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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 7/28/2017
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Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Darrel Barton,
Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized daily Current Crew Bios., Not so current Crew Bios
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Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Purple Matano Crab Breeding      7/26/17
Hello Wet Web Media Crew, I wanted to follow up and see about the answers to my questions. Are you guys stumped like I am, or are you trying to do some research of your own to better answer my questions?
<First I've seen of this question, to be honest!>
This is the first time I've waited so long for a response (having been a week today), but I know these are advanced questions that I haven't been able to find an easy answer to. That being said, take as much time as you
need, just let me know what's going on, please. I might redesign the system I'm planning to house them in if certain factors won't work out or aren't necessary.
<Understood.>
*Details of the planned system* I'd like to set up a system for these crabs using 6 or 7 ten gallon aquariums that will be flow-through (since I'm not sure what determines their sex), but am concerned with issues with such a
system. For example, seeing as I plan to put a thin layer (half inch, maybe) of pool filter sand, a structure of rocks along the back and coming forward about 1/3 of the length of the tank (the tanks will be situated to provide maximum possible number of tanks with the "ends" [side panels] in the front and back instead of how is typically thought of), and a nice piece of driftwood front and center, I want to make sure the crabs will be happy and not have any water quality issues. The other key factor of this is the DIY PVC overflow with the water level only being a third to half way to the top (with a lid) to allow the crabs to exit the water if desired.
With such a low water level, I'm concerned with the feasibility of pumping water to the first tank and having an operating DIY PVC overflow to transfer that water to each of the other tanks as per the King of DIY's video on the subject.
<I agree with your concerns here. Even strictly freshwater crabs run the risk of clambering out of a tank if they can -- in the wild even saltwater crabs will leave rock pools in search of new homes if they feel confined or
stressed. So while your basic idea is fine, I'd be working around the idea of either (a) a single tank per crab with a fully enclosed filtration system; or (b) a large tank divided up with egg crate or cichlid tank separator to keep individual crabs separate but allowing for a free flow of water between the compartments. This latter is how I kept multiple Mantis Shrimps and works extremely well if done right.>
I also plan to have the seventh 10 gallon (or a plastic tote of larger volume) be the filtration unit for this rack. The overflows will transfer water from the front of one tank to the back of the next, with the water exiting and forming a sort of waterfall on the stack of river stones I plan to purchase and place. The pump will use a similar methodology, except pumping water from the back of the filtration unit enclosure to the back of the first 10 gallon in the series, as the final overflow (on the sixth aquarium) will simply overflow directly across (or down, if I keep the filtration below the rack) to save on resources.
<You *will* need to find a way to keep the crabs from escaping.>
*Concerns I'm facing, and some of why I asked the questions I did last week* If the crabs' sex isn't based on a factor such as conspecifics (other crabs of the same species) that are in the same area and their sex, but is
instead determined by temperature, genetics, or other such factors from a young age or during the prime of development, such a flow-through system is entirely unnecessary. I'm providing the flow-through since the sex might be determined by conspecifics in the same "area" (or rack, as the case may be in my tanks). Not sure what would happen with a crab that is completely isolated as far as developing into a male or a female, but that's not
something I want to test with these parental generation crabs.
<Have these crabs been bred in captivity? I'm finding very little about Syntripsa spp. reproduction. Freshwater crabs have wildly varying modes of reproduction, from the basic model (march to the sea/river, release planktonic eggs and hope for the best) through to species that brood their eggs like crayfish do, releasing miniature versions of themselves only when the baby crabs are developed enough to fend for themselves. Without knowing about Syntripsa reproduction, I think it's really difficult to plan a tank specifically for their breeding. My guess would be (as lake dwellers) that they either brood eggs or release relatively large eggs that quickly hatch into baby crabs, rather than having a prolonged planktonic stage, but I really have no idea. This is something you'll have to research. Obviously rearing crabs with a planktonic phase is hard. Sexing crabs is fairly easy though -- females tend to be smaller and have a broad flap-like 'apron' under the body whereas the males have a much narrower equivalent structure.>
*Conclusion* These are all answers I hope to answer with every type of freshwater, brackish water, and saltwater crab I might keep in the future (though I may stick with just the freshwater ones since there's so many),
along with many other questions I'm coming up with as things progress. The distinct lack of scientific info and inquiry on many crabs we keep in the hobby are why I've chosen to do this and focus on truly freshwater crabs
for the time being, possibly expanding into brackish water and saltwater in the future as mentioned. I fall in love with the Purple Matano Crabs I currently keep on a nearly daily basis, so the passion is there. I was just hoping you could help me out with some of this seeing as I would like to keep them properly, breed them successfully (to study the crablets, as well as having a source of revenue in the future), and ultimately further our knowledge base of these wonderful creatures. That being said, I completely understand if you guys don't know or can't answer certain parts of my questions. It's been difficult to find much info on these questions, but that's why I ventured to ask you since you guys are expert biologists from my understanding and I just have my Bachelor's in Conservation Ecology (BS from Arizona State University, 2017).
<A good grounding for what you plan to do, no doubt. I'd be hitting Google Scholar, finding out about Syntripsa spp. in terms of reproduction; and where lacking, making comparisons with its close relatives among the Parathelphusidae.>
Thank you once again. I hope you can provide some insight into the challenging questions presented in my previous email that I've expanded on in this one to follow up.
Best Regards, Jacob
<Good luck! Neale.>
Re: Purple Matano Crab Breeding      7/26/17

Neale, From my understanding, true freshwater crabs are those that have the suppressed larval stage.
<Seems reasonable, but recall that many freshwater shrimps have a marine larval stage. I think you would need to confirm the ecology of your chose Syntripsa species before planning on breeding them.>
Such crabs ... as you mentioned ... have fully developed crablets hatch out of the eggs. Others that march to the sea may be classified in a family of land crabs while not being truly freshwater since they still need some
fashion of saltwater to reproduce. I didn't know about the releasing of eggs that hatch into crablets, though! I thought they all brooded the eggs like crayfish.
<Since freshwater crabs evolved multiple times in many families, I'm sure there's great variation. I simply don't know enough about this group to be sure -- but as a zoologist, I'm minded to be skeptical of any hard-and-fast
rules.>
I have tried the egg crate method of separation for these crabs in my 100 gallon. Unfortunately, as I was introducing them into the tank one climbed through.
<Try tank dividers then; PennPlax make quite nice, easy to install ones. If possible, combine with undergravel filtration because these do restrict water flow, which undergravel filters bypass rather well.>
Several then followed suit (all except the largest could climb through)...
I documented it in one of my YouTube videos. Once they get to breeding size I might revisit it, but until then I'll likely just try to have separate filtration with a mattenburg filter just behind the start of the waterfall.
Should be interesting to find out what the two juveniles develop into.
<Understood.>
I hope I can figure out at what point to introduce the two crabs together (male and female), as well as the technique I 'should' use so I don't end up accidently killing the only female I know I have so far.
<I fear trial and error! But more realistically, large tanks might help by reducing stocking density, as well as numerous hiding places so that females can hide away when required. Ideally, if males/females very different in size, burrows only the female can fit in. Much like breeding aggressive cichlids, really.>
Would you recommend me looking into how others breed brackish and saltwater crabs for such info on the technique of intensively breeding crabs?
<Worth a shot! Crab farming is a thing, so you will find info online about Mud Crabs (Scylla serrata) and other species farmed in tropical Asia and Australia.>
Do you know anyone I can contact specifically, or do you possibly have advice you can give me from your own experiences?
<I know of none personally, and I would imagine that with these new aquarium species, any aquarist who knows about breeding them would be extremely secretive about it! But you could certainly try the usual forums like Planet Inverts and Pet Shrimps.>
These and related crabs have little info at all that has been studied scientifically using the scientific method, and likewise I don't think such crabs have been bred in captivity.
<Nor do I.>
I'll definitely do more research into these crabs, though. Thanks again!
Jacob
<Cheers, Neale.>

Hello, can you identify this fish for me? Cichlid of some sort       7/26/17
Hi Everyone!
Someone is selling this fish in NJ, and they don't know what it is,.....it is big, 8 inches she said and came to her all beaten up like this. I think she rescued it. Now it's too big for her tank. It's been alone in the tank, and it hasn't gotten any regrowth on the fins. I guess not all damage can be repaired. She is looking for a new home for it, but unless we know what it is, how can we find out about it's needs and temperament. So,....I'm turning to you all hoping you can help. I guess it is a black or very dark color,... .they eyes seem to be bugged out,....it has a huge mouth,....but I don't recognize it my self either.
Thank you in advance!
Mandy in NJ
<Hello Mandy. Short answer -- nope! -- no idea what this is. My gut feeling is something Central American, though the head does look a bit more like a Tilapiine of some sort. So who knows? I'm cc'ing Chuck, our cichlid expert, in the hope that he'll be able to log into WWM and take a look at these pictures. But in terms of healthcare, yes, the fins should regrow without too much trouble. The eyes exhibit exophthalmia ("pop-eye") and the Epsom Salt treatment should help here, perhaps alongside a suitable antibiotic.
The dark colour may easily be stress colouration, and in the right tank (shady, quiet, nobody attacking it) the fish may well have some hidden colours we can't see right now. I agree, it's mouth is very large, suggestive of an omnivorous to carnivorous species rather than the dainty mouths seen on the more herbivorous cichlids, but we can't rule out sand-sifting (see for example Amphilophus species) so a certain amount of experimentation may be necessarily. That said, few cichlids are strict carnivorous or herbivores, so the usual mix of good quality wafers and pellets, bloodworms and other small invertebrates, and softened vegetables like peas will probably work nicely. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish with red lumpy operculum     7/25/17
I have a 60-65 gallon aquarium with 6 comet goldfish, 1 black moor, and 2 Chinese or Siamese Plecos. I have a hang on side filter system for 85 gallon tank and a submersible pump for circulation. There are variegated
philodendrons rooting in tank. When the tank was first started 2 years ago, my daughter threw some crawdads and snails and mollusks from a creek in with the fish. The snails and mollusks were eaten and the crawdads eventually killed off each other. Saturday's are 10% water change and vacuum days.
<Good. I'd increase this to 20-25%>
Water conditioner is added with new water....sometimes distilled, other times tap.
<Likely no conditioner necessary, and is the distilled nec... Oh, I see this below>
We have hard well water.
<How hard? GH, KH?>
Ph is usually in low to mid 7s. Ammonia is always less than or equal to 0.25 ppm. One in the past I noticed a fish with red streaking of its tail fin that went away untreated.
<Ahh; then I WOULD keep using the conditioner, or store the new change water a week in advance of use>
The black moor was a Wal-Mart guilt buy that brought ich to the tank a year ago. It was treated with malachite green....something that turned water ugly almost opaque green. It cleared up fast. Now. 1 week ago, the largest goldfish had a lumpy red operculum on right side. Looked like a mass.
<I see this in your pix>
It wasn't there the day before....I remember because family was visiting and looking at fish. Oh--temp of tank is around 70 in summer and cooler in winter. By that evening the lump had spread like a thick red ring with extra slime (??) at periphery of lesion.
<Good description>
I don't have an isolation tank. I added 1 tablespoon aquarium salt to each 5 gallons and put a heater in water....max temp it gets to is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.... pulled out my charcoal and floss filters (2 of each.). The initial site looks better if not pale with darker splotches. I thought it was working but next day the red ring crossed over top of head
and to other side. The margin that advances is very red and highlights the periphery of each scale. I don't know septicemia in fish but it's the closest I can match image to. However, all fish are acting fine eating fine. No flashing, rubbing. Only the one fish has symptoms.
<Thankfully; perhaps it has a/the weaker immune system>

We had one fat bivalve that was missing it's creature the day before I noticed signs. It was only one and it hid in gravel under big decorative rock forms. Can't swear fish ate it but they eat everything. I bought some quick cure..... for what???? ....my daughter swore she saw ich and was frantic....so treated 3 days.....did 25 percent water change. The fish looks same except the ever advancing red line with snotty margins.
<Mmm; I wouldn't use the Quick Cure here... too toxic, and won't help>
The first picture is day one....I know it's a side view but it really just looked thickened. I thought is it a tumor?
<Yes; this is my assessment as well>
The second picture was the next morning. I tried to swab site and look at it under a scope, but I wasn't sure what I was looking for. I know what dog parasites and Protozoans look like but not fish. I saw little Coccidia like clusters....ovals with a circle inside. I also saw a couple budding yeast like ovals. This may be a wild goose chase though. I read many posts and went through dichotomous keys....never found the answer.
<I suspect this is a tumorous growth, and not a pathogenic condition (Sporozoan, Microsporidean...) as if the latter, most all fishes would be similarly afflicted>
Please help. I need to stop letting the kids put live edible wild caught critters in tank. I need to cut back on number of fish, but don't know where to move fish to....my husband is over more tanks. The water quality hasn't changed really. It fluctuates little. There is small amount of algae on glass but not much. Sonya
<I'll refer you here to our generic "Goldfish growths FAQs":
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/GFGrowthsF7.htm
and the linked files of the same name above.
Not treatable.
Bob Fenner>

Fwd: Goldfish with red lumpy operculum  7/27/17
Thought I'd update.... I did 25% water change and changed filters and charcoal. The fish 24 hours later looks amazing relative to the day before.
<Great news!>
The swarming margin crossed over to other side and all that is left is little red ring. The right side - the original side - is discolored but not inflamed at all that I can tell...pale operculum and a c shaped crescent of black pigment. It truly looked like a mass and it changed so fast day to day. Thanks for your time. I've grown quite fond of my daughter's fish. I'd hate for anything to happen. I will do bigger percent water changes from now on. Thanks again!
<Incredible improvement... just by fixing the environment. Bob Fenner>

Medusa Pleco and stress     7/25/17
Hello:
<Judy,>
I have a couple of pieces of driftwood in a 38 gallon with a couple of angelfish and a medusa Pleco. Just wondering if the Pleco needs another decoration he/she can hide in. There is a piece of PVC pipe in there, that is about 4 inches in diameter and about 4 inches long that I put in there today. I was thinking of getting another 4 inch piece and using aquarium safe glue to glue the PVC pieces together to have something longer. Do Bushynoses really enjoy a good hiding place for the feeling that they are safe?? Thanks
Judy
<Does really depend on the tank, but generally a male Bristlenose will commandeer a single tunnel or burrow, and that'll be his home. He won't need another burrow provided he can use and defend this one successfully.
Additional burrows or even rocky nooks will be welcome, particularly in a busy tank with bright light. But in quiet tanks with lots of shade and vegetation, Ancistrus are much less retiring. The main thing is that each fish should have at least one home so that competition between individuals isn't serious. Cheers, Neale.>

Jumpy Gourami     7/24/17
I'm back with another question. Thanks for continuing to help all of us with our aquatic challenges! I have a 3-year established, 15-gal column tank with an AquaClear 20 sponge/carbon/bio, housing one 3-spot Gourami, five cherry barbs, and one panda Cory with 3 bandit corys in a QT almost ready to be added. My ammonia and nitrites are zero. I feed flakes and float pellets most nights, a shrimp pellet at lights out every few days, and swap flakes/pellets with freeze dried bloodworm once a week.
<Ahh; do make sure sufficient high protein food is getting to your new and old Corydoras cats on the bottom>
I change the water and swap out one of the media components regularly.
For the past few weeks, my 3-spot has become very jumpy. This is new behavior since I have had her for three years. Whenever I approach the tank, she cowers in the corner and/or darts to a corner. She swims freely and openly at all strata otherwise and looks perfectly healthy. Last night, she literally jumped out of the water in a frenzy when I walked over. I do shower.
<Heee!>
Since the behavior has sustained for a few weeks, I suspect something is up. Any ideas on how I can help her? Thanks in advance! -- Matt
<Perhaps adding another Trichogaster trichopterus... there are quite a few "sports" of the 3-spot, blue, gold/en... can be the same sex... Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/ttricself.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Jumpy Gourami    7/24/17

My apologies, I did not include a salutation in my last email. How rude!
Hello, crew!
<Hey Matt>
Thanks,
Matt
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Jumpy Gourami     7/25/17

Bob,
Thanks for the fast response. (1) When you mention high protein for the corys, is the sinking shrimp pellet sufficient?
<Is a good start. I would offer other foods as well weekly>
I may increase to two once I add the others but I don't want to overfeed.
(2) I'm leery of adding another 3-spot... I've done combos in the past and one always takes over... I've had this one (female) drive two other females into the ground and then I added a larger male pearl Gourami which tried to mate with this one and then bullied her until he sustained a physical injury chasing her, and died.
<Mmm; well; how about some ditherfish then? Perhaps a small school, five individuals... of peaceful barbs (golds, checkers...), Danios or Rasboras?>
I attributed the cause of this behavior to the limited horizontal space at the top of this vertical tank. What do you think?
<Of a certainty, you are correct here>
Thank you,
Matt
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Jumpy Gourami     7/25/17

Thanks Bob. I already have five cherry barbs in there and actually now that I think about it, two of the males (there are 3 and two females) have mysteriously "developed" nipped dorsal fins.
<Ahh; maybe from each other; perhaps the Gourami>
I would see one occasionally but never two. Wonder if this is part of the equation? Also, what kind of protein do you recommend?
<Hikari and Spectrum sinking pellets of small size are faves. B>
Re: Jumpy Gourami     7/25/17

Thanks Bob. I'll give them a shot and let you know if things progress. I very much appreciate your ideas and responses!
<Cheers Matt. B>

My Mississippi Maps hatchling     7/23/17
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have a Mississippi map hatchling and a Peninsula Cooter in a 30 gal tank. Whenever anyone walks by the tank the maps turtle (Max) swims super crazy away. Now my Cooter (Thor) is beginning to do that to. Every day I pick them up and pet their heads and say there name and like hold them to my chest then give them a treat.
<That’s probably why they swim away. Being handled by humans is basically a frightening thing to them.>
I was wondering if the tank was too big and they don't feel safe or me picking them up is too early and now they are scared.
<That’s exactly right. To them, you are this HUGE thing and comes and takes them out of their “world” and does strange things to them>
<Although – they like the part about getting a treat>
Because I have a Red-Eared Slider that is bigger and when I put my hand in the water he comes and swims into it for me to hold I'm and say hi and then he knows he gets a treat. (its quite cute cuz he won’t get off my hand when I place it into the water, and when I do he moves his arms all crazy like, super excited for his treat. I also have a western side neck turtle who loves it also.
<You have it figured out. The Slider and the Side Neck have learned that you are a source of food and so they are excited by your presence.>
So idk what I am doing wrong with my babies and why they are so skittish. please help me I don't want them to be upset or them being stressed nor over stressed.
thank you so much,
Raelynn Rettinger
<Rae, you already have it figured out. They are skittish because they are scared. Remember that, in the wild, a baby turtle is just a prey item. Bigger turtles, snakes, alligators and birds – especially birds! And what does a bird do to a baby turtle? The turtle is in the water, minding his own turtle business, thinking turtle thoughts when along comes a HUGE monster that grabs the turtle and lifts it OUT of its water …. Just before swallowing it! The idea that being held close to another body is safe or nurturing is a mammal thing, not a reptilian thing. To them it means being eaten or being crushed.>
<My suggestion is that you stop handling them, give them their treats in the water until they associate you with food and good things and THEN you can start to handle them and treat them more like family … just keeping in mind that being handled will never feel like “fun” to them, so a little goes a long way>

Stingray; FW     7/23/17
Hi crew.
I have a newly acquired male motoro stingray and he seems to be behaving weird. I have him in a 220 with a pair of clown knives , an Oscar, a red devil, large albino iridescent "shark" catfish,
<Mmm; you know this fish gets HUGE I take it>
a red tail catfish,
<Ditto>

a Lima shovelnose, a Florida gar and a common Pleco. I got him 3 days ago and he is still not eating. I have offered tilapia and cod fillet, chopped market prawns and earthworms, ghost shrimp and some pellets. All items he was
eating previously. I have for the most part kept the lights off to help him adjust. I have a custom built filtration system and do 50 to 80 percent water changes every other day. Tank is bare bottom and the temperature is 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
<Mmm; well; you have a quite an "environmental mix" in fishes here... what are your water parameters in terms of the testing gear you have? Is your water very hard, alkaline?>
He keeps lifting his disc in front of his nose and placing it back down. The cichlids haven't touched him and the red tail catfish just pushed him out of the way and occasionally dog piles on top of him but this is the most extreme I have witnessed. I am aware of how big my fish get and have a suitable home under construction for them. Is this
normal for my ray?
<It is not unusual for Potamotrygonids to not eat for days after being moved; and they really don't like being prodded by other livestock. Do you have habitat where this fish can get out of the light, away from the other fishes?>
What does it mean? How can I get him to eat? Thanks
<I would be patient at this point... keep offering foods via a dowel (wood or plastic), right down in front of this fish daily. It should start taking food w/in a week. Bob Fenner>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

I do know my water has high PH around 8.2 but didn't expect it to be an issue as the water he was in before also had higher ph of around 8.2 , 8.3.
<Mmm; how long was this fish here? This is way too high period. The GH, KH?>
I don't have another set up at this time that would be adequate for him.
Ammonia is 0 and nitrates and nitrites are 0 as well.
<How are Nitrates rendered zip? Highly unusual w/ biological filtration, such large fishes>
I am just nervous as he is my first stingray and I spent years researching before my purchase but assumed since he was 8 inches across he would handle the catfish as he spent his days dog piling with leopoldi Ray's. Is the disc behavior a large concern at this point?
<Not a large concern, but the environment is BobF>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

As of right now the room I keep the tank in is lit by day light through one window and the tank has a small 5 inch LED light bar on it set to a midnight blue on one corner of the tank, where he chooses to be most of the time. I have 2 large pots forming somewhat of a barrier at opposite ends of the tank but nothing to where only the ray can access.
<I would be providing. B>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

He was there for the first year and a half of his life.
<Ah; good. This is a long period to become aquarium-tough>
Nitrates rendered 0 because I just replaced the biological media after a system malfunction during a power outage. It previously sat at 20 which is where I expect it to return to.
I am unsure of KH or GH at this time
<I'd be measuring; lowering if too high (by addition of less hard water).
Bob Fenner>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

What could you recommend that I construct or purchase that only the ray can access?
<Perhaps a raised up few inches PVC pipe array... made of tees or elbows and pipe sections>
An underwater sand box on one corner of the tank to wear he can bury himself ?
<Mmm; no; not necessary to have substrate>
Not too creative with what could be built or bought that only he could enter. I prefer bare bottom so I always know where the barbed venomous fish is and it's easier to clean but I want to make sure he is healthy and happy
<Understood. BobF>
re: Stingray     7/23/17

Have you heard of any other projects that could be built for him to hide?
<Wood and rock suspended overhangs>
I'm not sure if it'll work if the red tail decides to rest on top of it.
Just nervous about his well being. In addition to it being one of a few capstones of a monster fish keeper, and my first ray, they were essentially black listed in my country and now are not allowed to be imported or transferred over state lines. Just want to succeed. Am I likely to have success with this specie of ray with my set up and food I offer?
<I'd try blackworms, grass shrimp...>

Is there anything I could be missing in my set up to make him comfortable in terms of lighting or decor?
<... Please read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwstingrays.htm
You're not likely to have success given the mis-mix of species here... The Pleco, other cats... Bob Fenner>
I do have a strong current from the return out of 2 canister filter hoses and another from a sump return and a fourth from a wave maker.

Re: Super soft water     7/23/17
Hi again.
I'm experiencing pH swings. 7.2 in my mixed aged pre tank water after adding a small amount of rift mix and allowing it to sit overnight. After adding the water, the pH goes up steadily over a few days to 8.2. GH is 8
KH is 8 ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0 and nitrate is less than 20 in filtered tanks.
TDS is roughly 100 over what it is before it goes in. Generally around 380.
some tanks are bare bottom, some are small bare containers, some are 3 gallon bare containers. A few have either planted tank substrate or sand.
Some have matten filters, some have canisters and some have sponge filters.
Small containers have no filtration.
What can be causing these massive pH swings?
Thanks!
<Hi Amanda. Two things come to my mind here. Firstly, be sure all the minerals used in the Rift Valley Salt Mix are thoroughly mixed in. Leaving overnight should do that, but check. Secondly, if pH goes up too much for your needs, reduce (maybe half) the sodium bicarbonate, because that's the bit that affects pH the most. The recipe isn't perfect, and will depend a lot on how big your spoons are, so some experimentation is necessary. One other thing -- if pH goes up in an aquarium, there's often two reasons. The first, and most common, is something calcareous is inside the tank, dissolving slowing, raising the pH. Coral sand, seashells, and limestone rocks are all possibilities. The second is very rapid photosynthesis, which will remove CO2 (which acidifies water) raising the pH. If you compare day and night pH levels, or better yet, before the tank lights come on compared with just before they go off, any pH change will likely be down to plants.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Super soft water     7/25/17

Ah. Ok. So it's the baking soda action that continues to raise the pH over several days?
<Not if dissolved properly, no, the pH of a bucket of Rift Valley salt mix aquarium water should be relatively stable. But if it's added to a tank with a low pH because of background acidification, a certain amount of pH
increase is not impossible while the sodium bicarbonate neutralises those acids.>
I just assumed it stopped after it was mixed in.
<In a bucket of water, yes, it should more or less be stable. But an aquarium is a dynamic system, with acids being created all the time (which lower pH, of course) while calcareous materials (like seashells) will raise the pH as they slowly dissolve. Within reason, small pH changes are normal and not a problem. Moving, say, 0.5 on the pH scale (e.g., from 7 to 6.5) across a week is no big deal for most fish. But larger swings across a few hours or a day are more worrisome.>
I will reduce the baking soda. Is there a more stable product that can take the place of baking soda in raising KH?
<Nope. Almost by definition, carbonate hardness is what raises the pH of an aquarium because carbonate and bicarbonate ions are the principle chemicals that neutralise acid chemicals.>
Perhaps a mix of calcium carbonate and bi carbonate?
<Possibly, but personally I would not experiment here. Merely reduce the sodium bicarbonate and see what happens.>
Thanks again for all your help.
Amanda
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Turtle Pals    7/22/17
Hi!
<Hiya, Darrel here>
My name is Kori and my boyfriend and I already have a baby Eastern Painted Turtle named Archie. We saved him from my Aunt's garage during our Memorial Day party. They do have a rather large pond at their house but they also have very large fish and significantly larger than littler Archie turtles. My Uncle is also trying to have a specialist come out and catch the huge snapping turtle they have. So we figured we'd take the little guy home.
<Good thinking. Archie would be just a snack for a snapping turtle>
When we first rescued him he was almost about the size of a quarter. He has grown some but not a significant amount as we've only had him for a short time. He seems to love his tank and the setup and is always swimming over to say hello to us! Anyways my boyfriend was wondering if we could purchase another baby eastern painted turtle around the same size and be able to keep them in the same tank. If so at what size/age is best for introducing them? I.e. Should we wait longer or is it better to have them together at such a young age?
<The younger the better, but it makes no real difference since all of the Emydid turtles (what we call pond turtles, like Red Eared Sliders, Cooters, Red Belly, Painted, Map, etc. – all the turtles with that same body shape) will usually get alone fine as long as their sizes are similar. That said you WILL get turtles that just have bad attitudes and that can cause problems.>
<Here is the secret to dealing with that: the SIZE of the enclosure is not as important as how you have it set up: Just like with fish we try to create hiding places, etc. for reptiles we try to create VISUAL PRIVACY. Place rocks, stones, dividers or whatever so that they can get out of each other’s site if they feel too much pressure. (Not a bad idea for people, too.) Usually basking sites are neutral territory and we rarely see fights on land, so as long as they can swim out of the other’s site they’ll learn to get along just fine)>
Also we believe that Archie is a boy because his tail is quite long as are his claws. With that being said he is still a baby and we cannot know for sure. We were wondering if we do get another turtle should we try for another male or a female or if it is even possible to specify when they are so young.
<No, you really can’t tell at that age and they all get along fine anyway. Here’s the thing; If you do get a boy and a girl, the boy matures before the girl and annoys the crap out of her for mating … years before she’s ready. Just get two (or three) and enjoy!>
Our last question is how large of a tank should we have if we end up with two little cuties? Thank you so much we've tried looking this up but it seems to be most about RES and we weren't sure if the same rules applied! (:
<Every rule for Red Eared Sliders applies in exactly the same way. They even mate and produce babies if they get the chance. 100% same rules!>

I need help my turtles shell looks like as if it were shedding     7/22/17
please help me I don't know what to do
Dear Crew
<Hiya, Darrel here>
It looks as if it were snake skin shedding from its shell plz help me As the turtle grows the plates on the top of the shell, called "scutes" come off in thin layers. Is that what you're seeing? If so that's completely normal.>
<here is everything you need to know about keeping him healthy and growing:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>

Best approach for current and O2?      7/20/17
Hello:
<Hey Jude>
Just wondering what is the best for a 38 gallon tall tank with two angels, 6 Glowlight tetras and one Medusa Pleco.
If I need current for the Pleco what is the best way to obtain that?
<Complete circulation... pulling water from the bottom, to top... and redundancy. Two mechanisms at work at the same time. Perhaps an outside power filter and... Oh, I see you answer the question below!>
I have nothing in there now, but the filter which is an Aquaclear for a 70 gallon. I am thinking of lowering the water a few inches to get splash.
Would that help like an air stone would?
<I would add the airstone here>
Just wondering what is best for the Pleco at the bottom and aeration overall? Thanks
Judy
<As stated. Bob Fenner>

Amazon Puffer      7/20/17
Hi,
<Carolyn,>
I've been thinking very hard of adding a trio of Amazon Puffer to what will be a species tank of Clown Loach (5 to 6 total) which will include 1 Pleco (thinking of a golden nugget for algae issues and general clean up --are gold nuggets decent algae eaters? I'm finding conflicting information.)
<Assuming the Gold Nugget Plec you have in mind is Baryancistrus xanthellus, this is a typical Baryancistrus; in other words, it's not a specialist algae eater but actually a substrate sifter, a bit like Corydoras catfish. In the wild at least, they not only scrape rocks for aufwuchs but also consume mouthfuls of silt that they can sift for organic material and tiny invertebrates. Under aquarium conditions they are very omnivorous, happily consuming algae wafers and small frozen foods, as well as soft vegetables like courgette. But rely on Baryancistrus to clean the glass is optimistic. If very hungry they may well suck onto the glass, but they aren't anything like as good as true Hypostomus species or even Ancistrus spp. Bristlenose Cats.>
From my research I've found they share the same soft water requirements, heat requirements, Ick or white spot vulnerability (hence UV filtration), and reduction of medicine if needed sharing the small scales dilemma, similar food requirements. I've found a vet who makes house calls and would be willing to trim teeth (my largest concern.) I'm also planning on adding a steady diet of nuisance snails (not Malaysian though.)
<Baryancistrus xanthellus are Rio Xingu fish, and yes, do need soft, slightly acidic, slightly warmer than normal water to do well. As well as high temperature, the challenge is high oxygen level, which tends to mean under-stocking the tank because, of course, the warmer the water, the less oxygen it holds. They are challenging catfish ill-suited to community tanks, but not hard to keep in the right sort of tank.>
I already feed a steady diet of live black worms, brine shrimp, and ghost shrimp, occasionally frozen bloodworm, and some shrimp pellets (I do not feed flake food because apparently my clown loach are spoiled on live meaty foods and will not take the flake food unless apparently half starved and desperate which doesn't occur).
<Understood.>
I also know the puffers are not good with slow moving fish such as Cory or Gourami since they can be fin nippers even though a fairly peaceable fish. I assume, when not at rest, they tend to occupy more of the top half of the aquarium and the clown loach tend towards the bottom half.
<Indeed, though they do sleep among the roots of plants.>
I have a 55 gallon aquarium now to get them started with plans of increasing tank size within a couple of years (I'll upgrade to 100 plus gallon custom corner tank due to space limitations) and I water change / clean usually weekly.
<Sounds nice, but Baryancistrus xanthellus do reach a fair size, so while 55 gallons might be okay for a singleton, the fact you've got Clown Loaches *as well* does put space at a premium.>
My questions is will the clown loach, Amazon puffers and Pleco coexist well in a tank together provided lots of plants, driftwood, and hiding spots.
<Amazon Puffers are, like all puffers, impossible to predict with total certainty
. What I will say is that I've kept them with Panaque nigrolineatus without any trouble at all, Panaque having a tendency to get their retaliation in first, so most fish learn to leave them alone. I would expect Baryancistrus to be rather similar. So given suitable hiding places, they'd reach an understanding where the Puffers left them alone. The Clowns are a bit less of a certainty. While much bigger and very fast, they're also more highly strung. Again, I've kept Cherry Fin Loaches with Amazon Puffers, and they were fine. But I'm less ready to "sign off" on the Clown/Puffer combo compared with the Baryancistrus/Puffer combo. If you do try, keep a close eye on the Clowns for signs of damaged fins especially.>
I dislike when my aquarium is not peaceful excepting the occasional minor squabble. Is there anything more that I need to be aware of regarding the puffers? Any information you may provide would be helpful in making an educated and informed decision. I dislike and find it distressing when I fail to properly provide a proper environment for 'pets.'
<Amazon Puffers are lovely fish. I'm glad you're getting a group because they are nervous when kept singly, and groups tend to be a bit less neurotic. While your water conditions should suit them fine, they do need a lot of oxygen and are extremely active swimmers, so tweaking the tank to have robust (rather than turbulent) water flow and plenty of air/water mixing will be a plus. They like exploring things, floating plants and leaves being particularly favoured. They aren't at all shy once settled, and my specimens quickly became tame enough to hand-feed. Of all the common freshwater puffers, they're the least aggressive, with practically zero territoriality (I believe they're migratory in the wild). But they do nip, probably more out of hunger than anything else, and that needs to be borne in mind.>
Thanks!
Carolyn
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Amazon Puffer       7/28/17

Thanks and Hi, Neale,
<Carolyn,>
I very much appreciate your reply.
<Welcome.>
I will move away from the Gold Nugget (Baryancistrus xanthellus) and move towards a Pleco with more algae enthusiasm (perhaps the Green Phantom (H. subviridis or B. demantoides) would be better suited?
<Well, Baryancistrus and Hemiancistrus are not really algae eating specialists, but they'll eat some algae; do recall though that both are warm water, high oxygen specialists, with fairly high water turnover requirements, so do design the tank accordingly.>
I had a Butterfly Pleco which I lost to an unfortunate toxic shock issue (LFS recommended adding Texas Holy rock to my aquarium to increase extremely low alkalinity and ph chemistry due to all RO water and lots of driftwood) the Pleco died suddenly within 24 hours of adding the rock. I'm assuming the hollow under the drift wood had a sudden and shocking change and the rest of my fish appeared stressed with fin clamping which was quickly relieved by removing the rock and a water change. I now add chunks of the Texas Holystone to my filter and monitor my Alk and PH with positive results and look for educated opinions or double check information outside of the LFS.
<Sounds a weird situation to me! I'm not a fan of using substrates to modify water chemistry though. Such systems tend to be unstable or at least unpredictable. Much prefer adjusting water chemistry, and then using substrates that support, or at least have no impact on, those conditions.>
He was a good Pleco and I miss his algae cleanup but would prefer a Pleco that looks more appealing against my black sand bottom than the camouflage Butterfly Pleco (I love the coloring of the Gold Nugget.) I would prefer a smaller sized Pleco that is peaceable (but able to hold his own) and is content as a single specimen as I will have the Clown Loach competing for space. (My clown and the Butterfly did not care for one another since he can be a little obnoxious, the Pleco held his one preferred space though.) Any suggestions you may offer is appreciated.
<I'm not sold on any Plec being "the magic bullet" for algae, though Ancistrus and Otocinclus species come close. While the larger herbivorous and omnivorous Plecs will certainly help to keep the glass and rockwork clean, their impact on plant leaves, for example, will be minimal as they can't really latch on properly.>
I will keep you informed as to how the clown loaches and puffers do together. It will take some time as I am transitioning to a new tank (so the old tank can have seals replaced) and tend to be slow and cautious in adding bio load to my tank (especially a newly cycled tank) so I expect I'll have everyone and everything situated by December. �� As per your thoughts, I plan on reinstating my other tank (after seals are repaired) just in case fin nipping is a problem by the Amazon Puffers and the puffers will be the last addition.
<Wise!>
I also want to check if you recommend any prophylactic treatment of the puffers, Pleco and/or loaches during quarantine for any potential illness they may be carrying?
<I do not recommend, but do not object _per se_. De-worming is popular, and probably harmless. I'm a bigger fan of quarantining new livestock, providing the best possible diet while the new fish are away from competitors so that they can put on some weight, and then medicating only if problems become apparent.>
The LFS is recommending treatment due to wild caught and susceptibility as well as difficulty in treating once ill for the puffers. They did not say what meds they would recommend. One girl said she always treats prophylactically for Ick for all her new fish but I found this confusing as my understanding is Ick treatments only kill the parasites during the cycle they are free in the water column not when they are either internal (in a possible dormant stage?) or encapsulated as the 'white spot.' If my understanding of Ick is accurate than it would not be possible to prophylactically treat for Ick, correct?
<Whitespot/Ick can only be treated in its free-living stage. Once in the fish, it's untreatable using hobbyist-grade medications. With Puffers being extremely salt tolerant, the old heat/salt method is a no-brainer, and probably worth doing during quarantine for the first week or so. Clown Loaches are also prone, and being sensitive to some medications, salt/heat might well be the better choice, if done carefully (the standard 2g/litre salt concentration won't harm them, but careless use of salt probably isn't good for them). Both Clowns and Puffers are sensitive to copper and formalin, so these should be avoided. I have had good success using eSHa EXIT with Puffers, but do prefer salt/heat for mild/incipient cases.>
Thanks again for your help, Neale.
<Welcome.>
Carolyn
<Cheers, Neale.>

update, and question (RMF, any thoughts on this?)<<I agree w/ your stmt.s. RMF>>
Fresh-water... trtmt.     7/18/17

Greetings Neale,
<Hello again, Byron,>
It has been over a year since our last correspondence on the problem of flashing/cloudy water. It was two separate issues as we had worked out, and the heat/salt cleared up the flashing (none since then).
<Cool. It's an old treatment, but safe, and as you report, often (if not always!) works.>
The cloudy water was an organics issue as you surmised, though I never did find out why (we had gone through the possible causes at the time), but more frequent filter cleanings has kept it at largely bay for most of this year. Anyway, that’s all solved, with my sincere appreciation to you.
<Welcome. Sometimes tanks go through phases, and sometimes it's actually seasonal -- the tank in my classroom receives hours of direct sunlight this time of year, and turns pea soup colour within two days of a complete water change! Nothing I can do about it, and since the Guppies and Limia are fine, I've stopped worrying. By September it'll settle back down to normal.>
I have a question about water conditioners, and specifically the amount to use. I am a very firm believer in not adding any substance to an aquarium with fish unless it is essential, and then keeping these minimal.
<Wise.>
I believe that everything added to the water does end up inside the fish via osmosis through the cells or gills, and while these may not kill the fish, they don’t benefit except for the purpose needed, like dechlorination of the water.
<Makes sense.>
I have always used sufficient conditioner for the volume of the replacement water. So in a 90g tank, holding an actual 70 gallons of water, if I replace 60% of the water, I add conditioner for roughly 35-40 gallons, the replacement volume.
<Sounds about right, but I'd err on the side of over-dosing water conditioner than under-dosing. So if you think 42 gallons is being replaced (42 being 60% of 70 gallons) I'd round that up to, say, 50 gallons.>
I should mention that the replacement water is going directly into the tank from the faucet via a Python, not being pre-treated.
<Quite so. Did exactly this process this morning, changing 90% of the water in the aforementioned Guppy and Limia tank.>
Manufacturers like Seachem recommend adding the amount of conditioner for the entire tank volume, and even exceeding this by two or three times “will cause no harm.” Over on TFF, it has been suggested that the organics in the tank will somehow nullify much of the dechlorinator when water is added directly to the tank, so the conditioner should be for the full tank volume or more. I’ve never had identifiable problems in more than 25 years of doing it minimally, so I question this reasoning.
<I think their rationale is this: When you add dechlorinator to a bucket, you stir in the dechlorinator, neutralising all the chlorine before adding the water to your aquarium. When doing the Python approach, you're adding new water (including its dissolved chlorine) straight to the tank, which is a far bigger volume than a bucket, and much less evenly mixed, especially if you turn the filter off during water changes. If you add the "right" amount of dechlorinator, it might take, say, 30 minutes to completely mix with all the chlorine particles and neutralise them. Add two or three times as much, and you increase the chances the dechlorinator particles collide with chlorine particles. Very roughly, if you add two times as much, you half the time the chlorine is "free" and able to hurt your fish; add three times as much, and that chlorine is able to hurt your fish only one-third the time. Make sense? What the water conditioner manufacturer is suggesting -- quite plausibly -- is that the potential harm a triple dose of dechlorinator might do is less than the harm free chlorine will do in the X minutes it's un-neutralised in the aquarium. I honestly have no idea how long chlorine would take to neutralise in the aquarium, but for some fish, even a few minutes exposure could cause damage, particularly if this happens week after week after week.>
I’d be interested in your views on this. Particularly, am I correct in thinking that substances dissolved in the water will get inside fish (whatever the consequences)? And is conditioner for the replacement volume adequate?
<I dose extremely approximately using pond-grade dechlorinator. For all practical purposes this stuff is extremely low toxicity, so I'd have no reservations about using a double or triple dose. Conversely, if the plain vanilla dosage has always worked for you, I'd see no harm in sticking with it.>
With thanks,
Byron
<Cheers, Neale.>

3 Polypterus species and sizes and tankmates    7/16/17
HI,
<Hello,>
I have a 75 gallon tank with
1 Senegal Bichir 7”
1 Polypterus teugelsi 5”
along with
1 African Feather fin Catfish 7”
<Lovely, peaceful catfish.>
2 Turquoise Rainbows 3” each
<I'd add a few more of these.>
1 Pictus Catfish 4” and
<No threat to all but the newly hatched Bichirs.>
1 Angel fish 4.5” tall.
The tank is well decorated with many hinding spaces and a 2” sand bottom. I have recently found a 3’ Polypterus delhezi 3”. My question is, how long should I allow my to get before I can add him to the 75 gallon tank., and will any of the other occupants cause a threat to him? Thank You
<I would not combine such a small Polypterus specimen with substantially larger specimens. Once the little Polypterus delhezi grows to within a couple of inches of the existing specimens, you should be fine combining them. But very small juveniles, especially those with their external gills present, are extremely vulnerable. Bichirs are snappy, and even the smaller, more tolerant species like Senegal Bichirs can't be completely trusted to leave smaller or weaker specimens alone. Use your common sense here, even though the three species you mention should be compatible, given space. Cheers, Neale.>

Blood Parrot -ongoing paleness
Dear Crew-Neale
<Lisa,>

I'm so sorry to be taking up so much of your time, as this is now my forth correspondence to you. To recap- I have a 47 gallon wedge tank inhabited by 2 (4year old) blood parrots and a Pleco(11 years old)on 5/25/17 became aware of over fed polluted tank- broke filter while cleaning, waited week for new filter (Eheim 2215).
<An effective and reliable if old-school unit.>
In the beginning male BP showed more stress than female until around 6/19 and then female became pale , hanging by heater and poor appetite. Male now fine, with no further issue. Pleco fine.
<Good and good.>
I have been keeping the water with Nitrate at or below 20%, pH 6.5-7.5
<Sounds fine, but would make the observation that pH 6.5-7.5 is an odd range, slipping between acid and alkaline. Parrot Cichlids, being Central American in origin, are best kept in medium hard, slightly alkaline water.>
6/29/17(per your advise) added 16 tsp Epsom salt and I treated tank with" API- General Cure"(Metronidazole 250mg and Praziquantel 75mg) which is a 2 dose product -treat wait 48 hr, 2nd treat wait 48 hrs, do 25% water change. I replaced nearly 50% of water and I replaced 8 tsp of Epsom salts at that time.
7/3/17- my female BP appeared much better dark orange color returned and was hungry!-
<Good.>
until 7/5 when she went pale again. Now no appetite (she will catch a skinless par boiled pea, chew for a few then spit out. I have been removing uneaten food immediately)
<Indeed, remove food, then wait and see. Is the female isolated from the male? If not, if they're together, what are their interactions like? Cichlids aren't 'nice' animals, and will sometimes bully weakened specimens.>
7/9/17- I began second round of API General Cure (waited a week between last treatment per your advise)
<Yes.>
7/13/17-today- I did an almost 50% water change. My water, before change, was; nitrate <20% and pH 6.5 water temp 82. My water following change- nitrate between 5-10% and pH 7.0 .
<Do feel the water is a bit too warm, and a bit too acidic. I would aim to optimise -- use sodium bicarbonate to raise the pH and hardness (around 7.5 is an ideal pH) using a dosage of maybe 0.5 teaspoons per 5 US gallons. Experiment with buckets of water, and once you get something useful, do this for all new water changes. And yes, Epsom salt and sodium bicarbonate can be used together -- the first affects general hardness, the second affects carbonate hardness.>
What now? As you can see from photo- she is still pale, still hovers by heater, still with no appetite, but will swim to greet me at front of tank(occasionally)and will still harass the Pleco occasionally( she is not completely with out energy). Since I changed nearly half of water, how much Epsom salt should I replace(if any)?
<Replace added minerals pro rata -- per 5 gallons/20 litres, up to 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and up to 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). So if your bucket contains 2.5 US gallons, then add up to 0.5 tsp sodium bicarb., and up to 0.5 tbsp Epsom salt, to that bucket of water. These minerals aren't 'used up' in any meaningful way, so you don't re-dose for the whole tank. Just the bucket or buckets of new water being added!>
What I see when I look at her is a pale fish with a slightly rounded abdomen(compared to male). Abdomen appears firm. Scales appear smooth. I do not see any visible fin, scale, or gill issues. I do not see white stringy poop- I do not see poop of any sort-and I have been watching. Well, I did see her pooping following the original application of Epsom salts(6/29/17) but none since.
Should I now treat with" API Furan 2"(Nitrofurazone 85mg)- If I do, will this product negatively impact my filter bacteria?
<It shouldn't do, but keep an eye on ammonia or nitrite levels, whichever test kit you have.>
Additional, not sure if this has any relevance but these BPs are a pair and up until this began routinely, about monthly, laid egg clutches( cleaned up nicely by Pleco).
<I bet!>
I know how difficult it must be to diagnosis and treat a fish by the information presented in writing . Please let me know if I can provide any more data or photos to assist you.
I am ,as always , so very grateful of your efforts. Thank you. ❤
Lisa W.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Blood Parrot -ongoing paleness (RMF, any last-ditch ideas?)     7/23/17
Dear Crew-Neale
<Hello Lisa,>
I realize my Blood parrot is going to die, but I am in agony watching it.
<Understood, and I sympathise with your situation.>
She BP is still alive and still relatively active (considering). She looks like she is working harder to breath than the healthy male, gills opening wider and faster. She is still pale, still refusing food, still bloated but still with smooth scales. She usually just hangs out by the heater. My water perimeters are spot on. To answer your question about aggression from other BP- he occasionally hassles her- but it is infrequent. I scooped her up ( very surprised at how "spiny" her fins are!)
<Oh, yes; a major defence that cichlids have against their predators.>
her bloated abdomen is firm ( I was very gentle )
<Does sound like Dropsy; can you medicate with an antibiotic? Ideally, antibiotic food, as that's the best way to deliver such medicine into aquarium fishes. Various commercial products of this type available in the USA. Most other places, a vet will need to help.>
I don't understand why a couple of weeks ago she returned to normal color and activity and even ate with vigor.
<Nor I. The problem with diagnosing sick fish via the internet, or even as an aquarist, is that real diagnosis is done using tissue samples and microscopy. What we're attempting here is what a GP would achieve if you were sick, but only able to give symptoms over the telephone. Better than nothing, sure, but still approximations based on experience and the law of averages. So while we're pretty good much of the time, there will be situations where a fish doesn't suffer from "the usual suspects" and our best guess approach isn't going to help.>
Now she might be over by front of tank and when I feed the other BP she swims away -over to heater .
<Sometimes sick fish will seek out warmer water; comparable to running a fever in cold-blooded animals. Presumably stresses the metabolism of their pathogens, as fevers do for us, hoping their own enzymes and cellular
processes are able to tolerate high temperatures better.>
I was wondering if since fish don't swallow the tank water which can be treated, and since she is not eating, could I make up a solution of Nitrofurazone 85 mg per packet and syringe it into her mouth.
<Nope. Adding antibiotic to the water will be taken up via the gills, and in any event, in freshwater situations, fish are continually soaking in water from their environment because their tissues are more 'salty' than the surrounding water. Their bodies aren't watertight (like ours are) so anything in their environment will, by definition, diffuse into their tissues if it can. That said, this approach is very rough and ready, which is why vets prefer to administer antibiotics in known concentrations via foods or, exceptionally, injections. Aquarists lack the skill and tools for
the later, and the former isn't always an option if the fish is not eating, hence we fall back on the adding medicines to the water approach instead.>
The problem with this idea is that I have no idea what ration of sterile water to powder I should use. The packets directions state 1 envelope per 10 gallons. The product I have available its "API- Furan-2". It is designed to treat a tank.
<I would always (unless you're a vet) recommend you go with the manufacturers instructions.>
Is there anything to be done? To refresh your memory this all began with an overfed-polluted tank (the pollution was event rather than a "life style"- though they lived with nitrates higher than 20% previously-I water changed
and fed cautiously) I'm sorry to keep taking up your time.
<Not a problem.>
Gratefully yours-
Lisa W
<Good luck, Neale. Will appeal to RMF for his insight, if any.>
<<The Furan compound is what I would use (25 mg/gal, change half the water, retreat every three days, three times) and Epsom Salt. BobF>>

Re: Blood Parrot -ongoing paleness (RMF, any last-ditch ideas?); plus Furan cpd. use f'     7/24/17
Neale & Bob,
<Lisa>
Thank you for this info. Let me see if I understand it correctly; I have a 47 gallon tank. You are advising that I dose furan compound at 1175 mg. The API Furan2 doses 85 mg/packet- I will need just over 13 packets. I will add the antibiotic- wait 3 days and change half the water.
I will than do the exact same thing 2 more times.
Should I add new dose of furan the same day as water change?
<Yes>
Re Epsom salt; If I change 50% water how much Epsom salt do I replace for 47 g? (approx 16 tsp in prior to water change) and shall I add the amount you recommend following each subsequent water change?
<Add half, 8 tsp., per the half of water removed/replaced>
I actually added Furan2 dose per packet instructions last evening ( 425mg ). I will add the remaining 750mg today. I am leaving now to locate more antibiotic This dose far exceeds the package directions.
<Mmm... as per here?
http://www.apifishcare.com/product.php?p=details&id=634#.WXTMTYjyuUk
I completely trust your advise but just to be sure, this dose will not be too much for my healthy male?
<Hopefully not... You've read over the MSDS for this API product?
http://www.apifishcare.com/pdf/70_Furan-2_Documents_MSDSVendors_2014_February_14_03-46-44-968_AM.pdf
<Lisa; I am concerned re the concentration of Nifurpirinols in this product as well. I advise going with the manufacturers dosing instructions. Bob Fenner>
I am sorry to require such defined instruction, but the devil is in the details.... I am so grateful for your advise and assistance, thank you for patience with me.
Lisa W
p.s. it is hard to believe that I have kept these lovely fishes alive and well these past 4 years with out issue, when I now feel so very incompetent.
<This "cross" has many issues... too much inbreeding... Bob Fenner>

Re: Blood Parrot -ongoing paleness (RMF, any last-ditch ideas?)     7/25/17
Thank you Bob and Neale!
<Hello again Lisa, and you're most welcome.>
You have given me some hope that she may recover. I feel like, in the least, I am "doing all I can". Thank you again for your patience (Neale )
I have been boring you the details of our plight for over a month! I can honestly say that I have learned a tremendous amount regarding tank hygiene and water perimeters, my male BP will benefit greatly (as I hope I will be able to say she will as well!) You are the best:)
<We certainly try!>
I will keep you posted on her progress,
<Please do.>
Ever gratefully yours
Lisa W
<Good luck, to you and your fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Blood Parrot -ongoing paleness (RMF, any last-ditch ideas?)<<I would stop "treating">>  7/27/17
Hello Neale and Bob!
<Lisa,>
I think things are improving. Last evening was the 4th and final dose of Furan-2(each dose = 425mg Nitrofurazone). Today my female, though continues to be pale, ate for the first time in over a week (thawed) frozen Hikari brand Krill. Last evening I noted her pooping( brown pellets attached by what appears to be a mucus strand). Her behavior is more energetic and more within her usual with some tossing about of rocks and
visiting me at front of tank.
<All sounds good.>
What next? The Furan-2 directions states "treatment may be repeated if necessary" Should I begin second round of 4 dose treatment?
<Personally, I'd wait a couple days to see if things continue to improve on their own; but there should be no harm done beginning another course of medication immediately afterwards.>
Should I re-dose API General Cure-Metronidazole 1,250 mg/dose ( this would be a third round- the last given 2 weeks ago)
Should I add both together?
<Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone work well together; indeed, the combo is "standard operating procedure" for medicating cichlids suffering from Hexamita.>
Should I do nothing?
<See above.>
FYI-My ammonia level today (pre-water change) is climbing a bit and is now somewhere between .25 and .50% and Nitrate remains around 20. Tank water is due to be changed at 8pm tonight.
<You MUST keep ammonia down, e.g., by substantial water changes prior to each daily dose of medication -- no point changing the water after you add the medication, as you can well imagine. On the other hand, after 24 hours
most medication will have done its work, and been broken down by the microbes, so a water change 24 hours after adding medication usually does no harm. Alternatively, use commercial ammonia remover (such as Zeolite)
and/or reduce food input to ensure ammonia stays low/zero.>
With kindest regards...and ongoing gratitude,
Lisa W
<Good luck! Neale.>

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