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Pomacentrus alleni Burgess 1981, Allen's or Andaman Damselfish. Andaman Sea, the Similans off of Thailand. A hardy beauty that grows to a maximum of two inches and does well living solitarily. This one in a reef aquarium at Jordan Stari's 2012.
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Updated 11/22/2014
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
PLEASE: Write reviews of my works on Amazon! I need your input. BobF

Magnificent Foxface; hlth f'     11/21/14
I need some advice regarding my Magnificent Foxface.
<How large a specimen and system? What other fishes there? How long have you had this Siganid? What med.s has it been exposed to?>

I have had it for about one month. Everything seemed to be going well. He was eating, and swimming around the tank. He was not grazing a ton, however, there honestly is not a lot to graze on. I had been feeding him New Life Spectrum pellets,
mysis shrimp, and about twice a week, I was putting in seaweed made specifically for lettuce clips (I crumple it up and let it float around
the column). He was his usual self in the morning, eating his morning meal and such. Then when I got home in the evening, he was up against a new Gyre pump that I had just bought. This is a new pump altogether, so I was worried that the intake was too strong for the fish,
<Mmm; not. There are FAR more powerful currents in the wild>
but when I put my hand under it, the current doesn't seem to be anymore powerful than the suction of a powerhead, if even that. I quickly turned it off, and he swam away from it. His breathing was labored, and he looked somewhat contorted. I expected to see him dead this morning, sadly, and he wasn't. He didn't look so contorted, and he ate. I'm really puzzled as to what to do. Water
parameters are good, no nitrite, ammonia, nitrates are about 5. PH is at 8.4. He does look thin. I'm not sure if I should treat him for something, maybe try the new new life spectrum Hex for wasting disease?
He looked plump earlier in the week, so should I just be putting a lot of greens in there. I've always heard that herbivores metabolize food faster, so maybe new life isn't enough to sustain him. Last night I felt pretty hopeless, but this morning, I'm curious if he could make it if he eats the right thing.
<What you list is fine; very good>
Also, his coloring is fine, and his really had shown no other sign of illness. And the other fish in the tank appear to be completely fine as
Thank you so much,
<Need answers to the above questions. Bob Fenner>
Re: Magnificent Foxface     11/21/14

Thanks for the quick response. The foxface is about 5" long. He is in a 200 Gallon aquarium.
The other fish are a yellow tang, royal gramma, three Banggai cardinals, a marine Betta, a Tomini tang, a cleaner goby, a
clownfish and three cleaner shrimp and a coral banded shrimp.
<Do the tangs go after the Rabbit much?>
There are some random corals that came on some live rock, but this is really set up as a FOWLR tank. I have a 40 gallon refugium. He had no prior medications in my system.
<How long have you had this fish? For emphasis... BobF>
Re: Magnificent Foxface
I've had the Fox face for a little over a month.
<Ahh, now we're getting some place. This fish may well have been exposed to copper enroute... had its gas bladder poked in decompressing or over-pressurized... It is very likely parasitized externally (flukes and Protozoans) and lumenally... Have you read re Siganid health on WWM? Do so: http://wetwebmedia.com/rbtfshdisfaqs.htm
The tangs don't really bother him. The yellow tang kind of swatted him with his tail when I first got him. But that only lasted for about a day and a half.

Re: Algae... likely spg ID      11/21/14
Hi Bob
My USB microscope arrived today and I took the attached picture of a piece of this that I removed from the tank. Not sure if the picture is good enough to confirm your thoughts?
Regards Rob
<Mmm; need a bigger file; and more focus... Do please send along. This does look more like a sponge though.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Algae     11/21/14
<These are bunk as well... NEED pix of cells as in 400 power. B>
Hi BobI have taken these. Not sure any better - may have gone too low spec on the microscope Regards Rob

Re: Platy and Molly community tank issues      11/21/14
Molly Issues. I just looked at my tank and I noticed that my balloon molly female (white in color) has a dark black line spot
<A line or a spot?>
near her tail and the other side has the same thing but a bit lighter. What could that be?
<Honestly, no idea at all. Your description doesn't really provide any clues. Any chance of a photo? In the meantime, review aquarium conditions, look for signs of damage and/or subsequent infection, and act accordingly.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Too many fish too soon?     11/21/14
Thank you very much Neale! :)
<Most welcome!>

RES turtle help please; trauma      11/21/14
I was feeding my RES and when I turned around he somehow climbed out of his feeding bowl and fell 4 feet down on my hardwood floor!
I picked him up and he was hiding in his shell but now he won't come out so I'm worried bc I can't check on him. Will he be okay?
<More than likely he'll be fine. Turtles have evolved to be (a) physically resistant to damage and (b) smart enough to stay in their shells when something traumatic happens. In the wild and in the absence of humans this combination has stood them in good stead for some 200 million years! So, assuming the shell isn't cracked and there's no sign of bleeding, best thing is to leave your turtle alone in his vivarium, with a nice dry spot under his heat/UV-B lamp(s), and see what happens. He my take some time to regain his confidence, but he should do in time. But if you're in doubt, contact your local vet or animal welfare charity. X-rays can be done on turtles and will reveal any damage. Cheers, Neale.>

RES Scutes built up not shedding     11/21/14
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Thank you for such an informative website! I have a 5 1/2 year old female RES. She's quite large, about 7 inches long by 6 inches wide. We fed her too often in her first 2 years due to misinformation. She has a 100 gallon tank with proper heating, her water is always Luke warm. Proper filtration and regular cleanings, the water is always clear. We live in San Diego, so during the warm months, which are nearly year round she is kept outdoors and is allowed to bask outdoors as often as she pleases. During the cold months she is brought indoors and is still brought outside to bask but on a regimented schedule.
<That's fine. My turtles often don't come out to bask at all in the cold months>
She lives alone as we purchased her alone and was told she would likely attack any other turtle introduced.
<If you found another female of equal size you'd probably be fines after some initial settingling in … but that said, they don’t' need companionship, either.>
She exhibits no other health concerns besides her shell. I assume it is based on her diet which is solely Tetra ReptoMin floating food sticks with calcium and vitamin C. She has refused any other vegetables, greens, or fruits introduced to her. The only other thing she has eaten are feeder fish which we feed very sparingly.
<Try earthworms (nightcrawlers from a local bait shop. MUCH better for her than fish>
I believe she is accustomed to the sticks and will now refuse any other food. Her shell is in bad shape. Her scutes have built up several layers and just finally shown signs of shedding after several years. And by that I mean 2 scutes in a month over the past five years. There may even be signs of pyramiding. There is no softening of the shell, no foul odor, and no reddening or puss or blood. Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated!
<Happy to help>
We love our dear Sophie! She seems healthy otherwise but of course we want her tip top!
<Add some calcium to her diet. Try getting Sophie used to eating beef or chicken liver. Take several small pieces and place them in a pan that has some luke-warm water and Sophie. What I'm saying is that never, ever place liver or any raw meat in her tank -- the oils come right off and foul the tank and then you have a mess to clean. No one ever makes that mistake twice -- LOL.>
<Once she likes liver in small pieces, you can dust the liver with calcium powder available from any health food store. Something I rarely ever suggest -- you could even try the calcium plaster turtle blocks you find in some pet stores. They are a complete waste of time for most turtles, but in Sophie's case they might help.>
Thank you so much in advance!

Re: Goldfish that hates the cold.     11/21/14
Bob Fenner thank you for your reply.
<Welcome Andrew>
The comet is about seven inches long including tail.
<Ahh; a bit too large for this volume.
I would be trading this specimen out to someone with a pond likely; stocking with another fancy variety>
I noticed this condition in this fish probably about 3 months after I bought it from the local fish shop and I introduced the
bloodworm to their diet because this disorder was so bad in this fish and my fantail had fin rot in the tail I had only been using frozen food about once a week up to then as I had financial restrictions. The rest of the time I had fed them flake food.
<Pellets of size are FAR better nutritionally, and cost-wise. Look to a  good brand like Hikari>

Both have picked up since but the comet is now at the point I have described in my original email. They are in a 120 liter Juwel Riol aquarium with the built in pump and filter and a large airstone. There is little algae in the tank and I have not used live
plants for some time as they used to die in a couple of weeks because the fish would either eat them or unearth them when searching for food. The size of all the fish in the tank is: Comet 7 inches including tail, Fantail 10 inches including tail,
<This fish also needs more room. See WWM re GF systems>

2 weather loaches 6 inches including tail. The water quality was assessed recently by the local fish shop and they said it was
normal. The water is clear and flow is good. The airstone provides a lot of air. Does this help. Thank you
<Yes it does. Do the reading... and contemplate your plan. BobF>

Breeding Wild Bettas     11/22/14
Hello! I acquired a wild caught pair of Betta albimarginata in late June of this year. They live in a planted ten gallon aquarium with a couple of Oto cats, three phoenix Rasboras (I'm selling them, which is why there's only three) and two bamboo shrimps. ph is about 7.2, zero ammonia/nitrite and 5-10 ppm nitrate.
<As always, hardness is more important than pH. You do need soft water for this species, which should allow you to keep the pH at some steady value between 6 and 7 using commercial Discus buffer.>
The pair have bred a lot since June (at least twice a month), but the problem is that the male *immediately* swallows the eggs (I've witnessed it).
<He is of course a mouthbrooder, so swallowing the eggs is part of his job!
But he should thereafter incubate them for a couple of weeks or so before releasing them as free swimming fry (at which point he stops caring for them).>
He gets food daily (either frozen or good quality flakes), so I know its not from hunger. Since I don't know the age, could I assume this is just inexperience (even though it's been several months now)?
<Possibly, but usually fish "get it right" after a few practise attempts, and after, say, 5 or 6 breeding attempts, if he's still not doing it right,
I'd look into other explanations.>
I know my pH is higher than the wild, but I've heard alibis are rather lax about pH levels (even wild caught ones), could that be a potential problem here?
<Again, it's a possibility, but I'd expect incorrect water chemistry to cause other problems as well, such as a failure to breed altogether.
Nonetheless, the wrong water chemistry can cause eggs to fail to hatch or become fertilised, at least with other species, so it's possible he knows the eggs weren't doing the right thing, so consumed them to recycle the energy.>
Could the presence of the other fish be throwing him off?
<A definite possibility, but netting out other fish can introduce another stress that causes incubating males to swallow their eggs, or conversely, not releasing the fry when he should do so. So while removing non-Betta tankmates makes some sense if you can, removing the female after mating is often counter-productive.>
Is there anything else I could be missing, or could it be that he is just a horrible dad?
<Yes, it's possible for fish to be genetically lacking in some instinct, and consequently unable to rear offspring the natural way. Heck, with farmed Angels this is practically the default! That said, because Betta albimarginata can't be bred any other way than by allowing males to rear the eggs, this risk is very small, since your male must have had a competent father, whereas farmed Angels have all been reared by humans, not mated pairs of Angels, so can very easily have had fathers that lacked proper egg-care instincts.>
Thanks a lot!
<So, a variety of things going on here. Since mouthbrooding Bettas come from different habitats than Bubblenest-building species, the first thing to do is review the tank. They appreciate moderate water current, so check there's enough water movement and oxygen for them to be settled. (Mouthbrooding seems to have evolved specifically because they weren't living somewhere a Bubblenest could be built, like a pond or swamp.) Check water chemistry, in this case 1-10 degrees dH, pH 6-7. Because you'll be running at an acidic pH, biological filtration will be handicapped, so take precautions not to over-tax the filter by understocking and moderate feeding. Don't keep these fish warm, 25 C/77 F tops. Again, they come from streams, not swamps, so don't like very warm water. Floating plants or plants with tall, bushy leaves will provide line-of-sight barriers that will help incubating males feel more secure and able to hide away from other fish if they want to. You said your Bettas are feeding well, but check the diet is sufficient and varied. Bloodworms for example will be taken readily enough but aren't especially nutritious, and brine shrimp even less so. Daphnia are rather better, as are newly hatched brine shrimp. Don't overfeed though. Too much fat inside a Betta seems to cause all sorts of problems. Finally, do go online and read other breeding reports. You'll find a bunch. Sometimes there are differences, and it pays to try out different things to see what works for you. Cheers, Neale.>

Copepods Living Under Water Surface Film (in sump/fuge)
Dear WWM Crew,
Just a quick one today. I have noticed that a thin film/layer of scum has collected on the surface of my 80L refugium attached to my reef tank (the surface is not agitated right now).
<I would provide this agitation... should the power go out, you might lose most aerobic life there in short order... and IF this water is pumped back into the system; potential trouble/s there as well>
The prevailing advice appears to be to remove it (I am aware of the reasons and methods), but I have also noticed that there are also a fair number of copepods/other microfauna living just under this film layer. The pods appear to be associated with this layer as they only move parallel to the surface and never swim down into the water. I don't see any pods when the surface is agitated and the scum removed by the drain.
<I see; again... aeration, circulation to aid in stirring this surface scum up a bit>
Would you advise I try to remove this film layer, or would it be worth leaving it alone as a habitat for the copepods? The water surface area in question is only about 20% of the total of the entire system, but it is the only part of the system that is completely uncovered (thus it probably is responsible for a lot of the gas exchange).
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Aquariums: Creative Design Elements for Home or Business... more PR
Dear editor,
<Okay. Howdy again Cass>
After visiting your website, I see that your readers are interested in learning more about creative aquariums design elements in the home and business place. I’d like to offer you an article which I think would be a good fit.
Whether it be in your home or at a doctor's office, there's nothing quite like watching colorful fish swim gently through a well-designed aquarium. A tank stocked with fish, plants and coral will not only occupy a client's waiting time, but it also provides a sense of peace and relaxation. The flow of the water along with the soothing interaction of the fish adds a peaceful design element to any space.
I would like to offer a guest blog by Greg Sowers, the owner of Fintastic, one of the largest custom-made aquarium retailers in the Southeast, highlighting the calming benefits of a beautiful aquarium in a home office or professional setting.
Do you have time for a call next week?
<Umm; yes... we have similar coverage already on WWM... Bob Fenner>
*Cassie Hutaff*
Senior Account Specialist

Goldfish that hates the cold.
Dear Crew, I have read your site but the problem with my goldfish still confuses me so I thought I had better write. I have 2 goldfish, one fantail and one with regular tail in a 120 litre tank with 2 weather loaches. I know the tank is well filtered and nitrates are fairly low. The problem is with the goldfish with a normal tail. In the summer he is fine but come autumn he develops spasms and his body becomes twisted round as if he has some kind of painful muscle contortion.
<Mmm; how large is this Comet?>

I fitted a heater to the tank which I keep at 26c and this improved the problem for a while in the milder temperature but now it is getting near to winter the problem has returned.
Is their anything more I can do. I feed them flake fish food in the morning and frozen bloodworm
<See WWM re these. I wouldn't use>
for lunch. The introduction of the bloodworm everyday helped a bit but it was the heater that has had most effect and the other
fish get along with it fine. However if I am to conquer this properly I need to find out how to fully deal with it especially in the colder
weather. Thank you for your help.
<Data please. Bob Fenner>

Aquatic Experience
Hi Bob,
<Hey Deb>
It was a pleasure working with you at Aquatic Experience-Chicago. Attached is the speaker photo taken at the Saturday evening Meet & Greet and event press release. We saw increased attendance as well as growth in number of exhibitors
in 2014 and hope to continue on this path in 2015. Aquatic Experience will again be in Chicago, November 6-8, 2015.
Our exceptional slate of speakers certainly lends credibility to Aquatic Experience-Chicago and plays a large role in our increasing growth. We appreciate the time and energy required to participate as a speaker, thank you again for your
participation. We do hope you found it a positive experience.
Thank you,
<Ah yes; this is a forward thinking experience... to promote the hobby, trade and science of fields related to ornamental aquatics. Glad to be an ongoing part of it. Bob Fenner>
Debra Spaulding
Director of Education & Programming
World Pet Association, Inc.

Help needed ! Purple Tang... RO/Dip issue?
Hello all. Typing from my phone please excuse any grammar errors. Bought 3 fish tonight, (durgeon trigger, yellow fox face and a purple tang. I drip acclimated them separately for an hour, and then did a r-o freshwater dip, temp and ph adjusted .
<With aeration I hope/trust. RO water has NO GAS... including oxygen>

I then put them into the tank, and the purple tang immediately nose dived toward the bottom and stayed there. Once I saw he wasn't moving, and the other fish in tank were eyeing him up, i shut the tank lights out. I then seen him swim, albeit gingerly, I turned the room light off and left. Came back a half hour later, and he was stuck to the VorTech power head. I turned power head off and he came off, barely moving. I them put him into bucket. To get him away from fish, and he would go from not moving, to really hyper. I placed him back in tank, all lights off and power head off.
The other two new fish seem fine. The purple tang was at store for two months and seemed fine.
Tank stats: 80 degrees f, 1.023 sg, 8.0 ph and zero amm or nitrites.
I've dipped hundreds of fish and never ever saw this. What might this be in your experience. I am really confused, no fun losing fish , let along a 250 dollar fish. Thanks
<Two hundred and a half for a Zebrasoma xanthurum?!!! Yowzah! I quit the trade too soon. Not much to do at this point other than wait and try to be optimistic. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help needed !

Well bob, thank you for timely response. All I did was stir up water prior to using it, no pump (<not very smart) the other fish seem fine ,
<Ah, good>
but I'm guessing every fish has different tolerances for 02.
<Yes; and Tangs need about the most>
The dips lasted 3 minutes each. I'll leave him in there , and hope for the best. Once the lights come on, he may be breakfast.
Thanks again
<Here's hoping... Cheers BobF>

Platy and Molly community tank issues     11/21/14
I have a 10 gallon community tank with 2 platy females, 1 platy male, 2 molly females, and 1 molly male. (learned the hard way about having too many males together).
<Indeed! A good tip: with non-sailfin Mollies and Platies, just keep females. They look the same as the males, but aggression will be minimal.>
My issue is that my male platy who is a Mickey Mouse platy doesn't seem to eat much.
<Do review "Wasting Disease" in livebearers. Typically caused by a bacterial infection, such as Mycobacteria. Fairly common, and the affected fish stops eating, becomes lethargic, gets thinner, and eventually dies.
Adding a little salt to livebearer tanks is cheap and easy way to perk them up; try 1-2 teaspoons per US gallon. This won't cure bacterial infections but may help a slightly infected fish feel better and maybe heal itself under its own steam. Otherwise, antibiotics may help in some situations, though Mycobacteria infections are essentially impossible to cure.>
He is very active but during feeding time he hangs out at the bottom.
<Is he being bullied at feeding time?>
Same thing with my Balloon molly female. My male molly normally eats anything and everything I put into the tank. I'm worried about my Mickey and balloon not getting enough food and then my Dalmatian molly getting over fed. Is there a way to balance out how much they each get and to make sure they eat?
<Yes. Two approaches. One is get floating feeding rings (or make your own from plastic of some sort). Put flake inside the feeding rings. These trap flake in certain areas. With luck, you'll find the bullying fish occupied at one ring, leaving the quieter fish to use another. Second approach is to use sinking algae wafers. Break these into halves or quarters, offering 1-2 wafers per feeding session, once per day for a 10 gallon tank. As the wafers soften the Platies and Mollies will peck at them, and because they take hours to fall apart, there's lots of time for all fish to have something to eat.>
Also one of my female platies who is a bumblebee like to follow my Dalmatian molly around (basically never leaves him alone, no nipping but always at his side). Is that normal?
<Yes. Female livebearers are sociable in the wild, not quite schooling fish but certainly appreciating company. Since none of the livebearers we keep are pure species (i.e., they're all hybrids of one sort or another) it's
probable their idea of what "they are" is pretty mixed up, too. Cheers, Neale.>

Too many fish too soon?     11/21/14
I have a 28 gallon tank. The ph is 8 and nitrates and ammonia at 0. The filter is a sponge filter rated for 40 gallons. This tank contains 2 guppy females, 5 neon tetras, 2 ghost shrimp, and numerous bladder snails. I have obtained 3-4 platy fish. I plan to add 3 platy fish today. I plan to add a 4th around the 28th of November. I just got the guppies about 2 weeks ago.
Am I adding too many fish too soon?
<Nope you should be fine. Don't feed the fish on the day of introduction though, and the next day, be conservative with the food. You don't want to overwhelm the filter. But assuming the tank has been running for at least a couple of months, you will find the filter is very quick at adjusting to heavier "loads" of fish. A conservative rule of thumb with small fish is to add them in batches at least 2 weeks apart, and not adding any fish if ammonia or nitrite aren't zero. Stocking levels of "an inch per gallon" work well, with Neons being about an inch or so each, Guppies about 1.5 inches a pieces, and Platies a couple of inches. So 5 Neons is maybe 6 inches of fish, 5 Platies about 10 inches, and 2 Guppies about 3 inches. So total, 6 + 10 + 3 = 18 inches of fish. You've still got space for a few more Neons if you wanted a better group of them, or alternatively, 3-4 Corydoras catfish would work nicely too.>
Thank you.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

sick sunfish named Pal     11/21/14
Hi there wwm! My coworker's dad has a very sick sunfish and I don't know how to help.
<Oh, I really like Centrarchids... very interesting behavior and many are seasonally gorgeous>
I haven't been able to find much online about sunfish care and I was hoping you could help. He inherited the poor guy a little while back and has had a crash course in the aquarium hobby. You've been an immense help to me with my saltwater babies in the past so I hope you can help with his freshwater baby. I have included his email to me with the info.
>> hi Carole, thanks for getting back to me. I'll give you the not so brief run down on whats been happening.i’ve got a 75 gal tank with 65 gal. water in it &Fluval 306 filter. my 7.5 inch green sunfish has been sick for almost 3 months. unfortunately due to lack of experience he was severely stressed by poor water quality; high ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, & ph after i got him in august. besides that i put some small minnows from the bait shop in the tank and probably introduced some bad things into the tank.
<Does happen very often, easily>
not much later he got what appeared to be velvet.i treated it with Cupramine for several weeks ,checking copper levels frequently to maintain therapeutic levels. Carbon was removed from the filter during treatment. he started to get better and then took a turn for the worse.
<Mmm; I would have followed up (still would; with the twin use of Metronidazole (in foods if eating) and an Anthelminthic (likely Praziquantel) the first for protozoan (and some bacterial) issues, the latter for worms of all kind). See WWM (WetWebMedia.com) under the name of each for details)>
all water parameters are good, tank is clean. i have removed the copper from Cupramine treatment through several 15%to 20%water changes over a period of several weeks.i’m now very careful in maintaining good water quality;ph 7.0, very low ammonia .1,
<NEEDS to be zero, zip, nada>
nitrite 0, nitrate a bit high @30 ppm.
<And this under 20 ppm. SEE WWM re both>
i add aquarium salt as prescribed on the container. currently Pals condition is not good. symptoms; will not eat, losing weight, pale coloring, lethargic, PopEye bad in one eye, the other eye is starting to bulge & has a white spot on it. 1 gill is swollen, rapid heavy breathing .he hides a lot & sits on the airstone.
<Well; a good deal of this malaise can be traced to copper exposure...>
all fins and tail are fine. i think pal is 3. 5 or 4 .5 years old. there are only 3 other small fish in the tank . they are healthy. right now i ‘m dosing the tank with MelaFix and pima fix.
<These are hokum (scams)... See WWM re if interested>
I'm sure he needs some form of anti biotic ,possibly more. any suggestions on treatment would be appreciated. thanks
<Read on! And do feel free to write us directly. Bob Fenner>

Too much light for a squamosa clam?     11/21/14
Good evening WWM Crew,
<Good morrow Wendy>
Thank you for helping people (me) do a better job caring for reef creatures.
<A pleasure, honor and desirable duty>
I scour this web site for all sorts of questions and it has been a tremendous guide.
Ok, here is the question. Why is my Tridacna squamosa clam browning out?
<Could be a few influences. Happily, am in the process of penning a pc. for CORU on "Top Tridacnids"; so am more familiar with their husbandry right now>
I believe that I may have too much light, here is why...
165 mixed reef
3 years old
pair clowns, pair Banggai cardinals, Red Sea sail fin tang, various hermits,
<Do keep your eyes on these false crabs... can "bug" clams>
3 BTA (keep splitting and I keep the LFS supplied with extras), snails
sps, lps, softies (Montiporas and birds nests doing great, giant frogspawn and Fungia very happy, Zoanthids open, Ricordeas plump, 2 leathers are full, BTAs at top of tank and happy, chalices growing, trumpets multiplying)
Aqua C EV240 skimmer, LifeReef Sump, LifeReef Calcium reactor, refugium, mp 40 power head
1.025 specific gravity
80 average temp
440 calcium
11.5 alk
1360 magnesium
.04 Iodine
8.2 pH
.03 Fe
<All of the above are fine>
undetectable phosphates
<THIS is trouble. All life needs "some" soluble phosphate...
Whatever means you're employing to extract directly I'd cut back or remove... AND/OR increase your feeding to the point of registering some HPO4>
Those are today's readings and they fluctuate very little.
20% water changes each week
The tank is 72" long and 27" deep and 17" wide.
1 Orphek 156 on left side, 1 Orphek 156 on right side, 1 Orphek 72 spot in middle, 2 Orphek moon light spots in middle, 4 t5 bulbs framing it all in. Orphek 156 are 8" above water. 72 spot is 12" above water. t5's are 14" above water.
<Mmm; these are good fixtures, lights, and I doubt that they're too bright/intense. You might want to borrow a PUR or PAR meter (likely your LFS have one to lend; considering the gear you list)... and try the sensor down near the clam>
Clam was first placed in middle of tank on sand under 72 spot, after a month the clam moved 10" to be under a 156 and tucked against a rock with slight shade, after 3 months in this location clam has lost its deep brown with blue edges to be orangey brown with purple edges. Clam mantle is about 32" away from 156. Clam is about 8", it opens fully under day lights and closes with fish shadows or pesky hermit crabs.
I have seen a 1/2" bristle worm under the mantle once.
<Not likely trouble. There are a Bazillion (a bunch) of Errantiate Polychaetes in most all marine environments>
Clam allowed clown pair to lounge in it originally, but now does not. Clowns do not pester clam, no other fish bother it, hermits seem to annoy it now when they work on shell.
Should I try to dim 156s to 80%?
Lighting Schedule:
t5's on at 9 am off at 7 pm
72 spot on at 10 am off at 6 pm
156 day lights on at 11 am and off at 7 pm
156 moon lights on 7 pm to 10 pm
spot moons in center of tank, 20" above water, on 24 hours
<This is all fine as well>
Thank you.
<I would focus on the Phosphate alone here; and try to get those light meter readings. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Flipping     11/20/14
just an update on my crazy turtle, & I also want to thank you for all your input. she was seen yesterday... little monkey has pneumonia. she's on injectable antibiotics. other than that she's in fantastic shape and the vet sees no reason why she can't make a complete recovery. you guys are a terrific resource, thank you again.
<Glad we were able to help/diagnose the problem. Good luck with her recovery! Cheers, Neale.>

Keeping Scats; stkg.      11/20/14
While I'm here, I might as well ask: when I'm ready to get more scats, would it be reasonable to get two baby scats and raise them together, or will they grow to bully each other?
<They can be a bit hard on each other. Easiest kept as a singleton with no aggressive tankmates (Sailfin Mollies work well) or in odd numbered groups (i.e., 3 or more). Can also mix extremely well with Monos, the two species bringing out the best in each other while diffusing tensions within each species' group as well. Bob's written an excellent review, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/scatart.htm
Scats are normally incredibly hardy and rarely get sick, except for Lymphocystis, a chronic rather than lethal problem that eventually goes away by itself. It's basically a viral wart, and while scientists have
studied this disease for a long time, what triggers it is somewhat unclear.
Environment and diet are probably relevant. Otherwise success with Scats is virtually assured if the tank is big enough, has very robust filtration, plenty of oxygen, high carbonate hardness and pH, and perhaps the use of a
protein skimmer to help keep nitrates low (by removing organics from the water before they break down). The Silver Scat is my particular favourite, as pretty a fish as any in the hobby. If it cost $200 a piece, it'd be much
more talked about, I'm sure! But it's cheap, brackish, and "just a Scat" so barely on the fishkeeping radar. Go figure. Scatophagus tetracanthus on the other hand is very rare and very expensive! But boy, is it handsome.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Clown loach sick     11/20/14
Yeah I only use rain water on its own. Any recommendations as to what I should add to it?
<By default, simply mixing with tap water usually does the job. Do read:
I use rainwater, and it's generally safe to do so, but over the next few weeks I would strongly recommend raising the hardness at least a bit, when you do the usual replacement of 20-25% of the water in the aquarium each
weekend. Each time you add new water to the tank, instead of just buckets of rainwater, add buckets of a rainwater/tap water mix, or rainwater that has had some hardness added another way. By doing gradual changes you won't stress/shock your fish. Doing that would be bad!>
How can I raise the PH? I know you can grab the ph raisers at any fish shop but is that the best solutions or is there a natural way?
<Two approaches really. One is mixing with tap water. 20-25% hard tap water and the rest rainwater should produce something that's moderately soft and slightly above neutral in pH (likely around pH 7.2-7.5). For soft water fish communities, this is fine. Rasboras, tetras, barbs, loaches, etc. will all enjoy. For communities with livebearers and rainbowfish, you'd up the ratio of tap water to maybe 50/50 for more medium-hard conditions. The second approach is to buy what are called Rift Valley or Cichlid Salts.
These aren't the same as aquarium salts or synthetic sea salts. Follow the instructions on the packaging and they'll raise hardness and pH to some level. You can make your own. Do read here:
There's a Rift Valley Salt Mix at the bottom. You wouldn't need to full dose, but a half dose would make a good starting point. So for example if you had a 5-gallon bucket handy, fill with rainwater, then stir in 0.5
teaspoon baking soda, 0.5 tablespoon Epsom salt, and 0.5 teaspoon marine (or even old fashioned aquarium) salt mix. Wait 20 min.s for it to fully dissolve if you can. Now use your pH and hardness test kits. With luck, the
pH should be around 7.5, and the hardness around 10 degrees DH (= 120 mg/l, or simply described as, slightly hard on the general hardness scale). This is fine for general fishkeeping. You can of course tweak these chemicals up or down a bit. You can skip the marine salt entirely without problems where you're keeping soft water fish (it's really there for cichlids and livebearers who need a bit of extra oomph to their hardness). Reducing the baking soda a bit will lower the carbonate hardness, while reducing the Epsom salt will lower the general hardness. Basically, have a bit of a play until you consistently get the sort of hardness level you want. Write down that amount in teaspoons and tablespoons, and from now on you can add that amount to each new bucket of water. Cheap, effective!>
Baby clowns are fine, they were just hiding.
A recommendation from another fish owner was to cover the tank in a blanket for about 4 days, is that a good move or will that stress my fish our to much?
<Often a good idea after introducing new fish. For sure, always leave the lights off for a few hours on the day of purchase. Thereafter, use lights as the situation demands. Fish are mostly indifferent to having the lights
turned on, and most actually prefer the gloom, but your plants will want lights, of course!>
My filter is a massive external filter with a charcoal base.
<Charcoal removes most fish medications, so bear that in mind when you have sick fish. I recommend not using charcoal/activated carbon unless the situation demands.>
How can I increase the hardness of the fish tank. I haven't re done this test yet but I am planning to do a full re testing tonight with new stuff (the tests I was using were a couple of years old).
<Ah, that makes sense.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Someone ate my Pleco :(     11/20/14
Hi my name is Nichole, I have a 20 gallon tank with 6 sunburst wag platies, 3 long finned rosy barbs, 1 black kuhli loach (I was not aware they needed to be in groups when I bought it. I will be getting 2 more.)
<Good. They are quite shy at the best of times, and probably very unhappy when kept singly.>
and until recent a baby albino bristle nosed Pleco. I had not seen my Pleco (Muvtuv) for about 3 days. I really started looking for him on day 3 and emptied the decor and gravel from my tank until I found him. At least what was left of him. Someone ate him :(( Any ideas on who or why and maybe how to prevent it in the future?
<There's not much meat on a baby Bristlenose, and what you find _post mortem_ is pretty much just the external armour and spines. Now, the thing with Ancistrus/Bristlenose Plecs is that they're herbivores and often
half-starved by the time you buy them. Avoid ones with hollow bellies. Look at them in the aquarium shop. Look for species that are actively feeding, e.g., on a piece of cucumber. Ones that aren't being fed are probably
starving to death unless they're in a brightly lit planted aquarium with ample green algae (and even then, it's a gamble). Older specimens (say, 8 cm/3 inches long) are more obviously healthy or starved, so it's easier to
pick out a healthy one. Look for a chunky specimens with bulging out eyes and a nice rounded belly when viewed from underneath. But with the teeny-tiny babies, you really need an expert eye to pick out a healthy one,
so only buy from tanks where they're lively, healthy-looking, and above all visibly eating something.>
Thank you,
Sad fishy mommy,
<Good luck with this usually excellent species, Neale.>

Re: Helfrichi Firefish Ectoparasite     11/20/14
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
I am writing to ask for help on ID for an ectoparasite that showed up on one of my Helfrichi Firefish about two weeks from purchasing them.
<I see this in your pic... some sort of crustacean... perhaps an Isopod>
The parasite looks like a pear shaped convex transparent disc that is attached in only one point (the mouth, I assume). Motion wise, it can move on the skin and leaves behind some skin abrasion / superficial ulceration
that heals in a matter of days. I've also noted looking from profile that the parasite undulates it's body continuously. The fish didn't look bothered by the parasite and didn't try to scrape it off.
<For whatever reasons fish hosts don't seem to do that... does seem strange>
As one of the two parasites was located on the head between the eyes, quite close to the brain, I've decided to be proactive in removing them and ask the questions later. The second parasite was attached on one side of the
First step was to remove the fish. I've removed one third of the water to reduce the chance of jumping out of the tank. Then after placing the net in the tank, I've suddenly turned off the lights and the fish was in seconds
in the net.
I've placed the fish in a container with one inch deep tank water and I've covered it with glass and placed an LED light on top to allow me good observation. First I've tried to remove the parasites with fine tweezers.
The fish stayed still and let me try, but it was still impossible. As the parasite didn't show any intention in letting go, I decided to quit trying physical removal and to go for a chemical approach.
<For browsers and possible future events, I'd suggest using a relaxant... a more concentrated solution of MgSO4, magnesium sulfate... poured via a dropper over the parasite/s... ahead of trying removal>
This was done with Cupramine
<Mmm; there are other, better choices... that are less toxic to the fish host, any other life (than arthropod) present. See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/crustdisfaqs1.htm
that I placed in drops, undiluted on the parasite. After this, I syringed water on the skin and the parasites finally dropped. I caught the fish and placed back in the tank. The water in recipient was light blue, I think I've used about 2 ml.s of undiluted Cupramine in 1L of water.
<Yikes; this is a bunch of Cu>
The fish was in the water after adding the copper for maximum one minute.
I didn't notice this parasite on any other Firefish (I have a trio), nor any other fish (only watchman gobies and a Atrosalarias blenny). The wounds on the affected fish healed in a matter of days and the fish didn't show any signs of distress.
<Ah, good>
I need to know if there is a Helfrichi Firefish species specific ectoparasite that fits the description.
<None that I'm aware of, no. Fish crustacean parasites (unlike various worm groups) tend to be more generalized in host preferences>
And more generally, if you've got the knowledge of a ectoparasite as the above as I need to figure out if there is a possibility of further issues with this parasite in the tank (eggs, larvae etc.).
<Mmm; well; there don't appear to be any egg-sacs on the one... So am hopeful there are not intermediate forms in your system. I would not... oh I see you mention below>
The tank is FOWLR, with only a gorgonian frag that can be removed, the only sensitive invertebrate difficult to catch being a pistol shrimp highly guarded by four watchman gobies (A. latifasciata and S. yasha).
My ID would be either a flatworm (fits the shape, color, movement) or a crustacean parasite (fish flea, isopod etc.).
I am attaching a photo of the parasite and the links to four movies (full HD, zoomed, from close distance) with the parasites attached on the fish before removal (please excuse the quality).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT34itquR4s with the fish in the tank (the parasite on the head is quite visible in this video)
<Very nice>
Please feel free to use any part of the images/ videos if you find them useful for other hobbyists. I am happy to provide the originals if needed.
Thank you in advance for your patience and help!
Kind regards, Andrei C.
<And you for sharing. You have provided much useful information for others use and further investigation. Bob Fenner>


Mithrax question     11/20/14
Hi guys. Love your site. I know these guys are not always reef safe. Do you think this is an emerald crab, and is he to big?
<Too? Not yet... and appears to be Mithraculus>
Would you put him in your reef tank.
<Not I; no. See my opinions, observations re this Decapod on WWM>
He's pretty bold. Could he take down a fish.
<Only very small for no... in future?>
I can always move him into the refugium. Let me know your thoughts as I truly do value what you guys teach me.
<Help yourself. Bob Fenner> 


Re: do Louisiana crawfish hibernate in captivity      11/18/14
Thanks for all your advice. I made a small donation to your wonderful website/organization.
<Ah; thank you. B>

Cherry Barb With Potential Swim Bladder Problem.      11/18/14
Dear Crew,
I believe one of my barbs (male) has the above complaint. I noticed yesterday that he seemed to be having a 'private party', and was hanging in the water (mid to upper mid level of tank) at an angle - head facing down
around 35 + degrees.
<Mmm; what do you feed? Oh, I see this below>
So far, I have attempted to feed him with frozen peas (minus the shells), and some dried bloodworm.
<Cut this last... implicated in problems>

I've also heard that Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate?) should be added?
<Yes; possibly a good idea
; and not much potential downside. Read Neale's work on WWM re>
I've also heard that live daphnia or bloodworm would be best?
<Depends on cause. IF you use flake food, DO stop this>
Parameters :
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate (around 50)
<Zoinks! THIS is trouble...
NEEDS to be under 20 ppm. SEE WWM RE and fix>
GH 6
KH 10
pH 7.6
I have recently switched over to the salifert testing kits, and it's surprising how much more accurate they are.
<Ah yes>
The API test suggested I had nitrates of around 10 - 25 (maybe 20 at a push), where as my new kit says otherwise. Maybe I need some more plants.
Water changes are two 10 - 15% changes per week, and I have also switched from Aquacare's water conditioner to SeaChem's 'prime' instead.
<Much better>
Please could you advise me further. :)
<Uhh, simply search, read on WWM Re>
Many thanks.
Kind Regards,
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Sick blood parrots      11/18/14
My 3 blood parrots seem to be lethargic laying on the bottom or staying in their hiding places unless being fed. One of them is actually changing colors from light orange to almost white on his body. Water is good other than a slight raised nitrate. I added an algae eater several weeks ago.
They do not have white spots like an ich infection. Water ranges from 78-80 degrees. Any ideas?
<Without some meaningful statistics it's hard to say anything useful. Blood Parrots do sometimes fade in colour for no apparent reason. But if they go lethargic as well, review the environment. I would check nitrite (must be
zero) and pH (7-8) first of all. I'd lower the temperature to 25 C/77 F, and also increase water circulation to maximise oxygen concentration. I'd check the water flow rate is good, rinsing filter media gently if necessary. Adding a second filter is rarely a bad idea when fish look "off colour" as it improves oxygen levels and reduces the risk of water quality problems. I'd also have you reading:
Nothing improves animal healthcare like knowledge. It's the silver bullet.
Look for what you're not doing right, and chances are, that's the problem.
As a side note, Plecs aren't always good companions for large cichlids, and Gyrinocheilus aymonieri very often not, if they harass the fish, "latch on" to graze on mucous, or simply make the filter work twice as hard. Cheers,

Re: Sponge Filter and adding Fish Questions      11/18/14
Thank you Neale!:)
<Always welcome.>

Jack; hlth.       11/18/14
Hello Crew!
Just recently came across your website. Thank you for providing such great information.
My Jack Dempsey is about 2 years old. He lives alone (chased his sister to death) 50 gallon tank.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed what looked like a couple scales were "flaking", like our skin peeling after a sunburn.
Now, it looks like he may have lost the scales, or rubbed them off??
<Mmm; something amiss here... NO3? Other metabolite/s? What added recently? Anything live? What decor used?>

I have no idea what it could be or how best to treat it.
I'm really hoping you all may have an answer for me. Please see attached photos.
Thank you,
Jodee Adkins
<Do you have water quality test kits, results there from? In the meanwhile... water changes. No medicines to use here; yet.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Fwd: Jack      11/18/14
Hi Bob!
Thank you for your response. I was slack on the water changes....Just did a big cleaning of the tank and the decor.
<Ah, good>
The Jack seems happy. I give him blood worms once a week, other than that - there has been no changes to the tank in over 6 months. I could do a water test, but since I just changed more than 50%, I'm not sure how
accurate it would be or provide an answer. I'm sorry I didn't test it before I changed the water.
I don't think it's "ick" because it hasn't spread. It's the same few scales.
<Not a biological disease; but environmental>

I thought I could do another water change in a few days??
<Yes and yes>
Thank you,
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Fwd: Jack
Thank you, Bob. I appreciate your help!
Thank you,
<Certainly welcome Jodee. B>

Guest Blog Partnership      11/18/14
Good Afternoon,
I came across your website and absolutely love the diversity of the articles you offer your readers.
I represent Fintastic Aquarium Store <http://www.fintastic.us/>  located in Charlotte, NC. It's the largest full-service aquarium retailer in the Carolinas. Our Charlotte store showcases over 10,000 square feet of aquariums, fish, plants and corals. It's a beautiful location where we focus on aquatic education as much as professional aquarium support.
<Ah good... for you, hobbyists, the industry>
We would love to offer educational and visual content from our industry to you by writing a guest blog for your site. Please let me know if you are interested and we can discuss future topics. Look forward to hearing from
*Cassie Hutaff*
Senior Account Specialist
<Send along some examples of what you have in mind please. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bubble tip split 11-17-14
Actually the yellow anemone was fully open before I departed for work at 2:40 pm and when I arrived home at 11:30 I noticed a piece of rock that it seemed to have gotten tangled up on. When I went to move the rock I
noticed it was actually slit in two and gave the appearance of being tangled and unable to move. I think what may have happened is the maroon clown toppled over this rock perhaps by accident onto the anemone and as a survival effort the anemone may have then split.
<Ahh, does happen>

My question is what are the odds that both anemones will survive.
<Can't tell from here... but good/better if your conditions are propitious>
Is there something I should do to help them do this?
<A triple dose of iodide-ate for sure will be helpful>

Should lower the flow current ratio as I have a large skimmer, a double carbon filter, a wave maker, a internal UV filter pump all on. I do have timers I can use if this is to much current for the healing anemones to
handle at once. As I stated I did add some iodine. I did this because I
have seen this added when propagation take place by reef keepers.
Will the mouths form and if so how long does it take before they can take a meat food?
<A few weeks generally>

quarantine a feather duster      11/18/14
What is the best procedure for quarantining a feather duster. My QT is bare-bottomed. Do I need to add some gravel so the ³foot² of the feather duster can be anchored?
<A good idea to have something to "hold it up">
As for feeding, what is recommended?
<Finely blended meaty and algal material.>
I searched the Feather Duster and tube worm faq¹s but didn¹t find any specific quarantining recommendations.
<Other than avoiding hitchhikers; there's not much chance of introducing anything undesirable w/ these animals>
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Is this a male or female goby ?      11/18/14
Is this a male or female.. Thank you
<Appears to be the latter; males usually have an elongated, pointed dorsal fin. Bob Fenner>

Clown loach sick    /Neale       11/18/14
I have a 2 year old clown loach. I currently have 2 mature loaches and 2 new babies. I lost one loach a week ago - he jumped out of the tank.
<Oh dear.>
Recently one of my mature clown has started to act weird, I found him tonight on his side, breathing rapidly and acting weird. I know clowns do like to sleep on their side but mine have never done this. He is currently got part of his head in the gravel. I took 25% of the water out and increased the oxygen. There is no sign on his body that he is sick, his colours, gills and fins are all looking normal.
<Clowns are social, so this could be some sort of social behaviour. If it is, it should settle down. But also be aware of environmental changes that might have caused problems. Not just the obvious ones, but also things like
copper (in your tap water, even if you haven't used a medication in a while) as these can affect Clowns.>
My fish tank is newish - I moved them in their about 5 months ago. It is a 120LTR 4 ft tank.
<Will need a bigger tank; 120 litres (30 gal.) is fine for youngsters, but adults will need 350-450 litres (90-120 gal.) at least. They get huge! So while they grow slowly, don't underestimate their final size.>
I currently have an algae problem that I am trying to deal with but it keeps coming back every couple of days.
<Do wonder if your tank is/has become unstable through over-stocking/under-filtering. Do check nitrite for example, a few times across the day, and likewise for pH. Unstable conditions frequently prompt algae problems, especially blue-green algae and diatoms. Brush algae and hair algae are more characteristic of chronic problems, such as those caused by insufficient water changes. Either/both could affect miners' canaries such as Clowns.>
Apart from one loach doing a leap of faith, the next day I found my 3 year old algae eater dead for no real reason - I put it doen to old age.
<Does depend on the age... Clowns should live at least 12-15 years, and over 20 years is far from rare.>
I have done all of the normal tests and they are in the normal ranges and the temp is 25 degrees Celsius.
<Going to direct you to some reading, here:
Clown Loaches, like most botiid loaches, are somewhat sensitive fish, and most problems with them are linked to environment rather than diet, genes or even bad luck.>
I don't want to lose this boy, so any advice you could give me would be a lifesaver!
<Well, maybe the above will help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Clown loach sick        /RMF      11/18/14

<Hello again Laura>
Yes I have introduced some new fish - after the algae eater and the loach died I decided to pick up some more clowns to keep the other two busy and social. I picked two very good looking and healthy baby loaches, the guy
at the shop through in an extra baby without me even knowing until I got home. This one was weird looking, the body was hollow, and looked stretched out, his gills were brown.
<Rats... too likely the source of your (Protozoan probably) issue>
I put him into isolation for a couple of days and then released him into the main tank. He dies the next day
unfortunately and I didn't notice the body as it was under a rock for 2 days.
Im dealing with the algae by using API - algae fix,
<STOP! Search WWM, the Net re this product. Dangerously TOXIC>

only half does and not every three days as it recommends. I have asked every shop owner around my area and they tell me it is safe to use on loaches,
<They are wrong; I assure you>
haven't had a problem wit it in 5 yrs.
I also have Kuhlis in my tank, I have had them for over 3 years and they are looking happy.
<Mmm; strange... they should be similarly affected>

I have looked for my clown but I am unable to find him.
History of the tank:
We I bought it over 8 months ago and slowly got it ready, let it mature and 5 months ago I realsed ny fist lot of fish. I check the tanks PH, nitrates, nitrites ect every week.
PH always stays around the 6 mark
<This is a bit low. Do you have another test kit you can check this against?
Barring that, I'd take a full small jar of your system water to a shop and have them test it>
Hardness test is around the 30 mark nitrate and nitrite are always zero.
<Zero NO3? Suspect>

I have a massive canister filter that is actually to big for this tank <It's almost impossible to have no nitrate at all with the use of a canister filter>
I do not have an overpopulation problem, I only have 10 fish in a four ft tank Water gets changed every week, when the algae problem hit the guy at the fish shop recommended to take 25% water out ever three days, I did that for 1 week and saw how it was affecting my fish so I did not continue.
The algae problem started about a month ago, I moved the tank to a new home ( I use the exact same water as both homes are next to each other) It is natural rain water that I have been using every since I have had fish,
I live on a farm so no chlorine could have gotten in the water. I asked the fish shop owner in my area what I could do to get rid of the algae, he gave me this "Detox" stuff that is suppose to get rid of all the toxins in the
water and introduce the right kind of bacteria into the water. I used it once and saw no improvement after a month so I haven't used it since.
<... please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. Can you find the coverage on freshwater algae control?
READ there. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clown loach sick    /Neale      11/18/14
Yes I have introduced some new fish - after the algae eater and the loach died I decided to pick up some more clowns to keep the other two busy and social. I picked two very good looking and healthy baby loaches, the guy
at the shop through in an extra baby without me even knowing until I got home. This one was weird looking, the body was hollow, and looked stretched out, his gills were brown. I put him into isolation for a couple
of days and then released him into the main tank. He dies the next day unfortunately and I didn't notice the body as it was under a rock for 2 days.
<Oh dear.>
Im dealing with the algae by using API - algae fix, only half does and not every three days as it recommends. I have asked every shop owner around my area and they tell me it is safe to use on loaches, haven't had a problem
wit it in 5 yrs.
<Chemicals to kill algae are largely pointless. If conditions suit the algae, they WILL grow back. It's like using a herbicide to kill weeds in your garden. Sure, they die. But they grow back in weeks, months. Better to determine the reasons for the algae problem.
Fix the problem, and the algae becomes a minor irritant at best, easily controlled with a few Nerites or similar.>
I also have Kuhlis in my tank, I have had them for over 3 years and they are looking happy.
I have looked for my clown but I am unable to find him.
<Not good. Clowns are "jumpers" so check. Small Clowns sometimes swim into caves, pipes, even filter inlets. They are also good at digging. Dead fish can/will be eaten by scavengers, often very quickly by things like Plecs
that aren't properly fed large portions of what they need, but are expected to "eat the algae" as their main source of food.>
History of the tank:
We I bought it over 8 months ago and slowly got it ready, let it mature and 5 months ago I realsed ny fist lot of fish. I check the tanks PH, nitrates, nitrites ect every week.
PH always stays around the 6 mark
<Too low.>
Hardness test is around the 30 mark
<30 mg/l (or 30 ppm)? Far too low if it is.>
nitrate and nitrite are always zero.
<I don't believe nitrate is zero.
Virtually impossible in a freshwater aquarium containing large fish, unless the tank has insane amounts of plants growing under brilliant lighting. Why am I skeptical? Because nitrate is the end product of biological filtration. Nothing in the tank, except plant growth, uses it up in appreciable quantities. So it collects and collects and collects over the days between water changes. 20, 30, 40 mg/l levels of nitrate are "normal" for aquaria kept by casual but careful aquarists; in tanks that are heavily stocked and/or receive water changes only every few weeks or months, nitrate levels are much higher, 80, 100 or even more mg/l.>
I have a massive canister filter that is actually to big for this tank
<This makes nitrate, but doesn't remove it.>

I do not have an overpopulation problem, I only have 10 fish in a four ft tank
<Your 120 litre (30 US gallon) aquarium is "medium small" in the big scheme of things. One Plec would overstock it, as would one adult Clown Loach! So while the number of fish you have might seem low, the bulk of those fish added together is not.>
Water gets changed every week, when the algae problem hit the guy at the fish shop recommended to take 25% water out ever three days, I did that for 1 week and saw how it was affecting my fish so I did not continue.
<The fact you (a) have an algae problem and (b) don't know your nitrate level implies that doing a nitrate test would be a very good idea. High nitrate levels are a common reason for algae problems.>
The algae problem started about a month ago, I moved the tank to a new home ( I use the exact same water as both homes are next to each other) It is natural rain water that I have been using every since I have had fish, I
live on a farm so no chlorine could have gotten in the water.
<What do you mix with the rainwater? I too use rainwater, but 50/50 with tap water, to get medium hard water ideal for community tanks. You must never use plain rainwater on its own. It's too soft. No minerals, no buffering potential. Explains your pH 6. Presumably you have some rocks, sand or something in there that has dissolved slightly to have raised the hardness to 30 mg/l. But it's still too low. Around 100 mg/l is about right for communities of mixed species that don't need especially soft or hard water. Remember, filters work best at neutral to basic pH (7-8) in moderately hard water (100-200 mg/l general hardness). While you can deviate from these levels for specific fish, you need to have a reason why and an understanding of the risks involved.>
I asked the fish shop owner in my area what I could do to get rid of the algae, he gave me this "Detox" stuff that is suppose to get rid of all the toxins in the water and introduce the right kind of bacteria into the water. I used it once and saw no improvement after a month so I haven't used it since.
<Indeed. Nothing in a bottle magically fixes everything. You should always use tap water dechlorinator. But you shouldn't expect any products like these to cure diseases or stop algae. Not their job. They're to remove
chlorine, chloramine, copper and ammonia from freshly drawn tap water.
That's all. They don't help with disease, algae, or poor water quality.
Cheers, Neale.>

Adding gravel to saltwater aquarium, using WWM       11/18/14
I have a 55 gal tank with a couple of fish, LR, and a few soft corals.
The tank has been established for 8 or so years and I have never added nor disturbed the gravel (other than lightly vacuuming the top 1/2 inch or so during water changes). Over time, the gravel bed has been depleted due to vacuuming loss.
<Plus the acidic/reductive events that go on there biologically>

What is your advice on adding gravel to raise the bed depth? May I just add new, rinsed gravel to the top of the bed?
<Mmm; yes... perhaps more to this. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/SubstReplF3.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Purple Dottyback Darken Stomach      11/18/14
Hello WetWebMedia,
<Hey Brent>
My question is concerning a Purple Dottyback (Pseudochromis porphyreus) we have recently introduced to our DT. We have noticed his stomach area is darkening.
<I see this in your pix>
It definitely wasn’t this dark when we got him and we’ve noticed the darkening over the last few days. He seems to be swimming around and eating normally, but this quick darkening had me a little concerned. I have attached some photos that I hope may help.
<Yes; thank you>
Does this look normal to you?
<It is normal... in that I've seen such darkening in other specimens... and it's transient; goes with time>
Would you be concerned for disease or parasites?
<No; I would not>
Would you recommend any action at this point?
<I would not do anything at all>
I appreciate any insight you may provide. As always, thanks for the incredible service your team provides.
Brent Wells
<Ah, welcome. Bob Fenner>

Acrylic tanks      11/18/14
I want to attach two acrylic tanks together to make one large tank. Is this possible? How should I go about doing this? Danielle
<Mmm; either by cutting off a side from each tank, or drilling a hole in each and connecting them with a cylinder of acrylic... See WWM re the use of solvents with acrylic. Bob Fenner>

Re: What on earth is this thing? (BOB, any ideas?)      11/19/14
I haven't noticed this "thing" move at all; its stationary. What's weird is the decoration its on isn't wood at all, its standard tank decor. As for my scat, no, he wasn't in this tank. He was in a different, brackish setup and
got horrible temperature shock. I though maybe he'd pull through when I began raising the temperature slowly, but sadly he didn't. I'm still at a loss about it. I'll keep an eye on this thing and see what it does, if anything. Thanks, though! Let me know if anyone gets any ideas.
<Cool. Would remove, smell, examine, think carefully before returning. If "alive" perhaps putting in a floating breeding trap would be safer? Neale.>

Fire eel frustrations !!  Fdg.       11/19/14
I have a fire eel that has been super healthy and active always. We have had him just under two years in which he has grown from 4" to about 16" and gained much in the way of girth.
Here is the issue.. I can not get the bugger to eat anything but frozen blood worms and live blackworms (I raise myself) I have tried withholding food for nearly two weeks, more than once, and I routinely offer prawn, night crawler, tilapia, krill, meal worms, snails and mysis shrimp. Eaten with gusto by his Ropefish and Bichir and Ctenopoma tank mates but never by him. He comes up to my hand and as soon as he sees it isn't bloodworms he goes in his cave and pouts.
Any suggestions? I am very concerned about his dietary needs. Any advice would be appreciated!
<I'd be worried too! Clearly he's okay if 2 years old, so there's no immediate worry. But do try live river shrimps, as most Fire Eels seem to love these. Earthworms should also be taken. Starving a healthy predatory fish like this for more than 2 weeks isn't a big deal, so feel free to do so. Also try soaking alternate foods in a defrosted cube of bloodworms.
Particularly earthworms as these are ideal, nutrient-rich foods for these fish. Sometimes chopping the earthworms into small bits helps if whole ones are too wriggly.
Good luck, Neale.>

RE3: Favia Has Blister ­ 11/19/14
Hi Eric,
<<Hi Karl>>
In follow up, the area involved has begun to slough exposing coral skeleton in some areas. Some algae in these areas is noted. I suspect that the entire blistered area will be lost.
<<Likely so, yes>>
Hopefully, new tissue will grow in from the periphery. Will take many months.
<<If water quality is maintained and the coral is receiving adequate light, flow, nutrition, et al…it is very likely to recover, in my experience/estimation>>
I will inform you of the progress.
<<Cheers mate…EricR>>

Can you please identify this?      11/19/14
I have tried copper, formalin, Praziquantel. Could it be Myxosporea or Lymphocystis? Is there any treatment
<....? These whitish, blotchy mucusy spots on the Zebrasoma x? Could be pathogenic (Protozoal, infectious...) or accumulation of exudate from something unpleasing in the system... toxic... biological or not. What else
livestock wise is present? What water quality tests? Actions taken? Use of chemical filtrants? Do you have access to a simple few hundred power microscope? Have you searched, read on WWM re? I would NOT keep pouring poisonous med.s here. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Marc Champion

Goldfish lying on bottom of tank     11/17/14
I'm really worried about my goldfish. For the past two days, I noticed he was swimming weird (as if his tail was dragging him down), and now he's just lying on the bottom of the tank. ​​He will swim up occasionally, if he
thinks there's food, and he breathes regularly. He shows no other signs of disease (no spots, red streaks, no bloated tummy).
He's the only goldfish in a 20gal tank. I add treated/buffered water regularly.
Today, I added 4 teaspoons of aquarium salt and a few drops of Prime as an emergency measure, stopped the feeder and will give him some frozen peas in a day. I'll do the ammonia measurements asap to see if there's an imbalance.
Is there anything else I can do for him?
<Mmm; maybe... has this fish been exposed to possible pathogens? Via... new plants, live foods... Need data re water quality (tests); and history of maintenance, feeding of the system. Bob Fenner>
Thank you.

Re: Goldfish lying on bottom of tank     11/17/14
Hi Bob,
<Sabina... met another young lady just ayer... at Road Runner Sports here in San Diego... with your pronomen... t/w her re its Gk. origins>
Thank you for your quick reply.
I haven't introduced anything new to the tank (no plants, no new fish, no decorations), everything is "business as usual".
We replenish the water about every 2-3 weeks, about 20% of the tank.
<... Do this amount every week... w/ pre-treated and stored water>
I treat the new water with 1 teaspoon Seachem Neutral Regulator+ 1 teaspoon Seachem Discus buffer (adjusts ph to 5.8-6.8).
<Mmm; why the use of this last? Goldfish appreciate hardish, alkaline water of moderately high pH... better to have in the sevens, even low eights, rather than acidic>

We have an automatic fish feeder that delivers a pinch of goldfish flakes (Tetrafin brand) in the morning, once per day.
<I'd not use flake foods with any but very small goldfish. I would use pelleted makes instead. More food value, a better investment>
The aquarium has a bubble system, and a heater set to 76F (I increased it to 79F just now).
I did the water tests right now using an API test kit.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 60.
<WAAAAY too high.
Likely indicative of the real trouble here... Keep (as gone over and over on WWM, books, articles I've penned....) under 20 ppm. See WWM re how to accomplish this>
This seems a bit high, but my understanding is it's a lot less damaging than high ammonia or nitrites.
<All are damaging>
Fish still lying on the bottom of tank, occasionally swims up if I'm nearby.
Thank you!
<Read, formulate a plan, ACT ASAPractical. BobF>

do Louisiana crawfish hibernate in captivity     11/17/14
My daughter rescued a crawfish from a crawfish boil last May - about 6 months ago. We keep Isabelle (the crawfish) in a 10 gallon tank, filter, gravel, half full and a hiding place. We feed her mostly the pellets and
occasionally some veggies. She seemed to be doing okay. Had some eggs, but lost them. She molted a month ago and seemed fine. Last week she was on her side. We flipped her over. Today she's seems virtually dead. Hardly moving. At one point I thought she was dead, but in a shallow bowl of water (to observe her) the water kept circulating so she is clearly still breathing. It is November - is she beginning some sort of hibernation?
<Nope. Just to be clear: only warm blooded animals, specifically mammals rather than birds can hibernate. For sure some cold blooded animals become torpid but they don't actively lower their temperature or metabolic rate -- they are simply forced into a situation where ambient coldness makes their metabolic rate slow down. So, if you're talking about crayfish, they'll be as active as ambient water temperature allows, and indoors, that's pretty
much optimal all year around so far as North American crayfish species go.
Put another way, unless the tank is frigid-cold then it's very unlikely a cold blooded crayfish would be deliberately slowing down in the same way as a hibernating dormouse.>
Could this be nutritional?
<Immeasurably more likely.>
We didn't know to keep the exoskeleton in the tank, so she lost out on that. I'm wondering if I need to be in emergency-doctor mode or hospice nurse mode. Help!
<Optimise water quality and chemistry as per normal, but also use iodine drops (sold for marine tanks, used at about 50% the quoted dose). Iodine is the "wonder drug" for many crustaceans because it's lacking in their diet
when given generic aquarium foods. Providing iodine prevents all sorts of problems, and in some cases, can undo damage. Crustaceans, like molluscs, tend to exist in a binary state under aquarium conditions -- they're either
thriving or dying, with not much in between. Do start reading perhaps here:
Links to various articles and FAQs at top.>
Thanks for your site, it's really the only place to find good info about keeping crawfish as pets (though I wish I hadn't overlooked the part about leaving the exoskeleton in the tank!)
Thank you,
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: do Louisiana crawfish hibernate in captivity     11/17/14

Thank you so much. I'm off to the aquarium shop to get marine iodide (iodine?) and better food (and a new filter). Didn't realize how much all we loved this little girl until we thought we lost her.
<Ahh; a good life lesson. BobF>
Re: do Louisiana crawfish hibernate in captivity     11/18/14

Hi Bob,
We changed her water and added the .25tsp of marine iodine (it said 2 tsp per 50 gallon and our tank is 10 gallon). The person at the local aquarium shop said the calcium in our hard water is probably good for her too
<Yes it is>
-- and she did almost instantly perk up.
<Ah yes; the I2... miraculous in appearance eh?>
Last night she was crawling all over, trying to escape -- very uncharacteristic of her, though I've read on your site how they can be real escape artists, so we were very hopeful, almost giddy with excitement. We thought it was a real miracle -- my husband called her Lazarus.
<Ooh, a fave character in the R. A. Heinlein books he shows up in>
This morning she was on her back and motionless, though after I flipped her I can see she's not dead. She is not eating -- even last night as her little alien gill-like belly button of a mouth was going bonkers, she would
not eat any of the food we put in the tank -- bottom crawler pebbles, lettuce, algae tabs, a frozen pea. I thought about putting a few small fish in there to stimulate her and maybe she'll eat them. Or get some fresh plants?
<These would help... and just a drop more iodide-ate every other day>
Thanks for your help-- and any more advice you might have.
Pamela Berg
<Reading (on WWM, elsewhere re Crayfish) and patience. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hitchhiker ID     11/17/14
<Ten megs of the same non-cropped image. Lose. Read through WWM. B>
Okay so I got a few more pictures. Hopefully they are a little better. He has darkened tips of his claws while the arms are white. He does look similar to that family in that he has a very rounded shell in the front.


Question about this picture     11/17/14
My friends tank wasn't doing so well so he asked if I could put these into my tank he said they were turquoise and purple stag horn.
<? Nope...>
I know this information isn't correct, I have two clowns , arrow crab, 2 mandarin gobies and a Haitian anemone here's a picture thank you for your time.
<... ? Looks to be a Stoloniferan, Clavulariid or relative of some sort. See WWM re this group. Bob Fenner>

Sponge Filter and adding Fish Questions     11/17/14
I have a 28 gallon tank. The tank holds around 27 gallons. The filter is a sponge filter rated for 40 gallons. The ph is 8 and nitrates and ammonia at 0. This tank contains 2 guppy females, 5 neon tetras, 3 ghost shrimp, and
numerous bladder snails. Is the filter too strong?
<Nope. Manufacturers overstate the aquarium size rating for their filters.
They base them on optimal conditions such as clean filter media and understocking with small fish species. You can realistically cut the suggested aquarium size in half to get a real-world situation.>
Should I add anymore small fish?
<The old "inch per gallon" rule works pretty well for small fish such as Neons and Guppies.>
I was considering getting 3 platy fish,1 male and 2 females. Should I get them?
<Your tank should hold something like 20 fish in the 1.5 to 2 inch size bracket, so upping the number of Neons and getting a 2-4 female Platies shouldn't be a problem. I wouldn't add male Platies unless you absolutely
wanted to breed them. Otherwise, female Platies are just as colourful but don't pester other fish in the way male livebearers often do.>
Thank you.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

What on earth is this thing? (BOB, any ideas?)<<Not much... exogenous... looks like a toy dropped in the tank. B>>     11/18/14
Hello crew!
Today I was looking in my freshwater tank (which is stocked with mollies, balloon mollies, danios and an Opaline gourami) when I noticed this very strange growth on a decoration. It is a yellow color, and its...weird. I've
never seen one before. What could it be? It doesn't resemble any algae I've ever seen. In fact, it looks rather anemone-like despite the freshwater, being bubbly and seemingly soft.
<Really not sure. It's pretty whatever it is! I don't think it's a Hydra-type Cnidarian; it looks too big for that. My instinct is some sort of fungus, but these normally appear in freshwater tanks only on decaying organic matter, typically uncured wood. I've asked Bob for a second opinion here. I wouldn't be too worried as its unlikely to be dangerous to your fish, but you might want to remove it anyway, perhaps place it in a jam jar of water on a windowsill for a while to see if it "does" anything. Does it have a distinctive smell or texture?>
I have trumpet snails, as well, but again- in all the years I've had them, I've never seen this before. Could it harm my tank? I just had a tremendously painful loss of my beloved scat due to sudden temperature shock, thanks to heater failure and a bitterly cold night.
<Was the Scat in this tank? Scats are brackish/marine fish and won't do well otherwise. They're normally very hardy fish kept in brackish/marine conditions.>
My heart is already broken; I can't stand another loss. I have attached photos of the "thing" for your reference.
Thank you!
<Welcome, Neale.>

cropped, enlarged, optimized

Clown loach sick     11/18/14
<Howdy Laura>
I have a 2 year old clown loach. I currently have 2 mature loaches and 2 new babies. I lost one loach a week ago - he jumped out of the tank.
<Aye ya; does happen with Cobitids>
Recently one of my mature clown has started to act weird, I found him tonight on his side, breathing rapidly and acting weird. I know clowns do like to sleep on their side but mine have never done this. He is currently got part of his head in the gravel. I took 25% of the water out and increased the oxygen.
There is no sign on his body that he is sick, his colours, gills and fins are all looking normal.
<Mmm; have there been any new fish additions recently? Am wondering re the poss. of a pathogen being introduced>
My fish tank is newish - I moved them in their about 5 months ago. It is a 120LTR 4 ft tank.
I currently have an algae problem that I am trying to deal with but it keeps coming back every couple of days.
<How are you "dealing" with this? Not a chemical algicide I hope/trust. These are too toxic...>
Apart from one loach doing a leap of faith, the next day I found my 3 year old algae eater dead for no real reason - I put it doen to old age.
<Mmmm; coincidence? What are your water test results? History?>
I have done all of the normal tests and they are in the normal ranges and the temp is 25 degrees Celsius.
I don't want to lose this boy, so any advice you could give me would be a lifesaver!
<Data please. Bob Fenner>

Snails & Magnesium Levels     11/18/14
<Hi there>
I am curious if high magnesium levels are still considered to relax snails to the point of falling off the glass.
<Yes; under many circumstances>
The replies on the topic are from 2006 and 2007. Just making sure there haven't been new developments on the topic. Also, from reading the replies as long as the magnesium is 3x the calcium, then it shouldn't affect the
snails negatively. Is this correct?
<Also so>
Thank you for your time!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Bubble tip split 11-17-14     11/18/14
Hi my yellow bubble tip anemone split on its own while I was at work today.
<All in one day? Unusual. Perhaps you didn't notice the last week or so...>
Its in a 55 with a 100 watt led orbit system and a 216 watt fluorescent also with a built in timer. There is also a rose bubble tip at the other end of the tank. That one does not like the light so well. I added some iodine which I think will help the healing process.
<Yes; iodide-ate should be added every water change/week or so>
My question is I since I do not see a mouth on either clone does this mean it will die since it can not take meat feedings.
<S/b there, but use small bits>
I have zooplankton phytoplankton,
<Don't eat phyto>
trace elements ect.
<Mmm; etc. a contraction for et cetera res, "and other things"... No such word as ect>
Is there something I should do to insure they both survive.
<? Yes; provide good care; optimized, stable conditions... see WWM re Entacmaea>
I have a nine year old maroon gold stripe and two one year old yellow striped clowns that are all fascinated with the anemones will there constant attention cause them peril or will it help insure their survival.
<I'd cover the split ones with strawberry baskets or such... to keep the Premnas away for now>
My thought is in their weekend state they will loose footing off the rocks they are on. The good news is they are both inflated. This being said will they sting each other
<No; are clones; recognized as such>
now or is it okay to keep they in close proximity as they are at this point.
<Leave them where they are>
Thanks for your time.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sick blood parrots     11/18/14
My 3 blood parrots seem to be lethargic laying on the bottom or staying in their hiding places unless being fed.
<Something wrong here environmentally... CHECK your water quality, institute sequential (daily) partial water changes>
One of them is actually changing colors from light orange to almost white on his body.
Water is good other than a slight raised nitrate.
<... how much?>
I added an algae eater several weeks ago.
<... what type/species?>
They do not have white spots like an ich infection. Water ranges from 78-80 degrees. Any ideas?
<All sorts. Need data. Bob Fenner>

Help with my spiny eel!      11/16/14
Hey guys! I have a problem with my Zig-Zag Eel i was hoping you could help me with.
<Fire away.>
I noticed in one of your earlier posts someone was having a problem with his eels chasing each other and that his zigzag had a "protrusion" coming out that he wasn't sure if it was genitalia or not.
<Indeed. Oftentimes male fish have their visible 'spawning tubes' (genital papillae) some days before spawning, whereas those on females are hardly ever visible except at the precise time of spawning.>
Well my eel has literally the exact same thing, but he also seems to be sick.
<Ah, now that's different.>
His feces is more like a thick white mucous, and he seems to have these "spaz" attacks in which he'll rub himself against the gravel aggressively.
<Often/usually a sign of bacterial infection of the skin and/or protozoan infection of the skin/gills. Gravel is very bad for Spiny Eels, so their attempts to "rub off" the annoyance damages the skin, making bacterial infection even more likely. Things get worse and worse, eventually the Spiny Eel ends up red and bloody, then dies.>
He now seems to have a small bloodspot behind one of his gills, and i worry about infection. (i know now that gravel is bad for him, and I'm am currently working on fixing the issue. I am not able to remove all the gravel as i have live plants that need a strong substrate, so i think I'm going to clear a large area of the "floor" and build Plexiglas borders that will create a box for me to fill with sand. I think it would look nice and give him a good area to bury himself in, while still keeping some gravel for the plants.)
<Plants prefer sand. Gravel is useless to them. As one aquarist put it, when was the last time a gardener planted a rosebush in a gravel driveway?
Spiny Eels are somewhat incompatible with plants, so at the end of the day, choose to optimise the tank in one direction. That said, sturdy plants (Amazon Swords, Vallisneria, larger Cryptocoryne spp.) do just fine with
Spiny Eels, especially if planted first so they have time to root themselves in. A couple of pebbles placed on the sand around the plants will dissuade all but the most seriously industrious Spiny Eels from uprooting them. Floating plants and epiphytes attached to rocks (Java Fern, Anubias, etc.) are of course fine with Spiny Eels, and in fact floating plants are probably essential, both for their happiness and by preventing them from jumping out.>
Any help would be appreciated. He's still relatively small, about 3-4 inches. His tankmates are 1 angelfish, 1 Pleco, 5 neon tetra, 1 GloFish (rescue from a friend), and 1 elderly guppy. (retired from the breeder tank. lol) Thanks again guys!
<Much reading to do...
The routine addition of small amounts of salt (2-3 gram/litre) is an excellent idea with Spiny Eels and shouldn't cause problems for the Guppy at least, nor Common Plecs. The others won't be so happy about it. Salt at treatment levels for Whitespot (2 gram/litre) will be safe for all concerned across a 2-week period though. Antibiotics can be used to treat infections. Avoid copper and formalin. Good luck, Neale.>

Algae... ID, spg.       11/16/14
Hi. I've been researching everywhere but still have not been able to identify the algae below which forms spongy spikes on live rock and substrate in my reef tank. Please are you able to identify?
Thank you.
<I think this is a sponge period. Do you have access to a low power microscope that hast a USB connection? Bob Fenner>

Re: Algae      11/17/14
I don't but looking online, they are not that expensive and I quite often see them referred to in articles so I will order one.
<Ah, good. See my piece on WWM re... have a QX Mattel/Intel w/in arms reach here>
In the meantime is a sponge period good or bad news and how would I control?
<That this Poriferan has arisen there (not brought in from the wild as large) is generally indicative of it being innocuous... I would leave in place and enjoy. Bob Fenner>

Red devil      11/17/14
I have a red devil fish and her stomach has slowly gotten bigger over a 2 month period. If she was pregnant wouldn't she have laid eggs by now? I have two male fish in the same tank and they are fine. One side of her belly is bigger than the other. Any ideas on what is wrong with her?
<No specific answers here, but no, this isn't normal, and egg-binding isn't likely. Do review aquarium conditions (nitrate, in particular, is a suspected cause of many problems with large cichlids such as Hexamita infections and you should to keep it below 20 mg/l and certainly never allow it to go above 40 mg/l). As with any Central American cichlid, alkaline water is critical to long term health, so check the pH and hardness are where they should be. Finally, constipation is very common with large cichlids that we often forget consume a large quantity of "fibre" in the wild. Review diet, increase the amount of greens and unprocessed (ideally, shelly) invertebrates, and use Epsom Salt as a laxative. As a general rule, the old Metronidazole + Nitrofurantoin combination is a good one-two punch for a wide range of ailments, with relatively little risk to the fish (though watch the filter bacteria). Have cc'ed Chuck, our cichlid expert, in case there's something I've missed.
Cheers, Neale.>

AquarioScenario (ASc). SW nano-small sys. stkg. DB       11/17/14
Dear Stakeholder, some news from SAIA:
AquarioScenario – Holistic Small-Tank Planning: Nano tanks help us aquarists to focus: with limited space, we need to make thoughtful choices about what we want to display. This is where AquarioScenario can assist you by suggesting possible combinations of marine life for each tank size. We have incorporated our work on the Lists of Unsuitable and Unsustainable Species, and also ensured the combinations of marine life suggested are suitable and compatible, considering not only size, but also behavior and needs of the species. Find more here: http://www.saia-online.eu/index.php/en/what-we-do/asc-englReview of the SAIA Fish Lists for 2015: We are glad to see that our recommendations on unsuitable as well as on ecologically unsustainable species have been well received. Each month they are downloaded several hundred times. However, it is time for review and update. Pls contact us with your suggestions, who should be moved from the lists, who should be added. Also report on any new species, which are available in sufficient quantity nowadays from breeding and thus shouldn’t be sourced from wild capture.
Entertainment: We have updated this menu item with new interesting and informative video material, mainly around the marine environment… Enjoy!
<Good idea! Bob Fenner>
Christiane Schmidt
Project Coordinator

Hitchhiker ID      11/17/14
What in the world kind of crab is this?? He just showed up one day! Can't find anything on him!
<Mmm; this 6 kB file is too small to make out much.... could/would you send along one of a few hundred kBs? Are the ends of the claws of this animal black/ish? My (family) guess is on the Xanthidae... See WWM, the Net re. Bob Fenner>

Fuzzy dwarf lion gradual colour change      11/17/14
Hi there! I've been reading your site for many months but this is the first time for contacting you. I don't have so much an issue as a curiosity.
<A (good) quality of life... being adventitious>
I purchased my fuzzy dwarf lionfish approximately 10 months ago. He was about 2" long. When I bought him he was the typical brown, as seen in this (crummy) photo.
<Mmm; yes; quite common. Scorpaeniform fishes period do change color... sometimes "for camouflage"; others in the face of too bright light, substrate, and lack of being able to hide out in shadows, nutritional, stress... "reasons">
You can see he does have a tad bit of reddish colouration on his "lips" and a little on his pectorals. Now I understand lions and many other fish change their colour with their mood. At this time he could change from dark
brown as pictured here, to a very pale tan colour when he was trying to camouflage.
<Ah yes>
Over the next month the reddish orange colouration spread across his whole body, until he eventually looked like this. He is now about 3 inches. This photo is recent but he has looked like this for almost 9 months now.
Since then he has never gone back to brown, and changes from a pale peachy orange, to bright orange like in the photo, and occasionally a deeper more red colour. My mother in law actually asked if I had gotten a new fish lol.
<Observant... also a good (survival value) trait>
From week one he has accepted frozen foods, (never once had to offer him live food, despite the fact he arrived at the lfs the night before i bought him) I started with frozen brine shrimp but once he accepted that it was no
problem getting him to take chunks of cocktail shrimp, squid, and silversides, and he still gets some brine shrimp. And the other day he actually took his first pellet. Honestly his diet consists of mainly shrimp, would that be the explanation for the orange colouration?
<To some extent; yes>
Or do you have another thought? Have you ever seen this before?
<Oh yes and yes>
PS I have not changed my lighting either, and the lion seems extremely healthy and active, and gets along well with his tank mates. He is by far my favourite fish I have ever owned :)
<Again; or in summation: Such color changing does occur; for direct and not influences... perhaps a masters or doctoral thesis, or at least a topic of a petfish article here for you. Bob Fenner>

do Louisiana crawfish hibernate in captivity      11/17/14
My daughter rescued a crawfish from a crawfish boil last May - about 6 months ago. We keep Isabelle (the crawfish) in a 10 gallon tank, filter, gravel, half full and a hiding place.
<Neat! I "did this" also... with likely the same species, Procambarus clarkii; as a college student studying this animal's substrate preference behavior>
We feed her mostly the pellets and occasionally some veggies. She seemed to be doing okay. Had some eggs, but lost them.
<Not fertile if solitary>

She molted a month ago and seemed fine. Last week she was on her side. We flipped her over. Today she's seems virtually dead. Hardly moving.
<Mmm; very common... usually an issue of nutritional deficiency, particularly a bit of iodine/ide... or usable iron... Search, read on WWM re... or write back if you can't/don't figure out how to use our indices or
search tool>
At one point I thought she was dead, but in a shallow bowl of water (to observe her) the water kept circulating so she is clearly still breathing.
It is November - is she beginning some sort of hibernation?
<Mmm; not likely if indoors... i.e. kept where warm>
Could this be nutritional?
<Yes; almost assuredly>

We didn't know to keep the exoskeleton in the tank, so she lost out on that. I'm wondering if I need to be in emergency-doctor mode or hospice nurse mode. Help!
<Can be rescued likely by application (to the water) of the above... there are commercial prep.s for aquarium use... or one can assemble DIY>
Thanks for your site, it's really the only place to find good info about keeping crawfish as pets (though I wish I hadn't overlooked the part about leaving the exoskeleton in the tank!)
Thank you,
Pamela Berg,
Northbrook, IL
<Please do write back if any of this is incomplete. Bob Fenner>

Re: A Question about Acrylic Tanks... seams/solvent       11/17/14
Hi Bob F,
<Hey Ray>
Thank you for your help. The tank fabricator is stepping up to the plate. He is sending a rep up to correct the problem.
<Please do make known his and your further impressions. BobF>

Urgent ! Help... can't w/o data      11/15/14
Hi there,
My Flowerhorn fish is staying at the top...looking in upward direction.
.and his head a bit outside the water...
I read on your site about constipation. .so i stopped giving him pellets..and i gave him green peas to eat... But he is not eating green peas and not even spinach.. can i give him something else to him? Or what should i do. (He eats his pellets but not peas).
Kindly reply.
<? What re water quality, the system, history? CHANGE a good deal of the water NOW! Bob Fenner>

Re: help!     11/15/14
Thank you very much for responding. She had been isolated but died during last night.
<Too bad. Good luck with the remaining frogs. Neale.>

African Dwarf Frog Missing; sys.     11/16/14
I recently purchased an ADF for my 6 year old daughters tank.
She promptly named it Moe. I have no idea if male or female.
Moe was put into a 2 gallon tank, housed with a non aggressive beta.
<It's a Betta, by the way, pronounced "better".>
The tank has been set up for over a year, and I changed all the decorations with the addition of Moe. It has a small outside filter, with sand and a light heater inside. It is kept around 77-78 degrees, and Moe appeared
perfectly happy for several days.
<As they often do. But they are slightly challenging to maintain, especially with other animals. Feeding is the major problem alongside escapes, as the dried foods sold as "frog foods" aren't always eaten, so you need live or frozen foods (such as bloodworms) as a standby at the very least.>
I keep it clean, with regular water changes and making sure uneaten food is picked up. The ammonia level is 0 and the ph is 7.2. The tank does have a lid, but it is open about a 1/4 centimeter into both the filter area and to
the outside world via the power cord.
<Provided there's a distance at least equal to the length of the frog (legs extended) between the waterline and the opening, the risk of escape is much reduced.>
Now that you know all that, my question is actually easy. Can, and would, a frog go out through the opening?
<If it can, it will, sooner or later. As noted above, you need a gap of, maybe 3-4 cm, at minimum between any openings and the waterline. But ideally, you'd have the tank only half to two-thirds filled, so there was
something like 8-10 cm of space between the waterline and any openings.
This makes the tank pretty much frog-proof.>
I cannot find Moe anywhere. I have looked outside the tank (although the dog would have gotten it) and even very carefully and slowly sifted the sand. Moe has gone missing. Not sure how to explain to my girl when she
gets home tomorrow. :/
<I suppose your options are (a) be honest with your child and explain what might have happened or (b) replace the frog and never mention this incident again! In favour of the honest approach, there's something to be said about explain animals in terms of reality, how mistakes can lead to harm or the death of an animal, and we're responsible for the lives of animals when we take them into our homes. There's no reason you can't try over again, this time pre-empting any of the common problems (escape and starvation being the two biggies) by tweaking or replacing the set-up you already have:
Make sense?>
Any help would be appreciated. (Oh and I did a Google search and didn't find this answer within the hour).
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Zebrasoma compatibility     11/16/14
thanks for the quick response. So that I'm clear and NOT unnecessarily losing fish, the suggestion is one yellow and and one purple?
I'll add them at the same time after quarantine. Should I go with a smaller purple than yellow? Would that alleviate stress?
<Both about the same size (three-four inches overall length)>
Again, thank you for all the help!
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

Help with my spiny eel!     11/16/14
Hey guys! I have a problem with my Zig-Zag Eel i was hoping you could help me with. I noticed in one of your earlier posts someone was having a problem with his eels chasing each other and that his zigzag had a
"protrusion" coming out that he wasn't sure if it was genitalia or not.
Well my eel has literally the exact same thing, but he also seems to be sick. His feces is more like a thick white mucous, and he seems to have these "spaz" attacks in which he'll rub himself against the gravel aggressively. He now seems to have a small bloodspot behind one of his gills, and i worry about infection. (i know now that gravel is bad for him, and I'm am currently working on fixing the issue. I am not able to remove all the gravel as i have live plants that need a strong substrate, so i think I'm going to clear a large area of the "floor" and build Plexiglas
borders that will create a box for me to fill with sand.
<Ah yes; or a plastic/glass tray of size that you can fill, fit in somewhere>
I think it would look nice and give him a good area to bury himself in, while still keeping some gravel for the plants.) Any help would be appreciated. He's still relatively small, about 3-4 inches. His tankmates
are 1 angelfish, 1 Pleco, 5 neon tetra, 1 GloFish (rescue from a friend), and 1 elderly guppy. (retired from the breeder tank. lol) Thanks again guys!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: A Question about Acrylic Tanks    11/15/14
Hi Bob F
So your telling me this is acceptable and I should pay for the tank?
<WITH the stated warranty, yes. B>
Re: A Question about Acrylic Tanks    11/15/14

Thank you very much for your time
Ray Fischer

help!    11/15/14
Hello I appreciate any input you can contribute. I have two ACFs: one is albino, and this pretty girl here. I got the albino in 2006 and this one in 07. They are tank mates in a 20 gallon, filtered tank and have always been fine together. Lately “Pearl” has shown raggedy skin and at first I thought she might be shedding but it looked like the colored part of the skin was peeling away revealing white underneath.
<Severe, serious bacterial infection. Possibly treatable with antibiotics.>

It continued to deteriorate and yesterday and today she has been hanging out at the top of the tank. Afraid of disease, I removed her from the tank and when I did as you can see here, she’s been bleeding. I plan to put her in isolation in a gallon tank when the bleeding slows or stops.
<Do ensure water quality is at least as good as the home tank. Remember, if you have a small (e.g., 1 gallon) tank that's unfiltered, you'll simply be exposing the frog to worse conditions than before. So while a hospital tank is a plus, and something around 5-10 gallons viable for a singleton frog across the short term, you'd still need to ensure adequate (a) temperature and (b) filtration.>
My question to you is this- is this disease or injury?
<A little injury perhaps started things, but now a massive infection has set in. Think of gangrene and you're on the right lines.>
I don’t know what to make of it. It looks like one of her front legs and part of her side are wrecked as well. She is not bloated at all. Any advice on treatment and in worst case, euthanasia? I called a local store and the man I spoke with called it aggression and if I needed to euthanize, suggested that a humane way would be to put her in a bag of water and put her in the freezer. I’m so sad!
<Freezing animals this size isn't humane. It was very, very common in the past to do this, and less well informed aquarists still do it. But no vet would recommend it for large animals (it's just about defensible to immerse a tiny fish, like a Neon, into iced water -- as opposed to just ice -- and cool it down so rapidly it dies very quickly). The standard approach for euthanising frogs is to use MS-222; a vet may be able to supply some for use, or else a trained biologist, e.g., at a university lab. Alternatively, there's "pithing" but it's not easy to do right, and for most people, simply too gruesome.>
Thanks for any help!
<Let me direct you to a few relevant pages:
What you're dealing with is likely Red Leg or something similar, and medication will be needed. Products such as Tetracycline, Maracyn II and Maracyn Plus have been used successfully. Depending where you live these may be available in pet stores (the US) or via vets (in the EU and most other countries). Consulting a vet is recommended because they will precisely calculate the dose, whereas using store-bought medications, while better than nothing, are hit-and-miss when it comes to correct dosing. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Minor Serpae Tetra fin rot?    11/15/14
Greetings. Well, I treated the entire aquarium with API Triple Sulfa for four days and then observed the aquarium for several days and the mysterious problem of the bacterial infection with the Serpae Tetras seems to have been eradicated. All the fish look very healthy.
I have been watching them closely for fin nipping and have only seen a limited amount of chasing amongst the Serpaes and a few isolated incidents of them bothering the black & white skirt tetras who, as you previously
stated, can give it back to them even better than the Serpaes can dish it out.
<Often the case. Both species are "fin nippers" but Serpae Tetras tend to be more persistent and vicious, whereas Black Widows generally behave themselves if there's enough of them.>
I haven't seen them bothering the gold gouramis, who can be rather pugnacious also if they choose to do so.
<Males, yes; females less so, if at all. Also, as they age, they slow down a lot, making them easier targets, so do keep an eye out for them.>
I will watch the gouramis closely and move them to another aquarium if necessary. I will keep watching the Serpaes for aggression. I have not found anyone yet who has any idea exactly what this strange infection was,
but the guy at PetSmart said that the others that came in in that particular group had to be treated with antibiotics as well. Anyway, just to let you know what the outcome was with this incident. Thanks for the heads-up on Serpae aggression. I did notice that they are on nippy fish.net where they seem to be known as the culprit in many a fin-nipping incident.
<Indeed. Excellent fish in terms of colour, size, and usually hardiness.
They were extremely common fish in the aquarium hobby during its earlier phase. But nowadays are not as popular. Unfortunately some retailers give them alternate names, making it easy to buy them by mistake. Red Minor Tetra, Jewel Tetra, Hyphessobrycon eques, Hyphessobrycon calistus and Hyphessobrycon serpae are some of the names you'll see.>
Thanks again for your advice.
<Welcome. Neale.>

goldfish in a tank too small?    11/15/14
I should probably apologise now, since this is likely to be one of those overly long emails. . .
<Better more information than less, so fire away.>
A few years ago, I got a 30 gallon tank(36x12x16") with a Fluval 306 canister(303 GPH), and, because of the store's recommendation, had three fancy goldfish in it, which I had to give away when I moved cross country.
<Shame, as this tank sounds fine for Goldfish.>
When I gave them up, the biggest was about 5", and the smallest was about 4", and my liquid test kit (and the ones at two stores in town, since I didn't trust mine after a while) always read that I had 0 nitrates in the tank.
<Indeed. Most (freshwater) aquaria never have zero nitrate. Tap water in most cities for example will have 20-40 mg/l nitrate, and adding fish only increases that nitrate level. Nonetheless, nitrate can be largely ignored
if you do regular water changes. Nitrite, with an "i", is more crucial.
Keep this at zero.>
I recently had the time to re-set up and cycle my tank (though I still need to grab an air pump.). I did some more research and saw that it seemed that the bulk of opinions on keeping fancies is that you should use 20 gallons for the first, and 10 gallons for each after, including a few pages I've seen on your site, so, especially since the water here is not as good, I figured I would keep two this time around. I got a Ryukin and a fantail, and when I mentioned it to a friend, she got rather upset at me that I was willing to keep my fish in such a horribly undersized tank. . . Granted, I've read that some fancies have the genetics to get a lot larger than average, but as they grow, will my tank really be that badly overstocked with those two?
<In all honesty, if you keep the tank in tip-top condition through water changes and proper filtration, your two fancy Goldfish will probably have a better existence than 90% of the Goldfish out there. Is it ideal, perhaps
not; but neither is it go-straight-to-hell bad.>
Second, I was thinking to get my old 10 gallon going with some plants that they'll hopefully enjoy munching on. I was hoping to grow water sprite, elodea (Anacharis, Egeria. . . Whatever name it is going by this week!)
wisteria, duckweed and Riccia.
<All good choices; floating Indian Fern (Ceratopteris thalictroides ) is perhaps the pick of the bunch for all sorts of reasons including a readiness to grow under mediocre lighting and its apparently delicious taste so far as most fish are concerned. It's also a good biological filter of sorts because it grows quite quickly and has long feathery roots that hold many bacteria.>
Maybe some azolla if I can find it.
<Wouldn't be my choice.>
I was also thinking to try Cabomba, since I've always heard they love it, but you say on the malnutrition page to not bother.
<Goldfish generally destroy this in small tanks.>
Is that more for the care level, or because they won't like it as much as the other plants/it isn't as healthy?
<Cabomba needs really good lighting, and in most generic aquaria with average lighting just fades away.>
Are there any others you suggest trying to find that I can give them as things to munch on through the day? Besides human vegetables that is. I was thinking of rotating the various water plants 4 days a week, doing
human food 2 days, and using up the sample of(at least sinking. . .) goldfish pellets the store gave me with them since I don't have anything else that can eat them, then switching to crickets a couple times a month on day 7. Does that seem like a decent feeding plan, or should I switch that around a bit?
<All sounds fine. Go as much by budget as anything else. Watercress, cooked spinach, cooked peas, blanched lettuce are all perfectly viable option you may use as often as you want if aquarium plants aren't do-able.>
And my last question (I hope!) is that, well, my water here really is nasty. I live in a bigger city, and the ammonia from the tap is about 2-3.0 ppm (oh my. . .) I know back when I was reading up on reefkeeping at one point, I saw suggestions for more delicate systems to have small water changes daily versus larger ones weekly, since the various nutrient/mineral levels would be more stable that way, and figured that with crazy amounts of ammonia that would be good for me. Treat the water, leave it out overnight, and do a small change every morning so that the bacteria have the opportunity to keep up with the ammonia in the tank instead of having a large amount dumped in once or twice a week which I would think would not be entirely healthy.
<This is also a good approach with freshwater tanks where water quality and/or chemistry are questionable.>
I have also seen a few spots on freshwater sites when I was looking up a guide on how much to change that say doing it that way doesn't keep anything level in a freshwater tank because you're removing as much of the
fresh as you put in the day before as you are taking out old tap water (which doesn't quite make sense to me, but the threads I saw had people who were quite convinced that it was true.)
<Normally water chemistry doesn't change much when the water in your tank is compared to your tap water, assuming your tank doesn't have a lot of pH-reducing media (like peat) or pH-raising minerals (such as limestone
rocks). So the usual advice of changing 20-25% each weekend works safely and effectively. If your tap water has a lot of ammonia in it, you would use an ammonia remover to neutralise it (though remember: your ammonia test
kit, if used, will still register the ammonia as there, even though it's "safe"). Under such conditions you might choose to bubble/aerate the water for a few hours before use to ensure all the ammonia is neutralised. You
might also check the pH is the same after a few hours as before -- in some situations this isn't true because the water contained a lot of dissolved CO2 that dissipates when the water is being aerated, allowing the pH to rise.>
I was thinking to start with about a gallon and a half a day, based off of AqAdvisor's (unscientific, I know) suggestion that for my tank I'd need to change about 9.3 gallons weekly(1.5 daily would be a shade over a gallon
more a week) and if it seemed that my nitrates were creeping up, that I could start doing more. Does my logic there seem sound, or is there another method I should try first before going crazy with changing water?
<See above. Maybe start with a smallish amount this weekend, 10% say, and see what happens. If all was well, you might do 15% next weekend, then 20% the next. If all works out and the fish are fine, then there's your game
plan: 20% every week. No theory needed, just trial and error.
Alternatively, you might just do two 10% water changes twice a week, and that would minimise any potential risks.>
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer emails from readers!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Zebrasoma compatibility    11/15/14
Hi WWM Crew,
I have a few stocking questions and wanted to get some advice. I currently have a 155 bow tank. It has a 2.5-3" Desjardini Tang,3 " Niger Trigger, a pair of 3" Tomato Clowns, a 3.5" Powder Brown Tang, a 2" Koran Angel, and a 4" Sleeper Goby. It looks empty now, BUT I know in time it will "fill out".
My desire is to add a Purple Tang, and a Yellow Tang. My understanding is that the 3 Zebrasoma's together will spread any tension. Would I better off with adding multiple yellows and a single purple?
<Likely just the one of each is the route I would go... Zebrasoma flavescens tend to fight amongst themselves in time in smaller, more-"square" volumes>
Thank You for your Wisdom!,
<Well; accumulated facts/FAQs much more like it... am still hoping to find/realize ties between this "knowledge" (i.e. intelligence) and REALLY hoping for enlightenment re what this all means (to/for me): wisdom.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

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