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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Hi I need help with my crayfish       2/17/20
I did a water change and had them in a tank together just yesterday and added some plants in where the plants started having some plant juice out
and killed 2 of my crayfish now one of my female crayfish abdomen is slowly turning white and her claws and legs are falling out... What is happening?
<Reads as some sort of overt poisoning. I would MOVE your crays NOW to somewhere (established) else; or barring this, change out most of the water, add some activated carbon to the filter, and REMOVE the plants if you haven't already. Bob Fenner>

Sohal Success;  stkg.     2/14/20
I was reading your glowing perscpective in the stunning Sohal. Many horror stories exist out there of these fish becoming belligerent to even killers as they reach 8-9”.
<Indeed they can; and do often become a/the "alpha" fish in their setting>
All compatibility issues are a gamble, but in your experience to I have a decent chance of success with a Sohal combined with a Vlamingi, a Fowleri, Naso, Dussemeri, Hippo and maybe a couple zebrasomas in a 650 gallon system?
<Mmm; I would likely skip this Acanthurus introduction here. You have a goodly number of compatible surgeonfishes... and it would be a bear to try removing a troubling specimen. I would go ahead w/ adding the Zebrasoma, maybe some Ctenochaetus here.>
Other tank mate will include 3-4 large angels, pair of sunset wrasse, red breast and Broomtail wrasse and a Spanish hog.
<All else I give you good odds in getting along. >
Steve Offutt
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fire Belly Toad     2/14/20
Thank you for the info!! I have rearranged his home eliminating the water heater and put a basking light above the basking area. What wattage do you recommend?
<Depends largely on the size of the tank. If the heater bulb is attached to a thermostat (the ideal) then it'll warm up to the right temperature and no higher. If the bulb is simply used 'as is' and switched on and off manually, then I'd err on the size of caution. Do consult with your retailer and/or examine the manufacturers recommendations for the bulbs available in your country. I'd imagine something like 25W would be sufficient, since you only need a small warm patch for basking; what you're not doing is heating the whole vivarium.>
Do you recommend a basking bulb or maybe just a daytime heating lamp?
<Ideally, use a combo heat and UV-B lamp for best results. With sufficient UV-B, vitamin deficiencies are less likely, particularly if you're offering a range of foods including periodical use of standard issue mineral supplements for reptiles. With all amphibians and reptiles, it's a lot cheaper to prevent health problems than to treat them, not least of all because their slow metabolism means problems take a long time to become apparent, by which time even vets can have trouble turning things around.>
Thanks again,
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: Sick angelfish. Old age?      2/13/20
Hi Neale,
<Hello Rhiannon,.
Thank you again for your time and wealth of info.
A few hours after writing to you, the discus came good. Was hiding, but no longer fighting buoyancy and it was pooping.
<So, constipation it is!>
This morning it is swimming eagerly with all the other discus looking like nothing was ever wrong. I’m inclined to think that a bacterial infection couldn’t have cleared up on its own so quickly and that it was just a case of constipation?
<Yes. Very common. Probably more common than we think. Green foods are the ideal, such as cooked peas, but Discus might turn their snouts up at that. So offer things like live or frozen brine shrimp and/or daphnia, which seem to have a pretty decent laxative effect.>
Please correct me if I’m wrong. Keeping a close eye on everyone but all seems back to normal.
I also wanted to visit what you said about immune system compromise under 28°C. I have my tank at 29°C, my LFS suggested to drop it to 28 because the plants don’t cope as well above 28.
<Correct. Or rather, most aquarium plants are swamp plants that spend some time out of the water, often dying back then. At high temperatures and submerged all year long, they do become 'exhausted'. There likely are workarounds, and some plants are less fussed than others. It's one of those situations where some time researching plants known to be good with Discus might be worthwhile. I've seen things like Giant Vallis and some Amazon Swords used with great success.>
I’m interested in your thoughts regarding toeing that line. Is 28 too close for comfort regarding long-term health?
<28 C/82 F should be fine, but I'd not risk lower temperatures with Discus.>
Would you typically try to keep the tank warmer for discus, or is all fine as long as it’s within their range?
<See above.>
I’m more interested in healthy discus than maximising plant growth and colour.
Many thanks,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

My Bubble Tip Anemone Split!     2/13/20
Dear Bob Fenner,
<Hey Mandy>
The Bubble Tip you helped me save got really big and this evening I now have two!
My poor Clownfish is so confused! LOL! He's trying hard to love on both,...
but they are a few inches apart, so he's having a hard time.
I am so thrilled!
Now there are two! Nature is so amazing.
Thank you again for helping me save his life.
<Glad to have helped you; in turn it is you who saved this life. Bob Fenner>
Mandy in NJ

Arowana Grow out
Good Morning Crew!
I had a quick question regarding baby Arowana compatibility.
Recently I was given the opportunity to own two of my favorite types of Arowana, a leucistic silver Arowana and a jardini Arowana. I am fully aware of the jardini's tendency to be rather temperamental once they reach adulthood, and am building large aquariums as we speak, but unfortunately they will not be ready for about 6 months- 1 year, in which they will be separated into different systems completely. Each system is 8 feet long, by 3.5 feet wide by 3 feet tall.
<With complete, heavy/secure tops to prevent their jumping out>
I am currently building my house, and they are being built into the ground floor with cement, but I cannot move the fish in, until they are big enough and the house is finished, which could be anywhere between 6 months to a year.
The jardini arrived earlier than expected and came in on the 7th. it is about 4 inches long and is currently in a 10 gallon by itself so I can ensure it is eating, and closely monitor it, as well as target feed it so
it can put on some size until it can safely go with a tiger shovelnose I have in a 75, which is about 6".
<Be careful w/ the Pseudoplatystoma/Pimelodid. That big mouth can inhale arowanas small enough to fit in it>
The leucistic Arowana should be arriving next week on Friday, and will be approximately 5". I wish to add him into the same 10 gallon as the jardini, both to put a little more size on him, and to make sure he is eating.
Since they are both eating the same foods, this makes sense for me.
My question is will I be ok in doing this while they are both young like this? My jardini has not shown any aggression to the dither fish I have in this system, and I do not expect he will until he matures around 8" in which he will most likely be off on his own anyways in a different system.
Will they be ok being quarantined off together like this?
<If these were my fishes, I'd spend the small sum of money to have another system, likely something larger for the duration... like a 20 long or bigger; and keep them separated. Too likely to fight, compete for food>
I expect they would be together no more 1.5-2 months in the 10 gallon (depending on how quickly they grow), and then between 4-8 months in the 75 before being separated off into their respective enclosures for life.
I apologize for the length of the email, I just wanted to make sure I was being thorough.
<No worries; clarity, completeness is necessary>
-Ian Jablonka
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Arowana Grow out Neale's go

Good Morning Crew!
I had a quick question regarding baby Arowana compatibility.
Recently I was given the opportunity to own two of my favorite types of Arowana, a leucistic silver Arowana and a jardini Arowana. I am fully aware of the jardini's tendency to be rather temperamental once they reach adulthood, and am building large aquariums as we speak, but unfortunately they will not be ready for about 6 months- 1 year, in which they will be separated into different systems completely. Each system is 8 feet long, by 3.5 feet wide by 3 feet tall. I am currently building my house, and they
are being built into the ground floor with cement, but I cannot move the fish in, until they are big enough and the house is finished, which could be anywhere between 6 months to a year.
The jardini arrived earlier than expected and came in on the 7th. it is about 4 inches long and is currently in a 10 gallon by itself so I can ensure it is eating, and closely monitor it, as well as target feed it so
it can put on some size until it can safely go with a tiger shovelnose I have in a 75, which is about 6".
The leucistic Arowana should be arriving next week on Friday, and will be approximately 5". I wish to add him into the same 10 gallon as the jardini, both to put a little more size on him, and to make sure he is eating. Since they are both eating the same foods, this makes sense for me.
My question is will I be ok in doing this while they are both young like this? My jardini has not shown any aggression to the dither fish I have in this system, and I do not expect he will until he matures around 8" in which he will most likely be off on his own anyways in a different system.
Will they be ok being quarantined off together like this? I expect they would be together no more 1.5-2 months in the 10 gallon (depending on how quickly they grow), and then between 4-8 months in the 75 before being separated off into their respective enclosures for life.
I apologize for the length of the email, I just wanted to make sure I was being thorough.
<Ian, the short answer is that Scleropages jardinii will (likely) be aggressive towards any other Arowana species, but generally ignore dissimilar fish like catfish and stingrays. Schooling fish will either be
viewed as food or ignored as the case may be. If you have two arowanas that you need to keep in a single tank, I would suggest using plastic egg crate or similar to create a divider, at least initially, so you can see how they react. Placing them in a small tank (which a 75 gallon tank is, when talking about arowanas) is asking for trouble. You might get lucky, and it may well be females are less territorial than males, but certainly combining two specimens of any Arowana species is risky. Cheers, Neale.>

Fire Belly Toad
Good afternoon.
I have 1 fire belly toad in a 10 gallon aquarium. I have rocks for his land portion and also a repto-filter that is a large rock for him to climb on. I have 2 questions.
<Fire away, Rebecca,>
1. Is he okay to be by him self? I have been looking for another one but cannot find a roommate for him.
<He's absolutely fine on his own.>
2. I have him on my desk at work. I have a water heater in the water and turn on a UVB bulb during the day. Is it necessary to have the UVB?
<Traditionally the answer has been "no" for these and indeed most other pet amphibians. There is, however, recent scientific evidence showing that providing UV-B improves vitamin D3 formation and thereby leads to better overall growth and health. The optimal situation would be to use a combination heat/UV-B lamp over the basking area, while providing room temperature water. Heaters in the water (like the ones you'd use with tropical fish) are risky with amphibians because they sometimes climb on
them, get stuck somehow between the heater and the glass, and then get burned when the heater turns on. Use a heater guard (a sort of plastic grille) to prevent that happening. Better yet, a filter that has a built-in heater.>
Room temperature is around 70-73 degrees during working hours but at night they turn the thermostat down to 60 so the temperature in my office can get as low as 50 degrees. Is the water heater the best option for this?
<No, see above. The commonest species is Bombina orientalis, handles cool nighttime and winter temperatures just fine, so long as it can warm up during the day under a heat lamp. So long as the room doesn't get colder than 10 C (50 F) then room temperature is likely fine without a water heater. But setting it to, say, 15 C (60 F) as a 'back stop' can be a good way to make sure the tank never gets too cold. In the wild the frogs would be jumping between cold water and sunny basking sites on land, and by
alternating between the two, regulate their body temperature. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick angelfish. Old age? (RMF -- any other ideas?)<<None>>
Hi Neale. New problem here but figured it would be worth adding to the old thread since all my tank history is here.
<Sure thing.>
I took your advice on board and lowered the CO2 in the tank as a precaution. It’s been on a little less than 1 bubble per second since then. All has seemed well until today. My smallest discus is having buoyancy issues, floating towards the surface and is expending a lot of energy trying to swim downwards.
<Seems unlikely that this would have anything to do with the CO2. Buoyancy issues in cichlids can have multiple causes, but usually either constipation (best bet if the fish is otherwise normal and hungry); exposure to sudden temperature changes, especially temperature drops (usually easy enough to determine); or bacterial infections of various sorts (for which Dropsy, bleeding sores, loss of appetite, changes in colouration, etc., would all likely follow on).>
It’s a pale yellow colour usually but seems lighter in colour, its freckles on its face are definitely very pale. It was fine yesterday. My first thought was a swim bladder issue.
<See above; there really isn't any such thing as "Swim Bladder Disease" any more than "nausea" in humans -- it's more a symptom of some other situation or disease.>
Wanted to get your thoughts here, especially given past losses. I did a water change yesterday.
<Always wise, provided the fish aren't exposed to sudden changes in pH, hardness or temperature.>
Aside from that the only difference is that I have been trying a new pellet food my LFS recommended. But that said as far as I know I have had no success getting the discus to eat them (the Kuhli loaches have been gobbling it up as the discus just let it sink). The other discus in the tank all seem fine.
<Which is promising.>
If it is swim bladder, what’s my best course of action?
<See above re: diagnosis. If bacterial, then the usual antibiotics would be the best bet. Oftentimes, people go with a combination of Metronidazole alongside an antibiotic, typically a Nitrofuran, as a useful combo with cichlids that rarely causes stress.>
I’m not going to feed them today. I don’t know that I’ll have any luck with shelled peas as they wont eat anything that isn’t meat, but I will try. They’ll gobble up blood worms, beef heart and all but 1 will eat brine shrimp, but they won’t eat anything else. Have been browsing discus forums and so far the feedback is that people have had no luck treating swim bladder in discus. I’m reading through the discus WWW FAQ meantime but wanted to reach out in case I’m totally wrong here.
<Discus are funny fish. Hexamita parasites are probably ubiquitous among farmed Discus, and while they're undeniably more adaptable than wild Discus, farmed Discus are still sensitive beasts. They require more heat than most other fish, any below 28 C (82 F) their immune system eventually becomes compromised. Hence parasites like Hexamita, not to mention the usual Aeromonas and Pseudomonas, can all become problems.>
Thanks for your time,
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Read what MASNA Accomplished in 2019!
Marine Scene: MASNA's Newsletter.      2/11/20

MASNA's Annual Newsletter.
View this email in your browser (https://mailchi.mp/masna/masnas-newsletter-marine-scene-2019?e=2cb2da1c85)

Snapping turtle; hlth.      2/8/20
We own a 45 lb. pet snapping turtle. Gimpy T.Turtle (find him on Facebook) has been our pet since he was the size of a bottle cap. Gimpy has his own 100 gallon heated swimming pool, a heated pillow and UV lighting in his pool. Gimpy is very intelligent,affectionate,and organized. Gimpy is now 4 years and 8 months old. Gimpy only eats and goes to the bathroom in his pool which is filtered and water changed every two days. Gimpy eats only at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm,if we are late to feed him he gets angry and walks away to the far side of the pool and will not eat.Gimpy sleeps with us nearly every night depending on what he chooses. If he wants to sleep with us he'll walk to the bedroom door at 8:30 to 9:00 pm and wait for us to come to bed. If he doesn't want to sleep with us he'll crawl back into his swimming pool.Gimpy will cuddle up to me and lay his head on my shoulder to sleep at night. Every morning after he eats at 6:00 am he gets out of his pool and makes his rounds through the house. If a towel is changed on the towel rack,he notices.If a picture on the wall is different,he notices.If a plant is moved in the house,he notices.How do we know this? Gimpy will walk up to the towel,or the plant,or the picture and stare at it for 10 to 15 minutes occasionally looking at us to let us know something has changed.
<Well, turtles are known for their adherence to routine... moving water, food dishes can be trouble>
After his rounds in the house Gimpy crawls into his heated pillow for a nap.Later when Gimpy
wakes up he may go to Denise (my wife) and snuggle with her on the couch,or he will come to me sitting in the recliner and crawl up my legs and slide back down several times. If I sit anywhere other than my chair he pulls on my pant leg to get me off that chair. If I don't lye on my side of the bed Gimpy will force his way under me,stand up,and push me out of bed. Gimpy eats turtle food in the morning and pork or honey ham in the evening. We've tried fruits and vegetable but he refuses to eat them. Here's the problem,Gimpy's left rear leg is getting weaker. He use's it to go forward but cannot use it to lift as he walks.Our vet can't find anything wrong other than weak muscle or muscle deterioration.What do you suggest?
<Mmm; really, a visit to another vet.; hopefully one who specializes in herp.s.
I suspect some sort of nutritional deficiency is at work here. A shot now may solve this issue short term, but longer will likely involve adding supplements to the food this animal does take. Bob Fenner>

Coral identification      2/7/20
HI, I need your help about this coral/anemone identification
<Mohammed, do you know where this was collected? Bob Fenner>
Re: Coral identification      2/7/20

I don't know, it was bought from a store in Turkey.
<Mmm; well it is a ringer for Actinia equina... which is found near there. BobF>

Re: Coral identification /Wil      2/7/20
I don't know, it was bought from a store in Turkey.
<Mmm; well it is a ringer for Actinia equina... which is found near there. BobF>
<<I agree with Bob...does look like a Beadlet Anemone, and according to the area where it was collected, I am almost sure. Wil.>>

Re Sweet puffer VS EVIL POWERHEAD       2/7/20
I just wanted to update you, Big P passed away yesterday.
<Sorry for your loss>
I wanted to let you know so that other fish owners could be responded to instead of trying to help me. Thank you anyway. I adore your website. It’s all so informative. Thank you for donating your time to help us all out!
<Thanks for your kind words. Cheers. Wil.>

Sweet Puffer vs. EVIL POWERHEAD     2/6/20
:(.... Two days ago, i <I> witnessed something i don't ever want to see again.
it was so heart breaking. I walked into the living room where our 190 Gallon saltwater tank is. We have a Wrasse, a Trigger, a Clown fish and a Snowflake Eel. I look over and see this white thing attached to the center of power head and its spinning so incredibly fast. It didn't quite click that something was wrong but i knew it wasn't supposed to look like that.
So i called for my boyfriend and asked him "UH, What is that white thing spinning in the tank? Its attached to the power head." When I saw his reaction i knew it was our beloved "BP" or "Big Puff".
<Oh, poor thing!>
We immediately unplugged the power head and once he stopped spinning he was puffed up and wasn't really moving, i am assuming because of how dizzy he was.
<Why does your power head had no strainer on??>
After about 30 seconds or so, he wiggled himself free. This poor guy, both of his eyes are white, but you can still see his pupils underneath, and its moving. It almost looks like it keeps trying to adjust or focus. His spikes at the front of his face are still raised two days later. His skin has now turned white.
<Any idea on how much time it was stuck?>
My boyfriend built a small acrylic box with 1.5" diameter holes on each side so that fresh saltwater can circulate.
<Good move>
We had to put him in the box because he was trying to swim around and kept bumping into all the live rock and it was scraping up the white parts on his eye. Making it look like it was peeling. My question(s) is do you think its better to let him roam free in the tank?
<No, I think it is better to isolate it.>
Is the being in the box stressful? Is there any possibility that he'll will survive this?
<Hard to know... besides what you can see, It very likely have internal damage caused by the suction power of the pump.>
From my description of his eyes, does it sound like he can see at all or does it sound like hes probably blind? What can i do to help him? Move him to a QT tank? I'm afraid his wounds will become infected and make things worse for him.
<I suggest moving it to the quarantine tank ASAP, let it there with very dim or no lights at all. At this point, just hope for the best, but from your description of its condition, this fish may be a goner.>
I'll be awaiting your reply.
Thank you,
Paris Towner
<The best luck for you guys, please do keep us posted. Wil.>

D-rimming Standard 90 Gallon       2/5/20
I'm setting up a 90 gallon tank and about to add an overflow. Using the template from the overflow manufacturer, my waterline will be visible due to a shorter trim on my tank. I'm evaluating options.
<Mmm; I've found using a simple (painted if you'd like) ninety/elbow (and poss. a piece of inserted pipe) tilted up toward the surface to be the best means of raising water level. DO read over WWM re plumbing... and provide at least TWO overflows, lest one become occluded, overwhelmed>
If I de-rim this tank (just top), I'd prefer not to do a full euro brace.
<... I would NOT do w/o sufficient top bracing>
Could I use 3, 3" front to back glass braces (Left edge, middle, right edge) and be safe?
<Wider would be better, and there are a few (doubled) designs to consider.
Am a MUCH bigger fan of "Euro" type bracing>
I'd like to do as little as possible but be safe (i.e. would 2" wide strips work?)
<No; I would NOT go this thinner route>
Is there some sort of simple calculators to figure these kinds of questions out? Are there some good guidelines for brace sizing?
<There are works (print) detailing the physics, engineering involved (in/w/ aquariums), I don't know of online ref.s. Bob Fenner>

Re: Jewel cichlids     2/3/20
Hi. What kind of algae eaters/plecos can i put with my breeding pair of red jewel cichlids.
<No fish, at least. Jewel Cichlids will defend their spawning territory with extreme prejudice. Anything big enough to handle their aggression -- for example a very Pterygoplichthys or Panaque species -- will be placing so much strain on your water quality management that any attempt to lower nitrate levels will be hopeless. This, in turn, will both spur algae into growth while making cichlids more prone to disease. You could of course try using Nerite snails, and these will handle some types of algae extremely
well, but you'd need a fair few, perhaps 3-4 per 10 gallons, to have much impact on diatoms and green algae (they don't do much about hair algae, blue-greens, and the other algae types prevalent in low-light level cichlid tanks). Nerites are so slow-moving your cichlids should ignore them.>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Jewel cichlids     2/3/20

Thank you. I have this in my tank to separate my breeding pair of red jewel cichlids from other fish. Both male and female have a white spot on their heads. They are bumping into the separator to chase away the other fish. Is the white spot from bumping into it or do they have some kind of disease
<Hard to tell from the photos supplied. Do look at the symptoms of Hole-in-the-head Disease and Head-and-Lateral-Line Erosion, because these can commonly affect cichlids. Compare what you can see with these. If you're lucky, the pimples or patches are simply dead tissue, perhaps formed from physical damage, and if medicated as per Finrot, should not cause any long term harm. HITH and HLLE are more difficult to treat, and their causes have been much speculated upon. Cheers, Neale.>

Moorish Idols eating Spectrum food     2/3/20
This is Pablo Tepoot. How do I share this video on your forum? I have kept them for about 20 months. With good nutrition, even difficult fish can be kept thriving for a long time.
<Hey Pablo!
Just got in from FLA now... been out to Duck Key for the WaterBox show... Will post your vid/link on WWM tomorrow.
Cheers, BobF>

Re: Questions about my RES      2/1/20
Thx Neale, but wouldn't an intestinal blockage show up on an X-ray.
<Does rather depend if the vet was looking for one. For sure something like a pebble would be obvious. But constipation might not be so obvious, and other tests would be used.>
The vet took two pictures one from below and one from the side. Also I turn my heat way down at night when I go to bed so would 65 to 68 degrees be too cold 4 her tank water? Or should I just turn the heater down to 70 degrees?
What do you suggest?
<Room temperature water is pretty much perfect. I think setting the heater to 22C/72F as a backstop would be fine, but the main thing is that the water is cooler than the hot spot in the vivarium. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Metal Stand Leveling and Stand Top      2/1/20
Sorry to have so many questions.
<No worries; clarity and completeness is my/our aim>
1. For 1" marine grade plywood, seems on 3/4" is most commonly the max.
Can I wood glue, 2, 1/2" thick ply together and get similar rigidity?
<I'd just go w/ the 3/4" (sealed) alone. >
2. Is the idea that 1" is rigid enough to not deform when shimming?
<To extents, yes>
3. Do I need to shim along the whole perimeter or how far apart can the shims be?
<Mainly under the leg areas (I would use the coasters you have, but also under the space/span between the feet>
Bob McCurrach
<Welcome. B>
Re: Metal Stand Leveling and Stand Top      2/1/20

Me again! So when I look at the numbers under each foot, for 9/16 down right, 3/16 down back to front:
[image: image.png]
<See your figuring>
-Do these numbers look about right?
<Could be... likely the floor more than the stand; but yes>
-You mentioned shimming between plywood and floor. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the plywood on the floor and 6 appropriate height blocks under the 6 feet (actually 5 since back left is 0). This way the whole surface of the ply is on the floor distributing load (vs. with shims under ply, only having spotty perimeter loading on the floor)
<In actual practice, no... how to put this? Better to have support under ALL the surface area piRsquared of the coasters, and have this weight distributed on a number of plastic wedges. IN SOME CASES, folks use a good two by twixt the wedges and ply... but the amount of mass here, on a concrete slab. I'd do as I've suggested continuously>
-Of course I may be over thinking this...but would like to look at it from all angles while it is just design...
<DO take your time; VERY important>
-I think I hate metal stands know, but I really need the room underneath for my big ole sump.
<Understood. BobF>
Bob M.

About beta glucan for fish      2/1/20
Dear Mr. Fenner
<Hey Vik>
How are you? I hope you are fine. I’m reading your website regularly and want to thank you for the your tips and answers. It is very needy for us.
<Ahh, very glad to share>
And I have a question too ;)
What do you think about glucan for fish? I saw couple different materials about fish diseases and authors wrote about glucan as good idea for treatment (?), fish health and immune system in general.
<A very valuable adjunct to feed formulas... as well as potential for injection... for health overall, and growth. A good basic review here: http://aquafind.com/articles/Beta-glucans-in-Aquaculture.php>
Also I saw glucan as ingredient of fish food from different manufacturers(Tropical etc.).
<Yes; I consider it a worthy ingredient>
I hope you’ll find time for answer.
Thank you and have a nice day!)
Kind regards,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: About beta glucan for fish      2/1/20

Dear Mr. Fenner,
<Hey Vik!>
thank you very much for your answer and your opinion. I'll learn this material.
Have a nice day
<And you, BobF>

Sick angelfish. Old age?     1/30/20
Hi Crew.
<Hello Rhiannon,>
Back again seeking advice for the first time in many years. This afternoon my freshwater angel has started looking real bad. I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do but wanted to reach out.
He’s a zebra angel, I think at least 9 years old.
<That is a very fair age of Angels. For sure the odd specimens makes it to maybe 10 or even 12 years, but the vast majority do not, even under good circumstances. Bear in mind that specimens on sale in pet shops will be a good six months old, so add that to however many years you've kept your fish.>
He lived through a lot of my beginner mistakes (which you guys helped me through!) so internally I’m sure not the healthiest fish. But for the last 6 or so years has lived happily in a stable, healthy tank. A few hours ago he started gulping at the top of the tank and seems to be going downhill. He’s swimming very slowly, seems to be struggling. Normally when I go to the tank he swims over for food, always the first one over, but he’s not even acknowledging my presence. I did feed them already today, but a full tummy has never stopped him from begging for more before.
The tank background: 200L tank cycled many many years ago. I did a water change yesterday but tested the water just now anyway: ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates <5.0ppm, pH 6.4 (unchanged). Temp 29C. It’s a medium density planted tank with CO2 injection and ferts.
<All sounds fine. Is this what he's usually been kept in? Temperature is towards the higher end of the range for farmed Angelfish, but nothing outside their tolerance. Water changes to freshen things up are always worth doing, sometimes with slightly cooler water, to see what happens.>
The only major changes to the tank recently were the addition of 4 juvenile discus 3-4 months ago, and 2 months ago I started injecting CO2. Tank was transitioned to planted 1-2 years ago and I was doing liquid carbon until now. Before CO2 injection the tank pH was around 6.7, its gradually shifted to 6.4 over the two months as I increased the CO2 from 1 bubble every 2 seconds to 2 bubbles a second now.
<A low pH should not, in itself, cause problems for Angels, which are well adapted to soft, slightly acidic water conditions. Provided the change has been gradual, I can't see this being a problem to your fish.>
Other tankmates are 4 Kuhli loaches, 9 rummynose tetras and 1 Bristlenose Pleco. I’ve not seen any signs of stress or sickness in the angel before today.
So my question is am I missing something? And if it’s old age, how do you know?
<I do think old age. There are some pathogens that Discus and Angels can share, but usually it's the Discus that suffer, not the Angels, which seem to be the carriers. This is one reason why mixing Discus and farmed Angels is widely frowned upon. Again, while Angels will often bully Discus, that's not what we're seeing here.>
My reason for extra concern (aside from my emotional attachment) is that over the last 6 or so months I’ve lost 5 rummys. I had 5 rummys who were about 5 years old, and around a year ago I bought 9 more to give them a bigger school again. Over that time the school has slowly shrunk to 9. It seems to be mostly the larger ones who have died so I think it’s the older ones, but it’s hard to tell.
<When you say 'lost' did they sicken and die, or just vanish? Angels can and will consume bite-size tetras. Adults are perfectly capable of eating things up to the size of adult Neons. On the other hand, if you're losing the odd fish every couple of weeks, then a deeper problem may be involved. Dosing with CO2 should be safe, but there are a couple of risks. One is displacing oxygen from the water, which is a pernicious problem because we often tone down water movement to stop the CO2 from escaping. In an overstocked tank, or one with too little water/air mixing, the CO2 can displace so much oxygen that the fish suffer. Cichlids are unable to breathe air, for the most part, so are often the first fish to show signs of distress compared with those fish that can use their swim bladders or whatever to breathe air when they must (such as catfish).>
So perhaps I’m losing fish to the march of time, but I’m worried now that it’s something I’m missing.
Thank you for your time.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Sick angelfish. Old age? (RMF -- any other ideas?)<<Nada mas>>     1/30/20

Hi Neale.
Thank you kindly for your response. As perhaps expected he deteriorated quickly and passed away overnight.
<Oh dear.>
Very sad about it. Though your response about it being pretty old for an angel gives me comfort.
<Glad to hear that.>
As to the temperature of the tank, I used to have it at 26C, but brought it up slowly over time in preparation for adding the discus. There’s been no aggression from the angel towards the discus, which was a relief. This is my first time keeping discus and I was worried the angel might bring an end to that. Instead he seemed to enjoy their company, would often hang out wherever the discus were, almost seemed to be schooling with them.
<Indeed, theoretically they're pretty similar (and closely related) fish with many of the same preferences. In practice though it is hit-and-miss, and most Discus experts recommend against mixing them. To some extent it likely depends on the size of the group.>
There was, however, a lot of conspecific aggression amongst the discus at first. Not what I expected after hearing how shy and peaceful they are!
<Only up to a point. Both Angels and Discus are pair-forming fish that become territorial when spawning, which under aquarium conditions tends to be 'all the time'. On top of that, juveniles and non-breeding adults form loose groups with a distinct hierarchy, and you really do need at least 6 specimens to avoid bullying.>
But it calmed down after the first few weeks as they sorted out who was boss and all has been calm since then. I should mention that when I first got the discus I did lose one. I bought 3 and then 2 more 2 weeks later cause I was worried about an ammonia spike from adding too many too quickly. But in that first 3, one of them got bullied by another and was quite stressed. Often hiding and not eating. When I added the next two and the aggression was dispersed he started to come good.
<Precisely so.>
But a week or so later after a water change I forgot to plug the heater back in, and overnight the temp dropped to 24C. The other discus were fine, but he looked bad. I did water changes throughout the day to bring the temp back up, but he soon died. I figured that was because he wasn’t a healthy enough fish to survive the drop in temp, but it’s worth mentioning now as part of the bigger picture in case I’m wrong.
<I would agree; Discus aren't going to be killed by a few hours at 24C, but if a given specimen is weakened already, sure, it could well have made things a lot worse.>
This was before I started injecting CO2, for context.
I was worried about the oxygen content of the water when the angel was gulping, because of the reasons you mentioned. I’ve attached a pic from just now to give you an idea of the amount of plants in the tank.
<The plants look nice, but not enough to be producing useful amounts of oxygen for the fish. After a few more months I bet this tank would look great, mind you! Very stylish use of wood and moss.>
When the angel got sick I turned off the CO2 and moved the spray bar up to create surface agitation in case that made a difference. The tank has been running at this amount of CO2 for about 3 -4 weeks, so I figured I would have seen signs of stress before now if it were a problem?
<Possibly, but bear in mind that the 'crunch point' will be at night when the plants are net oxygen absorbers (during the day they'll be releasing more O2 than they use up for respiration). So unless you're watching the tank at midnight, you could easily miss out on the problem.>
The lights and CO2 are on a timer, CO2 goes off an hour before the lights do. The drop checker is usually that mid-green colour, which the table suggests for soft water is normal-insufficient. I’ve seen aquascapers say they push the CO2 till the drop checker is in the yellow and back it off when they see signs of stress in the fish. I’m not at all interested in pushing limits like that, keeping my fish healthy is more important to me than the state of the plants.
<A lot of hardcore aquarium plant growers tend to choose small fish like tetras and barbs with very small oxygen demands. Cichlids are substantially more sensitive, so this 'push things to the limit' approach doesn't appeal to me. I'd tend to go with using CO2 at the lowest setting at first, leave for a few weeks, and if all is going well, nudge it up a bit. Light intensity is usually the main factor in plant growth rate, with CO2 being an extra bonus. If your plants are looking 'leggy' or whatever, it's more likely lighting is what's holding them back.>
But that said is the drop checker enough of a guide to know there’s also enough oxygen in the tank? Can I be confident that that amount of plants (which I intend to keep adding to) is producing enough oxygen for my fish? I feel like I’m doing the right things, but would love to know if I’m missing something in ignorance.
<See above.>
As to the rummys, the first one that died I did see. The Kuhli loaches were making a quick snack of it in the bottom of the tank. The others I haven’t seen. I don’t think they’re being eaten only because they’ve lived with that angel the whole time and it never tried to eat them that I saw, and if it was that I figured I would expect the smaller new ones to go first?
<I suppose, or else the stupidest?>
Because of all the stem plants on the left near the filter intake it would be easy to miss it if one died and was being eaten but the Kuhlis. But it’s also enough stock losses over the months to have me nervous that there’s something bigger here. I don’t see signs of disease but I’ve also never really dealt with disease in my tanks so I’d be pretty ignorant about the signs.
<Oftentimes we can't be 100% sure about fish deaths. For sure Whitespot is obvious, or Finrot on a fish that's been fighting. But more often we're trying to puzzle out what's happened, which means ruling out complicating factors, such as CO2, wherever possible.>
As an aside, I doubt you’d remember (and I don’t remember if it was you or Bob who responded at the time), but some 7ish years ago I wrote to you guys about this angel. He jumped out of my tank and I found him in the mouth of my dog, alive and hurt. You guys talked me through treating his wounds. He not only survived being bitten by my dog, but lived this long. We always thought of him as our little miracle fish, and I often thought of the help I received here. Thanks for doing what you do. Your advice is forever invaluable.
<Thanks for the kind words! Quite the story...>
- Rhiannon
<Best wishes, Neale.>


Metal Stand Leveling and Stand Top     1/30/20
<Howdy Bob>
I have a metal stand that is 50" long and 18" wide. It has 6 feet, 4 at each corner and two mid way in the front and back.
<See this in your pix>
The feet are vertically oriented angle iron (1"). It is going on a tile floor. Currently it is unfilled and I am putting my system together. I currently have round slider/floor protectors on each foot with 2 pieces of indoor carpet in the protector. Display tank is standard 90. Sump is 40 breeder. Pictures attached. I believe the stand is square and true. (Floor level and top of tank levels are the same)
A few questions:
1. I don't think I need a piece of wood to top the stand for display tank.
Agreed; IF this stand is level, planar... should be fine>
2. Is my "foot" setup ok? Do I need anything? If so, is there something better than my slider/carpet concoctions?
<I think you're fine here. I do want to ask re the floor... this is on a concrete slab, like the ground floor? The who shebang will weigh about 1,300 lb.s... >
3. The floor slopes 9/16" down to the right and 3/16 down towards the front. What is the best way to level this?
<Oh! To put a treated, sealed piece of substantial plywood (1" or more) under ALL feet and shim this (twixt the ply and tile) in a few places (plastic shims). CHECK for level a few times as you're (test) filling... as the floor may move. AGAIN, tell me what is under the tile>
4. For my sump, I have a thin press board sheet. Is this ok?
<Likely so; as long as this too is water-sealed... I can't make out the support for the bottom rack of this stand. Was it built to have two aquariums on it? I don't recognize the design>
My thought is that I will be biasing it to the back, maybe even overhanging an inch or two to make the plumbing more vertical (vs. having to curve under the DT more. If not biased, the tank sits directly on the left to right rails, but the front to back braces gap the thickness of the angle iron since they are welded under the left to right rails.
<DO put material under the entire bottom tank/sump edges>
I looked for answers to these questions extensively in your site but didn't find the same questions. I appreciate your help!
Bob McCurrach
<Glad to help. Bob Fenner>


Questions about my RES     1/30/20
Hey Crew, I have a female RES, have had her for 19 years.
<Decent age!>
She's always been very active, a super eater, and basker.
But about 2 months ago, out of nowhere, she stopped eating, swimming much, and never gets up on her basking platform. She's in a 30 gallon tank that's about 78 degrees, has both lights required, and the water is kept clean.
<Understood. As a rule, leaving the water at room temperature, while providing a warm basking light (together with the UV-B lamp) is recommended. While I doubt the water is dangerously warm, turtles do need to be able to cool down as well as warm up. It's how they thermoregulate.>
I took her to the vet and she took x-rays to see if she was producing eggs, she wasn't. Her lungs were clear and there were no signs of any abnormalities. A blood test was also taken. No signs of infection or
deficiencies. The only thing that came back a little elevated was parasites. So, I administered 3 doses of anti-parasitic medication, by mouth, 3 days in a row. That was a trip!!
<I bet.>
No improvement.
<Oh dear.>
Previous to this, maybe 6 months ago, she had an infection on her neck. The vet cleaned it and gave her antibiotic shots, several of them, and Topsy healed up very well. She was still eating and swimming during her treatments.
Right before she stopped eating, my other turtle, named Taxi, who lives in a tank next to Topsy, but on a stand, Topsy's tank is on the floor, escaped from his tank and fell into Topsy's. He hit the light, knocked it into the water, and the bulb exploded. Then, I assume he went after Topsy for a date night and she bit the heck out of him.
<Yikes. Takes me back to be college days...>
I put him back in his tank and he healed up just fine. Did she maybe get an electric shock that damaged her insides or something? Taxi didn't act normal for a while after this either, but eventually got back to his normal self.
<For sure an electric shock or even stress could have caused some sort of problem, but a dangerous shock would be apparent immediately, and if she was still alive thereafter, it would seem to rule out the light bulb incident. Stress from the amorous encounter might put a turtle off eating for a day or two, but really, these animals aren't especially smart or sensitive, so it's not like PTSD is a thing for them. So if the turtle appears otherwise uninjured, I'd tend to rule out psychological stress.>
That's when Topsy stopped eating, shortly after this incident. She hasn't had a single crumb of food for over 2 months. The other day I bought Flukers Repta boost and have given her two doses. She spit most of the first dose out, the second I just spilled into her water. I figured she's gonna swallow some it that way; I didn't want to stress her too much.
Anyway, today, I gave her another small dose, by mouth, which she swallowed, thank you Lord! This stuff is supposed to give her energy and an increased appetite, right?
<Possibly. None of these appetite enhancers works miracles, and won't convince an ailing reptile to eat food if it physically can't.>
Also, today, I noticed her mouth is red, like it would be her upper lip, not inside, but where her upper jaw meets her lower jaw. Just on one side, down from her nostrils to the corner of her mouth. Could that be a symptom of disease or a bruise from trying to get her to open her mouth to squirt the Repta boost in.
<Either. A bruise is possible, but should heal quickly enough if it isn't infected (so clean if red inflammation is better than dead white patches or odorous bacterial discharge). Throat infections do happen in reptiles, particularly ones going towards the lungs (what are called Respiratory Tract Infections) but these are commonly associated with additional symptoms such as wheezing, watery eyes, even in serious cases a sloshy sound inside the lungs.>
I love her so much and don't know what to do next. I've visited every website I can find and no one gives me substantial advice on what could be wrong.
I sure hope you can help me. This is costing me a fortune, as well. The last appt. at the vet was nearly $300 and now she wants me to go to an exotic pet specialist. Yikes! I'm not a Rockefeller! I want to do what I can to help this sweetie, but money is an issue.
<I do sympathise, and to some degree this has always been a problem with reptiles. They're comparatively cheap to buy and feed compared with mammal pets like dogs and cats, but vet bills can be similarly expensive. On top of that, the pool of vets out there with the skills to treat reptiles is often smaller and so more difficult to access, making reptile healthcare doubly expensive. The flip side of course is that kept properly reptiles tend to be remarkably disease-free, perhaps because they're often kept singly and away from any other reptile that might pass on a parasite or pathogen, something that can't be said about cats and dogs that encounter other cats and dogs all the time.>
What say you, Crew!!??
<My instinct here is that if the turtle hasn't eaten in two months, diddling around with food additives is probably pointless. Offer choice food items every day, but remove if uneaten. Force feeding is likely a
stress factor and probably does more harm than good. Your care hitherto must have been basically sound, because 19 years isn't a bad innings for a Red Ear Slider -- certainly a lot better than most of the pet store hatchlings can expect -- even if they can and do live 20-30 years under good conditions. I'd perhaps brace myself for one more trip to the vet, because I'm wondering if an intestinal blockage might be an issue, but beyond that, there's nothing obvious from what you've said that could explain the situation. I would optimise living conditions though. I'd remove the heater from the water, if used, and I'd double check the UV-B lamp especially is not life-expired (most have a 6-12 month useful lifespan). Wild turtles will go months without food during winter, so I don't think starvation is an imminent threat, but it's hard to say really.>
Thanks so much for any advice you can give me!
Sincerely, Catherine
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Feb Cal./MikeK
Hi Bob. Here is a February calendar for the WWM website.
<Thanks Mike. Will share. B>

Re: Sick Parrot Cichlid     1/28/20
Hi WWM Team,
I finished my Furan treatment in the tank, and my fish has been swimming around & seems a lot more like himself. The only issue now is, he still won’t eat. I have tried everything peas, frozen brine shrimp & blood worms. The strange thing is he is trolling the bottom looking for food but when I put it in there he just ignores it. He hasn’t pooped in a long time, I was thinking maybe he is constipated or has a swim bladder issue. Any advice on how to get him to eat again? I appreciate your time & help.
<Mmm; well, in case some/the issue is constipation. I would try moderate addition of Epsom Salt to the system. Do see Neale's pc. here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Otherwise I urge patience, offering some meaty or pelleted food daily. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Parrot Cichlid    1/28/20

Thank you

Re: Regarding Morays    1/27/20
Thank you for all this. Do you know what triggers the change in sex in those species that do change?
Is it once they reach a certain weight (which I find is often how it is with fish that go from female to male, so this is something I’ve hypothesized).
<The exact trigger is unknown (Have a good read here: https://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/449297). My best guess for moray eels is that it's age as well as the environment, specifically hormones of other fishes of the same species, which can delay a change in sex. Weight and muscle mass do influence such hormone induced processes (similar as human puberty is influenced by them), but are not necessarily the major trigger, which is indicated by the overlapping size distribution of the two sexes.>
And how long does the transition take, and how obvious are the differences?
<From my own limited observations this is a rather quick process, around two or three months on E. nebulosa, M. pavonina and R. quaesita. How obious it is depends on the species. In my opinion it is well visible on the teeth of E. nebulosa and other species with sexual dimorphic dentition once you have seen it. The color change of R. quaesita is also very striking. For M. pavonina it was less obvious in morphology and remains rather speculative.>
The reason I brought up jaw shape is because in my observation of many descriptions of G. melatremus, I’ve noticed that some larger ones also have a more developed lower jaw, which I’ve noticed can be an indicator of a change in sex in many fish species. Of course this is all anecdotal.
<G. melatremus is considered to change from female to male (protogynous hermaphrodite) in Michael's Reef Fishes vol. 1 without going into detail. This classification is spread online, because the book is very popular (it's a great book). On the other hand, L. Fishelson, who investigated sex change in morays in 1992, examined the gonads of 5 G. melatremus specimens and did not list this species as possible protogynous hermaphrodite. So, I don't think G. melatremus does change sex. Of course, I cannot exclude that a more developed lower jaw can be an indicator of sex (it does not even need to occur in relation to a sex change, could be simply reaching sexual maturity). It can also be related to bone growth because of the high stress this structure endures (you'll often see malformed, broken and healed lower jaws on morays. I believe this is the most damaged bone in this family). As long as no one has looked at a possible correlation of the gonads and jaw development, we simply do not know. Cheers, Marco.>

Large angels in same tank    1/27/20
Hi guys hope all is well,
<Hi Steve, mostly yes.>
I am planning on upgrading and getting a new tank it will be 90"×30"×26" which is 300gallons,
I'm planning the stocking for the tank and was wondering could I keep a scribbled angel an asfur angel and an emperor as the 3 big fish if all where added at the same time or would the tank be to small for all 3? If not could I keep a scribbled angel with either of the other two?
<I give you more than even odds that they will get along if you introduce them at the same time and if they are about the same size, be sure to add enough rockwork to diminish possible aggression due territoriality.>
I appreciate any help guys.
<You're most welcome. Wil.>

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