Questions and Answers
Picked by Andrew Nixon
A selection of Questions and answers from the WetWebMedia
Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Ian Behnk, Sabrina Fullhart,
Benjamin Kratchmer, Michelle Lemech, Scott Fellman, Mike Irving, Merritt
Adkins, Eileen Ridgeway/Yunachin, Andrew Nixon, Scott Vallembois, Lynn
Zurik, Sara Mavinkurve, Rich Dietz (Mr. Firemouth),
Darrel Barton, Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger,
Brenda Furtak, Chris Perivolidis, Eric Russell, James Gasta (Salty Dog),
Chuck Rambo, Pufferpunk (Jeni Tyrell), Bob Fenner, are posted here.
Lysmata amboinensis, Lysmata debelius.- compatibility/behavior
Hello crew, good day to you. It's me
again...with another question for you. Seems like i am constantly
worrying about my tank. I have 2 skunk cleaner shrimps that are well
acclimated, and both are pregnant.
<These animals are almost continuously pregnant (especially when there
are males about-- as I'm sure there likely were where you got them).>
They used to love crawling all over my
rockwork, but recently, they just hang ON my Clavularia at the corner of
<This is normal... they picked a spot they like, and now they'll likely
stay there unless they find a spot they like better.>
They started doing this when they both
decide to get pregnant. My Clavularia looks disturbed by their incessant
crawling! Both shrimps are fine, feeding, cleaning, basically, normal.
However, it is quite weird to see them just hanging on my Clavularia and
wonder when they are going to continue exploring the tank like before.
<They might not ever start doing this again (unless you rearrange the
tank or add new live stock that disturbs things).>
I hope there is nothing wrong with
them, like, psychologically.
Also, i have a Blood fire shrimp, that
i recently acquired from a fellow reefer. All he does is hide hide hide
behind rocks and crevices, and i do not even see him at all!
<Again... is normal.>
Not in the day or night! It is a little
bit disappointing as i was attracted to this shrimp due to its intense
red and white colouration. Now all i see are its antennae sticking out
of the rock..Ok, one last quick question. I have bought a Yasha goby and
a Randall's pistol shrimp as a pair, and a diagonal high fin goby and a
tiger pistol shrimp separately.
After introduction into the tank, the high fin goby and the Randall's
pistol shrimp paired. The tiger pistol shrimp and the Yasha goby are
both separated, but hiding in individual holes. Will the Yasha and the
tiger eventually pair up? - Regards, Kai
<I don't know... maybe. You'll have to wait and see. :-)
AquaC EV-120 vs. Tap Water Conditioner - Round 1 1/23/09
I am just looking for a quick
suggestion from you, if you would be so kind.
My setup is a 135 gal mixed reef,
mainly softies, some fish, and a 40 gal sump/refugium.
I have a brand new EV-120 skimmer, and I've always used Tetra Aqua
AquaSafe Tap Water conditioner with BioExtract to condition my 5 gal of
make up water I add every 3 days or so. Apparently, this water
conditioner causes the EV series skimmers to foam like crazy.
I would really appreciate it if you could suggest for me:
1. The best method for removing the conditioner that currently remains
in the tank.
<Carbon or just time.>
2. A quality product for conditioning
my make up water that won't cause the skimmer to foam like crazy.
<I personally always used Kordon AmQuel in my pre RO days. See:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/treath2o.htm for even
Thank you very much for your expertise
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Keeping Rams and Neon/cardinal tetras. Sel., sys. mostly
I have a basement tank, 36/ 18 by 14,
52 gallons. I plan on using a river sand bottom,
<Soft sand will be appreciated; the name Mikrogeophagus means "little
eartheater", and like the true Geophagines cichlids, these fish (in the
wild) sift the sand for algae, invertebrates and decaying organic
my tap pH is around 6.8 to 7. but I
plan on using RO water (With a ph of 6.0), they make for you at World of
fish, (its voted best LFS in twin cities). At the store they sell blue
angel rams, $30 a pair, from a local breeder. These fish look much
better, more vigorous and brightly colored then the regular rams they
also sell (blue/German) they keep the angel rams in RO water but the
others they do not.
<Locally bred fish infinitely better and worth the expense. Farmed
Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are of variable quality and often "juiced" with
hormones and antibiotics; consequently their survival rate after
shipping is dismal, even though they look nice in the shops.>
The tank they are in is labeled NFS, as
they are treating for ich, but all fish on the mend, no signs of ich on
the rams at all (Corys had it), rams are showing territorial/natural
behavior and they use the same RO, water I'll be using if I get them, at
<If you have locally bred fish available, buying farmed specimens would
I'm planning on buying a high intense
light, and planting with live plants and driftwood. What kinds of plant
do Rams like or that grow well in their water?
<In the wild they live in sun-baked shallow pools with mostly amphibious
vegetation that mostly grows above the waterline. So there's not really
much "authentic" you can go for. Instead, concentrate on species that
will tolerate the conditions in the aquarium. The very high temperature
(minimum 28 C/82 F) will stress some plant species, while the necessary
soft water will stress others. To be honest, I'd probably go with
floating plants initially, such as the Limnobium, and leave rocks and
hollow ornaments across the bottom for the fish. If you wanted rooted
plants, buy species in pots that you can easily fertilise with tablets
since the sand itself will contain no nutrients (unless you put a layer
of pond soil or whatever underneath the sand). Cryptocoryne species
would be ideal.>
What are good foods for these guys?
<These are quite fussy fish that tend to have favourite foods. I've
never seen Mikrogeophagus show much interest in flake or pellets, though
I dare say some will eat the stuff. Mostly they seem to require a varied
diet of live or (wet) frozen foods: bloodworms, glassworms, mosquito
larvae, daphnia, etc. Remember to vary the diet; if they get just
bloodworms, you're setting them up for a vitamin deficiency in the long
I talked to the staff at the LFS and
they said add tetras first after cycling then wait a month or more
before aiding rams/ change like 5 to 10% of the water a week.
<Likely far too little in terms of water changes. Mikrogeophagus
ramirezi are acutely sensitive to nitrate, and tend to develop things
like Hexamita at the first sniff of high levels of nitrate. In part this
is surely why they die so quickly in most community tanks. So rather
than estimating a water change, grab a nitrate kit and keep track of the
nitrate level each week for the first few months. You'll get a picture
of how quickly nitrate levels rise, and can act accordingly. You're
aiming for under 20 mg/l nitrate, and ideally 0-10 mg/l. Part of this is
avoiding overfeeding: these
fish need only small amounts of food to do well.>
I was think 1 or 2 pairs of rams and 12
to 15 tetras in a school.
I was wondering if a school of neon,
rummy nose or cardinal tetras would be good dithers ? Are there any
other good tetra-like fish to keep with them or is it best to keep the
Angel rams separate?
<Neons need cool water, so they're not an option for use alongside the
warmth-loving Mikrogeophagus ramirezi. Cardinals can work well, and
probably make the best bet. Rummynose tetras would be good in some ways,
but they're hyperactive fish, and need to be kept in a decent sized
group to school properly; if they just mill about looking nervous,
that'll have the reverse effect on your Mikrogeophagus. If you don't
mind switching continents, Harlequin Rasboras work well too.>
I do understand the fancy type of rams
are less hardy but I will be moving in five years + anyway.( though I am
planning on taking the tank with)
<You'd be lucky if most of the farmed specimens last 5 months, to be
honest. They really are abysmally poor fish. I wouldn't touch them with
a barge pole. Like pouring money down a drain.>
Coralline algae die off and what to do to stop it. 01/24/09
Hello WWM crew, hope all is well.
Anyway here goes. I have a 75 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump, 2 250
Metal Halide PFO pendant lights, About 100lbs of live sand and about 125
lbs of live rock. I run a CPR backpack skimmer, 5 marine land 650
powerheads in a figure 8 configuration, a bio wheel, with the wheels
removed with 2 bags of Chemipure elite on the sump, some grape Caulerpa
and some Chaeto. Livestock includes 1 blue chin trigger, 1 yellow tang,
1 Banggai cardinal, a maroon clown, and a lawnmower blenny. Plenty of
snails crabs etc. Corals are a bubble coral, frogspawn, various
mushrooms and zoos, a cabbage leather, 2 Featherdusters, large xenia
population and a green star coral. Parameters are .30 nitrate, 0
nitrite, 0 phos, 0ammonia, calc around 500, ph is 8.3. System been going
for around 1 year now. Here's the problem. Had a red slime outbreak and
tried everything to solve it, changed bulbs, increased water movement,
upped water changes, added the Caulerpa and the Chaeto, nothing it
seemed to get worse.
<Here's a little story I like to tell people struggling with
Once upon a time, our government, seeing as it had more money than it
knew what to do with, decided to fund a little project... they paid a
man to search the globe for any kind of life that might be able to
survive on Mars. If you know anything about Mars, it's a totally
After years of study and research, and searching high and low across the
entire planet, the scientist in charge of this project determined that
the only form of life on earth that might possibly survive on Mars would
have to be a Cyanobacteria... some of which can be found living *inside*
of rocks in places as unlivable as Death Valley. So what's the moral of
this story? Simply that Cyano is a formidable opponent. So don't feel
too bad when you can't kill it. Best to just try to keep it under
control. Build a bigger refugium, get a more powerful protein skimmer,
do more water changes... yes, indeed, you should do your best to fight
it. But do also understand that you're always going to have at least a
little bit of it and you're going to have break outs of it from time to
time... it's just the way it goes.>
Finally in a fit of anger I went to my
LFS and bought some Aquamedic red slime remover that the guy recommended
too me and said it was great. See where this is headed already don't
you. It pissed off every coral I have even the star polyp. Everything
pulled through though and the algae seems to have subsided for now. Now
I am noticing all my purple coralline on my back glass is turning white
and im worried its going to affect my growth on my rocks( I was so
excited that my back glass was finally getting covered, kinda sucks) Is
there anything I can do to reverse this problem?.
<Unfortunately, what's dead is dead. The dead coralline won't come back
to life. But it will grow back... in time. Oddly enough, the change in
lighting might have contributed to the problem, but who knows for sure?>
I've already done a 50% water change
like the bottle said to on the third day of treatment. Please help.
<Just keep doing your best to keep your water quality as high as
possible (make sure you keep your Alk, calcium and Mg at good levels)...
and be patient. I know it's a difficult hobby, but in time, it will get
Setting Up a New Tank with Old Filter Media 1/25/09
Hi, I'm new to this site and I really
do love it.
< Thanks for the kind words.>
It is so addicting to explore it.
However, I do have a question that I hope was not answered before.
1) I just set up a new tank and it is
being cycled. How long will it take for the tank to start fogging up?
< The fogging you are asking about is the ammonia developing in the
This depends on how many fish are in the tank, how much food, water temp
etc....I would recommend getting some water quality test kits for
ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to get a handle on what is going on and
rely less on the "fogging" factor. The ammonia and nitrites should be
zero. If you see any readings then you may need a bacterial additive
like Dr. Tim's One and Only. The nitrates can go up to 20 ppm or higher
depending on the fish you have selected. You may already be ok with the
old filter media and the tank may not fog up.>
I bought a 45 gallon square tank at a
reasonable price. I also added filter media from another established
tank to help speed up the process. It has been set up for about 3 days
2) What do you recommend I put in there? My tap water is soft and very
acidic. I believe it is 6.2-6.5. I have kept fishes before and I decided
to give it another try. Thanks.
< You have pretty good water for just about anything. Try South American
or West African fish that naturally come from waters similar to yours.
Rift lake cichlids require hard alkaline water. The addition of buffers
and salts can bring the water up to levels required by these fish. I
would caution you on testing the alkalinity of your water. Very soft
water may not have any buffering capacity and can become very acidic and
Start out by researching fish you like for environmental compatibility,
adult size and temperament.-Chuck>