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Chaetodon reticulatus Cuvier 1831, the Reticulated Butterflyfish. Nice looking, and "friendly" underwater toward divers, but dismal survival records in captivity for this coral polyp eater. Found commonly in central and western Pacific. To six inches total length. A 2.5" one in French Polynesia 2018.   
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Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Lynn Zurik, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized daily
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Disease Identification       5/21/18
Thank you for your input! I did prepare the fin clipping as a wet mount, so the photos are taken with water supporting the body mucus blob.
It dried up within about 20mins of taking the photos and the blob shriveled to about a quarter of its original size. The fish hasn’t shown any more of them, so I’m unable to take another sample for you so far. I’ll send more photos of the issue resurfaces. Thanks again!
<Thank you. B>

Identify?       5/21/18
Hi Bob
Can you tell me what the yellow Lacy looking area is?
<A boring sponge of some sort Tracy... drilling into the coral. BobF>

Re: I need to understand Biofilm     5/20/18
Thank you!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Columbian tetra with fin rot from nipping     5/20/18
Hi Neale and Bob,
You helped me save a zebra Danio who was badly injured from a bullying situation. He has healed beautifully and your suggestions on rearranging the tank and reintroducing the Danios solved the bullying problem.
<Well, that's a good outcome!>
One of my Columbian tetras appears to be the victim of fin nipping with accompanying fin rot now setting in. There are two spots visible (see photo). This school usually gets along great although they do chase one another on occasion.
<This species is prone to that. Bigger groups usually help fix the problem. In any event, medicate as per Finrot.>
I do weekly water changes of 20%. Water parameters are as follows: Zero for ammonia and nitrite. Nitrates around 20 ppm, gH at 7-8°, temp around 76°F, pH 6.8. I run a canister filter with biomedia that includes matrix and chemical filtration is Chemipure green. I also run a sponge filter rated for 20 gallons which is connected to a battery backup air pump (we have frequent power outages where I live).
Other tank inhabitants are a school of orange laser Corydoras and MTS (substrate is sand) and Nerite snails. Tank is a 20 gallon planted. I have upped my water changes to 10% every 3 days since I discovered the fin rot. It does not appear to be getting worse and the tetra is active and eating but I don't want it to progress further. I can't use aquarium salt because of the Corys.
<Who told you that? Low salt doses, i.e., 2 g per litre, for treating Whitespot for example, will do them less harm/cause less stress than traditional medications using copper or formalin. To be clear, catfish aren't "allergic" to salt. That's a myth. A lot of salt in the water will cause osmoregulatory stress, but trivial salt doses are perfectly safe, even with soft water specialists like Cardinals, let alone Corydoras.>
I do have SeaChem Paraguard on hand that I used to treat my Betta who had fin rot when I purchased him. Do you think its advisable to treat the tetra in the tank with Paraguard?
<I would.>
I can relocate the Nerites and the larger MTS who are active at night and visible on the substrate. MTS are expensive here and only available online so I would prefer not to kill them off.
<Understood. While Melanoides snails usually handle medications just fine, you could dump a few in a loosely covered food container with a bit of water and leave them out of the tank while medicating. They need little care and will go dormant when cool. The Nerites perhaps a bit more a gamble, being more sensitive generally.>
I can also transfer the tetra to a small hospital tank.
<Perhaps put the snails here?>
I had ordered Kanaplex with the intention of adding it to food with their binder Focus, but I was sent the wrong product so it will be about 5 days until the Kanaplex arrives. The Kanaplex was my backup plan if the water changes didn't help. What is the safest course of action in your expert opinion?
<Any medication for Finrot should be fine here. This fish looks in robust health, and really all you want to do is help knock back the bacteria a bit so it's own immune system can kick in.>
Thanks for your help (again).
I'm moving everyone to a 50 gallon planted tank that has just finished cycling once it was settled in and aged a bit. Hopefully that will solve the territorial problems.
<Understood. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Columbian tetra with fin rot from nipping     5/20/18
Thanks Neale!
I am happy to learn that corys can tolerate salt if I ever have to use it in my tank.
<To be clear, as a short-term treatment for Whitespot and Velvet at low doses (2 g/l, for a few days or a couple of weeks). Perfectly safe used that way. But I would not be adding salt as a regular addition to any community tank containing relatively soft water fish, whether Corydoras, tetras or anything else from the Amazon Region.>
Another myth busted.
<It would seem so!>
I went ahead and removed my snails and I'm treating with Paraguard. I will definitely follow your advice and increase my school of tetras once I've relocated them to the 50 gallon.
Thanks again for your help.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: Puffer Fish/Tank Question      5/19/18
Thank you so kindly Neale for taking the time to reply to my query. I do have a couple of additional questions now.
<Fire away!>
How many 90% water changes should I do?
<Diminishing returns after a while. But 3-4 should be ample. Only a tiny fraction of 'old' water will be left by then.>
And I'm guessing that after I'm done those, then I should do the CupriSorb?
<Actually, the CupriSorb is more about copper being leached out of objects (such as rocks) in the tank. Plain vanilla water changes will dilute the copper in the water, but anything chemically bound with, for example, calcareous rocks will slowly leach out when the concentration drops in the water. What you want is the CupriSorb to soak up that copper before it has a chance to harm your fish.>
And how long after all of that should I wait before adding aquatic life?
<Certainly after your water changes, but alongside the CupriSorb should be fine. If you leave the tank empty for longer, that runs the risk of the biological filter dying back in the absence of ammonia for the bacteria to use up. Besides the CupriSorb, be sure to use a water conditioner that neutralises copper (and heavy metals generally).>
Also, for future references, what is a good "medicine" for puffers with fungal problems?
<I've used eSHa 2000 with my puffers several times, seemingly without problems. Methylene Blue is the classic anti-Fungus, and considered safe enough it's widely used with fish eggs and fry. It's debatable whether it's safe with Puffers (some aquarists have reported problems, but by no means all) so if you opted to go the Meth Blue route, you'd want to keep a very close eye on your fish, perhaps even half-dosing, and certainly upping aeration during the process.>
I haven't had any for years until the Suvattii got it, and while I've always had good results with the Pima and Melafix .... I respect and trust your experience, so would definitely try anything you think would work better.
<I'm open minded to both having some utility as preventatives, helping damaged fish resist infections via their own immune systems. They might also help against minor infections; certainly tea-tree oil has fairly
well-established antimicrobial properties. But I personally doubt whether either is a reliable heavy-duty treatment comparable to the classic medications once a fish is really sick and weak.>
Again, thank you ever so much for taking the time to help me here.
<Glad to help.>
I really didn't know who to turn to, as I don't trust internet information much these days.
<When it comes to puffers, ThePufferForum is a good place to visit. Those guys are very serious and have lots of experience. There's at least a couple of folks there who're WetWebMedia 'alumni', so there's that, too!>
Oh, and how do you feel about using Koi clay in puffer tanks? Yeah or Nay?
<Probably not that big of a deal either way. Koi, like Goldfish, appreciate hard water with an alkaline pH. So definitely, there's mileage in adding minerals to soft water conditions. We don't really understand how fish absorb 'nutrient' minerals from the water they're swimming in, but that may be just as important as the way minerals affect pH and hardness. But (freshwater) pufferfish from Southeast Asia aren't typically coming from heavily mineralised environments, so I can't see Koi Clay doing anything special.>
It was something suggested to me, but I really know nothing about using such a thing.
Kind Regards,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Puffer Fish/Tank Question (RMF, anything to add re: fungus on puffers AND Koi clay?)<<Ah, no. B>>      5/19/18

A big "Thank you" to WetWebMedia and Neale Monks for helping me. Excellent advice and very much appreciated.
<You're most welcome! Neale.>

Re: Goodeids      5/19/18
<Hello again Lance,>
I'm sorry i wasn't more specific. I have already spoke to Greg Sage and he explained to me the tank conditions needed to maintain and breed the species and he told me that the GWG (Goodeid Working Group) is mainly a database for Goodeids and really doesn't do much in regards to actual conservation work.
On top of what Greg told me I learned about Species like Zoogoneticus tequila, Ameca splendens, and Characodon laterais. what i need to know is the higher taxonomy of split fins up to order and family.
<These three species all belong to the family Goodeidae, which is in turn part of the order Cyprinodontiformes, alongside a number of other families including the Poeciliidae (i.e., Guppies, Mollies, etc.) Aplocheilidae (i.e., the southern hemisphere killifish), and the Cyprinodontidae (i.e., the north American Pupfish). Most of these fish are small, freshwater species adapted for life in shallow streams, ponds, and so on. Broadly, these are the fish we call livebearers and killifish, so obviously some families lay eggs while others give birth to baby fish. Nonetheless, there are some half dozen killifish families, and at least three livebearer families, so it's a complicated picture. Do look at the Wikipedia page on
Cyprinodontiformes for more.>
I also have not seen anything about Goodeid conservation so anything you can tell me about it would help, like what are the specific trouble of introducing a species to the wild or if there are groups working on the problem and how they are going about it.
<If you do some research on Ameca splendens, for example on ResearchGate.net, you'll come across papers such as "Captive breeding promotes aggression in an endangered Mexican fish" and "Aggression in captivity and the implication for interspecific aggression between once sympatric species of Mexican Goodeid". In short, the idea is that in captivity fish get better quality food, so can get away with spending less time foraging and more time fighting. Over the generations, aggressive males are favoured because there's no cost to being aggressive, but a positive benefit with regard to passing on your genes more often. In the wild this wouldn't happen -- overly aggressive males would likely starve because they don't forage for long enough to stay alive. Anyway, over 30-40 years, this seems to have happened with Ameca splendens, which is much more aggressive than it was in the wild when first collected. So if we just dumped captive fish in Mexican rivers, they'd either end up starving to death, or more likely, they would be so aggressive they'd harm other wild fish that they're living alongside. We've also got the problem of reduced genetic diversity. Aquarists tend to favour certain genes, whether deliberately (e.g., nicer colours) or subconsciously (e.g., fish that mature and breed younger produce more fry over their lifetimes, which often means the adult size of the species ends up smaller after several generations). Reduced genetic diversity makes a species less adaptable to changing environments, reducing the chances of long-term survival. Make sense? Cheers, Neale.>

Disease Identification with Photos      5/19/18
Hello Bob and crew!
<Bri! Please re-size and re-send your msg.s WITH MUCH SMALLER files... you've crashed our mail server. Kbytes, not Mbytes. Thx. Bob Fenner>
Disease Identification      5/19/18

Hello Bob and crew!
<Hey Bri!>
It's been years since I've emailed you! I love using your site as a resource. I have a purple tang going through tank transfer (1.5 weeks so far) with recurring white spots. There were no spots for a week, but
yesterday a few appeared again. When I first got the fish, the original spots were concentrated on the ventral side, with only a couple on the rest of the body. There were maybe ten total. Fish breathing rate was (and continues to be) normal. Coloration is good. Appetite is fine. There were no spots for a week, but overnight a few showed up. There were only five spots on the fish this time, all concentrated on the left pectoral fin. I decided to clip a section of the fin and take a look under the microscope.
Attached are photos taken at 10x magnification. I'll try to attach a video as well.
<Please post the video elsewhere; perhaps YouTube, and send the link to it instead. We have limited mail server space>
Any thoughts on what this may be?
<From the size... looks too big to be protozoal... Perhaps just accumulation of body mucus... Happens>
Note in the videos that all movement is created by me changing the focus so you can see the whole cyst.
The organism was not moving at all and I did not see any cilia or flagella.
<Me neither... is this a dry prep.? That is, was there a slide cover over this specimen with water around it, supporting it?>
However, I just started treating with Seachem Paraguard 12 hrs before taking the sample, so maybe these parasites are dead?
<Mmm; maybe, but, could be as stated>
Or eggs of gill/body flukes perhaps?
<Not eggs... would be off the fish's body>
The fish has been treated with PraziPro, but only one round for 2 days. That was a week ago.
Thank you for sharing your ideas! I'd like to get more specific with my treatment protocol and your advice is much appreciated!
Lil Bri
<Do try removing the blobs from the spines, scales, put under a cover slip with a drop of water, and re-shoot and send. Thank you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Disease Identification with Photos      5/19/18

Oops! Sorry! I reformatted/resent the photos, but the video is only 3 seconds and I can't get it condensed to less than 1.8MB. Hopefully the pictures are enough for identification purposes! I thought that the
parasite might be Amyloodinium, but it's way too big!
<Yes; too big for any fish parasite I'm aware of>
The photos are only magnified 10x. Then I thought it might be the beginnings of Lymphocystis from stress?
<Nah; not likely>
It isn't pear shaped like the photos of Cryptocaryon on WetWebMedia, so I'm guessing not that.
<Agreed. BobF>

Sick discus need help      5/19/18
Hey ! My discus fish is not eating since 3days after the death of his tank mate and today he has clamped its fin.....and is in stress
<Yes, probably is stressed. May well be suffering from whatever killed the other Discus in your tank. Review the conditions in the aquarium. To recap, Discus need a large tank (for a pair, probably over 150 litres/40 US gallons) and certainly need good quality water with the right water chemistry. In other words, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and a nitrate level below 20 mg/l. Water chemistry should be relatively soft for farmed Discus: 1-12 degrees dH, pH 6-7.5. Wild-caught Discus are more fussy, and must have very
soft water, more like 1-5 degrees dH, pH 6-6.5. Water temperature should be relatively high, 28-30 degrees C. Discus are omnivorous in the wild, and need a varied diet in captivity. They are prone to Hexamita and Hole-in-the-Head diseases though, both of which are more likely if they are given monotonous, low-vitamin diets lacking fresh greens; cooked peas, for example, are usually eaten by hungry Discus without too much fuss. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: I need to understand Biofilm      5/19/18
I'm sorry, I should have been specific - the supplier lists this fish as Stiphodon ornatus. Or is that a subspecies o Rhinogobius spp (the Internet doesn't reference beyond Stiphodon)?
<Not heard of Stiphodon ornatus as "White Cheek Goby", but it is sold as the "Rainbow Goby". All Stiphodon are Hillstream specialists native to coastal streams and offshore islands around the Indo Pacific region, used to cool, clean water with plenty of oxygen. While freshwater fish as adults, they have a marine stage as juveniles, which means they're difficult to breed in captivity. Most, if not all, are wild-caught.
Together these facts mean they're relatively demanding fish. They do poorly in the average community tank, but will thrive in a steam setting alongside midwater fish (such as Danios or White Cloud Mountain Minnows) that aren't competing for food. Avoid mixing with benthic fish such as loaches that tend to cause problems either by stealing food or else becoming territorial and harming the gobies. Diet isn't a major issue provided the tank is sufficiently brightly lit there's a decent amount of green algae growing.
Together with green algae, they'll happily take the sorts of frozen foods offered to marine grazers (such as tangs and angelfish) that include Spirulina algae alongside, for example, brine shrimp. They may take algae wafers and Spirulina flake as well. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: long term. SW Protozoan... 750        5/18/18
Ahh. That’s a good idea. I didn’t think about using some of the display water in the QT system. So if I am understanding you, with a low exposure they can build an immunity to it?
<Yes; there is such a phenomena as acquired immunity here>
I did end up putting a 30 gallon hospital tank together and added copper. Unfortunately like I said I can’t get any of them trapped. But I guess that for new additions it’s in place now.
Would it be counter productive to add copper AND diseased tank water to the QT tank with any new additions? The answer seems like an obvious “yes” to me but maybe I’m missing something?
<... I would, in order: 1) NOT treat the new fish if possible, to allow them time to adjust to collection, transport, handling. 2) A few weeks later, consider treating; perhaps not with copper compounds as these are debilitating; perhaps too much so. 3) A few weeks later, start adding, mixing water. PLEASE read where I've referred you>
Thanks Bob.
Re: long term       5/18/18

Thanks again Bob. I appreciate the time and patience.
<Welcome John. Oh how I wish at times for something like the "Vulcan mind-meld". Cheers, B>

Puffer Fish/Tank Question       5/18/18
Hello WetWebMedia People,
I've emailed you in the past and have always been pleased with the knowledge you have, so you're my last stop. I've asked some different puffer groups and no one seems to be able to help, or want to help (I'm not sure).
Anyway, here's my issue. I kept a Suvattii puffer in a 30-gallon tank for 3 years. Then in late March I found that he'd developed some fungus on his body and near his mouth (but I don't think it was exclusively mouth fungus, which I know can be different). Anyway, when I've had issues with fungus
in the past, I've used Melafix and/or Pimafix and always had good results.
<Unreliable medications, at best. I fear they were a poor choice of treatment.>
I'm wary of using chemicals on my puffers, especially as that particular tank is planted with live plants. Anyway, after a few days, my Suvattii puffer died, the fungus had penetrated too far, and I'd caught it too late I'm guessing.
<See above. The pufferfish sensitivity thing is a bit overstated. While formalin and copper may well be toxic to them (indeed, they're pretty hard on most fish) antibiotics and many organic dyes work just fine.>
Well, I bought a couple of crabs and since I didn't want to move them into a planted tank, knowing that most crabs will shred plants. So I moved my Abei puffer into the tank the Suvattii had been in, and moved the crabs where the Abei had been.
<I see...>
The Abei was in that tank from about the 28th of March until yesterday.
I'd seen on Tuesday that the Abei had developed very small dots of fungus (I'm sure it wasn't Whitespot) and so I started the Pimafix/Melafix treatment. But yesterday I went to dose the tank and the Abei had passed away. Now, I did find some uneaten food mixed in with the plants, I know that isn't good, but what I don't get is that I have a tank or two that, if it were down to not keeping up with water changes and having issues, I would think it would be these other tanks, not this particular tank that has problems. However, something is obviously up with this tank since I've now had two of my puffer fish get fungus and both die on me. I cannot figure out what the exact problem is. I've been keeping puffer fish for at
least 11 years, and have about 9 different species at the moment with no problems with any of the others. It's something with this tank.
<Possibly. There's certainly an argument for giving the tank a big clean.
Flushing out the tank (i.e., do several 90% water changes) would be helpful. You should also refresh the filter. Save biological media, but chuck out any carbon, and if you can, use a high-end chemical adsorbent like CupriSorb (to remove any traces of copper) as well as fresh carbon (to remove any unwanted organic chemicals) should ensure good conditions in the tank. The plants won't appreciate the substrate being dug-up, but certainly rake over the top a bit, removing any organic muck. Basically, keep the filter running, but give the tank a really deep clean. The filter bacteria will need something to 'eat' of course, so a pinch of flake every day should take care of that.>
So, here I am with a nice big planted tank ... that clearly has some issue.
I don't want to put any other living thing in there until I know what's going on OR how to sanitize the tank so that it won't hurt any other fish or aquatic living thing.
<You can't sterilise an aquarium with plants and a filter.>
I am hoping you can help me out here. I'd really like to stay away from anything that may kill the live plants in the tank because I started out with just a couple plants to now having quite a few plants and it looking very nice.
Just to say, when the first puffer got fungus I did check the temperature of the tank, which was a bit high, so I adjusted the thermometer and now it's where it should be. I clean the tank at regular intervals and it's got a good powerful filter in there. The only thing of course was finding uneaten food among the plants (each time with both puffers). Also, and I'm not sure this matters, but that tank gets a fair amount of light from a window, though not enough to produce algae, so not sure if that matters or not.
<It can do. Direct sunlight will elevate temperature dramatically (lowering oxygen concentration) so that needs to be considered. Algal blooms are a common problem with direct sunlight as well, but this is less of an issue provided the algae is healthy and removed periodically. What you don't want is pea-soup water or clumps of blue-green algae.>
I'm really hoping you can help me with this. That tank is a nice size and while I have 13 other tanks, they are all happily occupied and I'd like to keep this tank and be able to use it. But I don't want to put anything in there until I can figure out what the issue is, because I don't want to kill any more fish, especially my puffer fish.
Hoping you can help.
Kind Regards,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

11 year old Female Red Eared Slider Turtle       5/18/18
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have an 11 year old female red eared slider turtle and I let her roam around my house sometimes for an hour or so.
Well I just noticed that
1. She will literally climb out of her tank.
2. She will sit down on my floor and push her butt in the air and lay her head down and act like
she's swimming with her front paws.
Can someone explain to me what's going on?
<Yep - She's being a dork>
<She really shouldn't be able to climb out of her tank. Too many dangers there. Make sure she can't do that>
<I see that behavior once in a great while. On a textured floor like carpet, I always assumed it was an attempt to dig -- since that's exactly the position a female takes when starting to dig a nest. On a hard
surface, something they don't encounter in the wild, I think they may be trying to swim through it.>
<Either way, it's not an illness>

Re: Goldflake angel white stringy poop       5/18/18
Hi Bob
Just an update. I've sent the fish poop for microscopic test and the photos are attached as below.
<Mmm; can make out the copepods, not the single celled (circled) life>
I was only told that the protozoa are jumping actively. Currently I've re commenced to dose with Metronidazole and Praziquantel. By looking at the pictures, am I going the right direction with dosing with Metronidazole or more should be done? Thank you and much appreciated.
<Need more resolution... clearer, more close up, resolved pix. Bob Fenner>

full-size crop

I need to understand Biofilm       5/18/18
Hello Crew!
I think I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I was turning my 55 gallon tank into an "Eel Tank." That's done and the eels (Macrognathus pancalus according to the supplier) are doing well. I don't know if its because they are the only fish in the tank or if this is consistent with this species, but they are rarely under the sand (only when I do "scary" things like water changes - and sometimes not even then).
<Indeed; and floating plants even encourage them to hang out at the surface. Spiny Eels do vary in temperament of course, but when care for properly, they're not especially shy.>
They are constantly swimming around the tank and are a lot of fun. And I don't want that to change, but I need something in that tank to eat algae.
<I would stick with invertebrates, perhaps Nerites. Something that won't compete for food, at least.>
The tank is older and has some scratches which seems to accumulate algae that spreads out from there. But I don't want to put in an algae eater for fear of it frightening the eels and driving them permanently under the sand.
<Agreed, and again, Nerites are great at keeping glass and things like rocks clean. They're less good for clearing plants.>
So I've been doing some research and came across a fish called a "Rainbow Goby" aka "White Cheek Goby" (my aquarium store has one and they're "holding" it for me until I make my decision).
<This is Rhinogobius duospilus, a temperate to subtropical species from China. Not really suitable for tropical tanks. More a mountain stream biotope tank.>
I read that this fish feeds on "biofilm" and my research on biofilm defines it as "...a thin film on the surface of aquarium water, caused by the build up of protein from organic waste material. It is the structure bacteria build to support themselves growing on the surface where they get access to oxygen and the material...". Is this the type of biofilm this fish feeds on?
<Possibly. They're easily fed with bloodworms and the like, and aren't at all fussy. Most failures will come from overheating them.>
Does this fish feed at the surface?
Because the filter on this tank produces a moderate current and I don't see how the fish will be able to eat in that current when it only gets 2 inches long.
<Oh, gobies are fantastically well adapted to living in strong water currents.>
Will the tank ornaments and/or the sides off the tank accumulate enough off this biofilm for this fish to feed on? The Internet says this fish will "sometimes" accept bloodworms and such, but if I need to provide it with biofilm that's what I want to do. I don't want to get this fish and watch it starve to death so any information you can provide will be, as always, greatly appreciated.
<In this instance, biofilm probably means the same thing as 'aufwuchs', the combination of green algae and tiny invertebrates that develops on rocks in fast-flowing habitats such as mountain streams and rocky reefs. A combination of algae wafers, brine shrimps, bloodworms, and so on will satisfy Rhinogobius spp., and my specimens were really rather greedy! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta Breathing Hard      5/17/18
Hi again, I tested his water and couldn't believe it had .25ppm of ammonia!
That's the second time in 2.5 months that I lost my cycle. I did a 75% water change and added the Tetra Safe Start and 24 hours later, no more ammonia. Last week I did four water changes on my 10gal tank.
<So much change can disrupt nitrification. Hence my urging folks to pre-mix, store change out water ahead (a week) of use>

He's still breathing harder since Saturday, but swimming and eating normally. In addition, the bottom of his beard is always sticking out.
There is salt in his tank. Not sure if I can do anything else?
I had been changing the water so much due to the debris as I hadn't gotten the sand cleaning down pat.
<I encourage you to consider switching this sand out for larger grade... gravel>
Also he has some splitting on his fins. This morning I noticed another small missing piece. I turned the filter back down. I read to do many water changes to improve this, but I can't if I keep losing my cycle.
<Changing the water out is not a viable solution.... You need a steady bacterial population... in filter media, gravel....>
I'm not even sure if it's rotting or just splitting. It doesn't look red, black, melting or infected but it's not healing. There's more and more splitting and tears here and there.
<.... the issue here is too much water change, ammonia>
I thought about putting him in a small tank and doing daily water changes. I did that with another Betta in the past and It worked. But that seems drastic and I know he won't like it, but at what point do I make
that step?
<Perhaps reading a few hundred responses on WWM re Betta splendens; environmental disease>
Plus I did that with 1tsp of salt per gallon. I'm not sure how often that is safe to do. I've had salt in his tank since Sunday.
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Undiagnosed disease.      5/17/18
Hello crew, i hope you are doing well, as always.
<Hi Roberto,>
With the coming of winter, and slightly colder temperatures, i started using heaters in my tanks. (it was getting below 22 C).
One day i woke up to a Columbian tetra caught between the heater and the glass. I dislodged him and he went onto normal, except that he had an horrible vertical searing wound. It looked pretty horrible. I observed the fish for the following days and he looked to be healing pretty well. When everything looked good, he developed white, round growths on his wounds. It started slow, and i tried to net him many times out, but netting him out of a 150 gallon heavily planted tank is... hard. I decided to just keep on water changes daily and keep clean filters, etc.
The growths disappeared, and he seemed to heal completely. a week after the growths came back more aggressively, but still advancing slowly. Maybe a new growth every 2 days or so. I finally netted him out and put him on quarantine. I am concerned between three different ailments which are listed on your website: Lymphocystis, fungus or Columnaris.
<It doesn't look like Lymphocystis from the photographs of the Mollies and the Siamese Algae Eater. Conceivably Whitespot, but more likely Fungus, Columnaris, or perhaps Costia.>
i treated him with tetracycline and Methylene blue (correct me if im wrong, this has formalin right?).
<Formalin may be an ingredient in commercial medications, but these two chemicals are specific things, and in themselves, not formalin.>
Not sure if the treatment worked, as it jumped out overnight...
Fast forwarding a couple days, both fish pictures, a black molly and a SAE, developed the same growths. They don't have any wounds, they just started developing the growths. It seemed as first that single scales were popping out, then in the place of the pooped out scale appeared the growths. Some growths have disappeared, but they have left red open wounds.
<Not good.>
I have the molly in a 5 gal and treated with tetracycline, Methylene blue.
<Methylene Blue is effective against fungal infections, but will have little/no impact on Costia or Columnaris (also known as Mouth Fungus). Fungal infections often set in alongside other types of disease, which can be why Methylene Blue seems to help a bit, even where the actual problem is a protozoan or bacterium species.>
It seems to be working, albeit slowly. I am keeping on water changes on both the main tank and the quarantine, but what do you think is a correct diagnose?
<See above. Costia is typically associated with off-white to grey smears (hence 'Slime Disease') and can develop extremely rapidly. It usually respond best to anti-Whitespot medications, albeit slowly enough 2-3 rounds of treatment may be required. Columnaris (or Mouth Fungus) is bacterial in nature, so antibiotics are ideal, but failing that, some type of antibacterial medication used for external infections such as Finrot. I'd perhaps be looking at something like eSHa 2000 in the first instance, as it's fairly broad acting, dealing with a range of external bacteria and fungal infections. It also works well (and safely) alongside eSHa EXIT, which is a very good against external Protozoans. Since both these medications are cheap and widely sold, they're my favoured combination for use against difficult to identify, though obviously external, diseases.>
I went out and bought an API medicine that is supposedly for fungus. It is Victoria green (malachite green?) and Acriflavine. I can get Acriflavine separately for cheaper. Should i add, this sickness doesn't seem to be stressing them, they are eating normally, even the Columbian was doing so, even when heavily infested, it is developing, albeit very slowly.
I will be waiting input, so far no other fish have developed the growths, but it has shown it doesn't need an open wound to do so.
As always, thanks, WWM.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

long term. Infested SW systems      5/17/18
Hey Bob, good morning.
<Hi John>
This question is regarding marine velvet. My 750 got infected with it a few weeks back and devastated my fish population.
<I def. recall>
I have about 10 out of 30 remaining. About 1/2 of the remaining fish must be immune because they haven’t shown any symptoms. The other half are touch and go.
<I see>
I’ve tried to trap them with no success and with thousands in corals I can’t treat the tank. The question is this. If some of these fish pull through and clear the infection, will I ever be able to add new fish to the system or will the parasite always be present even on the healthy fish?
<I hinted re this before... You will need, be best served to select more resistant species (not Powder Blue, Brown Tangs e.g.) from better source countries, AND harden them ahead of introduction. The short version of this last involves isolation/quarantine to assure initial health, AND a bit of acquired immunity imbued by slowly introducing water from the main/display into the new arrival tank. Some folks might suggest prophylactic treatment/s as well. The reality is that nearly all captive systems are infested w/ parasite fauna of various mix; with the other two "factors that determine livestock health" acting as more drivers of outbreak>
As always, thank you.
<Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Mysterious nail   5/16/18
I was searching the web trying to identify some mysterious nails in my freshwater nano tank. And I came across a photo of the snail I’m trying to identify and it was tagged with your website on it. Could you guys take a look at this and maybe tell me what kind of snail I have in
my tank and whether or not it’s beneficial or not?
<Physa... your reading on WWM, elsewhere>
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Mysterious nail   5/16/18
Thank you very much.
<Certainly welcome Martin. BobF>

Re: Request for an article.   5/16/18
Thank you again.
<Thank you Anupam. B>

Re: Goodeids   5/16/18
hi, I'm very sorry about the late reply. I'm doing a project on the conservation of endangered Goodeids and i was wondering what you might know about how to conserve a species (specifically freshwater live bearers).
<What have you found out so far? For sure I'd be happy to add some comments, though from the perspective of the aquarist. Yes, there are species that exist only (or at least mainly) in captivity such as Ameca splendens. But there are issues about simply releasing these tank-bred specimens into the wild that we can talk about in detail later. Conversely, livebearers introduced outside of their natural range can cause headaches for those trying to conserve other species of fish. Mosquitofish are well known (and well studied) in this regard. So anyway, if you tell me what you've found out about so far, I can throw in some extra details. In the meantime, Wikipedia is a good starting point, but the IUCN website is
probably a better resource. Fishbase another good starting point. All of these will provide online/print media links that you will find useful.>
also if you know anything about their taxonomy that would be helpful as well.
<Again, yes, I know a fair bit about their taxonomy. But I'm hesitant to simply write it all down for you without establishing what you've already learned thus far. Wouldn't want to waste each other's time. So where are you at in this regard? To what extent have you pinned down the families, genera or species you wish to review? Do bear in mind freshwater livebearers range from Poeciliidae and Goodeidae through to things like Halfbeaks and Stingrays, so there's a lot of diversity within this grouping. Furthermore, sub-species level taxonomy can be complex, with numerous subspecies, geographical races, even simple polymorphism evident (see Micropoecilia parae as a good example). Conserving a species often ends up more difficult that simply conserving the species generally, but ensuring each distinct population is conserved, and gene flow between them minimised. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: green spotted puffer help!  Now Topaz puffers   5/16/18
Hi Neale,
Whilst still deciding whether to add the figure 8’s. I’ve found a pair of Topaz puffers. I understand these are v similar to the green spotted and therefore may do better with my GSPs?
<Yes; virtually identical in terms of size, behaviour, diet, etc. Taxonomically, real scientists consider the two species almost impossible to separate by looks alone, hence their reliance on DNA markers instead. Hobbyists are a little more confident, but you'll find some specimens on sale with markings that might be suggest either species, so there probably is some patterning and colouration overlap between them we don't always take into consideration.>
Do you know much about their aggression level?
<Variable, much like GSPs. Some specimens fairly easy going, others more snappy. The average specimen is probably a bit more aggressive than the average GSP, but there's not a huge amount in it.>
The ones I have found are c 4-5inches vs. the GSP’s that are currently around 2 inches. I assume this wouldn’t work due to size difference?
<It's worth a shot if you had some egg crate you could use as a divider if things didn't work out. Depends a bit on the size of the tank too. In theory, the two species will cohabit given space, though neither is what you'd call sociable.>
I really like them so thought I’d email you on the off chance you know more about them and can comment in compatibility and whether I can make it work. I am aware various different species are called topaz so I have included a picture below to help. As you can see they look awesome :-) but don’t want to buy them if they’ll likely demolish my GSPs!
<Definitely photos of what the hobby calls the Topaz Puffer, Tetraodon fluviatilis, yes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: green spotted puffer help!   5/16/18

It’s a 120 litre but I plan to upgrade in the next year or so - would that be too small and asking for problems or Ok to try?
<I'd not be keeping a 4-inch/10-cm pufferfish in a 120 litre tank, unless perhaps if it was one of the inactive 'lurker' species. 120 litres/25 gallons isn't a huge volume of water, and while it's fine for one or more juveniles, by the time you start adding near-adult specimens, water quality management is going to become much more of a challenge. Egg crate or similar (e.g., tank dividers sold for cichlids) are useful with aggressive fish if you can't be 100% sure they'll cohabit. Approach with caution. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: green spotted puffer help!    5/16/18

Thanks Neale - I'll avoid them then for now ��
<Cool. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Breathing Hard; dis., sys. f'     5/15/18
Good morning All!
<Hey Donetta>
Glad you're still here! It's been a couple of years since I had a fish.
I've had my Betta "Pety" since the end of March. I got him from Petco. He was beautiful except for a little tattering on his tail. I figured clean water would take care of that, but it's still there in additional to a
little more splitting from excessive flaring and playing in the filter I believe. It took him a couple weeks to calm down. He was fighting his evil twin quite a bit!
My set up is a lone Betta in a 10 gallon tank with filter and heater set to 80 degrees. Plastic plants that are all Betta friendly and a few Marino balls. I had all Anubias but they got that disease so I pulled them out. My tank is fully cycled. It cycles in two days always with Tetra Safe Start which I love. My param.s are always 0/0/5-10. My ph is always high at 8 and I live in Southern Cali and my water is very hard.
<Ah yes; I'm in San Diego; we call the tap "liquid rock"...>
I always wonder if I should do a 50/50 tap and distilled water.
<Mmm; I'd just use the tap for what you have here. Likely the hard, alkaline water was a factor with your Anubias>
I read so many different opinions. Do you think it will make a difference? If so I'd like to give him the best home.
<Well; would be better w/ a middling 7's pH... But, the troubles folks have with such adjustments.... IF you're going the modification of pH route, DO such changes with new water OUTSIDE the tank, SAVE it ahead of time for use (like a week)>
This is the first time I've had sand substrate and I had a hard time learning to get it clean. I watched so many YouTube videos, but for a while I had this debris floating on top of the water with a little cloudiness. In addition there was also debris in the water column that looked like clear straight lines about 1/4th inch. I'd do 50% water changes 2-3 times a week trying to clear it up to no avail. I know it was not good for Pety to breath that in plus he had the tattering on his fins.
Also I think he lost a fin ray before I got him too. See it dangling on the side?
<Mmm; not really. This fish looks good/great. Very healthy>
I finished treating him with Kanaplex in his food a couple weeks ago.
Nothing changed. Before that I tried salt for 10 days nothing changed.
Maybe my water quality wasn't good enough.
For about the last 1 1/2 weeks he's been breathing harder. I thought it was due to all the floaties in the water. On Saturday, I finally kicked up the flow on the filters. I have two mini internals with spray bars.
Pointed at the walls they make basically no current. I turned one up to the water line. Said to myself Pety is going to have to get use to it.
It's still pretty tame though and he's doing ok. I finally tried a sand vacuuming technique that worked for me.
I hold the vacuum at an angle and let the back end touch the sand and glide across. It doesn't pick up any sand! And I got out the most poo ever.
Finally! I did a 75% water change. Right after, I tried this DIY technique from the DIY King on YouTube. I cut out a 16oz plastic bottle and attached it to a power head. Packed the plastic bottle with filter floss and ran it for 15 minutes. Finally my tank is clear!
However, I stressed out Pety. I cupped him and let him float in the tank to keep him warm while I ran the power head. However he was freaking out and moving side to side. So I took him out the tank and sat him on the counter and put a towel over him to calm him down. The whole process was 15 min. Then I released him back in the water. A little later I noticed he was breathing harder. This was on Saturday. On Sunday he was still breathing hard. Still swimming around as usual and eating, begging for
food etc. I then added 5 teaspoons of aquarium salt along with an air stone to help with his gills. I wonder if the breathing problems started because of the debris in the tank and escalated because of the stressful water change.
<What are your measures of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate? Temperature?>
This morning (Monday). He's still breathing hard. Looks like his gills are sticking out a tad. Could he have Gill Flukes?
<Very doubtful>
But he never flashes. I have PraziPro at home. I didn't want to just drop meds in his tank, but I'm very concerned over his breathing. And I'm concerned about his fins not healing, they are a little worse then the above pic now, but the splitting is not progressing it's pretty much staying the same. Maybe it doesn't heal because of the water quality.
<This IS the mostly likely cause>
Also I forgot to mention I keep Indian almond tannins in his tank and I've been using Seachem Stress Guard for his fins, but again no improvement.
<These are fine to use>
Thanks for your help!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Restarting refugium     5/15/18
Thank you. One more question. How can I raise my phosphate? We already over feed our fish, pellets 2x day, Rod’s at night. We also add nori. In addition to the fish below we also have seven striped cardinals. I can only find Neophos as a supplement, but there has to be a better way. Some one said add more fish.
<You don't utilize a chemical filtrant? I'd add more fish then, and food; rather than adding soluble phosphate directly. Bob Fenner>
Re: Restarting refugium     5/15/18

<Big W.>
Nope, no chemical filtrants. Just skimming, ozone and carbon after the ozone.
<Oh, well skimming and ozone do their part in eliminated HPO4>
Now, what kind of fish can I have. I thought having a 300g would open limitless possibilities, but with our coral diversity it is hard to balance compatible fish. I would love a Heniochus, but they would eat my Zoas and Acans like skittles. Other fish can be to/o aggressive. That leaves me with Anthias. Let me know if you have other suggestions.
<? All sorts... Flasher, Fairy, Lined et al Wrasses, all Basses, Cardinals.... see WWM re. B>

Request for an article. Re "exotic" BTAs      5/15/18
Hearty greetings.
This is a request from just one amongst all the earthlings for an article by the Veteran if & when he is pleased, to solve the eye boggling mystery for the simple minded laymen behind the unrealistically eye candy avatars of the much favoured Cnidarian (E. quadricolor) emanating seemingly from some sorcery or discovery of some sort.
The following link shows one such specimen-
<Hey Anupam. If you're hinting that you'd like to see me/someone here on WWM pen such, it won't be me. (Again) I don't know the origin of these Entacmaea, but I fully suspect they're man-made (not natural)... Have seen comments re "Rainbow" et al. Anemones since 2007 or so... "From China?"
Until I see these "varieties" underwater myself or see reports by credible people re...
Bob Fenner>

Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions      5/15/18
I finally found where they were taking about the wild catching on here and it was bob Fenner can you forward this convo onto him?
<I don't have any further useful input. BobF>

Restarting refugium      5/14/18
Hi. I hope you and your tanks are happy.
<Thanks Will>
I have 2 problems, not a good thing
1: We had a ozone reactor over flow. We just had it dialed in wrong after some changes. We had to make the difficult decision to move our sump and dry out underneath it. We also needed to re-seal the drain pan, it wasn’t done as well as it should have been. The actual question what is the best way to re-start the refugium? Put all of the muck back in and suffer thru the mini cycle, or start fresh and slowly build it up. I think our tank can sustain itself w/o a refugium.
<I'd rinse whatever hard substrate (rock, sand, gravel) to remove "muck", replace all biota>
2. Dino’s are back. Not sure where the hell they came from.
<Cyclical... nutrient availability, lack of competitors, predators...>
We thought we had this battle won 3 months ago. I read that Chaeto is a favorite place for them to hide out, true/false?
<False. Can "get in" many ways, including just the air>
If so I just won’t put back what we had in the refugium. We have other macro algae in there. Just looking for 2 cents here, I think we have been thru everything thing. We are greatly reducing the light cycle for 2 days, the slowly ramping it back up
Details of tank
300g up for 1yr 3mo.
3 MP 40s in the tank
~200 lbs live rock
2.5 nitrate prior to removing sump/refugium
0 phosphate
<Biomineralizing life needs some>
9.5 Alk
450 Calc
370 ORP. Best I can figure, the other ORP probe shows 320.
Mg was 1250 a week ago.
Sump Trigger Systems Ruby 36 elite
Big reef-octopus skimmer (I can’t remember model)
Apex with too many probes.
Geos Reef ozone reactor
Poseidon Ozone reactor
4x Radion Gen 3 Pros.
Our Acros are FINALLY starting to grow.
<Need HPO4>

Got some killer stuff from WWC on their sales. The Jello Shot is too cool for words.
My big concern is that we got one of the Biota Mandarins last week. It is so small!! We keep it in Marine Depot RF200 Acclimation/Quarantine box in the main tank with some macro and the porous live rock. She is doing great and is eating frozen food.
<Ah good>
Other live stock: powder blue & yellow tang, ruby fin fairy wrasse, goby/pistol pair , lots of snails.
The main question go buried above, What is the best way to restart the refugium. Put all the old gunk back in at once, or slowly add new stuff over a period of time.
<Rinse out the gunk>
Thanks for your help and patience over the years of my addiction.
<Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Re: Unusual BTAs/names      5/14/18
Thank you Mr. Fenner.
<Welcome Anupam>

Acrylic tank HELP      5/13/18
Hi Bob,
I noticed some splotches on the used acrylic tank that I recently purchased. I'm wondering if I should be concerned about them or not.
There are also some small visible Nick's that I can feel with my finger nail.
I'd really appreciate your help. Thank you so much for even having the FAQ.
<The "whited out spots" in the joint of the tank aren't problematical. Do keep an eye on them over the years to make sure they don't grow; make up more than half the joint. The vertical fracturing/crazing you are likely referring to as noticeable w/ your finger nail is more concerning. IF you find yourself at a time with the tank empty, dry, completely clean, I would solvent a piece of doweling or cut piece/sheet of acrylic in this corner... the entire length of the crazed side. Do you understand? Please read re on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Goodeids, gen.      5/12/18
Howdy WetWebMedia,
I was wondering if there was anything else that you could tell me about Goodeids, besides what is already on your site.
<What do you need to know? Which species are you interested in? There are a fair number of species, and while the group is pretty consistent in some ways, there is some variation among species. Cheers, Neale.>

cloudy 2 year established goldfish 30 gallon aquarium     5/12/18
I've had fancy goldfish and Orandas in a my aquarium for two years, all of a sudden the water is staying cloudy and I lost one of my goldfish. The goldfish had been swimming off and on upside down for 2 months or so and then one evening I notice he was staying upside down more than upright and that his fins were very ragged. I flushed him because he wasn't breathing very well either. Soooo I checked the ammonia levels a couple of weeks ago and it was perfect, now its out of the scale of high....its blue...... I've used Prime and did 1/3 water change, changed the filter and put in ammonia chips with filter and still cloudy. today I put ammo lock in.....WHAT DO I DO???Thanks, Donna
<Donna, let me have you do some reading first:
Cloudy water usually indicates either filtration problems or water chemistry problems. If ammonia is high, that suggests the former.
Substantial, daily water changes will certainly help; and don't feed until the tank has settled down. Zeolite (ammonia removing chips) can help in the short term, but longer term, you need to figure out how the existing filter failed. Often simply adding a second filter can help, especially if the tank was fine when the fish were small, but now they're bigger, the tank has become more difficult to maintain. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: cloudy 2 year established goldfish 30 gallon aquarium     5/12/18
thanks!!!! they are getting much bigger! second filter and water changes......here I go!
<Ah, right, seems like you have a plan. Cheers, Neale.>


Carassius pop eye     5/12/18
Hello, I’m Maite, and I have a fish with a strange bubble in the eye, I search everywhere to know what It is, but I didn't find anything. So I write to You, if You know something about this. It is acting weird this days, it stays hidden behind the filter, and the skin is getting whiter.
This is an image of my fish
<The eyes of fishes are highly vascularized... lots of blood vessels, flow there. This fact is capitalized on in the "breeds" of goldfish with bulbous eyes. Yours here may have suffered an injury, but I suspect it is just of poor genetic stock. There is no sure cure for this condition... You might want to try Epsom Salt (see WWM re).
If the fish doesn't cure... it will likely perish.
Bob Fenner>

Adding Julidochromis to existing tank     5/12/18
Hi crew,
I have an established tank (about 5 years old) with Neolamprologus multifasciatus colony (total 9 fish). Do you think I can safely add pair or maybe even single Julidochromis transcriptus or other similar Julies
species. Photo of my 20 hexagon tank is below.
<It is going to be dicey, to be honest Mark, but not impossible. Julies operate strictly in terms of surface area, not depth. So they'll be expecting a certain amount of real estate somewhere among the rocks. Your 20 gallon tank (assuming that's what it is) will be taller rather than wide, which puts a premium on the types of habitat the Julies will be after. Your little Neolamprologus work much the same way, albeit favouring shells or burrows. If you can rearrange the tank in such a way there are a nice mix of shells towards the bottom, and a raised mountain of rocks up the back, say, where the Julies can make their territories, you might be okay. You'd want one of the smaller Julie species of course, simply because
of the size of the tank, and bear in mind all Tanganyikans are sensitive to water quality issues, so you can't compromise in this regard. Of course both kinds of fish are zooplankton feeders, so in that sense at least you shouldn't have too many problems. Cheers, Neale.>

Black ghost knife fish, glass catfish, and neon tetras     5/12/18
Thank you for your website. It’s very informative.
<Hello Vicki, and thanks for the kind words. However, sending 20 MB of attachments completely messed up our email box, which causes some people's messages to be sent back to them as undeliverable. We do politely ask people keep attachments down to a minimum size, around 500 kB for images, by resizing them in a graphics application of their choice.>
I have queries about 3 fish species.
<Fire away.>
I have a BGK (see photos attached). Out of its anus this pink growth has suddenly appeared (happened 4 days ago). At times what appears to be faeces still is coming out so don’t think it’s a blockage. It’s behaviour remains unchanged. It’s still appears happy and is swimming around and eating. I’ve read on your website not to feed it blood worms (unsure why?). What else can we feed it other than bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia? I have been feeding it bloodworms and brine shrimp and it has also been eating vegetarian food I put out for my bottom feeders (such as spinach, broccoli, carrot, shelled peas, couchette, cucumber, and pellets) and flakes. I apologise for the grainy photos but it is very difficult to get clear images from a fish tank.
<I'm not sure this is the anus of the fish. Looks a bit far forward. The anus should be well past the gill covers, and close to the front of the anal fin. But if it is what you say it is -- and you can see the fish better than me! -- then a prolapse may be the issue here. Various reasons for this, but often internal protozoan parasites or worms at the cause. Medicating with Metronidazole alongside a good antibiotic such as Nitrofuran would be my first move. Deworming is worth a shot, for example with PraziPro. Sometimes prolapses are triggered by dietary shortcomings, so review this aspect alongside medication.>
One of my glass catfish appears to have white spot? I’ve been treating it with Melafix and Pimafix for 6 days and it remains unchanged. Same with the neon tetras who have had continuous growths and damage to their fins since we got them (8 weeks or so). We’ve been treating them with Melafix and Pimafix in a hospital tank but they don’t seem to be getting better.
<These are both somewhere on a sale from unreliable to useless.>
We’ve even tried “tonic” a mixture of Methylene blue mixed with malachite green. It didn’t work.
<Indeed not; neither of these is considered first-rate anti-Whitespot medications. The old salt/heat method works well if this truly is Whitespot (2 gram salt/litre water, plus water temperature raised to 28 C) but many aquarists simply prefer to use a commercial anti-Whitespot medication, such as eSHa EXIT.>
We have even tried feeding them with their flakes soaked in Seachem garlic guard. We don’t want to keep treating our fish and would like these issues resolved.
<Again, nothing about garlic treats Whitespot.>
Other fish that live with the BKF and glass catfish are Plecos, Kuhli loaches, black neons, clown loaches, chain loaches, striata loaches, varies Gourami, female Betta, golden tetras, albino shark, bristle nose catfish, and Colchis blue (I think they are called).
<No idea what that last fish might be! But in any case, Black Ghost Knifefish, most catfish, and most loaches are very intolerant of copper and formalin, so choose medications very carefully. The salt/heat treatment is safe with them, as are Metronidazole and true antibiotics.>
We use RO DI water and all our parameters are perfect.
<I'd prefer the actual parameters over your interpretations, to be honest. But providing you have fairly soft to middling water chemistry (1-12 degrees dH, pH 6.5-7.5) this mix of fish should be fine. I trust you are not using pure RO water, but are adding something to it, whether hard tap water or commercial Discus buffer? Straight RO water is not helpful.>
Tanks are well oxygenated as well.
Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks,
<You're welcome, Neale.>

Re: Black ghost knife fish, glass catfish, and neon tetras     5/12/18
Hi Neale,
Thank you for your prompt reply. I apologise for sending through large photos. Will know for next time.
I appreciate your help.
<You are most welcome! Good luck, Neale.>

New? BTA varieties?     5/12/18
It's the new variety of rare bubble tip anemones like Inferno, Flame, Sunburst, Lemon drop, Rainbow. Where were these pretty color strains earlier and how did they come about all of a sudden, is my question. Could you throw some light in this regard?
<Strange... after decades in the trade, I never heard these names applied to Entacmaea...
Looked on the Net, and do see such...
Know nothing regarding; have never encountered in the wild; though other bizarrely colored specimens that I make out as BTAs.
See here on WWM:
I say "let the buyer beware". Bob Fenner>

Re: Tinfoil Barb      5/11/18
It does help! Thank you!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: Dragon Goby      5/11/18
P.S. The Dragon Goby that you helped me with that I got in back on April 6th (he was about 6 inches long then) has been responsible for me getting a lot of "guff" from members of the local aquarium club.
<Well, that's good, isn't it!?>
They thought I was wrong to feed him seaweed (green, red, and brown - he loves them all!) and only the occasional bloodworms and Mysis shrimp - they insisted he was a carnivore and needed an exclusively "meat" diet AND a freshwater fish.
Well, they're eating their words now as he has grown to more than 10 inches in just a month and his girth has quadrupled.
He is absolutely stunning with his silver and cobalt blue coloring (I keep trying to get a picture of him, but all I get is a silver-blue blur - I'll send you one when I get it) and he swims around the tank strong and bold as brass day or night, tank lights on or not.
<Quite so. Their other common name, Violet Goby, refers to this lovely colouration they can develop under good conditions. Healthy specimens might not be pretty, as such, given their weird proportions, but they are certainly impressive.>
Now everyone wants to know where I got my information on feeding this fish correctly and I gave them the address for your site.
Thanks for setting me straight on caring for this beautiful fish!
<Ah, and thanks for this kind, informative and very welcome update. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Violet Goby       5/11/18

Yes, it is good! What's even more fun is to see peoples' reaction when they see him. They don't just stop talking, they stop breathing for a bit (no one as fainted yet!).
<They are certainly distinctive pets!>
I've been looking for more specific information about the different seaweeds that might shed some light on the Goby's menu selections, but so far I haven't been able to find anything (and the nutritional information on the package says they're all the same as far as percentage of protein, fat, fiber, etc.).
<Oh, I would not worry too much: while there is some variation, the essential nutrients in seaweed, such as iodine, will complement nicely the nutritional composition of things like algae wafers and frozen krill.>
But he definitely has his preferences; he always eats the red seaweed first, always.
<Yum! This group, the Rhodophyta, includes many of the ones humans consider most palatable, including Nori and Laver.>
Then he'll eat the green or the brown as he seems to like those equally, unless I have put a Algae Wafer or Veggie Round in the tank - those are preferred over the green or brown seaweed. I'd love to understand why (there I go again with the "why").
<Algae wafers will contain nice smelly proteins that attract fish to eat them. Red algae may well be extra tasty in the same way that your Japanese sashimi wouldn't be as good without the Sushi Nori wrapped around it!>
Anyway, I almost didn't get this fish, which would have been my loss, because the Internet says they are very difficult to transition to frozen foods. Now I know why.
<A common story with many oddballs. They're not difficult; they just can't be kept in a community tank and fed flake. Once you get past that, oddballs offer up some really fun pets.>
Maybe my experience will help someone else make more informed choices and be able to enjoy this incredible gift of nature.
<Quite so. Regards, Neale.>

Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions      5/11/18
I know they have been bred a few times with the offspring making it about 18 weeks at the longest before dying of unknown causes.
<Indeed, these have been less often bred than Bichirs.>
So I’m trying to figure out if simulating wet and dry season will help keep the offspring alive.
I’m also trying to find any info I can on how they are collected because I feel like something that is happening when they are collected might be hurting our chances of tank breeding them.
<Ah, a good way of thinking. I would also have you look into their actual ecology. Erpetoichthys is increasingly recognised as an amphibious fish rather than a fully aquatic one. Waterlogged vegetation, swamps, and other complex habitats are where they live, and their familiar sidewinding locomotion is precisely how they move across wet land. They are well adapted to breathing air, can spend hours on land so long as they are wet, and may well actively avoid clear water where competition (or predation) from other fish is too strong. In other words, we're looking at something more like a Mudskipper than a typical fish. I'd use Google Scholar to learn more. There's plenty of information out there.>
And I’m wondering if they have different techniques in different areas where they are caught. Similar to how some fish are sedated for shipping and thing like that having an impact. I appreciate your fast response and am excited to see if anyone else has any more info or a connection to someone with more info I can talk too.
<One thing I'd be thinking about is their clearly obligate need for air rather than water. Newly hatched fish may well be adapted to very shallow water, well away from predators, but in turn, reliant on being able to locomotor to the surface to gulp air. It may well be you'd want to hatch the fish in very shallow water, maybe a couple cm, maybe even less, to replicate this ecological niche more accurately. Warm and humid air will be part of the mixture too; if anabantids are any indication to go by, breathing cold or dry air can have a strongly negative impact on survival rates.>
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions      5/11/18

That actually helped a lot.
I really do think that the dry season in particular must have the most to do with fry survival.
<May well be.>
I have added a “turtle” dock to my set up and covered it with moss.
<Ah, yes, sounds about right to me.>
I have observed them leaving the water onto the dock and eating terrestrial insects offered on the dock such as wingless fruit flies.
<Indeed, does seem a substantial part of their diet in the wild includes terrestrial insects collected during such excursions.>
I also have “jungle” style plants that allow the ropes to rest at the surface by sitting on the plants trying my hardest to simulate the reedy swamp like condition of their natural environment.
I really am having a hard time finding video or pictures of them in the wild and also finding the “poison” used to catch them and exploring if that is discouraging tank breeding.
<Can't help here, I'm afraid. I'm not aware of 'poisons' being used to catch this species.>
I’ve been doing a lot of research on the ecology of the fish and find that some of the studies on locomotion and oxygen intake done in the 80’s have been the most helpful. I had not however thought about the humid air they breath as fry might have something to do with the success rate.
<Good luck! Neale.>
Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions      5/11/18

The only reason I say “poison” is because I don’t know what they are using. The only info I’ve gotten says they are collected by people using a fence like structure to fence off a reedy area and the “use a chemical to sedate or knock out” the fish so they can be easily collected. Any ideas on the exact way they collect this species.
<None, I'm afraid.>
Sent from my iPhone
<Cheers, Neale.>

Leaf fish not eating      5/11/18
<Hey Ash>
I have a *Taenianotus triacanthus *that I've had for about 3 months.
<Oh, one of my faves. Am always looking for them while out dive traveling in their range>
He lives in 37 gallon tank with three *Hippocampus erectus *sea horses, two Hawaiian feather dusters, plus about 30 pounds of liverock with some hermit crabs and snails, small sponges, and macro algae. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all zero and pH is about 8.2. Water temperature 75*. He's been
eating ghost shrimp and small mollies which I keep and feed good food for at least a week (only live).
About two weeks ago the leaf fish's eyes started to go cloudy and he stopped eating. I tested the water again to make sure everything was still ok (it was), did some research and decided he was probably about to shed since his skin also looked a little dull. He did shed a couple days later but the cloudy eyes stayed and he still wouldn't eat. I tried a freshwater dip (pH adjusted) to check for eye flukes but nothing came off.
<Mmm; and this fish does have places where it can "get out of the bright light" I take it>
Since a week and a half ago he's only eaten one ghost shrimp. I was worried maybe it was vision problems so I tried moving him into a smaller container while feeding to make it easier to catch food, but still nothing.
He still seems to act the same in the tank - staying in his same perches, sitting upright, moving around (although I still think he's having a hard time seeing). I can move him to a quarantine tank but am not sure what to treat him for. Do you have any suggestions?
<I do; considering your test readings, the other livestock doing well, that you dipped the fish w/o resolve, I'm wondering if your Leaf has a nutritional deficiency/syndrome. Easy to treat w/ marines; I'd add both a complete liquid vitamin and an appetite enhancer; like SeaChem's Vitality product... directly to the water as well as soaked on foods just ahead of offering.>
No sign of anything wrong with the seahorses, by the way.
Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Leaf fish not eating      5/11/18

Thank you. He does have shadowy places to get out of the light (which is not especially bright), including a couple of caves in the LR. That said, his favorite perch is actually at the top of the LR about 2/3 up the tank, out in the open.
<Ah good>
I'll try the Seachem, thank you.
<Welcome. BobF>

Algae id      5/11/18
Im cycling a marine aquarium and this algae has grown i can id if it is Bryopsis, Derbesia or something else.
Are you able to help?
<Does look like both these noisome genera... I'd be reading; considering "nuking" (bleaching) this system... to start over. Bob Fenner>

Spam Note      5/11/18
Happy Friday Crew!
<Hey Gabe!>
Logged into the email this morning and saw a new (to me at least) type of spam email. The subject line said "FAQs on the Flowerhorn Cichlid", so I assumed it was real and opened it.
<Mmm; yeah; there are more sophisticated bots that can, do lift names, related info. to get folks to click>
It was just another spam message about dry ice from China or something, with a bunch of crazy attachments that my computer tried to download.
Figured I would give you all a heads up to make sure you don't accidentally download any malware to your computers. Looks like we are going to have some spam that is pretty well disguised. Hope all of you are doing well :)
Bob- feel free to post this if you want. Wasn't sure the best way to get this info out to everyone else.
Gabe Walsh
<Thank you; will share. BobF>

Blobs/Bubbles/White; Crayfish hlth.      5/11/18
Apologies for emailing I was attempting to put up a post of desperation but could not work it out, my daughters crayfish "Mr. Sausage" who's she adores, was flailing around last night in his tank and lying on his side in what looked like an attempt to shed, he is around a year old and he has shed successfully many times. He just sits in his House not moving much, but these white/cream things have appeared to be oozing from underneath his shell, which the only way to describe is his under fleshy bits coming
though his shell. They have grown as the day has gone on.
The water is good had it tested this morning,
<Please send data, actual measurements>
could this be a failed shed or something else.
<Yes; easily. Most celebratedly a deficit of iodide/ate can/does lead to such issues>
He is moving but not too much and not often....worried he will be dead by end of day when she gets home.
Any ideas of what it is or how to fix it.
<The I2 supplement. Something like SeaChem's (reef) Iodide: http://www.seachem.com/reef-iodide.php
Don't be thrown by its marine use labeling; safe to use on Crayfish>
thank you for your help in advance. Couple of pictures attached
<I would have you read here re Cray health:
and the linked files in this series (at top). Bob Fenner>


Re: green spotted puffer help!      5/10/18
Hi Neale,
How are you?,
<All good.>
As an update - I started adding salt at my last water change and all seems to be going well!
Quick question - A local shop I noticed have figure 8's in (about 2 inches). My GSP's are 1.5-2 inches. From my research - they both like Brackish and come from similar environments - could I put a few in there?
Or best not to?
<While young, yes, they will cohabit reasonably well. GSPs tend to be a bit more snappy, while Figure-8s are perhaps a bit more active. But there's not much in it either way. As they get older though, GSPs do become substantially bigger and potentially more dangerous. Also remember that they're somewhat different in optimal salinity. Figure-8s are freshwater to low-end brackish, doing best at a low salinity, maybe SG 1.002-1.005; your GSPs, on the other hand, while perfectly fine at SG 1.003-1.005 for long
periods, perhaps indefinitely, are often kept in higher salinities, even full marine conditions.>
I know ultimately the GSP's will outgrow them, but the intention is anyway in 12-18 months to get a bigger tank.
<Ah, yes!>
At which point I'll possibly put the GSP's in the bigger tank and keep the F8's in the existing tank?
From my understanding it takes easily 2-3 years for GSP's to grow anywhere near full size anyway?
<Something like that, yes. Many specimens never get particularly big, though well-kept ones should comfortably reach 10 cm/4 inches, and be stocky with it.>
Even as juveniles can it be done? Or best to keep species only?
<See above. Yes, but with caution, and likely not indefinitely.>
<You're welcome, Neale.>

Tinfoil Barb      5/10/18
Hello Crew!
<Hello Renee,>
A few months ago, I took in a 7 - 8 inch Tinfoil Barb that my aquarium store took in as a rescue (they've helped me a lot and I wanted to return the favor). They told me that this fish had been in a 90 gallon tank that had been abandoned and the water got so bad that his dorsal and one pectoral fin rotted off (pretty lousy picture attached, but you should be able to see the damaged dorsal fin - the left pectoral fin is in the same condition); the rest of his tankmates died.
He had been at their store for almost 6 months when I saw him and was overwhelming their store tanks. They couldn't keep him in their big orphan tank because the majority of the orphans they get are aggressive, large cichlids who may take advantage of the Barb's disabilities. They were afraid he'd never find a suitable home so I agreed to take him and give him a bigger tank while we keep working to find him a home with a large tank (mine is only 75 gallon). But so far, no takers. Everyone, including the
Boise Aquarium, has expressed concern about his injuries, which seem permanent, and his ability to thrive with other big Barbs or other large, potentially aggressive fish.
<Understood, and the Boise Aquarium may well have a point.>
But I've had him a few months and he is a beautiful, happy, healthy fish - except - I think he's lonely. Not pining away, missing someone kind of lonely, but just needing other fish around.
<Quite possibly.>
So, for the past few weeks, I've been trying to find him a tankmate or two to swim with that won't overwhelm my tank as (the tank has two canister filters on it, one rated for a 75 gallon and one for a 65 gallon and a small powerhead). I've tried an Oscar, a Blood Parrot, and most recently, two Acara - but the Barb has been bullied relentlessly by every fish I've tried and I just noticed this morning that his one remaining pectoral fin has a tear (I'll be taking the Acara back to the aquarium store this morning). I don't want to get another big Barb as I'm already concerned about the tank size even with the filtration (but water parameters have stayed steady with no ammonia or nitrite and weekly water changes have kept the nitrate below 30 since he's been here). Can you suggest a fish that would give him someone to swim with that won't beat him up and is the least likely to overwhelm the tank?
<I would tend to look at species that stay closer to the bottom. Enough activity to keep him entertained, but lacking the swimming ability to either compete or the jaws to cause damage. I'd be thinking about, for example, things like Dianema spp. and Brochis spp. for starters, both of which are completely peaceful. Any of the Whiptails would be a great choice, being so gentle they even ignore livebearer fry. Some of the larger Whips, such as Sturisoma, are spectacular fish in their own right, and enjoy the same brisk, cool water your Tinfoil Barb relishes. I might even think about true surface dwellers such as the larger Hatchetfish which aren't a threat to anything because their jaws point upwards. Finally, you
might consider placid dwarf cichlids, such as Apistogramma, which may be territorial but will be so overwhelmed by the size of the Tinfoil their threat level will be low.>
He doesn't have much left in the way of fins and I don't think he can afford any more damage.
<Hope the above helps, Neale.>

titan trigger and green moray eel      5/10/18
hi all great site. very informative
<Hi George>
I just built a 450 gallon acrylic tank in my basement a month ago.
my basement entrance has always kept me from anything larger then a 180 gallon but building it myself has fixed this issue.
current occupants are a green moray eel and a titan trigger.
<One of the most aggressive Trigger species and it gets too large!>
all the filter media sand and live rock was transferred from my 180 gallon into this new aquarium, the eel is new but the titan has been with me for about a year in the 180
i<Caps> know the tank is to small for them once they get bigger, I am beginning the plans for a approximately 1000 gallon soon. the titan is about 9 inches and the green moray is 3 feet long.
<Keep an eye on the trigger as it is very mean with most tankmates>
i believe i have a year or so before the 1000 is necessary. contemplating whether to go acrylic or plywood this time.
my question is will the titan trigger get it’s adult coloration in a home aquarium?
<It will if good nutritional and environmental conditions are provided>
thanks George
<Your welcome Wilberth Gamboa>
Re: titan trigger and green moray eel      5/10/18
Thank You Very Much
<Welcome. Wilberth Gamboa>

Ropefish collecting in the wild questions      5/10/18
I have been scouring the net for months collecting as much info on Ropefish as I can find. I’m attempting a breeding project with them and I’m trying to write a very detailed paper. My question is about how they are collected in the wild. I’ve been trying to find someone to correspond with that has seen them collected or knows how they are collected and I really want to find pictures or better yet video of the habitat they are being pulled from. Also it would be nice to speak to someone about what the locals know about the fish and what they know about them breeding. I saw a post on here where Neale mentioned speaking to someone at Interzoo who was associated with their export from Nigeria and I would love more info on that.
<Actually, am pretty sure that was me relating the anecdote. If memory serves, the gentleman told me that a group places a fence of woven reeds about a shallow, emersed planted area where Ropefish congregate, and sometimes using a local/organic poison, narcotize the fish, pulling the plants out and gathering them for export>
I really appreciate any help you can give or anyone else you might know that I can contact. Thank you so much.
Hayley Cox
<Don't know re reproduction; but pretty sure they and some of the related bichirs have been captive-produced. Will ask Neale Monks re. Bob Fenner>

120G Oceanic Reef Ready Tank - Top Center Support Fell Into Tank
I have a 120G Oceanic RR tank, 48" x 24" x 24" with 1/2" glass panels that has been set up since 2011. Tonight my wife noticed that the glass center support separated from the back of the tank and fell in the water with the front still attached.
<I see this in your image; and the timely brace>
I am concerned of tank blow-out / leak without the center support in place. I am traveling for 2-weeks so as a temporary measure I had my wife put a clamp across the top of the tank to prevent any further movement / bowing, doing so with the tank full.
<A very good idea>
What are your thoughts on this and risk of tank leak / failure in current state?
<Less than w/o the clamp... Should be fine for now>
Is the fix to empty tank, clean off all glass & re-silicone?
<Yes; or to perhaps fashion another design... Like a Euro-Brace>
Does the tank have to be completely empty or is 50% drained enough?
<Completely empty, dry>
Separately in my searches I found a post where a Oceanic rep back in 2003 indicated on the 120g tank the sides were thick enough where the center support provided limited structural function as some people like to remove to optimize light coverage. They also built a series of 120g tanks, 1/2" glass without center supports from my research as well?
<... don't know about this. Have never seen their tanks w/o center supports>
I have attached a photo of current state showing center brace laying in tank and clamp across the top. Thank you in advance for your help / support.
<Am glad to assist you. If it were me, mine, I'd either replace this tank, re-Silicone the current brace (necessitating emptying)... or better, read on WWM re the Euro- idea. Bob Fenner>

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Marine Aquarium Articles and FAQs Master Index

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  • Fishes Plus, Index 3: Marine Angelfishes, Tangs/Surgeons/Doctorfishes, Scats, Batfishes, Rabbitfishes; Triggers, Files, Puffers, Flounders, Halibuts, Soles, Really Old Fishes, Marine Reptiles, Marine Mammals,
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