invertebrates on Aquabid for over 15 years and I have like over 400 positive feedbacks and I’m currently selling on the Aquabid website now but I need more business and I’m looking for something similar to Aquabid to list invertebrates and possibly a few lesser sirens maybe a few tadpoles three toed amphiuma central newts which all of the amphibians are raised on my friends property inside his ponds.
What do y’all charge and can I pay after the customer pays me?
<Mmm; we have sponsors; the particulars here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/wwmsponsors.htm>
And I would appreciate if y’all need more sellers any and all the rules so I can not offend anybody, I’m optimistic about this opportunity and I look forward to your reply have a wonderful day .
<Do you have a website already? I'd be promoting your business this way for sure; adding content... e.g. on practical husbandry, your travels in the interest... And listing livestock, drygoods there. Bob Fenner>

Otocinclus anatomy or parasite? /RMF      1/19/19
Hi Crew! All has been well in my tanks and I hope the same is true for you.
I've got a question for you about Otocinclus that I wonder if you can help me with. Despite having been previously wormed, and in my tank for over a year, I saw something suspicious protruding from the vent of one of my Otocinclus. I immediately suspected tapeworms and have searched with Google to see if I could find what that would look like. I found a couple of images (I will add the links) and a YouTube video showing Otos with a similar feature so now I'm not sure if it is actually a worm or a normal body part. I haven't been able to get a picture of my actual Otocinclus but the linked images are pretty much the same as what I saw with mine.
<Does look like something "worm-like" is protruding from the fish's vent>
These pictures were from a forums post wondering the same thing as me, whether it's a worm or tapeworm segment or an anatomical feature, unfortunately they never found an answer.
This picture was posted without comment so the person who had this fish didn't think there was a problem.
So is this a normal thing, some kind of breeding apparatus maybe? Or is this an unwanted passenger?
<Could be... a Nematode...>
Otos are reclusive enough in my tank that I don't really know what's normal or not, 7 of them disappear in a 450lt tank. Hopefully you can point me in the right direction! I do have dewormers available (both Praziquantel and Levamisole) if necessary although I don't relish the idea of dosing a tank of that size. The tank has loaches and Corydoras in it as well so if there is tapeworm or otherwise present I would expect it would have spread to them too by now.
So far I have one rotund Oto and some of my loaches that I had thought were full of eggs too, but now I'm concerned for worms. On the other hand, I haven't seen any symptoms in any of the other fish (rainbows, gudgeons, tetras).
<I wouldn't try/treat these Otos... likely this is either not a parasite, or if so, not debilitating... enough to warrant vermicide use>
Thanks for all your help over the years, sometimes it's just not possible to Google an answer for something (not a lot of people have taken detailed pictures of their Oto's vents!).
Bronwen @ Australia
<And you, Bob Fenner in Calif.>
Otocinclus anatomy or parasite? /Neale      1/19/19

Hi Crew! All has been well in my tanks and I hope the same is true for you.
I've got a question for you about Otocinclus that I wonder if you can help me with. Despite having been previously wormed, and in my tank for over a year, I saw something suspicious protruding from the vent of one of my Otocinclus.
<The standard de-wormer, Praziquantel, isn't especially effective. It's worth doing several rounds. Flubendazole and Fenbendazole are generally more reliable than either Praziquantel or Levamisole.>
I immediately suspected tapeworms and have searched with Google to see if I could find what that would look like. I found a couple of images (I will add the links) and a YouTube video showing Otos with a similar feature so now I'm not sure if it is actually a worm or a normal body part. I haven't been able to get a picture of my actual Otocinclus but the linked images are pretty much the same as what I saw with mine.
These pictures were from a forums post wondering the same thing as me, whether it's a worm or tapeworm segment or an anatomical feature, unfortunately they never found an answer.
This picture was posted without comment so the person who had this fish didn't think there was a problem.
So is this a normal thing, some kind of breeding apparatus maybe? Or is this an unwanted passenger? Otos are reclusive enough in my tank that I don't really know what's normal or not, 7 of them disappear in a 450lt tank. Hopefully you can point me in the right direction! I do have dewormers available (both Praziquantel and Levamisole) if necessary although I don't relish the idea of dosing a tank of that size. The tank has loaches and Corydoras in it as well so if there is tapeworm or otherwise present I would expect it would have spread to them too by now.
So far I have one rotund Oto and some of my loaches that I had thought were full of eggs too, but now I'm concerned for worms. On the other hand, I haven't seen any symptoms in any of the other fish (rainbows, gudgeons, tetras).
Thanks for all your help over the years, sometimes it's just not possible to Google an answer for something (not a lot of people have taken detailed pictures of their Oto's vents!).
<Agree with you that this structure seems abnormal. Might be a slightly prolapsed colon, which sometimes happens with fish, and fixes itself once the underlying problem is solved. Antibiotics are generally recommended here, but time and good water quality may do the trick, perhaps alongside
some use of Epsom Salt as per Dropsy. But I'd be veering more towards worms, given the tendency of wild-caught Loricariidae to be so infected.
Hope this helps, Neale.>

Goldfish gets hyper then floats like its dead       1/18/19
I have a 12+ year old goldfish named Spot. She (or at least my daughter said it is a "she" when we got her from a fair so many years ago) has been the lone fish in a 20 gallon tank for the last 5 years (the other fish died after the Derecho knocked out power for a week-no aeration and water temp increased) . A couple of months ago, Spot developed dropsy, which I was able to (successfully??) treat with antibiotics, in that she is no longer swollen and is still alive. I generally do a complete water change every month or so, cleaning the pebbles and tank completely,
<Better BY FAR to just change out a quarter every week. READ on WWM RE>
using distilled water
<.... NO. Goldfish, all fish need some mineral content.>
and adding some "pH tabs" or baking soda to bring the pH to neutral.
<Oh, good>
I also add bacteria to the water to help degrade ammonia. I am now also adding aquarium salts. I know complete water changes and all the cleaning is excessive, but its worked for the last 12 years. I use distilled water as my house water is from a well.
<Aye ya; do you drink this water? Have had it analyzed?>
After recovering from dropsy, I completely cleaned her tank (gross yellow scum from antibiotics), and got a new filter. The water becomes cloudy (white) after a few days, as if something is coming out of solution. We feed her Tetra flakes twice a day.
<... do see WWM re GF nutrition... Pellets w/ some greens please>
This evening, I was changing out about 40% of the water and suctioning out debris from the pebbles on the bottom (to try to get rid of the cloudiness and get rid of feces and excess food).
<Would you like to live in such a world?>
Spot was much more active than usual as I was "vacuuming" the pebbles. After adding back fresh distilled water (kept water in same room all day so that temperature was the same), she was super active. I left the room to get something, and upon return, she was floating on her side as if she was dead. I nudged her and she woke up, and kept swimming around very fast. My husband says she does that
<Poisoned, toxified>
(Spot is very responsive to my husband, as he is the one who feeds her-all he as to do is walk in the room and start to talk to her and she gets all excited till he feeds her).
But the hyperactive swimming tonight while changing the water was a new behavior. (the water chemistry looked fine, both before and after I changed out about 40%-- nitrates and nitrites all normal, hardness ok, pH neutral).
And I am worried about the "playing dead".
Any hints?
<Return, trend toward less pollution.>
We have only fed her Tetra flakes; should we try the peas?
<Yes... and....>
Could the strange behavior be a digestive issue? I am almost afraid to try anything new, since we have had Spot for so long and I don't want to do anything to disrupt her "norm". But I do want to be sure she stays as healthy as she can for as long as she can!
<Thank you for writing, reading. Bob Fenner>
Goldfish gets hyper then floats like its dead   /Neale      1/20/19
<<Hello Adele. Do agree strongly with BobF's earlier reply. Goldfish appreciate hard water, if not necessarily to the same degree as Malawi Cichlids, they surely do thrive in water with, say, 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7-8. Indeed, you're more likely to find wild carp in slightly brackish water than acidic blackwater streams, which tells you something of their preferences! Of course you've done well keeping these fish for 12 years, which proves how adaptable Goldfish are, but you're evidently hitting some sort of roadblock now, so it's a good idea to sit back and reflect. Let me direct you to some reading, here:
Hard water, swimming space, generous filtration, moderate water current, and a diet including some fresh greens is really all they want -- and given the right conditions 'loopy' Goldfish will often recover under their own steam without any further intervention. Cheers, Neale.>>

Puddle of thin white worms      01/17/19
I’m hoping to find out what these are and if we need to destroy them. My instinct is to let them be, but we do have dogs so I want to be sure.
<Mmm; I would shovel them up and bury them. Might be nematodes/roundworms, but could be horsehair worms, Nematomorphs...>
They are moving. It has recently been raining here in Southern California quite a bit. This is in the back patio. I’ve never seen such a thing so I thought I’d ask. Thanks for any help you can provide.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner, who also lives in (currently rainy) S. Cal.>

Re: Puddle of thin white worms      01/17/19
Thank you for the quick reply. Have a great day! :)
<And you Dawn. BobF>

Betta Bloating/Tumor?    1/15/19
Dear Wet Web Media,
<... 12 Megs....>
I have a Betta named Dublin who is almost two years old. He is set up in a 10 gallon tank with heater, filter and an uv light. His
temperature is set at 80 degrees. All water parameters are normal. I feed him pellets regularly, along with frozen blood worms
<I'd cut these. Search, read on WWM re>

and brine shrimp occasionally. He still eats well. Lately, I have been giving him a cooked pea because his stomach is swollen. His scales on one side seem slightly raised in the area of the swelling. Recently I tried treating him with Betta Revive for seven days. I have also given him an Epsom salt bath. Please see my attached pictures. Please note his stomach is swollen and at the bottom of his stomach it seems to be silver - grayish in color. I also noticed that he swims away a lot, he used to be very nosey. Can you please give advice to what I should do for him? Thanks, Jean
<Yes: Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/BetDisViralF.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Dear Crew,
My name is Sanjay and I own a Red Eared Slider.
<Hello Sanjay,>
For the past week, he seems unwell and I am not sure what I must do. For a while he had stopped eating the traditional pellets, and so I started giving him dried prawns which he was okay with.
<These are okay now and again, but dried prawns shouldn't be used too often.>
Now he has started eating the pellets, but in general he is much less excited about the food and takes much longer to eat it than he would earlier.
<Do offer some variety, in case there's constipation going on. Fresh greens (such as cheap aquarium plants like Elodea) will do the trick nicely, but check they're safe for turtles.>
The other thing that worries me is that, every morning the water in his tub has a layer of mucus like stuff floating on the top.
<Is this skin? Turtles shed skin periodically, and it looks like plastic film with a scaly texture. But actual slime (bacteria) or fluff (fungus) usually indicates problems with the tank and/or filter. Check the water
volume is adequate, clean the filter out, and ensure that the filter is big enough for the job. Adding an extra filter may help.>
I'm really not sure what this is, but it looks pretty clear (not yellow/brown but fairly transparent) and thick and is full of small bubbles. Other than that, thin layers of the shell seem to be peeling off more than before. I have read some pages on the website but nothing seems to be fitting with the symptoms regarding the mucus like stuff that I am finding every day.
<Understood. If the stuff is actually in the water, rather than on the turtle, chances are it's a filtration issue. Feed less, clean the filter, change the water more often. If the stuff is on the turtle, smell the
turtle, and if anything smells off ("musty", like mould) then you may be dealing with Shell Rot.>
I have owned this turtle and another one (which is doing fine) for over 7 years and they have never had any health issues, so this is quite sudden and it has me worried.
Please help me out at the earliest.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Dear Neale,
Thanks a lot for your help
<You're most welcome.>

Wondering what kind of turtle we have     1/13/19
<<Sara, howsit?
> Please re-size and re-send your msg. The pix files are too large. Kbytes please, not Mega. BobF>>
Not sure how to do that.
<This is as good as any!>
Let me know if these worked
<Looks fine to me. In any case, the turtles seem to be Yellow Belly Sliders. Lovely animals, for all practical purposes identical to Red Ear Sliders in terms of size, care, behaviour, etc. I kept one of each in the same tank, and the (yellow) male would even try to mate with the (red) female. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Wondering what kind of turtle we have     1/13/19
Oh cool! Thanks for getting back to me! So the yellow ear makes it a male?
<Nope. It's a whole separate species.
Just observing that I kept a male Yellow Belly Slider with a female Red Ear Slider and they got along as well as two turtles ever do.>
Appreciate your expertise!
<Glad to help. Neale.>

Re: Wondering what kind of turtle we have       1/14/19
Oh okay yes I have Googled more about our little one now. They are cousins v similar :) do you have any tips on telling age?
<Not really. They're not easy to age. Maximum size is around about that of a dinner plate, which they get to in around 5-6 years. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Wondering what kind of turtle we have    1/15/19
Thanks Neale.
<Most welcome.>
Apparently he was had by previous owner for just over a year now.
<Sounds about right.>
Still seems really small from what I thought anyways.
<Growth rate varies, and oftentimes females grow slower than males.>
Can the tank size or amount of water make this difference?
<Not much of a difference with turtles. Maybe a little bit. But so long as they're given enough food, and sufficient variety, they tend to all grow to near enough full size. Expect anything between 20-30 cm for most of the common "slider" species we keep as pets. Some variation, just as with humans, but none of them are pocket-sized.>
He was in a 30 gallon when I got him but there was only a couple of inches of water in it, sadly. Im not sure if he ever had much room to swim. Now that I've mostly filled the tank, he doesn't use his floating rock to bask much ...
<Indeed. Basically, these turtles use land to warm up (under the heat and UV-B lamp/s; the combined lamps are ideal) and then feed, cool down, and crucially, defecate, in the water. Many species hibernate underwater too; in the wild at least. Cheers, Neale.>

Some questions about freshwater deep sand beds       1/10/19
Greetings WWM crew! Happy 2019 — I hope your holidays were joyful and relaxing!
<Thank you Linda; yes>
I am considering installing deep sand beds in my three living room display tanks (two 120 gal and one 180 gallon) in the hopes of getting a bit of help with nitrate control. I have to RO/DI all of the water that goes into my aquarium (my well sucks), so it gets really time-consuming and wasteful to do twice- or thrice-weekly 50% water changes, which is the only way I’ve been able to keep my nitrates below 20ppm. I realize that the DSB is not going to be a magical cure for all that ails me, I just hope it will provide a little support (eventually) in my battle against NO3 until I can increase my plant mass to compensate.
<I see; understand. For a/the record, will state that there are other nitrate reducing means... a few chemical, physical if you'd like to chat re>
I’ve done lots of reading here and elsewhere about the setup, maintenance, risks and benefits, but I’ve found great deal of what seems like conflicting information, so in the interest of doing it right the first time, I thought I’d bring my questions to the experts. I plan to trial the DSB in my 120 gallon African Cichlid aquarium first, which houses about 20 rift lake cichlids (most 2-3”, a couple 4”), five 3” clown loaches, two 6” Senegal bichir and a lone 3” parrotfish. I realize that the clowns and bichir will outgrow this aquarium at some point, but for now, it’s the only place I have to house them. The tank is lightly planted with Vallisneria americana, a few small Anubias sp., a scattering of Cryptocoryne sp. and a few sprigs of fairly unhappy Bacopa monnieri. Oddly enough, the only plant that any of the cichlids bother is the Bacopa, and most of the time it’s just the zebras nibbling on whatever algae is on the leaves. Filtration consists of two Marineland 350 gph HOBs and a 525 gph canister.
<Ahh! I have a similar 240 with Malawi Cichlids and Synodontis cats, a lone sword plant... and unfortunately, the build includes an integral back area w/ a bunch of nitrate causing bio-balls. I too employ a DSB in-tank, the largest Eheim canister filter, and do @ 50% weekly water changes, w/ pre-stored water (our tap/mains has a pH of 8.2-4 or so...>
For the substrate I’m planning to use 20# pool filter sand (0.85 mm mesh size) at a depth of 6 inches in the back of the aquarium, tapering to between 4-5 inches in the front. I’m going to replant at the current levels and possibly add a bit more Val and some crypts that I have lying around, fortified with root tabs (no nitrate) since I’m forgoing my plant-friendly substrate.
<You might consider planting these in chemically inert containers (plastic, glass)... to contain them, their roots; make it easier to vacuum around, move them in time>
The fish will be moved to a 110 gallon stock tank in the interim (except the bichir, which will go into a tightly-covered 20gal long because I don’t want them to go for a walk), all filters will be thoroughly cleaned of mulm, and the system will be restarted with all new (nitrate-free) water. As soon as NO3 hits 20 ppm, I will restart my EI dosing (again, sans KNO3 for the time being).
My questions are as follows:
1) Is ~0.85 mm fine enough for a DSB? I keep reading ’sugar sand,’ which to me means super-fine sand that would be the stuff of nightmares to vacuum, much less maintain circulation and filtration!
<Yes and yes>
2) Is 4” deep enough in the front (the idea being that detritus will collect near the front and be easier to siphon out) or should I just go 6” throughout?
<The slope here should be fine. Periodic vacuuming to re-groom, build it back up front to back will keep it sloped>
3) Are burrowers absolutely vital to DSB maintenance? Between the cichlids and the clowns, snails and blackworms don’t last long in this particular setup. Are there larger/less tasty alternatives I could use?
<I would not add more, sand-stirrers here. The loaches and cichlids will do>
4) Do I need to ‘rest’ the tank after adding the DSB, or can I add the fish right back in?
<I'd wait a few days; to allow all to settle in, nitrification to start, move a good deal of the "used" water from the other tank to the new>
5) Should I decrease my filtration right away? Dierdre Kylie’s article in CA Magazine suggests "an internal filter or power head rated for at very most half the size of the tank” with mechanical filtration and no surface splashing. Must I abandon my HOBs? (she also suggests a 3” depth of sand, but I’ve seen many more people advocating for at least 4” or more).
<I would NOT decrease filtration, nor decrease surface agitation. You have a good deal of bio-mass; and will have more w/ time, growth, foods added. I use air-stones (and pumps, check valves...) on my freshwater systems that have a good deal of fish, invert. livestock; yes, even ones that are more/less heavily planted. Am very familiar that this is anathema to many other writers, drives out CO2...>
6) How heavily should I plant the tank? It’s my understanding that disturbing the bed once established is a no-no, so should I just plant it as fully as I’m able right from the start? My main concern is that my current plants will be adjusting to a new substrate, so it might be easier to trim any melted/dying leaves and whatnot without having to dig through a thicket.
<Again, designating back, side areas... for plants, sequestering them in containers (that you can add soil to...) is the route I would go for longer-term maintenance>
7) Can I mix in some generic black aquarium sand, provided it’s comparable in grain size to the pool sand (I am a geologist so I own a set of sieves to check)? I prefer the salt-and-pepper look!
<Yes you can/may. I do mix differing grades, colors, at times textures in my FW displays>
Thanks in advance for any advice you might have.
Linda A.
<Thank you for your well-thought out questions, sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Some questions about freshwater deep sand beds      1/11/19

Hello Bob, and thanks for the in-depth reply!
<Welcome Linda>
I would absolutely love to hear about other nitrate-removal methods … I have tried using Zeolite and Purigen in the past, but they didn’t seem to have much impact;
<Mmm; there are other substances... resins mostly, that are far more efficacious. >
this may be because I installed them in the HOBs rather than the canister (due mostly to ease of monitoring/replacement). I have read about nitrate reactors and am keeping that in mind for possible implementation later (when funds allow)… have also considered a DIY planted (houseplants etc) overhead sump made from plastic flower boxes,
but couldn’t decide on the proper flow rate to achieve denitrification,
<Easy enough to set up, measure the in-effluent [NO3]... adjust; slow/er is better>
plus I’d rather avoid installing an additional light source above the tank;
<Mmm; could be situated under, on the side... in a live sump.>
I have only a glass canopy on the tank and don’t want to encourage an algae explosion. I do, however, have quite a bit of ambient light coming from a number of large picture windows in the north wall, however, so low-light houseplants do pretty well. I forgot to mention before that the aquarium in question has a ~2 meter long vine of golden Pothos growing out of one of the HOB filters, which is doing fairly well but has been somewhat less vigorous of late with the diminishing daylight.
All that being said, I’d be eager to hear any tips or feedback regarding the above options, as well as any others you’d like to add! I’ll take all the help I can get!
<Perhaps better to best that I refer you to our marine sub-web; as the same techniques can be employed in fresh: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm
at top after: "Means to reduce:">
Thanks for the suggestion of the pots for my plants. It’s certainly tempting to keep them ‘packaged’ for easier handling later on, but isn’t part of the point of having plants in the setup to assist with oxygen transport in the aerobic zone?
<Mmm; for some, to extents... such transport occurs just about as readily in their absence... and you actually want hypoxic to anoxic conditions to drive denitrification... Yes>
Or is it better to shield the anaerobic zone from infiltration and aeration?
<Ah, yes; correct>
What happens if my Vals and crypts get root bound? Should I just put them in giant (say, 6” diameter) pots?
<You will discern this root binding; can re-pot, sell off excess plants>
Finally, what about feeding? I generally feed every other day with a variety of pellet foods (50% or more vegetable-based, like Hikari Excel and Omega One veggie pellets) supplemented by frozen gut-loaded brine shrimp and mysis shrimp and sliced zucchini/cucumber. I do have to sneak in a few sinking carnivore pellets for the bichir, though. Should I feed less? I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what messy eaters cichlids are!
<Ah yes; I'd feed once daily... look into a feeding stick or tube to get food down to the bichir>
Finally, how often should I vacuum my substrate once the whole thing is set up? Is once weekly (with 50% water change) sufficient, or should I let the mulm settle to feed the bacteria?
<In your size system I'd vacuum one half once per week; the left, or right... Not to worry re mulm... bacteria will be fine on what is left>
Thanks again for your time and attention,
Linda A
<Again, most welcome. Bob Fenner>
Final questions (hopefully) re: freshwater deep sand beds     1/12/19

Hello again,
<Heya Linda>
I just wanted to inquire whether it would be OK to allow granite rock rest directly on my DSB. I have 6-7 pieces sourced from a nearby canyon (Sierra Nevada tonalite, specifically), the largest of which weighs about 10 kg out of water. They have already been 'de-bugged' (soaked in bleach and then dechlorinator; have been in use since the system was set up more than 6 months ago) and used to sit directly on the gravel bed, which was about 6.5 cm thick. Naturally, the heaviest rocks sank into/displaced some substrate. Do I need to add something below them to avoid compromising the thickness of the DSB, or is it safe to just let them sink in?
<You can lay the rock on top of the DSB; would move it about to vacuum underneath occasionally. IF you have a concern re the integrity of the tank and the weight of the rock; especially if it is sharp edged, I would put down a piece of eggcrate/louver (easy to cut, snap...) and let the rock sit on this>
I plan on putting them in the stock tanks with my fish while the DSB settles in to preserve the algae/bacteria growing on them in the meantime.
Thanks again,
<Cheers, BobF>

Re: Flowerhorn/Red Devil Cross with swim bladder disorder symptoms      1/9/19
Hi again. Just a quick update on Jiana, the flower horn/red devil cross with the damaged swim bladder. On October 10th 2018, after a lot of research, I surgically removed the gas from her swim bladder and managed to sink her.
<Crikey! That's beyond my pay grade, as we say in England.>
The risk at that point was outweighed by potential gain. Her side began to heal immediately.
<Good to hear.>
As of January 2019, she is still on her side at the bottom most of the time but is able to right herself and swim the length of her tank when she wants to. When she stops she drifts over onto her side. Her colour is great, appetite is huge and she seems to still be improving slowly but steadily.
She is able to play again and remains very interactive with people. She may never be the same as she was but seems to be content. Thanks again for all the advice and help with her. Your website is my go to site whenever I need expert help.
<Glad this has worked out well, and thanks for the update (and the kind words). Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies with PopEye       1/8/19
Hello there!
<Hi Megan, Earl this morning.>
I have an unusual issue. I have several (ha ha, a million really) guppies that were born and raised in my home. These little ones range in age but most are about 5 to 6 months old. They are in 2 separate
tanks, boys in our 55 gallon community tank (once they can be sexed anyway) and the ladies and babies in the nursery, which is a 29 gallon. The 29 is guppy only, besides 2 Amano shrimp, 2 bamboo shrimp and a large apple snail, as well as some Ramshorns. The 55 is mostly white clouds, Danios, and male guppies. Both are well established planted tanks with sand substrate. Water is almost the same for both.
The 55 has PH 7.2, ammonia 0, nitrate 10 ppm, nitrite 0, KH 3 and GH 8.
The 29 has the same except slightly higher nitrate at 20 ppm.
<Seems good. I would look into the other possible causes as shown here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwdistrbshtart.htm and
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwpopeyefaqs.htm . My first step would definitely be to quarantine the fishes in question, then observe all of the guppies for behavior that could lead to eye trauma. Sit by the tanks and watch them for at least 30 minutes particularly during feeding when an
aggressive, larger fish would be more likely to "act up". My hunch is that it's bacterial but don't rush for antibiotics until you have done this much. Only then is it time to treat them with medications, administered as per WWM's pages regarding this. Hope this helps (and please do follow up by sending us an update as to your outcome as this can immeasurably helpful to others down the road).>
About a week ago, I noticed that one of the oldest baby ladies had PopEye.
It was just one eye and after reading up on it I assumed it was from trauma and started watching her more carefully. Since I had a bunch of them in there along with babies I was concerned. I had a LOT of females and I decided to give about 10 ladies away to the LFS so there could be more room for babies. While catching them I found another lady with PopEye.
Strangely it was only one eye, same eye even. These ladies are from the same batch of babies, they look pretty much identical. And then I found another. So, that's 3 identical females at the same age with PopEye in one eye, all on the same side (the right). Really weird. Put them in quarantine.
Meanwhile, in the community 55 there is a young lad, just old enough to know he's a male, with PopEye only on the right eye. It developed overnight since I am now carefully watching the remaining guppies for anything unusual. His is worse than the others.
Anyway, my question is could this be hereditary? Why all the same eye? Why not both eyes, or any of the other fish? I have scoured this site and the internet but it seems PopEye is kind of a mystery illness. Is it even possible for it to be hereditary? I just think its very strange that it's not both eyes on any of them if it is a water quality issue. Plus they are in separate tanks. The male (most likely he's inbred) did come from the 29 of course, but he's been in the 55 for over 2 weeks now. My water is consistent and we are diligent with water changes weekly on all of our tanks, we have 5. Thank you in advance!
Re: Guppies with PopEye      1/9/19

Thanks for the response. I had read through both of the pages you linked for me before I emailed but nothing there about multiple related animals getting PopEye only in one eye and all on the same side.
<I wouldn’t put much stock in that detail, if any. 50/50 chance after all.>
When I feed them occasionally I will give Sera O-nip which is a food pellet that sticks to the glass. Its about 12mm in size. That would be a time when they could injure each other while feeding. They do love that kind of food!
I love watching them and observe them every time I feed them. They are in our living room and they are our TV! I never notice them nipping each other while feeding. Tonight is a fasting night for them so I will have to watch tomorrow.
<Fasting night?>
One of the bamboo shrimp in the 29 died while I was at work today. The baby male guppy has a white fungus on the PopEye now, and a female guppy that doesn't have PopEye has fungus on a fin. Its hard to tell but it is white colored and fuzzy. Looks the same as the stuff on the males eye. All fish in the 55 look good. No other new issues.
The quarantined fish spent most of the first day up at the surface. No gasping for air, just lethargic and almost sleeping for hours after i put them in. Now they are moving about more but the female with fungus is still lethargic. Parameters are the same for the quarantine tank as the others. A bare bottom 10 gallon, a hob filter with carbon and a small sponge filter.
All of my tanks have a sponge filter as well as a hob.
<This screams “infection”. Sponges present a dilemma in that they can’t be replaced hastily yet that means they are not quarantined.>
In the 29 gallon the substrate is Carib-sea river of doubt and also Carib-sea Tahitian moon sand, mixed. We had this in a cichlid tank previously. We had a mass die off of the young yellow labs that were in
that tank from a mystery illness. Some of them acted as if they had seizures occasionally. Some had no symptoms, but just died.
<Red alert! I’d ditch this substrate pending the outcome of the 10g tank. Remove and bleach (“nuke”) decor, rocks, gravel, the works if this illness continues.>
None had PopEye. This sand sat in a bucket for about 2 months before it was washed and then used in this tank. My boyfriend thinks its the sand.
<I am inclined to agree. Either way it’s not doing you any favors.>
I'm just stumped. I guess it must be coincidence that it is on the same eye for all of them, but not both. Im not sure what to treat them with.
<WWM has info regarding this. Typical antibacterial medication. It is also worth considering where you have gotten all these animals. Some have surely cone from outside sources which may be suspect.>
Re: Guppies with PopEye      1/11/19
As for fasting night, i don't feed them every day. Usually every other day.
Is this wrong?
<Hi again. Ideally you would want 2 small daily feedings or more simply, once a day unless you have a special reason.
Certainly better to underfeed than to overfeed as a general rule but I'm not sure why you'd skip feedings normally.>
I'm not sure what you mean by this statement "Sponges present a dilemma in that they can’t be replaced hastily yet that means they are not quarantined."
Do you mean I shouldn't have a sponge filter in the quarantine? The one in the 29 has been there a long time. The one in the quarantine is pretty new.
<Simply that sometimes people set up a QT but bring decor or sponges (for cycling) from another tank,
which defeats the purpose of quarantine, which is to be completely clean and uncontaminated.>
I'm really surprised about the sand. I am not excited to throw out $60 worth of sand but I'll just have to if i want healthy fish. We have the same sand in our 5 gallon Betta tank. Guess that's going bye bye too. He says its cursed sand. He was right!
<Well it's not a 100% surety but you should consider: how long was this stuff sitting, damp, in a bucket (probably dimly lit), how clean could it really be and who knows what's gone on in there? It sucks to lose the money and the nice sand, but ask yourself what $60 is compared to the value of the other gear you pay for, the electricity, the food, and the animals themselves. A proverbial drop in the bucket.>
So far they are ok, the small male still has fungus on his PopEye. Will treat as directed. Thank you so much for the advice! Megan
<Please do let us know how it goes!>

Tiger barbs and African Cichlid      1/7/19
My African Cichlid is doing awesome but my tigers are bullying each other to death and not allowing the bullied ones to escape please help.
<Friend, I'm afraid this is not nearly enough information. Please describe your system setup and all of its inhabitants in more detail. For example, when you say "tigers," are you referring to tiger barbs (i.e. Puntigrus tetrazona)? I might also suggest that you browse our FAQs pages on cichlid behavior and compatibility. See here to start:
Re: Tiger barbs and African Cichlid - 01/07/19

Twenty gallon well planted and heated to 74 and I am indeed referencing tiger barbs they have killed all the male tiger barbs
<Yeah mate, and they will likely kill anything else you put in there with them. Twenty gallons is just too small a space for even one of these fish, much less several of them. Exactly how many African cichlids do you have in this 20 gallon tank? And what species are these?>
and are now displaying to each other for some reason
<My crystal ball tells me that you will ultimately end up with exactly one fish in this system. If you wish to maintain more than one African cichlid for any longer period of time than it takes for the one strongest fish to kill off the rest, you need a larger tank.

Large, creepy insect living in aquarium     1/6/19
I found this running across the bottom of my yellow bellied turtles 75 gallon aquarium. It was huge! About a full inch to inch and a half! I caught it in my net and walked it down to a canal in my neighborhood and released it and ran home. Lol! I still have the creepy geebies! Can you tell me what it is?
<It's a dragonfly nymph (or larva). While extremely predatory towards aquatic insects and small fish, it poses no threat at all to your turtles. These nymphs are famous for having extendible mouthparts that lunge forwards to grab their prey, and from this action was the inspiration for the mouth-within-a-mouth of the 'Alien' movie's alien. Cheers, Neale.>

Saltwater to freshwater conversion, Malawi sys.     1/4/19
Hi there,
I have a 110 gallon FOWLR tank that I would like to convert to freshwater and keep Lake Malawi cichlids.
Can I keep the live rock and sand and use it in the freshwater set up?
<Likely so; yes; unless the rock is very sharp>
If yes, would I have to remove it and clean, or could I just keep doing freshwater changes until salinity is zero?
<Were it mine, I'd very likely drain the tank down, remove to rinse the present substrate, air-dry and blast the rock with a hose... and re-set up....>
Thank you for providing such a brilliant site!
Paul W
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

QUESTION... Turtles~!?    1/4/19
Do you deal with tanks only or do you answer questions about turtles?
<Can do turtles! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: QUESTION, YBS... sex/repro.; fdg.       1/4/19

Do you know anything about Yellow Belly Turtles?
<A little. For all practical purposes identical to the Red Ear Slider in terms of care, diet, etc.>
I have 2 of them I got them In South Carolina in 2017 as babies, now their pretty good size and I'm pretty sure I have a Male and Female turtle.
<Should be easy to sex, the males having the longer claws and longer tail.>
I noticed about maybe a month ago the male going up to the female and doing the claw thing and online it said it was a sign of mating.
<Or at least flirting, yes. More biologically speaking, animals engage in behaviours to determine that the other is the right species, the right sex, sexually mature, in a physiological state to actually mate, and so forth.>
Now the female acts different and won't eat ANYTHING and stays at the bottom of the tank when she use to sit on their platform under their light.
<Sounds like she's disinterested in mating, and perhaps the attentions of the male are stressing her. Turtles aren't social, and don't really get along. Furthermore, egg-binding can be an occasional problem with turtles kept at home without a sandy pit to lay their eggs, or else too scared by the male to use the sandy pit made available to them. Egg-binding requires veterinarian intervention, so is best avoided! We've discussed this at length on WWM; do review, perhaps starting here:
Use the Search function thereafter.>
They are both usually pretty active but the female really hasn't been since. Not really sure on what else to feed them.
<ReptoMin is a good staple, but a more economical choice are Koi pellets.
Either way, avoid feeding too much meat. In the wild, adult turtles consume mostly aquatic plants and organic detritus, probably a variety of worms and molluscs, plus carrion. Cheap aquarium plants sold for Goldfish set-ups, such as Elodea, can be used freely, and if you don't offer any alternatives, your turtles will eventually eat them. Just like people at an all-you-can-eat buffet, turtles will go for the steak and fried chicken if its there, but if they're hungry enough, they'll eat the salad!>
I've tried every turtle food you can buy and the only one they have ever ate was the Shrimps.
<Shrimps are a very poor staple food. While fine for a treat, maybe weekly, they're full of thiaminase, which causes thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency in the long term.>
I've fed them fish before and they have ate them.
<Occasional offerings of white fish fillet are fine, but never, EVER use "feeder fish" -- unless of course you want to introduce parasites for the purpose of some scientific investigation! Seriously, "feeders" are really, really bad foods for any pet animal.>
I've also tried some other things I've read online. What are your thoughts?
<Always worth reading up on these animals to check you've got all your bases covered:
As I say, your Yellow Belly Sliders are much the same as Red Ears, so substitute the one for the other while reading. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: QUESTION... DarrelB in da room     1/4/19

Quite right Neale!
The problem is that turtles reach sexual maturity by size, not years, so it's normal that a pair raised together with experience this: He's ready for reproduction and she's not. Sometimes it appears that the females get upset and go off their feed for a while, but usually they resume after a few weeks.
If not, I usually try to rearrange their tank or enclosure ... sort of make everything look "new again" and that often changes their personalities and priorities for a while
<<Thanks Darrel! Funnily enough, just finishing the "steps in courtship behaviour" thing to my A level biology students, so this was still fresh in my mind. I'll pass your comments on. Have a good 2019! Neale.>>
...<<Got the following from a real turtle expert, which you might find useful.
Cheers, Neale.>>
<<<Quite right Neale!
The problem is that turtles reach sexual maturity by size, not years, so it's normal that a pair raised together with experience this: He's ready for reproduction and she's not. Sometimes it appears that the females get upset and go off their feed for a while, but usually they resume after a few weeks.
If not, I usually try to rearrange their tank or enclosure ... sort of make everything look "new again" and that often changes their personalities and priorities for a while
Re: QUESTION    1/4/19

Thank you for trying to answer my questions! I have the ReptoMin floating food sticks, aqua culture aquatic turtle trail mix diet, cobalt aquatic turtle minis, and aqua culture freeze dried crickets and they just won't bother with them.
<Hunger makes the best sauce. Persist! Shrimp alone is a terrible staple.>
Their so picky. I will try a aquatic plant but I would need to put sand in the tank to hold them down.
<No need. Elodea and Cabomba, the two cheap and cheerful options widely sold as goldfish plants, will float quite happily. They don't need soil or sand. Remove when they actually fall apart, but don't worry if they just look a bit moth-eaten -- that means the turtles are eating them, which they will, in time.>
They have always gotten along and never fought so maybe she will come out of it.
<Perhaps. But as I say, they're not social and don't need friends. So don't get your hopes up.>
Thank you for sending me the other email as well. I had no clue to ask and came across your website randomly!
I will stay in touch incase I have any other questions! Hope you have a great day!
<Glad to help, and good luck, Neale.>

Panda Cory's tail    1/3/19
Hello, I've had a panda Cory for about a year and about a week ago I got two more.
<They are social, so groups of 5+ please!>
When I cleaned my tank yesterday I noticed one of the new ones was missing his tail. This morning I saw the other new one was missing about half of his. I do believe it's due to being nipped by my sword tail.
<Or some other nippy fish, yes.
I have separated him out.
<Isolating a Corydoras (or any other schooling fish) from its compatriots can cause problems. Much better to remove the nippy fish/fishes, since nipped fins grow back fine, if left alone.>
My question is there anything I can do to help their tails grow back?
<Remove the nippy fish. Damaged fins will heal quickly in clean water.
Medication usually not required. Finrot and fungus can happen, but usually indicate a more serious problem, e.g., non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels.>
Thank you. Amanda
<Welcome. Neale.>

Turtle moving its legs    1/3/19
I wonder about the movement of a turtle’s legs.
It was in a large glass tank that gave it a good view into a nearby room Where yoga classes were given.
<I see.>
A friend and I observed the turtle perched on along moving its front right leg and rear
<Is this a water turtle (or terrapin) or a land turtle (or tortoise) -- that would make a difference here!>
Back left leg back and forth, and then moving its front left leg and rear right Leg back and forth. Then it stopped and repeated this movement pattern, Almost like it was practicing some yoga movement.
Is this movement pattern usual for turtles?
<Not really, no.>
Why do they do it?
<Same reason humans do. Animals will sometimes move their limbs for exercise, or because blood needs to be pushed along the veins, or because the nerves are simply firing for some random or accidental reason. People often talk about their cats doing calisthenics, and while it's unlikely any animal understands the benefits of exercise as we do, they probably do have an instinctive need to perform stretches and movements to ensure joints and muscles operate properly. Turtles and tortoises have strong limbs, turtles for swimming, and tortoises to support the weight of their armoured bodies.>
Is it possible that the turtle saw a similar movement pattern of people in yoga And copied it?
<It's conceivable, but not terribly likely. Turtles and tortoises are not very smart animals, and while they have good enough eyesight to observe the world around them and react appropriately, they aren't thought to have the sort of plastic behaviour we associate with animals that copy humans.>
David and friend John
<Happy new year! Neale.>


Female Metriaclima Lombardoi (Kenyi) showing extreme male behavior    1/4/19
<<If you meant to send us a message, this is all that came through. Cheers, NM.>>
Re: Female Metriaclima Lombardoi (Kenyi) showing extreme male behavior    1/4/19

Good morning. Thank you for a quick response and clearing up my confusion.
She shall remain single I believe. Happy New Year to you all!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Adult Male Livingstoni Possible ulcers? Need a Fish Vet    1/3/19
Hello I'm hoping someone can help me and my Adult Male Livingstoni.
His home is my 6ft 110g. It also houses 1 Male OB 2 Female OB 1 Juvenile Banga, 1 Juvenile Lawanda, 1 juvenile Walteri, 1 Juvenile Mylandi Sulfurhead 1 Juvenile Malawi Eye Biter 1 Juvenile Firecrest All the Juveniles are roughly 2 inches and once they are large enough will be moved to my 220g. He is by far the largest cichlid in this tank and has also started allowing a few of the smallest Juveniles "clean" his ulcer/wound.
Which I do have on video and is a site to see.
<Sending 30 MB of files in an email clogs up our system; as we repeatedly do ask, please do crop files to keep them under 1 MB using the online or offline image editors of your choice.>
My parameters are 0,0,15.
<Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, I take it.>
I perform weekly 50% water changes, syphon daily any uneaten food.
Filtration is an FX6 and I also have a UV-C sterilizer and a 900 MaxiJet powerhead. The tank is decorated with petrified wood and an artificial plant, black sand. My town water is awful, from tap it reads PH 8.4,Gh 4, KH 2. I do use Seachem lake Malawi buffer, salt and Trace, otherwise my PH
crashes almost immediately. My GH is 7 Kh 7.
<Assuming the pH is steadily around 8.0 to 8.2, this should be fine.
Personally, I'd be upping the KH a bit.>
I think I covered everything?
<So far!>
So my question is regarding my Livingstoni approximately a month ago, I had to remove him from my 220g. Him and my Venustus decided they couldn't live together anymore. They lip locked once and my Venustus nipped him on his side a bit. Once in the 110g I started treating for his lip which was actually bleeding a bit, he fully recovered in a week but where he got nipped on the side has grown and gotten worse, then better, then worse then almost gone, then what the heck it will not go away.
<Nimbochromis livingstonii, like most Haplochromines, do extremely badly when kept with Mbuna. So that was your first mistake. Sooner or later they're harassed or nipped by Mbuna, and absolutely should not be mixed.>
His fins are perfect, eats great, activity level is normal but these ulcer looking spots. At first I thought oh no Columnaris, etc.. But I'm starting to think it might be viral? Due to the amount of time this has been an issue and NOBODY in any of my tanks, including his tank mates have or had anything similar or wrong, even the juveniles that are cleaning the site have no signs of whatever this is on their mouths. I so wish there was more Fish Vets available, I've talked to an assistant and she told me Melafix and Pimafix but it did nothing.
<Useless products.>
I've tried Kanaplex in water and feeding, I've fed Metroplex.
<Indeed, Metronidazole and a reliable antibiotic would be good choices when treating sickly cichlids.>
I'm now performing water changes every 3 days and I'm ready to either clout the tank or use CopperSafe. I live in Massachusetts, if I could find a vet I'd be more than willing to pay for a house call. He is so big and smart that he sees me go to the cabinet with my nets and immediately starts swimming in a frenzy ready to attack it. So in my mind at least, catching him will only add more stress and most likely injury.
<The video suggests he's being pecked at by other fish. This will prevent any effective healing, and will certainly be adding to his stress.
Isolating, and medicating as per Finrot and probably Hexamita will help.>
Thank you Liz
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Black red fin shark acting weird    1/3/19
Never mind it died
<As Neale might put it; "too bad". BobF>

Platy fry    1/3/19
Ok so this may sound like a dumb question but here goes. I’ve got 2 female Platies, my male died about a month ago. This evening I started seeing fry in my tank. Got my nursery tank set up and started moving my fry. What I noticed is that I have 2 very distinct fry. A larger orange with black and some considerably smaller almost transparent. All seem vigorous and healthy. I’m wondering can they be from the same mother or is it just a weird coincidence that both females were pregnant at the same time and delivered at the same time?
<These two different fry could be from the same or either/both mother/s, females. Young can vary, and are often more color-less when first born... and the females can/do store sperm in their tracts for months...>
I’ve been trying to catch someone in the act but no luck. The one I suspect of giving birth is mostly white with a thick orange stripe and black tail. The other is a smaller orange/red with a black tail. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!
<The vent area should be translucent in the one/s giving birth, and close to it. On close inspection, you can/may actually be able to see the dark eyes of the fry in their mother. Bob Fenner>

Cycling new Crawfish tank from existing one    12/28/18
Hey WWM,
<Hey Darren>
I recently got a larger tank for my crayfish as she was getting bigger and also a new filter along with it. How can I go about using the old tank to aid with the cycling of my new one?
<I'd move a good half of the water from the existing one, a good part of the substrate, decor and filter media to the new. Bob Fenner>

green Texas cichlid    12/28/18
About a week ago lumps appeared on both of my green Texas cichlid lips,
then yesterday 27/12 she had a white mark on her lip which has now turned
in to a pink lump, I have included pictures
<Please re-size and re-send your msg. and attached files. Am down in Roatan... can't download 28 megs. B>
Re: green Texas cichlid    1/4/19

Hello, the lump on my green Texas cichlids lip popped not long after my original message and she seemed fine, but now when she breathes only the side the lump was on is inflating, do you have any idea what it could be
<Nope. There's nothing here that is indicative of anything specific. If the fish has an open wound, extremely good water quality will be paramount, along with the use of antibiotics. Adding a little salt (2-3 gram/litre) can also help. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Eared Slider Turtle Advice     12/29/18
I observed a small bump/lump on the left side of my red eared slider turtle's neck this morning, which didn't exist before. It is only visible when she is breathing inside the water tank with her neck expanding, but it feels like a small bone has grown in there. Otherwise, her behaviour is completely normal, her breathing and nostrils are in excellent condition and her shell is hard and healthy looking. Due to the fact that I am not aware of any veterinarians who are trained to treat turtles in my area, I would deeply appreciate it if you could inform me about what might be the case with my pet and maybe propose possible ways of treatment.
Thank you in advance for your help,
<Metabolic bone disorder, bacterial infections, goiters, benign cysts and tumours are all possibilities. If it's appeared overnight, then an infected wound or bacterial infection causing a swelling is more likely, but if the lump feels hard, it may well be it's only become obvious recently, and actually been there awhile. There's simply no way to guess from a text message. This is one of those instances where a vet is the person to speak with. If you don't know a vet who treats reptiles, a good start is to visit a local pet shop that specialises in reptiles and amphibians. Failing that, your local or national animal welfare charity may be able to help, and some charities, like the Tortoise Trust, have lists of reptile vets all around
the world:
If the turtle is otherwise breathing and feeding normally, and you are confident it isn't in any distress, then there's probably no immediate hurry. But still, the thing with reptiles is that many problems develop
very slowly because of their slower metabolism, and it's easy to overlook serious problems until they're too difficult (or expensive) to treat.
Cheers, Neale.>

African Dwarf Frog     12/29/18
I have 4 ADF in a very well maintained tank. Three of the four are perfectly fine. One started with a little red bump on its nose, and it now looks much worse. I’ve searched and searched, but have failed to figure out what it could be and to help the little thing. She hasn’t lost weight, but I don’t see her eat when I feed them. She isn’t acting any different in regards to her activity level.
<This would be appear to be some type of bacterial infection. Medicating as per Finrot, using (reliable) anti-Finrot medications or (ideally) antibiotics, should do the trick. Maracyn 2 is a good choice. Do let me direct you to some reading about Red-Leg as this disease is often called:
Avoid non-treatments such as salt, Melafix, aloe Vera, and other supposed cure-alls that won't do anything helpful. Do also try and establish the cause of injury. Frogs rarely damage one another, but they can be damaged by rough substrates (they love to dig) and by aggressive tankmates (such as fish). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: green Texas cichlid     12/29/18
About a week ago lumps appeared on both of my green Texas cichlid lips then yesterday 27/12 she had a white mark on her lip which has now turned in to a pink lump, I have included pictures. also the lump on her lip has now popped
<Hard to say what's the deal here, but the old Metronidazole plus a reliable antibiotic (such as Kanaplex) approach would be a good first step.
Aggressive cichlids often fight using their jaws, and damage can become infected, especially if water quality isn't perfect. If the Texas Cichlid can feed itself normally, I'd medicate as stated above, but otherwise not be overly concerned. But if the jaws are dislocated or otherwise so damaged the cichlid cannot feed, this is usually a death sentence, and euthanasia will probably be required. As BobF mentioned, please do resize images before sending them -- 17.3 MB of images in one email causes immense problems for those of us travelling / diving / otherwise away from broadband. There are many websites that will resize images for you, such as:
Do please avail yourself of these. Cheers, Neale.>
Re Texas cichlid image     12/29/18

BobF, for your convenience.
Cheers, Neale
<Thanks mate. B>

Mystery Cat Fish      12/24/18
About 6 months a go I bought 3 bumblebee catfish. At the shop there was one of the catfish that stood out it was browner, longer, thinner and had different fins but as were so young it easily looked like a bumblebee catfish and the people at the shop thought it was so I decided to get the odd ball. However now I have recently been observing it every night and have noticed it is not a bumblebee catfish but am unable to find on the internet any matches. Photoing it was very difficult as hides a lot and the dark colours. These are the photos I got, If you have any idea what this is it would be much appreciated as would like to make sure has correct care. The photo doesn’t show but it’s barbels have smaller barbels branching off of them
Thank you
From Josh
<Josh, this appears to be some sort of Synodontis, though the photos are, as you say, not quite bright and sharp enough to be sure. Armoured head, smooth body, long adipose fin, and long bristly whiskers would seem to point to this genus. But which species? Ah! That's more difficult. Do try here for a start:
Most Synodontis get to around 15 cm in length and tend to be harmless loners; territorial towards their own kind, under aquarium conditions at least. They can be predatory towards very small fish, but are primarily omnivores consuming algae wafers, cooked peas, bloodworms, minced seafood, and all the usual catfish pellets. They are usually very hardy and adaptable, but the relatively slender body shape of yours suggests a rheophilic or at least riverine species, so I'd be sensitive to the fact this species may want strong currents and high oxygen levels. Beyond that though, they're usually bullet-proof. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Mystery Cat Fish      12/24/18
Thank you very much and thank you for the care help
<Most welcome.>
Have a good Christmas
<You too!>
From Josh
<Cheers, Neale.>

A Difficult Dilemma        12/23/18
Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
As you can see in previous email conversations we have had, over the summer I tried to treat my aquarium with nitrofurazone powder and a metronidazole food to help a female blue acara with grey patches and a weather loach that had injured its eyes on gravel and MTS shells, but it caused all the fish to stop eating and so you advised me to discontinue treatment and let improved conditions help.
While this worked for a while, while I was out of town for grad school the aquarium glass cracked and had to be replaced. The monthly service put the fish in buckets with chemicals to kill any Malaysian trumpet snails, then transferred them to a new sand-bottomed tank which they cycled with filter media from another mature aquarium.
When I came back a few days for Thanksgiving, I found one of the weather loaches dead and the blue acara spending all her time on the bottom of the tank and scooting around instead of swimming. There was nothing else wrong with her so I presumed it was a neurological injury due to the snail killing poison. I had to leave back to grad school in a few days so I did no treatments.
However now that I am again in town for Christmas, I have found her rapidly losing weight and trailing pinkish white blood-stained slime from her anus. She spends most of her time hiding in plants and rocks and only comes out scooting on her belly to eat sinking wafers and pellets (so my metronidazole frozen gel is useless here).
I am faced with a problem. My family wants to take me with them on a trip in a week, and then after that I have to leave to grad school again. I am concerned any treatment I could do would be woefully incomplete with just a week’s time.
My options are
1. Medicate the main tank for a week. But given my previous experience with an anti parasite-antibiotic dose, I am concerned the other fish will be harmed. They are all unaffected by whatever has the blue acara sick (none of them are cichlids. They are giant Danios, silver dollars, a weather loach, and a panda garra.)
2. Capture the blue acara and treat her in a separate tank. However because she spends all her time hiding, I’d need have the service drain the water and take out most of the decor to catch her, running the risk of hurting her in the process. I also do not feel comfortable leaving her in a small hospital tank while I am gone on the trip (I’m not sure how long the Zeolite would last).
3. Have the monthly service come over and take her out and treat her. This has the same problems as 2), but they would have more time to treat her. I am not sure they can come before the holidays are over though.
My other family members only know how to feed the fish and change the water on their own schedule, so I am reluctant to trust them with medicating the fish correctly.
In short, I was a very bad fishkeeper for thinking I could manage cichlids while being an out of town grad student most of the time. I do not plan on keeping them anymore, and will probably keep cyprinids, catfish, loaches, and characins from now on. What is the risk they would catch whatever the blue acara has?
Thank you for the advice,
<<Given your limited range of options here, if all the fish other than Blue Acara are in good shape, I'd euthanise the Acara and cut my losses.
Medicating in a separate tank is an option, but I'm not convinced you'd be doing anything other than prolonging an inevitable death. With the Acara out of the equation, you can then leave the rest of the tank alone, unfed I would suggest if you're just gone a week, and your mind would be at rest and you can enjoy your holiday. Cheers, Neale.>>

Ich in Shrimp/Planted Tank     12/17/18
Hello Crew!
<Ms. H.>
I am finally back in the hobby after many years. However, it has not quite started as smoothly as I would like. The tank is a planted 29 G standard (fishlessly cycled- 0 ammonia, nitrite, ~10 ppm nitrate, 74*F currently) and was initially stocked with 28 celestial pearl Danios, 1 (maybe 2 inch) albino Bristlenose Pleco, and ~30 cherry shrimp. Before that, the tank was cycling with just plants and hitchhiker snails for about 5 weeks. The livestock was added on 12/5. Absolutely none of the local fish stores are decent, so these critters were shipped to me from a single supplier.
So far, I have lost two shrimp (one a few days ago and the other yesterday), one Danio (arrived very skinny and haven't seen it in a while), and now the Bristlenose Pleco (late yesterday). I was trying to figure out what on earth happened, since the tank has consistently shown 0 ammonia/nitrite and I had seen everyone eating. Today, I noticed a couple of the Danios had suspicious white spots (one or two per fish, some on the body and some on the fins). I am guessing ich is what took the Pleco and that it was hard to spot on the albino fish. I am especially kicking myself because I ordered online to specifically avoid major ich problems like all the local stores have! No idea, beyond shipping stress, on what could have happened to the shrimp.
<This last; "what could have happened to the shrimp." What are you referring to?>
Now I am faced with a dilemma. Most advise for treating ich involves salt/heat. Can I go to 85/86* safely with CPDs?
<They should be okay at this temperature temporarily (a week or so); as long as there is sufficient aeration>
I'm thinking it should be fine in the short term (and will be slowly raising temps unless told otherwise). Can heat alone work (which I see is sometimes recommended)?
<Heat alone can (indeed) work>
Most importantly, will this kill my shrimp and plants if I try to do this in the main tank?
<See the mention of the Cryptocorynes below. RCS upper temp. limit is generally/given as 80F... again, I would risk raising it to the mid 80's here>
The tank is planted with crypt wendtii and balansae, so I am particularly worried about melting the plants down to nothing (again LOL). I can live with dead plants if it means healthy fish but I am rather attached to the shrimp already. I have the ability to set up a QT tank for the fish to treat separately, but I don't know if that would cause more stress to the fish.
<Agreed; and, what a trial trying to net them out!>
From what I can find on here, leaving the display without fish for a week or so at 80* should be long enough for any cysts to die off, but please let me know if that's wrong. Treating the whole tank with anything aside from salt and heat is pretty much a non-starter if I understand correctly too. Finally, would acquiring a UV sterilizer be of any use (as either an alternative or adjunct to any of the above)?
<There are other methods, but I would just go w/ the heat here>
Lesson learned- always QT (even if it's the only fish and it's all from the same supplier and they are very reputable) and QT the fish and shrimp separately.
<Ah yes>
Many thanks in advance!
<Welcome. Please do keep us informed of your observations. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich in Shrimp/Planted Tank     12/18/18

Thanks so much for the quick response.
<Welcome; certainly>
The "what could have happened" referred to the mysterious shrimp deaths of the first two.
Sadly, I have come back to 3 more dead shrimp today. The tank temp is sitting only around 82 right now. Should I stop increasing temp?
<... I would raise it to 85 F....>
Will the week you mentioned at an elevated temp be enough to rid the tank of ich?
<Hopefully so>
The fish are darting around, so I think everyone is getting stressed. I am at a loss on what to do from here. I've heard Paraguard is invert safe,
<?! It is NOT. The Malachite (Green) is quite toxic to shrimps: https://www.seachem.com/paraguard.php>
so I am honestly tempted to lower the temp a little (roughly ~80) and go with it in tank or just net all the fish out and treat separately. I really don't want to lose more shrimp (or fish for that matter) if I can avoid it. I lowered the water level a bit and have a sponge filter already running (the sponge gives a ton of aeration).
<The choice is yours>
Furthermore, am I making an inaccurate assumption with the shrimp? I have been assuming stress is causing losses this whole time since water parameters have been correct and I haven't seen any obvious signs of disease.
<I/one cannot really say based on the proffered data. There could be other cause/s, influences at play here>
Thank you all again for the assistance.
<To be as clear as I'd like: I simply respond to folks GIVEN the information available and what I have confidence in, to WHAT I would do given similar circumstances. In this case, were it me/mine, I would go forward with the increased temperature, possibly add some activated carbon to the filter, flow path (to discount metabolite, other noxious factors); and NOT medicate, NOT move the organisms here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich in Shrimp/Planted Tank     12/18/18

I probably should have looked at the ingredients before thinking about Paraguard. Testimonials or not, I am not risking malachite green with shrimp. My apologies.
<No worries>
I bumped up the heater again to get it to 85F and will plan on a week at that temp once it gets there. I'll pick up some carbon just in case something is going on that I can't see/test for.
It does make one wish for a crystal ball though. I appreciate all of your (and team's) efforts to essentially assist people blindly.
Assuming no more shrimp deaths or major fish distress I will maintain course per your advice. If anything else happens I will just go ahead and net the fish out to treat separately.
<Anima bona fac; be of good life. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Extremely high ammonia during cycling; now Holey/Lava Rock use, FW         12/13/18
Thank you again! As it turns out I was looking at some very nice Texas hole-y rock this past weekend and wondering if it would work in this tank.
<Of course it tends to raise pH and hardness, but not particularly rapidly, and in alkaline brackish water, any effect will be minimal, perhaps even desirable.>
I will definitely go back to the store and get some. You may be right about the source for this rock - although the packaging is very deceptive in that case ("natural lava rock"). Dang. I will also see if I can
source some actual real lava rock from a rock shop or some such.
<I'm not 100% sure, but I guess a little time online might help determine where the lava rock sold for barbecues and aquaria comes from. True volcanic rocks should be sold under their geological names -- basalt, granite, pumice, etc.>
I'll let you know how things turn out!
<Cool. Good luck! Neale.>

Goldfish Bubbles-Scales        12/13/18
My goldfish summer in a 100+ gal ornamental pond, and winter in a 55 gal aquarium.
I have 4 fish about 4" long body.
In Oct. I brought them in - one was bloated and had several clear bubbles on each side the size of a small pea. The bubbles could be a puffed out scale - hard to tell.
He did not get better, so I isolated him in a 5 gal bucket and added 1/8 tablespoon of Epsom salt.
Anything else i can do?
Thanks! Scot
<At this juncture, no... best to keep up water quality by frequent partial water changes (a couple times weekly), with pre-stored water. The bubbles?
Perhaps Emphysematosis, gas-bubble disease... environmental. Do use the search tool on WWM to read a bit about. Bob Fenner>

Corydoras Keep Dying      12/12/18
Good Morning!
Long time reader, first time writer. :)
I have a 40 gallon breeder that can't seem to keep cories alive. I've lost small batches of sterbai (5) and bronze (6), and now I'm afraid I'm going down the same road with pandas (started with 12, down to 10). Other fish seem unaffected, and a common symptom appears to be air/gas in intestines.
Am I missing something?
<Likely, so...>
The tank:
40 gallon breeder, 36" x 18" footprint, black blasting sand substrate (well rinsed), temp was at 79-80 for the sterbai/bronze, close to 76-77 for the pandas.
I have a cascade 700 canister filter and 2 sponge filters.
Livestock at this time includes the 10 pandas and 2 Apisto borellii (1-1.5"). Nothing else.
Some hardy plants, a few driftwoods, and some IAL and oak leaves.
<Whence came the pieces of driftwood? If purchased, are you quite sure these are "aquarium safe?" Many sold for reptiles are not safe for aquariums. If acquired from the great outdoors, how did you cure/prep the pieces? At this point in your story, I suspect the driftwood, but I will read on...>
Started the tank in mid Sept, with half a dozen small pentazona barbs.
Cycled tank with media from another filter.
On Halloween, I added 5x 1" sterbai cories. The following Friday (2 days later), in the afternoon, 2 were floating upside down, then 2 more shortly after. Those 4 died within hours, 1 survived.
<Yikes! Something is seriously wrong here. How did you introduce them to the system? Did you acclimate them to the new water conditions? Did you test the water from the pet fish shop?>
I know everyone reaches for sbd in situations like this, but I autopsied 3 of the dead fish,
and the intestines were full of air.
<Well, yeah! There is this thing that happens after an organism dies. The resident bacteria have a blitz and produce gases as they ravenously digest their now deceased host. It will happen to you too some day, and to me.>
Some food (not much), but intestines were full like those long balloons clowns make shapes from. No other symptoms.
<...that you could see or recognize with the "naked eye.">
Granted, they're small fish, and seeing anything can be hard.
<If you intend to continue filleting your deceased pet fish, I highly recommend investing in a good microscope. Much to be seen can't be seen without one.>
The lone survivor (which also had buoyancy issues, but never to the point of floating/dying) was quarantined for 4-5 days (no meds, since no diagnosis),
<A good policy>
and seemed to stabilize. But 3d after being returned to the main tank, it also died,
and again it appeared full of air. I should note that the autopsies were done shortly after death, and all of the sick fish were very buoyant before they died
<This can happen for any number of reasons. It is a very non-specific symptom - a sure indicator of poor fish health, but with a lengthy differential diagnosis.>
(i.e. I don't believe the gas in intestines was a post-mortem symptom).
<Impossible to know for sure either way.>
Through all this, the pentazonas were fine. Ammo/nitrite were 0, nitrates were 5-10.
On Nov 6 I added half doz bronze cories (I admit to getting them as coal mine canaries; clearly this tank can support fish, but can it support cories?). All 6 died one by one over a 2-3 week period. No outward
symptoms (well, except dying). Frustrating. And they had started off so well in my tank, foraging deep in the sand, very active. These did not float when they died.
Through all this the pentazonas were fine. Again, parameters good.
I rehomed the pentazonas to a new office tank, and the tank stayed empty for about a week.
Then on Dec 4 I got a dozen 0.75-1" panda cories, added them, along with a M/F Apisto borellii.
<That is a lot of fish to add all at once.>
They seem to be great tank mates, same pace, feeding rate, temperament etc.
All has been good until last night (Dec 11), when 1 was floating (air in intestines again), and another this am (didn't check). As of Sunday when I did a whack of testing, parameters generally good; ammonia was over zero,
<Yeah mate, I think you added too much too quickly to a "dormant" system.>
but under 0.25 (I've been feeding liberally, though, so that might be it.
<Yes, that too will do it. I would stop feeding for a few days at least.>
I dosed with Prime, haven't re-checked yet), zero nitrites, nitrates under 20.
<Prime is a one-time "band-aid" type fix. It binds the nitrogen cycle products so that these get taken up in the filter. If you don't keep adding it, the problem will return unless corrected some other way.>
Other pertinent:
I feed good quality food, and lots of variety. Thawed bloodworm, mysis shrimplets, bbs. Crushed Spirulina flake, regular community flake, Hikari mini wafers, Fluval bug bites.
<Maybe too much though?>
My tap water is moderately hard, so I have been mixing the water for this tank with RO/DI at about 3:2 (RO: tap). That's giving me dGH of 5-6 (100ppm), and dKH of ~4 (~75ppm). My pH remains around 7.5 (hard to tell, since it always appears to lie right between the high end of the normal pH test, and the low end of the high range pH test).
I'm using a perpetual drip and overflow to keep new water running through tank, rate of about 1.5g new water per day. And I vac as necessary.
<As necessary? How often is that?>
In summary:
Why do mid level fish appear to remain healthy and fine, while bottom dwelling cories are dying?
<Very different species have very different sensitivities, ability to tolerate physical and/or physiological insults. I suspect the problem here to be either trauma from transport/introduction or a toxin coming from
somewhere as of yet unknown. Do see other similar recent queries here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/CoryDisF4.htm >
Are there any diseases/infections/conditions that are known to cause gas in the intestines as a primary symptom, i.e. not post-mortem?
<Again, floating and bloating is just too common a symptom - like headaches and nausea in humans - could be from anything!>
Any suggested interventions? Shelled peas? Epsom salt in tank, or as bath?
<Do read other query answers in the link above. I suggest removing the driftwood, adding carbon, looking for other potential sources of toxins... also be sure to follow good acclimation protocol.>
Many thanks for your time and consideration!
<My pleasure.>
<Cheers Sara L>
Ontario, Canada
Re: Cories keep dying      12/14/18

Good Morning,
<Buenos dias>
So fast with the reply, thank you!!
You've focused in on a few things I did not think are important, and aren't placing much weight on things I've been clinging to. Which is why I have asked the experts!
<Haha, wait, who told you we are experts?>
To put me straight, so to speak. :)
The driftwood: 1 large piece, collected from a local headwater stream (no ag runoff or pollutants).
<Yeah, right... that you know of or that has been reported/documented.>
There are brook trout in this stream (maybe other tiny fish?). The wood was allowed to dry for about 6 weeks, then boiled for 20 min.s. In any event, I'm more than happy to remove all possible problems,
<I do strongly suggest you remove the piece collected locally. It's just too much of an unknown and a likely source of something troublesome. Even if it is not a toxin from runoff/pollutants per se, there could be something else (some tannins maybe) leaching out of it.>
and work from there, so I'll pull it out tonight. There are also a couple of smaller pieces I got from a local aquascaper, vine wood he imported by the crate, and it's used in many tanks by many local keepers.
<If removal of the large local piece doesn't solve the problem, I would remove smaller ones these next.>
Carbon: Great suggestion, I missed that. It will go in tonight.
<Never really hurts and often helps!>
Acclimation: floated sealed bag for 20 min.s, then add small amounts of tank water over 1hr (pour out half of mixed water half way through), then add fish to tank via net
<Nets are terrible (too much risk of injury with them getting stuck/tangled). Personally, I avoid them whenever possible. In my opinion, it's better to scoop them out gently by hand than with a net, or just pour them out with the last little bit of bag water.>
without any store water. But deaths have all occurred after at least 2 days, and now upwards of a week - is that consistent with insufficient acclimation time?
<Based on the technique you described, no, I doubt acclimation was the problem. As for how injury from poor acclimation might manifest in the fish, that can vary greatly.>
I've never found an answer to this.
Store water: not tested, but I believe it has similar pH and hardness to this tank. Regionally, our water is quite similar from one municipality to another (medium hard, well buffered). It's definitely not polar opposites.
Dormant tank: during the week the tank was dormant (before I added the 12 pandas and 2 Apistos), I kept feeding the tank with crushed flake (using the same amount as I had been feeding when it had fish).
Adding too many fish: In my own defence, the tank/filter was still cycled when I added the fish, the cories and Apistos are all very small, and for the bioload, it's a big tank. I haven't been testing daily, but none of the fish (past or current) showed any signs of irritation/stress like gasping, flashing, hiding, pumping gills, and so on.
Vac "as necessary": I keep my tanks pretty clean. Most have sand substrates, which require less maint than gravel. I vac when there is visible detritus in areas with less flow. At any rate, I never go more than
2 weeks between vacs, and "water changes" are constant with the drip through system.
Prime for low ammonia reading: I know this is a 24-48hr band aid, and if the source of ammonia, or lack of processing ability aren't addressed, the problem persists.
Rate of feeding: I'm generally conservative when feeding my tanks, but I have a soft spot (fear spot) for new fish. Cories are such casual feeders, I'm fearful that the 30 second or 2 minute rule won't give enough food.
<Do reduce your feeding. Fish do not need as much food as people tend to think they do. Also, they can go a very long time (we're talking weeks) without any food at all.>
Even with the filter off, some foods don't even settle to the bottom in that time. When I listed all the foods I feed, I should be clear that it's not all at once. One at a time only. For flakes or other dry food, a
smaller-than-medium thumb-and-one-finger pinch is all. For frozen foods, less than half a cube of bloodworm, or maybe a quarter of a portion of mysis. At any rate, I'll fast the tank for 48hrs, dial back the feeding after that, and monitor ammonia carefully.
<I think if you remove the drift wood and add carbon, you will likely see an increase in your Cory survival rate.>
<Good luck! - SaraL>
Re: Cories keep dying      12/14/18

Thanks again, Sara. Driftwood out. Carbon in. No food. I'll keep an eye on things.
<Great. Do start feeding again in a couple of days though. :-)>
Also of note: Like many fish folk, I rarely test except when something is wrong (that I can see or sense). But with this tank, I've been keeping on top of parameters a bit more diligently, given the problems I've had.
<It's always a good idea to test every once in awhile, problems or no problems.>
I mentioned in a prior email that I am seeing trace ammonia. I've had a chance to check other tanks and tap water, and I'm getting a trace reading across the board. Best match for colors is between <0.25ppm for tap and other tanks, and >0.25ppm for the Cory tank. Even my RO/DI is testing at >0ppm. So I'll look into an ammonia removing media for the filter, and continue to use Prime and monitor.
<Sounds like a reasonable plan.>
<Cheers, Sara L>

Extremely high ammonia during cycling      12/12/18
Hello Crew! Hope you all are doing very well.
<All good.>
Got a brackish nitrogen cycle question for you. I have recently set up a 5 gallon biotope aquarium for some Opae ula shrimp. There is a tall tower of lava rock (held together with aquarium silicone glue) to provide a hypogeal environment. There is also additional lava rock mixed with some reef "dry live rock" pieces in the rest of the tank. Specific gravity is at about 1.010.
First evening after filling the tank, I added a few (very few!) flakes of fish food to begin cycling. After 24 hours I tested for ammonia using an API Ammonia test kit, and the result came back at 8 ppm! Since 8 ppm is as high as the test goes, the ammonia level is anywhere from 8 ppm to who knows what. No way this came from those teeny flakes!
<Possibly not. Hard to say without knowing how much protein was in the flake and how much water (actual, not nominal) is in your 5 gallon tank.>
So, the ammonia could only come from one of three places: my tap water, the salt mix, or the rocks. I tested my tap water after treating with Prime water treatment, and it came back at between 0.25 and 0.50 ppm ammonia, likely from the chloramine. Then I mixed in some of the marine salt mix and retested - came back the same as the tap water.
<Indeed, as should be the case.>
I still had some lava rocks left over so I put a few in some fresh water and let them soak a few hours and then tested. Yep, it was the lava rocks.
<Yikes! I'm not a huge fan of lava rock, which not only affects water quality in this case, but more regularly, affects pH and water colouration too. It's vaguely acidic in many cases, causing pH to drop, and the minerals contained can stain the water reddish brown.>
After 48 hours the ammonia level was still high and beginning to look a little cloudy, so I did a 2 gallon water change.
<Correct action here.>
At this point I'm assuming it will be continue to cycle the tank as usual, am I correct? Or are these levels too high even for cycling? I'm also guessing I will need to do a fairly large water change after the cycle
completes as there will likely be pretty high nitrate levels.
<Yeah, but if there's no livestock in this system, the ammonia spike shouldn't do any lasting harm. If the shrimps are there, and have survived, wow!!!>
At any rate this was a good lesson to learn - don't just throw new rocks into an established aquarium! Even if you have tested for carbonates, you never know what might be lurking in there.
<Sage advice.>
Thanks for your input on this!
<And thank you for sharing. Neale.>
Re: Extremely high ammonia during cycling      12/12/18

No, definitely no livestock in here yet. Just doing the cycling.
The reason for using the lava rocks is because I am trying to recreate a biotope. In the case of Halocaridina rubra (Opae ula) this is definitely lava, with a sprinkling of carbonate rocks. I did a lot of research on scholar.google.com on the Hawaiian anchialine pools - fascinating stuff!
The lava rocks I purchased are not *exactly *the same as the lava where they occur, but it is as close as I can get.
<I am fairly sure the "lava rock" traded is a byproduct of glass making or some other industrial process, rather than actual pumice stone.>
Based on your comments about these rocks changing the pH, I will give this tank an extended cycle period. Once the nitrogen cycle has completed I will continue to monitor the pH and other parameters, while keeping the cycle "fed" with the use of flake foods. If there is a trend toward acidification, I will remove some of the lava rocks and replace them with some limestone and/or dry live rock to help keep things buffered.
<I do think Tufa rock, or Texas hole-y rock, might be better.>
I'll see how things trend before adding any live creatures. Hopefully things will tend to stabilize as whatever soluble materials are in the rock get leached out.
Thanks again!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Betta -- near-complete color loss      12/11/18
Hello, please help with male pet shop Betta, Milo, whom we have had 1 year.
Over about 2-3 weeks he has become lethargic, mostly sitting on bottom and only swimming vigorously a moment or two if disturbed. Not eating for past 5 days. His body color has changed dramatically from purple-blue to very pale, nearly silver or white, with fins still purple-blue as usual.
<Is this fish in a heated, filtered system? This time of year the weather turns colder; and Bettas are tropical fishes. Very common for them to lose color, energy/activity w/ chilling>
There are no visible sores, wounds, external parasites, frayed fins, Ich, Velvet, or any other visible outward marks. We thought it might be old age because although we've had him only a year he was full grown or nearly so when he came home with us. After reading online we treated him empirically with kanamycin and nitrofurazone per package directions for four days. No improvement. Changed water. He's been hanging on quite tenaciously but seems to be breathing fast and/or breathing hard... from desperation we started metronidazole according to package instructions 2 days ago, just in case it might help -- perhaps internal flukes -- no improvement.
He is sole occupant of a 5-gallon heated tank, usually 78-80 degrees F, increased to 80-82 degrees F since he became symptomatic, unfiltered, with plants and gravel. 2/3 tank water change once a week pretty religiously. pH 7.8-8.0, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates about 10 ppm, GH and KH in upper ranges (not zero).
<All these values are good...>
The curious thing is, the previous Betta who died about 4 months before we got Milo, lived with us about 3 years in the sane cycled tank but died after an almost identical course.
<Am wondering now if there is something poisoning this fish... What sort of ornaments are in the tank? Any geodes, odd rocks, driftwood, plastic plants from other than an aquarium-use source?>
We assumed it was old age but with 2 fish in a row, and with how Milo is hanging on stubbornly *and* with labored breathing, can you suggest anything else, please?
<Yes; the use of some activated carbon in the filter you're going to get (likely a small hang on the back or internal power filter); to remove possible toxin/s here>
Time is so critical with these little dudes I'm going to start Praziquantel (Prazi Pond Pro) 5 gm/gallon now in case it's something external we can't see, like gill flukes...
<Mmm; where would the flukes come from? Do you have other fish present?
Feed live foods, use plants you've collected from the wild?>
apparently these can be a bane of Goldfish, which we used to keep. As far as I know there was no contamination with Betta gear but one never knows.
Thank you for anything you can suggest! And thank you for all the great info on WWM.
Kind regards, Milo's family.
<Am so glad for your concern. Please do answer the above questions, have your water tested by your local fish store (to check against your test results, gear). Bob Fenner>
Betta -- near-complete color loss /Neale       12/12/18

<<BobF far more expert here than me, but would wonder if a toxin might be to blame here. Bettas are very sensitive to airborne toxins for obvious reasons, including paint fumes, solvents, etc. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Betta -- near-complete color loss      12/12/18

Dear Bob and WWM Crew,
Thank you for the quick reply and for all the info.
<Certainly welcome Steve>
1. The tank -- actually 7 1/2 gallon capacity -- has always been heated with two 25-watt Eheim/Jaeger heaters. Temp. has been measured with 2 different thermometers (just in case!) and measures 80-82 degrees F depending which thermometer is accurate. Before illness it was 78-80 degrees. Forgot to mention, when we noticed Milo was ailing we started aquarium salt @ 0.10 ppm.
<I see; and would remove the salt through regular water changes>
2. The tank is unfiltered. We were worried that the filter current would be stressful because we found it tough to get a filter with low enough flow to be gentle for the Betta's fins. We will start a small Fluval
hang-on-back filter immediately, that we already have.
3. Should we add activated charcoal now, or continue with the Praziquantel? Believing optimistically that the Prazi or something will help little Milo will pull through. By the way, mis-type earlier, it's Prazi Pond Plus and the dose used is 9.5 mg/gallon.
<I'd start now and skip the Prazi... only effective for worm/vermes complaints; and I greatly discount that these are at play here. Again, where's the vector?>
4. Water tests are API droplet test kits. We will take a sample to a local reef store -- the nearest shop serious about fishkeeping -- today, ask them to test, and report back.
<Thank you>
5. Only decoration is an aquarium-specific silk plant which I'll remove at once. Bottom is aquarium gravel, about 1/2 inch. Live plants are small Anubias and some kind of aquatic ferns, 3-4 total, bought packaged commercially and individually from local pet store, treated with KMnO4,
<Ahh; a fave! Olde timey, but very effective if not a bit harsh oxidation wise>
then rinsed before introduction. Nothing else in tank except heaters, thermometer, and an airstone we put in when Milo became ill.
Thank you very much again. Here's hoping the answers above address everything. Please do re-confirm whether to go ahead and add charcoal now... just want to be sure we understand, as this will remove the
Praziquantel; but if your recommendation is charcoal instead of Prazi, thank you and that's what we'll do!
<Yes to the carbon (not charcoal..., see WWM if you don't know the diff.) and no to the Prazi>
Steve C. (Milo's adoptive dad)
<And you, BobF>
Re: Betta -- near-complete color loss        12/13/18

Hello Neale, Bob, and everyone,
<Hello Steve,>
Thank you so much again for your kind assistance.
Sadly, little Milo died while we were away getting the water tested professionally. The aquarium shop's only comments were that they found trace ammonia and that "everything else looks good."
<Good to hear. I'm old school about ammonia, and treat any non-zero level as potentially dangerous. Yes, the toxicity of ammonia varies with pH, so at acidic pH levels it's supposedly less dangerous. But still, if there's any ammonia detected above whatever levels in your tap water (neutralised by commercial water conditioners) then there's evidently a lag between the ammonia produced by your fish and the filter's removal of that ammonia via nitrification.>
Toxins worry me, too, and with further online searching I'm thinking I caused Milo's illness and death, and that of the Betta before him, by making the water much, much too hard. In trying to prevent a pH crash it seems I kept KH and GH extremely high over a long time, although pH remained about 7.8-8.0... water so hard that it must have been toxic to the poor little Bettas?
<Possibly. No real problems up to about 15-20 degrees dH, but above that, probably not a good idea.>
If this makes sense and seems reasonable as a cause, I'll feel confident to replace everything in the tank and start again after cycling, perhaps now able to give another Betta a happy and this time *safe* home.
<Definitely worth a shot, yes.>
Again, many thanks,
<Good luck, Neale.>

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

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

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

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

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

Musk turtle      12/8/18
Hi, I wonder if you can help me please? We have a musk turtle hatchling and we have got to go away for a day and a half.
I have no one to turn the UVB light and the heat light on would it be better for me to leave them both on?
<Leaving them both off would fine for a few days, assuming the house doesn't get freezing cold. Alternatively, an inexpensive timer at the mains socket end of the lamp's power cable can be used to switch such things on and off without problems.>
Thank you
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Thanks, Neale! 10 gal. FW set up     12/6/18
This missive is for Neale, especially.
I have a 29g FW aquarium but wound up setting up a previously retired 10g as a nursery when my Albino BNP pair became prolific. More than 100 surviving fry later (!!!!) Laddie and Lassie were separated and their progeny re-homed. Since it was already up and running, I decided to do something with the smaller aquarium, and your article about 10g tank stocking caught my eye
The 10g already had an Eheim Liberty 200 and prefilter, so I added 6 pounds of sand, moved a couple large Java fern over from the 29g, added floating plants, and then 11 Galaxy Danios and 5 Salt & Pepper corys purchased from a not-very-local LFS (6 hour round trip drive!). As per your information I did reduce the water flow of the Liberty to a trickle and all the fish seem to be relaxed, yet active. What fun they are to watch!
<Nice to know. It's well worth toning down the flow rate of some filters when using them in smaller tanks. Many of the fish we keep actually come from ponds, ditches, creeks, and other places with minimal water flow. So long as water quality is maintained, a gentle water flow can be just the right thing for these fish.>
WWM is a place I return to frequently, not just to research problems, but to educate myself about all aspects of aquarium and pond husbandry. Thanks to you, Neale, and the Crew for all you do!
<And thank you for these very kind words.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Pea Puffer Weight    12/4/18
Hola, Crew! Thanks in advance for your help and advice - y'all are awesome!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Hope you can give me some advice re: my pea puffer (Carinotetraodon travancoricus).
First a little background. I have a three gallon Walstad-type tank, heavily planted with Mayaca fluviatilis, with Pellia covering about 1/3 of the substrate. Floating plants are Salvinia, duckweed, and giant duckweed.
Also lots of ramshorn snails. I originally set up the tank to grow out the Mayaca for pea my other tanks. Once that was accomplished, here was this well-cycled, heavily planted tank with no fish, kinda boring.
<So some might say!>
I love pea puffers, so after doing my research I concluded it would be ok to keep one in this tank. Of course once I decided this, no one had them in stock, despite the fact that they had been plentiful a few months ago.
Finally I found one at my LFS. It was extremely skinny (emaciated really) but looked otherwise healthy so I brought her home. I *think* it's a female, although it may just still be immature.
<Agreed, the blue squiggles around the face of the males can work, but isn't always reliable.>
So, into the tank she went, along with a pea-puffer-sized portion of live blackworms. This was about six weeks ago. In spite of the fact that I have never seen this fish eat, she quickly became quite plump.
She has obviously been doing quite well chowing down on the blackworms and snails. In fact I am wondering if she may be too plump, which would be bad for her health.
<Not really. I mean, gross overfeeding puts a strain on the filter, and if the food is protein-rich or fat-rich, then there's a risk of the same sort of problems you'd get overfeed a cat or dog. But fish don't need daily feeds, so skipping feeds is an easy way to slim down a plum little fish.>
She has definitely put a dent in the snail population, and it seems that the blackworms have established a small yet thriving colony so she can graze on them whenever she likes.
My question is, do I need to intervene here?
<Interesting question. On the one hand, if you stop adding food, and let her graze naturally, she should be fine in terms of health. But on the other hand, there's a definite problem with the tank if snail and worm
populations are burgeoning.>
Should I remove some of the snails, etc?
<Some periodic reduction of the population size might be healthy, yes.>
Or would it be ok to wait until she has decimated the snail and blackworm population on her own, and then commence feeding her appropriate portions?
<This, too, could work.>
And is this blackworm/snail combination a balanced diet for her?
<Pretty much.>
I should mention that I have tried supplying other foods (soaked freeze dried krill, etc) but it just winds up feeding the snails and blackworms.
<Inevitable, really.>
I do make sure to feed algae tablets to the snails to make sure they are "gut loaded".
I want to do my best for this little gal, so your advice will be much appreciated!
<See above.>
Oh, forgot to mention - I do an 80% water change every 5 - 7 days. Thanks again!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Flowerhorn not eating and kok is deflating         12/3/18
Hello crew and thank for any help you can offer me.(
Yesterday my Flowerhorn stopped eating and I noticed his kok was becoming soft and deflated.
I had changed 75% of his water on 11/25 and when I noticed the problem yesterday I changed 75% again.
<A good start.>
I also noticed that the area around his anus is reddish and it seems like he has been rubbing it against decorations (I can see a little tissue damage to the area).
<Red tends to indicate at the least inflammation, and at worst, bacterial infection. Medicate as per Finrot, using a reliable antibiotic rather than salt or tea-tree oil.>

I feed him twice a day with cz help in the morning and xo ocean free starry at night( he is a Thai silk). The water parameters are ph 7.8, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 20, hard water 200ppm. I have well water and I treat it with prime when I do water changes. The only thing different lately was that he ate a guppy I fed him last week.
<Well, that was a mistake. Never feed live fish! Too risky. But that said, to suddenly cause sickness this rapidly is unusual.>
Right now he is 6” and he is in a 20gal tank but I am setting up a 75gal tank for him and I’m just waiting for the canister filter to be delivered.
<Move him to the bigger tank as soon as practical; better water quality will help, and 20 gallons is much too small for an adult Flowerhorn.>
I almost forgot, I added 1 tablespoon per each 10gal of Epsom salts and I did the first general cure treatment yesterday as it seems that it can be intestinal related. Any help you can offer is much greatly appreciated.
<An antibiotic, alongside Metronidazole, would be the best move here. Ensure optimal living conditions -- including more space and hard, alkaline water. Good luck! Cheers, Neale.>

Hi Bob. Below link to my question. any guidance welcome.
Applying a chemical prep. to aquarium insides to avoid pest algae growth         12/3/18

Thanks for your time
<Got me; but I don't think this will work. Better by far to focus on setting the system up correctly, doing regular/needed maintenance, and strive to keep (pest algae) nutrients low by not over-feeding, adding fertilizers, using competitors and algal predators. See WetWebMedia.com re algae control for your type of set up. BobF?
Re: Hi Bob. Below link to my question. any guidance welcome.         12/3/18

Thanks. I'll let you know how it goes.
Okay. Please send all such petfish matters to me/us at Crew@WetWebMedia.com
Re: Hi Bob. Below link to my question. any guidance welcome. Algae resistant coating    12/6/18

I found an article claiming siloxane is toxic but I don't yet have full article. I'll send you what I can get.
Siloxanes are in the glue that holds aquaria together, so I am a little skeptical.
Newer technology involving "nanoparticles" may be more plausibly toxic.
More, later. Please let me know if you learn something ASAP because I plan to set up my tank this week.
<I'd not use this product. BobF>

Goldfish Urgent Help Needed         12/3/18
Hi - I have a gold fish that has had swim bladder issues. I have a 40 gallon tank with 2 goldish who are about 7 inches each.
We went away for Thanksgiving and when I came back my ornamental goldfish Superfish was super bloated and hanging on the bottom of the tank.
<... Fed what?>
I went to the store and they said my ammonia is too high.
<What sort of filtration do you employ on your 40 gal.?>
I had changed the water and the filters when I got home and apparently took out all of the good bacteria.
<Happens. Do see WWM re goldfish et al. system maintenance, water changes.
Best to not change out more than abut 25% per week, WITH pre-stored treated or not new water>
They gave me some bacteria to put in the tank - and I have also put Epsom salt in the tank. I tried feeding them peas but he has not eaten anything for days.
<Better to not feed when/if ammonia is present>
He is now on his side barely breathing and my heart is breaking. Is there anything I can do?
<Do you have ammonia, nitrite, nitrate test kits? I would get and use simple colorimetric ones. NOT feed flake foods...>
Thank you for your kindness,
<Very glad to try, help you and your ailing fish. Please read here:
and search on WWM (tool on every page) for "goldfish ammonia burn". Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish Urgent Help Needed    12/4/18

He died last night
What can I do to save his friend? He is ok now but I guess the water is bad.
<The same as previous sent, test kits, water changes... no flake food>
Should I take him out?
<The dead fish, yes; the live one, no; unless you have another established system of size to place it in alternatively. BobF>

Constipated turtle      12/1/18
Hey folks! I was hoping I could get your opinion on something.
<Sure thing!>
My red eared slider has/had a bit of shell rot, which I treated with iodine and an anti-fungal creme.
I took her to a vet, even though there are no herp vets here, I just took her in because they have a lab, and I wanted her poop tested. Which they did, and they told me she apparently has too much fiber and starch in her poop. They told me nothing else useful, didn't give any kind of diagnoses, just told me that's bad and that I should only feed her animal matter, no plants.
<This is, well, wrong. Red-Ear Sliders are omnivores in the wild, with adults predominantly feeding on aquatic plants. They should indeed be producing lots of faeces, which would indeed look quite fibrous. Of course starchy foods, such as cereals, probably shouldn't be given too often, as these aren't a natural part of their diet. Better to focus on cheap aquarium plants (such as Elodea) as sold for Goldfish system, alongside pellets and small bits of seafood. ReptoMin isn't bad at all, especially for hatchlings, though it is a bit protein rich, so as the turtle gets older, it should be given less often. Koi pellets are a good, cheap staple.
They're plant-based and readily taken by hungry turtles.>
I tried doing that, and now she's constipated.
Probably this just layered over the fact that I was dry-docking her because of the fungus and only put her in water for about an hour every day.
She hasn't pooped in over a week, and now she WON'T eat any plant matter.
I'm not sure what to do now.
<Turtles often can't defecate unless placed in room temperature to slightly warm (i.e., not cold!) water, so that might be one factor. A protein-rich, fibre-poor diet will cause problems too.>
Even if taking her to the vet again was in any way useful, which it probably wouldn't be, it is now very cold, so taking her anywhere is very risky, especially since I don't have a car.
Anything I can do?
<Placing the turtle in slightly warm (18-22 C) water should raise its metabolic rate a bit, and with everything ticking over nicely, its gut muscles can push the faeces out better. In cold conditions this doesn't happen because the muscles become inactive. I would check the tank has no gravel in it -- very occasionally turtles swallow gravel, and once inside them, it can cause serious blockages. An x-ray is the only way to check for this, but "prevention is better than cure", so don't combine turtles with gravel. Beyond these, simply increasing the fibre content of the food, and scaling back anything likely to cause constipation, such as dried shrimps, should be avoided.>
I've been keeping her in water mostly warmer than her usual temperature in hopes that it'll relax her insides and she'll rehydrate, and I tried putting a bit of olive oil on her food, though I'm not sure if she actually ingested any.
<Worth a shot, though!>
So far, no poop. Would human laxatives make a difference?
<Possibly, if you stuffed something like bran fibre into some small piece of seafood the turtle would swallow whole.>
Though I'd be scared of trying to force-feed anything because of the risk of it going in her lungs instead.
<Quite so. Force feeding animals is extremely risky, and shouldn't be attempted unless you've been shown what to do by an expert. With cold blooded animals, which have much lower food requirements than mammals, starvation will take many weeks, even months, to become a life-threatening danger.>
Any help would be appreciated.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Overcrowding J. marlieri juveniles to minimize aggression    11/28/18
<Hi Rina>
I wrote very recently regarding keeping panther crabs together with J. marlieri. Thanks again Bob for your help there.
I've decided to separate the two for the safety of the crabs, but now what to do with the Julies? One of them is a real bully and keeps the other two hanging near the top of the tank so the 10 gallon is clearly too small for them.
<Yes; best to move it... if no room, float it in a "breeding trap/net" or plastic colander...>
I have a 30 gallon tank but I can't quite justify giving three tiny fish so much real estate! I do however have three other J. marlieri, about 1-2 cm bigger than this group and I'm wondering if I could put all six in the 30 gallon tank until a breeding pair forms.
<With decor (rock, plants, wood...) I think this is your best plan>
I know the larger fish will pick on the smaller ones until the latter get a bit bigger at least, but if I add a fake rock wall with caves and three or four distinct rock piles, plants to break up lines of sight, plus five
Danios (which I also happen to have already) to give the larger Julies an extra outlet for their aggressive behaviour,
<Yes; good dither fish>
would that keep the aggression at a manageable level?
<I do think this will work. Have seen Julidochromis cultured, kept in such settings several times successfully.>
Thanks again!
<Welcome! BobF>
Re: Overcrowding J. marlieri juveniles to minimize aggression    11/28/18

Hi Bob,
Thanks for such a swift response.
I'll go ahead and do that then. Which brings me to my next two questions.
If a breeding pair forms, I know I'll have to promptly remove all the other fish from the tank.
<Mmm; maybe not so promptly>
But again, it seems like a lot of tank space for just two fish.
<Wouldn't be two for long eh? Is there a local market (fish stores, clubs...) for your African Cichlids?>
I just recalled reading somewhere that a Julidochromis mating pair can be kept in a 20 gallon.
<Yes; a long vs. a tall format better>
But a 20 gallon would be too small for growing out six juveniles with Danios, right?
<Mmm; no; it might well work>
And secondly, could I keep the Danios in the breeding pair's tank or no?
<If they're smart, yes... such that they'll keep out of the way. May be an issue with eating young>
Thanks again,
Rina Khan
<Welcome as well. Bob Fenner>
Re: Overcrowding J. marlieri juveniles to minimize aggression     11/28/18

Thanks again Bob. Will try to find a cheap 20 gallon then.
Rina Khan
<Real good>

help... Injured FW puffer    11/28/18
So i have a 40 liter freshwater tank with penguin bio filter (charcoal), powerhead with small bio balls in plastic container, heater and java moss balls along with snails, cherry shrimp, tetras, Bristlenose Pleco and a blue fish that i cannot identify.
Anyway, i also have a cute leopard dwarf puffer.
<For browsers, also known as Pygmy puffers and Malabar puffers, Carinotetraodon travancoricus>
They've cohabited in the same tank for the past 12 months just fine, all of them. no issues.
But i noticed a few days ago that my puffer has a lesion growing on his right back side. please see photo along with blow up photo and outline of lesion.
<I see this in your excellent pix>
It is fleshy looking with a reddish tint along with white. I cannot figure out what it is, it almost looks like a bite but the other fish are not carnivores, they just eat tetra fish flakes and mind their business.
<Might be a bite... some sort of infection... started by a physical trauma>

it seems to be getting bigger, right now it is about 3mm. he's not that big, maybe 1.5" length....i believe a female, and the only puffer in the entire tank.
<I agree... don't see the typical "crinkling" about the eyes; designating a male>
She acts fine, moves around the tank looking and observing, not showing any signs of being in pain or in discomfort.
if you have an idea, i would be willing to try any steps necessary to make that lesion go away.
thank you in advance.
regards, Bob
<Am asking Neale to chime in as he knows much more re puffers than I. Bob Fenner>
help /Neale     11/28/18

So i have a 40 liter freshwater tank with penguin bio filter (charcoal), powerhead with small bio balls in plastic container, heater and java moss balls along with snails, cherry shrimp, tetras, Bristlenose Pleco and a blue fish that i cannot identify.
<This is 10.5 US gallons, so rather a small tank for the fish you already have, let alone any additional species.>
Anyway, i also have a cute leopard dwarf puffer.
<I cannot find the name "leopard dwarf puffer" anywhere online. The Dwarf Puffer is Carinotetraodon travancoricus, a very small freshwater species.
The Leopard Puffer of the aquarium hobby is Tetraodon nigroviridis, a large (15 cm/6 inches) brackish to marine species. It is definitely not compatible with any of the fish you have, and of course needs a much bigger tank.>
They've cohabited in the same tank for the past 12 months just fine, all of them. no issues.
<There's not been a shot fired for years on the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas, doesn't make it a safe place to live. Tetraodon nigroviridis is a large, aggressive, potentially territorial species that readily bites tankmates. While sometimes works okay alongside other punchy fish, such as the larger marine Damsels, it's otherwise a shockingly poor community fish that tends, at the very least, to be nippy.>
But i noticed a few days ago that my puffer has a lesion growing on his right back side.
<My money would be on a pufferfish bite if there's two puffers in this tank. Could otherwise be a physical wound from being thrown against something sharp, like a rock. You sometimes see this sort of wound when skittish fish throw themselves out of the tank, hit something sharp in the hood (like a reflector behind a lamp) and then fall back into the water.
But if the bite is circular, and there's another puffer, then puffer-on-puffer aggression is the story here. When you keep similarly sized puffers of like disposition, circular bite marks on the skin are quite common. These usually heal with little/no need for medication. If the puffers are very different in size, then the smaller one can be damaged much more severely, the skin being broken, and as you can see here, the underlying flesh becoming exposed. Isolation, and medication as per Finrot, is the order of the day. Fish can recover from such wounds, but fungal and bacterial infections are very probable without the use of a reliable medication, such as an antibiotic, to keep the wound clean.>
please see photo along with blow up photo and outline of lesion. It is fleshy looking with a reddish tint along with white. I cannot figure out what it is, it almost looks like a bite but the other fish are not
carnivores, they just eat tetra fish flakes and mind their business.
<Yeah, it's not the tetras or the catfish. The read is muscle, the white is decaying flesh and skin.>
it seems to be getting bigger, right now it is about 3mm. he's not that big, maybe 1.5" length....i believe a female, and the only puffer in the entire tank. She acts fine, moves around the tank looking and observing, not showing any signs of being in pain or in discomfort.
if you have an idea, i would be willing to try any steps necessary to make that lesion go away.
<See above.>
thank you in advance.
regards, Bob
<Hope this helps. Neale.>

Re: help    11/29/18
thank you all for your reply and assistance.
I believe my puffer was somehow in the wrong place at the wrong time and got nicked by activities from the catfish which is a fairly large (4-5" long) and pretty lively in the tank.
<Possibly, but Ancistrus are very placid, and it's extremely unlikely they'd "suck onto" the flanks of a healthy pufferfish. Otocinclus sometimes do this, and occasionally common Plec varieties, particularly
Pterygoplichthys spp., will latch onto large slab sided fishes. But I've never seen or heard of Ancistrus engaging in this behaviour. Their ecological niche is quite different to either the Otocinclus or the
Pterygoplichthys. I'd keep a very open mind about this explanation.>
He likes to go under a log and move it around and makes the glass gravel smack against the tank. So i believe Neale was right to say he was accidentally a victim.
So you listed using some kind of antibiotic to help with the wound and the puffer's healing properly.....do you recommend a brand and type? how is it administered? Or do you think it will heal on its own?
<Something like KanaPlex is a good first choice, or the old Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 combo. Outside of the US, a reliable antibacterial, such as eSHa 2000, could be used instead. Avoid bogus cures such as salt, tea tree oil, or anything else that sounds like it cures everything. Follow the instructions on the packaging, most being dosed per gallon, and used across several days. Remove carbon from the filter. It's also a good idea to up the aeration a bit.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: help     12/5/18
my poor dwarf puffer died yesterday....I'm so sad. it is still a mystery how he got injured.
<Indeed. Time to reflect, think about stocking options, compatibility between species, etc. Use this as a learning experience.>
but he just couldn't heal
<Sad to hear.>
oh well, thought i would let you know.
<Thank you for sharing. Good luck with the remaining fish! Neale.>

Fahaka teeth problem      11/27/18
Hi Neale!
How are you?
<Hello Nathaniel. All good here.>
Great news - my Fahaka is getting big - like 8 inches!!.
<They do grow fast.>
I've had him for a number of months now and he's been happily feeding on frozen cockles (NOT in the shells). He usually eats 10-15 a day with 1 day off a week. (plenty of heavy filtration and a decent sized tank - so no worries there!)
The only problem is, I can see his teeth getting bigger. At the moment he has no problems eating but I can imagine in the future it will be a problem.
<Indeed. Without lots of crunchy food, this is probably inevitable.>
I have only fed soft foods as he wasn't big enough for shell-on foods at first and showed on interest in small snails.
<Snails will be eaten if the puffer is hungry enough. Besides molluscs, do also try unshelled shrimp and crayfish, or even the legs from cooked crabs and lobsters.>
I have now tried to introduce him to shell-on foods and he looks at me as if to say "what do you expect me to do with that? Give me some proper food!"
<"Hunger makes the best sauce.">
I have tried, mussels, clams and snails and not one of them was touched. I have even tried smashing them before putting into the tank to help him out but still no interest.
<One possibility is to smear foods into something like a pumice stone or artificial lava rock, such the puffer will have to work at the rock to extract the food.>
I have ordered some half-shell clams and plan to starve him for maybe 2 days and try those.
<Should help, but if partially shelled, the puffer may simply suck the meat off the shell.>
Do you have any other suggestions?
<Hope the above helps. Otherwise dentistry may be in your future. It's not difficult, but easier avoided. Cheers, Neale.
Fahaka teeth problem      11/27/18

<Nate; I'd like to add this article on WWM for your perusal/review:
Re: Fahaka teeth problem    11/29/18

Thanks Neale!!
<Most welcome.>

Unidentifiable Squirming Object     11/26/18
<Greetings Saquib>
Guys I am from a under-developed country, though it's not peculiar to find bugs and such in the tap water but I have kids and just wanted to be sure what I have on hands here. I have spotted this fella a couple of times in the tap water and one time on the clothing too (since we wash clothes with the same water). Can someone please let me know what this is and if it's harmful. If yes, please advise what to do.
Saquib Haider
<Can't quite make this out... is it segmented? Don't see any "mouth parts"; my best (though general) guess is that this is some sort of insect larvae or segmented worm (Oligochaete). In both cases it is highly unlikely that either are deleterious/harmful to humans. Do please send along a better resolved image if you can.
Bob Fenner>

Parathelphusa pantherina, FW crabs and Juli's tog. in a 10 gal.     11/24/18
I recently acquired two very small Parathelphusa pantherina (shells just over 1.5cm across) and three juvenile Julidochromis marlieri (about 3cm long). They're currently in a lightly planted 10 gallon grow-out tank with plenty of rocks for the fish and some wood for the crabs to hide in. I know the tank will be too small for them in the long-term and that it's not recommended to keep crabs together with fish, but my crabs are so small and shy I can't imagine them being able to do any damage to the Julies for a while yet.
<Mmm; yes; hard to imagine... but at night when the fish are settled down, near the bottom, easily pinched>
And from what I understand they have similar pH and hardness requirements.
So I'm hoping to keep them in this tank for a few months until they all get a little bigger. (Assuming I see no aggression of course.)
Which brings me to my three questions:
1.I haven't treated the tank with PraziPro yet. Is it truly safe for freshwater crabs?
<It should be; yes>
2. How will the Julies tolerate the extra iodine the crabs need?
<This too should not be problematic>
I do 50% water changes once to twice a week and add 1 drop of Kent Marine Iodide to the change water every other time.
<No worries here>
3. At what size can I expect the Julies to start pairing up and become territorially aggressive?
<Another couple cm. With close observation you'll find this happening more in a few months time>
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Parathelphusa pantherina      11/25/18

Thanks for such a quick response Bob! Will definitely keep a sharp eye out for any aggression.
<Real good Rina. This is not a very "mean", territorial genus of Cichlids; and less so w/ successive captive-produced generations. You'll see trouble coming. BobF> 


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