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Diodon hystrix Linnaeus 1758, the Spotted Burrfish. Circumtropical in distribution. To 28 inches in length in the wild. Costa Rica (Pacific side) 2011 

 Desktop size download & Link to Archived Marine Daily Pix
General FAQs
Updated 7/29/2014
Other Specialized Daily FAQs Blogs: Freshwater,
Ponds, Brackish, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs,
Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Nate Guerette, Rick Novy, Bobby Rudro, Jordan Stari, Sue Garrett, Darrel Barton,
Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Sabrina Sharp, James Gasta, Eric Russell, Chris Perivolidis, Lynn Zurik, Chuck Rambo, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized daily
Current Crew Bios., Not so current Crew Bios
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
PLEASE: Write reviews of my works on Amazon! I need your input. BobF

Note: BobF will be out diving (St. Thomas) 7/24-31. Hence dailies may be delayed.

Male Guppy Tank
Hi Guys,
This is a great website.
<Glad you like!>
I have a quick question - I recently set up a tropical aquarium (fully cycled with old media, 6 gallon) and added 4 male guppies to start.
<Will need more than 4... at least 6, and really, ten or more seems necessary for a male-only Guppy tank. They're aggressive animals in their way. Unfortunately for you, 6 gallons is far too small for Guppies. There won't be space for them to spread out and avoid each other, and even allowing the "inch per gallon" rule, 6 gallons doesn't allow for many Guppies! May I direct you to an article I wrote some time ago about
stocking small tanks; here:
Your tank would be ideal for, say, a male Betta. If you were feeling ambitious, you could alternatively try some true nano aquarium species, such as Heterandria formosa.>
Ph 7.4, temp 25C. We have 1 large lyre tail (duller silver blue body, blue tail, orange spots, 1.5-2 inch), 1 small yellow snakeskin (yellow and green with black spots, 1 inch), 1 very small yellow endler (yellow with black spots, 1/3 inch) and 1 tiny tuxedo endler (black with orange stripes and yellow spotted tail, 1/4 inch)). We don't want to add any females to avoid breeding. The tank also has lots of hiding places, 4 tall crypt plants, 4 medium Anubias, plenty of java moss and other little low light varieties, in addition to a large piece of driftwood leeching tannins and lots of large rocks to encourage hiding places and reduce eyeline between the fish.
<But do understand fish have a "distant touch" sense called the Lateral Line that means they're aware of things even if they can't see things, just by feeling changes in ambient water pressure. It's hard to describe to a human because we have to physically touch something to feel pressure. So while breaking up lines of sight is crucial, if the tank is very small, as yours is, fish may still be aware of "hidden" fish a few inches away using their lateral lines.>
I know it's early days (have only been in for 48 hours), but every single small guppy is chasing the lyre tail around, displaying to him and head butting him in the side on occasion. The lyre tail shows no sign of
aggression or display at all, and is happy to continually peck at the plants and look around the tank. None of this behaviour was present on the first day, but the second afternoon things seemed to be getting out of
hand! This morning things seem to be calming a bit, but the lyre tail is still chased every now and then, less incessantly but the behaviour is still there. He seems to alternate between avoiding the yellow snakeskin, or not caring at all, who is the main culprit of the chasing.
<And likely the dominant male.>
After reading many forums I'm guessing it's a combination of them believing the lyre tail is a female, are sorting out dominance or just being general active boys. There has been no biting that I can see - all tails are intact, but it puzzles me that especially the tiny tuxedo endler will flare out his fins and do little shimmying movements in front of the larger fish as a display, and join in on the chasing. On occasion he even does it to the lyre tail himself. There has been no overtly aggressive behaviour - no face offs, no circling, they always seem to be in a "T" formation.
<Mixing Endlers with common Guppies isn't a good idea; even where cross breeding won't happen, as here, Endlers are much smaller than common Guppies, making them far easier to bully. In the animal world, size matters.>
We are looking at adding some more males next week as suggested by our local fish store (as to not throw out the balance of a new fishless aquarium too much - have been adding nutrafin cycle and will be adding
Purigen in the filter media and SeaChem stress guard to the tank in the next couple of days), will this assist with the hassling? While the lyre tail doesn't seem that phased I want to try and help in any way that I can
to avoid stress and deaths, by hopefully spreading any attention around. I completely understand males will display this behaviour in new tanks and in all male tanks, but the order seems to be the wrong way around. Or maybe our tiny fish just have lots of guts to display and chase someone so big in comparison? The lyre tail doesn't seem to be dominant at all, yet is the main source of all attention.
<Indeed. They will create a hierarchy, though fish will move up and down as time passes. Generally what happens is the smallest fish gets picked on the most, and a curious thing about fish is that (under lab conditions anyway) the stress of being bullied causes growth rate to slow down, so smaller fish stay small, while bigger fish get bigger, and bully tends to get biggest of all. This doesn't hold true for all fish in all situations, but it's pretty widely seen in those fish species that have been studied in labs, and is an important issue in, for example, fish farming where you want all your fish to grow to about the same size.>
I'm also hoping to get some floating moss or plants in the next few days in case that will assist as well, as I've read guppies like to swim at the top of a tank.
<Yes. In the wild that's where you see them.>
Ours have been darting up and down the glass and all over the aquarium without staying in one particular area, so I'm not sure if this will be of help since they already have so many hiding places.
Another note (sorry, just trying to include everything), the height of the chasing and nudging behaviour was after the LED lights above the tank had been on for about 6 hours, and as soon as the blue moonlight mode was selected, they seemed to stop chasing as much. When the lights are off completely (the tank is in a well lit room of natural light (but out of direct sunlight) this also seemed to result in less chasing. Could the LED light be accentuating their colours and therefore increasing their need to display?
<Possibly, and certain colours may trigger certain behaviours, but I've seen Guppies in all sorts of tanks, and they're always pretty much Guppies when it comes to behaviour. They are daytime animals of course, so when the tank is darker they do become more quiescent.>
Thanks in advance for any suggestions,
<Basically, the tank is too small for the required number of Guppies; read, review, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>

Suggestions for first fish.  FW
Hi Crew,
<Hello Stephen,>
My tank (uk 46 gallon) has been in operation for over a month now (fishless cycle),
<With some source of ammonia, presumably?>
and the parameters currently read :
ammonia 0 (API testing kit for ammonia / nitrite / nitrate / pH) nitrite 0
nitrate 40 - 80 ppm (I haven't yet performed a major water change but will before my first fish is added)
pH 7.4 - 7.5 (was originally 7.6 - 7.8)
<Given how soft your water is, I would definitely use a pH buffer for pH 7.5 or pH 7.0.>
GH (Colombo test) = 1 (very low, I know, though perhaps this is due to my tank being immature?)
KH (as above) = 4 (as above)
<All sounds good. Obviously yes, pretty soft water, but that's good for many types of fish... pretty much all the common stuff from Southeast Asia, West Africa, South America.>
I was wondering what fish would you recommend (thinking of 'perhaps' only 1 to start with) when referring to the above water chemistry? I have a particular like and wish to add something that's a bottom feeder / catfish or loach, which will help with 'cleaning'. I do especially like kuhli loaches, though don't they require a more mature tank / lower pH?
<They'd be good choice once the tank was settled and you were sure it was running properly. But Corydoras would be ideal as starter fish, 4-5 specimens of a single species you happen like. Corydoras paleatus and Corydoras aeneus are the two easiest species, but most of the commoner species are pretty easy to keep in cycled tanks. Corydoras panda for example, or Corydoras julii. If you plan on keeping "hothouse flowers" like Angels or Gouramis that prefer temperatures above 25 C/77 F, then Corydoras
sterbai is the species to get, the others mostly preferring 22-25 C/72-77 F. When it comes to midwater fish, if we stick with a South American theme, then X-Ray Tetras, "False" Penguin Tetras and Emperor Tetras are all good, reliable first species that tolerate occasional problems without complaint.
They also tend to be reasonably disease-free, more than can be said for Neons!>
With regard to shelter / vegetation for a first inhabitant, I currently have two Amazon sword plants, a coconut shell cave with java moss covering / attached to it, and several clumps of java moss 'worked in' amongst the Colombo flora base substrate. I also have some Manzanita wood, which is gradually being saturated, and once ready, will have some java moss secured to it, too.
<All sounds great. Anubias would work well attached to the wood (I find it easier than Java fern) and potted Cryptocoryne species are usually reliable, particularly the extremely forgiving Corydoras wendtii
I should also add that I'm currently using tap water (softened with a filter), and have been adding water treatment conditioner by Aqua Care.
Kind Regards,
<Good luck, Neale.>

Lion fish not eating, and with a scab (?) cont.
Hello! I woke up this morning and this is a newer picture of his anal fins.
It looks like they are getting worse but I'm still very unsure of what this
could be. Thank you! Tiffany
<... looks like a continuing sore from a physical trauma. Just good water quality and nutrition suggested. See WWM re. BobF>

Lion fish not eating, and with a scab (?) or damage to his anal fin
<No need to send the same over-sized file pic twice>
First off I love your website, I have gone to it many times for help with
my lions and it has always been more than helpful! Unfortunately I need your advice on some problems with my newest lion. So, one of my lions I got about a week ago from my LFS. He is temporarily in a 72gal bow front with another small lion and a porcupine puffer.
<Large Puffers often prove incompatible w/ Scorpionfishes... the latter are too slow, often bitten by the former. Definitely can't compete for foods>
They all live very peacefully
and even share their food with each other. The new lion hasn't eaten since
we brought him home.
<Very unusual to not feed. See WWM re Pteroines>
The LFS told me he was eating frozen krill and live
rosy reds,
<These are very poor fare: See WWM re Thiaminase>

but every time we have fed he has shied away. I called my LFS
and they told me he was very shy and to use an airline tube with a paperclip on the end to feed him. Nothing has worked and I have tried about
every kind of frozen food and live fish. How can I get him to eat?

Not only
is he not eating but he has this weird area, I suppose, near his anal fins.
Do you have any idea what this is?
<As you state... an injury zone from...? A bite, sting, poke?>

He also has almost a mucous string
hanging from some of his spines and it was on the area yesterday that is in question. The nitrates are 0ppm,
<How is NO3 rendered thus?>

nitrite 0pmm, ammonia 0ppm, and ph 8.0,
water temp ranges from 74.8 F and 77.2 F. What can this be?
<As stated; and the reading... do you need help using the indices, search tool on WWM?>
Thank you so
much for your help! Tiffany
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Lion fish not eating, and with a scab (?) cont.

<Ms. T>
Thank you so much for your quick reply. Where can I find the WWM re? Thank
you again!
<... the search tool.....: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liondisfaqs.htm

and the linked files above. B>

Question about information organization. Mar. disease... the beg. of a beautiful friendship/collaboration possibly
There is so much bad information on the internet about how to diagnose and treat disease in fish. I am trying to diagnose and understand how to treat a puffer fish I have and read through most of the "FAQs" on your site.
However, the information is very hard to parse.
<Mmm; do you have suggestions on how to improve the organization; get what is useful to folks more easily?>

Often the response is "go read THIS" which is just another serious of QandA style sessions where good information is very hard to pluck out. Do you have anything that is formatted that covers.
1. How to diagnose disease.
<Am in the process of writing books re>

a. I have microscopes, patience, brain power etc. Get is technical as you need to.
<Ahh! I would invest in Ed Noga (either addn.) "Fish Disease. Diagnosis and Treatment". Avail. as an e-book I believe>
2. A well-structured listing of treatments that have been verified and actually work and why.
<Ed's works are the best... I have them, most all written on the general subject>
3. A listing of commercial products that are bogus/scams.
<This is best on WWM. As we don't take the monies (for advertising) from such partial to total scam outfits; we can and do "name names'>

I can clearly feel a sense of frustration by the repeat questions and the lack of research people do before asking.
<Ah, you are perceptive>
I feel if you had a well-structured document instead of a dump of QandA that you would get many less repeat questions. If you help me pull all of the information together I would love to format it, code it and put it up on your site (for free) for others to consume.
<Oh! Am REALLY very interested in coordinating with you re this possibility... There is a HUGE need for such an inexpensive, hobbyist-version (less technical, more practical) vis a Untergasser, Gratzek, Blasiola, Noga et al.s works>
As far as puffers go the general gist of what I read is.
1. Most commercial treatments are snake oil.
<Not most; as in more than half; but a sizable (too large) percentage>

2. Clean the water, provide a large tank and do nothing.
<Mmm; not really... best is prevention... through good species, specimen selection... Next, provision of optimized, stable settings, Third: isolation, prophylactic measures to rest up new livestock, knock off
external issues, treatment for lumenal.... somewhere near last are details re materia medicae>
Nicholas Wellinghoff
<We'll be chatting... I want you to think how we might best "get together" the organization for this/these in-print and e-works... Should we have a simple flow chart of what's what, what to do, in ADDN. to a book-length tome? Should there be a separate freshwater and marine work? Bob Fenner>

Planning a 55gallon/ BR
Hello, my name is Sarah.
<I'm Bob; and will leave your query here (in the Brackish folder) for the more able Neale Monks to respond>
I've recently acquired a new-used 55 gallon aquarium, and now that the dust, mineral buildup, dead spiders, and cobwebs have been cleaned from the tank and stand, I've been doing as much research as I possibly can to learn how to best set up a properly functioning ecosystem in it.
The tank was custom-built for a hide-beneath saltwater skimmer filtration system, made in 2006 @ Aqua Clear Aquatics in Jacksonville, Fl. Its dimensions are 4' across by 12.5" back by 1'7" deep. Must have previously had gravel substrate as it has its age-worth of scratches on the inside-front panel;
before I put anything in, is there a good/safe way to buff those out?
<Mmm, yes; do you know how to use the search tool on WWM? Sigh...
Since I plan on running a brackish tank and there won't be high salinity to make enough bubble froth for the filter to work well, we removed the skimmer system and its rounded corner panel then patched its two plumbing holes in the tank bottom with a square of plexi-glass and aquarium sealant.
<Worth using the skimmer as an aerator just the same>
After reading numerous pages from wetwebmedia.com in all my searches, seeing a greater concern for the health of the fish in the aquariums than for their owners made me smile. I trust that here is the best site to ask for aquarium advice. I just hope there isn't a limit.
<Mmm; nope. Or at least no one's gone over a/the limit the last twenty years>
Even after days of researching, I still have lots of questions and things I would like to double-check.
I currently have two operating aquariums; a 10gallon with my adult Sailfin mollies (also a handful of young Platies, mollies and a swordtail that I raised from birth) and 3 golden dojo loaches (sadly, I am aware that the temperature I'm keeping them in shortens their maximum life span.); and a gallon where I keep the younger female mollies (to keep them from getting impregnated while they're still too small and "prego-sploding" I don't know the real term for the ailment) and the plentiful 2 separate broods of Molly fry.
Luckily, before I could begin to wonder what I would do with these hundred fish when they're grown, (as if by destiny or the hand of god) a friend of a coworker @ my boyfriend's workplace decided that the new house in Indiana is too small for the 55gallon tank. The previously mentioned coworker, Angie, delivered it here for free. Everyone at my boyfriend's workplace knows I've got this tank and that I'm refurbishing it. And I'll be damned if I don't set it up properly. (especially if it was god-sent. LoL!)
I plan to buy two 70+ gallon approved hang-on-back filters (is that too much or better for maintenance?),
<Is right about the right number, capacity. Not too much>
two large temperature adjustable heaters, air pumps (already have lots of tubing and bubble stones), enough pond soil and silica sand for a few cm of each for substrate (I read the entire page entitled "Nice Bottoms"), and lots of live plants. I'll be keeping the water at, or slightly above 20% salinity and 80degrees F. ( just a warning: here come the questions)
<I'd keep the temp. a bit lower. We'll see what Neale states>
-What kind of aquatic plants grow best in these conditions?
<Posted: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brackishsubwebindex/bracplants.htm
(Any pics of these would be greatly appreciated as I can recognise leaf pattern/structure better than most petshop employees can tell one Latin name from another.)
<These are also posted on WWM... see/use the search tool at the top of  every page>
-anything that I could trim and grow free-floating starts? (for a possible.. future guppy population maybe)
-if I purchased the mossy algae-rocks from the petshop aquariums, would they survive?
<Cladophora? Might at lower salinity>
could that algae spread onto other things?
<Not likely, no>
can these petshop plants be carriers of unwanted Ich parasites/fungi/bacterium?
and if so, should they get the same quarantine treatments as new fish?
<Yes; best to isolate/quarantine (in a separate system) for a few weeks>
-How can I promote the growth of a "carpet" or "mat" of green algae while preventing diatom blooms?
<More light, nutrients mostly>
-Is there enough active carbon in the blue filter cartridge replacements  to affect the pH? If so, should I remove it from them?
<Not a worry; very little GAC activity in a matter of hours from these>
-I want to be sure when I go buy a big bag of salt; What is the difference between marine salt and aquarium "tonic "salt?
<Marine/synthetic sea salt is a mix of predominant salts found in real ocean water; aquarium salt is almost always just sodium chloride (see Wiki re salts....)>
The small carton I have now says it is for freshwater aquariums, but also says that it is made from
evaporated seawater. This has me confused.
<It can, will do; but I'd invest in synthetic seawater mix>
-Having lots of trouble finding pond soil and silica sand. What brand names
or specifics should I look for (the do's and don'ts in their ingredients) to know they're safe for aquarium use and chemically inert? ....Would the decorative colored silica sand from Home Depot be acceptable?
-Is there a sure way to keep plants from being uprooted?
<A few ways; best to plant carefully in deeper gravel or pots>
If not, I plan to place smallish smooth river rocks around root systems in the substrate to keep any diggers from harming the plant life and hopefully won't hurt the fish if they happen to run into the rocks.
-I won't be moving any fish into the 55gallon until after it is set up, planted, cycled, and pH tested; about how long should I let the tank cycle?
a few days to a week maybe?
<Depends on technique/s used to start cycling; but can be this time frame>
-When I do move the adults to the 55gallon, my 10gallon will become my fry tank, and the 5gallon will be the temporary quarantine tank for any new-bought fish. What species of non-violent fishes could co-exist with my mollies in their environment?
<Best for you to do the long search through the Brackish livestock sections... sigh number two:
scroll down....>
(bright colors, pretty patterns, and fancy fins really catch my eye, but crazy prices are a major deterrent) I know that Platies, swordtails, and mollies could try to crossbreed and I don't want to end up with broods of stillborn/sterile fry. I'm not sure if guppies would try to, but they're very expensive for their size and I have
little experience with them.
-I want to be sure to have lots of green algae growth in this tank, as the community fish I'm considering are mostly vegan. Are there any pretty plecostamus species that thrive in the tropical brackish environment who won't eat away at or damage the plant life?
<Some; yes>
-I really like how the dojo loaches resemble eels; are there other loaches with the elongated body shape that would actually prefer this temperature and salinity? a group of kuhli loaches would be easily attainable for me (petshop preorder required), but I want to know everything about any new fish before buying anymore.(no more risk & regret)
<I applaud your thoroughness>
-When the 55gallon is fully established, before it overpopulates, I want to get 1 (or a small group, if its better for them) slow/semi blind predatory fish. I've considered possibly getting a few dragon gobies or Ropefish to play the part of natural selection in my ecosystem,
<Mmm; these will eat your adults as well>
but if there is a type of pretty/colorful brackish eel that prefers singularity (or a group that won't grow big enough to eat All the other fishes) and isn't too violent; that would be worth the special order.
Thank you all so, so much for taking the time to read all of my concerns.
I will be excitedly awaiting your response. The sealant finished its 48hour cure time last night and I can't wait to get this started!
Multitudes of thanks to you from;
- Sarah, Robert, & our little fishy fan, Blaise
<Thank you for sharing! Bob Fenner>

Dwarf lionfish food? Reading on WWM? Plus Ophiuroid comp.
Hey guys, first off great site. My name is Dave, and I have a 120 gallon tank with a 60 gallon sump/fuge. It's a mixed reef (sps, lps and softies).
As for fish, I have a pair of Ocellaris clownfish, bi-color blenny, starry blenny, coral beauty angel fish, some green Chromis, a couple pj  cardinals, an engineer goby, a mimic lemon peel tang and a dwarf lionfish.
<The Lion can/will inhale many of these other fishes in time>
I realize some of his tank mates can potentially be food for him but its been well over a year
<Oh! Maybe not>
and aside from him eating the peppermint shrimp I haven't had any issues yet, he even lets the cleaner shrimp clean him. I've had the dwarf lionfish since he was less then 2 inches and now he's fully grown.
It took about 8 months to finally get him to eat frozen food. Here's my question, I've been feeding him frozen table shrimp that I thaw in some Selcon. I know that it's important to provide more of a variety, but what are some other good choices? I recently bought a back of mixed frozen seafood from trader joes that has shrimp, squid and scallops.
<Ah good>
I haven't given him any squid or scallops because I was unsure whether or not those were okay to feed him.
<They are... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dwflionfdgfaqs.htm
He won't eat frozen mysis shrimp, I think it's because they're to small so he doesn't even bother with them. I feed him smaller meals every other night rather then bigger meals less often. There are times when he's hanging out under his overhang and I'll notice his color kind of fades,
<Natural behavior; not to worry>
but it instantly brightens back up the second he moves. Other then that he seems to be in good health. He's pretty impatient, he comes up to the surface and spits water at me when it's feeding time.
I appreciate any info you guys give me and thank you for taking the time to read my question.
<The reading>
Oh and another quick question. Which sea star is more aggressive a serpent or a brittle?
<Depends on the species... and like newts and salamanders; all serpent stars are Brittlestars, but not vice versa>
Which one is more likely to make a meal out of its tank mates? I'll look on one website or forum and its says the serpent sea star is the aggressive one then another site or forum says no the brittle sea star is the aggressive one. I have a pretty big brittle about 11"-12" that hasn't done anything yet I was just wondering if it could be an issue.
<Again; the species... need to determine first. Bob Fenner>

Re: Unidentified Spiny Eel Fast Respirations   7/27/14
Thank you for the timely response Neale. I did research Rhodophyta and luckily its not the one.
<Do recall that Red Algae, Rhodophyta, are so named because of how they appear when preserved, not in life. The freshwater species aren't red.
They're usually some shade of green in fact. Aquarium varieties of brush algae, hair algae and beard algae are all Red Algae, taxonomically speaking.>
This is a green algae that grows almost as little algae hairs that are actually branched. Seems very tough to tear apart. A few sites, mostly out of UK were calling it blanket weed, seemed to be a good match.
<Indeed, Cladophora spp; common pond species here. Not as often seen in aquaria as similar-looking Red Algae. The famous "Marimo Moss Balls" are very closely related, so if you know what the algae in these "plants" looks like, you'll recognise Cladophora. Fortunately, Cladophora are consumed by Siamese Algae Eaters, algae-eating shrimps, etc.>
Unfortunately I'm unable to sends pics, I've lost the connection to my camera. Thanks for your help. Brandon
<Welcome. Neale.>

Majestic Angel   7/27/14
I hope you can advise me before I lose my Majestic Angel. I have him over 5 years and he was doing very well until I introduced a new tank mate to the aquarium (100 gal- no other inhabitants)
<Mmm; this is too small a volume for a Majestic>

I selected a bicolor fox face and the two had some adjustment problems but after 4 months I thought they were getting along. Recently I noticed my angel was off his food . I thought he was being picky and was not overly concerned until he stopped eating entirely. The only symptoms I can see are rapid breathing.
<... got poked maybe>

Today, in desperation, I purchase live brine shrimp and he went for it! Immediately after he dashed about the tank and hid in the corner. This made me think he might have gill problems.
After doing much research on your web site I found an article on gill flukes with Prazi Pro as a treatment. Do you think this might be his problem?
<Unlikely... Siganids don't share much worm parasite fauna w/ Pomacanthids... again; a possibility though>
I do not want to medicate for the wrong reason. I also read a great article from Bob Fenner that introducing new inhabitants to an established tank might cause problems.
<Ah yes>
I regret buying the fox face as I had no trouble before then. (The Majestic’s only other tank mate was a Dwarf Lion. I had him 6 years before he died. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks
<Well; the simple first choice (serendipity) is the first route I'd go: Remove the Rabbitfish. Bob Fenner>

Skinny clown loaches   7/27/14
Hi crew!
I'm writing today to get some advice about my clown loaches. I've been trawling the web and especially your FAQ on loaches, but the more I read the more confused I get.
<Oh dear!>
So quite some time ago (perhaps a year ago) I bought two more loaches for my community tank. Both quickly got very thin and one died in a few days.
<Not uncommon.>
I started reading up about loaches and worms and found lots of stuff about loaches being very hard to treat and so on, so expected the other guy to follow suit soon after. He never did and despite being virtually skeletal is still holding on.
<Thank heavens for genetic variation, eh?>
I thought that maybe by keeping him in a healthy tank and feeding him well he'd pick up, but he never has. And now one of my larger loaches is starting to show signs of thinning along the dorsal side. My tank gets weekly 25% water changes/gravel vac and my parameters are okay (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate always well under 20ppm). Temp fluctuates a few degrees either side of 25℃ depending on whether it's winter or summer. My pH is perhaps a little high (about 7.6) but I gave up trying to chemically alter it years ago as my understanding is that it's better to have a stable pH than to be constantly trying to mess with it.
<For sure, yes. Clown loaches aren't especially fussy about water chemistry. They prefer soft water but can and do thrive in hard water. Water quality and, as you say, water chemistry stability fare much more important.>
I also don't think my loaches are malnourished. They get shrimp pellets and love the algae pellets my Plecos get.
<Sounds good.>
They also eat all the floating food my top feeding fish get (flakes, brine shrimp, shelled peas). I also drop in the raw vegetable off cuts from dinner prep which they along with the Plecos always demolish.
<Also good.>
When they feed they get nice big pot bellies but those two don't seem to be converting it to body fat.
<Well, the loaches aren't, anyway... but something inside the loaches probably is.>
So unless there's something else I'm neglecting to consider, I'm guessing they either have intestinal worms or something similar?
Which brings me to my main question: is there anything I can do to treat these loaches without hurting any other fish in my tank? Quarantining them is sadly not an option for me so I'm wondering about medicated food perhaps. Also, if you have any advice on specific types/brands available here in Aus it would be much appreciated. I read in some of the answers in the FAQ that some medications can harm loaches and to check with your LFS, but all my LFSs are completely clueless and have given me some pretty terrible and harmful advice in the past so I no longer trust anything they tell me.
Thanks in advance,
<Worms and/or Spironucleus-type Protozoans are very common in farmed Clown Loaches resulting in the chronic wasting you describe. It's sometimes called "Skinny Disease" and is treated with Levamisole hydrochloride, widely sold as a dewormer for farm animals, ideally alongside Metronidazole for the Protozoans. Neither are toxic to Loaches; do read here:
Good luck, Neale.>

On NPR, "Sixth-Grader's Science Project Catches Ecologists' Attention"; re: Pterois volitans, minimum salinity>    7/27/14
> Hello Bob,
> An interesting piece of work from a 6th grader.
> http://www.npr.org/2014/07/20/333192387/sixth-graders-science-fair-finding-shocks-ecologists
<Ah yes>
> The follow-up article is worth reading, too. As NPR have pointed out in their addendum, some lab work had already been done in this direction.
> http://absci.fiu.edu/2014/07/just-because-people-keep-asking/ >
> What’s interesting to me is that it supports something I’d read 20+ years ago (in the now defunct Aquarist & Pondkeeper magazine) about Pterois and Dendrochirus spp being found in estuaries in South/Southeast Asia, but not seen much reported in the aquarium literature. I’ve mentioned this online a few times but without experimental work to back it up, have never described these fish as truly euryhaline.>
> Overall a reminder that motivated aquarists can (and do) provide useful raw data and observations (breeding behaviour, intraspecific communication to name but two) for the wider ichthyological, biological community. One of relatively few scientific fields where this is the case.>
> Cheers, Neale
<Does bear sharing. Cheers, BobF>

Unidentified Spiny Eel Fast Respirations     7/26/`14
Greetings Crew, I wanted to give you guys an update on my new Spiny Eels. I bought this 20g tank second hand(actually given to me), which included 2 eels, 2 Panda Corydoras and a pair of guppy. This tank is heavily planted with Elodea densa, Amazon swords, hornwort, Java moss and recently what looks like blanket weed(seems like a very tough algae to the touch)
<Most likely some type of Rhodophyta, colloquially "red algae". Difficult to eradicate directly; physical removal (of infected leaves/rocks), then prevention of further growth is what works. Favours tanks with indifferent plant growth, low to middling water currents, ample light, and medium to high nitrate levels. Rarely seen in tanks with lots of water movement, fast-growing plants (floating Indian Fern ideal for a quick fix) and sensible nitrate/phosphate levels.>
and thick sand substrate. I've never encountered this blanket weed before, but I'm trying to remove it from tank. I would say the blanket weed has taken about 5% of tank. This tank is only filtered by a HOB filter but I do 25% water changes every three days and keep nitrate almost at zero. This tank is unheated, but I just took a temp reading of 77.8F and PH of 8.1. My water supply is "hard".
The eels initially hid for about two weeks but come out regularly now.
Although I use a moonlight LED and still haven't got an ID on these guys but I will say they are peaceful to one another and Corys (very mellow). I have been feeding them guppy fry and red wiggler compost worms. Also tank is outside so they may get additional foods(lots of midges around). They are very plump.
<Do send along a photo if you can. Relatively few species are regularly traded -- Macrognathus siamensis (often as Macrognathus aculeatus), Mastacembelus favus (often as Mastacembelus armatus) and of course the famous Fire Eel, Mastacembelus erythrotaenia. But occasionally you'll see Macrognathus pancalus, Macrognathus aral, Macrognathus circumcinctus, Macrognathus mekongensis and various "Afromastacembelus" species from the Rift Valley and Congo.>
My concern is one of the eels is breathing rapidly.
<How warm is the water? Is there enough oxygen, specially at the bottom of the tank, an often overlooked aspect. Increasing/improving water circulation will help, and possibly adding extra aeration too (e.g., a spray bar or venturi). Is water chemistry odd for the species? Hard water should be fine for most provided it isn't extreme, but some are pickier than others. What's water quality like? None of the spiny eels is "hardy" in the aquarium sense of the word, despite being pretty adaptable creatures in the wild.>
He will raise his head out of sand for long periods of time. He has seemed active and is feeding. I was wondering if the tank was lacking oxygen but the other eel doesn't seem to show same symptoms. Could the blanket weed be irritating?
<Not as such, but may indicate lack of water flow.>
Also he doesn't show any outward sign of infection in any way. I'm hoping this isn't a parasite issue. What are your thoughts? Also should I eradicate blanket weed 100% or permit a little to grow?
<Rhodophyta are rarely welcome in aquaria, and rarely seen in stable, healthy aquarium; would review and act accordingly.>
Thanks for the great site. Aloha Brandon
<Most welcome. Neale.>

African tank (not Rift Lake)       7/26/`14
Dear Crew,
Hello, first off, I would like to commend you on such a wonderful job that you all do!
I have a 30 gallon (ish) freshwater tank. The tank is 30" x 12.5" x 19", and has an eggcrate cover. I would like to make it into an African oddball tank. The fish I plan on using would be an African Butterflyfish, a leopard Bushfish, a Senegal bichir, and a pair of Kribs.
<Nice fishes, collection; but need more room than a thirty. Perhaps twice this with/when the bichir is of size>

Aquascaping: I would like to grow Dracaena sanderiana
<Mmm; not an aquatic plant... won't live well or long underwater>
out of the eggcrate,

with maybe the roots immersed in the water. If I only use fresh-cut shoots, would they eventually begin to have the bamboo cane look?
<Possibly; though can be toxic>
Or would the shoots remain like shoots? How far into the water could I immerse the plants before they started not thriving?
Just the white/roots; or planter base if it's already growing in this>
I think it would look really cool
if I could see the bichir weaving between bamboo canes,
<Look to some of the members of the genera Vallisneria and Sagittaria>

but I don't want to sacrifice a few plants for my whims. I also plan on using both free floating and planted water sprite to provide cover for the African butterfly fish and the Bushfish.
<A good choice>
Would it be better to grow some Anubias nana var dwarf on Mopani wood immersed then put it underwater to prevent algae growth while attaching?
<"Six of one...">
I would like to take some of the Mopani wood and make half the tank look like a tangle for the Kribs to breed and the bichir to weave, and the other half with the D. sanderiana/water sprite for the Bushfish/bichir if the Kribs breed.
Fish: I know that the African Butterflyfish might require live food at first, so have started a hydei fruit fly culture for it. Are the fruit flies too small for the fish?
<Should be fine if the fish recognizes them. May have to use aquatic insect larvae or crustaceans for a while>
How many would you recommend per feeding and how often?
<Five twice a day>
I also plan on weaning it onto freeze-dried bloodworms and cichlid pellets as a staple. I know that most people like to use crickets, but I don't think I could handle the crickets.
The Bushfish (for clarification: Ctenopoma acutirostre) I understand will also require live food at first. I have some white cloud mountain minnow fry from this summer's breeding project, but am wondering: do the wcmm fry have thiaminase?
<Not much; no>
I know that feeder goldfish do, as do fathead minnows, but what about the wcmm? I plan on weaning the Bushfish to frozen bloodworms/mysis/brine shrimp as soon as possible. How do you suggest weaning?
<Just starting... very likely to accept w/o much time going by>
I'm thinking of giving it live fry, followed by frozen fry, then frozen foods via turkey baster. If this will work, how do you suggest painlessly killing the fry?
<Better to add live>
The Kribs (P. pulcher) seem big enough to withstand the bichir and the Bushfish. I also think they might provide a tad of color in a predominantly brown tank. I have had experience with convict cichlid breeding in the past, but are Kribs as proliferant?
<Not as; no>
I'm hoping that the bichir and the Bushfish will take care of large amounts of fry, leaving the parents and
me with fewer fry. Would this work since the Bushfish and bichir are nocturnal?
<Only time can tell; but in a thirty gallon, likely all fry will be consumed>
They would get spirulina pellets and plankton/krill sticks.
The bichir (Polypterus senegalus)I know gets to 12" in size...which might be a tad small maybe?
<Not small; but won't get this big in a thirty>
I saw one at Petsmart, and had to resist the impulse buy! Again, live foods might have to be used, so more wcmm fry?
<Insect larvae, earthworms, frozen/defrosted meaty foods.... See WWM re>
Hopefully, it would take the plankton/krill sticks and frozen bloodworms and maybe frozen daphnia?
Miscellania: Before when I had the tank stocked with fish, I would add water conditioner, and use a garden hose to fill it up. Something tells me that these fish would either jump, or not appreciate it. I have a RO/DI unit for my saltwater and shrimp tanks, so would you recommend that instead?
<Depends on your tapwater quality. I would NOT use just RO, RO/DI>
If so, what pH should I buffer to? 6.0? 7.0?
<... see WWM re all these species. Likely somewhere near neutral; but with some alkalinity>
The filter I have so far is rated for the 30 gallon, but with the large predators, should I increase water changes/ get a bigger filter?
<Assuredly yes>
At the rate that the filter runs at the moment, the Butterflyfish shouldn't be bothered by excess flow.
Would 33% weekly/bimonthly changes manage the bioload?
<I'd do up to 25% weekly; per the SOP on WWM>
I understand that all of these fish have been captive bred, so where would I find captive bred fish?
<Stores, fish clubs, the Net>
There is a big event coming up soon, so my family wants me to have it finished by November. Could I get this done in that time?
Thank you so much!
a person under 18
<Welcome; someone much older. Bob Fenner>

Interrupted ich treatment, FW, mixed plants, fishes, invert.s      7/24/14
Greetings Wet Web Media Crew from the Mile High City! I truly appreciate your site and the immense amount of knowledge contained therein. I am currently in need of advice regarding ich treatment and, despite days of reading, have not found a solution to my particular situation.
<Oh? Oh!>
My tank specifications are as follows: 36 gallon bowfront aquarium, Aqua Clear 50 hang on back filter, National Geographic IFS30 internal power filter (recently added to aid water movement.
<Natl. Geo.?>
In this capacity it works marvelously, cannot recommend its use as an actual filter due to the small
media chambers), Jager 100w fully adjustable submersible heater, fluorite/sand mixed substrate, 1 large chunk of Mopani driftwood, several small to mediums chunks of granite, and planted with crypts, Anubias nana, Amazon swords, and another plant that I cannot recall the name of.
<Mmm; the wood, gravel, biota... absorb medications>

Livestock includes: 4 Dwarf Neon Rainbows, 2 Blue Rams, 8 Glowlight Tetras, 4 Neon Tetras (used to be 5, see below), 1 Peppered Cory, 1 Sterbai Cory, 2 Albino Corys, 1 Bamboo Shrimp, unknown number of ghost shrimp (mostly hide under the driftwood, but can see a number of antennae waving around if I shine a light in there), 1  2 ZebrMystery Snail, and a Nerite Snails.
Water parameters are as follows: Temp 80°~82° F (mid summer conditions). I do not have the means to purchase an aquarium chiller and cannot reliably change out ice packs to maintain lower temperatures. I could be wrong but I believe a constant, less than ideal temperature would be better than the fluctuating temperatures ice packs would cause. Any advice on this is welcome. PH 7.5, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates ~30 (I cannot differentiate between the different shades of orange on my test kit, but at least it is not red!) My tap water contains .25 Ammonia and at least 5 Nitrates.
This past Sunday night (07/20/2014), I noticed one of my Neon Tetras had wedged himself between a rock and the glass (rock has since been moved). I had to euthanize him because his tail and fins were completely gone. This unusual set of circumstances prompted me to take a head count and examine
all my fish. Upon examination, I found that both rams had 3 or 4 white spots. The rams are recent additions. They were quarantined for 2 weeks.
During that time, they both were swimming and eating normally with no outward signs of illness. The breakout began approximately 10 days after being introduced to the main tank.
The pet stores were already closed for the night when I found the white spots, so I spent several hours reading about ich and how to treat it.
Many of the treatment options recommended did not sound like a good idea given my live stock and after much debate, I decided to raise the temperature in my tank to 86°(slowly) and pick up some Kordon Ich Attack the next day.
<I applaud the quick action; raising the water temp. (though hard on Neons); but am not a fan of the herbal med. used here. It rarely works under "real aquarium conditions">

In the morning, the number of spots on the rams had doubled and all other fish in the tank (except the cories) had developed 1 or 2 spots each.
After picking up Ich Attack, I did a 40% water change, removed the carbon from my filter, and added a double dose of Ich Attack. By dinner time, the spots on the rams had doubled again! One rainbow now had 8 spots and all others were the same. Fearing that the situation might get out of control, I went back to the pet store again and bought some API Super Ick Cure powder packets. I then removed the most adversely affected fish (rams and rainbow) to the quarantine tank for more aggressive treatment with the Super Ick Cure.
<Mmm; can be toxic...>

All spots have been gone from all fish in both tanks since about lunchtime Tuesday (Yay!). This is where we get to the crux of my problem. On Friday morning, we are supposed to leave for a family camping trip with the in laws (lucky me) and won't be back until Sunday night. From all the reading I've done, I gather that treatment should continue for AT LEAST one week minimum (usually longer) after the ich has disappeared from the fish. Of the few people I trust to follow excessively detailed written instructions,
only 2 would be able to stop in twice a day to dose meds, check temperatures, etc. Both have declined my request due to their own lack of knowledge and that I will be unreachable in the event of an emergency.
<Perhaps a friendly fish store can recommend a service>
I plan on doing a water change to remove Super Ick Cure and adding a cycled filter from another tank for the rams and rainbow in quarantine.
However, the water change will remove the meds 12 hours sooner than stated on the directions. Will this cause the meds to be less effective (like antibiotics?)

What are the odds that I'll have to treat again when I come back?
<Can't say>
The temperature in the quarantine tank is 84° F. It's as high as I could get it to go with my cheapy back up heater. Will not having the temperature at 86° F increase my odds of needing to medicate again?
<I'd put all in water of 86-88 F.>

Also, I will not be able to add Ich Attack to the main tank for the duration of my absence. Should I set up something to drip it into the tank while I'm gone or leave it be? Will heat alone be enough to keep things under control while I'm gone?
<The heat itself should effect a cure>

Your expert input in this matter is very much appreciated. In the 7 years I've been keeping fish, I've been very lucky. This is my first experience with ich in any of my tanks. Naturally this would happen when I have to be away from home ;-)
Thank you so much for your time, and sorry about the novel!
<No worries; welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: Interrupted ich treatment     7/24/14

Dear Bob,
A quicker tech support answer I have never received! Kudos to you and the rest of the crew for especially speedy response time.
I do have one follow up question. If I put the fish in the quarantine tank in the main tank to make sure their water is 86°F, should I give them a "bath" in tank water to wash off residual medication?
<No bath>
Or will there not be enough of it to affect the tank?

I worry for my bamboo shrimp. It's the only thing in the tank with a name (Jazz Hands :-). I would be really miffed if he died due to something as preventable as cross contamination.
For your information - National Geographic now has there own line of small pet products including a full line of aquarium gear.
<Interesting... of all things, have/had never encountered>
The products are carried exclusively at the chain store PetSmart. Proceeds go towards
animal conservation efforts. Press release can be found here:
Thanks again!
<Welcome. BobF>

Frustrations... NO3 high, pH too low... mysterious fish losses? Predation     7/24/14
Hey there bob. I have my tank running the best it has in probably ten years. Fish are healthy, skimmers working properly and my nitrates are a manageable 40 thanks to bio pellets .
<... .what happened w/ the CO2?>

One issue I have is fish loss. Last week I lost a blue ring angel I had for a while doing really well. Came home to find him swimming around with both eyes gone, torn out. I put him out of his misery, felt horrible. Nice fish too.
Chalking it up to not every or every fish gets along, today I came home and my aregula (so?)
<Look it up>
butterfly also suffered some the same fate. Healthy one day, the next torn up with both eyes missing. The most aggressive fish I have are a powder blue and a porcupine puffer.
Is this something people just come to expect with fowlrs, or is it maybe something I should be doing differently,
feeding more than twice per day etc?
<...? Yes... READ on WWM>
Very upset and starting to see why people opt for more peaceful, reef tanks.
RE: Frustrations     7/24/14

Ah yes, c02. A friend of the family is a home inspector who is going to set up his meter in various parts of the house. He doesn't believe it is an issue, but promised to run the tests to confirm.
<Am very interested in knowing the results>
In the mean time, after speaking with American marine, and comparing it to another ph meter, he wants me to send it back to exchange, as it showing issues calibrating? As a test, I mixed up new saltwater outside in fresh air for 24 hours, and at 12 alk, measured 7.8 ph. According to randy
Farley, that simply is not possible outside.
<Something; again... is not right here>
I will let you know how the co2 tests come out . Thanks
<Thank you. BobF>

Help with Problem Bees at pond     7/24/14
We have a pond with a bee problem. They gather every day at our pond to drink. Stung a member of my family the other day. The problem here is we cannot spray with pesticide because of the fish living in the pond. Do you have any ideas on how i can drive them off?
<Best to place pans of water for the bees to use... near the limits of the property. Bob Fenner>
Bee repellants, smoke, water? Anything nontoxic that might help? Any help here would be appreciated. I also e-mailed a beekeeper, but they have no responded yet. Thank you.


Please please respond ASAP.
My husband came into the room because he emptied water and said the turtle don't look good. I went in the bathroom and all of her limbs are limp, her eyes are open, she is non responsive, won't poke her head out, won't try to bite when fingers are close. She is shedding as usual, shell is not soft, eyes won't blink, around neck, shoulder, head area looks white almost pale.
I looked up reasons why and it said possible drowning or some illness/disease starting with a s. I tried the drowning method. Pulling her head out and stretching out all limbs... not sure what to do next. I am at work. Bout to call a herpetological vet, don't have money to treat, hopefully they can give advice over the phone, antibiotics inexpensive or none needed, just time. But if we have to bring her in and have to pay
right then, I may tell them to put her down:( She is my baby. My in laws visited from Brasil and bought it initially for my 2 daughters, but I have been caring for her and she is mine :) PLEASE HELP! She is still in same condition when I left for work this morning. If I didn't have to work I would have stayed home to find a solution.
We have had the turtle since 2006 when it was a baby. We call her a girl but not sure exactly after research:) My husband put the turtle in bucket of water a few days ago, OUTSIDE. Not sure how many. We used to keep her in aquarium, but she seemed to like it better outside. She has never been sick, except a cracked shell about 4 years ago, but when I came home yesterday 07/21/14, I brought the bucket in because the water was filthy.
We live in Santa Clarita where the temp is about 90-100+ most days. Been pretty cool since she was outside. I forgot to empty her water after coming home from 2 full time jobs and busy doing other stuff:(
EMAIL ME AT XXX.com or if possible call me at 310-XXX or my husband Rodrigo at 714-XXZX if I don't answer because I am at work. I line in southern California.
<OK - sorry to say that things don't look good just from what you're saying.
When I suspect drowning I do as you do - I place the head downward so that any water in the lungs does drain and move the limbs in and out is what we hope is an attempt to drive circulation. When not moving the limbs I place them somewhere warm and, as always, head downward.
I can tell you that I have seen a turtle recover. 6 hours later I come back to dispose of the little thing and it's looking up at me... but it's rare.
Keep her warm and dry and prod her rear limbs periodically -- and hope.
I wish I could do more.>

Leaking Pond /Darrel (!)
Dear Bob,
A year ago I corresponded with you (and appreciated your helpful answers!)
about building a pond. I followed your advise and hired somebody to do the mixing of concrete. He used a bit of concrete on the walls over chicken wire, but then covered the bottom and walls of the pond with Multiset modified thin-set mortar for floor and wall tiles (by Custom Building Products company).
The pond is slowly leaking and I believe that water permeates the mortar as it is probably not designed for continuous exposure to water and under pressure to boot. I can see a wet strip of mortar above the water line where the water presumably seeps in by capillary action. Is there anything I could do to make the surfaced waterproof? Preferably cover/paint it with something rather than using unit for which I would need special equipment.
I would prefer to do it myself as I do not trust the guy who did it anymore. (In addition to the leakage, there are other reasons for not dealing with him anymore.)
Many thanks for your advise...I certainly hope you can come up with some do-able solution. Best wishes, Zuzana
<Hi Zuzana>
<I'm not Bob so I left your email specifically for him -- but I HAVE had a leaky pond, so I thought I'd jump in {pun intended!}>
<I've built a number of ponds over the years and I've encountered many others in various forms of disrepair and I'm vary familiar with concrete-over-chicken-wire construction and the leaks that come along with that.>
<After you drain the pond you have to do a close inspection of the entire pond for structural problems. What I'm saying is that no coating that you're going to apply without special equipment is going to fill large gaps or fill any gaps that flex or expand. If you have any structural problems or cracks they have to be fixed the old-fashioned way, which is to say grinding them out and using a good quality cement (like Quick-crete sold at building supply stores) to get a proper structure.>
<In connection with that you have to prepare the surface for whatever coating you're planning to use. This usually involves a scrub with diluted muriatic acid to clean and etch the surface. No special equipment, but it's messy and stinky and you need to rig up some ventilation because you don't want to breath the fumes.>
<Just link in painting ... preparation is everything. The more time you spend in preparation the more time you'll spend ENJOYING your pond rather than draining and repairing it. What I mean is... when you think you have the surface prepped perfectly... work on it some more.>
<Now this brings us to the faith-based portion of the job. I have heard for years about a wonderful product called Thoroseal and I've heard many a professional pond builder rave about it. It's never worked very well for me. I've used a gray Thoroseal paint to seal a concrete waterfall and it seemed to work fine and lasted about 5 years.>
<What I used - and I'm only giving you my opinion {worth every penny you're paying for it} is Nelsonite PoolPoxy. If you use PoolPoxy2 you'll have a durable finish that will last 10 years. If you use PoolPoxy Hi-build over Nelsonite Primer the people who buy the house after the people you sell it to will probably have to pay someone to break it up & haul it away>
<If you go this way - or even go the Thoroseal way - follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter & in the slightest question contact them for clarification. I'm sure Bob will agree that when it comes to most complaints about coatings, most include "well, I skipped that step and I short cut on this other step...">
<Best of luck - Darrel>
Leaking pond /RMF

Dear Bob,
A year ago I corresponded with you (and appreciated your helpful answers!) about building a pond. I followed your advise and hired somebody to do the mixing of concrete. He used a bit of concrete on the walls over chicken wire, but then covered the bottom and walls of the pond with Multiset modified thin-set mortar for floor and wall tiles (by Custom Building Products company).
<Sounds good thus far; but; where's the liner here?>
The pond is slowly leaking and I believe that water permeates the mortar as it is probably not designed for continuous exposure to water and under pressure to boot. I can see a wet strip of mortar above the water line where the water presumably seeps in by capillary action. Is there anything I could do to make the surfaced waterproof?
<Yes; will necessitate emptying, cleaning, likely acid/bleach washing and drying the basin first>
Preferably cover/paint it with something rather than using unit for which I would need special equipment. I would prefer to do it myself as I do not trust the guy who did it anymore. (In addition to the leakage, there are other reasons for not dealing with him anymore.)
Many thanks for your advise...I certainly hope you can come up with some do-able solution. Best wishes, Zuzana
<Please read here:
scroll down to Water Feature Repairs. Bob Fenner>

flat mollies
I love your website.....
I have a couple mollies that looked normal when I got them but within a few days seem to eat fine, swim fine, but then they get very flat in the back end..... from their belly back to tail is almost flat....
I feed good diets and feed twice daily since they are so flat, treated them for bacterial infections and ick and fungus none of which they seem to have.....after a week they go to the bottom of the tank and then don't move much...
eventually they die.....
What am I facing? test daily, they are in water with salt......
Thank you for any help you can give me....
<Hello Nancy. I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "flat" when it comes to the shape of your Mollies. Are they losing weight? Mollies are fairly adaptable fish, but they evolved to eat mostly algae in the wild, and do best given an algae-based diet (algae wafers and Spirulina flake for example). This said, most problems with Mollies are environmental; do read, here:
Hard alkaline water of excellent quality is a must; slightly brackish water makes life a lot easier. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Angelfish; env. dis.
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
Waited a week. No change in ammonia no matter how many Tetra Safe Start products I added (I really have no clue why Tetra Safe Start worked the first time...other people have had success with it. I guess all the ones since have been sitting on store shelves too long?)
To be honest, she's so poorly I cannot wait for the tank to cycle. I bought zeolite and started using it. Ammonia now is zero.
Should I try feeding her now that I have gotten ammonia to zero? She is
very skinny and I'm worried about this.
I think from now on I need to get just filter floss and zeolite for the quarantine/hospital tank. Carbon is just too interfering with medicine, and cycling takes too long for a tank which will have antibiotics or fish that
are only in there a month.
One thing: I bought two brands of zeolite a Petco one and an API one. The former says to change it every 2-5 weeks and the latter every 5 days.
Which instruction should I follow?
<Either... only gets used/exhausted w/ NH3 exposure>
(I put in the former brand since every 5 days seems excessive, but I have no idea if I can trust them since Petco sells distilled water for fish and other stupid stuff). I was thinking of checking ammonia levels to see how long I can wait and just use that as my change time.
Thank you...sorry for all this...
<Welcome. B>
Re: Angelfish with Swim Bladder Problems, Won't Eat Peas, Seaweed or Vegetables     7/26/`14

Dear Wet Web Media,
Gabriella finally passed on overnight last night...sorry to say.
<Sorry to hear this.>
This is the last email on this subject then...
From now on, however, I will be using that tank as a quarantine tank so I won't have issues with some of my fish becoming too aggressive after a disease wipes out most of them.
<A worthy, worthwhile approach.>
Hopefully with my new maintenance schedule and the quarantine tank I can prevent any illnesses from getting this far.
<For sure. Would recommend avoiding cichlids for a while. Of all the common community fish, Angels (which are cichlids) and Dwarf Cichlids are particularly prone to environment-related stresses, such as high nitrate and low oxygen, and these in turn make things like Hexamita more likely. At least some (e.g., Common Rams) are likely parasite-loaded right out of the box. Broadly speaking, catfish, cyprinids and characins tend to be more forgiving -- which is one reason these groups were among the first to be
successfully kept in community tanks back when proper understanding of aquarium management was in its infancy. Would also -- as ever -- recommend not adding any new fish for at least a month after the death of another fish.>
Thank you for all the help. I was not able to save Gabriella, but the illness problems in my main tank are gone thanks to your maintenance suggestions. I will always have great respect for your expertise and
willingness to help those animals most people don't have second thoughts about.
<Thanks for the kind words. Neale.>

Help shark      7/21/14
See picture attached...this is my 2ft marble cat shark top fins. Do you know what is going on...is this fin rot?
<Mmm; the end of the dorsal fin structural elements are showing... something is eating, eroding the back edge.
Water quality is most likely off here... but could be... I'd be reading: WWM, my book on sharks...
Bob Fenner>

Re: Help shark      7/21/14
Is this likely to kill the shark...or will it grow back with time and good water conditions.
<Keep reading. BobF>

Re: listing      7/21/14
Thank you for your reply Bob,
Have you had a chance to take a peek at the site as of yet?
<Ah yes; and placed the link: Saltwater, Hobbyist Sites... on WWM. Thank you for your efforts. BobF>
Re: listing      7/21/14

I appreciate that. Thank you so much. Is there anything I can do for your site?
John Riker
<Ahh! Perhaps join our Crew in responding to queries in time. B>
Re: listing      7/21/14

Also, are your links follow or no follow?
<Mmm; you click on and they go to the linked URL.>

TURTLE HELP!!!      7/21/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I got a turtle and I have no idea what species it is.
<Looks to me like you have yourself a Pelomedusidae which is a fancy way of saying an African Sidenecked Turtle.>
I looked at all the websites and I couldn't find one. I need help because he does this thing where he gets on the log at the bottom of the tank and he circles it. He keeps circling it. He never did it before. Should I be worried?
<Nope - he's just active>
I attached to pictures, if you can help me please email back. I don't know if I should be worried. He's the only one in the tank. I have a heater, basking dock, filter and decorations in the tank. And if you could tell me what species he is as well, that would be appreciated.
<The side necked turtles are more aquatic than most, so they appreciate clean, deep water, but they also need a basking site that provides both heat and UV-B lighting. Enclosed is the basic care instructions for the Red Eared Slider -- ALL of which is relevant to the Side Necked turtle as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm>
Thank you.
<Yer welcome. I can't say for SURE … but I think his name is Smiley>


Bristle Worms?      7/21/14
<Kate; am wondering... do you not see our file-size requirements?>
Hey y'all. I have a 55 gallon salt water tank that I am setting up. Trying to be very patient.
<A very, if not THE very most important quality for success>
As of right now, all I have in the tank is Fiji pink live sand and some live rock. It turns out that the live rock I purchased unknowingly came with a large number of fuzzy pink worms (picture included) that I am assuming are bristle worms. But it turns out that there are a ton of tiny star fish hiding in the rock as well. So I guess my questions are, will these worms harm the star fish? And what can I do to keep them under
control? Thanks so much for your advice. Kate.
<... Errantiate Polychaetes can/will eat most anything if very hungry... And their control is archived on WWM... An addn.l question Kate: Do you not see how to use WWM where you found how to write us? Bob Fenner>


Sorry to bother y'all again.      7/21/14
Hey guys. Kate here again. I just sent an email about some bristle worms and when I walked back over to my tank and saw this weird guy poking out of the live rock. Any idea what it is and what I should do about it?
<... another Bristleworm. Use the indices or search tool; on every page. BobF>


Re: Bristle Worms?      7/21/14
I'm very sorry if i didn't follow procedure. All I saw was a link that said "click here to ask us a question"
<Ahh; I see. Please read here:
and as much of the linked files above as you deem prudent. BobF>


Re: To sanitize or not sanitize?      7/21/14
Thanks for the quick reply-- a couple more questions (below in red):
<Ahh, the webmail program removes such (color) coding>
> Subject: To sanitize or not sanitize?
> Background: I have a 50 gal freshwater tank (with a 70-gal canister filter)
> that happily housed three goldfish until we moved about a year ago. When I
> set up the tank again, I struggled with water quality issues/bacterial
> infections (I assume, based on the symptoms) and ultimately lost the goldfish.
> <Yikes; am wondering what the cause/s were here>**I was having trouble
> getting the tank to cycle when I set it up again, though the system had
> been stable before. I assume that had something to do with it**
> I know goldfish have their challenges--which is why when I decided to start
> again with new stock a few months ago, I went for tetras to start.
Things were stable for a while, then I started losing them with similar symptoms:
> general lethargy followed by difficulty swimming, no signs of external
> parasites. On advice of the local aquarium shop guys, I treated the whole
> tank with a broad-spectrum antibiotic to try to kill whatever bugs were lurking.
> <Mmm>
**I'm willing to try that again as an alternative to bleaching. I don't want to lose any more fish, but (aside from the epic work of taking apart the tank) I'm a bit concerned that I'd just be swapping one problem (possible bacteria) for another (non-cycled tank, stress of moving fish).**
> That worked until a few days ago, when another tetra died following a
> similar pattern. This is getting to be pretty crazy-making for me, and I
> imagine the fish aren't especially thrilled either.
> At this point, I'm contemplating breaking down the whole tank and trying to
> sterilize everything, which brings me to my question: should I?
> <Possibly; do have some fish-friends come by and look...**Guess I need to
> make some fish friends?** am wondering if
> there's something toxic in your system. Perhaps a geode... or metal containing something>
**Interesting thought. I have had the same things in the tank the entire time I've owned it (4+ years) with the exception of the heater and thermometer I bought when I got the tetras...unless something was
introduced inadvertently during the move (can't think what that would be?). Any input on what sort of symptoms would I be seeing in the fish if this was the case? Would they be any different than what I might see with an internal bacterial infection?**
<<Not necessarily... and there are such things as "olde tank syndromes"...
What seems to happen as systems age, they become more depauperate (less speciose) and even toxic; with some few microbes overpopulating and poisoning their own world w/ metabolites... An important human lesson as well>>
> And if so, what method would you recommend to make sure I really, really get all the bugs--
> <Bleach washing... here is an SOP: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm
> The same procedure applies for sterilizing a complete system. DO read
> through this thoroughly and get some help... Take CARE to not splash bleach
> on you or the surroundings>
**Thanks for the link, a couple additional questions about bleach washing an entire system: Would you recommend bleaching the gravel I have for the tank bottom, or dumping it? What about the ceramic rings in the canister filter?**
<<I would bleach all, in place... sans livestock... filter, media, all>>
> because the only thing that might make me crazier would be going
> through that monumental effort and then having the problem crop up again.
> Final note: current stock is 7 tetras, one angelfish, water parameters are
> good last I checked, and I do 25% water changes every 2 weeks.
> Thanks!
**I checked the water parameters again and notice that the pH is a bit elevated (7.6 maybe?). Could this be the issue?**
<<Not likely; unless it's wildly vacillating (too little alkalinity).
> <Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Oscar Jumped Out of Tank      7/21/14
Hi, I have a 125 gallon tank with two Oscars that have lived together for over three years. This morning I found the larger of the two on the carpet and motionless.
When I went to pick him up he moved so I put him back in the tank.
He was dry so I am concerned for infection because his slime dried up. He lost several scales and has a laceration on his side from the glass top that he broke through. I have standard glass tops on the aquarium and he broke one of them when he jumped out. At this time (5 hours later) he is breathing in the tank but not moving. What can I do to ensure he lives?
<Gently "walk" this fish around... head first... mouth open... to aerate the gills... Until you see the fish doing this itself>
I have had him since he was small and would hate to lose him.
Thank you,
Neil Large
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Oscar Jumped Out of Tank      7/22/14

Thank you! He is doing a lot better now.
<Great news!>
I'm just going to have to wait and see and maybe do a large water change tomorrow.
- Neil
<Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Convict Blenny & Blue Spotted Jawfish      7/22/14
Hi there! Hope everything is well with you today! Okay so lets get right into it. First of all, for some reason 2 things have alluded me over the years….. one is that the Convict Blenny has been known to eat other fish
<This is so.. and Pholodichthys can get quite large>
….. yeah………. and TWO, that Blue Spotted Jawfish are cold water fish
(although I DID know about the Catalina Goby!). So here I am, wondering WHY the temperature requirements stated for the BSJ are not shown as 55 to 72˚F, since this is so important!
<Shown by whom? It is clearly stated that this is a non-tropical fish in EVERYTHING I have written about it; on WWM and elsewhere>
Here I sit, pouring over information, kicking myself for making just a NOOB mistake, when well, I am not a noob! I guess we all make dumb mistakes in the hobby as the years go on! First things first….. the Convict Blenny (Engineer Goby) AND the subadult 5-6”
<Mmm; actually; this is about it size-wise for this species>
BSJ occupy; and peacefully I may add, the same dug out area of my 75 gallon tank. They will both be peeping out of 2 different holes at the same time and the BSJ does not even FLINCH. (right now the BSJ has taken over the CB hole and the CB doesn’t care… yeah he texted me, its all good!
lol The BSJ is so bold that he will go after my Flame Angelfish when the flame starts his normal “I am king of the lab…. uh I mean TANK” wiggle! It is funny that the BSJ is the ONLY fish not intimidated by the flame! So I lowered my temperature to 78˚F, however I did it overnight with fans, so it was not instant, and I plan to drop it to 76˚F come fall. We are in Las Vegas, so heat is a bit of an issue. (although I wonder if I have that much time!) I am, however, in the meantime, really worried about all the things I am reading! The BSJ does eat well and I spot feed him several times a day (although when I lowered the temperature from 82˚F, he is not eating as much…. I assume metabolism is slower or that rather large chunk of Selcon soaked Krill yesterday?) and he looks healthy, not thin, no white spots or whatever is the pre-dreaded BSJ disease starts with..….. yet…. :( …..When everyone is eating, he is happy to swim about the tank for quite a while then settle back into this “den” and LOVES…. now this is a weird one….. LOVES putting his head into the end of the bubbler tube where the air comes out!!! The tank is completely sealed BTW because I lost one to “egg crate” which didn’t work!
<Ah, no... Opisthognathids can/will escape from small openings>
I did add some crushed up shells which he used a few of them, but just for his “hole” entrance. Here are a few of my questions. First, will the Convict Blenny become a threat to my BSJ?
AS in EAT him some day…. the CB is only 6 to 8” right now. My royal Gramma has even gone into their “den” and emerged on his own, not because he is being chased. It all seems odd to me as this behavior and lack of fear is so opposite of what I read. My other fish/etc: 3 Large Tongan Nassarius Snails, Large Cleaner Shrimp (wondering if someone … CB or BSJ will eat him someday),
<Actually; the other way around. Stenopus are fish eaters when large, can get their claws on such>
Solar Fairy Wrasse, Filamented Flasher Wrasse (yes those two are an ongoing experiment…. mix up the rock when I do a water change and they seem okay, it’s been 4 months with no death or nipped fins so far), Royal Gramma, Cleaner Wrasse (Had him 4 months… eats my arm and Mysis shrimp… impulse buy with the Flame Angelfish), a very DUMB tank bred Platinum Percula who likes to host the skimmer tube, and one Picasso Clownfish (estranged female from the Platinum….. I think she is in love with the BSJ…. hosting a rock by his entrance… lol jk). Corals are Frogspawn, Green Star Polyps and some lame Palythoas. Sand is not super fine, but average.
Besides possibly buying a chiller for my BSJ, what is the highest temp they can tolerate.
<Can reach into the seventies F... but will live much shortened life>
What is DONE TO THE BODY of a cool water fish. Does the warm water suppress the immunity and cause illness?
<Mmm; take the time... and search for a function curve for proteins... as a matter of... temperature I guess; but these have been generated for other variables as well... there's a "curve" that you'll recognize for "optimal" point; a range from there that drops off on either side of the scale for the variable measure... Heated up animals can often thermally accommodate up to points; but do suffer for being under and over-heated>
If there isn’t anything in the tank, I am hoping he just won’t GET ill if this is the case. Or is the BSJ disease actually the body’s response to warm water?
<To some extent; first and second order>
As in a complete break down of the endocrine systems or something similar?
<This and the CNS are definitely involved; as are simple overall protein, cellular physiological functions... 1/2mV squared... kinetic energy (temperature) speeds up all rates of reaction>
Should I remove the Convict Blenny?
<Eh! See WWM re the species>
I really appreciate your insight. While I could just SELL The BSJ, I would have to insist the person has a cool water tank. What temperature could both those fish AND the BSJ co-exist in if I buy a chiller?
<Barely overlap thermally... low seventies F would be a near median value>
I feel obligated to make this BSJ life long and happy…. how long would that be?
<Most only live a few months in warm settings; a few for years. Rosenblatt's Jawfish is a current darling/fave in a few public aquarium institutions... most kept chilled>
lol Thanks so much for all your answers and sorry if you had to read through this several times….. I had a lot of questions. Take care!!!!
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Can't/won't respond to this mess <below>
> Subject: Convict Blenny & Blue Spotted Jawfish      7/22/14

> Hi there! Hope everything is well with you today! Okay so lets get right into it. First of all, for some reason 2 things have alluded me over the years….. one is that the Convict Blenny has been known to eat other fish
> <This is so.. and Pholodichthys can get quite large>
> ….. yeah………. and TWO, that Blue Spotted Jawfish are cold water fish
> <Yes>
> (although I DID know about the Catalina Goby!). So here I am, wondering WHY the temperature requirements stated for the BSJ are not shown as 55 to 72˚F, since this is so important!
> <Shown by whom? It is clearly stated that this is a non-tropical fish in EVERYTHING I have written about it; on WWM and elsewhere>
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=747+871+748&pcatid=748  shown here… well ONE of many places. As I read, most people assume they are fine at 76 to 78.
Re: Convict Blenny & Blue Spotted Jawfish..............      7/22/14

um, okay…. just having a conversation, you left many unanswered questions and I thought what you had to say was interesting and I was just posing other points of view and curiosity. Sorry that you are having a bad day. Hope it gets better for you :)
<Am having a fab day; just don't like to sort through messy corr. Please write out your comments if you want to communicate.

Re: Mickey Mouse Platy concern      7/22/14
Hi Bob. Please help me I don't know what to do. My ammonia level remains at .25
<.... have you read on WWM re establishing cycling? Do so again>
with the daily water changes, and now it looks like my fish developed Velvet disease. Can I medicate even though the ammonia is not at zero? My platys are still swimming and eating, but I see dusty greenish/metallic
powder on their tops, and the Mickey Mouse's black spot has greyish streaks. Thanks in advance, Bob. Jen

Fish anatomy; eating flatties!      7/22/14
So I went fishing yesterday and caught halibut. I found this meaty piece of tissue right on the belly near where the ribs come together by the guts.
The rest if the halibut is white meat and this piece looks like raw chicken. We want to cook and eat it but need to know what it is and if it is safe first. Can let us know what it is? I can send pictures if you
<Have eaten many flatfishes... and esp. like the California halibut... am now salivating. Don't know what part of the muscle you're referring to, but am very sure it is fine to ingest>
Jesse Sheppard
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Thank you for the reply. It's appreciated. Have a nice day.
<You as well. BobF>
Jesse Sheppard

Re: eel is sick      7/22/14
Hello, my eel is still alive, and still not eating, probably 3-4 weeks now.
He has a cloudy eye on one side,
<Do read previous FAQs, here:
Epsom salt often useful.>
plus I noticed cottony growth on that growth in his mouth.
<Columnaris perhaps?>
What do I treat it with?
<Again, do read:
A bacterial infection, despite the "mouth fungus" moniker.>
Thanks, Ella
<Welcome, Neale.>

Re: Eye Infection Killing My Fish; TB scare       7/22/14
Thank you. Just wanted to be sure. I only added slightly more water conditioner than usual after a water change and new carbon.
Ever since I read that TB in angels shows up as a grainy cornea first, I have been terrified that I might expose my family to a serious illness. You've been very reassuring.
<What we do>
I lost the other Firemouth today. As of now, several fish have small white spots on their eyes, not too bad. The surviving Severum has a couple missing scales and a nipped tail that hasn't healed. I'll keep an eye on everyone for a week and see how they progress.
Thanks again,
Octavio Martin
<Please do give us follow up reports. BobF>
re: Eye Infection Killing My Fish       7/22/14

Thank you. I wasn't planning on replying with a status update until Friday, but it looks like my tank has taken another turn for the worse. I'd done 2 20% water changes since Friday and added a lot of carbon to one of my filters. Only water conditioner added.
This morning, the eye gunk on most of the fish has grown, and my Severum with the scale damage looks drunk. I'm depressed and about to give up. I'll try to get pictures after work.
<Don't give up>
In searching other forums for the answer, illness probably driven by environment poisoning, I came across a strain of tb that kills swiftly. The comments from this website:
"Currently we are seeing the species M. Triplex in many fish. These fish have lesions that resemble columnaris and are usually located around the head."
<... how to state this more plaintively: I am very well-aware of Mycobacteria/l involvements in fishes. The genus is omnipresent; usually not virulent...>
That struck a cord with me because of the first baby Severum that had severe HITH within a month of my buying him. Foolishly, I only quarantined for 2 days and that will be my fatal mistake. That progression of HITH is unheard of, from friend feedback. He had several sores with white gunk that went away during treatment, leaving deep scars. Also a totally round hole in a fin that I noticed towards the end.
Do you agree that it's at least possible that this is what I could be dealing with? I'm seriously considering euthanizing this tank and sanitizing to protect my family and pets.
<I would just wash your hands after they've been in the tank; NOT put them in w/o gloves if you have cuts>
Whatever the result, I appreciate your time taken to help me.
Octavio Martin
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Issue with my Black ghost knife fish      7/21/14
After reading through your website about issues with Black ghost knife fish, I feel contacting you is a good thing to do.
<Go ahead>
I did a water change and cleanup in my 400 liter freshwater tank yesterday, and today my black ghost is acting strange.
<Mmm; how much clean up and percentage water may be the issue here. Best (per the SOP on WWM) to do these frequent, partial (no more than a quarter, 25%) change outs... WITH stored, pre-treated water. Municipal sources nowayears can be highly variable>

Yesterday he (as most, i don´t know the sex of the fish, but it´s a he to me) was fine, he hanged <hung> around his tube, doing his black ghost thing, he ate well (feed him red frozen mosquito larva and some pellets), and he seemed happy.
Today he is swimming just by the surface, as if not being able to breath, he wont eat and it´s worrying me. Only thing that comforts me is that he still has a great color and the "coat" isn´t showing any signs of any diseases.
<Again; my guess/bet is that the root here is the cleaning, new water>
Regretfully, I haven´t got anything to be able to test the nitrate or the like.
After a water change, can the water change so drastically that nitrate can appear in less than 24 hours?
<Not usually much increase; no>
I know a black ghost isn´t an easy fish to care for, but I must´ve been doing something right because he has been with me for at least 2 years and he is 35-40 centimeters long.
My apologies if any replies from me is slow, and if my description isn´t the best, but English is not my first language. (Am from Sweden)
<I understand you perfectly.>
I hope you can help me, for I have nowhere else to turn to right now.
Thanks in advance for you help
Best Regards, Malin Norberg, Sweden.
<If it were my system, Apteronotid, I would do nothing at this point... No medicine/s, water treatments will improve the situation. Only time going by will help. Bob Fenner>

To sanitize or not sanitize?      7/21/14
Background: I have a 50 gal freshwater tank (with a 70-gal canister filter)
that happily housed three goldfish until we moved about a year ago. When I set up the tank again, I struggled with water quality issues/bacterial infections (I assume, based on the symptoms) and ultimately lost the goldfish.
<Yikes; am wondering what the cause/s were here>

I know goldfish have their challenges--which is why when I decided to start again with new stock a few months ago, I went for tetras to start. Things were stable for a while, then I started losing them with similar symptoms: general lethargy followed by difficulty swimming, no signs of external parasites. On advice of the local aquarium shop guys, I treated the whole tank with a broad-spectrum antibiotic to try to kill whatever bugs were lurking.
That worked until a few days ago, when another tetra died following a similar pattern. This is getting to be pretty crazy-making for me, and I imagine the fish aren't especially thrilled either.
At this point, I'm contemplating breaking down the whole tank and trying to sterilize everything, which brings me to my question: should I?
<Possibly; do have some fish-friends come by and look... am wondering if there's something toxic in your system. Perhaps a geode... or metal containing something>
And if so, what method would you recommend to make sure I really, really get all the bugs--
<Bleach washing... here is an SOP: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm
The same procedure applies for sterilizing a complete system. DO read through this thoroughly and get some help... Take CARE to not splash bleach on you or the surroundings>
because the only thing that might make me crazier would be going through that monumental effort and then having the problem crop up again.
Final note: current stock is 7 tetras, one angelfish, water parameters are good last I checked, and I do 25% water changes every 2 weeks.
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Planted tank glass cover; poss. blocking light       7/21/14
I have a 58 gallon oceanic planted tank. I need a replacement glass cover which is unavailable as the company is out of business.
<Mmm, you can buy the glass and cut it yourself, or have a glass business do this for you. They can also show you how to Silicone some hinges in place and handles to lift the front>
I have a 36" aqua light with 2 96watt compact fluorescent bulbs that sits directly on top of the aquarium edge.
I am considering replacing the glass top with 1/8" pyroceram glass which resists heat. I think it would be safer. Pyroceram glass also blocks UV light. Will this be a problem for a planted tank?
<Could well be... I would use cheap float glass myself... or you can opt to leave the area where the light fixture straddles the top with this glass area open>
<Wc, Bob Fenner>

listing; Hobbyist SW info. site       7/21/14
Good day,
Would you be able to add my website to your listing? I have been running the site for about a year now. My url is http://www.livecoralreef.com and the site name is LiveCoralReef. If you could add it that would be great.
<Will look up your site to determine where it should be placed in our links and do so tomorrow>
Thank you.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Mini Carpet Anemone      7/21/14
Dear Sirs:
Earlier today I did a routine partial water change in my 100 gallon.
<Mmm; the water was pre-mixed, stored ahead of time? We've had a spate of "water change" queries, both fresh and marine...>
Everything was as it always is after a water change and acrylic scraping, all shiny, clear, and pretty. So this evening I notice that the water had become cloudy and there were many, many tiny white spots floating everywhere. The spots did not appear to be swimming like "bugs" might and the royal gramma was not chasing them like he would if they were "bugs".
They have lessened now and the water is less cloudy, but while all this is going on I notice something going on with the two mini carpet anemones that share a rock up high in the aquarium. In the more than a year that I have had these two, one green and one red, I have not seen them do this: Green was secreting long white streams of stuff. I am guessing it's not poop since the royal gramma ate one of the larger streams that floated by him.
Green seems to be finished with his business. Now, at the same time, Red is secreting tiny brown irregularly shaped pellets of something, I am guessing poop. No one is eating what he's secreting. They are coming from a tiny opening in his center. Oh my gosh, I just went to take another look to see if Red was still pooping, and I'll be darned, he shot out a huge amount of these pellets, like a volcano erupting!! Those white spots that are everywhere are coming from Red! This has been going on for a good hour or more. What do you think is going on and why haven't I seen this before?
<Sounds a great deal like reproduction to me>
Thank you,
P.S. he just did it again!
<Do keep your eyes on all... I'd mix up and keep ready as many gallons of new water as you can; as well as a back up of chemical filter material (GAC). Bob Fenner>
RE: Mini Carpet Anemone      7/21/14

Wow, that's kind of cool. So you think like male (Green) and female (Red), anemone version of eggs and sperm?
<Possibly; yes>
I will do as you suggest, change the filter media (I use Chemi Pure Elite and bags of GAC) tomorrow, and change some water the next day, using the water I mixed up this morning.
By the way, I think I was wrong when I said no one was eating Red's "poop".
I noticed one of the pajama cardinals hanging close as though waiting for the next batch to be expelled and the cardinals appeared to be eating too, in their corner of the tank.
Might I find baby anemones in the near future?
<Mmm; not from sexual union in aquarium conditions; no>
Thank you Mr. Fenner,
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Sail in discoloration. Tang beh., no info.       7/21/14
My sail<f>in tang has sudden gotten weird looking. One side of his body is almost white and the other side is getting large areas turning white none of it looks raised so I don't think its rich.
<? Rich?>
Any ideas would be appreciated .... its hard for me to get a picture of him. He is also seeming to want so swim in front of the filter outtake and not eating as well as he usually does.
<... could be many things here... water quality, fright... You offer no real data. Read here:
scroll down to Zebrasoma... behavior FAQs and onward. Bob Fenner>

Baby goldfish color change age?
My 2 largest and oldest baby goldfish are going through their color changes. (Largest one in the lower right of the picture I sent.) What at what age do pond goldfish usually go through color changes? Thank you.
<A few months. B>
Thank you Bob! :)

Thalassoma quinquevittatum; stkg., sel.
Hi Crew,
I would like to know if three of these would pose a threat to a group of 6 gramma loretos already established in a 160g fowlr system.
<Not likely a threat unless the former were very big, the latter very small. This Thalassoma is even more energetic than the usual members of the genus... really zooming about. You'll want a "quiet end" (stack of high rock) for the Grammas to hide out in>
Would one or two be better instead?
<Likely so... especially if all started small... 3-4"... with just one "turning into" a male>
My goal is to see the color changes exhibited by the male wrasse. (I can't select a male since I live in the USVI
<Oh! Am headed out to St. Thomas next week... to do a bit of diving>
and order directly from a stateside wholesaler.) The smallest loreto is 1.5" and the wrasses will be ordered as "medium."
Also, is there any snail that would work?
<Not any that I'm aware of... too likely to get flipped, eaten>
Thanks. Your service is invaluable.
Chris Powell
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Thalassoma quinquevittatum

Thank you, Bob. I'll try two wrasses rather than three. The rockscape has two dense areas and dozens of small holes that the loretos use--endlessly fascinating. I'll rely on my three tangs, my two dwarf angels, and my cleanliness to control algae.
<Real good>
Ha, I am on St. Thomas. It would be a kick to meet you.
<Oh! Will be at Megan's Resort 7/25-31... Would you like to go diving with use? How to contact you? Via this email I take it>
I'm sure you have a full agenda, and I'm having the dreaded dental surgery next week--plus the new fish arrival on Thursday evening. However, toss me a line if you like. Maybe there will be a gap in common.
Cheers, back atcha,

Re: little worm in freshwater tank
Thank you for your reply, I'm relieved. Than i go and replant my tank :)
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Reef tank to FOWLR tank: Can I use spring water instead of RO/DI?      7/18/14
Hello, first of all thanks for all the knowledge you share with us, I have literally cancelled weekend activities to continue reading! I have a 2 year old reef tank with Caribbean fish, invertebrates and softies/lps corals. Have had no tank crashes and I kinda now my way by now, checking parameters
often and doing frequent water changes. I want to switch to a FOWLR tank to be able to have other fish species, and also to have to test for less chemicals (make it less time consuming). Right now I always use RO/DI water. My question is: Can I use spring water for the new FOWLR tank instead of RO/DI?
<Mmm; depends... on what exactly IS "spring water"... MANY companies filter, collect... and label such products. NOT a standardized item. But to answer directly; you can (yes) likely use this for aquariums>
(Of course treated for Cl and chloramines first). I spend too much money on cartridges (expensive in Mexico). If so, what parameters would I need to check in that spring water to see if it's viable for marine fishkeeping?
<Ahh! Good (the) question: Alkalinity, calcium and magnesium mostly>
And what are the "acceptable ranges" for those chemicals/silicates/heavy metals?
<Zip; not measurable with hobby kits for metals; Si compounds I wouldn't be concerned re>
The reasons for wanting to do this are (am I right?)
1. Maintaining a high DKH (8-12) and Ph (8.2-8.4) would be easier and maybe with no need for additives or buffers. (I add baked baking soda daily to my reef to keep ph and dKH in range)
2. No need to spend money on cartridges and resins, no time investment on changing them.
<Ah yes; I understand and agree with you>
I know the downside is the high phosphates and probably silicates which will fuel algae, but I was thinking I could control this with low lighting or no lighting when there is an algae bloom?
<Or a number of other methods>
Also keeping my nitrates in 0 dosing a carbon source and/or a denitrator?
<Either or both... but I would be testing your source and system water over time first and foremost>
What do you think, is there a way to do this?
<Oh yes; a few ways>
Thanks a lot for reading my novel haha I really appreciate it.
Best regards,
Hector (Mexico)
<Thank you for sharing. Nos vemos, Roberto Fenner>
Re: Reef tank to FOWLR tank: Can I use spring water instead of RO/DI?      7/19/14

Hola Roberto Fenner! Thanks very mucho for your response ;) by spring water I mean water that is pumped from the underground (my city, Guadalajara has a lot of underground water).
<Ah yes>
I've heard this water is really good quality and mineral rich since it is naturally filtered, my questions are:
1.Why should I check this water itself for Ca/Mg, if the salt mix will have it?
<The added biominerals in the source water may drive an imbalance in alkalinity among other disproportion>
(I would use Instant Ocean) Do you mean that if there's too much it will add up to the salt mix and get out of range?
<Can, could; yes>
3. If piping is made of copper, would small traces of it affect marine fish/bacteria?
<Could; but in actual practice, this is rare. IF the copper piping is new, and/or there's been a good deal of construction... shaking the pipe, making new "faces" for chemical, physical interaction; there can be "pulses" of free copper. Again, very rare>
4.Part of the project to migrate to a FOWLR, other than being able to keep non-reef species, is to simplify mi life, would I still need to continuously check/dose Ca/Mg as I do in my reef or would 30% monthly water changes be enough to maintain acceptable levels?
<Possibly... I would check, do the water changes weekly... And do READ re such matters as supplementation... there are a few options here>
(since this levels would be decreasing daily until the next water change).
Thanks again in advance, and may I recommend, scuba diving in Holbox!
<Ah yes... was just talking w/ some folks re diving there, in the Yucatan a few days back>
It's near Cancun and you can swim with the beautiful shark whales, in July or August, it's really paradisiacal.
<Te recuerdes y tienes razon!>
Best regards
Hector from Mexico (no era penal)
<Roberto al norte en San Diego>

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