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Chaetodon madagaskariensis Ahl 1923. Pearly or Chevron Butterflyfish. To five inches. Feeds on invertebrates and algae. Western Indian Ocean. Here's a juvenile and adult in Mauritius in 2016.
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Violet dragon goby & diamond killifish?      6/27/17
I can't thank you enough for the great website & patience with my continued questions about a permanent set up for my violet dragon goby. It seems like the more I learn about brackish fishkeeping the harder it is to settle on a
<Indeed! That's part of the frustration of this section of the hobby. On the one hand, relatively few species are regularly traded, but on the other hand, the sheer variety of species that are occasionally traded is mind-blowing, including many fabulous species unlike anything else in either freshwater community or marine reef fishkeeping.>
At this point I'm planning on a 55 gallon tank, but I might go with a 75 if I can find an affordable one soon.
<Oftentimes, and you won't hear this said too often, two or three small brackish tanks can actually be funner than one big tank. Because things like gobies, Killies and halfbeaks are small, but specialised, 10-20 gallon tanks with simple (cheap!) heaters and filters can provide an easier way to keep them at their best.>
I currently have my goby in with my wrestling halfbeaks & they get along great. I want to add a mid water fish to the mix.
<Yes, a great combo.>

So I'm thinking about diamond killifish - Adinia multifasciata - these look cool, but I can't find any videos of them.
<Do try their more modern names, Fundulus xenicus or Adinia xenica.>
Are they mainly mid water or would they compete for the halfbeaks' or goby's food & space? My goby is downright timid when it comes to food.
<I haven't kept this species myself, but my impression is that it's a small, docile species with regard to tankmates, though the males are feisty amongst themselves. Pretty standard for Killies, really. They're also strongly herbivorous in the wild, consuming goodly quantities of algae and organic detritus alongside zooplankton and the occasional insect larva. I'd tend to keep them on their own primarily so that they could be bred, but also to ensure the right diet.>
I'd like to keep breeding the halfbeaks & get the killifish to breed, too.
Would the Killies eat the halfbeak fry before I can net them out? And would the halfbeaks eat the killi eggs before I can move them?
<Halfbeaks generally ignore anything on the substrate, so killifish eggs are probably safe. But fry at the surface would be fair game. If we're talking about Wrestling Halfbeaks here, their fry are comparatively large, but brood sizes are variable and sometimes small, so I'd tend not to keep them with anything likely to eat them. While you might get lucky, especially in a big tank with floating plants, I think you'd find both species more productive kept amongst their own kind.>
I couldn't find much information on the behavior & breeding of diamond Killies. Do they need caves or visually separated territories?
<Yes, caves and vertical structures will provide necessary barriers between males.>
Will a sand substrate work?
<Nope. You need lots of feathery plants or a substitute such as killifish breeding mops. Pairs scatter their eggs, though oddly only one or two a day, and so far as I can tell, males defend territories but not the actual eggs. A week or two later you should start seeing fry appear among the floating plants, one or two at a time, and these fry need to be isolated until they're too big to be eaten. If you've bred Ricefish or Dwarf Mosquitofish, you will find this species very similar.>
Do you have any tips for reducing their shyness?
<Probably impossible under aquarium conditions; a lot of these Killies live in big schools, but unless you can house a dozen or so, multiple males will probably be too aggressive to work in small groups. So most aquarists end up with two or three females alongside a single male, and while "safe", such a small group will feel a bit nervous until really settled in.>
Lastly, would SG 1.003 - 1.005 work for all of these species?
<Diamond Killifish, Wrestling Halfbeak and most gobies (you don't tell me your species) should be fine.>
Thank you!
- Meghan
<Welcome. Neale.>
Violet dragon goby & diamond killifish?      6/27/17

<PS Just saw this was re: Violet Goby. Unlikely to actually want to do any harm to Diamond Killifish, but might be a bit big to make them feel secure.
Cheers, Neale.>

Constant floating debris; FW filtr.       6/27/17
Hello Crew!
<Hey Lisa!>
I'm delighted to stumble across WWM! I have no idea what took me so long to find you. Until now I have been at the mercy of well meaning teenagers at my local pet store.
<Heeee! Remember, we were them at one time>
My issue is constant floating debris in my 10 year(established) 46 gallon pie/bow front tank(short and deep). I have two large Blood parrots(both 4 years old) and a large Pleco(11 years).
<Ooh, messy fishes!>

I use an Eheim 2215 filter . The cascade of events began when my husband took a sudden interest in the fish and, unbeknownst to me, was(over) feeding them!!! Rotting peas and pellets every where. Sadly I did not
notice until my female parrot began to stress from the polluted water. I did a massive water change, went to clean the filter, it slipped from my wet hands and shattered on the floor. (ugh!) I immediately ordered a new
Eheim 2215(thank you Amazon)and set an air pump in tank to give my poor fish some support. New pump arrived, set it all up, great water pressure from out-put. My problem is that I have constant debris/poop/pea skins
floating about. It will float right past the filter intake. My water is really clear with the exception of the debris. I never experienced this before...but never had an air pump going either. I wrote Eheim and they suggested using a "clumping agent".
<This is one approach>
When I put my hand over intake there is suction but not powerful. Does this sound normal,
<Is normal. Am a HUGE fan of Eheim canister filters, but they don't provide much in the way of circulation or mechanical filtration for large/r particles>
or does it sound like my new filter not functioning correctly? Should I just expect to clean up the junk with weekly water changes?
<This is the best time; yes... swirling a net around, gravel vacuuming...
But, I would add more filtration here (redundancy pays); a large hang on the back power filter with the screen off the intake would be my choice; AND I'd switch to a known, good brand of pelleted food. Hikari and Spectrum are fave lines. MUCH less messy>
Thank you in advance for your advise!!
Lisa W.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Polleni Grouper      6/27/17
Awesome! As always, thanks so much Bob!
<Certainly welcome John. B>

Fiddler or Red Clawed Crabs; husbandry         6/26/17
To Whom It May Concern,
<Looks like me today!>
I have a 20 gallon glass aquarium. I live in an apartment and I'm allowed a 20 gallon vivarium/paludarium or a 10 gallon aquatic tank.
I'm interested in information about Fiddler or Red Clawed crabs.
<Interesting beasts. Red-Claws are probably easier to obtain, but Fiddlers are a bit less likely to kill each other over time because they're so much easier to sex. The males are very intolerant of one another, but a 'harem'
of fiddlers including a one or two males and 4-5 females would be perfectly doable in a tank this size. Just make sure there's space enough for the males to avoid each other. Plastic or wood bogwood roots to create a 3D
maze of climbing places, shored up with water worn pebbles and coral sand will work nicely. Both species are tropical, so you will need to heat the system. A small aquarium heater in the water could work, but be sure to get
one the right size for the amount of water in the tank; more than likely a 25W heater will be ample. I'd suggest clipping an aquarium guard over the heater to prevent the crabs burning themselves. A filter will be important
too, but nothing too fancy. A simple internal canister filter will be cheap, functional, and easy to clean. It will need to go under the water completely though, perhaps lying on its side if the water is just a few inches deep.>
All I know is that you need 1/2 play sand & 1/2 dechlorinated 1.010 salt water, and rocks for them to climb.
<More or less. Basically, both species are hardy and adaptable. The precise salinity isn't too important. Something like 10-15 grams per litre of tap water will be fine (normal seawater being 35 grams per litre). Ideally, you'd use a hydrometer to check the salinity (actually, the specific gravity) before use -- you can get cheap and cheerful plastic hydrometers on Amazon and the like for a few dollars. While not particularly accurate, they're fine for brackish water fishkeeping where ball-park numbers are adequate.>
I have tried to read the articles on brackish water, but I'm having a problem understanding how to set up the tank, dietary needs, etc.
<Both these crabs are deposit feeders. In other words, they process mud and sand, extracting algae and organic material. In the home you can feed them virtually anything, from bits of seafood and cooked peas through to fish
flake and specialist crab food. I'd also ensure a good source of iodine, whether in the form of seaweed (sushi nori for example) or else iodine drops sold for marine aquaria, at one-half the recommended dose. Some specialist crustacean foods include iodine -- check, and if yours does, it'll make a great staple.>
I would appreciate any assistance you could give me.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Polleni Grouper; stkg./sel.         6/26/17
Hello Bob -
<Hi John>
It's been awhile. All of my tanks are doing wonderfully. Thank you for all of the sound advice over the last few years.
I've tried to read-up on the Polleni Grouper as I am considering adding it to my 265 gallon stocked with aggressive fish in FOWLR (and some noxious corals, i.e.; mushrooms, leathers). I do realize groupers create a heavy bio-load. Note that I have a very heavy amount of filtration (50 gallon sump), oversized protein skimmer, refugium with macro algae, oversized UV filter, 2 MP40 wave makers, ocean sand bed, and am quite regular with my water changes, filter sock, sponge, media changes,...etc.
My challenge has been that there's not a lot of information on the web about the Polleni Grouper.
<A beautiful animal, but not common underwater, especially when small; hence, not often sold in the trade>
I read in one of your responses that it's a good, hardy aquarium species for an aggressive fish set-up.
<This is still my take>
However, I read on a popular saltwater aquarium blog that some people haven't had as much success with them as maybe the Miniatus Grouper.
<Both aquarium hardy IMO/E>
They were theorizing it's due to the fact that the Polleni Grouper is often collected from deeper depths and its swim bladder doesn't adjust as well.
<Mmm; both are caught in "recreational scuba diving depths"... Only a few species are collected deeper for the trade. Too expensive to fish deeper; not enough time, too long decompression for both diver-collectors and catch>
I always take those blogs with sometimes "a grain" to "a bucket of salt" as you never know who's writing, their depth of experience, husbandry practices, ...etc.
<Me too; hence our lack of a bulletin board. Better the known/know-able, qualified input of one person than a slew of who knows who>
Do you view the Polleni Grouper as a long-lived, hardy specimen for a 265 gallon?
<I do>
Ever heard of them having issues adjusting due to swim bladder challenges?
<No. Will relate that most all species, individuals of fishes caught at more than a few tens of feet depth are "needled", but this fish is not difficult to do so, recovers quickly>
Also, and I know that I am "rolling the dice" a bit, but I am contemplating adding a 4" to 5" Polleni to this 265 gallon that includes a 4" Miniatus who's been in the tank maybe for 2 months. There are lots of caves available within the live rock. The Miniatus is not the most aggressive fish in the tank, but he's also certainly not intimidated with anyone in that tank at feeding time.
Thank you, John
<Just, as usual, have to keep your eyes on all. Cheers John. Bob Fenner>

Re: prophylactic qt treatment    6/25/17
Would you consider 2 airstones w/ a HOB filter in a 55g and 2 airstone w/ a HOB filter in a 20g adequate aeration for a Prazi/CP combination?
I never want to go through this again. This experience has been enough to make me rethink this hobby.
<I understand. When, where in doubt, my practice is to stand back (time, mentally/emotionally), review my position; judge the merits of my actions, feelings. B>

Re: What is the treatment for this Betta? (RMF, chip in if you want!)     6/24/17
I guess what Ill do is ill make my writing blue so its not so confusing
Yes, he’s a fighter!
Yes, he lived in a filtered and buffered 10 Gal with my Pleco
<Ah, the plot thinnens. Common Plecs, and possibly even Ancistrus (Bristlenose) Plecs too, will "latch" onto the flanks of slow-moving fish to graze on the mucous there. It may be that they're hungry, Plecs often being given far too little food -- in the wild they're constantly ploughing through algae and organic muck, processing massive amounts of food. Anyway, Plecs cause horrible scars and blisters on the fish they 'attack', and because they do so at night, many people find it hard to believe their Plec is responsible. But if you see big blisters on the side of a fish, a hungry Plec is very likely the cause. Seen this many, many times. If in doubt, remove the Plec to another tank (10 gallons is too small, even for an Ancistrus) and medicate as per Finrot; you should see the Betta healing up nicely.>
Haha, it works the same with people!! Bactria and fungus aren’t to be messed with… you want them dead! Ok, here’s the thing, you suggested Kanaplex and two people on the forum suggested Metroplex by the same company. I told them what you suggested and they said Kanaplex for secondary infection. I emailed Seachem which one they’d steer me (hoping they get back to me!) But now I’m really confused because when I looked at their products I found Paraguard which supposedly covers everything. Now I’m really stuck!!
<Paraguard is more of a "first response" before fish get really infected wounds; for example, after they've had a fight and their tail fins are a bit torn. Kanaplex and MetroPlex are both good, but have different jobs. MetroPlex is primarily used when dealing with protozoan pathogens such as Whitespot and Hexamita, this latter extremely difficult to treat without using Metronidazole. Kanaplex is an antibiotic containing Kanamycin, and a better bet when treating Finrot and other bacterial infections. Make sense?>
Thank you!!!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: What is the treatment for this Betta? (RMF, chip in if you want!)      6/24/17

<Ah, the plot thinnens. Common Plecs, and possibly even Ancistrus (Bristlenose) Plecs too, will "latch" onto the flanks of slow-moving fish to graze on the mucous there. It may be that they're hungry, Plecs often being given far too little food -- in the wild they're constantly ploughing through algae and organic muck, processing massive amounts of food. Anyway, Plecs cause horrible scars and blisters on the fish they 'attack', and because they do so at night, many people find it hard to believe their Plec is responsible. But if you see big blisters on the side of a fish, a hungry Plec is very likely the cause. Seen this many, many times. If in doubt, remove the Plec to another tank (10 gallons is too small, even for an Ancistrus) and medicate as per Finrot; you should see the Betta healing up nicely.>
OH MY GOSH, thank you!! Now that makes sense!!! I had no idea!! They used to hang out together but I know the Pleco is VERY active at night. He throws stuff around in the tank.. sounds like an elephant. That and too the Betta would flare at his reflection and I know that makes them prone to fin rot in the long run!
<Paraguard is more of a "first response" before fish get really infected wounds; for example, after they've had a fight and their tail fins are a bit torn. Kanaplex and MetroPlex are both good, but have different jobs. MetroPlex is primarily used when dealing with protozoan pathogens such as Whitespot and Hexamita, this latter extremely difficult to treat without using Metronidazole. Kanaplex is an antibiotic containing Kanamycin, and a better bet when treating Finrot and other bacterial infections. Make sense?>
Yes, yes it does!! Thank you again!! I will order it ASAP. Finally something makes sense :) I will update you if you don’t mind :)
<<By all means, and glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>>

Quick Food Question. Mysis/Mysids; Thiaminase content      6/24/17
I read through the articles and posts on the WWM site on this food, as well as the article by Marco Lichtenberger regarding Thiaminase, but I couldn't find the answer to this question; do Mysis shrimp contain Thiaminase?
<Yes, they do in moderate amounts following a study by Hondorp et al. (2005). In my opinion they can be part of a varied diet, but should not be the only type of food. Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Quick Food Question

Thank you!

Coral bleaching?     6/24/17
<Hello Richard>
I am finally turning to the Gurus of all things marine with this question.
When I purchased this coral it was smaller, and the original growth was the same color/texture that it is now. However, all new growth seems to be "bleached". I started this coral at the bottom of my tank, and while growth
was slow, it did grow, but began to exhibit this "bleaching". After a few months I moved it up and finally placed it at the top of the rock structure in my tank. It began to grow a bit quicker, but still shows this bleached tissue. As it is all down at the bottom, I don't believe it is from too much light, that would obliviously effect the top the most, so I cannot figure anything out. The only guess I have is that this is new tissue that will eventually grow enough Zooxanthellae which will cause the tissue to form colors more like the original tissue.
Am I wrong and something else is happening?
<Your logic seems plausible... Might there be a/n organism/s bothering this coral? I'd check with a flashlight during the night at times.>
Thanks for all of the help.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: bumblebee grouper in freshwater? Plus now, FW Moray      6/24/17
Hello Neale!
Thank you for the detailed and fascinating reply.
<You're welcome.>
I understand your explanation. We Indonesians are blessed to live in the tropics; and many of our native fishes which are "common animal" for us, are often "luxury pets" for people in another part of the world.
People in Europe and USA would have to be more careful in choosing the best tropical fishes for their system, and ensuring that they buy only the animals which are compatible with the aquariums they have. Otherwise, it's
money wasted, and precious live fish wasted :(
<Quite so. If you're experimenting with a common brackish water fish, one that would just as likely end up on a dinner plate, then seeing how it would do in a freshwater tank is understandable. Of course nobody wants to
kill a fish slowly across weeks or months, so if the fish stops eating or starts getting sickly, then switch it back to brackish water conditions.
But if it's fine, then I don't see the harm.>
And certainly any fish that could grow bigger than one meter, like those poor groupers, are not ideal pets :( better let them swim free in the ocean..
<In this case, yes, probably best.>
It is fascinating to read that individual variations does matter in the survival of brackish/marine species in freshwater.
<Among all species, actually. Just think about humans -- all one species, but with very slight variations that make individuals better at handling different levels of UV exposure, oxygen availability, ability to digest milk as adults, ability to resist diseases like cystic fibrosis and malaria -- all sorts of minor genetic changes that evolution can work with. Nothing big enough to stop us all being humans, but things that mean a person well suited to one part of the world would be less well suited to another. This is the golden rule of biology -- the more variation, the better it is for the species. Doesn't matter if you're a human or a fish!>
As a matter of fact, I know a fish enthusiast who kept Gymnothorax Polyuranodon in freshwater for many years, with no apparent bad effects to the eel (I tried to buy it from him many times, never succeeded). He did not buy the eel from a fish shop, he bought it directly from a fisherman who fished the eel out of a river in Cilacap, South Java.
<There may well be regional populations of this Moray better adapted to living in freshwater. But if the ones traded internationally are from estuaries near the big cities, then those are the ones aquarists in Europe and the US will have to deal with. This is known for some Archerfish species, including species ordinarily thought of as brackish water fish known to breed at sea, but in some cases with landlocked populations that clearly don't do this. Because those landlocked populations are never traded, the standard advice to keep Toxotes jaculatrix and T. chatareus in brackish water aquaria is good advice -- unless of course you happen to live local to a true freshwater population and can collect them yourself!>
Perhaps this is a case of a lucky eel, because I read in the web, sad stories of morays who became stressed (some even died) after being kept in freshwater.
<Indeed; they commonly stop feeding, and after a few weeks or months, just die.>
I attach the picture of his eel with this picture.
<Do I see an Anabas climbing perch in there? Neat fish; never had the chance to keep one, but on my wish list!>
He mentioned that he does not use any chemical formula, not even marine salt, he just put the eel in the aquarium (together with some Anguilla bicolors), and use the water taken from a nearby river, mixed with tap water.
<Not so easy if you live in England!>
Well, again thank you for the discussion, and I wish you a wonderful weekend!
Best Regards,
<Thanks for writing and sharing these photos. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Need help with sick Ocellaris clown     6/24/17
Good morning Bob,
<Hey Bette>
Just wanted to give you a follow-up. I'm betting there are quite a few times you give advice and never hear the outcome. I followed your advice to not give any further medication and just be PATIENT. This morning my clown is eating a bit and acting like herself - more clownlike. Looks like we weathered this bug- whatever it was.
Thanks again
<Ahh, tres bien. Thank you for the follow-up. BobF>

query.. Concern re sufficient DO, FW      6/24/17
Hi guys happened to go through your website and found it to be very informative and dependable ....I have this question related to better procedure of oxygenating water and I am really getting paranoid looking for a correct answer.....
<No need>
Of late I have realized that although I have been very regular in tank maintenance including water change , correct filtration , best food etc I still felt that my fish is just striving but not thriving in comparison to the fish I see with my friends who are very laid back on maintenance. I felt that their fish are more colorful and active then mine....Looking out for an answer I came across on many articles on water oxygenation and its importance. The studies showed that gas exchange happens on the surface of water.
<Mostly; yes>
Hence more the water agitation better...
<To an extent>
so my first question is this ....How much should it be ? For in my case I have a diy top filter like u see in these Chinese aquariums but instead of water coming out from one end , I have made holes so it comes out from the
entire filter like a spray bar ...
but the flip side is that it doesn't agitate the water a lot. I won't say that surface is stagnant but it doesn't agitate it like a power filter with nozzle pointing upward should do ...so do u think its still sufficient for oxygenation ?
<Likely so... are your fishes breathing rapidly, labored? >
My second question is that I came across many articles which claimed that surface aeration like the one I have is least effective method of oxygenation and bottom up method is the best like using air pump or power head.... Kindly pls help me what should I do and which method is best
Thanking you Raj
<Well, redundancy in circulation, aeration, filtration is desirable... Always good to have back up... And ask about at your local fish stores to see if they have dissolved oxygen testing gear (to ease your mind); perhaps they'll lend it to you or you can buy a colorimetric assay kit. Bob Fenner>

prophylactic qt treatment     6/24/17
Hello Bob,
I am currently going through a reboot of my DT (velvet outbreak) and I have 2 QT tanks set up while I leave the DT fallow. As I am treating with CP, I was wondering if I should prophylactically treat for flukes. The fish show
no obvious signs but there is so much misinformation about fish not showing symptoms that I am now paranoid. I have Prazi-pro and API General Cure. I read that CP and Prazi should not be mixed due to oxygen depletion so I
was considering using the GC.
<With adequate aeration these med.s are mixable. You should be able to find flukes in the bottom of a settled pH adjusted freshwater dip/bath... need to look close as they're small and translucent/transparent>
Also, all new incoming fish will be QT and treated with CP and either Prazi or GC. I know you are not a fan of prophylactic treatment,
<Au contraire; I am a huge proponent... of appropriate prophylactic procedures; esp. at the collector/jobber-wholesaler level>

but what should I do if symptoms can be masked.
<Depends on too many factors to elucidate in email. Read over our writings on disease/pathology, books I've penned. Some fish groups, species are to be treated differently, depending on apparent states of health/condition...>
One incoming fish is a wartskin angler which is not a very active fish so it would be nearly impossible to determine reclusive behavior.
<Antennariiform fishes are almost always robust (or dead due to delivery issues) on arrival. I would expedite most all>
Jason Russo
<Robert Fenner>

Played dead. Trigger... shipped w/o pure O2       6/23/17
Hey Bob,
I had this happen to me last night, never experienced this before, want to see if you think this is a bizarre, rare occurrence, or just the fishes trick of the trade.
<Let's see>
I bought 2 fish last night from local shop, a red tail or sargassum trigger, and pink belly wrasse. They were both at lfs store for over a year, ate well etc.
I drive home, about 1.5 hours, bring them in and prepare a freshwater dip.
I then remove wrasse from lfs bag, dip, then into quarantine. Next up the trigger.
He was upside down in bag, motionless. I open bag, lift him up by hand, and the fish is stiff, not moving , no movement whatsoever.
<Mmm; these fishes were bagged w/ oxygen I hope/trust>
Angry, I started throwing items around me, them confused. No drastic temp changes in bag, was in there for less than two hours , and so on.
Debating whether to toss or put him in freezer in case lfs wanted to confirm (they don't guarantee anyhow) I just tossed the fish in the quarantine till I could figure out what to do.
3 hours later I come home, and he's moving his fins, but not much more.
This morning, swimming, although not aggressively, that just may be how some of these triggers are, more benthic then water column Anthias type fish.
Did I witness a reborn, or is this a tactic?
<I suspect more the former. Balistids will swim upside down, and many species are given to swimming into holes, crevices and wedging themselves in to avoid divers, predators... But this situation reads as more likely a matter of too-low oxygen; common with larger, metabolically active fishes in small volumes. Best to ship triggers in doubled or tripled 4 mil bags... WITH O2 (little ambient air), IN THE DARK (as in a Styro fish box), and process/acclimate ASAPractical. Bob Fenner>
Thanks bob
Re: Played dead      6/23/17

Thanks bob. Oxygen was not used, just ambient air "caught" in the bag.
<Ahh, a huge mistake. Not only does the straight O2 help boost DO and sustain pH, it also anesthetizes fishes in transit to a degree>
He was in there for all of an hour and a half, next time I will invest in battery powered bubbler and use bucket for larger fish.
I was ready to toss him in trash, stiff as a rock, and slowly he came back.
He's hiding now, hoping whatever damage oxygen or lack thereof of did does not effect quality of life going forward.
<Me too>
Thanks again , bob
<Thank you for sharing. B>

Need help with sick Ocellaris clown      6/23/17
Hi there,
I am new to your site as an e-mail questioner. I have read and utilized much of your "on site" advice in the past. Unfortunately this time I can't seem to find answers to my specific situation.
I have a 70 gallon plus refuge and sump FOWLR system. I run a protein skimmer. It is 6 years old. Salinity 1.023 per refractometer, Temp kept at 79.3 - 79.5 F., pH - 8.0, Ammonia - 0ppm, Nitrite - 0ppm, Nitrate at or below 5.0PPM. Oxygen by Salifert test usually around 8 mg/L but is low today probably as a result of using PraziPro. At 5-6 mg/L. I have removed the cup from the skimmer and am letting it run to try to add oxygen.
Tank community is 2 Chromis, 1 Damsel, 1 Dwarf Flame Angel, I wrasse, 1purple Firefish, 1 goby, a peppermint shrimp, two emerald crabs, several snails and a pair of black ocellaris clowns. No one is new and there is no bullying or territorialism going on. The female clown is large at 3 inches.
My issue is with my female clown. I have had her for 5 years with no problems. Three days ago she started acting lethargic and stopped eating.
I noticed both she and the dwarf angel had white stringy poo so I started a treatment of PraziPro thinking I may have gotten some kind of parasite in the tank.
<A "worm" type... you thought/think>
I find no other observable symptoms. She goes from hanging in her "tube" with her mate (see picture) to sitting in the bottom corner of the tank by her favorite fake anemone - sometimes she seems to be lying on her side up against the glass. When she does swim she is mostly vertical in the corner of the tank. These are not normal behaviors for her. She is still turning down all food - pellet, flake, frozen Mysis shrimp.
1. Am I right with thinking parasite?
<Mmm; not necessarily, no>
2. Any other possibilities?
<All sorts
; from there being nothing going on here. Amphiprionines are termed "Clowns" for more than their garish appearances. Their natural behavior includes all you've listed here>
3. How long can she go without eating before it is a real problem?
<A few weeks likely>
4. I have an isolation tank but hesitate to move her since it will cause added stress and I will have to also move her mate as he gets very stressed whenever she is away.
<I wouldn't move this fish... would "punt", and do a bit of a major clean up here... vacuum the substrate, change about a quarter of the water; move the decor>
5. If it is a parasite and PraziPro is working - how long before I should see some kind of improvement?
<Mmm; parasites includes a wide array of phyla; including "vermes" of many sorts, but also Protozoans, crustaceans, and more that PraziPro does not treat. IF you have a microscope, want to sample some of the feces, we could
go over what, if anything may be found. Otherwise, for shotgun treatments, some institutions, individuals try the vermifuge with the anti-protozoal (and moderately antimicrobial) Metronidazole. T'were these fish mine, I'd try some other foods of high palatability (e.g. Spectrum or Hikari pelleted), frozen/defrosted... perhaps a liquid vitamin, HUFA prep. added to the food and water... and be patient>
6. What symptoms would indicate she is worse?
<Increasing malaise, thinness>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Need help with sick Ocellaris clown      6/23/17

Bob -
<Ms. M>
As you said this is usually "normal" behavior for clowns but in this situation since I have had her a number of years - she is not acting normally. I will however take your advice and try to be patient.
<A virtue indeed.>
So many times it is too late to really have any effect once I start seeing symptoms. I have already done a substrate vacuum and water change. I hesitate to move a lot of the décor as it would upset many of the other residents ��. Good idea on the different food - I will do that right away. I have never used Metronidazole. Are you suggesting using it with the PraziPro?
<I would not continue to use either of these... more than a recommended regimen. Both are hard on fishes, the system. Better by far that they're administered via foods... Bob Fenner>

A Question to your Webmaster      6/23/17
Good morning,
When I came across your website today, I thought of some questions I would like to ask. Can I address them to you or should I contact another person?
Thank you,
Sarah Fowler
<If you need help with fish or aquaria, then the email address you used is fine; you can use the same address to ask for technical help with accessing the site or to find out about its history and the people behind it. If you want to buy advertising or sponsor the site in some other way, then that email address is also good, but some extra details you might find useful are here:
Cheers, Neale.>

bumblebee grouper in freshwater?      6/23/17
Hello Neale,
<Howsit Ben; will send this on to Neale as well>
Warm greetings to you and all the good people at WetWetMedia,
Yesterday I went to the fish shop in Jakarta, where I saw the horseshoe crab and the blind many-toothed goby. Unfortunately I was unable to find the guy who sold them. Many of the fish sellers went home to prepare for Muslim holiday, so the place was not as crowded as usual.
Nevertheless, I still saw some interesting fishes in other shops, such as these pair of lovely bumblebee grouper (Indonesians call it "Kerapu Emas"/gold grouper), which lives in a freshwater aquarium (pictures attached).
<Mmm; this "monster bass" won't live for long in freshwater. Tis an all saltwater species; that suffers internal damage otherwise>
This is very strange and interesting to me, I thought these groupers are sea fishes, but the fish guy swore up and down that he had these groupers for years in freshwater.
<I doubt this; t'would be huge or dead in this time>

He also told me that he had successfully kept a barracuda (he called it "Alu Alu", the Indonesian name for it) in freshwater for a long time, and he will show it to me the next time I visit his shop.
<I'd like to see this species>
I wonder how did they achieve such feat? Is it because of some kind of chemical tricks (which he did not tell me), or is it because those species in question does have a wide range of tolerance to different degrees of salinity?
<Many marine fishes do make forays up rivers, past river mouths where there is less salty conditions. Again, not permanently>
Thank you and Best Regards,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Large Acrylic Tank; joints whiting out, crack...    6/22/17
Dear WWM,
I would be very grateful if you could give me some advice.
<Glad to>
I recently acquired a 700 gallon acrylic aquarium. I thought it was a real steal for $500.
<Tis; for the acrylic alone...>

The aquarium has an area about 8 inches long at one of the seams that appears to have been damaged judging by the visible hazing in this location.
<Yes; the weld/joint is going bad...>

There are two visible cracks on either end of this area that may have occurred when moving the tank into my house (I'm not sure if they were there before, the hazy area was there before, but I had not noticed the cracks before the move).
<Mmm; more likely from before... when the tank was full. These cracks are most often due to uneven pressure when the tank is filled, setting on an uneven (non-planar or not level) surface/stand. Even more common in specialty tanks (not rectangular or square on the bottom). Stands for such often have such non-planar, non level issues. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstands.htm>
The cracks do not extend completely through the acrylic sheets so I don't think leaking will be an issue,
<Umm; no. DO NOT FILL this tank w/o correcting these. VERY dangerous should this tank fail catastrophically; with it MAY DO>

but I'd like to do anything possible to prevent that the cracks from growing and become a problem. What would be the best way to repair or mitigate this damage?
<... some folks (we used to fabricate) might try applying a low viscosity solvent... e.g. Weld-On 16 to the joints, cracks, in the hope of "filling them in", re-joining the areas. I would NOT DO THIS, but instead have a professional shop cut and install acrylic doweling of at least one inch diameter in all linear seams inside. Read here:
My current plan is to try and repair the seam by injecting IPS-4 acrylic solvent into it using a syringe with a small gauge needle and applying light pressure with a bar clamp.
<No need for a clamp>
I've also ordered some 3/4" acrylic right triangle rod to solvent weld into the interior corner to reinforce the entire seam from top to bottom.
<Yes to this, but I'd make it a minimum of 1">
I'd be grateful for any advice you have as to these plans or any better course of action. One particular question I have is what would be the best method for welding the triangle rod reinforcement into the interior corner?
<Carefully measure, cut, practice fitting in all pieces, apply braces to keep added pieces in position, use capillation to fill in the voids. IF all is cut and placed properly, the solvent will fill the gaps>
Is there a particular type of solvent or method for applying it that you recommend since the piece has to go in vertical?
<... Yes; the Weld-On line>
Would capillary action work or would it be better to try and find a more viscous solvent that could be applied before putting the triangle rod in place?
<Capillary action will do>
What would be a more viscous product that I could use? Would IPS-40 be appropriate here?
<For me, the lower viscosity>
Is there any other actions I could take to repair or reinforce the tank?
<Yes; to MAKE SURE the stand is LEVEL AND PLANAR; DO the repairs, bracing work ON THE STAND if practical>
Any advice you have would be very much appreciated!
Casey Alexander
<Unless you're very handy (whatever this is... good mechanical skills, vision... I no longer have), I'd seek experienced help w/ this repair. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fwd:    6/22/17
Bob Fenner,
<Casey A>
Very grateful for your reply and advice. I'll let you know how it goes.
<Ah, thank you. Bob Fenner>

re: Low pH and tank size; Betta sys.     6/22/17
Re: 10 gallon tank with filter vs. 1 gallon tank with no filter Thank You! - Interesting scenario: We just returned from the fish center at Petco. The woman at the fish center seemed to be knowledgeable and told us it would be much better for our Betta if we kept him in a 1 gallon tank with no filter and just do water changes every week.

She said the fish would be less stressed and live much longer. We currently have our Betta in a 10 gallon tank with a filter. Is this woman correct?
<Please try/use the search tool (on all pages), WWM is not a chat room, but an information resource.
READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/betta_splendens.htm
Or see my book on Betta care on Amazon....>

Naso tang floating at surface after transport and freshwater dip    6/22/17
Hi Bob, I hope you are doing well.
<Ah, thank you Jake>
I am very sorry to bother you with a question but am a bit desperate to save a fish I received today. I picked up a very large male blonde Naso tang (about 11" not including streamers) from a wholesaler today and all seemed well got it back and did a freshwater dip before placing in a customers quarantine system. Normal procedure for freshwater dip that I always do (added airstone, adjusted ph and temp) but as soon as I put him in he started floating upside down at the surface.
<A "usual" behavior for large, moved Tangs... likely just anoxic; low oxygen at work here>
Added him to the tank and is upright but still floating. He has gotten a bit better but is still rising. The reason I'm asking is because this is the second large Naso tang that this has happened to me before and the first one died. Is this osmotic shock and if so what is your suggestive solution?
<These Acanthurids need to be packed in double, tripled bags of good make, in enough water to move about, and in the dark (in a box); and to be processed expediently. A job as a youngster was in the P.I., pushing newly arrived fishes about w/ a wooden dowel. Naso spp. especially were easily lost on receiving>
Again I apologize for messaging, I know you are a busy person and I personally don't prefer random messages on Facebook either but am a bit desperate. I tried W.W.M. As well as Google of course But I did not see anything pertaining to this situation.
Thank you for your time.
<This fish will resolve in time if it began righting itself. Going forward, LARGE acclimation container, LOTS of aeration applied. Bob Fenner>
Re: Naso tang floating at surface after transport and freshwater dip    6/22/17

Excellent, thank you very much for the very quick response and information!
<Glad to share... wishing we were out diving, even spearfishing for large Nasos. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Naso tang floating at surface after transport and freshwater dip    6/22/17

This guy seems just about worthy of that status, thanks again
- Jake

Fish Eggs for Freshwater Fish (food)       6/21/17
Hello Crew! Hello Neale! Last time we talked about the elephant nose and getting some weight on him, I shared my idea of fish eggs instead of lobster eggs (which are not available in my area). I'd like to share what I've discovered to hopefully spare someone else from the disaster I created.
While I believe this is an excellent product, I do not believe it to be the best choice for the average freshwater aquarium keeper, and never the best choice to fatten up one fish in the tank and here's why - there is a staggering amount of eggs in each cube. Even though I cut off a piece as small as I could get it, defrosted it in tank water, and looked at what was in my cup before I put it in, I was unable to see just how much food was in there. Next, while my fish did seem to pick at the eggs, they didn't like the eggs enough to do more than pick at a few pieces and certainly came no where close to eating all I had inadvertently put in the tank. Also, this stuff stuck to anything and everything in the tank - decorations, plants, the heater, the spray bar, and it completely clogged the filter intake. I
worked at it for hours, but getting the extra food out was nearly impossible. The next morning I woke up to a slightly cloudy tank and an expression on the faces of my rope fish that clearly said "help!" I did a vacuuming of all the eggs I could see and replaced the water (about 10 gallons). When I got back, the eggs were much easier to spot as the ones I could see had grown white "fur." I tested the water and found the nitrates had climbed to nearly 20 ppm (no ammonia or nitrite as this is a well cycled tank), so I did a 30% water change and vacuumed as many eggs as
I could find (and/or dislodge from plants, decor, etc.). When I did this water change I noticed that the bubbles created by the spray bar were not going away, so I scooped those bubbles out with a plastic pitcher. The following morning the water was still cloudy, the fish still seemed distressed (the elephant nose was hiding), and there were eggs still visible in the tank - only now the white "fur" they had grown was longer and a greenish black at the ends. So I pulled the everything out of the tank (and I do mean everything - except the fish) and wiped all the eggs off the best I could. I got a net and did my best to scoop up every egg visible in the water. I tested the water and the nitrates were still lingering around 20 ppm (orange, but not dark enough to be higher than 20 - and no red in the test tube). So I did another 30% (still had bubbles which I scooped) water change and put the decor, etc., back in. As of tonight, the nitrates are down (a more translucent orange) to around 10. There are still some eggs floating around but not many and when I see them I'm getting them out with the net. The water is no longer cloudy and the fish seem normal (the elephant nose is still hiding). I still have bubbles, but not so many and I'm scooping them out with a spoon. I'll keep testing and taking appropriate action to what I find. But if anyone ever asks you about using fish eggs in their freshwater tank, you can refer them to my experience. All I can say is that while the package says the eggs are also for freshwater fish, I believe ideally this product should be reserved for marine fish and coral where a protein skimmer is also in use in the tank.
If someone still wants to use this product in a freshwater tank, do so with EXTREME caution.
<Thanks for sharing your firsthand experience of this product, Renee.
Lobster eggs are what I recommend, but even then, only the tiniest amounts.
A good approach is to defrost inside a plastic cup of some sort, with a bit of aquarium water in there. Then, using an eye-dropper or similar pipette to direct small amounts at the fish (for example, I used them for newborn Halfbeaks). Indeed, there's a good argument for *always* defrosting frozen foods outside the tank, and then using a pipette, tweezers, or whatever to introduce carefully controlled portions of the solids while keeping the "juice" in the plastic cup. Your observation of water quality problems, while extreme, is certainly a risk if cubes of frozen food are simply
lobbed into aquaria without further thought. Cheers, Neale.>

What is the treatment for this Betta? (RMF, chip in if you want!)      6/21/17
Hi, I was hoping you could help my fish?
<Certainly seems to have been through the wars!>
I will copy and paste what I wrote on a forum. So far they haven’t been much help… was hoping you might!!
"Yes, you may have seen my other thread. *To catch you up quick-* At this point I just need some expert eyes to take a look at him and tell me what you believe it is and what my next plan of action. The fresh water in his hospital tank and 10 days of hard salting has absolutely helped, particularly in the reducing of the black in his fins and behavior. He ate this morning and took a bite of a bloodworm tonight. More progress than in weeks. He is not old.. estimate 1yr 4mos. I let it get so far because I wasn't aware of the dangers of lumps on fish. This started I believe in January.. maybe before. He had come from very active in his 10gal with my Pleco (little Pleco). I took him from Petco in OCT to be a companion and because he was the suicidal looking one at the time! :( He had some great times for awhile. Tank was vacuumed cleaned 1/3 a week and then time started to get away from me and it changed to 50% every 2 weeks and then 3 at the end.
<Was this alongside filtration? To be clear: Bettas need filters. Maybe small, gentle, air-powered sponge filters rather than electric canisters -- but filtration nonetheless! Exposure to non-zero ammonia and nitrite will cause stress, sickness and death.>

I won't allow that again!! Anyway this fish was very lively, spent most of his time swimming and socializing, then more of his time chasing his reflection, then most of his time at the heater. I had a hard time keeping tank warm so much of the winter it was 75ish. I assumed for heat, but maybe was feeling lousy.
<Bettas do need steady heat. Around 25 C/77 F is good, even a smidgen above; but consistently cooler or unstable temperatures are bad. Cold air is especially stressful for them, hence the need to provide a lid over the aquarium to keep in the warmth.>
This whole thing came on very very slowly. Right now I have him on Kordon fungus rid and 1tsp per 5 gal Salt., just so it's something fighting till I know what to buy next. (and double dose stress coat)
1. Does this look like a case of fungus and fin rot?
<A bacterial infection (such as Finrot) seems much more likely than a fungal infection.
There are medications that treat both, such as eSHa 2000 and Kanaplex. Avoid the tea-tree oil products (such as Melafix and Bettafix) as these are rather unreliable -- anything marketed as having "the healing power of..." is likely about as useful as healing crystals!>
2. Since I ran over my treatment of salt, where do I go next? Next meds?
<See above; salt isn't a treatment for anything you're dealing with here. Indeed, it might well stress your fish.>
3. How often do I clean tank and what %?
<Assuming mature biological filtration, weekly water changes around 25% are ample. Betta breeders who don't use filters but instead keep Bettas in jars have to do 100% water changes every day, ensuring temperature and water chemistry remain constant -- this just isn't practical for casual fishkeepers.>
4. As a side question, if I harvest him Mosquito Larvae and clean them, will that help him? He LOVES them.
<Like potato chips, mosquito larvae are a perfectly acceptable snack. But they aren't particularly nutritious, and there's some suspicion that they can bring diseases into the aquarium, so don't use them every day. Much better to focus on good quality flake and pellets (Tetra, Hikari and other leading brands are all good) alongside safe live foods with no risk of carrying disease (brine shrimp, daphnia and wingless fruit flies are reared in fish-free environments, so should be safe).>
Current behavior: Swims around, hangs on top mostly, just started attempting to eat, scared easily. Will extend fins, but not in full flare. Lethargy. “
Thank you!!!
<Welcome. Neale.>

Low pH
What causes low pH in fish tank?      6/21/17
<Mmm; life processes mostly... are reductive... acidic; and a lack of alkalinity/upward (pH) buffering capacity. As time goes by metabolic processes nick at alkaline (higher pH) reserve and pH drops>
What is best way to raise it?
<Water changes, alkaline decor like "natural gravel", commercial preparations or home made ones... Read here re:
Our 10 gallon tank has only one fish in it, a Betta.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Inherited fish and made emergency tank     6/19/17
Hello to whoever gets this and all the crew at WWM!
<Hi Steve>
I'd like to share a bit of a story and seek some advise. I had to make an emergency aquarium in a pinch. Forgive me if this email comes across as a novelette.
<No worries. Take your time (to communicate completely)>
My stepdaughter was staying with her father for a couple months while my wife and I were moving. During that time her Dad and Grandmother bought her some fish. It has been 2 months since her return to our home, and I had no clue that the fish were coming here. I called my wife from work on Thursday this past week and found out that they had brought the tank to my home. I was told that the fish, a gold barb and a neon tetra,
<Mmm; both do poorly as singles, in small volumes...>
had been in there for months. "Two species of schooling fish", I thought, "Seems the pet shop was just out to make a buck."
Anyway, when I got home I was horrified to see these fish in a 3 gallon tank.
And not just the tank size: the water level was about 50% down, and the little internal/HOB hybrid style pump wasn't even able to pump water properly, nor was the heater fully submerged. It was after midnight, and I had literally no access to water conditioner (they live in town tap water and using the same source would've been ideal), so I took a leap of faith and bought the only bottled water available in town from a nearby convenience store. This allowed the pump to aerate the water. Within an hour, I noticed that, while not truly active, the fish were far less
listless acting (phew). One decent thing I learned was that my stepdaughter's Uncle has been doing water changes. Although it was clear that they had not been using a gravel vac, I at least took solace in the fact the water was not months old (although based on the low level older than it should be).
The next day before work (my hours prevented me from being able to get a tank prepared) I went to feed them. To top off this craziness, the food they were being fed was pulverized Betta food, not even big enough to be considered a flake.
Fortunately, I was able to scrounge enough money for what I did on Saturday.
My emergency setup was an interesting hodgepodge. I had an unused 10 gallon tank with a hood, along with a heater, gravel vac and thermometer.
Finances prohibit me from purchasing a 25 or 30 gallon, but I'm at least certain 10 is better than 3, and far better than the 1 1/2 gallons they were in on Thursday. I had intended to eventually start a Betta tank, but you know, emergency. I also had some gravel from a 5 gallon Betta tank I had years ago (again, emergency) which has long sat in a colander.
<? In a strainer?>
My finances were limited, so I purchased some standard tropical flake food, a bottle of Prime, a Tetra Whisper pump, along with an airstone that I would be able to attach to an air pump and hosing I already owned. I also
purchased a clean bucket and a bottle of bacteria in a bottle.
Unfortunately, I simply can't afford a test kit until next week, and the Prime makes the available test strips give a false reading, so my friend Mr. Internet will be my store of choice. I rinsed the gravel thoroughly in pure bottled water, rinsed my tank, and from there essentially it was standard assembly. I even added a miniscule dose of Prime to the 3 gallon tank to alleviate ammonia that might be in there since the fish were going to be waiting one more night. I also fed them some of the new food, and the barb acted as though it was the first meal he had in months.
I bought a small critter carrier and used it to transport the fish in the water they were accustomed to up to the new tank. I then added some new tank water slowly to the carrier to acclimate. After about 10 minutes I finally netted them into their new home. Its been a couple hours since then as I write this and both fish are FAR more active in their new home, especially the barb. I noticed that if the neon swims to the left side of the tank, the barb chases him off, but if the neon is on the right side and the barb is nearby, the barb essentially ignores him. They've actually
schooled together some on the neon's half of the tank. I'm guessing that the barb has staked his territory, but if push comes to shove, I'll just have to get some Plexiglas and make a divider. The poor barb was so listless in his old tank that I couldn't believe the instant turnaround I saw.
In short, they are housed in a less than ideal home with less than ideal company. I simply can't afford a truly proper setup, but at least it is (I think anyway) a huge improvement. Now I must ask some questions.
Considering the small setup, and providing that they survive this ordeal, would it be wise to add a single one of either specimen to balance out potential bad behavior?
<Mmm; better to trade in one and go with a small group (7-9-11...) of the other. Even the small/er barbs are too nippy to be housed with small tetras>
Are there any recommended dietary needs of either fish?
<A good staple dried food will be fine for now. Going forward, I'd add some frozen food/s in the AMs>
Is there a chance that the barb will turn the neon into a snack?
<Yes; all too possible>
What test kit is best when using Prime to not get a false reading?
<Mmm; a bunch could/might be stated... Just take the (salicylate) reading quickly (once the reagents are added, mixed):
A better approach all the way around is to store new water for a week or so ahead of actual use... NOT rely on the Prime, but allow air exposure to dissipate any ammonia>
I just want to give these little guys a fighting chance. Thank you for your time
<Thank you for writing, sharing... Please do write back if anything comes to mind. Bob Fenner>


Re: Inherited fish and made emergency tank    6/20/17
Thank you for your response. I've had tanks in the past, but I never inherited poorly housed fish. To make our situation even more "lively", about a week prior to getting the fish we got a group of 4 kittens and we have a hyperactive 4 year old child, so we also guarding against outside threats.
On Friday night when I was at work, my stepdaughter fed her fish while still housed in their old tank, and my 4 year old wound up adding extra food. After transferring the fish yesterday to their new home, I left the old 3 gallon job sitting without its top in our dining room. The aforementioned 4 year old opened the bottle of Prime and dumped some into the now empty 3 gallon. To avoid any damage to the new tank, I'm stashing the food and Prime in my bedroom. Murphy's Law truly struck in this household.
To answer your question mark about my use of the word colander, yes its basically a strainer. I used to work in the restaurant business and still have a habit of using "official" terminology.
<Ahh; I see>
As I write this, the fish are still swimming actively. When I get spare time later this week I'll see if my local fish store will take back one of them (likely the barb) and try giving a couple tank mates to the neon. Or if the store takes them both, I'll just convert my setup to a Betta tank.
Either way, I'm really glad to see them out of that 3 gallon. The problem with these pet shops is they are typically more concerned with a rate of sale rather than housing living creatures properly. Years ago I purchased pet mice from the same store, and was not impressed when the worker fetched my mice via grabbing them by the tail.
I'll write back with any questions. Thanks again!
<Cheers mate. BobF>

Re: Synodontis petricola with fin damage    6/20/17
Hi Bob,
My 10g has been seemingly fine following the passing of my molly fish who'd had a sort of fin rot. Thanks for all your help trying to assist her.
I'd returned to weekly 30/50% water changes and checking the parameters weekly as opposed to both daily. All seemed fine for a few weeks.
Then, I added several marimo moss balls this past Friday night - six 2" ones. I cleaned the tank Saturday, perhaps a bit extra diligently and too much on the filter cartridge in hindsight, but everyone looked fine afterward. Sunday I noticed a Synodontis petricola had what looked like a small round hole in his right pectoral fin, I guess it would be, with erosion or a thin tear (not sure which) coming from the hole along the underside of his fin in a short line. His dorsal fin also has a small dip of what looks like erosion just to the rear of it's peak. His opposite pectoral fin may have some whitish material on the top of it (he's in his cave a lot so hard to observe but I will try to get photos tonight)...
There are two others; all three are males, and I notice one of them very aggressively charges at him, appears to strike him, so much so I wondered about the source of the damage... They are the only two that behave this way and there are no other fish that could do this in the tank.
<These Mochokid cats are all in a ten gallon?
I checked the water, and ph 7.4/7.8, 0 nitrites, 20-40 nitrates, and found .25/.50 ammonia.
<Ammonia is debilitating, toxic in any concentration>

Shocked, I removed the moss balls to a plastic container w/airstone. I removed a few other plants that could be adding decaying organic matter to the tank. The Saturday before the ammonia was 0. I find the erosion hard to
imagine missing, as I observe these guys daily, though sometimes the kitties are hard to 100% inspect each day. So the question I have is: could ammonia cause this and do it that quickly (the fin issues)?
<Yes it could, and/or they may be damaging one another>
No gasping, otherwise normal behavior from him/them, though the one with the trouble spends a lot of time in his house. The other two generally* have no marks or unusual signs, except the already white edges of their fins are a bit extra white on the very outer edges. Only the increased aggression is a behavioral difference, and again, made me wonder if the damage could possibly be caused by the other kitty charging him. However, after having a fin rot issue previously, I lean on that as the cause.
<Both could well be contributors>

*I say "generally", as, in the last few months, I noticed a tiny pin-tip size hole in one of the other cat's pectoral fin; super small, and you can see light go through it the size of the tip of a pin. No other visual cues he has trouble and he is the one aggressively charging the wounded cat. I would have thought if that tiny hole was a problem, it would grow and that cat would have had issues, and instead, it was another one who developed the larger hole with the erosion/tear along the underside of the fin.
I did a 60% water change of room temp dechlorinated water, and added one level tablespoon of aquarium salt. Ammonia was gone by last night. This morning, back again. I repeated the water change. Did not add more salt.
<Good moves and restraint>
Wanted to see what treatment you advised, whether to isolate the cat to a hospital tank (I have a 3 gallon available),
<Too small be stable>
or whether to move all three cats into the hospital tank (when they were new, two years ago, they had Ick; I treated all three in that 3 g. w/Kordon rid Ick+ and beat it; they've been healthy since, so I am uneasy separating him from them for the moral support they may give each other).
<I wouldn't move them to a smaller system, but maybe add more decor; and plan on a bigger world ASAPractical>
Obviously, any and all help greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
<Cheers my friend. Oh! Was out in Kailua for a fast trip a couple weeks back, stayed up at the Marriott/Waikaloa... and among other important elements, looked in on friends re putting up the Kona Aquarium and Education Center (again; this time) at NELHA. Hopefully (what's that euphemism?), I won't croak before making more progress. Bob Fenner>
Re: Synodontis with fin damage    6/20/17

Thanks Bob. I remember your trip to the Kohala area. Glad you made it home safely.
So could the rapid introduction of the moss balls combined with too much cleaning and removal of beneficial bacteria have led to the ammonia spike?
Is the tiny pin-size hole in the otherwise healthy catfish's fin a normal thing?
<Mmm; normal? Is it such for you and I to have such perforations?>
These three kitties are still very small; 2 1/2" or so a piece. Yes, eventually they would be re-homed, but the tank looks empty otherwise, they are so small and stay in their houses.
<Better in a three foot long system>
So you think in 24-48 hours the ammonia could have cause a hole in one of their pectoral fins and tear/erosion on the underside of it?
If there is more erosion occurring, what medicine is safe for them, if it comes to that? I will for now not move them and do 50/60% water changes with room temp water daily - is that what you suggest? Anything else?
<I'd just fix the environment (to be like Lake Tanganyika) and leave it at that. No med.s>
Are there threats to putting a bunch of moss balls in a tank at once?
<Not if they're in good health>
How soon will the beneficial bacteria return?
<Should be hours to days>
Let me know when you'll be in Honolulu.
<Oh! Have no plans for now; but one never knows>
Thanks big time for all your help.
<Aloha. BobF>

Re: two fiddler crabs flipped over   6/19/17
Thank you for your speedy response!
Yes, the tank is half a sand beach, and they can climb the rocks to get out of the water too.
<Ah, good>
We got them after feeling sorry for them at Wal-Mart, but have become quite attached, especially for their "waving" antics. I did not know anything about crabs really.
<Males "wave" to attract females mostly; and to ward off, threaten competing males>
Shortly after adding the salt, they both perked up, flipped over, and started traveling around.
<Ahh! Great news. Could be a few possibilities here... something as simple as Nitrite poisoning... again, I would invest in simple test kits... And adhere to a maintenance schedule; washing, flushing out the substrate>
It was amazing. Most of the posts on your site has things about crabs needing salt.
<Mmm; a bunch to state here; but no doubt orders of magnitude more organisms are killed by mis-use of salts (combinations of metals and non-metals) than aided. How much salt is in your source water? Many organisms need "some", but very few are aided by more being added blindly.
Again, my urging you/all to get use testing gear. A simple hydrometer is of use for specific gravity, indirectly salinity... OR after cleaning, adding about the same amount of sea salt (NOT table/NaCl) to about the same
volume of water each cleaning>
Thanks a bunch!
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: two fiddler crabs flipped over..

Oh I cleaned their tank etc as well.
<Outstanding. BobF>

Re: Golden Barbs Bite each other, Why?     6/19/17
Hi Neale,
We bought 4 more golden barbs last Saturday. It seemed to work to start with and the bullying stopped.
<Sounds good...>
The two fish that were being bullied at the time started to heal. All redness gone, only white patches left where they had been bitten.
On Thursday we noticed that the small Golden Barbs were biting the weaker of the large ones that were being bitten, and also the big ones were having a go too. It doesn't look as bad as it was before. Will they calm down when the little ones get bigger.
We were told we couldn't have a red tailed shark because we have three silver sharks already. Would appreciate your advice on this matter.
<That is probably good advice, bit does depend a bit on the size of the tank. Silver Sharks are big, over a foot long fully grown, and not
especially good aquarium fish, being schooling fish ill-suited to anything less than, say, a couple hundred US gallons; they are mildly predatory, but neither aggressive nor hyperactive, so good tankmates for peaceful jumbo fish like Plecs and bichirs;
Red Sharks, on the other hand, are medium-sized (4-5 inches is typical) and strongly territorial under aquarium conditions, and given to "dive-bombing" fish it considers to be potential rivals. While unlikely to harm adult
Silver Sharks, I wouldn't combine them with similar sized Silver Sharks except in really big tanks. They're great companions for Danios, Barbs, Tetras and other hyperactive species able to keep out of their way. I'd reckon them better "target fish" than Silver Sharks, but given you have the Silver Sharks, you may as well stick with them for now.>
We have a large Plec, 2 Cory cat fish, 5 black widow tetra, 2 clown loach, 1 Golden Gourami, 1 Opaline Gourami, 3 Silver Shark and of course 10 Golden Barbs.
<I would simply be hoping for the best for now, perhaps adding a few more Golden Barbs if you have space, or isolating bullies for short periods (a few hours, say) in a time-out box such as floating breeding trap to see if that helps reset the dynamic of the group. Cheers, Neale.>

Mystery "Tiger" Eel... ID     6/19/17
Hello Neale,
Thank you for the fascinating exposition about the world of fishes. My knowledge of fish's sensory organs does not extend beyond knowing what are lateral lines on fishes. So it's good to hear more details from you in regards to this matter.
<Glad to share.>
As an Indonesian, I feel blessed to live in a country with such rich biodiversity, especially concerning fishes. At the same time, I often stumped by the very diversity that my country's fishes exhibited. Take this fish (picture attached), for example. Is this a Gymnothorax Polyuranodon?
<Quite possibly; but I do think Gymnothorax reevesii more likely.>
<<Thought this looked more like a Synbranchid... RMF>>
Such a lovely skin pattern, but it must served a purpose, maybe to confuse predator fishes into thinking that it is a snake?
<Interesting thought. One issue is this though: Morays are nocturnal, and hide by day, so their predators (if there are any!) wouldn't really see their colour patterns easily, and more likely hunt by smell or vibration.
Still, who knows? Your idea definitely makes sense, and many animals mimic venomous snakes.>
Strange and beautiful eels often got fished out of our rivers and canals by unsuspecting locals, and oftentimes I cannot even tell what species are they. Local Indonesian, when shown the beautiful eel in the attached picture, will say "that's Belut Macan Tutul!" (means: Tiger Eel), but there are lots of other species which also being called "Tiger Eel". It's like the Pleco catfish, so many different species and yet to local Indonesians, they're all "Ikan sapu sapu". One name fits all :D.
Well, again thank you for the chat, and have a nice day!
<And likewise to you, too; Neale.>

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