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Odontoscion dentex, the Reef Croaker. To 30 cm. Distinguished by black spot at the pectoral fin origins. Tropical W. Atlantic, sans Bahamas. Roatan 2016

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Updated 12/5/2016
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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DSB Transition      12/5/16
Aloha Bob, I followed your tip and remove all the black cinders from the first stage of my sump.
Together with installing a GFO reactor I have gotten the phosphates down from 5 to <.25. Here's a pic of my DT, which I may keep shallow and vacuumed then install a DSB remotely.
<Very good>
Do you like the idea of a giant Rubbermaid tub DSB\Refugium as part of this system.
<Yes I do. These are MIGHTY fine products... sturdy, easy to modify, chemically inert... and cheap per volume>
Looks like Cyano keeps creeping in .
<Time going by here... Patience!>
Still no coralline with 12KDH. Using RI water now with lots of water changes. Only has come down from 14- high KDH is still a mystery.
<Time here as well>
I plan to add a few inches to my sump, regardless. In the next image you can see my current second chamber of my outdoor sump. There are some layers of cinders in there and lots of life.
<I see>
My main question is do I remove all that sand pictures in my sump, since it may have trapped phosphates- then leave a little bit to re-seed the coral sand? Or do you feel it's safe to just place new sand atop this and not stir things up too much?
<The latter is the route I'd go>
Keep in mind I have plenty of room outside to plumb in a new sump or remote DSB. Would you replace the 20gal sump with a 36-90 since I have the room?
My DT is 100g. Mahaloz!
<I would ALWAYS make sumps, refugiums, DSBs... As LARGE as possible>
Sky Kubby
<Bob Kubby>

Too view of sump.      12/5/16
This goes with my last two emails for perspective....
Sky Kubby

DSB replacement cont...      12/5/16
Here's a couple more follow up pics show the close up of the layer of black cinders in the sand bed. Remove or safe to cover with more sand?
<Safe to cover>
Also note the precarious positioning of my sump on the ledge. This is why I'm thinking of replacing it with a long larger sup against the back with a proper base. Do you agree or think this will suffice? Thanks!
<I'd replace w/ larger w/ proper base for sure. BK>
Sky Kubby

Re: DSB Transition      12/5/16
Perfect, thanks! Since I’m solar powered I’m going to gravity drain from this sump into the RubberMaid via a 2” pipe, or something, so as not to add an extra pump and possible failing system.
<You are wise here>
Or better yet, use this sump inside the (250g?) RubberMaid, as a pump return chamber! ;-)
By the way I see you replied Bob Kubby. Is this a typo, or a long-lost relative!? LOL!
<Just pulling your fins, BobF>
In Radiant Health,
Sky Kubby

Re: Eunice ID      12/5/16
Ahh sorry please see attached for cropped version, that'll teach me to rush!
<Ah; thank you. I did crop and post>
I will definitely be using the trap regularly as you suggest and figure I may take a two pronged approach by also employing the services of a captive-bred Pseudochromis fridmani to help clear up the little ones.
<An excellent idea>
Can you offer any insight into whether captive bred Fridmani's still retain the same instincts for hunting Polychaetes as their wild caught counterparts?
<They do... and (of course) there are larger, even more eager bristle worm predators... Arrow Crabs, bigger and bigger Labrids/Wrasses... Tetraodontiform fishes if they'll go>
The only other fish in my 90g (48x18x24) are 2 x clowns, 2 x Kaudern's cardinals and I have a captive bred coral beauty going in soon so I think compatibility wise this should work (in theory!).
<And you, BobF>

Re: pH adjustments. Acclim. process, SW       12/5/16
I got the idea of baking soda from answers similar to -"Yes, freshwater that has been treated for chlorine/chloramine, and buffered (often with just sodium bicarbonate to a pH of about 7.8) is pretty much a/the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for most all marine fish and invertebrate acclimation"
I think my tap water comes out at pH 7.2 , so it made sense to me that I needed to raise it for the FW dip since the transit water is usually in the high 7's.
I will send other questions in separate note
thanks, JS
<Jay; the pH should be matched w/ whatever the incoming shipping water is. I can't tell what this is... B>
Re: pH adjustments      12/5/16

<Hey Jay>
thanks for rapid response. I have read most if not all of acclimation/ dips info on WWM. I think points of confusion for me were too many terms for perhaps same stage/containers and unsure as to the time duration for
changes between stages.
<A few minutes is all... subjective to a degree... ALWAYS with you in attendance, MOVING the fish/es out if they're over-stressed>
Instead of repeating various answers in WWM and showing you where my misunderstandings are, I have tried to create a
detailed step by step .
So my current summarized plan for a FW/meth blue dip for new fish is as follows-
I envision 3 containers
1-The shipped bags o’ fish with usual marine salinity/SPG but a pH which has lowered in shipping to probably about 7.6-7.8
<Do test a few... will all likely be about the same>
2-The FW dip , using dechlorinated tap water, pre- oxygenated over night, with pH matched to bag #1 .( My tap water comes at pH approx 7.2, so I assumed I would need to add some baking soda to bring it up to the shipping bag pH. Methylene blue is added to this to create a medium dark blue concentration.
3-QT with SPG, salinity and pH all matching the display tank.
here is the process-
*Receive shipped bags o’ fish.*
*Float bags for temp equalization to system's 78-80 degrees.*
<Mmm; how to explain here... IF the temp. is w/in several degrees F. (really 7,8 F.), I'd NOT float... not worth the time, stress, and TIME is definitely of essence here. Just OPEN bags and start drip/mixing in the new pH adjusted/matched acclimation water>
*Have prepared ahead the QT and bucket of heated, oxygenated tap water FW.*
*Buffer the FW with baking soda to match pH of shipping water ( expected to be in 7.6-7.8 range. Various WWM rec.s for using baking soda range from ¼tsp to 1 tsp/gallon.)*
<Okay... sorry for the prev. confusion here. Our tapwater comes out 8.2-8.4... we actually have to LOWER to match shipping water>
*then dechlorinate the now buffered tap FW with Seachem Prime*
*Transfer fish and shipping water into a new container. Slowly add above
FW until this container is now pretty much FW. [ How long for this step?] *
<AS LONG as it takes to flush out ALL detectable free ammonia>
*Add meth blue till relatively dark.*
<This can be added before or during the drip>
*Observe fish behavior but aiming for 15 -20 min in FW/MB dip( which is still at shipping water pH).*
<I'd immediately start the drip>
*After duration of dip complete, slowly add water from QT to bring up salinity and pH to that of QT (pH of about 8.2-8.3), (again how fast?) *
<About a drop per second.... So/hence the pH change, NH3 flush will vary depending on the volume of shipping water mainly>
*transfer fish to QT.*
**** the fish I am expecting soon are a Carpenters Flasher Wrasse, One Spot Foxface and *Royal Gramma Basslet (Caribbean). You have mentioned that wrasses should have short duration FW meth blue dips, yes? How about the other 2 fish?*
<Run all as per above. These are long-distance shipped animals I take it. NOT one, two hour in-transit?>
*have you ever considered making a long detailed YouTube video for this process?
<I had not... but do agree that such might be of tremendous use. The process and its variations is confusing, involved>
I think it might be boring for you, but it would answer a lot of folks' questions.( a picture is worth a thousand words)*
<I'll direct if you do the emcee-ing!>
*thanks ,JS*
<Certainly welcome. BF>

Re: pH adjustments; now Ophiuroid nutr.       12/5/16
one more brief ?.
I have had a giant ( arm span 12-14") gold/green brittle star doing well for years in the sump ( after too many new fish in DT kept disappearing).
In the last 1-2 weeks he has lost most of the length of his arms which are now only stubs. He has been fed part of a uncooked cocktail shrimp every 4-7 days for years and was doing great.
<Mmm; needs more nutritionally.
I'd get a bag of "mixed, frozen seafood", defrost a "piece", soak in a product like SeaChem's Vitality for a few minutes and offer this at the same interval>
All my measured tank parameters ( spg, dKH, Ca, nitrates are d/w with no other changes in system and other tank inhabs - fish, corals are doing fine. Any ideas??
<Can, will recover in time. Bob Fenner>

Thank you, Betta recovery      12/4/16
No questions or cries for help today, just a thank you. Thanks to your site, and your responses to my emails, I know so much more about Betta care today than when I rescued that first Betta from a bridal shower centerpiece about 5 months ago. You, and Bob Fenner’s book, are the best resources I’ve found for learning how to keep a Betta. While the first two Bettas didn’t survive - one because he was too damaged when I got him, the other because I forgot I was using a domestic water softener - I think that I am now all set to enjoy our new Betta for a long time. Our Betta, Ting Krit, and I thank you. Here’s the happy little guy in his heated, filtered, treated RO water, stable pH, 0 ammonia and nitrite, low nitrate tank:
<Looks a nice fish in a nice tank! Glad you're enjoying your new pet, and it's lovely hearing how things turn out, so thanks for sharing. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hello and Thank You, FW Snail Q      12/4/16
Works for me . I have a 10 gallon tank and can fill that with aquarium water since i am doing a water change anyway on Sunday. i can put a heater element in but assume that i do not have to set up a filter.
<Quite so. Snails produce little waste, so for a couple days they'll be fine; for longer periods, just do small water changes.>
Thank you for your guidance.
Best Maria
<Most welcome and glad to help! Neale.>

Goldfish with waving/kinked lower caudal fin      12/4/16
The lower caudal fins on my Watonai has a definite wave in it on both sides. These fins also appear to be less flexible than the same fins on other watonais without this kinking/waving defect. My question is: Is this a genetic defect? or the result of broken fins that have healed.
<Hi Joan. There's a question to ask here. Did the kink appear recently, or has it always been there, though perhaps less noticeably? If the kink was always there, even when the fish was young, the chances are it's a genetic abnormality. But if the fins were fine until recently, but suddenly bent out of shape, then either physical damage or vitamin deficiency are more likely explanations. Genetic abnormalities are extremely common among domesticated goldfish (indeed, the distinction between an abnormality and an artificial trait like a fantail is purely semantic). Not much you can do about them, except avoid breeding from livestock that display unwanted traits. Physical damage may fix itself with time, though there's some risk of 'scarring'. Vitamin deficiencies are probably the next commonest cause of deformities after genetics, though some diseases like Mycobacteriosis have been implicated too. Usually the result is kinked spines, but hard to know if other bones, like those in the fins, might be affected too.
Regardless, no cure as such, though optimising living conditions and providing a more varied diet can prevent things getting worse (or the symptoms developing in other fish in the tank). Hope this helps, Neale.>

pH adjustments. SW acclimation       12/4/16
I have been reading your pieces on isolation- quarantine tanks/dips for new fish. I am confused about two different explanations as to how to switch the new fish to the quarantine/isolation tank.
<Let's see if I/we can un-confuse you>
most say to float acclimate the shipped bag to match system temp then match the FW dip pH to the shipped bag pH ( usually using baking soda from 1/4 tsp - 1 whole tsp per gallon)
<Mmm; actually, the pH is almost always lower in (longer haul) shipped bags... thus a need to lower pH in the receiving (temporary) water. Most folks use a simple organic acid for this... Acetic/vinegar... or a commercial prep.; often sodium biphosphate>
then my question occurs- when transferring fish to the QT, some say to bring the QT pH to that of the shipped bag ( and FW dip) while other seem to say to bring the FW dip pH to that of the QT tank.
I believe these were the rec.s of different authors on site. please clarify.
<Better, perhaps best to simply have you read my SOP re such acclimation procedures. See (READ) here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm
and the linked files above. Do feel free to write back w/ specific questions (after reading). Bob Fenner>
thanks again for all your ongoing help.

Eunice ID      12/4/16
<Please crop your pic and re-send... See our guidelines. Your file is more than an order of magnitude too big. B>
Re: Eunice ID

Apologies, hopefully the attached is okay and you can still see enough detail? Nick
<? You didn't crop.... >
Subject: Eunice ID

Hi there Bob,
Sorry to bother you once again but I am approaching my wits end with this hobby at the moment and have another question for you if you don't mind, I was hoping you could clarify whether you think the worms in the attached pic are juvenile Eunice worms?
<Might well be Eunicids>
After 1 week of attempted trapping I bit the bullet and destroyed one of my rocks to remove a 4" Eunice this morning. After stirring up the tank somewhat during the rock removal I found these 2 critters in my filter sock. Looking at the antennae on the head I think I already know the answer but was hoping you could give me a second opinion as to whether these are Eunice. They are tiny at the moment (they were in a shot glass for the pic) but I'm concerned I may have many many more of them.
<Mmm; well; IF they're not causing trouble....>
If these are indeed juv Eunice does that mean its likely I have another larger specimen in addition to the one I removed?
Knowing I had gotten rid of what I thought was the only bobbit in the tank I went and added a couple of very small Pterapogon kauderni and am now fairly concerned they may be at risk.
<I'd use your trap once a month; and not worry (or try not to!)>
Thanks again
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Stocking: upgrade required?      12/4/16
Hello all,
<Hey Tim>
I have a 5ft, 100 gallon aquarium I am preparing to set up after I move. I am thinking long term stocking and curious if my choices and timeline is fair and what amendments you would recommend. The tank would have 200-240 lbs of live rock between the main tank and 2 foot 25 gallon refugium housed below.
<This is a bunch... depending on density... perhaps too much.
I'd start with one hundred or so and see what you think. No need for "walls" nowayears. I prefer mostly sand in sumps/refugiums>
1 month post cycle: 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 4-6 large hermits (blue legged and scarlet), 10-12 small hermits,
<Not a fan of hermits. See WWM Re>
mix of 12 or so snails. 2 months post cycle: 1-2 Ocellaris Clowns & 1 Banggai Cardinal.
<I'd have more than one...>
7 months post cycle: Flame Angel. 8 months post cycle Purple Tang. 10 months post cycle: add heavy amounts of copepods. 12-13 months post cycle: Mandarin Goby. Is this is a feasible list?
<Mmm; yes... All this/these will go, fit, get along>
My two concerns are that the tank is too small for a purple tang and this system would not adequately provide stable food for the Mandarin Goby.
<Again; you should be fine>
I'm dead set on this stock, so if need be, I would consider increasing the size of my aquarium. Since I am at 5ft, it seems foolish to jump to 6, so I would likely go 8ft 240 gallon. This however, is a cost I am hoping to not have to cradle...
<As stated above. Bob Fenner>

Feeding Ropefish and System, Selection      12/4/16
Hello Crew, I've written you before and have gotten lots of help about panther crabs (of which I haven't been successful in breeding yet, but am devising a plan to try in a 40B heavily decorated with driftwood), and I thank you for that. This site is very helpful and informative.
<Good to know; thank you!>
I've been reading a lot about Ropefish on your site, starting with Ropefish 1 and I'm currently on Ropefish Health (going in order of the linked categories on top of the page). I was hoping to finish reading them all before writing you, but I hope to get three Ropefish mid to late next week to house in my 135 gal temporary Ropefish River (the name of this tank build these will be going into) and will buy anywhere from 1-3 at a time after the initial purchase of three. Eventually I hope to house 8 of them (3 males, 5 females, using the finlet count to determine sex - 9 finlets means female, 12-15 means male according to what I've found),
<Something like that. But loss of finlets though predation attempts happens, and some "well endowed" females will have as many finlets as "poorly endowed" males, so some specimens will be difficult to sex. Best to keep an open mind, get a group, and let pairing occur at its own pace.
Sexually mature males have different-looking anal fins, and that might be a safer bet.>
in a 100 gal aquarium with crypts, Val.s, and lots of driftwood set up to look like a root sticking out from the bank reaching into the water (towards the middle of the tank) on one end. I'm thinking of a Val jungle opposite of the driftwood with the substrate banked up to about 4-6" on that end, the crypts in the middle where the substrate starts banking from 1-2" to the 4-6" on the other end, and then the driftwood with epiphytes like Bucephalandra and perhaps java fern or some others. I also will have some water lettuce floating on the surface, and already have an Amazon
sword plant I would like to move to the 100 gal when I get it set up, but am not sure where I'll put that plant yet (possibly near the crypts or on the sloping section of the substrate). I will be employing the Walstad method and will dirt the bottom with mineralized topsoil, though I will use gravel or rocks, plastic mesh screen, and then the topsoil and cap on the end with the deeper substrate. Eventually, I hope to be able to have this set up as a Dynamic Aquarium in the future - an ecosystem in an enclosed system, also known as a microcosm for my size tank.
<Quite so. Rather difficult to do with comparatively large fish though, especially carnivores, because of the need for high-protein foodstuffs. I'm guessing you've read the 'Dynamic Aquaria' book, and would direct you in particular to the Angelfish set-up designed along these lines.>
Now, I would like to have the substrate color the same as what they're used to from the wild, so do you have any idea what color the mud is from the rivers they collect these fine fish from?
<Leaf litter. Thick vegetation on the riverbanks, so we're talking decaying leaves in various shades of brown and yellow.>
I read Bob Fenner has been to the rivers and knows people who actually collect them, so I was hoping to get some advice as to what color to get the substrate - brown, black, red, tan, or white. If I need black, I plan to use Black Diamond Blasting Sand; for white I would use PFS; and for tan I would use Play Sand (which I have employed in the temp 135 gal setup. For the brown and red (if it's applicable) I would need to look further into other types of suitable substrate and advice would be appreciated if the wild substrate is one of those colors.
<I would avoid any type of sand that is not "smooth". Pool filter sand (smooth silica sand) is a good choice. A typical river system will have a muddy substrate virtually impossible to replicate in an aquarium, so aquaria substrates are all compromises to some degree. Smooth silica sand is similar to the sand seen in some rivers though, and the colour, while
bright at first, mellows with age, and most fish seem to be perfectly happy with it.>
I know it must seem I'm going overboard with this, but then I usually do...
I also plan to have a small pump (either a Rio 600 or Aquatop SWP-480, both rated for around 200 GPH) pushing water through pvc behind/near the driftwood so I have some circulation, but am concerned since I read about bacterial issues resulting from poor circulation around the substrate. I was going to have this manifold near the surface of the water, but where would you recommend me placing it?
<Bear in mind these are swamp fish, so minimal water current is the name of the game. You want adequate turnover of course, to keep water quality good, but distributing the outflow of water as far around the tank as possible will help avoid strong currents, which these fish dislike.>
Ultimately, I would like to breed them and want them to be most comfortable in the tank I create for them. I've discovered breeding them usually isn't the issue - raising the fry and keeping them alive long enough to breed is
(since they mature slowly and don't typically breed until 10-20 years old).
However, my only concern is them not having any open space to swim when the crypts in the tank grow in.
<That's not your problem. Keeping Ropefish in a tank at all for 10 years is something most folks fail at! These fish are SUPERB escape artists. You need a system more like a paludarium than a fish tank, with at least six inches of air between the waterline and the bottom of the hood. Anything less than that and they're prone to escaping. It's their natural instinct, apparently, to slither from pool to pool during the night.>
Should I go ahead and just have a small, dense line of crypts near the back of the tank and just use flame moss for the front-ish part of the middle section of the tank? This might allow me to have the sword intermingled with the moss... I've also discovered that it seems they like to breed in Java moss, but I'm hoping flame moss will be a suitable alternative should they choose to breed in my tank at all.
<Any/all of this will work. Their snake-like shape is adapted to sliding through vegetarian, not swimming in open water. Think thicket, and you have the right idea.>
Finally, as for feeding, I am currently culturing Microworms, banana worms, walter worms, and vinegar eels. I also have some Mysid shrimp and bloodworms (both frozen alternatives), of which I will ultimately feed far less bloodworms than I do Mysid or any live food, though I typically feed my fish both in the morning with bloodworms and at night with Mysid shrimp (with these fish feeding at night, if I continue with my typical feeding regime I should be primarily feeding them Mysid shrimp). However, I also realize they need variety, of which I was wondering if these fish might consume Microworms, banana worms, walter worms, and vinegar eels even if these foods are quite small and meant for fry?
<I do suspect anything below, say, 5 mm in length is more likely to end up in the substrate or filter than inside the Ropefish. It's going to be a case of trying things out. They're worm-eaters more than anything else, taking insect larvae, midge larvae, and all those sorts of wormy foods. But not really micropredators as such, so very tiny foods might escape their notice.>
I will also be making a purchase of Tubifex worms, sw copepods, and a plankton mix which has potential to contain Ostracods, daphnia, rotifers, ceriodaphnia, copepods, and amphipods, though they mix the plankton when they receive an order. I hope to separate many of these plankton into separate buckets for better keeping, but may not be able to. Plus, I plan to have a brine shrimp hatchery and culture going relatively soon which I can also feed from. Since they eat small invertebrates in the wild, would all these foods be suitable (rinsing the sw copepods and brine shrimp)?
<Might be a bit small, but they will probably consume Spirulina-enriched frozen adult brine shrimp.>
Oh, and I forgot to mention I also have some red wrigglers and plan to culture white worms as well eventually (and some black worms if my lfs can get them in), as well as fruit flies, bean beetles, night crawlers (which I released into my yard since most of the culture died and I was having no luck with them in a tote culture, leaving only one small worm still alive that was moving like it should), meal worms, and possibly other insects in the future (like crickets or superworms). How often should I feed each of these foods, and what should my feeding schedule look like?
<Earthworms are a favourite, and if you have them, would make a great staple. Mealworms and the like tend to be a tough, and I never had much success feeding them to Ropefish. Their jaws aren't as strong as those of Bichirs, and their diet should be adjusted accordingly.>
Which should be staples, and which should I feed as occasional treats?
<I'd be focusing on small slivers of seafood, ideally vitamin enriched as you'd do with marine aquarium fish. Earthworms are a useful staple, as small river shrimp if you can get them. Frozen bloodworms are useful but a
bit lacking in nutritional value, so more a treat than anything else. Tubifex sparingly, if at all. Gut-loaded brine shrimp on the other hand could be used freely. A "little but often" would be my approach here, to avoid problems with uneaten or regurgitated food.>
I may stick with feeding the white worms and other terrestrial insects primarily when I aim to get them into breeding condition (or try to) since many fish breed with the monsoon and an abundance of insects and terrestrial worms signal such breeding in the wild, though I know worms such as red wrigglers and night crawlers have been recommended as a staple from you to other people who have asked along with tilapia fillets (which I hope to reduce on-going costs by culturing most of the food my fish room will need, so I'm not keen on the idea of buying such filets as a staple food, though I might until I have the resources to culture tilapia as well). Also, do you think the Mysid shrimp have too much Thiaminase for use as a staple (haven't been able to read that link, yet)?
<It's potentially a problem with all plain vanilla crustaceans, yes. If they're gut-loaded or enhanced somehow (e.g., Spirulina enriched) than they'd be a lot better as staples.>
I will also have snails in the aquarium (both for eating food waste [pond and Ramshorn snails] and turning the substrate to reduce dead spots as everything is growing in [mts] so I don't have anaerobic zones) that they will likely munch on from time to time according to what I've read. I realize some of these snails may not be completely compatible, but I
haven't been able to read that link, either.
<If Ropefish eat snails, they do so rarely.>
Is there anything else I should read to help make this fool-proof (or as close to that as it can get)? I will cover the aquarium, and hope the water lettuce will soften the lighting so they come out in the day more, as well as comfort them so they're less likely to try to escape (I've figured out most fish and inverts won't try to escape unless they're unhappy with their environment, or so it seems...).
<True, but some fish are migratory (e.g., Ariidae catfish) while others are amphibious (as with your Ropefish) and these types of fish will always try to escape, and you have to plan accordingly.>
What do you think of all this?
<Ambitious! But in a good way.>
Please realize not all the food cultures are exclusively for these fish (that would be a bit much), but I do plan to keep vampire crabs and will require food for them as well. I hope this will be a great place/way to keep these wonderful fish, and I do hope they breed for me and I successfully raise the resulting offspring. Thank you for your time and advice, as I know this is a very long, intensive email I've written you.
Jacob G.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Feeding Ropefish and System, Selection      12/4/16

Also, I forgot to ask what should I be looking for when I go to buy these fish? Clear eyes, good fins, no spots that could suggest slime disease or such, but what about behavior-wise? Should they be hiding, swimming, floating? How should they swim and how often? Anything I'm missing?
<A group chilling in a cave, with their heads poking out, watching the world, would strike me as a healthy group worth investing in. Specimens swimming up and down trying to get out might be okay too, as this is normal enough behaviour, but I'd want to check it wasn't be nipped or harassed in some way first. A lethargic specimen just sitting at the front of the tank, alone, neither hiding nor swimming, would not strike me as a normal specimen, and I'd approach such a fish more carefully, looking to see if it was simply stressed, or starving, or suffering from something less easy to fix.>
Jacob G.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Brown algae... FW? using WWM     12/3/16
So i have a problem with brown algae how do i resolve it. Every month
<Regular maintenance s/b done weekly... See WWM Re>
 i change 1/3rd of my aquarium water and my filter is caked in brown algae and on my glass and statues are brown algae also... what do i do?
<Read.... learn... find out what this is: Dinoflagellate/s? Diatoms?
Something/s else? Educate yourself re means to control: Eliminate, export nutrient, provide competition, consumers?
Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm
then the linked files at top; where you lead yourself. Write back if/when you need specific input.
Bob Fenner>

Goldfish with waving/kinked lower caudal fin     12/3/16
The lower caudal fins on my Watonai has a definite wave in it on both sides.
<Mmm; how long have you had this fish? About how old is it? You may have "just noticed" this "wave" though it was there, growing more pronounced all the while>
These fins also appear to be less flexible than the same fins on other watonais without this kinking/waving defect. My question is: Is this a genetic defect?
or the result of broken fins that have healed.
<Mmm; likely the former; as you report both sides are similar...>
<Please do send along a well-resolved image of moderate size, showing what you're referring to. In the meanwhile, am going to share your message w/ Neale Monks here for his separate reply.
Bob Fenner>

Itty-Bitty Starfish ID...is it a 'good guy"?       12/2/16
My son noticed this starfish in our 29 gallon holding tank and I remembered seeing something about some small whitish starfish eating corals... Should I flush him or put him back and be grateful?
<Up to you... appears to be an Asterina sp.... worth the possible, potential damage?>
Right now he's in a ZipLock floating in the refugium just to be safe. Just
in case it matters, in the holding tank I have small frags from a few Zoas, green fuzzy mushrooms, a couple GSP, a daisy polyp, and a couple leathers.
<Mmm; I'd likely keep it if there not too many. Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hello and Thank You; quarantining FW snails for disease prevention       12/2/16
Hello Neale, ordered snails online today for delivery next week. Do I need to quarantine snails to ensure they do not carry fish disease? Maria
<Great question! The short answer is that anything wet can carry Whitespot and Velvet parasites from one place to another. But sterilising such wet objects (in the case of nets and buckets) works a treat, and what you see in many pet stores. Snails are trickier because you can't sterilise them, but you can isolate them in their own tank for a couple days (or even in a large tub of water, somewhere warm enough for them not to chill, and with a tea towel on the top to let air in but keep the snails from escaping). This isn't necessary if the snails come from a fish-free environment, as will
often be the case from "snail farmers" -- but it's certainly a useful thing to do with snails taken out of tanks with tropical fish in them. Beyond that, snails shouldn't carry diseases that need longer quarantining, like the 4-6 weeks recommended for fish. So as I say above, a proper quarantine tank isn't really necessary. Just somewhere to keep them long enough any free-living Whitespot or Velvet parasites to die off without finding a (fish) host. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: UPDATE: Sediment Issues -Old Tank, Newly Cycled       12/1/16
Neale (and Crew):
Just letting you know, as per your suggestion, I found and ordered a new Eheim Aquaball 2208 internal canister for 30 USD on EBay. :)
<Cool. Nice little filter.>
I plan to try the baking soda buffer method you mentioned, just did not get to it over the weekend:
QUESTIONS: If my KH test turns yellow after the second drop of solution, which is about 38-40 alkalinity, how does this equate to the 3-5 "degrees" KH that you mentioned, above?
<All this is on WWM and elsewhere; would direct you here:
Where you will find a table for interconverting degrees KH into equivalent mg/l quantities of calcium carbonate (or more rarely, calcium oxide - check the units on your test kit). For sure 38-40 mg/l would be very low carbonate hardness.>
And what is a pH buffer "fix"? The Neutral Regulator? My knowledge of chemistry is solely from researching for my aquariums, so excuse me if I appear dense.
<Fixing the pH is a non-scientific term; it simply means attempting to fix, or steady, the pH at a certain point. In other words, to prevent wild fluctuations. Slight variation is normal and harmless, say, from pH 7.5 to 7.2 between water changes; but dropping from pH 7.5 to 6.5, for example, would be bad.>
Is there any other method to help with the soft water aside from adding baking soda or other buffer such as Neutral Regulator?
<Not really. Acidification happens because fish and plants produce wastes of various kinds that tend to be acidic chemicals. So between water changes, aquaria tend to become more acidic. Inhibiting this is any background alkalinity, alkalinity being chemicals that 'soak up' acidic chemicals, neutralising them, and so preventing acidification from happening. If you have typical chalk aquifer hard water with a high carbonate hardness, then the alkalinity is so great that any and all acidic molecules will be mopped up between water changes. So hard water tanks usually have a very stable pH. But if you have (or choose to use) soft water, such alkalinity is absent. That makes such tanks prone to pH drops between water changes. Of course acidification happens at a rate proportional to the amount of livestock and the frequency of water changes, so lightly-stocked tanks that get frequent water changes may experience little by way of a pH drop. Still, most aquarists keeping soft, acidic systems will stabilise pH by using a commercial pH buffer (often called
Discus buffer after the fish kept this way most often). These use a weak acid, phosphoric acid (if I recall correctly), to act as the buffer, fixing the pH at 6.5 or 6.0, depending on the formulation. Alternatively, if you're keeping a mixed community tank and don't need particularly acidic conditions, adding a little sodium bicarbonate can do the trick, usually
fixing the pH around 7.2-7.5 if used in small quantities. Some experimentation will be required to find the exact number of teaspoons needed for your water, but such an approach is cheaper than commercial buffers so favoured by those who aren't keeping specialist fish like Discus or Cardinals that need acidic water.>
I've read that adding crushed coral can help. I have some in the aquarium in a mesh bag, and it has shrunk over the last year or so. If it does help, could I put some in the canister or OTB filter?
<Crushed coral is basically calcium carbonate, so again, raises carbonate hardness. The problem here is that coral dissolves very slowly (it may take weeks before any measurable effect) and that in turn makes using crushed coral unpredictable (you can add a lump and find a couple weeks later the pH has gone as high as 8.0). Consequently, adding crushed coral, seashells, and coral sand are viable approaches in tanks where a high pH isn't a
problem, even desirable, but not the best way to handle mixed species community tanks. In other words, fine for Mbuna, Tanganyikans, Central Americans and livebearers, but not appropriate where tetras, barbs, and catfish are being kept.>
Also, I've read that increasing aeration will help remove CO2 and increase the pH.
<Correct, but only matters if you're adding a lot of CO2 to the system. CO2 dissolves in water to form carbonic acid, while bubbling or splashing the water causes the carbonic acid to break down into CO2 again and 'evaporate' into the air. Managing pH this way is irrelevant to most aquarists because CO2 concentration in the water is never very high. But folks keeping planted tanks where they *add* CO2 from external cylinders or generators may cause the water's pH to drop more than it should, so getting the balance between water movement and CO2 fertilisation is important.>
True? If so, adding the internal canister might help, hmm? Thanks again for all your help.
P.S. Truncate previous message below as needed.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Goldfish needs help       12/1/16
Hi Bob,
One more question: in the article it says that feeding sushi Nori to goldfish is a good idea. As far as I know, it contains iodine, and I read in several places that iodine is harmful to goldfish. Is this another myth?
<Some iodine is actually an essential (micro) nutrient. Not to worry, "unflavored", i.e. plain Nori is fine>
Thank you.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Biocube Stocking; Coral        12/1/16
Hello WWM,
I'm looking for coral advice on a Biocube 14.
<Alrighty then>
I have a heavily modified Biocube that's been up and running for about a month. I removed the lid and hung a Radion XR15 gen 3 approx 10" above the tank.
Stock flow upgraded with Cobalt MJ900 power head. Additionally, I added a Vortech mp10w.
<Also good, but be careful about having too much flow... You don't want a coral tornado. Now that I think about it though, a "Coral-Nado" would be pretty cool>
This is not my first tank, but, it is my first small tank. Approx 10 lbs of rock, 90% of which was completely dried from an established tank that was broken down almost a decade ago, and a half pound elite live rock to seed and start the cycle. Live reef sand from a bag about 3" deep. All 3 chambers have been completely gutted, only a heater resides in chamber 1 and return pump in chamber 3.
<All sound good. I hope you let the dry rock cure really well with the new, live rock. It may be worth adding more live rock to the tank>
Water quality has been spot on since the cycle completed. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate too low to test according to LFS and their cheap test strips. Water temp 80° SG: 1.024 and slowly trying to bring it up to 1.026 with water changes. 10% biweekly water changes using Instant Ocean Reef Crystals.
Livestock: CUC has, in my opinion, been introduced very slowly. I currently have 3 Nassarius snails (breeding like crazy), 1 Banded Trochus Snail, 1 Turbo snail (unknown specific type), 2 1/8th inch Blue Leg Hermit crabs (I already regret these).
<Ugh. You beat me to the punch on the crab comment... Watch out for those little buggers, they will trample and sometimes eat your corals>
Hopefully you haven't seen any issues yet because this is where I believe I screwed up.
<Seems fine other than the crabs. The turbo snails can get really big and knock corals off of rocks. They're usually fine when they're small, but it's something to watch out for>
Coral selection so far: 2 Green Star Polyps frags isolated on small islands in sand bed. Those are what I bought, everything else was a last minute toss in at 5$ per frag. Hammer Coral frag, about 1/2 inch diameter head. Devils Hand Leather, could fit inside a 1 inch ball. Random Birds Nest frag about 1 inch tall. The leather and GSP look happy and healthy (unless the hermits crawl on them). The birds nest still hasn't opened (its been 2 weeks) it's not changing color from when I got it (still pink) so I'm assuming it's alive. The hammer Coral has very, very slowly been fading in color and size. There's no skeleton exposed, but, it's definitely shrunken.
<Seems like a lot of coral to be adding all at once. Be careful with placement of all of them. Some corals have stinging cells that can reach pretty far. The GSP grow really fast too, so be ready to frag/trim as needed>
Now, I'm normally an add one thing at a time and wait and see how the tank stabilizes kind of guy.
<So what happened this time?>
Is it possible to wait this combination out in a Biocube 14?
<Might work but only time will tell. Just keep an eye on the parameters and make sure everyone is happy, healthy, and feeding>
On a side note the Hermits love walking on the Green Star Polyps causing them to close. They don't appear to be eating anything. Should I worry?
<Aha! This can cause a problem, and that's what crabs do. Keep an eye out for the GSP and make sure that they aren't constantly closed. This will stress them out and limit their ability to eat and could kill them over time>
I'm also hoping to add 1 fish soon, either a Green Clown Goby, or a False Percula Clown. Still on the fence there, what do you recommend?
<Depends on what you want to do with the tank. Little fish will be fine, but pick them wisely. As I'm sure you know, compatibility issues can arise with any specimen at any time>
Thank you for your time.
<My pleasure, James. Let us know if you have any other questions, but everything seems fair at the moment. Keep us posted. Cheers, Gabe>

Baby Red Mickey Mouse Platy       12/1/16
I have a week old baby platy, I am currently feeding it just the same fish flakes we feed the parents at the pet store. Is there anything else I could be doing to ensure its health? I am concerned since he is a tropical fish and he is currently only in a bowl with no heater. should I run out and grab a bowl heater?
<Probably. Standard issue Platies (like your Mickey Mouse Platy) should be kept around 22-25C/72-77F. If you live somewhere warm, or have the central heating cranked up into the 20s Celsius/70s Fahrenheit, room temperature may be fine. But for most people in places cooler than the subtropics or with their homes heated to more normal temperatures, yes, a heater is a requirement. Variatus Platies (a distinct, and less common species of Platy) can handle cooler temperatures.>
Any additional information about this specific fish would be great!
<Platies are not hard to care for. A newborn will be fine in a tank upwards of 4-5 gallons, but adults will need more space, certainly 15+ gallons for a small group. They need good water quality, and the fancy varieties (like yours) are less hardy than the wild fish, so keep a close eye on filtration and weekly water changes. Zero ammonia and nitrite, as usual. But water chemistry is important too; the water needs to be hard, the harder the better in fact. Aim for 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.2 to 8.5. Platies are fish from ponds and pools rather than rivers or mountain streams, so gentle water currents are preferred. A simple air-powered sponge is absolutely ideal. So far as feeding goes, aim for plant-based foods; Spirulina flake is an excellent staple. Newborns also enjoy hard boiled egg yolk in tiny quantities (literally, a few crumbs). They'll nibble on algae in the tank too.>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Neale.>

Question on GH & KH       12/1/16
It seems the more I learn in my quest to keep a healthy Betta, the more questions I have! I’m pretty sure I killed my last Betta, Elwood, by ignorantly using water from our tap (after water softener) and distilled water - didn’t realize the pH was skyrocketing to very high levels over time.
<Ah, yes; should never drink, nor use in aquaria, water from domestic water softeners. Such water is for washing and for appliances only. For humans, the sodium ions aren't good; for fish, the unstable pH is the problem.>
Here’s my current setup (no fish yet): 5.5 gallon heated, filtered tank (biggest I can get in my space).
<More than adequate.>
Temperature almost steady at 77 degrees.
Very healthy bacteria colony that can convert 2-4 ppm ammonia to 0 ppm in less than 24 hours.
(I aim for 1ppm when I add ammonia drops, but over did it a time or two.) Nitrite readings consistently 0. Nitrates running just over 20ppm when I checked yesterday, but I plan a 50% water change to bring it down before I add a fish.
<All sounds great.>
I am now using RO water, treated with Seachem Replenish (no other treatment or buffer except Catappa leaves mentioned later). The RO water I buy (at 25 cents a gallon!) reads about 5.4 pH when I pour in in a holding tank to age, and only rises to less than 6.
<Understood. A bit lower than needed for domesticated Bettas, but unlikely to cause harm either -- wild fish will certainly be living in water at pH 6 in parts of their range.>
Since my aquarium stabilized about 6.8 to 7 pH, I added - 1 drop at a time - some API pH Up to bring my “extra” water for water changes to match the aquarium.
<Exactly what you should be doing. As we're understanding here, stable pH is rather more important than the precise value.>
I bought some Catappa leaves and SLOWLY introduced those. 2 in the aquarium and 1 in the extra water tank. After an initial dip with the leaves, my pH came back up and seems to be holding steady.
I’ve been measuring 2 or 3 (usually 3) times a day for more than a week, with the times varying from 9 am until after midnight. Fluctuations staying within 0.2 within 24 hours, always between 6.8 and 7.2, usually around 6.9.
My tank is planted, although not heavily. Then, just to make sure I wasn’t missing something, I ordered an API kit to test GH and KH (drop test). It came today. My aquarium and both my “extra” bowls measure consistently on the GH and KH. If I understand the API chart correctly (which seems to give only 1 chart for both GH and KH, just read the number of drops for each to get the ppm for that hardness measurement) my GH is about 125.3 ppm (which I think is OK), but my KH is only 17.9 to 35.8 ppm (which I think may be too low and risk pH fluctuations although I haven’t seen them).
<In a modestly stocked tank, with weekly water changes, this should actually work out okay, especially with the pH-up chemicals added.>
The KH range of 17.9 to 35.8 ppm is caused by the difference between 1 drop and 2 drops of test solution - my water seems to be right on the cusp. My pH has seemed steady, although extremely sensitive to any change such as even a single Catappa leaf or single drop of API pH Up.
<Ah-ha! You see now the importance of buffering here. Without buffering, pH can be, as you say, balanced on a knife-edge, and doesn't take much to go down or up.>
Do I need to add some additional buffering agent to raise the KH?
<No; I think the pH-up product should be enough.>
Would a few more drops of Replenish help? A tiny bit of baking soda?
<I would not do either for now. I'd install the Betta, and test the pH every day. Make a note. After a week, just before the water change, see what has happened. If the pH has dropped just a tiny little bit, like from 7.0 to 6.8, then I think you're fine, and that's all you'll need to do. If pH drops too much, like from 7 to 6 within a couple days, then yes, we need to think about additional buffering. I'd be either using a tiny bit of baking soda (enough to go to, say, 50-75 mg/l KH on your test kit) or else a commercial discus buffer.>
At this point I would appreciate any help. I don’t want to kill the next Betta. I thought I had this all set, but the KH reading has me worried.
<Understood. Buffering is important, but don't overthink this. Some pH change is normal. There are numerous solutions, as we've discussed, so stabilising against big changes in pH should not be a major problem. Do understand many people keep soft water tanks with minimal KH readings, and instead rely on minimal stocking, careful feeding, and frequent (even daily) water changes to "dilute" the acids produced each day so that any such pH changes per day are minimal. While it's a hassle, for some types of small tanks, changing a couple cups (5-10% volume) of water per day is actually an easier way to manage the system than anything more sophisticated. Cheers, Neale.>

Identifying knife fish       12/1/16
Hi my lfs recently ordered a fish for me. At first they said it was a mousehead knife but after doing some research I discovered that there is one called mousetail however when the owner talked to the distributer they said it was a granite knife so i did research to make sure i could take care of it properly. Unfortunately it was not a granite. I have searched
the internet and can not find what it is. It kind of resembles a ghost knife. It is about 8 inches but really thick. He's black with a stripe on his back like a ghost knife however his tail looks speckled with white. It kind of looks like someone threw paint on the last couple inches of his tail. His mouth looks similar to a ghost also but it looks bigger. I would take a picture but he's hiding. If you have any knowledge on what he could be i would appreciate it so much. I want to take care of him properly. I have him in a 45 gallon which is too small for him but i wasn't expecting to get one quite so large so i thought i would have time to save money to buy a bigger tank. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you,
<Hi Jessica. Really do need a photo here. If the fish has a stripe along the back, but isn't as black as Apteronotus albifrons, it might be one of those sister species imported less often, such as Apteronotus leptorhynchus or Apteronotus bonapartii. Alternatively, the Granite Knifefish name has been used for certain Steatogenys species. These are mostly smallish (around 30 cm/12 inches) species, a bit delicate with regard to water chemistry, though otherwise unproblematic fish occasionally maintained by expert fishkeepers with access to live or frozen foods. Cheers, Neale.>


Goldfish needs help      11/28/16
Can you please help me?
<Will do my best>
I have a 4-year-old telescope goldfish. He's been living in a 125 litre tank for the past 2 years and has been fine until recently. For the past several months I've been feeding him dry mosquito larvae (which I now think was a big mistake). That's the only thing that's been different. I noticed that he floats at the surface (right way up) and he can't dive down.
Sometimes, when he's being still, the filter current carries him to the bottom, but a soon as he tries to swim, he floats back up. He doesn't look bloated, and has been eating normally (from the surface), and he's always been a lazy fish, which is why I haven't noticed right away that something's wrong. I think this condition has lasted for at least a month,
maybe more. I haven't fed him anything for the last 3 days, and tomorrow I'll begin feeding him cooked peas. Obviously no more floating food of any kind for him. Do you have any advice? Do you think he'll recover?
<One can never tell in these instances... I might try Epsom Salt... and would have you read Sabrina's piece here:
and as much of the Related FAQs files linked above... to grant you an understanding of what is going on here; your avenues to consider. Bob Fenner>
Thank you in advance.
Re: Goldfish needs help      11/28/16

Hi Bob,
<Hey Jelena>
Thank you for your advice. I knew it was food-related, but didn't know that it had to do more with high protein content than floating, air-filled food. I'll try to feed my fish according to the info in the article. I'm worried because this has lasted for some time already, and it doesn't look like he's constipated/bloated, he doesn't flip over either, he's right way up,
just can't swim downwards. So I'm guessing it has something do to with fatty deposits mentioned in the article, or swim bladder disorder of some kind, that can't be fixed in a couple of days.
<Hopefully... though may take a few weeks>
I hope the damage isn't permanent, he's only been eating high-protein larvae for a couple of months. I'll change his diet and hope for the best. Thank you once again.
<Cheers, BobF>

Re: Blackwater for Featherfin catfish?      11/28/16
Hi, Neale. I've got myself in quite a pickle. I went ahead and got 7 Glowlight tetras for my Betta tank because that is all my LFS had in stock.
They are absolutely stunning, especially in the dimly lit aquarium they are the most fluorescent shade of orange and just spectacular looking in that tank.
<Sounds good.>
At first my Betta chased them around and then eventually gave up. He is still interactive with me yet he is finding more hidden spots and out of the way areas to rest than he had previously. These Glowlights also don't seem timid at all. They will swim right up next to him as if taunting him, especially 2 from the shoal.
<DO keep a close eye on them. They might be merely curious, in which case, no problems. But if the Betta shows signs of fin-nipping, I'd remove them.>
I also bought 6 Amano shrimp. My Betta looked at one and now ignores them (the shrimp). He seems to be mostly ignoring the Glowlights, yet they don't really shoal well and are all over the tank.
<Perhaps add a couple more.>
So is he leaving them alone because they really don't bother him or is he stressed and understands, given his space restrictions he has no choice but to tolerate them?
<Pretty much.>
I know that if I get a larger group they will shoal more but also take up a lot more space.
<Marginally more! Two or three won't make a big difference unless this tank is tiny, smaller than 10 gallons. If above that, adding a couple more shouldn't be a problem.>
I know I wanted activity, and they are beautiful, but my Betta's territory has become extremely small.
<He'll likely get over it, and do understand that their normal territory is the top couple inches of water. So long as there's space at the surface plus some floating leaves, he's happy.>
Also, he is still easy to feed but I haven't seen the Glowlights eat yet.
<Give them time; offer choices, such as live daphnia.>
Because the current is so still the fine flake sits at the top and don't drop down much and they don't seem to see it at the top.
<Try a micro pellet food, such as Hikari Tropical Micro Pellets.>
On to the next problem, I moved the sword plant from my overgrown planted tank to the back as it was positioned more to the front somehow. The rainbows and Corys seem to love it and I can actually see them now! But I wanted some extra driftwood for the Betta tank and while tanking it out I was easily able to grab the Panaque, which I was surprised by. I put him in the Betta tank, as you said they might be good tankmates and of course he swam right under the piece of driftwood on the farthest side away from the intake *sigh*. I can't even imagine the bioload he is going to add.
<Depends on his size. If he's a couple of inches, no more than a Corydoras.
But Panaque grow bigger than that, and some species grow a lot bigger. The small species like Panaque maccus are fine in tanks 20-30 gallons in size; but the bigger species, your standard issue Royal Plec for example, needs 55+ gallons and a LOT of filtration to handle their solid waste output.>
My original idea was just to do a beta tank with slow current, over filtered, still water and barely any maintenance. Now I feel like I will be doing excessive water changes, as effectively I am only working with 33 gallons of water here with the reduced height to the water column.
<Understood, and to a degree I think you're right. The more fish you add, the more frequent maintenance needs to be. A few Glowlights and a single Betta won't be placing much bio-load on a 20-30 gallon tank, and water changes could be quite infrequent, even every couple months if you're not feeding them heavily.>
I am mainly concerned about my Betta. If this bioload or even these flitting little Glowlights are going to cause him stress instead of indifference, I will remove everything else from the tank (except maybe get some glass cats to cower in the back). How bad is my Panaque going to add to the bioload of this tank?
<See above; depends on the species.>
I'm thinking fairly significantly. I think maybe I was being greedy by wanting to fill a 40 breeder with activity, when in reality I was just upgrading my Betta tank from a 20gal. I know people often use the terms happy and unhappy for fish, when it seems the better term is stressed or thriving.
<I doubt the Betta is stressed, to be honest. But if his life situation has changed, he may need to adapt. The main thing is if he's active and feeding. If he is, he's probably fine. If he's hiding away all the time and/or not eating readily, you have a problem.>
In your honest opinion do you think my Betta would be more likely to thrive on his own in that 40 breeder without the Glowlights or would it not matter too much? And should I take that Panaque out so I don't have to do major frequent water changes on this tank that was supposed to be my easiest?
<See above.>
Do you think a shoal of 20 glass catfish with the Betta and nothing else would not be bad because they are so timid and shoal so tightly?
<Hard to say. Glass Cats get pretty big, 10-15 cm/4-6 inches even. So their very size might alarm your Betta, even if they're not actually a threat.>
I really thought I was being patient and planning this tank out well but I think it let it get the best of my control. By they way I have attached a new photo of the tank in progress, I removed the fake Cabomba (I hate fake plants) and tucked the sponge filter into a wooden crevice. I'm also growing some duckweed and have Anubias and crypts settling in.
<All looks good to me.>
I have also increased the 240gph to full outflow but the water in the tank still barely moves because it is pouring straight down behind a stump. I also unknotted my sponge filter a bit. I'm really concerned about this take. Any and all answers and advice are truly appreciated!
<Welcome. Neale.>

Ritteri Anemone twisted      11/28/16
Your site is amazing, but I can't seem to find an answer to my dilemma.
<Thanks for using WetWeb, and I'm sure I can help>
I purchased a Ritteri anemone 8 days ago.
<Yikes... I hope you're familiar with the husbandry for these animals. They are too commonly bought by clueless individuals and end up dead in a matter of days>
For the first few days, it basically just wandered around and when I saw it getting to my coral or too close to a powerhead, I would manually move it with my hands.
<Be careful doing this. Wear some sort of gloves, as this species is very delicate>
It has since settled in the bottom of the tank on a rock, and is hosting my two clowns greatly.
<This is good to hear. It's always nice to hear that clowns have discovered a new home>
My problem, however, is that the anemone looks twisted around itself.
<Could you send pictures? Hard to picture what you mean exactly. Larger specimens can get sort of balled up and lay on top of themselves. This makes it appear to have wrinkles or folds>
It's a good 8", maybe, stretched all the way out, but for two days, it's been on this rock with both sides of its foot pretty much attached to itself. I'm afraid to move it anymore fearing it may perish.
<Leave it alone. It's always best to let an anemone find its home by itself. Unless it is near a powerhead, let it be. If it moves toward a coral, move the coral, NOT the anemone.>
It's partially deflated (less than half its tentacles), but plumps up when the lights are on. I have not noticed it balling up like bubble tips do.
It's also had its mouth open all of the 8 days. I don't see it losing flesh, and otherwise seems healthy. My clowns went right to it, we're talking 5 minutes or less.
<This also could be stressing it out a bit. When an anemone is first introduced to a tank, a bunch of animals diving in and out of it can be stressful, as I'm sure you could imagine>
I've read they're hard to keep.
<I hope you've done a TON of reading. They are extremely difficult to keep.
This is one of the few animals I believe should be kept in the ocean, no matter how experienced the aquarist in question is>
I've had 3 Rose Bubble Tipped anemones for going on a year. All three are perfectly healthy, even without regular feedings. I've tried to feed it a piece of shrimp and it refused the food.
<Not uncommon when first introduced to a tank, and because partially they use the light for food>
This was only about two or three days ago before it made its home in the bottom of the tank. It has major flow, good lighting, and water parameters are perfect.
<Please define "good" and "perfect". Let us know the flow rate and the lighting spectrum/PAR, and the exact water conditions>
I don't want this thing to die in my tank. I'll trade it in before I willingly let something die in my tank.
<If you can trade it in, do it>
Upon reading up on them, I've learned that these anemones are so much different than the "regular" more easily kept anemone such as the bubble tips.
<You should've done more reading>
Any advice would be greatly appreciated! (I'm not requiring this for help, but I do have an instagram profile that documents my reef journey. You can see pictures there, ( account name is Owens.Reef ) or I can send you pictures upon request. I also think I should add that this is how the anemone has been the whole time it's been in the display. Acclimation was floating (for light), then a slow drip acclimation (for temp and water).
A little about my tank: 110 gallon mixed reef. Livestock includes: Diamond Goby, Mandarin Dragonette, Purple Tang, Yellow Tang, Blue Tang, Ocellaris clown, snowflake clown, Copperband butterfly, coral beauty angel, six line wrasse, 2 emerald crabs, hermit crabs, several types of snails, 9" clam, 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 pistol shrimp, fire shrimp, cleaner shrimp, nearly all types of coral.
Thanks in Advance,
Jackie Owens
<Jackie, I would trade this specimen in for something you can easily keep.
If you truly decide to keep it, you need to do a lot more reading. Search WetWeb re Ritteri anemones. Send pictures as well. Cheers, Gabe>
Re: Ritteri Anemone twisted      11/28/16

Hey, Gabe!
I am very familiar with this anemone and it's requirements.
<Phew... Glad to hear this wasn't an "Oh look an anemone" type of purchase>
I'm one of the lucky few reefers who have a local fish store that won't sell you an animal without a good running tank and good tank mates/water.
<This is good to know. Too many stores will sell you anything as long as they're getting paid>
Anyway, my tank is a 48"x18"x30". I have a 1600GPH return flow, along with a submersible pond pump running 1000GPH behind the rocks that stack all up the back side of my glass and almost all the way forward, expanding in
width on the way down (done this for pod population and Mysid shrimp reproduction). I also have a 1650GPH Hydor powerhead and a small twin powerhead running 1200GPH turnover.
<Did you want some aquarium with that water flow? :)>
My lights are 2 150x3 CREE LED hanging fixtures.
My parameters are as follows: Ammonia 0, Nitrates 0, Nitrites 0, Phosphate undetectable, pH 8.3, Calcium 440, dKH 11, temperature 78, SG 1.025.
<Good as well>
It seems to be moving some, and I've researched more hours than I've had it, I believe.
<Thanks for the relief. This is a hard species to keep, and that reading will pay off if you keep the specimen>
Haha. I know they're nearly impossible to keep, as anemones are in general to some reef keepers, however, I feel (as well as our friends who own their own saltwater store) that this beast will flourish in our display. I'm concerned because I know how different they can be, along with their temperamental ways and sensitivity in the home aquarium. Thank you for getting back to me so soon! Can't wait to hear back.
<Jackie, to be honest, I think you'll be fine. Based on the pictures, it looks like the anemone is just so big that it needs to fold on top of it self to fit where it wants to mount itself. It appears very healthy and should be fine as long as the parameters stay where they are. Good luck with your magnificently temperamental, Magnificent/Ritteri anemone. Keep us posted in the future, and as always, thanks for choosing WetWeb. Cheers, Gabe.>

ICH too many options? which is right for my situation      11/28/16
Hello crew hope all is well. Thanks for this site and keeping it going its brilliant!. I'm over here in Scotland and so some items and products not readily available.
<Ah yes; understood... most anti-malarials, anti-microbials...>
I've gone through pages and pages of crypt advice and now confused as I have some options but I also feel stuck could you help please?
I'd rather be thorough and so here's a bit of background which you can remove the bits that aren't required if it's to be posted.
I moved in August and so in July I bought a smaller system to manage the move, less stressful on all fronts!
Main display tank is FOWLR 60"x30"x30" and sump with 36x24x18. 120kg(220lbs live rock). Overall I think 1100litres (290 gallons usa online converter). Sump houses a Deltec 2060 skimmer and return pump. There is also another pump in the third chamber where I run through to a fluidised sand filter set for 1500ltrs and then this passes on through a UV unit
<Will have to turn off if using copper...>
and into the top of a homemade trickle tower(an old drilled AquaMedic nitrate reductor with the bactoballs, ceramic media and sponge. Any way to increase filter power!. So far it's worked great with no ammonia or nitrite readings and generally less than 20 on the nitrate side of things for the past 5 years.
With the move I bought a small tank and set up and ran this for 6-7weeks prior to moving. Transfer large amounts of sand all the live rock to sump and ran as normal. Tank was 90cmx45cmx45cm with 4 chamber sump so some 250 litres(70 gallons usa I think?). Absolutely fine running no spikes so very happy. With the move I had enough water set up to transfer everything back into main display. I ran my RO machine along the road at a friends into a static pond and was able to transfer and refill the display tank over course of 24hrs. All good again and no issues with it running smooth the last 3 months with usual water chemistry as before. Having low stock probably helped.
Stock: I have a couple of blue damsels from way back (Chrysiptera cyanea), 2 Sergeant major (Abudefduf saxatilis), Banana Tusk (Bodianus perdition) called a tusk but presume it is a hogfish based on family name?
<Mmm; yes; though all wrasses/Labrids of the genus Bodianus do have the common appellation "hogfish" applied to them at times, places (plus another genus: Lachnolaimus)>
and my prize fish, yellow eye surgeon/Australian Blue tail tang (Acanthurus xanthopterus) I've seen many different common names for it but it's a lovely friendly fish, had it 5 years and now, was the size of a small yellow tang when I got her and now she pushing around 20" in size!. Cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labroides_dimidiatus>)( I wrote in about 5 years go so I know Bob referred me to the pages regarding these guys, maybe frowned upon so wont by them again but 5 years on he's still here!).
<Ah, good>
One chocolate chip starfish and a handful of turbo snails.
<Ahh; and these are problematical re most drug, economic poisons use>
Now to the problem of being to lapsed!
I purchased a yellow tang from my LFS and I got complacent and put him without QT, I didn't set up my other tank post move. 3 weeks on, no issues. My main plan is to have a small shoal of them.
<Can (severely) bicker amongst themselves... try two more... wait a month or two, possibly two more... for five total>
I have a new tank arriving in four weeks 96"x30"x30" Plus large sump so I'm calculating around 400-450 gallons usa. And there will be a good bit of swimming space for my big tang.
One of my LFS is stopping marines and he was aware of my plan so I was offered the remaining 4 in tank where my 1st purchase came from. I figured this may help on the pecking order as they had already seen each other. Maybe a bit to finding Nemo of me where they all have names and talk to each other, who knows but it worked a treat and no fighting, I also stuck a mirror at one end so they thought there was ten of them!.
I'm a sucker for a deal and was I guess caught up in moment. Current price for small YT with exchange rates £55-£60 so around $72 dollars, I was offered the 4 for $120. My complacency continued and has finally bit me! Of course I just added to main system. It was silly as I never had ability or space for QT and well now I do and I didn't set it up! My large tang as developed ICH and the yellows have started showed signs 4days ago.
My actions so far have been to run main system down to sg 1.08.
<Watch your starfish and snails! They will likely perish here>
I did large water changes and siphoned the tank and removed all the sand to see if that well help the where the ICH can go. I have treated the water with a malachite green/formaldehyde product to buy me time.
I see that these aren't the best?
<Dangerous... toxic, and the Malachite will stain...>
. Freshwater dip with the big tang, was only one showing signs. I appreciate doesn't eradicate or do too much but seemed to help her and stop her ticking behavior.
I have as of last night set up my small tank the 70g tank. The problem is where to go now?
<Easy to state, difficult to do, but patience... only>
I understand the fallow concept but can I move all the fish to the new QT tank, it's not cycled so is that not like the saying from frying pan to fire?
<Leave all fishes in the main display>
I attached a pic of my tusk and tang and so as you see space is a premium they did great in that tank for 7 weeks. I don't know if I could get away with adding all the yellow tangs as well? I thought I could add them to sump so there's more space for everyone but I still have a lack of filters or a bacteria cycle? Could I do daily water changes to maintain chemistry parameters?.
<You could, but see above. LEAVE fishes where they are>
I guess I can't take any rock from main tank as this will likely take the ICH with it. I had read about Brightwell aquatics and their bio xport rock? Huge surface area and their Nitrobacter 7. I've already bought this last week. I can seed this tonight and add to QT? Do I push them all into the QT tank? I feel like this is now a question of what do I want to save? Which feels horrible.
I also have a small 10 gallon orca tank and so could move the inverts to this then treat main system with say Seachem Paraguard as well?.
Seeing as I have a new system coming next month and with this tank already cycled should I do something a bit different and take all the rock and everything else out of my display tank? (fluidized sand filter?, all filter material? Trickle tower? And place all of this into my 70g tank. Then this means the QT could be the fallow tank and make the display the bare bottom tank/QT?.
<I would do none of this... VERY likely the Crypt WILL COME w/ the fishes when they're moved, AND moving them will stress them further, cause more trouble>
Add the xport to main system and this way give all the space they need? I can then treat the system with say Paraquard once inverts are safe and in the 70g tank. This could be costly due to volumes were looking at for Paraguard. Finally I have another option which wouldn't be available to most. As you may be aware a lot of drugs in the UK are POM, even over the counter products like Ibuprofen have controls like you can't buy more than 32 at a time. I work in Veterinary industry and so have been able to discuss benefits of Metronidazole with some vets and get a prescription. I have tablets (400mg) and had planned to hide in some prawn, muscles or scallops. Like tricking your dog with worming. Big tang is off meaty foods but will still eat lots of the pellet food from the New life spectrum range! So still has an appetite which I hope is a good sign. I also managed to get oral Metronidazole like a syrup and tried squirting some in mouth but don't think it was ingested and when I tried dosing the food I don't think this has really soaked in and worked as more signs on yellows stated showing, they are also eating lots of brine and Spirulina flakes.
Where to go now?
<Were these fishes, systems mine, I'd NOT use Metronidazole, nor an anti-malarial... yet. Better by far to keep the spg low and wait>
Cross checking the oral levels from other posts I see 25mg/kg and 11mg/lb. seems to be appropriate. Due to size of my large tank I have also IV Metronidazole and so I have considered injecting sub cut into the tang may be the way forward to guarantee it's in her system?.
Sorry I guess I need a proper plan of action. Move fish or move rock?
<Move neither>
Try taking risk for all to be moved or just some. Should I look at treating the main system with Metronidazole as well or stick to the Paraguard with the tanks.
<Again; neither>
If I took Live rock out of water I guess it would die off. Should I put it all the rock in a separate storage tank with heater a flow and top up with the Nitrobacter 7. Sorry for the long email as I said I seem to have few options but this is causing me more problems as to what is best course of action. I would greatly appreciate any insight. Thank you hugely! in advance. I will NEVER EVER NOT QT GOING FORWARD. At least I will have a 70g and 200+g QT's going forward, regards Jonathan
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm
and the linked files in this series (above), and the linked files you find in-text... Bob Fenner>

Substrate Confusion - Shallow Tank Coral Placement      11/28/16
Good morning, I've spent about an hour searching through your FAQ's and information on sandbeds and crushed coral, etc... I find that I'm still confused.
<Let's see...>
I have a shallow 60g tank that has 46g of "live area" - it's an Innovative Marine, so the additional gallons are hosted in the equipment alley along the back.
I have around 60lbs of liverock, some of which I keep in the equipment alley slots (away from pumps) for the added filtration and have aquascaped nicely to allow flat areas for eventual coral placement. My question is, I don't have the vertical space for a deep sand bed in this shallow tank.
I've elected to go with crushed coral and have approximately 2.5" along the bottom. I'll start with FOWL system and after I am confident with the equipment I've purchased, livestock, general care and maintenance, I'll proceed to add corals in 7mths after a summer holiday.
<Sounds/reads good thus far>
1. I have 2.5" of crushed coral, if I reduced that to 1" it would allow an extra inch of swim room if I did. Is there any other advantage or disadvantage to reducing my crushed coral bottom?
<A bit easier to vacuum, stir, clean... less digging space if you have animals that do so>
I wasn't sure on what critters I'd want, thus initially elected to go with 2.5" but now am re-thinking. Anything else I need to watch with crushed coral bottom of that depth at 2.5"?
<Not really; no. Not much chance for issues with anaerobic decomposition>
2. Does crushed coral HAVE TO be vacuumed?
<Mmm; depends on a few factors... the size, shape of the grains/pieces, circulation, how much your livestock may tumble, AND the chance introduction of interstitial organisms. Re this last: folks can get lucky and have "pods" and much more live twixt grains... and these will reduce to eliminate the need to vac>
In your FAQ's you mention all the beneficial organisms that will be vacuumed up.
3. Are there ideal critters that will help maintain a crushed coral bottom?
<Ah, yes. A myriad of life forms... worms, crustaceans, molluscs, echinoderms and much more. Some will definitely "derive" from your live rock>
obviously I'm saying NO to a sandsifting star, but what about Nassarius snails in crushed coral?
<These are excellent burrowers>
4. What is the ideal space from top of liverock to water level for most corals?
<Mmm; depends on species, lighting (intensity mostly)>
I will have 360W Kessil LED's, thus can alter my intensity if needed. I believe I currently have 5-7".
<This is fine for most varieties... Some LPS, Fungiids... you may want to place near the bottom or on it>
Thanks again, you guys are awesome!
<Glad to assist your efforts. Bob Fenner>

Re: High nitrates      11/28/16
Mr. Fenner,
I feed my sharks twice a week giving them several silversides each .
<Mmm; I'd definitely expand this diet... see WWM Re; bagged/frozen "seafood mix" for humans is a good choice... and read re the use of (Mazuri .com) vitamins... Dangers of B vitamin deficiency are eminent>
My sump is 4 feet long by 24 wide. I have live rock in an area in the sump approximately 17 long by 24 wide and 10 tall. I do not have sand in the sump under the live rock
<I would definitely add the fine sand... at least four inches... six is better>
no just have a light over the live rock approximately 10 hours. I have several inches of sand in the tank with the live rock but should I add some in the sump under the live rock.
I read the article and I am moving my intake of my water for my skimmer from the end of the sump to the beginning of the sumo before the filter socks and live rock.
Thanks for the help
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

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Marine Aquarium Articles and FAQs Master Index

  • Set-Up 1: Types of Systems:, Gear/Components:, Set-Up, Tanks, Stands, Covers:, Water, Seawater, Substrates, DSBs, Electricity, Heating/Chilling, Aquascaping, Biotopes, Travelogues.
  • Set-Up 2: Filtration of All Sorts, Skimmers, Sumps, Refugiums, Plumbing, Circulation, Pumps, Powerheads, Aeration & Light/Lighting:.
  • About Livestock: Regional Accounts:, Collection, Selection:, Stocking:, Disease Prevention: Dips/Baths, Acclimation, Quarantine, Behavior:, Territoriality:, Reproduction:
  • Non-Vertebrate Sea Life Identification, & Microbes, Algae, Plants, Live Rock & Sand, Sponges: Hitchhikers, IDs, Marine Microbes, Plankton, Live Rock & Sand, Marine Algae, Marine Plants, Sponges, phylum Porifera,
  • Cnidarians I. Corals to Hobbyists, Stinging-Celled Animals 1: Cnidarians Overall; Hydrozoans: Jellies, Hydroids, Anthozoans; Octocorals: Organ Pipe, Blue Coral, Star Polyps, Sea Fans, Sea Pens and Soft Corals
  • Cnidarians II. Corals to Hobbyists, Stinging-Celled Animals 2: Anthozoans; Hexacorals: Mushrooms, Zoanthids, Anemones, Stony Corals, Tube Anemones, Black Corals
  • Higher Invertebrate Life: Bryozoans, Worms of all kinds, Mollusks (Snails, Nudibranchs, Octopodes), Crustaceans (Crabs, Shrimp, Lobsters...), Echinoderms (Urchins, Sea Cucumbers, Seastars, Brittlestars...), Sea Squirts,
  • Fishes, Index 1: Sharks, Rays, Skates; Marine Eels; Marine Catfishes; Squirrelfishes, Soldierfishes, Lionfishes, Stonefishes, Gurnards, Sculpins; Anglerfishes, Seahorses & Pipefishes, Blennioid & Gobioid Fishes, Mandarins, Clingfishes, Wrasses and Parrotfishes,
  • Fishes, Index 2: Butterflyfishes, Cardinalfishes, Grammas, Grunts, Sweetlips, Snappers, Goatfishes, Jawfishes, Big-Eyes, Basses, Anthias, Dottybacks, Roundheads, Soapfishes, Damselfishes, Clownfishes, Monos, Hawkfishes, Croakers, Emperors, Threadfins, Sandperches, Miscellaneous Percoids,
  • 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,
  • Maintenance/Operation: General Maintenance, Vacations, Moving, Water Quality: Tests/Testing, Aquarium Repairs, Biominerals, Supplementation, Marine Scavengers, Algae ID & Control, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition,
  • Diseases: Identification, Avoidance, Causes, Organisms, Treatments & Pests: Acclimation, Quarantine, Dips/Baths; Disease: Prevention, Identification, Treatment, Pests/Control, Aquariums and Human Health, Chemicals of Use/Dis- and Mis-use, Pest Flatworm/Anemones/Worms... & Their Control,
  • Marine Topics: Media Reviews:, Books:, References, Sources, Writing, Diving, Travel Adventure, Photography, Videography, Sources of Mortality on the Worlds Reefs, Schooling, Public Aquariums,

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