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Chaetodon reticulatus Cuvier 1831, the Reticulated Butterflyfish.
Nice looking, and "friendly" underwater toward divers, but dismal
survival records in captivity for this coral polyp eater. Found commonly
in central and western Pacific. To six inches total length. A 2.5" one
in French Polynesia 2018. |
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Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Wilberth Gamboa, Earl Clay
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Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Lynn Zurik, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Re: Disease Identification
Thank you for your input! I did prepare the fin clipping as a wet mount, so the
photos are taken with water supporting the body mucus blob.
It dried up within about 20mins of taking the photos and the blob shriveled to
about a quarter of its original size. The fish hasn’t shown any more of them, so
I’m unable to take another sample for you so far. I’ll send more photos of the
issue resurfaces. Thanks again!
<Thank you. B>
Can you tell me what the yellow Lacy looking area is?
<A boring sponge of some sort Tracy... drilling into the coral. BobF>
Re: I need to understand Biofilm 5/20/18
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Columbian tetra with fin rot from nipping
Hi Neale and Bob,
You helped me save a zebra Danio who was badly injured from a bullying
situation. He has healed beautifully and your suggestions on rearranging the
tank and reintroducing the Danios solved the bullying problem.
<Well, that's a good outcome!>
One of my Columbian tetras appears to be the victim of fin nipping with
accompanying fin rot now setting in. There are two spots visible (see photo).
This school usually gets along great although they do chase one another on
<This species is prone to that. Bigger groups usually help fix the problem. In
any event, medicate as per Finrot.>
I do weekly water changes of 20%. Water parameters are as follows: Zero for
ammonia and nitrite. Nitrates around 20 ppm, gH at 7-8°, temp around 76°F, pH
6.8. I run a canister filter with biomedia that includes matrix and chemical
filtration is Chemipure green. I also run a sponge filter rated for 20 gallons
which is connected to a battery backup air pump (we have frequent power outages
where I live).
Other tank inhabitants are a school of orange laser Corydoras and MTS (substrate
is sand) and Nerite snails. Tank is a 20 gallon planted. I have upped my water
changes to 10% every 3 days since I discovered the fin rot. It does not appear
to be getting worse and the tetra is active and eating but I don't want it to
progress further. I can't use aquarium salt because of the Corys.
<Who told you that? Low salt doses, i.e., 2 g per litre, for treating Whitespot
for example, will do them less harm/cause less stress than traditional
medications using copper or formalin. To be clear, catfish aren't "allergic" to
salt. That's a myth. A lot of salt in the water will cause osmoregulatory
stress, but trivial salt doses are perfectly safe, even with soft water
specialists like Cardinals, let alone Corydoras.>
I do have SeaChem Paraguard on hand that I used to treat my Betta who had fin
rot when I purchased him. Do you think its advisable to treat the tetra in the
tank with Paraguard?
I can relocate the Nerites and the larger MTS who are active at night and
visible on the substrate. MTS are expensive here and only available online so I
would prefer not to kill them off.
<Understood. While Melanoides snails usually handle medications just fine, you
could dump a few in a loosely covered food container with a bit of water and
leave them out of the tank while medicating. They need little care and will go
dormant when cool. The Nerites perhaps a bit more a gamble, being more sensitive
I can also transfer the tetra to a small hospital tank.
<Perhaps put the snails here?>
I had ordered Kanaplex with the intention of adding it to food with their binder
Focus, but I was sent the wrong product so it will be about 5 days until the
Kanaplex arrives. The Kanaplex was my backup plan if the water changes didn't
help. What is the safest course of action in your expert opinion?
<Any medication for Finrot should be fine here. This fish looks in robust
health, and really all you want to do is help knock back the bacteria a bit so
it's own immune system can kick in.>
Thanks for your help (again).
I'm moving everyone to a 50 gallon planted tank that has just finished cycling
once it was settled in and aged a bit. Hopefully that will solve the territorial
<Understood. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Columbian tetra with fin rot from nipping
I am happy to learn that corys can tolerate salt if I ever have to use it in my
<To be clear, as a short-term treatment for Whitespot and Velvet at low doses (2
g/l, for a few days or a couple of weeks). Perfectly safe used that way. But I
would not be adding salt as a regular addition to any community tank containing
relatively soft water fish, whether Corydoras, tetras or anything else from the
Another myth busted.
<It would seem so!>
I went ahead and removed my snails and I'm treating with Paraguard. I will
definitely follow your advice and increase my school of tetras once I've
relocated them to the 50 gallon.
Thanks again for your help.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Puffer Fish/Tank Question 5/19/18
Thank you so kindly Neale for taking the time to reply to my query. I do have a
couple of additional questions now.
How many 90% water changes should I do?
<Diminishing returns after a while. But 3-4 should be ample. Only a tiny
fraction of 'old' water will be left by then.>
And I'm guessing that after I'm done those, then I should do the CupriSorb?
<Actually, the CupriSorb is more about copper being leached out of objects (such
as rocks) in the tank. Plain vanilla water changes will dilute the copper in the
water, but anything chemically bound with, for example, calcareous rocks will
slowly leach out when the concentration drops in the water. What you want is the
CupriSorb to soak up that copper before it has a chance to harm your fish.>
And how long after all of that should I wait before adding aquatic life?
<Certainly after your water changes, but alongside the CupriSorb should be fine.
If you leave the tank empty for longer, that runs the risk of the biological
filter dying back in the absence of ammonia for the bacteria to use up. Besides
the CupriSorb, be sure to use a water conditioner that neutralises copper (and
heavy metals generally).>
Also, for future references, what is a good "medicine" for puffers with fungal
<I've used eSHa 2000 with my puffers several times, seemingly without problems.
Methylene Blue is the classic anti-Fungus, and considered safe enough it's
widely used with fish eggs and fry. It's debatable whether it's safe with
Puffers (some aquarists have reported problems, but by no means all) so if you
opted to go the Meth Blue route, you'd want to keep a very close eye on your
fish, perhaps even half-dosing, and certainly upping aeration during the
I haven't had any for years until the Suvattii got it, and while I've always had
good results with the Pima and Melafix .... I respect and trust your experience,
so would definitely try anything you think would work better.
<I'm open minded to both having some utility as preventatives, helping damaged
fish resist infections via their own immune systems. They might also help
against minor infections; certainly tea-tree oil has fairly
well-established antimicrobial properties. But I personally doubt whether either
is a reliable heavy-duty treatment comparable to the classic medications once a
fish is really sick and weak.>
Again, thank you ever so much for taking the time to help me here.
<Glad to help.>
I really didn't know who to turn to, as I don't trust internet information much
<When it comes to puffers, ThePufferForum is a good place to visit. Those guys
are very serious and have lots of experience. There's at least a couple of folks
there who're WetWebMedia 'alumni', so there's that, too!>
Oh, and how do you feel about using Koi clay in puffer tanks? Yeah or Nay?
<Probably not that big of a deal either way. Koi, like Goldfish, appreciate hard
water with an alkaline pH. So definitely, there's mileage in adding minerals to
soft water conditions. We don't really understand how fish absorb 'nutrient'
minerals from the water they're swimming in, but that may be just as important
as the way minerals affect pH and hardness. But (freshwater) pufferfish from
Southeast Asia aren't typically coming from heavily mineralised environments, so
I can't see Koi Clay doing anything special.>
It was something suggested to me, but I really know nothing about using such a
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Puffer Fish/Tank Question (RMF, anything to add re: fungus on puffers AND
Koi clay?)<<Ah, no. B>> 5/19/18
A big "Thank you" to WetWebMedia and Neale Monks for helping me. Excellent
advice and very much appreciated.
<You're most welcome! Neale.>
Re: Goodeids 5/19/18
<Hello again Lance,>
I'm sorry i wasn't more specific. I have already spoke to Greg Sage and
he explained to me the tank conditions needed to maintain and breed the
species and he told me that the GWG (Goodeid Working Group) is mainly a
database for Goodeids and really doesn't do much in regards to actual
On top of what Greg told me I learned about Species like Zoogoneticus
tequila, Ameca splendens, and Characodon laterais. what i need to know
is the higher taxonomy of split fins up to order and family.
<These three species all belong to the family Goodeidae, which is in
turn part of the order Cyprinodontiformes, alongside a number of other
families including the Poeciliidae (i.e., Guppies, Mollies, etc.)
Aplocheilidae (i.e., the southern hemisphere killifish), and the
Cyprinodontidae (i.e., the north American Pupfish). Most of these fish
are small, freshwater species adapted for life in shallow streams,
ponds, and so on. Broadly, these are the fish we call livebearers and
killifish, so obviously some families lay eggs while others give birth
to baby fish. Nonetheless, there are some half dozen killifish families,
and at least three livebearer families, so it's a complicated picture.
Do look at the Wikipedia page on
Cyprinodontiformes for more.>
I also have not seen anything about Goodeid conservation so anything you
can tell me about it would help, like what are the specific trouble of
introducing a species to the wild or if there are groups working on the
problem and how they are going about it.
<If you do some research on Ameca splendens, for example on
ResearchGate.net, you'll come across papers such as "Captive breeding
promotes aggression in an endangered Mexican fish" and "Aggression in
captivity and the implication for interspecific aggression between once
sympatric species of Mexican Goodeid". In short, the idea is that in
captivity fish get better quality food, so can get away with spending
less time foraging and more time fighting. Over the generations,
aggressive males are favoured because there's no cost to being
aggressive, but a positive benefit with regard to passing on your genes
more often. In the wild this wouldn't happen -- overly aggressive males
would likely starve because they don't forage for long enough to stay
alive. Anyway, over 30-40 years, this seems to have happened with Ameca
splendens, which is much more aggressive than it was in the wild when
first collected. So if we just dumped captive fish in Mexican rivers,
they'd either end up starving to death, or more likely, they would be so
aggressive they'd harm other wild fish that they're living alongside.
We've also got the problem of reduced genetic diversity. Aquarists tend
to favour certain genes, whether deliberately (e.g., nicer colours) or
subconsciously (e.g., fish that mature and breed younger produce more
fry over their lifetimes, which often means the adult size of the
species ends up smaller after several generations). Reduced genetic
diversity makes a species less adaptable to changing environments,
reducing the chances of long-term survival. Make sense? Cheers, Neale.>
Disease Identification with Photos
Hello Bob and crew!
<Bri! Please re-size and re-send your msg.s WITH MUCH SMALLER files... you've
crashed our mail server. Kbytes, not Mbytes. Thx. Bob Fenner>
Disease Identification 5/19/18
Hello Bob and crew!
It's been years since I've emailed you! I love using your site as a resource. I
have a purple tang going through tank transfer (1.5 weeks so far) with recurring
white spots. There were no spots for a week, but
yesterday a few appeared again. When I first got the fish, the original spots
were concentrated on the ventral side, with only a couple on the rest of the
body. There were maybe ten total. Fish breathing rate was (and continues to be)
normal. Coloration is good. Appetite is fine. There were no spots for a week,
but overnight a few showed up. There were only five spots on the fish this time,
all concentrated on the left pectoral fin. I decided to clip a section of the
fin and take a look under the microscope.
Attached are photos taken at 10x magnification. I'll try to attach a video as
<Please post the video elsewhere; perhaps YouTube, and send the link to it
instead. We have limited mail server space>
Any thoughts on what this may be?
<From the size... looks too big to be protozoal... Perhaps just accumulation of
body mucus... Happens>
Note in the videos that all movement is created by me changing the focus so you
can see the whole cyst.
The organism was not moving at all and I did not see any cilia or flagella.
<Me neither... is this a dry prep.? That is, was there a slide cover over this
specimen with water around it, supporting it?>
However, I just started treating with Seachem Paraguard 12 hrs before taking the
sample, so maybe these parasites are dead?
<Mmm; maybe, but, could be as stated>
Or eggs of gill/body flukes perhaps?
<Not eggs... would be off the fish's body>
The fish has been treated with PraziPro, but only one round for 2 days. That was
a week ago.
Thank you for sharing your ideas! I'd like to get more specific with my
treatment protocol and your advice is much appreciated!
<Do try removing the blobs from the spines, scales, put under a cover slip with
a drop of water, and re-shoot and send. Thank you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Disease Identification with Photos 5/19/18
Oops! Sorry! I reformatted/resent the photos, but the video is only 3 seconds
and I can't get it condensed to less than 1.8MB. Hopefully the pictures are
enough for identification purposes! I thought that the
parasite might be Amyloodinium, but it's way too big!
<Yes; too big for any fish parasite I'm aware of>
The photos are only magnified 10x. Then I thought it might be the beginnings of
Lymphocystis from stress?
<Nah; not likely>
It isn't pear shaped like the photos of Cryptocaryon on WetWebMedia, so I'm
guessing not that.
Sick discus need help 5/19/18
Hey ! My discus fish is not eating since 3days after the death of his
tank mate and today he has clamped its fin.....and is in stress
<Yes, probably is stressed. May well be suffering from whatever killed
the other Discus in your tank. Review the conditions in the aquarium. To
recap, Discus need a large tank (for a pair, probably over 150 litres/40
US gallons) and certainly need good quality water with the right water
chemistry. In other words, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and a nitrate level
below 20 mg/l. Water chemistry should be relatively soft for farmed
Discus: 1-12 degrees dH, pH 6-7.5. Wild-caught Discus are more fussy,
and must have very
soft water, more like 1-5 degrees dH, pH 6-6.5. Water temperature should
be relatively high, 28-30 degrees C. Discus are omnivorous in the wild,
and need a varied diet in captivity. They are prone to Hexamita and
Hole-in-the-Head diseases though, both of which are more likely if they
are given monotonous, low-vitamin diets lacking fresh greens; cooked
peas, for example, are usually eaten by hungry Discus without too much
fuss. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: I need to understand Biofilm
I'm sorry, I should have been specific - the supplier lists this
fish as Stiphodon ornatus. Or is that a subspecies o
Rhinogobius spp (the Internet doesn't reference beyond Stiphodon)?
<Not heard of Stiphodon ornatus as "White Cheek Goby", but it is sold as
the "Rainbow Goby". All Stiphodon are Hillstream specialists native to
coastal streams and offshore islands around the Indo Pacific region,
used to cool, clean water with plenty of oxygen. While freshwater fish
as adults, they have a marine stage as juveniles, which means they're
difficult to breed in captivity. Most, if not all, are wild-caught.
Together these facts mean they're relatively demanding fish. They do
poorly in the average community tank, but will thrive in a steam setting
alongside midwater fish (such as Danios or White Cloud Mountain Minnows)
that aren't competing for food. Avoid mixing with benthic fish such as
loaches that tend to cause problems either by stealing food or else
becoming territorial and harming the gobies. Diet isn't a major issue
provided the tank is sufficiently brightly lit there's a decent amount
of green algae growing.
Together with green algae, they'll happily take the sorts of frozen
foods offered to marine grazers (such as tangs and angelfish) that
include Spirulina algae alongside, for example, brine shrimp. They may
take algae wafers and Spirulina flake as well. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: long term. SW Protozoan... 750
Ahh. That’s a good idea. I didn’t think about using some of the display water in
the QT system. So if I am understanding you, with a low exposure they can build
an immunity to it?
<Yes; there is such a phenomena as acquired immunity here>
I did end up putting a 30 gallon hospital tank together and added copper.
Unfortunately like I said I can’t get any of them trapped. But I guess that for
new additions it’s in place now.
Would it be counter productive to add copper AND diseased tank water to the QT
tank with any new additions? The answer seems like an obvious “yes” to me but
maybe I’m missing something?
<... I would, in order: 1) NOT treat the new fish if possible, to allow
them time to adjust to collection, transport, handling. 2) A few weeks later,
consider treating; perhaps not with copper compounds as these are debilitating;
perhaps too much so. 3) A few weeks later, start adding, mixing water. PLEASE
read where I've referred you>
Re: long term 5/18/18
Thanks again Bob. I appreciate the time and patience.
<Welcome John. Oh how I wish at times for something like the "Vulcan mind-meld".
Puffer Fish/Tank Question
Hello WetWebMedia People,
I've emailed you in the past and have always been pleased with the
knowledge you have, so you're my last stop. I've asked some different
puffer groups and no one seems to be able to help, or want to help (I'm
Anyway, here's my issue. I kept a Suvattii puffer in a
30-gallon tank for 3 years. Then in late March I found that he'd
developed some fungus on his body and near his mouth (but I don't think
it was exclusively mouth fungus, which I know can be different). Anyway,
when I've had issues with fungus
in the past, I've used Melafix and/or Pimafix and always had good
<Unreliable medications, at best. I fear they were a poor choice of
I'm wary of using chemicals on my puffers, especially as that particular
tank is planted with live plants. Anyway, after a few days, my Suvattii
puffer died, the fungus had penetrated too far, and I'd caught it too
late I'm guessing.
<See above. The pufferfish sensitivity thing is a bit overstated. While
formalin and copper may well be toxic to them (indeed, they're pretty
hard on most fish) antibiotics and many organic dyes work just fine.>
Well, I bought a couple of crabs and since I didn't want to move them
into a planted tank, knowing that most crabs will shred plants. So I
moved my Abei puffer into the tank the Suvattii had been in, and moved
the crabs where the Abei had been.
The Abei was in that tank from about the 28th of March until yesterday.
I'd seen on Tuesday that the Abei had developed very small dots of
fungus (I'm sure it wasn't Whitespot) and so I started the
Pimafix/Melafix treatment. But yesterday I went to dose the tank and the
Abei had passed away. Now, I did find some uneaten food mixed in with
the plants, I know that isn't good, but what I don't get is that I have
a tank or two that, if it were down to not keeping up with water changes
and having issues, I would think it would be these other tanks, not this
particular tank that has problems. However, something is obviously up
with this tank since I've now had two of my puffer fish get fungus and
both die on me. I cannot figure out what the exact problem is. I've been
keeping puffer fish for at
least 11 years, and have about 9 different species at the moment with no
problems with any of the others. It's something with this tank.
<Possibly. There's certainly an argument for giving the tank a big
Flushing out the tank (i.e., do several 90% water changes) would be
helpful. You should also refresh the filter. Save biological media, but
chuck out any carbon, and if you can, use a high-end chemical adsorbent
like CupriSorb (to remove any traces of copper) as well as fresh carbon
(to remove any unwanted organic chemicals) should ensure good conditions
in the tank. The plants won't appreciate the substrate being dug-up, but
certainly rake over the top a bit, removing any organic muck. Basically,
keep the filter running, but give the tank a really deep clean. The
filter bacteria will need something to 'eat' of course, so a pinch of
flake every day should take care of that.>
So, here I am with a nice big planted tank ... that clearly has some
I don't want to put any other living thing in there until I know what's
going on OR how to sanitize the tank so that it won't hurt any other
fish or aquatic living thing.
<You can't sterilise an aquarium with plants and a filter.>
I am hoping you can help me out here. I'd really like to stay away from
anything that may kill the live plants in the tank because I started out
with just a couple plants to now having quite a few plants and it
looking very nice.
Just to say, when the first puffer got fungus I did check the
temperature of the tank, which was a bit high, so I adjusted the
thermometer and now it's where it should be. I clean the tank at regular
intervals and it's got a good powerful filter in there. The only thing
of course was finding uneaten food among the plants (each time with both
puffers). Also, and I'm not sure this matters, but that tank gets a fair
amount of light from a window, though not enough to produce algae, so
not sure if that matters or not.
<It can do. Direct sunlight will elevate temperature dramatically
(lowering oxygen concentration) so that needs to be considered. Algal
blooms are a common problem with direct sunlight as well, but this is
less of an issue provided the algae is healthy and removed periodically.
What you don't want is pea-soup water or clumps of blue-green algae.>
I'm really hoping you can help me with this. That tank is a nice size
and while I have 13 other tanks, they are all happily occupied and I'd
like to keep this tank and be able to use it. But I don't want to put
anything in there until I can figure out what the issue is, because I
don't want to kill any more fish, especially my puffer fish.
Hoping you can help.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
11 year old Female Red Eared Slider Turtle
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have an 11 year old female red eared slider turtle and I let her roam
around my house sometimes for an hour or so.
Well I just noticed that
1. She will literally climb out of her tank.
2. She will sit down on my floor and push her butt in the air and lay
her head down and act like
she's swimming with her front paws.
Can someone explain to me what's going on?
<Yep - She's being a dork>
<She really shouldn't be able to climb out of her tank. Too many dangers
there. Make sure she can't do that>
<I see that behavior once in a great while. On a textured floor like
carpet, I always assumed it was an attempt to dig -- since that's
exactly the position a female takes when starting to dig a nest. On a
surface, something they don't encounter in the wild, I think they may be
trying to swim through it.>
<Either way, it's not an illness>
Re: Goldflake angel white stringy poop
Just an update. I've sent the fish poop for microscopic test and the photos are
attached as below.
<Mmm; can make out the copepods, not the single celled (circled) life>
I was only told that the protozoa are jumping actively. Currently I've re
commenced to dose with Metronidazole and Praziquantel. By looking at the
pictures, am I going the right direction with dosing with Metronidazole or more
should be done? Thank you and much appreciated.
<Need more resolution... clearer, more close up, resolved pix. Bob Fenner>
I need to understand Biofilm
I think I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I was turning my 55
gallon tank into an "Eel Tank." That's done and the eels (Macrognathus
pancalus according to the supplier) are doing well. I don't know if its
because they are the only fish in the tank or if this is consistent with
this species, but they are rarely under the sand (only when I do "scary"
things like water changes - and sometimes not even then).
<Indeed; and floating plants even encourage them to hang out at the
surface. Spiny Eels do vary in temperament of course, but when care for
properly, they're not especially shy.>
They are constantly swimming around the tank and are a lot of fun. And I
don't want that to change, but I need something in that tank to eat
<I would stick with invertebrates, perhaps Nerites. Something that won't
compete for food, at least.>
The tank is older and has some scratches which seems to accumulate algae
that spreads out from there. But I don't want to put in an algae eater
for fear of it frightening the eels and driving them permanently under
<Agreed, and again, Nerites are great at keeping glass and things like
rocks clean. They're less good for clearing plants.>
So I've been doing some research and came across a fish called a
"Rainbow Goby" aka "White Cheek Goby" (my aquarium store has one and
they're "holding" it for me until I make my decision).
<This is Rhinogobius duospilus, a temperate to subtropical species from
China. Not really suitable for tropical tanks. More a mountain stream
I read that this fish feeds on "biofilm" and my research on biofilm
defines it as "...a thin film on the surface of aquarium water, caused
by the build up of protein from organic waste material. It is the
structure bacteria build to support themselves growing on the surface
where they get access to oxygen and the material...". Is this the type
of biofilm this fish feeds on?
<Possibly. They're easily fed with bloodworms and the like, and aren't
at all fussy. Most failures will come from overheating them.>
Does this fish feed at the surface?
Because the filter on this tank produces a moderate current and I don't
see how the fish will be able to eat in that current when it only gets 2
<Oh, gobies are fantastically well adapted to living in strong water
Will the tank ornaments and/or the sides off the tank accumulate enough
off this biofilm for this fish to feed on? The Internet says this fish
will "sometimes" accept bloodworms and such, but if I need to provide it
with biofilm that's what I want to do. I don't want to get this fish and
watch it starve to death so any information you can provide will be, as
always, greatly appreciated.
<In this instance, biofilm probably means the same thing as 'aufwuchs',
the combination of green algae and tiny invertebrates that develops on
rocks in fast-flowing habitats such as mountain streams and rocky reefs.
A combination of algae wafers, brine shrimps, bloodworms, and so on will
satisfy Rhinogobius spp., and my specimens were really rather greedy!
Re: Betta Breathing Hard 5/17/18
Hi again, I tested his water and couldn't believe it had .25ppm of
That's the second time in 2.5 months that I lost my cycle. I did a 75% water
change and added the Tetra Safe Start and 24 hours later, no more ammonia. Last
week I did four water changes on my 10gal tank.
<So much change can disrupt nitrification. Hence my urging folks to pre-mix,
store change out water ahead (a week) of use>
He's still breathing harder since Saturday, but swimming and eating normally. In
addition, the bottom of his beard is always sticking out.
There is salt in his tank. Not sure if I can do anything else?
I had been changing the water so much due to the debris as I hadn't gotten the
sand cleaning down pat.
<I encourage you to consider switching this sand out for larger grade... gravel>
Also he has some splitting on his fins. This morning I noticed another small
missing piece. I turned the filter back down. I read to do many water changes to
improve this, but I can't if I keep losing my cycle.
<Changing the water out is not a viable solution.... You need a steady bacterial
population... in filter media, gravel....>
I'm not even sure if it's rotting or just splitting. It doesn't look red, black,
melting or infected but it's not healing. There's more and more splitting and
tears here and there.
<.... the issue here is too much water change, ammonia>
I thought about putting him in a small tank and doing daily water changes. I did
that with another Betta in the past and It worked. But that seems drastic and I
know he won't like it, but at what point do I make
<Perhaps reading a few hundred responses on WWM re Betta splendens;
Plus I did that with 1tsp of salt per gallon. I'm not sure how often that is
safe to do. I've had salt in his tank since Sunday.
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Undiagnosed disease. 5/17/18
Hello crew, i hope you are doing well, as always.
With the coming of winter, and slightly colder temperatures, i started using
heaters in my tanks. (it was getting below 22 C).
One day i woke up to a Columbian tetra caught between the heater and the glass.
I dislodged him and he went onto normal, except that he had an horrible vertical
searing wound. It looked pretty horrible. I observed the fish for the following
days and he looked to be healing pretty well. When everything looked good, he
developed white, round growths on his wounds. It started slow, and i tried to
net him many times out, but netting him out of a 150 gallon heavily planted tank
is... hard. I decided to just keep on water changes daily and keep clean
The growths disappeared, and he seemed to heal completely. a week after the
growths came back more aggressively, but still advancing slowly. Maybe a new
growth every 2 days or so. I finally netted him out and put him on quarantine. I
am concerned between three different ailments which are listed on your website:
Lymphocystis, fungus or Columnaris.
<It doesn't look like Lymphocystis from the photographs of the Mollies and the
Siamese Algae Eater. Conceivably Whitespot, but more likely Fungus, Columnaris,
or perhaps Costia.>
i treated him with tetracycline and Methylene blue (correct me if im wrong, this
has formalin right?).
<Formalin may be an ingredient in commercial medications, but these two
chemicals are specific things, and in themselves, not formalin.>
Not sure if the treatment worked, as it jumped out overnight...
Fast forwarding a couple days, both fish pictures, a black molly and a SAE,
developed the same growths. They don't have any wounds, they just started
developing the growths. It seemed as first that single scales were popping out,
then in the place of the pooped out scale appeared the growths. Some growths
have disappeared, but they have left red open wounds.
I have the molly in a 5 gal and treated with tetracycline, Methylene blue.
<Methylene Blue is effective against fungal infections, but will have little/no
impact on Costia or Columnaris (also known as Mouth Fungus). Fungal infections
often set in alongside other types of disease, which can be why Methylene Blue
seems to help a bit, even where the actual problem is a protozoan or bacterium
It seems to be working, albeit slowly. I am keeping on water changes on both the
main tank and the quarantine, but what do you think is a correct diagnose?
<See above. Costia is typically associated with off-white to grey smears (hence
'Slime Disease') and can develop extremely rapidly. It usually respond best to
anti-Whitespot medications, albeit slowly enough 2-3 rounds of treatment may be
required. Columnaris (or Mouth Fungus) is bacterial in nature, so antibiotics
are ideal, but failing that, some type of antibacterial medication used for
external infections such as Finrot. I'd perhaps be looking at something like
eSHa 2000 in the first instance, as it's fairly broad acting, dealing with a
range of external bacteria and fungal infections. It also works well (and
safely) alongside eSHa EXIT, which is a very good against external Protozoans.
Since both these medications are cheap and widely sold, they're my favoured
combination for use against difficult to identify, though obviously external,
I went out and bought an API medicine that is supposedly for fungus. It is
Victoria green (malachite green?) and Acriflavine. I can get Acriflavine
separately for cheaper. Should i add, this sickness doesn't seem to be stressing
them, they are eating normally, even the Columbian was doing so, even when
heavily infested, it is developing, albeit very slowly.
I will be waiting input, so far no other fish have developed the growths, but it
has shown it doesn't need an open wound to do so.
As always, thanks, WWM.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
long term. Infested SW systems
Hey Bob, good morning.
This question is regarding marine velvet. My 750 got
infected with it a few weeks back and devastated my fish population.
<I def. recall>
I have about 10 out of 30 remaining. About 1/2 of the remaining fish
must be immune because they haven’t shown any symptoms. The other half
are touch and go.
I’ve tried to trap them with no success and with thousands in corals I
can’t treat the tank. The question is this. If some of these fish pull
through and clear the infection, will I ever be able to add new fish to
the system or will the parasite always be present even on the healthy
<I hinted re this before... You will need, be best served to select more
resistant species (not Powder Blue, Brown Tangs e.g.) from better source
countries, AND harden them ahead of introduction. The short version of
this last involves isolation/quarantine to assure initial health, AND a
bit of acquired immunity imbued by slowly introducing water from the
main/display into the new arrival tank. Some folks might suggest
prophylactic treatment/s as well. The reality is that nearly all captive
systems are infested w/ parasite fauna of various mix; with the other
two "factors that determine livestock health" acting as more drivers of
As always, thank you.
<Please read here re:
Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Mysterious nail 5/16/18
I was searching the web trying to identify some mysterious nails in my
freshwater nano tank. And I came across a photo of the snail I’m trying to
identify and it was tagged with your website on it. Could you guys take a look
at this and maybe tell me what kind of snail I have in
my tank and whether or not it’s beneficial or not?
<Physa... your reading on WWM, elsewhere>
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Re: Mysterious nail 5/16/18
Thank you very much.
<Certainly welcome Martin. BobF>
Re: Request for an article. 5/16/18
Thank you again.
<Thank you Anupam. B>
Re: Goodeids 5/16/18
hi, I'm very sorry about the late reply. I'm doing a project on the
conservation of endangered Goodeids and i was wondering what you might
know about how to conserve a species (specifically freshwater live
<What have you found out so far? For sure I'd be happy to add some
comments, though from the perspective of the aquarist. Yes, there are
species that exist only (or at least mainly) in captivity such as Ameca
splendens. But there are issues about simply releasing these tank-bred
specimens into the wild that we can talk about in detail later.
Conversely, livebearers introduced outside of their natural range can
cause headaches for those trying to conserve other species of fish.
Mosquitofish are well known (and well studied) in this regard. So
anyway, if you tell me what you've found out about so far, I can throw
in some extra details. In the meantime, Wikipedia is a good starting
point, but the IUCN website is
probably a better resource. Fishbase another good starting point. All of
these will provide online/print media links that you will find useful.>
also if you know anything about their taxonomy that would be helpful as
<Again, yes, I know a fair bit about their taxonomy. But I'm hesitant to
simply write it all down for you without establishing what you've
already learned thus far. Wouldn't want to waste each other's time. So
where are you at in this regard? To what extent have you pinned down the
families, genera or species you wish to review? Do bear in mind
freshwater livebearers range from Poeciliidae and Goodeidae through to
things like Halfbeaks and Stingrays, so there's a lot of diversity
within this grouping. Furthermore, sub-species level taxonomy can be
complex, with numerous subspecies, geographical races, even simple
polymorphism evident (see Micropoecilia parae as a good example).
Conserving a species often ends up more difficult that simply conserving
the species generally, but ensuring each distinct population is
conserved, and gene flow between them minimised. Hope this helps,
Re: green spotted puffer help! Now Topaz puffers
Whilst still deciding whether to add the figure 8’s. I’ve found a pair of Topaz
puffers. I understand these are v similar to the green spotted and therefore may
do better with my GSPs?
<Yes; virtually identical in terms of size, behaviour, diet, etc. Taxonomically,
real scientists consider the two species almost impossible to separate by looks
alone, hence their reliance on DNA markers instead. Hobbyists are a little more
confident, but you'll find some specimens on sale with markings that might be
suggest either species, so there probably is some patterning and colouration
overlap between them we don't always take into consideration.>
Do you know much about their aggression level?
<Variable, much like GSPs. Some specimens fairly easy going, others more snappy.
The average specimen is probably a bit more aggressive than the average GSP, but
there's not a huge amount in it.>
The ones I have found are c 4-5inches vs. the GSP’s that are currently around 2
inches. I assume this wouldn’t work due to size difference?
<It's worth a shot if you had some egg crate you could use as a divider if
things didn't work out. Depends a bit on the size of the tank too. In theory,
the two species will cohabit given space, though neither is what you'd call
I really like them so thought I’d email you on the off chance you know more
about them and can comment in compatibility and whether I can make it work. I am
aware various different species are called topaz so I have included a picture
below to help. As you can see they look awesome :-) but don’t want to buy them
if they’ll likely demolish my GSPs!
<Definitely photos of what the hobby calls the Topaz Puffer, Tetraodon
fluviatilis, yes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: green spotted puffer help! 5/16/18
It’s a 120 litre but I plan to upgrade in the next year or so - would that be
too small and asking for problems or Ok to try?
<I'd not be keeping a 4-inch/10-cm pufferfish in a 120 litre tank, unless
perhaps if it was one of the inactive 'lurker' species. 120 litres/25 gallons
isn't a huge volume of water, and while it's fine for one or more juveniles, by
the time you start adding near-adult specimens, water quality management is
going to become much more of a challenge. Egg crate or similar (e.g., tank
dividers sold for cichlids) are useful with aggressive fish if you can't be 100%
sure they'll cohabit. Approach with caution. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: green spotted puffer help! 5/16/18
Thanks Neale - I'll avoid them then for now ��
<Cool. Cheers, Neale.>
Betta Breathing Hard; dis., sys. f' 5/15/18
Good morning All!
Glad you're still here! It's been a couple of years since I had a fish.
I've had my Betta "Pety" since the end of March. I got him from Petco. He was
beautiful except for a little tattering on his tail. I figured clean water would
take care of that, but it's still there in additional to a
little more splitting from excessive flaring and playing in the filter I
believe. It took him a couple weeks to calm down. He was fighting his evil twin
quite a bit!
My set up is a lone Betta in a 10 gallon tank with filter and heater set to 80
degrees. Plastic plants that are all Betta friendly and a few Marino balls. I
had all Anubias but they got that disease so I pulled them out. My tank is fully
cycled. It cycles in two days always with Tetra Safe Start which I love. My
param.s are always 0/0/5-10. My ph is always high at 8 and I live in Southern
Cali and my water is very hard.
<Ah yes; I'm in San Diego; we call the tap "liquid rock"...>
I always wonder if I should do a 50/50 tap and distilled water.
<Mmm; I'd just use the tap for what you have here. Likely the hard, alkaline
water was a factor with your Anubias>
I read so many different opinions. Do you think it will make a difference? If so
I'd like to give him the best home.
<Well; would be better w/ a middling 7's pH... But, the troubles folks have with
such adjustments.... IF you're going the modification of pH route, DO such
changes with new water OUTSIDE the tank, SAVE it ahead of time for use (like a
This is the first time I've had sand substrate and I had a hard time learning to
get it clean. I watched so many YouTube videos, but for a while I had this
debris floating on top of the water with a little cloudiness. In addition there
was also debris in the water column that looked like clear straight lines about
1/4th inch. I'd do 50% water changes 2-3 times a week trying to clear it up to
no avail. I know it was not good for Pety to breath that in plus he had the
tattering on his fins.
Also I think he lost a fin ray before I got him too. See it dangling on the
<Mmm; not really. This fish looks good/great. Very healthy>
I finished treating him with Kanaplex in his food a couple weeks ago.
Nothing changed. Before that I tried salt for 10 days nothing changed.
Maybe my water quality wasn't good enough.
For about the last 1 1/2 weeks he's been breathing harder. I thought it was due
to all the floaties in the water. On Saturday, I finally kicked up the flow on
the filters. I have two mini internals with spray bars.
Pointed at the walls they make basically no current. I turned one up to the
water line. Said to myself Pety is going to have to get use to it.
It's still pretty tame though and he's doing ok. I finally tried a sand
vacuuming technique that worked for me.
I hold the vacuum at an angle and let the back end touch the sand and glide
across. It doesn't pick up any sand! And I got out the most poo ever.
Finally! I did a 75% water change. Right after, I tried this DIY technique from
the DIY King on YouTube. I cut out a 16oz plastic bottle and attached it to a
power head. Packed the plastic bottle with filter floss and ran it for 15
minutes. Finally my tank is clear!
However, I stressed out Pety. I cupped him and let him float in the tank to keep
him warm while I ran the power head. However he was freaking out and moving side
to side. So I took him out the tank and sat him on the counter and put a towel
over him to calm him down. The whole process was 15 min. Then I released him
back in the water. A little later I noticed he was breathing harder. This was on
Saturday. On Sunday he was still breathing hard. Still swimming around as usual
and eating, begging for
food etc. I then added 5 teaspoons of aquarium salt along with an air stone to
help with his gills. I wonder if the breathing problems started because of the
debris in the tank and escalated because of the stressful water change.
<What are your measures of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate? Temperature?>
This morning (Monday). He's still breathing hard. Looks like his gills are
sticking out a tad. Could he have Gill Flukes?
But he never flashes. I have PraziPro at home. I didn't want to just drop meds
in his tank, but I'm very concerned over his breathing. And I'm concerned about
his fins not healing, they are a little worse then the above pic now, but the
splitting is not progressing it's pretty much staying the same. Maybe it doesn't
heal because of the water quality.
<This IS the mostly likely cause>
Also I forgot to mention I keep Indian almond tannins in his tank and I've been
using Seachem Stress Guard for his fins, but again no improvement.
<These are fine to use>
Thanks for your help!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Restarting refugium 5/15/18
Thank you. One more question. How can I raise my phosphate? We already
over feed our fish, pellets 2x day, Rod’s at night. We also add nori. In
addition to the fish below we also have seven striped cardinals. I can
only find Neophos as a supplement, but there has to be a better way.
Some one said add more fish.
<You don't utilize a chemical filtrant? I'd add more fish then, and
food; rather than adding soluble phosphate directly. Bob Fenner>
Re: Restarting refugium 5/15/18
Nope, no chemical filtrants. Just skimming, ozone and carbon after the
<Oh, well skimming and ozone do their part in eliminated HPO4>
Now, what kind of fish can I have. I thought having a 300g would open
limitless possibilities, but with our coral diversity it is hard to
balance compatible fish. I would love a Heniochus, but they would eat my
Zoas and Acans like skittles. Other fish can be to/o aggressive. That
leaves me with Anthias. Let me know if you have other suggestions.
<? All sorts... Flasher, Fairy, Lined et al Wrasses, all Basses,
Cardinals.... see WWM re. B>
Request for an article. Re "exotic" BTAs
This is a request from just one amongst all the earthlings for an
article by the Veteran if & when he is pleased, to solve the eye
boggling mystery for the simple minded laymen behind the unrealistically
eye candy avatars of the much favoured Cnidarian (E. quadricolor)
emanating seemingly from some sorcery or discovery of some sort.
The following link shows one such specimen-
<Hey Anupam. If you're hinting that you'd like to see me/someone here on
WWM pen such, it won't be me. (Again) I don't know the origin of these
Entacmaea, but I fully suspect they're man-made (not natural)... Have
seen comments re "Rainbow" et al. Anemones since 2007 or so... "From
Until I see these "varieties" underwater myself or see reports by
credible people re...
Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions
I finally found where they were taking about the wild catching on here
and it was bob Fenner can you forward this convo onto him?
<I don't have any further useful input. BobF>
Restarting refugium 5/14/18
Hi. I hope you and your tanks are happy.
I have 2 problems, not a good thing
1: We had a ozone reactor over flow. We just had it dialed in wrong after some
changes. We had to make the difficult decision to move our sump and dry out
underneath it. We also needed to re-seal the drain pan, it wasn’t done as well
as it should have been. The actual question what is the best way to re-start the
refugium? Put all of the muck back in and suffer thru the mini cycle, or start
fresh and slowly build it up. I think our tank can sustain itself w/o a
<I'd rinse whatever hard substrate (rock, sand, gravel) to remove "muck",
replace all biota>
2. Dino’s are back. Not sure where the hell they came from.
<Cyclical... nutrient availability, lack of competitors, predators...>
We thought we had this battle won 3 months ago. I read that Chaeto is a favorite
place for them to hide out, true/false?
<False. Can "get in" many ways, including just the air>
If so I just won’t put back what we had in the refugium. We have other macro
algae in there. Just looking for 2 cents here, I think we have been thru
everything thing. We are greatly reducing the light cycle for 2 days, the slowly
ramping it back up
Details of tank
300g up for 1yr 3mo.
3 MP 40s in the tank
~200 lbs live rock
2.5 nitrate prior to removing sump/refugium
<Biomineralizing life needs some>
370 ORP. Best I can figure, the other ORP probe shows 320.
Mg was 1250 a week ago.
Sump Trigger Systems Ruby 36 elite
Big reef-octopus skimmer (I can’t remember model)
Apex with too many probes.
Geos Reef ozone reactor
Poseidon Ozone reactor
4x Radion Gen 3 Pros.
Our Acros are FINALLY starting to grow.
Got some killer stuff from WWC on their sales. The Jello Shot is too cool for
My big concern is that we got one of the Biota Mandarins last week. It is so
small!! We keep it in Marine Depot RF200 Acclimation/Quarantine box in the main
tank with some macro and the porous live rock. She is doing great and is eating
Other live stock: powder blue & yellow tang, ruby fin fairy wrasse, goby/pistol
pair , lots of snails.
The main question go buried above, What is the best way to restart the refugium.
Put all the old gunk back in at once, or slowly add new stuff over a period of
<Rinse out the gunk>
Thanks for your help and patience over the years of my addiction.
<Glad to share. Bob Fenner>
Re: Unusual BTAs/names 5/14/18
Thank you Mr. Fenner.
Acrylic tank HELP 5/13/18
I noticed some splotches on the used acrylic tank that I recently purchased. I'm
wondering if I should be concerned about them or not.
There are also some small visible Nick's that I can feel with my finger nail.
I'd really appreciate your help. Thank you so much for even having the FAQ.
<The "whited out spots" in the joint of the tank aren't problematical. Do keep
an eye on them over the years to make sure they don't grow; make up more than
half the joint. The vertical fracturing/crazing you are likely referring to as
noticeable w/ your finger nail is more concerning. IF you find yourself at a
time with the tank empty, dry, completely clean, I would solvent a piece of
doweling or cut piece/sheet of acrylic in this corner... the entire length of
the crazed side. Do you understand? Please read re on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Goodeids, gen. 5/12/18
I was wondering if there was anything else that you could tell me about
Goodeids, besides what is already on your site.
<What do you need to know? Which species are you interested in? There are a fair
number of species, and while the group is pretty consistent in some ways, there
is some variation among species. Cheers, Neale.>
cloudy 2 year established goldfish 30 gallon aquarium
I've had fancy goldfish and Orandas in a my aquarium for two years, all of a
sudden the water is staying cloudy and I lost one of my goldfish. The goldfish
had been swimming off and on upside down for 2 months or so and then one evening
I notice he was staying upside down more than upright and that his fins were
very ragged. I flushed him because he wasn't breathing very well either. Soooo I
checked the ammonia levels a couple of weeks ago and it was perfect, now its out
of the scale of high....its blue...... I've used Prime and did 1/3 water change,
changed the filter and put in ammonia chips with filter and still cloudy. today
I put ammo lock in.....WHAT DO I DO???Thanks, Donna
<Donna, let me have you do some reading first:
Cloudy water usually indicates either filtration problems or water chemistry
problems. If ammonia is high, that suggests the former.
Substantial, daily water changes will certainly help; and don't feed until the
tank has settled down. Zeolite (ammonia removing chips) can help in the short
term, but longer term, you need to figure out how the existing filter failed.
Often simply adding a second filter can help, especially if the tank was fine
when the fish were small, but now they're bigger, the tank has become more
difficult to maintain. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: cloudy 2 year established goldfish 30 gallon aquarium
thanks!!!! they are getting much bigger! second filter and water
changes......here I go!
<Ah, right, seems like you have a plan. Cheers, Neale.>
Carassius pop eye 5/12/18
Hello, I’m Maite, and I have a fish with a strange bubble in the eye, I search
everywhere to know what It is, but I didn't find anything. So I write to You, if
You know something about this. It is acting weird this days, it stays hidden
behind the filter, and the skin is getting whiter.
This is an image of my fish
<The eyes of fishes are highly vascularized... lots of blood vessels, flow
there. This fact is capitalized on in the "breeds" of goldfish with bulbous
eyes. Yours here may have suffered an injury, but I suspect it is just of poor
genetic stock. There is no sure cure for this condition... You might want to try
Epsom Salt (see WWM re).
If the fish doesn't cure... it will likely perish.
Adding Julidochromis to existing tank 5/12/18
I have an established tank (about 5 years old) with Neolamprologus
multifasciatus colony (total 9 fish). Do you think I can safely add pair or
maybe even single Julidochromis transcriptus or other similar Julies
species. Photo of my 20 hexagon tank is below.
<It is going to be dicey, to be honest Mark, but not impossible. Julies operate
strictly in terms of surface area, not depth. So they'll be expecting a certain
amount of real estate somewhere among the rocks. Your 20 gallon tank (assuming
that's what it is) will be taller rather than wide, which puts a premium on the
types of habitat the Julies will be after. Your little Neolamprologus work much
the same way, albeit favouring shells or burrows. If you can rearrange the tank
in such a way there are a nice mix of shells towards the bottom, and a raised
mountain of rocks up the back, say, where the Julies can make their territories,
you might be okay. You'd want one of the smaller Julie species of course, simply
of the size of the tank, and bear in mind all Tanganyikans are sensitive to
water quality issues, so you can't compromise in this regard. Of course both
kinds of fish are zooplankton feeders, so in that sense at least you shouldn't
have too many problems. Cheers, Neale.>
Black ghost knife fish, glass catfish, and neon tetras
Thank you for your website. It’s very informative.
<Hello Vicki, and thanks for the kind words. However, sending 20 MB of
attachments completely messed up our email box, which causes some people's
messages to be sent back to them as undeliverable. We do politely ask people
keep attachments down to a minimum size, around 500 kB for images, by resizing
them in a graphics application of their choice.>
I have queries about 3 fish species.
I have a BGK (see photos attached). Out of its anus this pink growth has
suddenly appeared (happened 4 days ago). At times what appears to be
faeces still is coming out so don’t think it’s a blockage. It’s behaviour
remains unchanged. It’s still appears happy and is swimming around and eating.
I’ve read on your website not to feed it blood worms (unsure why?). What else
can we feed it other than bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia? I have been
feeding it bloodworms and brine shrimp and it has also been eating vegetarian
food I put out for my bottom feeders (such as spinach, broccoli, carrot, shelled
peas, couchette, cucumber, and pellets) and flakes. I apologise for the grainy
photos but it is very difficult to get clear images from a fish tank.
<I'm not sure this is the anus of the fish. Looks a bit far forward. The anus
should be well past the gill covers, and close to the front of the anal fin. But
if it is what you say it is -- and you can see the fish better than me! --
then a prolapse may be the issue here. Various reasons for this, but
often internal protozoan parasites or worms at the cause. Medicating with
Metronidazole alongside a good antibiotic such as Nitrofuran would be my first
move. Deworming is worth a shot, for example with PraziPro. Sometimes prolapses
are triggered by dietary shortcomings, so review this aspect alongside
One of my glass catfish appears to have white spot? I’ve been
treating it with Melafix and Pimafix for 6 days and it remains unchanged.
Same with the neon tetras who have had continuous growths and damage to
their fins since we got them (8 weeks or so). We’ve been treating them with
Melafix and Pimafix in a hospital tank but they don’t seem to be getting better.
<These are both somewhere on a sale from unreliable to useless.>
We’ve even tried “tonic” a mixture of Methylene blue mixed with malachite green.
It didn’t work.
<Indeed not; neither of these is considered first-rate anti-Whitespot
medications. The old salt/heat method works well if this truly is Whitespot (2
gram salt/litre water, plus water temperature raised to 28 C) but many aquarists
simply prefer to use a commercial anti-Whitespot medication, such as eSHa EXIT.>
We have even tried feeding them with their flakes soaked in Seachem garlic
guard. We don’t want to keep treating our fish and would like these issues
<Again, nothing about garlic treats Whitespot.>
Other fish that live with the BKF and glass catfish are Plecos, Kuhli loaches,
black neons, clown loaches, chain loaches, striata loaches, varies Gourami,
female Betta, golden tetras, albino shark, bristle nose catfish, and Colchis
blue (I think they are called).
<No idea what that last fish might be! But in any case, Black Ghost Knifefish,
most catfish, and most loaches are very intolerant of copper and formalin, so
choose medications very carefully. The salt/heat treatment is safe with them, as
are Metronidazole and true antibiotics.>
We use RO DI water and all our parameters are perfect.
<I'd prefer the actual parameters over your interpretations, to be honest. But
providing you have fairly soft to middling water chemistry (1-12 degrees dH, pH
6.5-7.5) this mix of fish should be fine. I trust you are not using pure RO
water, but are adding something to it, whether hard tap water or commercial
Discus buffer? Straight RO water is not helpful.>
Tanks are well oxygenated as well.
Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.
<You're welcome, Neale.>
Re: Black ghost knife fish, glass catfish, and neon tetras
Thank you for your prompt reply. I apologise for sending through large
photos. Will know for next time.
I appreciate your help.
<You are most welcome! Good luck, Neale.>
New? BTA varieties? 5/12/18
It's the new variety of rare bubble tip anemones like Inferno, Flame,
Sunburst, Lemon drop, Rainbow. Where were these pretty color strains
earlier and how did they come about all of a sudden, is my question.
Could you throw some light in this regard?
<Strange... after decades in the trade, I never heard these names
applied to Entacmaea...
Looked on the Net, and do see such...
Know nothing regarding; have never encountered in the wild; though other
bizarrely colored specimens that I make out as BTAs.
See here on WWM:
I say "let the buyer beware". Bob Fenner>
Re: Tinfoil Barb 5/11/18
It does help! Thank you!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Dragon Goby 5/11/18
P.S. The Dragon Goby that you helped me with that I got in back on April
6th (he was about 6 inches long then) has been responsible for me
getting a lot of "guff" from members of the local aquarium club.
<Well, that's good, isn't it!?>
They thought I was wrong to feed him seaweed (green, red, and brown - he
loves them all!) and only the occasional bloodworms and Mysis shrimp -
they insisted he was a carnivore and needed an exclusively "meat" diet
AND a freshwater fish.
Well, they're eating their words now as he has grown to more than 10
inches in just a month and his girth has quadrupled.
He is absolutely stunning with his silver and cobalt blue coloring (I
keep trying to get a picture of him, but all I get is a silver-blue blur
- I'll send you one when I get it) and he swims around the tank strong
and bold as brass day or night, tank lights on or not.
<Quite so. Their other common name, Violet Goby, refers to this lovely
colouration they can develop under good conditions. Healthy specimens
might not be pretty, as such, given their weird proportions, but they
are certainly impressive.>
Now everyone wants to know where I got my information on feeding this
fish correctly and I gave them the address for your site.
Thanks for setting me straight on caring for this beautiful fish!
<Ah, and thanks for this kind, informative and very welcome update.
Re: Violet Goby 5/11/18
Yes, it is good! What's even more fun is to see peoples' reaction when
they see him. They don't just stop talking, they stop breathing for a
bit (no one as fainted yet!).
<They are certainly distinctive pets!>
I've been looking for more specific information about the different
seaweeds that might shed some light on the Goby's menu selections, but
so far I haven't been able to find anything (and the nutritional
information on the package says they're all the same as far as
percentage of protein, fat, fiber, etc.).
<Oh, I would not worry too much: while there is some variation, the
essential nutrients in seaweed, such as iodine, will complement nicely
the nutritional composition of things like algae wafers and frozen
But he definitely has his preferences; he always eats the red seaweed
<Yum! This group, the Rhodophyta, includes many of the ones humans
consider most palatable, including Nori and Laver.>
Then he'll eat the green or the brown as he seems to like those equally,
unless I have put a Algae Wafer or Veggie Round in the tank - those are
preferred over the green or brown seaweed. I'd love to understand why
(there I go again with the "why").
<Algae wafers will contain nice smelly proteins that attract fish to eat
them. Red algae may well be extra tasty in the same way that your
Japanese sashimi wouldn't be as good without the Sushi Nori wrapped
Anyway, I almost didn't get this fish, which would have been my loss,
because the Internet says they are very difficult to transition to
frozen foods. Now I know why.
<A common story with many oddballs. They're not difficult; they just
can't be kept in a community tank and fed flake. Once you get past that,
oddballs offer up some really fun pets.>
Maybe my experience will help someone else make more informed choices
and be able to enjoy this incredible gift of nature.
<Quite so. Regards, Neale.>
Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions
I know they have been bred a few times with the offspring making it
about 18 weeks at the longest before dying of unknown causes.
<Indeed, these have been less often bred than Bichirs.>
So I’m trying to figure out if simulating wet and dry season will help
keep the offspring alive.
I’m also trying to find any info I can on how they are collected because
I feel like something that is happening when they are collected might be
hurting our chances of tank breeding them.
<Ah, a good way of thinking. I would also have you look into their
actual ecology. Erpetoichthys is increasingly recognised as an
amphibious fish rather than a fully aquatic one. Waterlogged vegetation,
swamps, and other complex habitats are where they live, and their
familiar sidewinding locomotion is precisely how they move across wet
land. They are well adapted to breathing air, can spend hours on land so
long as they are wet, and may well actively avoid clear water where
competition (or predation) from other fish is too strong. In other
words, we're looking at something more like a Mudskipper than a typical
fish. I'd use Google Scholar to learn more. There's plenty of
information out there.>
And I’m wondering if they have different techniques in different areas
where they are caught. Similar to how some fish are sedated for shipping
and thing like that having an impact. I appreciate your fast response
and am excited to see if anyone else has any more info or a connection
to someone with more info I can talk too.
<One thing I'd be thinking about is their clearly obligate need for air
rather than water. Newly hatched fish may well be adapted to very
shallow water, well away from predators, but in turn, reliant on being
able to locomotor to the surface to gulp air. It may well be you'd want
to hatch the fish in very shallow water, maybe a couple cm, maybe even
less, to replicate this ecological niche more accurately. Warm and humid
air will be part of the mixture too; if anabantids are any indication to
go by, breathing cold or dry air can have a strongly negative impact on
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions
That actually helped a lot.
I really do think that the dry season in particular must have the most
to do with fry survival.
<May well be.>
I have added a “turtle” dock to my set up and covered it with moss.
<Ah, yes, sounds about right to me.>
I have observed them leaving the water onto the dock and eating
terrestrial insects offered on the dock such as wingless fruit flies.
<Indeed, does seem a substantial part of their diet in the wild includes
terrestrial insects collected during such excursions.>
I also have “jungle” style plants that allow the ropes to rest at the
surface by sitting on the plants trying my hardest to simulate the reedy
swamp like condition of their natural environment.
I really am having a hard time finding video or pictures of them in the
wild and also finding the “poison” used to catch them and exploring if
that is discouraging tank breeding.
<Can't help here, I'm afraid. I'm not aware of 'poisons' being used to
catch this species.>
I’ve been doing a lot of research on the ecology of the fish and find
that some of the studies on locomotion and oxygen intake done in the
80’s have been the most helpful. I had not however thought about the
humid air they breath as fry might have something to do with the success
<Good luck! Neale.>
Re: Ropefish collecting in the wild questions
The only reason I say “poison” is because I don’t know what they are
using. The only info I’ve gotten says they are collected by people using
a fence like structure to fence off a reedy area and the “use a chemical
to sedate or knock out” the fish so they can be easily collected. Any
ideas on the exact way they collect this species.
<None, I'm afraid.>
Sent from my iPhone
Leaf fish not eating 5/11/18
I have a *Taenianotus triacanthus *that I've had for
about 3 months.
<Oh, one of my faves. Am always looking for them while out dive
traveling in their range>
He lives in 37 gallon tank with three *Hippocampus erectus *sea horses,
two Hawaiian feather dusters, plus about 30 pounds of liverock with some
hermit crabs and snails, small sponges, and macro algae. Ammonia,
nitrite, and nitrate are all zero and pH is about 8.2. Water temperature
75*. He's been
eating ghost shrimp and small mollies which I keep and feed good food
for at least a week (only live).
About two weeks ago the leaf fish's eyes started to go cloudy and he
stopped eating. I tested the water again to make sure everything was
still ok (it was), did some research and decided he was probably about
to shed since his skin also looked a little dull. He did shed a couple
days later but the cloudy eyes stayed and he still wouldn't eat. I tried
a freshwater dip (pH adjusted) to check for eye flukes but nothing came
<Mmm; and this fish does have places where it can "get out of the bright
light" I take it>
Since a week and a half ago he's only eaten one ghost shrimp. I was
worried maybe it was vision problems so I tried moving him into a
smaller container while feeding to make it easier to catch food, but
He still seems to act the same in the tank - staying in his same
perches, sitting upright, moving around (although I still think he's
having a hard time seeing). I can move him to a quarantine tank but am
not sure what to treat him for. Do you have any suggestions?
<I do; considering your test readings, the other livestock doing well,
that you dipped the fish w/o resolve, I'm wondering if your Leaf has a
nutritional deficiency/syndrome. Easy to treat w/ marines; I'd add both
a complete liquid vitamin and an appetite enhancer; like SeaChem's
Vitality product... directly to the water as well as soaked on foods
just ahead of offering.>
No sign of anything wrong with the seahorses, by the way.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Leaf fish not eating 5/11/18
Thank you. He does have shadowy places to get out of the light (which is
not especially bright), including a couple of caves in the LR. That
said, his favorite perch is actually at the top of the LR about 2/3 up
the tank, out in the open.
I'll try the Seachem, thank you.
Algae id 5/11/18
Im cycling a marine aquarium and this algae has grown i can id if it is
Bryopsis, Derbesia or something else.
Are you able to help?
<Does look like both these noisome genera... I'd be reading; considering
"nuking" (bleaching) this system... to start over. Bob Fenner>
Spam Note 5/11/18
Happy Friday Crew!
Logged into the email this morning and saw a new (to me at least) type
of spam email. The subject line said "FAQs on the Flowerhorn Cichlid",
so I assumed it was real and opened it.
<Mmm; yeah; there are more sophisticated bots that can, do lift names,
related info. to get folks to click>
It was just another spam message about dry ice from China or something,
with a bunch of crazy attachments that my computer tried to download.
Figured I would give you all a heads up to make sure you don't
accidentally download any malware to your computers. Looks like we are
going to have some spam that is pretty well disguised. Hope all of you
are doing well :)
Bob- feel free to post this if you want. Wasn't sure the best way to get
this info out to everyone else.
<Thank you; will share. BobF>
Blobs/Bubbles/White; Crayfish hlth.
Apologies for emailing I was attempting to put up a post of desperation but
could not work it out, my daughters crayfish "Mr. Sausage" who's she adores, was
flailing around last night in his tank and lying on his side in what looked like
an attempt to shed, he is around a year old and he has shed successfully many
times. He just sits in his House not moving much, but these white/cream things
have appeared to be oozing from underneath his shell, which the only way to
describe is his under fleshy bits coming
though his shell. They have grown as the day has gone on.
The water is good had it tested this morning,
<Please send data, actual measurements>
could this be a failed shed or something else.
<Yes; easily. Most celebratedly a deficit of iodide/ate can/does lead to such
He is moving but not too much and not often....worried he will be dead by end of
day when she gets home.
Any ideas of what it is or how to fix it.
<The I2 supplement. Something like SeaChem's (reef) Iodide:
Don't be thrown by its marine use labeling; safe to use on Crayfish>
thank you for your help in advance. Couple of pictures attached
<I would have you read here re Cray health:
and the linked files in this series (at top). Bob Fenner>
Re: green spotted puffer help!
How are you?,
As an update - I started adding salt at my last water change and all
seems to be going well!
Quick question - A local shop I noticed have figure 8's
in (about 2 inches). My GSP's are 1.5-2 inches. From my research - they
both like Brackish and come from similar environments - could I put a
few in there?
Or best not to?
<While young, yes, they will cohabit reasonably well. GSPs tend to be a
bit more snappy, while Figure-8s are perhaps a bit more active. But
there's not much in it either way. As they get older though, GSPs do
become substantially bigger and potentially more dangerous. Also
remember that they're somewhat different in optimal salinity. Figure-8s
are freshwater to low-end brackish, doing best at a low salinity, maybe
SG 1.002-1.005; your GSPs, on the other hand, while perfectly fine at SG
1.003-1.005 for long
periods, perhaps indefinitely, are often kept in higher salinities, even
full marine conditions.>
I know ultimately the GSP's will outgrow them, but the intention is
anyway in 12-18 months to get a bigger tank.
At which point I'll possibly put the GSP's in the bigger tank and keep
the F8's in the existing tank?
From my understanding it takes easily 2-3 years for GSP's to grow
anywhere near full size anyway?
<Something like that, yes. Many specimens never get particularly big,
though well-kept ones should comfortably reach 10 cm/4 inches, and be
stocky with it.>
Even as juveniles can it be done? Or best to keep species only?
<See above. Yes, but with caution, and likely not indefinitely.>
<You're welcome, Neale.>
Tinfoil Barb 5/10/18
A few months ago, I took in a 7 - 8 inch Tinfoil Barb that my aquarium store
took in as a rescue (they've helped me a lot and I wanted to return the favor).
They told me that this fish had been in a 90 gallon tank that had been
abandoned and the water got so bad that his dorsal and one pectoral fin
rotted off (pretty lousy picture attached, but you should be able to see the
damaged dorsal fin - the left pectoral fin is in the same condition); the rest
of his tankmates died.
He had been at their store for almost 6 months when I saw him and was
overwhelming their store tanks. They couldn't keep him in their big orphan tank
because the majority of the orphans they get are aggressive, large cichlids who
may take advantage of the Barb's disabilities. They were afraid he'd never find
a suitable home so I agreed to take him and give him a bigger tank while we keep
working to find him a home with a large tank (mine is only 75 gallon). But so
far, no takers. Everyone, including the
Boise Aquarium, has expressed concern about his injuries, which seem permanent,
and his ability to thrive with other big Barbs or other large, potentially
<Understood, and the Boise Aquarium may well have a point.>
But I've had him a few months and he is a beautiful, happy, healthy fish -
except - I think he's lonely. Not pining away, missing someone kind of lonely,
but just needing other fish around.
So, for the past few weeks, I've been trying to find him a tankmate or two to
swim with that won't overwhelm my tank as (the tank has two canister filters on
it, one rated for a 75 gallon and one for a 65 gallon and a small powerhead).
I've tried an Oscar, a Blood Parrot, and most recently, two Acara - but the Barb
has been bullied relentlessly by every fish I've tried and I just noticed this
morning that his one remaining pectoral fin has a tear (I'll be taking the Acara
back to the aquarium store this morning). I don't want to get another big Barb
as I'm already concerned about the tank size even with the filtration (but water
parameters have stayed steady with no ammonia or nitrite and weekly water
changes have kept the nitrate below 30 since he's been here). Can you suggest a
fish that would give him someone to swim with that won't beat him up and is the
least likely to overwhelm the tank?
<I would tend to look at species that stay closer to the bottom. Enough activity
to keep him entertained, but lacking the swimming ability to either compete or
the jaws to cause damage. I'd be thinking about, for example, things like
Dianema spp. and Brochis spp. for starters, both of which are completely
peaceful. Any of the Whiptails would be a great choice, being so gentle they
even ignore livebearer fry. Some of the larger Whips, such as Sturisoma, are
spectacular fish in their own right, and enjoy the same brisk, cool water your
Tinfoil Barb relishes. I might even think about true surface dwellers such as
the larger Hatchetfish which aren't a threat to anything because their jaws
point upwards. Finally, you
might consider placid dwarf cichlids, such as Apistogramma, which may be
territorial but will be so overwhelmed by the size of the Tinfoil their threat
level will be low.>
He doesn't have much left in the way of fins and I don't think he can afford any
<Hope the above helps, Neale.>
titan trigger and green moray eel
hi all great site. very informative
I just built a 450 gallon acrylic tank in my basement a month ago.
my basement entrance has always kept me from anything larger then a 180
gallon but building it myself has fixed this issue.
current occupants are a green moray eel and a titan trigger.
<One of the most aggressive Trigger species and it gets too large!>
all the filter media sand and live rock was transferred from my 180
gallon into this new aquarium, the eel is new but the titan has been
with me for about a year in the 180
i<Caps> know the tank is to small for them once they get bigger, I am
beginning the plans for a approximately 1000 gallon soon. the titan is
about 9 inches and the green moray is 3 feet long.
<Keep an eye on the trigger as it is very mean with most tankmates>
i believe i have a year or so before the 1000 is necessary.
contemplating whether to go acrylic or plywood this time.
my question is will the titan trigger get it’s adult coloration in a
<It will if good nutritional and environmental conditions are provided>
<Your welcome Wilberth Gamboa>
Re: titan trigger and green moray eel
Thank You Very Much
<Welcome. Wilberth Gamboa>
Ropefish collecting in the wild questions
I have been scouring the net for months collecting as much info on
Ropefish as I can find. I’m attempting a breeding project with them and
I’m trying to write a very detailed paper. My question is about how they
are collected in the wild. I’ve been trying to find someone to
correspond with that has seen them collected or knows how they are
collected and I really want to find pictures or better yet video of the
habitat they are being pulled from. Also it would be nice to speak to
someone about what the locals know about the fish and what they know
about them breeding. I saw a post on here where Neale mentioned speaking
to someone at Interzoo who was associated with their export from Nigeria
and I would love more info on that.
<Actually, am pretty sure that was me relating the anecdote. If memory
serves, the gentleman told me that a group places a fence of woven reeds
about a shallow, emersed planted area where Ropefish congregate, and
sometimes using a local/organic poison, narcotize the fish, pulling the
plants out and gathering them for export>
I really appreciate any help you can give or anyone else you might know
that I can contact. Thank you so much.
<Don't know re reproduction; but pretty sure they and some of the
related bichirs have been captive-produced. Will ask Neale Monks re. Bob
120G Oceanic Reef Ready Tank - Top Center Support Fell Into Tank
I have a 120G Oceanic RR tank, 48" x 24" x 24" with 1/2" glass panels that has
been set up since 2011. Tonight my wife noticed that the glass center support
separated from the back of the tank and fell in the water with the front still
<I see this in your image; and the timely brace>
I am concerned of tank blow-out / leak without the center support in place. I am
traveling for 2-weeks so as a temporary measure I had my wife put a clamp across
the top of the tank to prevent any further movement / bowing, doing so with the
<A very good idea>
What are your thoughts on this and risk of tank leak / failure in current state?
<Less than w/o the clamp... Should be fine for now>
Is the fix to empty tank, clean off all glass & re-silicone?
<Yes; or to perhaps fashion another design... Like a Euro-Brace>
Does the tank have to be completely empty or is 50% drained enough?
<Completely empty, dry>
Separately in my searches I found a post where a Oceanic rep back in 2003
indicated on the 120g tank the sides were thick enough where the center support
provided limited structural function as some people like to remove to optimize
light coverage. They also built a series of 120g tanks, 1/2" glass without
center supports from my research as well?
<... don't know about this. Have never seen their tanks w/o center supports>
I have attached a photo of current state showing center brace laying in tank and
clamp across the top. Thank you in advance for your help / support.
<Am glad to assist you. If it were me, mine, I'd either replace this tank,
re-Silicone the current brace (necessitating emptying)... or better, read on WWM
re the Euro- idea. Bob Fenner>
Marine Aquarium Articles and FAQs Master Index
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(Urchins, Sea Cucumbers, Seastars, Brittlestars...), Sea Squirts,
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Marine Eels; Marine Catfishes; Squirrelfishes, Soldierfishes,
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Pipefishes, Blennioid & Gobioid Fishes, Mandarins, Clingfishes, Wrasses
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Snappers, Goatfishes, Jawfishes, Big-Eyes, Basses, Anthias, Dottybacks,
Roundheads, Soapfishes, Damselfishes, Clownfishes, Monos, Hawkfishes,
Croakers, Emperors, Threadfins, Sandperches, Miscellaneous Percoids,
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Reptiles, Marine Mammals,
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