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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

Toxotes jaculatrix (Pallas 1767), the Banded Archerfish. The principal species used in the trade in the west. Asia and Oceania; India to the Philippines, Indonesia, Vanuatu, the Solomons, New Guinea, northern Australia. To one foot in length. An adult in an aquarium.
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Freshwater FAQs, Ask us a question: Crew@WetWebMedia.com

Updated 9/16/2019
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
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New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Is coral stones harmful to beta fish if I boil it...its a 60L tank?     9/16/19
Hi i rescued one green tiger barb and he wasn't happy. He now has 7 barbs and loving company. I'm moving them to 60L tank. Tried sand but too cloudy..washed multiple times! I've purchased what looks like tiny wee pours golden stones but realised it's for saltwater. Will it harm barbs if I boil it first? In ratio to tank, it's not a great amount of gravel. Will they b ok with that?
Thanks Sharon
<Hello Sharon. Products designed for use in marine fish tanks are not always safe in freshwater tanks. If they are made of a calcareous material, such as limestone, they will harden the water and raise the pH. So short answer: nope, leave these out of your Betta's aquarium! Cheers, Neale.>

Painted turtle breeding question     9/16/19
Hello,
<Hello. Apologies for the delay in replying.>
I’ve read Darrel’s write-up re turtle hatching and have a question. I’ve installed a pond in my backyard and have 3 painted turtles (+koi and gf) in it. Because I’ve lost a few turtles over the winter (Michigan; my pond is over 4’ deep, lined, in ground), I’ve started taking them inside now.
<Good approach.>
What I wonder, and can’t find via searching the internet, is because they’re inside now and don’t brumate, does this change the ‘breeding’ season?
<Not directly. But most reptiles will use day length (often specifically UV-A) to calibrate their internal clocks. Indoors this isn't possible, so breeding tends to be a bit more variable.>
Or will they still likely mate March through June as they did in the wild?
<To some degree, yes, more or less. Day length will be the main triggering factor.>
I ask because I would probably NOT know if my female actually laid eggs in the indoor holding pool I’ve set up for them. Which means, come summer, they head out to the big pond and a lot more space and I’d have to keep the indoor pool going JUST IN CASE eggs were laid. I also worry if I’m not allowing brumation and the breeding season is askew, that any eggs laid outside in the summer might not have enough days for gestation.
<Understood. If you keep the turtles relatively cool and with the amount of light over their tank limited, it's unlikely they'll lay eggs. Once moved into a suitable enclosure with higher temperatures, more food, and longer day lengths, this should trigger egg-laying.>
Another question; I have limited area where I’ve set up my over-winter pool so can provide only modest ‘earthen’ area for possible egg-laying. Is there a minimum amount for the female to actually feel comfortable? Or will she simply lay the eggs in whatever space I’ve provided?
<It needs to be big enough she can move about and dig comfortably, but that's about it.>
I currently have something equal to about 2 sq feet, about 12” deep.
<Sounds fine.>
And a final question; is there a optimal setup to make the earthen area conducive for eggs to hatch? Basic ground temp? Percent humidity?
<The sand needs to be steadily warm, around 28 C, and the sand should be damp but not waterlogged. The idea mix probably includes a bit of perlite or compost to hold some moisture. But at the same time it needs to be airy enough the eggs don't suffocate. Beyond that, the main thing is the sand isn't disturbed -- moving the eggs usually kills the foetus.>
Since I also overwinter orchids and tropical pond plants in the same room, I think I’ve got that covered but if there’s something I’m missing, please let me know.
<Sounds good.>
Anyway, I liked the write-up and hope either Darrel or another expert there can help out.
Thank you.
Michael
<Hope this helps. Neale.>
Re: painted turtle breeding question
     9/16/19
Thanks, Neale; it does help. I was going to keep the lights on for 12 hours, do you suggest I lower that number?
<Yep. Treat as per winter wherever you live; but do ensure the UV-B light is on for sufficient time (at least 4 hours/day) for the turtles to get sufficient vitamin D.>
(it was mainly for the tropicals I’m overwintering with the turtles.)
<Understood. Cheers, Neale.>

Large Red Devil Cichlid with possible internal tumor       9/12/19
Hi,
<Hello Terri,>
I've been reading your forum for awhile now and doing some research on my own, but I haven't found anything quite like the issue that is affecting my fish. She is a Red Devil cichlid and we've had her for about 12 years.
<A fair age, and assuming she's been healthy otherwise until now, yes, a tumour is certainly possible.>
Over the last few months she has developed a significant bump on her left side. I first noticed it about 4 months ago. It has always been about the same diameter (about 1") but has slowly grown so that it protrudes more and more from her side. The bump does not seem to affect her eating or swimming habits and she is just as feisty as always! I'm wondering if she might have some type of tumor, and if so, can anything be done about it?
<Likely not. If benign, as most of these tumours are, there's no immediate threat. The bump looks like it's on the muscle (flank) of the fish rather than the abdomen -- check yourself to see if it is behind the vent. If it is behind the vent, then it's likely a tumour in the skin or muscle, and there's really not much to be done. Neither is there much risk to the fish, beyond gradual incapacity if swimming ability diminishes. If the tumour is on the internal organs, as could be the case if the tumour is within the abdomen (and so in front of the vent) then things are more serious. Again, no real treatment, but the issue is that tumours can quickly obstruct the digestive system and other internal organ systems, and this can cause the
premature death of the fish, even if the tumour itself doesn't spread (metastasize).>
We moved and went from city water to well water about 6 months ago. We checked out the water thoroughly (for the fish and for ourselves!) The well water is of excellent quality. The tap water does go through a water softener with salt that has an iron-reducing additive in it.
<You should never use water from a domestic water softener in an aquarium, and indeed, it's generally not recommend you drink water from domestic water softeners either. RO water is fine, but anything that uses, for example, salt to soften water isn't going to produce "soft" water as
aquarists think of it.>
I don't know what the iron-reducer is composed of. I've looked on the bag of salt and online and can't find an answer. The city water that we used in the past was also softened water, but did not have the iron-reducing additive. The city water had chorine, and we used chorine remover before adding water to the aquarium.
<I don't actually think the water softener is the problem here, but rather age and inbreeding, which make tumours more likely. That said, the extra sodium ions in water from domestic water softeners is a stress factor.>
Other than the water change, she is in the same 75 gallon tank (alone) with the same filter, gravel and decorations that have been in her tank for years. The tumor might be something that cannot be treated, but I'd like to know if anyone has seen something similar that could be treatable.
<These tumours aren't treatable as such, but if slowly developing, the fish may well live a normal life.>
Thanks!
Terri
<Sorry this can't be more hopeful. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Large Red Devil Cichlid with possible internal tumor
Neale,
<Terri,>
Thank you so much for your quick response.
<Most welcome.>
I kind of figured that if it is a tumor, there's not much to be done about it.
<Indeed.>
But I thought there might be a chance that the bump could be caused by something else, so why not ask?
<Understood, but I'm struggling to imagine it's anything other than some sort of cyst or tumour.>
The tumor is behind the vent, so hopefully it will be slow-growing.
<Yep.>
My husband reminded me that when we do a water change every 2 weeks we use water from the outside spigot which comes straight from the well and does not go through the softener.
<Good.>
However, when I top-up the aquarium with 2-3 gallons of water to offset evaporation (about once a week), I have been using indoor tap water so I will stop doing that.
<Ideally, evaporation is topped off with pure (RO, rain or deionised water) because otherwise you're adding minerals. While I don't believe the softened water is the problem here, the use of domestic water softener water is risky because such water contains sodium ions, and the more you use, the more sodium gets into the water. It's the same reason people instructed to avoid sodium in their diet are told not to drink softened water. For sure the amount is very low, and for most people not a problem, but it's one extra factor getting in the way of a balanced aquarium, so best avoided.>
Please let me know if you have a blog or other source of information that I can tap into and learn more about freshwater fish and aquarium care, and thanks again for the help!
Best Regards,
Terri
<Cheers, Neale.>

ADF Hlth.           9/7/19
Howdy! I have an adf that has lost 3 of his toes. It’s a little bit red where the toes came off. Should I be concerned?
<Yes; will direct you to some reading:
http://www.xenopus.com/disease.htm 
The section on Red Leg is relevant here.>
Will it kill him,
<Yes, can do.>
or will it get infected?
<Highly likely.>
Any help is MUCH appreciated.
<Some further reading, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
ADFs combine poorly with fish, and do need an aquarium with a heater and filter. As with all amphibians, they're a lot easier to keep healthy than to medicate, so aim for prevention rather than cure.>
Thank you so much!!
<Good luck! Neale.>
Re: ADF Hlth.           9/7/19

Ok. Thanks for letting me know. The toes coming off is not from an infection.
<Perhaps. But if that's the case, you need to ask why. In any case, there's a risk of infection, and you should act accordingly.>
He got his foot stuck under a rock in the tank and when he jerked, they broke off.
<That really doesn't sound likely at all. Think about how small (and weak) these frogs are. To break off its toes, it would have to force the rock up, wedge its toes in the gap, let the rock go, pull its leg, and lose its toes in the process. That doesn't sound likely at all, does it? Think about the human equivalent: if I was to lose my toes under a rock, they'd need to get wedged in their first, which would demand the rock be lifted up first, and then rolled onto my foot. Simply kicking the rock would result in a stubbed toe, perhaps, but in no way could the toes become wedged under the rock.
Now, a rock could roll on top of the frog, but again, assuming you decorated the tank properly, with rocks securely placed on gravel and sand, that shouldn't happen. Usually what happens when frogs lose their toes is either physical damage caused by fish biting them, or else some sort of ongoing infection caused by poor water quality or diet. That's what you need to be thinking about. Not 'accidents' that really aren't at all probable.>
With that kill him?
<See above and previous message about Red Leg. Cheers, Neale.>

African dwarf frog help!       9/6/19
Hello, i got 3 adf about 2 weeks ago. They finally started eating!!!
<Yay!>
They seemed to like the frozen bloodworms!
<They do. But they will need more variety, so be sure to add other items:
tiny pieces of white fish fillet or prawns, frozen krill, live or frozen daphnia, mosquito larvae, etc.>
However, today I realized that my youngest frog lost 4 of his toes on one of his back feet. Its a little red where they fell off. Will it get infected? Will it kill him?
<Very hard to say, but it is a bad thing. Frogs are prone to something called "Red Leg" if their environment is not ideal. It's essentially the same thing as Finrot, and can be treated with much the same antibiotics. But like Finrot, it's evidence of physical damage (e.g., sharp sand or gravel; rough handling; nipping by fish) or else, and perhaps more commonly, non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels. Let me direct you to some reading:
http://www.xenopus.com/disease.htm
While Xenopus are the larger African Clawed Frogs, their healthcare is identical to the dwarf Hymenochirus species you're keeping.>
And if not, is there anything I can do to help him be less uncomfortable?
<See above.>
Thanks for you help!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Replace discus ? Selection, comp.       9/6/19
Hi Team,
​<Shriram>
Trust you guys a doing well.​
​<Thank you; yes; well enough>
Recently my canister started to leak in the middle of the week and I had to make alternate arrangements for my 50 gallon discus tank, until I fix it this weekend.​
​In the process I lost few of my guys, and now I have two big discus who are the leaders and a few 4 smaller ones, out of which one of them seems to be quite timid and likes to hide behind the rock and comes out very rarely and is not very active when it comes to food.​
​Now I have a few questions.​
​Is it a rule that you need to keep discus of the same size for a good bonding.​
<Mmm; well, close to same size is a good idea. IF too different and there are "problems", in small enough volumes (less than hundreds of gallons), the larger one can/may damage the smaller>
In that case do I need to replace my bigger ones for ones of smaller size, so my hiding discus gets normal.​
​<May be; or move all to a larger system>
Odd One Out.​
What is your suggestion in replacing my discus and move on to a set of monster fish as in: Oscars, walking catfish, etc. I understand this is a question of personal preference, but do you think its easier to maintain the monsters and that they would not need filtration like the discus need, and still look good in the tank.​
​<Yes to other fish species being more "poor water tolerant", but they will still require robust filtration, water movement, frequent (weekly) partial water changes. Bob Fenner>
Please advise.
Thanks and regards,
Shriram Natarajan

Question about female ADF, repro.     9/2/19
Hello, I think my female African dwarf frog MAY have eggs. Are there any signs that she has eggs and if she is about to lay them,
<Gravid females will be noticeably plumper around the abdomen. But we aware that overeating and even Dropsy can look similar.>
what should I expect?
<Not much. African Dwarf Frogs routinely lay eggs in aquaria, but the tadpoles are tiny, and either get eaten by other animals in the tank (including the frogs) or fail to find enough to eat. If you want to breed
them, here's a good summary:
http://www.hylid.clara.co.uk/hymenochirus/breeding_hymenochirus.htm
The main challenge is ensuring you remove the eggs to a safe aquarium, and then once hatched, supply suitable microscopic food (called infusoria) for the first few days. If you've bred egg-laying fish with small fry, such as Bettas, you'll know the process, and it's pretty similar.>
Thank you for your help!
<Welcome. Neale.>

Red eared slider stopped growing      9/1/19
A relative found a little red eared slider a few years ago on a riverbank and thought he didn't look too good, so he rescued him.
<Not recommended, but understandable.>
(We live in Trinidad .... an island in the Caribbean).
<Nice!>
We've had him for over 2 years and he is 2 inches.
<Pretty small, yes.>
He eats pellets, lettuce, and occasionally, some mosquito larvae. His shell is well formed, no abnormalities or deformities, he basks regularly and his behavior and energy levels seem pretty normal.
<Good.>
My son thinks he's a mutation or some species of pygmy turtle
<Doesn't sound impossible to me. The thing with reptiles is that they grow their entire lives, but the rate at which they grow declines with time. If they don't prosper for the first two or three years, a Red Ear Slider may grow a bit for the rest of its life, but at a steadily diminishing rated, so it'll never catch up with those Red Ears of the same age but with a more fortunate start to their lives. So yes, bad genes can be a cause, but bad luck can be a major factor too.>
His tank is pretty small but that will improve when we move out of our apartment within the next year.
<Stunting can happen with some animals, but not Red Ear Sliders, which tend to outgrow small tanks rather than get stunted. That said, improving living conditions is always a worthwhile step.>
Do you think something is wrong with him?
<See above. Hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red eared slider stopped growing    9/2/19

Thank you, I guess we’re stuck with a permanently extra cute little guy ...
<Indeed!>
when we first got him the kids named him Token as he was the size of a coin.
<That's cute.>
His name evolved into Tokapee ... he is just soooo cute ... we will give him as happy a life as we possibly can ... he is very loved.
<Sounds like he's landed on his feet. Hopefully he'll provide your family with entertainment for many years to come.>
Thanks again
<You are most welcome. Neale.>

I have some questions about my african dwarf frogs...       8/31/19
Hello! I recently put three african dwarf frogs in a cycled tank. Nitrites: 0 , pH: 7.5 , Nitrates: 0 , and ammonia: 1.5 but I have added API Ammo Lock to make it non-toxic for my little frogs.
<Possibly, but Ammo Lock is a product that neutralised the ammonia in tap water. It is NOT a magic potion that neutralises the ammonia created by your livestock, and does NOT replace biological filtration. So if you have an ammonia level of 1.5 mg/l, that's incredibly high, and potentially lethal to just about anything. Do PLEASE check the ammonia level in your tap water fish. If the ammonia level in your tap water is between 0 and 1.5, but the aquarium is at 1.5, then you have a serious filtration problem that needs to be addressed. Increased biological media and a larger aquarium (at least 8-10 gallons for Dwarf Frogs) are the two essential improvements. If the tap water ammonia is exactly 1.5, and your aquarium is 1.5, then the tap water ammonia can be neutralised with Ammo Lock, but long term you really do want to find a way to use an alternative water source, or else increase biological filtration, while performing frequent small water changes (rather than infrequent big water changes) so that the filter can remove some of that ammonia. Do check if your water supplier uses Chloramine, as some water conditioners turn this into ammonia and chlorine, and the ammonia is just as toxic to your fish as any other kind of ammonia.>
I have tried giving them freeze dried bloodworms and aquatic frog pellets, but they never eat them. I even put it to their noses so they can smell it, but they still never eat.
<They will not eat while ammonia is not zero. Indeed, adding food that rots will just make the ammonia worse.>
I don't think it's because they don't want to eat around each other, because they seem to love each other. They are always sleeping on top of each other. Haha.
<They are quite gregarious some of the time, yes. But sexually mature males can be aggressive, albeit rarely doing any serious harm.>
I also have one more question. I have 3 females and 1 male. They haven't been mating, but I feel like my female has eggs. Are there signs of the females carrying eggs that she is about to lay soon?
<Gravid females will become quite chunky, yes.>
Thanks for all of your help and support.
<No problem. Good luck, Neale.>
Re... ADFs?        8/31/19

Hello again. Haha.
<Ha ha?>
I just saw your reply and I thought I need to address some things I didn't previously. My water supplier uses chloramine, and I use water conditioner along with ammo lock to neutralize it.
<Good.>
And how often should I be doing water changes?
<Every week or two is normally fine for Dwarf Frogs, but that assumes adequate biological filtration and zero ammonia and nitrite..
I have been doing 15% water changes every couple of days.
<Good.>
Now I feel bad that I am making my poor froggies miserable.
<Indeed; but do focus on the filter, ensure it's adequate to the job, and with luck, your frogs will survive.>
I will continue trying. Thank you SO much for your help again, you are helping save so many
fish lives.
<Thank you for these kind words. Neale.>

Freshwater stingray advice needed      8/30/19
Hello!
<Holly>
I am writing on behalf of my employer. She is an avid stingray hobbyist, owning very many freshwater rays, half of which are black diamond. She is having problems breeding the diamonds though and asked me to reach out to anyone who might be more knowledgeable about ray breeding. I know it might be a long shot to ask for advice but I am a bit desperate.
<Mmm; have read quite a bit, written some re FW rays, Potamotrygonids>
The rays seem to be having pups fine, but the pups only last about two weeks before losing some color, curling and then expiring. She gets maybe one or two out of every 20 that actually makes it.
<Yes... need to know, have information re mainly water quality (and maintenance therein) and nutrition here. How do folks treat the source water and what is its make-up? What foods are being employed and are they supplemented?>
Any advice at all would really be appreciated, thank you for your time.
Sincerely,
Holly
<Data please. Bob Fenner>
Re: freshwater stingray advice needed      8/30/19

Thank you Bob for replying,
<Thank you for sharing Holly>
She has a large setup. It's a 2000 gallon system consisting of three large oval concrete tanks, 2.5 feet deep, connected to a small hatchery consisting of multiple 50 gal tanks.
<Ahh! Am wondering, concerned with the accumulation of metabolites here>
fresh water source is well water which flows in constantly.
<Ah, very good>
There are 5hp submersible pumps which feed into sand filters then degassing towers. There are aerators throughout and a bio ball filter before the pumps.
<Wow! Some electrical cost now!>
parameters are normally around or close to : Ammonia - 0.25
<Aye; this NEEDS to be zero, zip, nada. This value alone might account for the trouble here. I'd look into using contactor... resin, carbon... to eliminate all NH3/NH4OH>
nitrite - 0
nitrate - fluctuates between 5 and 20, rarely as high as 40

<This too needs to be addressed. I'd keep NO3 concentration below 10 ppm at all times>
and PH - between 8.2 and 8.4.
<And this is way too high for wild-collected Amazonian rays>

The temp ranges between 81 and 83 Fahrenheit.
The well water was just tested for heavy metals, all came back looking fine.
<Good>
My employer's friend keeps insisting it could be bubble sickness so she ordered a TGP meter. I tested all over and have seen it up to 95.4 % O2 and 103.7 % residual TGP in the concrete tanks. I can't seem to find much about what levels rays can tolerate but the more I look into it the more I don't think that is it. The rays don't look like they have any visible tissue damage.
<Gas/embolism is not a problem w/ these values. Supersaturation is... and with the use of the towers, likely most all excess gas is released>
I separate the baby rays from the adults into floating baskets when i find them. i have also tried moving them to their own hatchery tank as well but same results. I have tried feeding finely chopped earthworms, live Tubifex worms and finely chopped fish but they are reluctant to eat.
<Mmm; I would further experiment, and provide the young with softer, more acidic water. Do see, read on the Net, Fishbase.org re their natural waters. Quite different than what they're being exposed to here. There are simple/r, inexpensive means to modify water quality. The young will be better off kept in the 50 gallon systems either separate from the recirculated water or very slowly dripped/overflowed>
Thank you again,
Holly
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: freshwater stingray advice needed      8/30/19

thank you very much, you have been extremely helpful. I'll relay all of this to my employer and try setting up a separate tank for the pups.
<Ah, good. I've visited a few Potamotrygonid hatcheries... your issue here is not uncommon, and easily solved. Bob Fenner>

BOX TURTLE     8/29/19
Hi. I have a box turtle that has places on her carapace that are like small craters. Is this shell rot?
<If the holes smell bad, then yes, very likely.>
And also on the plastron there are small spots that look like someone got flecks of slightly off white paint on her.
<Could easily be limescale. If you live in a hard water area, the dissolved minerals that form limescale in pipes and appliances and also form limescale on turtles. If you take the turtle out of the water, drop on a
little vinegar or lemon juice, limescale will bubble or fizz. Limescale is unsightly but harmless, and you can remove it with a toothbrush and a bit of vinegar or lemon juice periodically without any harm to the turtle.>
It is not soft. It does not come off easy at all. We have well water and it is hard water.
<Well there we go.>
I have some stuff for treating fungus and bacteria. There is no white stuff in the cracks but there are also a couple of small holes on the bottom shell. Same color as the shell just like the craters on the top. When treating how do you know when it is healed since I imagine that it would take quite some time for the shell to regrow there and what is the cause of the craters, holes and off white stuff? Thanks
<Going to direct you to some reading, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtshellrot.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm
The important thing is to double-check your turtle has both UV-B light as well as a heat lamp for basking under (some premium lamps include both heat and UV-B) and a diet with sufficient calcium. Get these two things right, and you shouldn't have to worry about Shell Rot. As always with reptiles, prevention is both cheaper and easier than cure, and most (likely: all) turtle health problems come down to neglect. Hope this helps, Neale.>
BOX TURTLE      8/30/19

Hi. Thanks for the info.
<Most welcome.>
My turtle is living outside all warm weather.
<Direct sunshine should provide the UV-B, so you should be sorted on that front!>
It started with swollen eyes and then the shell started caving a little.
<Swollen eyes are the classic symptom of Vitamin A deficiency. Of course other things (such as bacterial infections) can be explanations too. But checking the diet of your turtle, and ideally, giving either a suitable Vitamin A supplement, or getting a vitamin shot from a vet, should fix mild cases. Do read, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm
As you know, these turtles consume a lot of plant material in the wild, but will eat meaty foods in captivity almost to the exclusion of fresh greens.
This is what can cause Vitamin A deficiency.>
The eyes are pretty much all better and I've been treating the shell rot, but how do I know when to stop?
<Are we talking about the Shell Rot here? If the shell smells clean (Shell Rot smells musty) then beyond simply cleaning the turtles shell periodically (an old toothbrush works great) and keeping the aquarium/pond clean (water changes and filtration) should do the trick. Dabbing with a cotton bud dipped in iodine solution (as used in first aid) does a really good job of sterilising the wounds. After dabbing, leave the turtle 'dry docked' for at least half an hour, and then return it to the pond or aquarium. Dry docking involves keeping the turtle on land, but with plenty of drinking water, especially if it's a hot and sunny day. Do this clean-and-dry once or twice a day for a week at least, and you should see
improvement.>
There is no white or red there. It looks like the shell but is deeper.
<Turtle shells are, obviously, quite thick. It is possible for infections to work their way through to the bottom, but that is very uncommon.
Treating as described above should show marked improvement within a week -- i.e., the shell pits smell clean, there's no weeping fluid (sort of like pus) and definitely no sign of blood. If the wounds aren't improving after a week or so, I'd definitely have a vet take a look, or at the very least, an experienced reptile keeper who you trust to be able to diagnose diseases in turtles. As said before, treating reptiles is really best done BEFORE they get sick, or failing that, as soon as things seem amiss. Otherwise, once they get really sick treatment can become time-consuming and expensive in part because of their slow metabolism, which means medicines (not to mention their immune system) tend to operate more slowly than warm blooded animals.>
The turtle is very active and eating otherwise.
<Both positive signs. A quick trip to the vet to get some assurance he's on the mend would really be the best option here.>
Have any good ideas on how to get the turtle to eat more greens?
<Turtles will eat greens in the absence of other foods. So not providing anything energy dense, like reptile pellets or worms, let alone meat, is important. In a pond situation turtles will probably be grazing between occasional feeds from you, especially if you only feed every few days. In between the turtle should be consuming pond weeds (Elodea-type things are ideal) alongside general organic muck they'll dig up in the pond (roots, worms, carrion, etc.). In an aquarium situation just don't feed anything else, stick a bunch of Elodea, Cabomba, or whatever cheap pondweed is sold in your local pet store. With luck, your turtle will chow down on these.
Duckweed is another useful green food that people can grow themselves without trouble -- it's often a pest in ponds! There are some kitchen greens you can try, though pale green salads like Iceberg lettuce, while accepted, are nutrient poor and not especially useful. Better bets are things like Romaine and other dark lettuces, sliced courgette (zucchini), squashed cooked peas, and blanched kale or greens. You'll need to experiment a bit, as every turtle seems to have different tastes. Some will eat a little fruit, too, such as sliced grapes, but use these very sparingly as they have a strong laxative effect and aren't really a normal part of their diet in the wild. The key thing to remember is turtles will ignore greens if meaty foods are offered, much in the same way humans ignore the salad bar while there's still steak and chicken on the buffet counter. Cheers, Neale.>
BOX TURTLE      8/30/19

OK. Thank you.
So for a box turtle do you put the iodine on the shell and just leave it?
<Dab iodine onto cotton bud; wipe across hole in shell; allow to dry for at least 10 min.s. After another 20 min.s, you can rinse off the shell and then return the turtle to its home.>
On another note, I came across a boxie today and wanted to get a picture of it. As I came to it, Shell completely closed up. (normal) I sat on a nearby log very quietly for quite some time and the thing only opened up enough to see the face. I kept waiting and waiting and then I started to wonder if it was OK. I decided to take it home just to see if it IS ok.
<Almost never recommended by wildlife experts.>
It's in a cardboard box and it has been a couple of hours and I haven't seen its legs or head and neck. Is this a veeeeeery shy turtle, or is there possibly something wrong with it?
<Could be, but hard to say. Certainly a wild turtle transported from its wilderness habitat into a human home is unlikely to be eager to leave its shell. Best bet is to call your local Fish & Wildlife agency for their input. There are (wild) animal rescue charities about (here in England, St Tiggywinkles is the best known) that might also offer advice.>
I did see the eyes. They looked different? Don't know what to think. Any ideas?
<Without a photo, nope. Sorry! Neale.>
BOX TURTLE      8/30/19

I am hoping to get a look at it to see if it's ok. I took a large snapper, the size of my steering wheel, to a local vet because someone deliberately ran it over.
<Yikes! Poor thing.>
I hoped it could be saved but they said the damage was too deep (heart break)
<I would imagine. They're fascinating animals.>
I know I can bring it there because they will help if needed and then release.
<Understood.>
The problem is I can't get a good look at the face and eyes. I might just call them and ask what they think. Thanks for your help on the other stuff.
<Most helpful, and good luck with your endeavours to help local wildlife!
Always good to know some people are trying to do good, not just messing up the planet. Cheers, Neale.>
TURTLE CARE      9/1/19

Hello again.
<Hello again Shirley,>
Just wanted to touch base with you to let you know that I found an animal rescue about 50-60 minutes away and brought the box turtle there.
<Good news.>
It looked like something took a chunk out of it's face and it was infected.
<Makes sense. Poor little guy!>
They took it in and will try to treat and save the little one and then return it back to the area it was found.
<Sounds the best outcome.>
Also, I want to return my box turtle outside after eye infection is healed.
<Understood. The main things are to ensure she doesn't become "socialised" to humans (which should be seen as dangerous by wild animals) and also to ensure she doesn't come into contact with anything likely to carry reptile-specific diseases (so certainly pet reptiles, but also equipment like buckets or boxes used around pet reptiles). The first is about making sure the turtle keeps away from other people and doesn't see them as sources of food, which can bring them close to roads, which are obviously dangerous, as well as pets, like dogs, that might harass or kill them. The second is because pet animals can carry diseases that may be treated by a vet, but lethal without a vet, which is the situation for wild animals.>
There is a wooden hide box and a plastic water bowl.
<Sounds fine.>
She hasn't been in there for about two weeks. Is there anything I should do to it before I put her in there?
<Access to shelter, food and water are the main things. But also that the turtle can move between warmth and cool easily. While reptiles do like to bask in the sunshine to warm up, they also need to avoid overheating, so use things like burrows or shady spots under shrubs to get away from the sunshine. If this enclosure is outdoors, ensure also that predators cannot get in: not just cats and dogs, but even things like coyotes, raccoons and even large birds can be a danger.>
Would you also know if white vinegar is a good cleaner?
<Yep, should be fine. If it's safe to eat, it's a safe cleaner.>
Thank You
<Welcome. Neale.>
TURTLE CARE    9/2/19

Hi. I apologize for not being clear. Originally I was asking you how to treat shell rot in a box turtle.(I already have one I'm treating.)
<Shell Rot best treated by dry-docking the turtle periodically, and using Iodine to dab the wounds once or twice a day, leaving at least half an hour before rinsing the shell and returning the turtle to the water. Do read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtshellrot.htm
All the details are there.>
The turtle I found is with the rehab and I will most likely never see that one again. Even if it heals. I was referring to my boxie that has been living outside for years in a fenced in area but has had some shell
problems and eye infection. She is doing well now and I would like to put her back outside. I didn't know if there was something I needed to do in there before hand so that it is good for her to go back. Just don't want her to run into problems again.
<Understood. Realistically, if a wild animal has been in your care for more than a few weeks, it is extremely difficult to return it to the wild. All kinds of issues. One is that it will have become at least partially tame.
Another is that it may or may not have enough body weight to survive winter hibernation. If it was sickly when you got it, it might not have eaten enough to put on the necessary fat as well as repair physical damage (bear in mind that a sick or injured animal is usually eaten, so 'getting better' isn't often an option). Consult with a suitable expert who can assess the body mass of the turtle. Indeed, I'd probably approach someone able to rehome and/or reintroduce wild reptiles, rather than do it yourself.>
Thanks again for your help
<Most welcome, Neale.>
TURTLE CARE      9/4/19

I'm really puzzled at your answers to my questions.
<Oh?>
Perhaps I am just not explaining the situation very well.
<Perhaps.>
I have a box turtle that stays in an outdoor pen. She got an eye infection and a little shell rot so I took her to the vet for medicine. Now that she is well I just wondered if the wooden hide box or the plastic bowl needed to be treated with something before she went back to prevent reinfection.
<Shell Rot is opportunistic and the bacteria and fungi are all around anyways. Eye-infections tend to be caused by dietary problems, but can be caused by physical damage. Either way, while giving your reptile's enclosure a good clean periodically is a good idea, sterilising them is probably unnecessary. Still, if you're concerned, bleaching and rinsing the nesting box, and sticking the bowl through the dishwasher would be quick and easy ways to clean them.>
That's all. But thanks. Take care
<Will do. Cheers, Neale.>
TURTLE CARE      9/4/19

OK. Very well and thanks so much
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Emergency: fish in bad shape.       8/28/19
Hello, i hope everything's well.
<Hello Roberto,>
I'll get to the point this time.
<Sure thing!>
My 4 year old yellow acara jumped out of the tank and stayed out of the tank for what i assume 20... 25 min? The tank has a lid but it somehow busted out of it. When i found him i thought he was dead, parts of him dry. I put him in water because i always have hope and surprisingly started breathing. He also fell from a considerable height (one a half meters) . This was yesterday.
<Yikes!>
Right now he is very weak. He responds to stimuli but has trouble keeping himself balanced, a lot of the scales on one of his sides have peeled off, the tips of his fins are falling apart. I assume this is due the dryness his body underwent. What can one do in these situations? Photos are in links. I fear if i dont do something he wont recover.
<If her survives the next couple hours, you may be lucky. The dry skin will almost certainly be damaged, and Finrot and/or Fungus are both very real possibilities. You won't hear me say this very often, but this is one of those situations where a product aimed at preventing infections would be worthwhile, such as API Stress Coat or even Melafix. Adding a very small amount of salt to the water, perhaps 1-2 gram/litre, can also be useful. Either way, optimal water conditions, lots of oxygen, and no further stress (e.g., turn the lights off) will be essential. Long term, if the fish is still alive a day after the accident, he will probably live, so long as Finrot or Fungus doesn't set in. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Emergency: fish in bad shape.       8/28/19

Follow up. I put him in an 8 gal with ample oxygen, Methylene blue and complete darkness.
<Not sure I'd have moved him into such a small tank, but I understand your thinking. The problem is that a small tank is stressful, and unless the filter system there is mature, you'd be exposing him to worse water quality than in the main aquarium. Always remember, a hospital tank is worthless UNLESS it has better water quality than the main tank.>
Besides hoping he would make the night, nothing else i thought i could do. He didn't make it.
<Oh dear. Sorry to hear this.>
After the fall he was stressed but swam normally. Next day he had problems with balance and low response to stimuli. Bacteria infected overnight in a highly stressed, open wounded fish perhaps? Should have separated earlier...
<Quite possibly what happened. Hard to say. Sorry. Cheers, Neale.>

Can you identify this tiny fish?      8/26/19
Hello!
<Hello Amanda!>
I am trying to figure out what this tiny fish is that is in my reef tank. I did not buy it. I found it one day when it was so tiny it looked like one of my Saltwater Molly babies. You know, a tiny head with a tiny tail.
<Okay>
So I put it in a tank where no one would eat it. Then a month or so later I saw it and couldn't figure out what it was! It is hard to see in the pictures because it is very very careful not to be out in the open.
So,....I've taken a million pictures and these 3 are about the best I can get. I will also describe it for you, because I can see it better than the camera can.
<Smart elusive fish!>
It body is silver in the front with yellow eyes. Towards the back it gets more golden until you reach just before the tail where it is really very golden. The tail looks bluish. The bottom fins are salmon pink. The top fin is blue, mostly. But it has a stripe in the front that is first black then white,....then it's light blue with a tiny bit of the salmon color just before it reaches the body again. The blue is very pale, like the tail and hard to see unless the light hits it just right. The salmon color on the bottom is much more clear. Is also seems to have speckles on the body.
Dark ones. I was hoping it would grow bigger so I could see it even better, but although it has a very neat coloration, it hasn't grown much at all.
It lives among the pulsing Xenias and comes out when it's mysis shrimp eating time. The rest of the time I hardly see it. It's not a guppy. It's no a Molly. I just have no clue what it could be. I've spent hours just staring at pictures and asking other salt people if they know and so far no one has been able to identify it. Can you tell me what you think it is? The top fin and the bottom larger fin are Halfmoon shapes. That rules out many small saltwater fish!
First I thought it's a baby cardinal fish! But there don't seem to be any cardinals that look like this. Then I thought,...maybe an Apistogramma got acclimated to the salt water! But once again, I can't find one that looks like this. So I'm at a loss.
<It appears to be a Rainwater Killifish (Lucania parva) but I'm not quite sure. Bob, what are your thoughts here?>
<<When I looked at this last night I thought it was some sort of Cyprinodont, Killifish... I do think your figuring is good. RMF. And yes, could've easily been collected along w/ other life, foods in the geog. area.>>
I so wish I could get a better picture!! But he's too smart for me.
I'm resending this, because I forgot to sign it! My apologies!
<No worries. Cheers. Wil.>
Amanda Wilson in NJ, USA 

Re: Can you identify this tiny fish?      8/27/19
Wow! They can! And the one I have looks exactly like the Rainwater Killifish online! I wonder how I got it?
<As Bob stated, could've been collected along w/ other life, foods in the geog. area.>
Killifish can live in Saltwater????????????
<Yes they can, they tolerate different salinities from fresh to saltwater.
Wil.>

Question about African Clawed Frog      8/23/19
Hi, I was wondering about my Albino African Clawed Frog. It is turning black like it has dirt on it, but we just cleaned the tank that it is in.
<Hard to say without a photo. Couple of obvious things to ask. First, did you use a water conditioner? If not, ammonia or chlorine could be irritating the skin and/or causing damage. Secondly, was there a lot of
silt in the water? This can stick the mucous on the frog, but will wash away in time. Will direct you to some reading for now:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/FrogsArtNeale.htm
While popular critters and quite hardy, Xenopus are not without a few basic needs. These include relatively cool water (20 C/68 F) and adequate space (60 litres/15 US gallons). They rarely cohabit well with fish or other animals, and while a filter of some sort is essential, very turbulent water flow rates will stress them. Cheers, Neale.>

Mbu puffer tank      8/23/19
Hi
<Hello!>
For the last 2 months I have been cycling a 2000 litre aquarium for a mbu puffer (7ft x 4ft).
<A good starting point, but be aware of how big these fish can become. Some would argue even 2000 litres is less than ideal.>
I am finally collecting the mbu next week and just tested my water :
Ammonia <0.05
Nitrite 0.025
<These two really need to be zero.>
Nitrate 5
I know sometimes the test kits aren’t exact but I’m worried about the nitrite of .025 but should that be fine?
<Hard to say without knowing the brand of test kit or even how good you are judging the colours. Dip strip test kits for example are generally regarded as imprecise, and while this margin of error would be adequate for bog standard community fish, it might be risky with sensitive species such as a Mbu Puffer. I would be tempted to try the nitrite kit at least against one or more alternative test kits. Your local retailer may well offer this service, especially if they deal with expensive fish such as marines. I'd also check your values against your tap water. For example if you have neutralised (via water conditioner) any chloramine in the tap water, a test kit can register that as ammonia, even though it is harmless.>
I do 30% water change 3 times a week
<Sounds good. If the Mbu Puffer is relatively small now, say, 10 cm long, and kept in a 2000 litre tank with regular water changes, any slight backlog in ammonia and nitrite processing by your biological filter should fix itself over the next couple of weeks. "Fish-less" cycling methods are a bit unreliable, so while the filter may be more or less mature, it might be a week or two before it really beds down properly. Given the size of the tank, and the frequency of water changes, you should be fine with a small fish, much as you can finish off the cycling process of a community tank with a few Danios and not expect any major problems. Still, keep an open mind, and regularly test the water for at least the first month, and thereafter, at least weekly until you're 100% sure everything is working as it should.>
Thanks!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Mbu puffer tank      8/23/19

Thanks Neale,
<Most welcome.>
It is the JBL full master test kit.
<Should be decent.>
The ammonia of <0.05 is the lowest that is on the results pad.
<So can you assume it's zero?>
The nitrite is the second lowest, but it is very hard to tell the difference in colours.
<Indeed. I'd still compare and contrast with a second kit, even if just the once at your retailer.>
The tank itself has a large in built filter (it runs the whole way down the side of the tank, so 4 ft by 2ft by about 10 inches of bio media). It was not fishless cycling, it has had 3 baby giant gourami (about 3 inches) since week 2, though they are now about 5-6 inches. I plan to rehome them into my 1000 litre tank.
<Understood. Filter really should be mature then. Only things you might check are whether water current sufficient (remember, you want a filter turnover rate of something like 8 times the volume of the tank per hour) and whether the selection of media chosen are appropriate (i.e., more biological media, less chemical, especially carbon, which would probably be pointless here).>
The initial plan was to keep the gourami in the big tank until I found a mbu of a decent size, I didn't want to put a small mbu in as I hear they can be very unstable until a decent size.
<Possibly, but I think this is more to do with people tending to try and keeping juveniles in very small tanks, and keeping them in such small tanks for far too long, postponing the necessary upgrade. So net result is a juvenile in increasingly poor environmental conditions. In and of themselves, Puffers aren't delicate fish by any means, and it's notable that in marine fishkeeping, they're often regarded as among the toughest fish around. I certainly had far more trouble with Neon Tetras than any pufferfish species!>
I know it is hard to find MBU's of a decent size so wanted to make sure the tank was up and running, just happens that the opportunity to buy this one has come up.
<Correct. But even so, I'd tend to recommend the 40 cm Tetraodon species, such as Tetraodon lineatus, for people who want bigger puffers simply because their size demands are so much less. There are also some lovely marine species of similar size, like Arothron hispidus, that are lively, easy to keep, and quite peaceful. But if you're dead-set on Tetraodon mbu, you seem to be going around it in the right way, and have realistic expectations of what's needed. I'll direct you to an old article on this website from an experienced Tetraodon mbu owner, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mbupuffer.htm
While lovely fish, they aren't for the faint-hearted (or the financially challenged).>
The mbu is about 9-10 inches.
<And should get to well over twice that, aquarium specimens tending to level off around the 50-60 cm mark. Much bigger specimens have been reported in the wild, but I've never seen aquarium specimens bigger than 60 cm.>
Please can you advice whether you think it should be ok or best to avoid?
<See above. They are interesting pets, and if you have the space, time and money to set them up with the right tank from the get-go, they aren't difficult to keep. Your biggest challenge is keeping nitrate relatively low, especially if your tap water has high nitrate levels to start with.
Ideally, nitrate should be less than 20 mg/l, but certainly below 40 mg/l.
Other than running out of space, owners often run into the problem of over-long teeth. In the UK there's some debate about the legality of performing "tooth cutting" procedures on pufferfish. But certainly make yourself aware of how to try to keep your Puffer's teeth worn down as best you can, and if you can't find a vet capable of cutting the teeth, find out how to do it yourself. Obviously as the fish becomes so much larger than the average pufferfish, sedating and handling the fish becomes that much more complicated. I've used cuticle clippers on small pufferfish species, and clove oil to sedate them, but for the bigger species, power tools may be needed:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/puffer_dentistry/puffer2.htm
This sort of procedure is probably well outside what the British veterinary community would consider acceptable for untrained people, given the distress it will cause the fish. So realistically, while I'm happy to recommend cuticle clippers for the literally 10-second job of nipping off the ends of South American Pufferfish teeth, adult Tetraodon mbu will probably need a trip to the vet at some point if their teeth aren't kept worn down naturally.>
Thanks.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Mbu puffer tank      8/30/19

Hi Neale
<Nathaniel.>
By way of update, the mbu is now in and doing great.
<Cool.>
I have invested in an automatic water change system that is being installed next week. That way he will have 30% water changes 365 days a year.
<Wow! Luxury, indeed.>
I plan to set it to do 5% every 4 hours, that way the Mbu will barely even notice the change taking place so will keep stress to an absolute minimum.
<Every 5 hours sounds overkill, but certainly being able to do 5% even daily should ensure really good water quality. Use a test kit: so long as nitrate stays below 20 mg/l, you're doing great. Doing excessive water changes is a waste of water, unless of course that water is being put to good use, e.g., to maintain a pond or water meadow. If it's just going down the drain it's expensive and wasteful, in my opinion.>
I have so far put in 30 guppies in but intend to increase that number significantly as the filter catches up. The guppies will be his only tank mates.
<For a while, at least!>
From my research these are the best tank mates for a mbu as he is peaceful enough to not eat him and move slowly so adds a calming presence to the tank so as to help keep him chilled.
<Indeed; and often Guppies are used for exactly this in public aquaria.
Very small fish are often ignored by big fish, but do provide that useful "dither fish" effect.>
My question is, male guppies do look better than females, but I am aware it is usually advised to keep a 2:1 ratio female to male. In a tank of 2000 litre with a 30 sq ft foot print + a group of 100+ guppies, is 2:1
necessary? Would 50:50 work?
<Academic, to be honest. After a couple generations you'll have hundreds of immature Guppies (some of the adults will likely get eaten) and likely a more or less 50/50 ratio because of that. Colouration will be difficult to ensure, because unless you can guarantee the females are virgin females of a specific variety, they'll likely revert to more or less wild Guppy colouration after a couple generations of cross-breeding.>
Thanks as always.
<No problem. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Mbu puffer tank      8/30/19

Thanks!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Mbu puffer tank

Hi Neale,
<Hello Nate,>
By way of update,
The MBU arrived and is settled and was doing really well. Eating well and water quality is going well ( I followed your advice to use the automatic water change system to only a little bit each day).
<Glad he's happy.>
I have been feeding just a few clams on the half shell each day to ensure he is not overfed. On Tuesday this week I was away and asked my wife to feed him. Without guidance she kept feeding him until he stopped (I understand she fed around 10-15 clams!!). He has not been right since.
<Indeed. This is more common than you'd expect. When they overeat, Puffers struggle to swim and will sit at the bottom until the food has been passed through.>
He has been sitting on the bottom not swimming much at all. He has shown some interest in food but not like he was doing and he seems to have a bit of poo constantly hanging out. (it looks like normal poo not like internal worms related, I am not concerned re worms as the person I bought him off had done multiple rounds of different worming medications and he shows now obvious signs).
<Understood.>
I thought he'd be alright after a few days but he's still sulking a lot.
<First thing is do a decent water change. Overfeeding will spike ammonia and nitrite, and longer term, raise nitrate. Tetraodon mbu is fairly sensitive to nitrate, so ensure good clean water first. Next up, kick up aeration and oxygenation, if nothing else, by lowering the waterline an inch or two so there's more splashing. This will drive out CO2 and increase dissolved O2. Finally, don't feed him!>
Any advice? will he just ride it out?
<Eventually, yes. Meantime, remind your wife that fish don't eat a lot, and little fish can go two weeks, easy, without food, and large fish (like an adult Mbu) probably a month or more.>
Thanks.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Better, difficult water parameters (Betta splendens)      8/22/19
I have a male betta in 5 gallons, filtered, WC every other day.
<Mmm; I'd do water changes just once a week>
My tap water has a PH of 8.5 and KH of 4. GH is 8-9.
<Got you>
I can drop the PH by mixing with water from another tank that has organics, or mix with RO (current strategy) as aerating overnight does nothing to drop the ph.
<Ah no; boiling might, but... I would not do this>
Regardless of the method, when the PH drops to 7.8 or 8, the KH has dropped to 2.5. I’ve tried the SeaChem products to buffer by bracketing and if the KH is at 4 or 5, the Ph is once again at least 8.5.
<Yes>
Can my Betts live comfortably in an 7.8-8 range PH with a KH of 2.5. ?
<Yes>
Is the PH or the KH the bigger problem?
<A bit of both at extremes... put more clearly (hopefully), you have to have/want "some" KH (or GH), and a pH that is neither too high, nor low... The values you mention are fine for "modern" Betta splendens (cultured; let's say versus some species that might be closer generations-wise to wild-collected)>
These tanks are not cycled, I just do water changes every day with a drop of Prime. I have sponge filters cycling in a bucket, but not finished yet.
<Ahh; I would cycle them, move the media when it is ready, go to the weekly partial (half) water changes. All will be well otherwise (given the water quality parameters mentioned here)>
Thank you so much,
Amy Larson
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Better, difficult water parameters /Neale      8/23/19

I have a male betta in 5 gallons, filtered, WC every other day. My tap water has a pH of 8.5 and KH of 4. GH is 8-9.
<As you probably realise, pH is a bit high for this species. But that would seem to be a result of your water chemistry, though your carbonate hardness doesn't seem especially high.>
I can drop the pH by mixing with water from another tank that has organics, or mix with RO (current strategy) as aerating overnight does nothing to drop the pH.
<Indeed not. If there's a source of alkalinity in the aquarium, such as seashells or lime-containing gravel, or the water itself has some buffering capacity, any direct pH changes will be temporary.>
Regardless of the method, when the pH drops to 7.8 or 8, the KH has dropped to 2.5.
<Correct. Do you remember at school the old "acid plus alkali equals salt plus water" idea? This is more or less applicable here. When you add acid to a hard water aquarium, that acid is neutralised by the alkalinity in the water. Normally, this alkalinity is, in part or in whole, the carbonate hardness. So the acid reacts with the carbonate, and both are combined to form a soluble salt of some kind. The acid has therefore lowered the carbonate hardness. The carbonate hardness will continue to react with acid so long as acid is present, which is why carbonate hardness is a good indicator of buffering capacity -- it inhibits pH changes.>
I’ve tried the SeaChem products to buffer by bracketing and if the KH is at 4 or 5, the pH is once again at least 8.5.
<The basic rule is don't EVER try and change pH directly. It's pointless. At best it's a hit-and-miss approach; at worst you just fill your tank up with competing chemicals that produce unstable water chemistry that stresses your fish.>
Can my Bettas live comfortably in an 7.8-8 range pH with a KH of 2.5. ?
<It is not ideal, but tolerable if all else is positive.>
Is the pH or the KH the bigger problem?
<A-ha! You're on the right track now. When you decide to change water chemistry, you adjust hardness, whether KH, GH, or both. If you want soft, acidic conditions, your aim is to lower the hardness, because it's hardness (not pH) that matters to fish. If you have hard water, the question you ask yourself is where do you get demineralised water from? RO water or rainwater are the two standard options -- not domestic water softeners though! If you have "liquid rock" hard water with a high pH, a 50/50 mix with RO or rainwater will produce something that'll be fine for most community fish, including Bettas. The pH, while interesting, will be unimportant, so long as it's stable.>
These tanks are not cycled, I just do water changes every day with a drop of Prime. I have sponge filters cycling in a bucket, but not finished yet.
Thank you so much,
Amy
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

My snails seem to be filtering the top of the water     8/19/19
Hi, a few days ago i noticed my apple snails taking their foot and what  could only be described as siphoning the top of the water while doing an eating motion whilst at the top of the water level. Mind you the tank is a 10 gallon tank that i have sitting out on my porch. So algae levels are great because of sun. I check the temp of the water every day to make sure its not too hot. Could it just be they are eating the algae film at the top of the water?
<Possibly, but there are other possibilities (see below)>
If you guys could help out by answering my question that would be great.
<This behavior is troublesome in that it may be resultant from a lack of oxygen... OR elevated pH due to the overgrowth of the algae you mention. I would execute a series of large/r water changes (25-30% per day) for a few days, removing a good deal of the algae, gravel vacuuming... and shading the tank to reduce further algal proliferation. Bob Fenner>
Re: My snails seem to be filtering the top of the water       8/20/19

Thank you for your email, i will make sure to do that.
<Ah, and please make it known how your actions unfold. Cheers, BobF>
Re: My snails seem to be filtering the top of the water       9/11/19

Hey, its Alex again. Just wanted you to know that my snails are happier than can be. So happy i discovered two of my snails becoming parents tonight! Thank you so much for the advice. They still do the weird tunnel thing with the surface of the water but it might just be a weird habit that my snail children do.
<Fab. Thanks for the report Alex. BobF>

Worm ID       8/14/19
Hi WetWeb!
<Hey Orlando!>
I have cultured daphnia for years and have currently run into a worm I have never seen before.
After water changes, I usually see the normal thin, white detritus worm wiggling around the containers.
But a month ago, I started noticing these clumps of red/pink worms at the bottom of my containers. The info I found online was that Tubifex worm is a type of detritus worm, but I failed to ID the worms I have.
If they are Tubifex, how would they manage to get indoors and in my containers?
<Mmm; well, from the looks/clumping and color... these do appear to be Tubificids, at least Oligochaete worms. Could be something like a bug blew in with the beginnings of the culture... most anything wet could. Do you have a microscope there, maybe one w/ a USB connection? I'd like to see these up-close. Bob Fenner>
Thank you Wetweb!

 

Re: Worm ID      8/23/19
Hi there!
<Hey Orlando>
Thank you for your quick response!
<Sure>
I finally received the microscope I ordered, but I am not too knowledgeable on how it functions quite yet. I managed to get some pictures and video but getting things in focus is proving difficult.
The other thing I noticed recently is that there are clumps of worms right at the very top of the waterline of my containers, which I imagine is due to oxygen levels (half the mass of worms sits outside the waterline).
I hope these pictures help you ID them. Since they are in my daphnia cultures, I imagine they are fine to feed to my fish?
<Very likely fine to feed. Do appear segmented... and by the motion, are Oligochaetes... the general (family) term Tubificids is still my guess>
Thank you so much for your help!
Orlando
<Thank you for this follow-up. Bob Fenner>

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