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Malacoctenus bohlkei Springer 1959, the Diamond Blenny. Tropical West Atlantic; Bahamas to Belize. One off of St. Thomas 2014. To about two and a half inches in length. Easily approached underwater, once observed!
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: African butterfly fish       9/21/18
There is nothing nipping at the fish as I can sea I am going to increase water changed to make sure 0 nitrates and ammonia the tests have said it is very low.
<Low is not zero; review, and act accordingly.>
When feeding should I keep to feeding it in the dark or get it back used to normal feedings.
<They are visual hunters, and active by day, but do prefer shade, so that should help you understand when and how best to feed them.>
Thank you
From Josh
<Cheers, Neale.>

Problems with "dragon scale" Bettas       9/21/18
We have Dragon Scale Bettas at the LFS here. They tend to have thick scales that tend to be shiny although I am seeing this less and less. Also the scales apparently can grow over one eye or both eyes blinding the fish completely.
<Indeed, just what the hobby needs -- another fish that's crippled by the mutant genes we've bred into it.>
The one I saw today had one good eye and one seemed clouded or maybe it was a thin scale over the eye. Does anyone know about these Bettas?
<The International Betta Congress are probably the best people for information about new Betta breeds.>
As in it maybe being a case of trying to breed for characteristics that backfires when it leaves the fish blind?
<Yes; so far as I can ascertain, all dragon scale Bettas are handicapped to some degree. Some fry die very early on, others survive for months or a year or two, but they don't seem to have the same 3-4 year lifespan of typical fancy Bettas. Even those that live some years will usually end up blind.>
Also it seems that when Bettas are inbred for interesting characteristics they seem to lose their feisty nature and tend to be slower and timid, not the usual "natural" Betta wanting a fight with another Betta. Thank you
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Flowerhorn/Red Devil Cross with swim bladder disorder symptoms       9/21/18
Hello again. I have an update on Jiana, our Flowerhorn/red devil cross with the balance issues. She has had a full 2 weeks of treatment (Metronidazole, Nitrofurazone, Epsom salts) and daily or every second day 30-40% water changes. She has improved as far as alertness and activity (playing again) but her balance has not improved.
My biggest concern is an area on her side about 2 inches by 3 inches that is always out of water.
<Not good.>
She is pretty good about moving around and keeping it damp and I have also used Polysporin on the area as well but it appears to be infected. Tonight it looks swollen, and there is evidence of skin breakdown. Do you have any suggestions about how I should go about treating this?
<Not really. Fish skin is meant to be wet. There's really not anything you can do to help it once it's in the air and drying out. For example, you can't rub skin cream onto the skin without some of it getting into the
water and greasing everything up, and potentially poisoning your fish.>
Her reactions indicate that it is painful for her.
<I bet.>
We have rigged up a harness of sorts and a weight to keep her below the surface of the water - not sure how long she will put up with that but she appeared to be fairly comfortable with the latest experimental
<Ingenious! Probably about the best thing you can do here, really. Do review diet (especially constipation) but I do fear that this fish is simply deformed. Flowerhorn cichlids are messed up to begin with, and a hybrid could be even less lucky.>
I am wondering about what I can do topically and systemically for her issue.
<Not much. There are products like Stress Coat that help the mucous layer on your fish, and they're worth a shot, but they're not really designed to help "a fish out of water" for hopefully obvious reason.>
Her tank has been treated today with Nitrofurazone but I am wondering if we need a different antibiotic for this.
<Worth a shot.>
Thanks for any ideas or help you can suggest. Andrea
<I'm not optimistic, to be honest. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Flowerhorn/Red Devil Cross with swim bladder disorder symptoms       9/21/18

Thank you for your input and honest opinion on her condition.
She has agreed to wear a wet gauze soaked in Epsom salts for 10 minutes at
a time this afternoon which has cleaned up the site considerably. The
Nitrofurazone also seemed to help overnight as well.
I will continue with the development of a harness and weight system to keep her below the surface but am also not very optimistic about the final outcome here.
<Nor I; but medical miracles do happen!>
Thanks again
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Threadfin butterfly; now Goatfish QT       9/21/18
I have one final question for you. I recently ordered a bi-color goatfish for my tank that will be here next week. Is this a fish that will be able to be quarantined when I get it or should I go ahead and add it to the main tank. I have the qt ready since I also ordered a yellow Coris wrasse and a couple lyretail Anthias.
< I strongly advise you to quarantine the goatfish too.>
<You´re welcome Stacey. Wilberth>

Berghia Nudibranch, culture, hlth.        9/21/18
Hello there.
I was hoping you would be able to help me with a problem with Berghia Nudibranch.
<I'll certainly try. Though I have not cultured this Aeolid myself, I have seen and talked w/ folks who have, some with commercial success>
I have started the process of trying to breed them several months ago. I spent 3 months on the Aiptasia to get it right. and. now have high producing Aiptasia cultures. But the Berghia is driving me mad andfrom.what i have read they are meant to be the easy part.
<Mmm; not that easy>
I set up a under sand filtration system. as described by Dene banger. And the adults have done well in there laying egg strands daily. The egg strands just never materialised into babies. After some 2 months I realised I was never going to see them. and did some. research as to why. From what I read I thought it might be because I was feeding the adults Aiptasia that was too big. And so I set up 3 separate 750ml jars and put one with big Aiptasia. One with big Aiptasia with the heads cut off and one with baby Aiptasia. And after a month there is still nothing. I have also left some babies in one of the modular filtered systems. with baby Aiptasia but it is just one week in so not enough time to tell if it's working.
<Stop here... modular filtered systems? I am wondering if the issue about the issue (ha!) here is centered on water quality. I would take extra care to use water that is well-used for your culture vessels, beakers... Siphon water from the Aiptasia system perhaps for this use>
Do you know where I am going wrong here as it's driving me mad. The adults are surviving in there but the babies not. And even in separate ones in. seeing nothing.
I'm willing to pay or donate for someone to spend some time helping me. out or looking at my system to check for problems or make recommendations.
Please help!
<Please provide basic test results information on the water in use.
Oh! And review Anthony Calfo's pc. on WWM re their culture: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aiptasiaantoine.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Berghia Nudibranch       9/21/18

<Hello Imogen>
Thank you for your quick reply it is greatly appreciated
<Certainly welcome>
So the modular systems are basically a container with a sand bottom that filters water through the sand into. another container and the water is. then extracted to a sump and sent back. The adults have survived well in it and the water quality is very good. Nitrates are below 5 ppm and no traceable ammonia or nitrites. Ph and salinity is also in the right range. The 3 breakers I set up are separate to this system and are just in a container with water that is heated to 24 degrees. I have done water changes every couple of days on the jars.
<Again; I'd be using the used water... from the system culturing the Aiptasia or another established tank. Young marines are very sensitive to many water issues.>
When setting up the 3 breakers I used water that had been mixed 24 hours previously, maybe it would have been a good idea to have used mature water.
<Yes; this IS the avenue I would take... use as standard operating procedure>
Do you know what sized Aiptasia I should be putting in the containers with the babies?
<I'd try some small specimens cut up, diced if you will, with a single edge razor blade>
I have read that piece by Anthony Calfo probably 20 times along with every forum with a question regarding Berghia and every other piece written by an author that I could find. I really want to figure this out
<Ah, me too. Bob Fenner>

Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18
Hello WWM crew,
<Hey Dan>
Quick question. I have a Maculosus Angelfish (my favorite fish by the way)<It´s a gorgeous fish!> coming in the mail (via UPS) tomorrow morning. Ever since I lost my entire tank to a Marine Velvet outbreak one year ago I have quarantined everything that has gone in there. No problems since.
<Glad you fixed that issue>
I just did a copper test (Seachem test kit) and I'm getting a copper reading of about 0.25. Basically what Cupramine recommends for the initial dose. This is down from 0.5 after 48 hours of running activated carbon in the hang-on filter and doing a larger water change this afternoon.
My question is, will that level of copper harm the fish upon drip acclimation from 24 hours in a shipping bag? Would I be better off just adding him to my 200 gallon display or quarantining him for a few weeks with a minimum of a half dose of copper in the water? I'd rather quarantine him, but I don't want to kill him with the initial exposure to a half dose of Cupramine in the water.
<Seachem´s Cupramine will absorb any traces of copper. If you can still get it from your LFS today, that would be the route I would take. A second option though, will be to give the Maculosus a Fw bath previous to the addition to the display tank; even though I don´t think this dose of copper to be high enough to be toxic to your angel, please take enough time acclimating it.>
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome Dan. Wilberth.>
Re: Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18
Thanks Dan.
I’m now a big believer in quarantine, so I think I’ll add some more activated carbon and do another water change, and then give the new angel a 2 hour drip acclimation to the quarantine tank.
<Good, just don´t let the water temperature in the bag to drop.>
Hopefully that will suffice.
<You will be fine, don't worry. Keep us posted on how it goes. Wilberth.>
Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18

<Hey Dan, on a previous answer I advised you to use "Seachem´s Cupramine", my mistake; I meant "Cuprisorb". My apologies. Wilberth >
Re: Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18

Thanks. No worries. I knew what you meant.
Unfortunately I won’t be able to get any Cuprisorb before the fish arrives. But I did double the activated carbon in the filter, so hopefully that and a large water change will lower the copper level further overnight.
<That will help for sure .Wilberth.>

Re: some mudskipper questions       9/21/18
The tank is starting to get together, going to extend the land area until i have a 75*40 cm land part, leaving me with 25*40 water.
<Looks cool.>
But i can't find a good source on how many mudskippers will fit. how many Periophthalmus novemradiatus can go in this tank?
<Overstocking is beneficial here, because it prevents males from establishing territories. Keeping just twos or threes often goes wrong. But in any case, I think you could easily keep at least 6-8 specimens, perhaps more. Mudskippers are much more ammonia tolerant than many other fishes because of their unique ecology.>
And i read adding fiddler crabs is a possibility, i might want to add a couple of them as well.
<These are a bit tricky to maintain. Do read up on their needs.>
I am still waiting for red mangrove propagules to get back in stock, and i am adding some java ferns, I'll put some rocks under the wood to keep it out of water to slow the decay brackish water causes.
<Indeed. Decaying wood isn't a problem for the Mudskippers, so long as the water is properly buffered against pH drops.>
The green hose will twice a day pump in some water from a sump, and then siphon it back out as the water level does not allow easy filtering in the tank...
<Sounds like a plan. I've used an internal canister lying on its side where water depth is very low. Good luck! Neale.>

Sick leather A. Sinularia       9/21/18
Hello crew!
<Hey Cath!>
I've got a leather A. Sinularia that has, up until a couple days ago, been healthy and happy for the last 3 years. It had three big branches and it's on one side of the aquarium with not much else around it beyond some Ricordea and mushroom coral that have been in the vicinity since the aquarium was first set up. Only recent change was three weeks ago with the addition of a couple snails, a new pacific cleaner and a small Pocillopora frag that I'd placed on the other side of my 72G tank. Problem started a few days ago when I noticed once of the branches didn't seem to be as extended as usual. Took a close look at it today and there's a couple fingers that have turned dark brown at the tips. One of the three main
branches has condensed it's size significantly while the second doesn't have it's polyps extended as normal and has a single brown tip. There's still one of the three branches that seems 100% healthy and normal.
Initial research online makes me wonder if it's a bacterial infection of some sort possibly from the most recent introductions.
<Would be my guess too; stress of some sort (chemical, biological, and or physical) setting off an allelopathogenic reaction... the soft coral losing>
Question is, what's the best way to save it - I've seen suggestions like cutting any brown tips off and
dipping the coral (in something like Revive). My concern with dipping the coral is that I'd need to somehow detach the leather from where it's attached to the wall of the aquarium. I'm worried that may further stress it.
<I share this concern and would not be snipping and dipping just yet. Instead, I urge you to double to triple dose iodide/iodate w/ whatever preparation you use>
I've also read flow can help and I could possibly reconfigure things so my gyre pump provides more circulation around it.
<I agree re increased flow>
Even if I can do all of the above, is there something I should be doing to treat the entire tank?
<The I2 treatment is my "go-to" here>
I have a variety of Euphyllia who at least at this point seem fine but I did find a dead pulsing xenia which may be related.
<Oh. Yes>
I'm including a couple photos of the coral as well as an overview of the tank (before it started to get sick)
Once again, I can't thank you guys enough for being here when I've run out of places to turn for answers.
<Please do keep me/us informed of developments, your actions. IF it becomes expedient to snip to outright frag this Sinularia, DO so outside the system, AND place the specimen in another established tank for recovery for a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Unidentified "bug" on Betta Fish - Ich/velvet/???        9/21/18
Hello gang. Friend of Bob F here
<Hey Ad!>
Long time SW keeper, first time FW fish lol. Well the second Betta I've owned.
I will start off with the shock factor: My Betta “Ting” has had this bug for FOUR MONTHS.
He is VERY active, eating like a horse, chases a laser pointer, loves hand fed swatted mosquitoes and overall acts like a perfectly healthy Betta. No scratching or scraping.
4gal planted bowl. Heater but no filter. Has been set up for 3.5 years with a 4 month break after I lost my three year old Betta last December.
Ammonia - 0 (always)
NO2/3 = 0
PH 7.6 using high range test - although I have added Indian almond leaves so it may be lower. Will have it re-tested tomorrow.
Gets 5 stage RO water from the 5 gallon refill station at grocery store. I have never add water conditioned until two weeks ago thinking maybe the filters in the unit aren’t being maintained and
<Interesting... that these plants are growing in... straight RO? They and the Betta do need mineral content... is this coming simply from the substrate, foods...?>
I went on a vacation in May for three weeks and had a house sitter. The heater in his bowl stopped working and when I got back he was lethargic and had a loss of color. I added a new heater and after a couple days, he perked right up.
I noticed at this time that he had what looked like very tiny ich. I started feeding him a little more - cheap pellets all we have here - and got some freeze dried bloodworms which I soak in water + minced garlic. I saw very little results so I upped the temperature of the tank to 86-87 for a week.
<Good. This IS the very treatment that I would suggest...>
This did nothing. I avoided adding salt to the tank but I did give him a salt bath 1tsp per gallon and then a second half saline second bath. He was visually stressed during this, breathing at the surface mostly so I only did one of these baths.
About three weeks ago I was able to get some good photos and post them on a Betta group. Several people have said this looks like velvet not ich based on size. It’s nearly impossible to see with your naked eye unless you have very good vision and only when the fish is head on can you see it on the sides of him - pic below. You can see it behind the eyes mostly, if you look VERY closely. The size said velvet BUT its NOT gold. At all.
<Don't think this is Velvet... small/er size than Ich, but usually very virulent; killing fish hosts w/in days>
Next I added Indian almond leaves. They grow where I live so I added a couple after cleaning and soaking. Temp still at 84
My LFS is VERY limited in supplies. I live in St. Thomas USVI
<Yes; have visited w/ you and Hakko there>
I was able to find Betta revive locally.
Ingredients. Water, neomycin sulfate (<10%), Methylene blue (<0.5%), proprietary polymer mixture, buffers, EDTA, malachite green chloride (<0.01%), cyanocobalamin and electrolytes.
<Worth the risk... if it were me, I would treat w/ this product, though... your plants are likely to show it>
I was able to order Ich-X
I added a full dose about two weeks ago. I didn’t realize there was carbon running in a tiny Betta filter that I had added (and since removed), so I had to do a large 90% WC (down to the sand) and re-dose. I do a 30%-50% WC every day re-dosing the new water appropriately. This is on the bottle of instructions. While I am doing the water change he is getting a 15-20 min bath in two drops of Betta revive in a 12oz solo cup floated for temp stability.
<I want to be reincarnated as your Betta>
My thoughts is too small for ich and too hardy for ich. So many people have said he would be dead if it was velvet.
<Yes; there are other protozoan external parasites; and this could "still" be Ichthyophthirius... the spots (white dots) are reaction to the actual ciliates... can be small depending on the nature... of the disease, conditions. As we e-chatted on FB, really need to sample, look at under a low power 'scope. Procedure is posted on WWM>
So maybe its an unknown. I don't really have the ability to use a microscope. I probably could but I do not feel comfortable doing a scraping.
<Ahh, I see>
He is not a calm Betta, always moving and as he gets better he is even more active, rocketing to the front as soon as he sees movement.
<Good signs. Does appear healthy otherwise to me>
I am attaching as many images as I can, and hopefully you have some advice. I would rather not QT him and I would rather not lose all my plants as they're very expensive here. My course of treatment IS working but its very slow and I worry about more stress and chemicals counteracting the treatment. I have ordered some better foods, bug bites and tomorrow I plan on leaving out some pitchers of water for mosquito larva.
<Mmm; well my choice in treatment is either Metronidazole/Flagyl and/or a Quinine compound... Either or both should knock this out if it's a Protozoan. Will likely have to be ordered/shipped to you.
Please keep me/us informed as to your actions, observations. Bob Fenner>


Re: Hawai'iʻs Aquarium Fishery: MACNA 2018 presentation     9/20/18
New version for distribution:
Thank you for all your comments. I have incorporated a few suggested edits and corrections, and removed some images that may have been an issue.
This version can be shared with whomever you feel should view it.
<Real good Bruce. Great to find the pertinent facts, folks in the know explaining what is really going on in a concise presentation.Will share. B>

My Betta; /Sav     9/19/18
I emailed a few days ago about my Betta and followed it up with pictures after asked to. I haven't received any word back yet and I was wondering if you found any answers. My Betta ripped his tail yet again. I'm really worried about his safety. The rips are getting close to his body.
Thank you, Savannah
<Yes Savannah; I did respond... Our corr. is archived here:
Scroll down... Bob Fenner>

African butterfly fish     9/19/18
You previously said about a fish losing its colour being bad my ABF occasionally loses some of its, about 2 months ago I had a problem while on holiday with an auto feeder over feeding my tank and not working properly.
<Yikes! They're a bit of a menace, to be honest. If you're gone less than two weeks, best simply not to feed your fish. Anything over that, have a friend add a tiny bit of food once or twice a week. Large fish (big catfish for example) can go 4-6 weeks without food without any health problems at all.>
My ABF now seems to be very skittish it was grumpy before a bit but just seemed like it’s personality as was eating aggressively from the food hole where I drop it in but it now seems scared and runs when I put food in or take the lid off, if the lights are off and the aquarium is closed it will eat a bit but is hard to monitor how much it is eating is there any solution to maybe why the fish is so scared, hope this is clear thank you for the help
<Sometimes fish become skittish if their environment has changed. Check water quality in particular, as non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels will certainly be registered as 'threats' by your fish (a bit like the smell of burning to humans) and they become more anxious and won't eat. Do also check the pH hasn't suddenly changed, as that will also cause fish to become nervous. African Butterflyfish are jumpy fish, particularly in small tanks or tanks with bright lights and no shade, so review and act accordingly. Do also check diet: while a varied diet of frozen foods or good quality pellets/flake should provide all the right nutrients, a monotonous diet or one including live feeders can introduce health problems, including thiamine deficiency and parasites of various kinds. Finally, look how any tankmates are behaving, including at night. While some barbs and tetras will nip at African Butterflyfish during the day, there are some nocturnal species, notably Synodontis, that can occasionally nibble at their fins during the night. So again, review and act accordingly.>
From Josh
<From Neale.>

Red tipped macro algae ID     9/18/18
Ah sorry, I was using an old email thread—thought it was still attached, here you go!
<Looks like some type of Rhodophyta algae>

Re: Chemical Filtrants: Too clean the cause of problems?     9/18/18
Hi Wilberth!
<Hi there, Dani!>
Yeah I have been trying the reduced water changed at 10% weekly for over a month. To my surprise, the tank seems to be more balanced that way with nuisance algae almost completely gone. That’s why I was thinking perhaps reducing the frequency to 10% bi-weekly
<Sounds good>
especially since I am having challenges attaining a nutrient build up anyway. The lighting on my system is equivalent to a 150 watt HQI 14K canopy system with PAR ranging from 120 at the bottom to 960 at the very top inch.
<Ok, a lack of illumination, discarded>
I was so doubtful, I actually double checked the tests with my local fish stores as well.
In the nano tank discussion group I am in, one theory is maybe because I house macro algae. I have a fast growing frag of blue Ochtodes, flame tipped dragon’s breath (softball sized), Caulerpa prolifera (runs along entire back of tank), a small rose petal macro, golf ball sized Padina, baseball sized Halimeda, a small bottle brush, baseball sized Codium, and the unconfirmed Rhodophyte which is maybe tennis ball sized gathered all together.
<Well, no doubt, that bunch of algae is using the available nutrients(phosphates-nitrates, in this case) for growing. Why don´t you trim algae to 50% and see if this way nutrients raise to required levels?

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