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FAQs on Black Ghost Knifefish, Apteronotus (Sternarchus) albifrons, Disease/Health: Environmental

Related Articles: New World Knifefishes, GymnarchusNotopterids/Clown Knifefishes Electrogenic Fishes,

Related FAQs: BGK Disease 1, BGK Disease 2, BGK Disease 3, BGK Disease 4, Knifefish Disease,
FAQs on BGK Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Nutritional, Social, Infectious, Parasitic, Trauma, Treatments
FAQs on: BGK ID, BGK Behavior, BGK Compatibility, BGK Selection, BGK Systems, BGK Feeding, BGK Reproduction, & Knifefishes 1, Knifefishes 2, Knifefish Identification, Knifefish Behavior, Knifefish Compatibility, Knifefish Selection, Knifefish Systems, Knifefish Feeding, Knifefish Reproduction, Electrogenic Fishes, Notopterid Knifefishes (Clowns...),

 

Black Ghost Knifefish; hlth., NO3 file       11/24/17
Hello Crew,
Stumbled onto your site, read some stuff that sounds very helpful.
<Okay>
I have a large about 30cm long single BGK fish, I had it now for a few years in a 645Ltr. mostly African (both Tanganyika/Malawi) a pair of buffalo heads, clown loaches and Chinese Glass cleaners.
<Quite a mix>
All doing well.
At one stage awhile ago I was concerned about Nitrate/ Nitrite but have given up, could not get it right, hence small regular water changes, water always clear, no diseases, fish have been happy, some have bred
For some reason I have noticed BGK with swollen belly not eating, see him more often than not. Hangs vertically near the water outlets from the filter & not in usual hiding hole. BGK fish was large when I bought him, could he be getting old? But why the swollen belly?
<Perhaps "just" over-eating... could be a blockage, tumor... even a bacterial et al. infection>
I would greatly appreciate any advise regarding my Black Ghost Knife fish, he’s cool.
Regards
Gavin
<I'd read on WWM re NO3; endeavor to keep it under 20 ppm via various methods, introduce a "laxative" food item (e.g. Daphnia, Artemia) to the BGK for a week or so. Bob Fenner>
Re: Black Ghost Knifefish     11/29/17

Thank you Bob,
<Welcome Gavin>
Knife fish died. I'm thinking tumor or blockage. I don't feed fish for days at a time sometimes due to shifts I work.
<I see>
Appreciate you getting back to me though.
Thanks again
Gavin
<Thank you for this follow up. BobF>
Re: Black Ghost Knifefish; now Nitrate f' as well     11/29/17

Hey Bob,
Any tips for getting the Nitrate down?
<Ah yes; avoidance from the get go, water changes, biological amelioration, chemical filtrants. Gone over in detail here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwnitrates.htm
and the linked files above>

It's got me beat, the Ammonia reads 0 ppm to 0.25 ppm if that, as I stated previously I do regular water changes, vacuum the substrate but the Nitrate stays up.
Have tried a little bit of Poly-Filter about the size of the Ammonia Test kit box as recommended by the Aquarium place I bought it from.
<A worthy product>
But if the fish (Electric Yellow & leleupi) have laid eggs their got to be happy right?
<That or stressed; either end of the spectrum elicits reproduction, reproductive behavior>
Up until the Black Ghost Knife fish became crook I've had no problems.
Regards
Gavin
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Black Ghost Knifefish     11/30/17

Thanks again, Bob really appreciate your help.
I will have a read of that site you forwarded.
Kind Regards
Gavin
<Real good mate. BobF>
Re: Black Ghost Knife fish; Nitrates f'      12/2/17

Righto' Bob,
Sorry to annoy you.
<Not an annoyance Gav. We're here to share>
I read the literature on the web site you forwarded, even though it mostly spoke of Marine set ups, it did in parts touch on Fresh water and in part mention the filter system.
That got me thinking do I NOT clean my filter regularly enough? Is the filter the reason my Nitrate/Nitrite is high?
<This is definitely a possibility as source of NO3. Mechanical filter media, accumulating materials that can/do break down into Nitrate is a principal source of this nitrification product>
All most people say is do regular water changes.
I am under the impression don't mess with the filter, clean it when you notice the flow rate drop, say every 6 months.
<Mmm; well; we need to expand on our ideas, terms here. "Filtration" is a very large concept; for instance, it encompasses denitrification, a set of processes "in reverse" that convert Nitrate largely to Nitrogen and Oxygen... under anaerobic conditions. Are you aware of this?>
I use an Aqua Pro 2200 Canister Filter. The 3 sponges & wool in the bottom basket, the rest filled with Biohome Standard Media and a tray of BioBalls which is all suppose to allow for colonisation of bacteria's and alleviate
Nitrate/Nitrite problems with less cleaning time.
<Actually... you may want to investigate a bit more here. I would switch out the Bioballs and if you have more of the Biohome Standard Media or other sintered glass (e.g. Siporax) filter product, use it in the BioBalls space. These balls drive the forward reactions of nitrification too much, too fast. You will likely see a difference on their removal, substitution within a few days>
Should I be cleaning the filter more often? Have I got the filter set up wrong?
<Just the BioBalls part here>
In the tank it's self are two air stones (bubbles/water movement), a sponge filter, an Aquael Turbo Filter 2000 internal filter and I use it with just the sponge like a power head pointed from one corner of the tank to the
width of the tank so no dead spots (2 Ft..) more bubbles/water movement, right? Also an Eheim streamON+5000. Optimum water circulation with a natural, smooth current formation.
As I have stated previously, the fish seem happy, there colour is bright except for one has dulled since I bought him (was red, now more brown) one has completely change to a better colouring, Nice dark blue with a bright
yellow streak from his mouth through his Dorsal fin to his tail (a Hap).
There is lots of water movement and air ration in my tank I think Bob, so is the filter the problem? What do you think?
<Fishes and non-fish aquatic life can become accommodated to higher NO3 concentration over time... but I would still aim for a reasonable number. There are other mechanisms to control; e.g. live plants use, Deep Sand Bed (in the tank or a tied in sump/refugium), ....>
Once again, again thank you for your knowledge/ information.
<Like tools rusting in a basement, only worthwhile if employed eh?>
Kind Regards
Gavin
<And you Gavin. Do write back if something is unclear, incomplete, or you have further questions. Bob Fenner>
Re: Black Ghost Knife fish; ongoing... NO3   12/6/17

Hello Bob,
<Gavin>
I read the literature on the web site you forwarded, even though it mostly spoke of Marine set ups, it did in parts touch on Fresh water and in part mention the filter system.
That got me thinking do I NOT clean my filter regularly enough? Is the filter the reason my Nitrate/Nitrite is high?
<Might be a factor; best to only clean/change out "part" of the filter media at every interval. As an example, if you're using two units of Chemi-Pure let's say, take out the oldest one and leave the less old one, adding a new unit>
All most people say is do regular water changes.
I am under the impression don't mess with the filter, clean it when you notice the flow rate drop, say every 6 months.
<Mmm; no... better more frequently. Like every month for the mechanical media... the chemical should be switched out/some rotated for new about this same interval>
I use an Aqua Pro 2200 Canister Filter. The 3 sponges & wool in the bottom basket, the rest filled with Biohome Standard Media and a tray of Marine BioBalls which is all suppose to allow for colonisation of bacteria's and alleviate Nitrate/Nitrite problems with less cleaning time.
<We had this convo.... I'd remove the BioBalls, use ChemiPure in the space instead>
Should I be cleaning the filter more often? Have I got the filter set up wrong?
<.... Yes>
In the tank itself are two air stones (bubbles/water movement), a sponge filter, an Aquael Turbo Filter 2000 internal filter and I use it with just the sponge like a power head pointed from one corner of the tank to the width of the tank so no dead spots (2 Ft..) more bubbles/water movement, right? Also an Eheim streamON+5000. Optimum water circulation with a natural, smooth current formation.
<Okay; good to have more circulation, and aeration helps... most canister filters are deficient here>
There is lots of water movement and aeration in my tank I think Bob, so is the filter the problem?
<Not a problem, other than the driven nitrification from the bioballs, but could be improved as I've stated>
Once again, again thank you for your knowledge/ information.
Kind Regards
Gavin
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Black Ghost Knife fish     12/11/17

Hello Bob,
<Gavin>
Thank you again for your advise.
<Welcome>
I will try the Chemi-Pure and a more regular cleaning of the filter.
So many people tell you different things, for me it's very confusing.
<Mmm; don't allow it to be. SEEK to understand the underlying science; question opinions>
I will let you know the results. Until then Merry Xmas & Happy New Year Bob.
<And you and yours. BobF>
Kind Regards
Gavin
Re: Black Ghost Knife fish      1/24/18

G'day Bob,
<Gavin>
Just giving you a little feed back about my aquarium as I said I would.
<Ah, thank you>
While waiting for the delivery of the Chemi-Pure I ordered online I shopped around looking for it.
One aquarium shop had a big sale on De-Nitrate and told me it would do the job. So I cleaned the filter, added De-Nitrate to the filter, made a small water change, left the aquarium to settle tested the water.
Ammonia reading = Perfect. Nitrate = SKY HIGH, so I'm thinking you rip off barstaaards.
<Mmm>
Chemi-Pure arrives, clean the filter add the Chemi-Pure & leave in the De-nitrate, do another small water change, after a couple of days, Ammonia reading = Perfect. Nitrate = right up there again. So then I take everything
out of the tank, flush it all clean, find buffalo head cichlid eggs in one rock in their area, take out nearly all the water vacuum the substrate , put the tank back together leave it to settle, Ammonia reading = Perfect.
Nitrate = same - NO change high as a kite. THOUGHT BUGGA THIS, took a water sample to a pet store, they tested it for me, guess what? Every thing Ammonia, PH, Nitrate and a fourth thing (can't remember) PERFECT, SHOCKED AND STUNNED, obviously I have a faulty Nitrate kit, although it doesn't expire until 2020. Get this the wife says told ya so..
<Ahh, good that you checked the checker>
All that worry, money wasted, time spent goggling and seeking advise all for nothing, so obviously the Black Ghost Knife fish and a Peacock Cichlid both died (a couple of months apart) with swollen bellies had a Parasite or something happening.
Anyway the aquarium is crystal clear like the fish are suspended in air, I'm a lot more satisfied, I have left the filter media as is:- sponges and wool in the bottom basket, then the Marine home bio balls with De-nitrate in the next basket, then the Bio-home filter media mixed with De-nitrate, in the top basket is the Chemi-Pure also mixed with the De-nitrate, there was a lot it and I still have one bag of it unopened.
<Good; best to rotate one unit out (the older) and replace it w/ new every month or so>
Now I will leave the filter alone for awhile, but I will order some more Chemi-pure ready for when the current lot expires. Eventually the De-nitrate will expire as well.
Have a good one Bob and many thanks.
<Cheers Gavin. Bob Fenner>

 

Black Ghost knife; env. poisoning: Too much new water       12/27/15
Hello, I have a ghost knife approx. 30cm living in a clear Perspex tube in my communal tank. Recently I changed 80% of the water ,
<Yikes; do see/read my piece on WWM re "frequent partial water changes". In these years, I would only change out about a quarter of the water... for reasons stated>
cleaned the filters and re stabilised the conditions. Whilst I was doing this I removed the ghost knife into a container on his own. All ok . Three hours later I put him back in the tank and now he seems to be having trouble remaining the right way up. He is upside most of the time. He still eats and can get upright for this but then moves into the upside down position. I have fed him shelled green peas which he likes but he still is swimming upside down in his tube for five days now. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you . Sincerely Helen and “Phantom”
<Am out of the country; but will look for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2ochgs.htm
and the linked files above. I WOULD try overdosing (two, three times the amount) w/ Amquel or equivalent product. Going forward, store and pre-treat the 20-25% of water to be changed out ahead of time (like a week).
Bob Fenner>

BGK concerns he is dying            3/23/15          /RMF; not amused, amusing
Hi
<Ness>
I'm trying to save my ill BGK. Had him about a year, is about 20cm, has always been very healthy. He's in an 85L aquarium,
<Too small by more than twice>
(I know I need to seriously upgrade the size for him) he was with two silver dollars that went belly up and died this morning.
<... environmental>

I'm desperate not to lose our BGK also.
The BGK has been floating on his side, on the top of the tank in the back corner near the filter tube and heater, resting on an air tube, hardly moving and not eating for four days now.
History: The tank had a nitrite spike
<...>

a week ago (I was in hospital for several days with my sick daughter, but tank levels had been fine before). I also notice he had mottled white on his sides, looked like his slime coat was not too good?? (Looks better now) I then saw his fins had a red jagged edging all along the bottom (fin rot/pest??) and I saw a small white 'thread' hanging off his fin on a
reddened area (maybe 1mm long, looked like a worm?). The silver dollars both had what looked like a cottony growth on their sides (fungal/worm??). They all stopped eating. BGK stopped coming out of his cave. About two weeks ago (at first) I thought fungal infection in the tank, so partial water change, treated with API MelaFix and Pimafix
<Both worthless shams... Did you even take any time to search WWM before writing us? Time better spent having done maintenance on the system>

for four days (this was prior to the nitrate spike and my hospital stay).
Then All still not eating much, if at all. This is when I saw the thread/worm?
<......>
And frayed fins. Silver dollar also lost a lot of fin. Did water change (40%) Treated the tank with tablets (dissolved) that treat worm/itch/lice etc.
<Of no use whatsoever; in fact toxic to Apteronotids>
also added aquarium salt
<... this too>

slowly over couple days. Used Prime and Nitrazorb for the nitrates.
AmmoLock for ammonia spike.
<These won't work w/o stemming the source.>

Nitrites cleared completely. But Tank has been very cloudy. Two days later nitrites back to .25, and PH very low, so 10% water change, regenerated Nitrazorb pad, added more aquarium salt, added Prime, and PH upper. That was yesterday. This morning my two dollars died :( but tank water 'cloud' had cleared, nitrites STILL .25, PH fine, ammonia very high (but could be still showing after detoxed??) BGK finally ate (a whole frozen blood worm block, very quickly, hand fed), but he is still floating on his side at the top of the tank in the back corner next to the filter tube and water heater. I keep thinking he's dead but then he will swave his fins, BUT he hasn't come out of that corner and has been floating on his side for four days now! Is there anything else I can do for him??? What is wrong with him??
<Poor environment; fix it>

Water temp 27 degrees Celsius.
Thanks millions
<... Well; the real issue you identified in the first two sentences.
Improper housing, poor water quality and poisoning w/ "medicines" has been the undoing of this life in your care.
Am passing this to Neale for his calmer response.
Bob Fenner>
Re BGK       3/23/15

Hi, sorry, further to my last email (below) I forgot to mention:
1) BGK is red on the white stripe areas on his nose and tail. What is this?? Will he be ok or is it very bad news?
<The same: Env.>

2) BGK, where his slime coat looked thick and mottled last week, (looked like a trail of snot running down his sides) he now has a thin, flat white jagged looking line down both sides of him. Can you tell me why? What it is?
<Ditto>

3) we think all the trouble started when the two silver dollars tried to mate, the eggs weren't fertilized and I found them hiding around the tank, under a log etc and gone fuzzy with fungus, in clumps, then I was away and the water went south very quickly
Thanks again
<B>
BGK concerns he is dying /Neale (thank goodness; and him)       2/24/15

Hi
<Hello,>
I'm trying to save my ill BGK. Had him about a year, is about 20cm, has always been very healthy. He's in an 85L aquarium, (I know I need to seriously upgrade the size for him)
<I'll say!>
he was with two silver dollars that went belly up and died this morning.
<A good sign environment, rather than disease, was the issue. If multiple fish across different species sicken or die within a day or two, it's a good indication the environment is toxic rather than some subtle disease, which tends to affect one fish at a time, and often singles out the least hardy species before affecting the others.>
I'm desperate not to lose our BGK also.
<Understood.>
The BGK has been floating on his side, on the top of the tank in the back corner near the filter tube and heater, resting on an air tube, hardly moving and not eating for four days now.
History: The tank had a nitrite spike a week ago (I was in hospital for several days with my sick daughter, but tank levels had been fine before).
I also notice he had mottled white on his sides, looked like his slime coat was not too good?? (Looks better now) I then saw his fins had a red jagged edging all along the bottom (fin rot/pest??) and I saw a small white 'thread' hanging off his fin on a reddened area (maybe 1mm long, looked like a worm?). The silver dollars both had what looked like a cottony growth on
their sides (fungal/worm??). They all stopped eating. BGK stopped coming out of his cave. About two weeks ago (at first) I thought fungal infection in the tank, so partial water change, treated with API MelaFix and Pimafix for four days (this was prior to the nitrate spike and my hospital stay).
Then All still not eating much, if at all. This is when I saw the thread/worm? And frayed fins. Silver dollar also lost a lot of fin. Did water change (40%) Treated the tank with tablets (dissolved) that treat worm/itch/lice etc. also added aquarium salt slowly over couple days. Used Prime and Nitrazorb for the nitrates. AmmoLock for ammonia spike. Nitrites cleared completely. But Tank has been very cloudy. Two days later nitrites back to .25, and PH very low, so 10% water change, regenerated Nitrazorb pad, added more aquarium salt, added Prime, and PH upper. That was yesterday. This morning my two dollars died :( but tank water 'cloud' had cleared, nitrites STILL .25, PH fine, ammonia very high (but could be still showing after detoxed??) BGK finally ate (a whole frozen blood worm block, very quickly, hand fed), but he is still floating on his side at the top of
the tank in the back corner next to the filter tube and water heater. I keep thinking he's dead but then he will swave his fins, BUT he hasn't come out of that corner and has been floating on his side for four days now! Is there anything else I can do for him??? What is wrong with him?? Water temp 27 degrees Celsius.
Thanks millions
<Black Ghost Knifefish are extremely sensitive to poor environment. Bear in mind they come from clear, clean deep water pools around waterfalls and rapids. Their tolerance for nitrite (and ammonia) is essentially zero, and they aren't wild about nitrate either, so frequent water changes (even relatively small ones, say, 20% every week) are essential. On top of that they have little tolerance for low oxygen, despite not wanting particularly cool water. So while 25 C/77 F is the order of the day so far as temperature goes, you need to balance this with brisk turnover and quite possibly extra aeration. We're talking water turnover rates 8-10 times the volume of the tank, so if not quite turbulent then certainly strong,
directional water currents across all levels of the aquarium. Complicating maintenance is the fact these fish have minimal tolerance for medications. Basically, avoid stuff like copper and formalin, and while Melafix and Pimafix are probably less harmful, you'd still want to avoid them if at all possible. Antibiotics are tolerated well though, as is the old salt/heat method for treating Whitespot. But that's about it so far as your range of medications goes. Optimal water quality alongside proper diet and appropriate quarantining of tankmates to prevent infections is the name of the game here. Once BGKs get sick, life is difficult for all concerned.
What's to do now? Optimise living conditions, boost filtration and aeration, get rid of any traces of ammonia and nitrite... and then pretty much hope for the best. Use appropriate medications (with carbon removed from the filter) with only extreme care with regard to overdosing, and taking care to specifically avoid copper and formalin. Hope this helps.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re BGK      2/24/15

Hi, sorry, further to my last email (below) I forgot to mention:
1) BGK is red on the white stripe areas on his nose and tail. What is this?? Will he be ok or is it very bad news?
<Incipient bacterial infection. Bad, but not as bad as dead, white flesh there, which is what'll happen next. Treat with a reliable antibiotic/antibacterial.>
2) BGK, where his slime coat looked thick and mottled last week, (looked like a trail of snot running down his sides) he now has a thin, flat white jagged looking line down both sides of him. Can you tell me why? What it is?
<No real explanation for this beyond the obvious statement that fish react to poor environment by upping mucous production, which sort of insulates them for a while. But beyond a certain point mucous won't help.>
3) we think all the trouble started when the two silver dollars tried to mate, the eggs weren't fertilized and I found them hiding around the tank, under a log etc and gone fuzzy with fungus, in clumps, then I was away and the water went south very quickly ��
<Conceivably, but in an 85 litre tank it's hard to imagine keeping a pair of ADULT Silver Dollars (these fish are the size of saucers when full grown) sufficiently well that they'd want to mate. So I'd keep an open mind here.>
Thanks again
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Re BGK      2/24/15

Hi once more
<Hello,>
Thanks for your time in replying Neale. I have some good news, but first may I ask you two more questions please:
<Sure thing.>
1) the nitrites are still at .25 (third day), if I continue to use the Nitrazorb in the filter and regenerate it every few days, do a 10% water change daily (do I do this off the top or use the vacuum and do the gravel too??), and condition the new water with Prime, is there anything else I need to be doing to remove the nitrites back to zero?
<Yes. Nitrite can't be "absorbed away" because it's continually produced by the filter bacteria as they process the ammonia the fish excrete. You absolutely must figure out why there aren't enough filter bacteria to turn the toxic nitrite into (mostly) harmless nitrate. Overstocking, overfeeding, and/or under-filtering are the three usual causes. If you're stuck with an 85-litre tank in the short term, you must at least filter it very heavily using as much biological media as you can. My guess would be
adding a second (mature) filter to your tank, even something simple like an internal sponge filter, would make a huge difference to this system.>
2) The ammonia is still showing very high, I understand it will do this even after it's detoxed, how long after nitrites are corrected should it take to show clear on the ammonia? (I ask so I can judge if I have an ammonia problem that needs addressing).
<See above; ammonia is produced every second of every minute of every hour of every day... which is why trying to absorb it away it (or chemically neutralise it) is pointless. Again, biological filtration is what you need to focus on. Something that can use up the ammonia as its produced.>
Good news is BGK has started eating very well again (frozen blood worms) and has returned to his cave this morning! Swimming around the tank, still on his side a lot, but he seems to be doing much better...*happy dance*! He seems settled and happy again. Do you still think I should treat with antibiotics for infection? If so can you recommend one?
<Antibiotics should be safe to use, provided they don't hit the filter bacteria (check with the manufacturer). In the UK antibiotics are only supplied by the vets, so my experience is minimal. But the Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 combination is popular, and there are various others. Basically, any antibiotic will be better than Melafix and Pimafix.>
Still V sad about the SD :( but lessons learnt BIG time.
I've certainly learnt a lot of new info during the past couple of weeks, have spent many hours reading how and trying to correct the tank and help the fish, travelling to our local store, and even phoned a vet for advice.
I certainly appreciate your input also, some handy info for sure. I'm still fairly new to the aquarium world but I do love it and want to do it right.
The 2 SD were not saucer size by any means but one was going very orange and black along the edge of his fins and getting black smudge spots on his sides periodically and behaving in a manner that looked as though he was mating (from what I have read). This was when the tank was healthy before any of the problems began. It was unfortunate that I ended up in hospital with my two year old for four days and came home to find the tank in a dreadful state. I had been treating what I thought were fungal issues during the week before.
<Sorry to hear this. But yes, Silver Dollars are huge when fully grown.
Upwards of 12 cm/5 inches, and in some cases well over that.>
Now I am just trying to get the nitrite back to zero. Will get a larger set up, I purchased this one on advice by the aquarium store staff based on these fish! But I will keep it as either a hospital tank or use for smaller fish set up.
Thanks so much for your fast reply you've been wonderful, got to love email for fast advice from around the world! (I'm in oz) :)
Ness
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Issue with my Black ghost knife fish      7/21/14
Hello!
<Malin>
After reading through your website about issues with Black ghost knife fish, I feel contacting you is a good thing to do.
<Go ahead>
I did a water change and cleanup in my 400 liter freshwater tank yesterday, and today my black ghost is acting strange.
<Mmm; how much clean up and percentage water may be the issue here. Best (per the SOP on WWM) to do these frequent, partial (no more than a quarter, 25%) change outs... WITH stored, pre-treated water. Municipal sources nowayears can be highly variable>
Yesterday he (as most, I don´t know the sex of the fish, but it´s a he to me) was fine, he hanged <hung> around his tube, doing his black ghost thing, he ate well (feed him red frozen mosquito larva and some pellets), and he seemed happy.
Today he is swimming just by the surface, as if not being able to breath, he wont eat and it´s worrying me. Only thing that comforts me is that he still has a great color and the "coat" isn´t showing any signs of any diseases.
<Again; my guess/bet is that the root here is the cleaning, new water>
Regretfully, I haven´t got anything to be able to test the nitrate or the like.
After a water change, can the water change so drastically that nitrate can appear in less than 24 hours?
<Not usually much increase; no>
I know a black ghost isn´t an easy fish to care for, but I must´ve been doing something right because he has been with me for at least 2 years and he is 35-40 centimeters long.
<Nice>
My apologies if any replies from me is slow, and if my description isn´t the best, but English is not my first language. (Am from Sweden)
<I understand you perfectly.>
I hope you can help me, for I have nowhere else to turn to right now.
Thanks in advance for you help
Best Regards, Malin Norberg, Sweden.
<If it were my system, Apteronotid, I would do nothing at this point... No medicine/s, water treatments will improve the situation. Only time going by will help. Bob Fenner>

Chocolate Ghost Knifefish - Dead... Actually A. albifrons... much reading      4/19/13
Hi guys. I've been reading your site in hopes of helping my Brown GK thrive. Unfortunately he's dead. I wanted to provide a picture so others might use it as a reference and you might help me better understand what happened. I found it very hard to find pictures of illnesses of BGK's so hopefully this is helpful. Until his last day, he wouldn't come out long enough for me to get a good picture. I was treating for Ich but now suspect he had fin rot as well, although he didn't have white on his fins, just dark brown spots that eventually fell off. He had what looked like an ulcer near his anal fin. I didn't see the rot until the last 24 hours but it could be because I couldn't get a great look at him (he hid a lot until he needed to come up for more air due to the disease). Here's what I did: Kept water to 80 - 82 degrees (I'm using a thermometer that sticks to the glass and both are "lit up") and using Kordon® Ich-Attack® 100% Natural Ich Treatment
<http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11066250&f=PAD%2FpsNotAvailInUS%2FNo>
<Am familiar, and though am a huge a fan/friend of Dr. Bob Rofen, this product isn't worthy of the co.>
twice a day in a 29 gallon tank (knowing I'd have to move him once he started to grow) with 1 rainbow shark and 3 Cory catfish. My hope is/was that I'd successfully raise them and then move them to a very large tank around 100 gallons. The reason I was treating for Ich is because I had 3 hatchet fish who had it and died.
<... simple elevation of temperature would have cured this... See/READ on WWM re>
Since the remaining fish were exposed to it, I treated the tank as a hospital tank and hoped to prevent it in all of them. In a last ditch attempt to help the BKF
<... is this a Black Ghost or a Chocolate Knife? These are different species>
I added aquarium salt slowly over the course of a day (this was yesterday). At this point I had already seen that he had a sore near his anal fin and figured it was a lost cause but he was gasping for air and I was hopeful that at least it might ease his suffering. This morning he was laying flat and the rainbow shark was trying to eat him
<Very common... minnow sharks are aggressive, opportunistic>
 so I removed him and let him die quietly (I really don't know the humane thing to do when you know it's only a matter of time for a fish - if you do, please tell me). I was doing 40% water changes every other day,
<And this system stayed cycled? Lo dudo>

about 1 hour before treating the tank so it wouldn't be diluted (I treated it twice a day with 3 tsp of ICH per directions).
<Of no use... not effective>
The PH was 8.0,
<Too high...>
Ammonia
1ppm,
<Deadly toxic at this high pH>
 Nit 2 - .25,
<As well as this>
 Nit3 5ppm. The only test for GH and KH I could find was a test strip
<Inaccurate and imprecise>
 and I got readings of 120ppm and 80ppm respectively.
<.... what? Both way too high>

 Yes, I am a newbie and I didn't properly understand the nitrogen cycle and by the time I figured that out, I had already messed up. So now I'm definitely waiting until I sort it out before getting any more fish and trying to keep what I have in good shape. I hesitate to use chemicals to right the levels
<Good; unnecessary>
and am hoping 40-50% water changes multiple times a week will help. The catfish look healthy and have no signs of Ich at this time. The rainbow shark has 3 dots and I will keep treating for at least 1 week until all spots disappear.
<Please...  stop. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwichsenslvstk.htm
and the linked files above>
Everyone's behavior seems normal and peppy at this time.
My questions are: 1) Is the aquarium salt ok for helping to get any diseases under control?
<.... see WWM re. No>
 I've read conflicting reports on this and I added the dissolved salt slowly over 24 hours to avoid shocking any fish.
Everyone seems fine but I have realized that looks are deceiving. 2) Now that the BGK is gone, should I switch to a stronger ICH medicine? 3) What else can I do to get the ammonia and Nit levels down? Do you advise chemicals? Am I changing enough water or too much and is every other day too much or too little? 4. Do you have any recommendations that come to mind other than what I've asked? Thank you so much!
Suzanne
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chocolate Ghost Knifefish - Dead     4/19/13

Thank you for your response. I am reading the FAQ but wanted to get back to you with answers. It was a Chocolate/Brown Ghost Knifefish which is partly why it was so hard to find information to treat him. Black seems to be the prevalent one, not brown. Also, I have been reading, reading, reading for hours on end and there's SO much conflicting information out there
<.... stop again. STOP! I can only account for what is on our site. Don't waste y/our time>
 and it's really challenging to trust one source as definitive but your site seems to be one of the most respected out there which is why I contacted you.
<... WWM is a recorded resource principally. No need to "contact us" in your case here>
 The reason I didn't raise the temp is because I read entries that Ghost Knifefish don't tolerate above 82.
<.... ridiculous>
 I will read and hopefully get this tank under control. Thank you so much!
<Take your time... wait till you understand what you're potentially about. Then act. BobF>

Black Ghost Knifefish died.    3/29/12
Hi, you guys have been so much help in the past that I am requesting it once again!
<Fire away.>
One of my tanks, a 29 gal Amazon set up containing the natural dark (very black) substrate from the Amazon. It's the stuff that was packed wet that I got at my LFS made especially for tetras and the like. Heavily planted, with four Diamond Tetras, four Red Blue Tetras (same size and shape as the diamond) two what my LFS calls Gold Red Blue Tetras (basically albino Red Blue Tetras), three Green Fire Tetras (have had them for years and I am waiting for them to die off, and last but not least two albino Cory Cats. So a total of ten 1 1/2- 2in tetras, three 1in tetras, one 2 1/2in Cory and one 1in Cory. It has been established with roughly the same fish for over a year. I don't know if that would be considered overcrowded or not but I haven't had any problems till now. Anyway, my friend had to take her tank apart. Also a 29 gal. Anyway she had a BGK that she asked me to keep for a while. It was about 6in long. My other tank is brackish so I put it in with my tetras. It had been in there for almost 3 months without and issues. My water has still been stable (Ammonia 0, NO2 0, NO3 less than 20 but never completely 0) as usual.
<I see.>
I feed all of them 1 frozen cube of brine shrimp every Tues and one frozen cube of bloodworms every Fri. This morning the water was clear when I took my husband to work and when I got home it looked like someone had poured a half gallon of milk in it or a bar of soap!!
<Not good. Typically, if the tank has been running for a while, the problem is a faulty filter or at least issues with biological filtration. Pump jammed, overfed the fish, dead fish rotting, filter media needs cleaning, heat too high or too low, something like that.>
White and bubbles on the surface from the water from the filtration.
<Bacteria, organic chemicals… results in a loss of oxygen, which stresses fast water fish first, such as Black Ghosts.>
This happened within an hour. I am completely confused. As soon as I saw it I set up a small tank and started fishing out my fish. Everyone was fine EXCEPT the BGK. It was dead. Is it possible he died and released some sort of chemical in the water to turn it?
<Released chemicals, no, not as such, but a dead Knifefish in a small aquarium (and yours is too small for this species) could rot and that in turn would cause a bacterial bloom and/or scummy water.>
Or did he die because something happened to the water?
<Impossible to say for now. How warm is the aquarium? What's the water turnover rate? Apteronotus albifrons needs coolish conditions (24 C/75 F is ideal) and lots and lots of water turnover, turnover rates between 8-10 times the volume of the tank per hour.>
I stripped the tank down and have not found a thing. The weird thing is that my water still reads stable! I am at a loss. Nothing was around it to fall in and no one else was at our house when I left. The fish seemed perfectly fine yesterday. He ate well as always and was just out doing his thing. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black Ghost Knifefish died.   3/29/12

Thank you for responding so quick!
<Welcome.>
I don't think I overfeed.
<Good.>
I do give them several different types of food but never at the same time and spread out through the week. My filtration is working fine but I don't have a large filtration set up I had never needed one with my tetras.
<Tetras mostly come from shady, sluggish pools and streams with little water current. That's why they aren't as streamlined as, say, Danios. But your Black Ghost Knifefish comes specifically from places like rapids and riffles around waterfalls, so they're used to water with lots of oxygen and current. Think what you'd provide for Loaches, and you're thinking along the right lines.>
As far as fish go they have always been clean (at least compared to my puffers and knight gobies in my brackish set up lol) the filter is just one of those Aqua-Tech from Wal-Mart. It is the larger made for 30-60 gal aquariums though. I am not sure of the turn over rate.
<Will state on the filter pump. I think this model is around 300 gallons/hour, but check. In other words, for a 30 gallon tank, you're getting a turnover of 10 times. That's quite a bit of water movement. But I'm skeptical that a basic, inexpensive model like this really delivers that sort of turnover rate once you add the filter media -- many, perhaps all, filters are rated when they're empty, or at least when the media is clean. In any case, on paper this filter should be okay, and you can always test it. Put some flake at the bottom of the tank. If it's quickly wafted along by a current, you're fine. If the flake sits on the bottom, then you don't have enough turnover at the bottom of the tank where a Knifefish needs it.>
I know that BGK get too big for a 30 gal quick. I told my friend that when she bought him. I always research before buying myself and I looked them up when we were in the store. It was a disaster on her part from the beginning. She bought him to go in her 30 gal with her guppies and THEN got mad when he started eating the babies!
<What they do.>
It annoyed me because I told her it would before she got it. She has always done what she wanted no matter what though. It just bugged my immensely that the whole reason I went with her was because she said she wanted my input because I always know more about the fish than the LFS people do.
Anyway, all her fish ended up croaking (I think due to lack of water changes) her tank was always low just about every time I went over there.
She would add water but never change it.
<Not good. Nitrates were doubtless extremely high, and likely toxic.>
Nor did she cycle her tank as instructed. Sorry, I talk a lot. Anyway, the only fish I had lost in the last year was her knife. He wasn't dead long he acted normal the day before and was out eating that evening before I went to bed. Now the temp may have a big part. I keep that tank at 78-80 F for my tetras.
<Why so warm? What species of Tetra? Apart from Cardinals, most would be MUCH happier around 24-25 C/75-77 F, including Neons, X-Rays, Penguins, and all the usual sorts. South American fish often prefer cooler water than many aquarists realise.>
Then again I had not planned on keeping him so long. I didn't feel I had the right to take him back or re-home him but then again maybe I should have. I had been on her for the last 2 of the 3 months I had him for her to take him back. My cories didn't care for him in the least and did everything they did to stay away from him.
<I bet.>
Now all of my fish are in a 5 gal sick tank together and I need to get them out before they stress to death!
<Yes.>
Want I am wanting to know now is do I need to strip the tank down and start over or can I just do a series of water changes over the next few days to even things out?
<I would replace 75% of the water in the big tank, turn the heater down a notch, check over the filter and rinsing the media out, but I'd not change anything else. Acclimate the fish back just as if you'd bought them: put in a bucket with a bit less than half-filled old water from the 5-gallon tank, then top the bucket up in stages with water from the big tank over an hour.
Then net the fish out and release in the big tank.>
I didn't want to leave my fish in there but all of my plants are still there. Can they get sick? Die? From the pollutants?
<Plants? No.>
I have way to many in there to try and move them to the 5 gal. They wouldn't all fit in there anyway. At least not leaving enough room for my fish to breath or move at all. If I can do the water changes can I leave my fish out till it's leveled out again? If I have to strip down and re-start my tank I don't know what I would do with my fish. I have never cycled a tank with fish in it and I know I have way too many fish to do it properly.
I have had these guys for years and I don't want to loose them now!!
Thanks, Allie             
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Black Ghost Knifefish died.   3/29/12

I have 4 Diamond tetras, 4 Columbian tetra (Hyphessobrycon colombianus), and 2 Gold Colombian tetra (Hyphessobrycon columbianus), 3 Green Fire tetras and 2 albino Corys. I planned on adding some more slowly but with the knife in there I held off. Now I am glad I did! Maybe now after I stabilize them I will be able to start adding a few more slowly in a month. I am wanting 6 each of the diamond, Columbian and gold Columbian tetras. They all have the same basic shape and size and have done extremely well together over the last three years. They range from 1 1/2-2" at the moment. I started out with my tank at 75 F when I set it up a few years ago. These particular fish I have (I don't know if it's common for these species or just with my particular specimens) but their color is brighter they seem happy and they are more active at 78-80 F.
<Ah, now, when the water is warmer, fish may colour up more because they "think" it's the breeding season. Flip side, they become more territorial and/or feisty, and their lifespan is shortened. A good compromise is to adjust the heater through the year, and maybe keep the tank cooler through autumn and winter to let your fish settle down, socialise, and feed up for a few months. Review the thermal preferences of each species and act accordingly.>
It usually stays closer to 78 though. I have the lighting softened for them and the dark natural substrate heavily planted with various plants. I wish I had a pic handy but I don't have any from before this whole thing happened. I am toying with the idea of upping my brackish (I keep it around 1.008-1.010) tank to a 100gal. It's a 60 long right now. In it I have one dragon goby he is over 9" at the moment. He was only about 3-4 when I got him, 2 F8's, 1 male Knight goby and 2 females, then 2 male mollies and 6 females. Between the 6 female mollies there are always babies which keep the puffers and gobies happy. That may sound mean but the whole reason I went with mollies was to help supply live food for the other fish.
<Not mean at all. I do this. I don't have anything against live feeder fish as such. It's how they're used and the risks involved. Juvenile Mollies will be small (so easily swallowed whole), settled in the tank already, and parasite-free, so there's little cruelty or risk involved. Compare that to buying feeder Goldfish or Minnows, where the fish are bigger, more stressed by poor maintenance at the retailer and the trip home, and likely very disease-ridden.>
It keeps the puffers from messing with anything else. If I up it this summer then I am going to set up my 60 for the tetras.   
<Real good.>
Thanks for the info on the water changes! I am starting now!
<Hope works/worked out. Cheers, Neale.>

 

Sick tank with Ghost knife  2/4/12
Hi, my name is Kathy,
And I have a issue with my fish I went to pets smart and got 4 baby angels what a mistake,
<Oh dear'¦>
well when I got them in tank I was checking them out they were hiding of course so I left them alone, and retired to the living room the next morning I feed every one ghostie my blk ghost knife his frozen bloodworms noticed the baby angels I just got have small white stuff all over them there fins were clamped down and they were flicking and twitching darting,
<No good. How long has this aquarium been running? Does sound like Finrot and/or Fungus; treat accordingly.>
they acted stiff. wow what a drag I also have a albino Cory cat and 3 tetras one algae eater in a 30 gal, my ghost knife is 2 yrs old I love  him he is not my first, I have a strong filter it is a  fs tetra 20-40 my tank has been up and running for 2 yrs,
<I see. Now, what's the water quality? Saying the filter is designed for a certain size aquarium is one of the ways manufacturers mislead us. This small hang-on-the-back filter may be rated for tanks in the 20-40 gallon size range, but that's only meaningful if the aquarium is lightly stocked with small fish. It's like the miles-per-gallon fuel consumption quotes you get with motor cars; more a sales pitch than anything else!!! In fact your filter probably isn't up to the job of cleaning a 30 gallon tank stocked with fish as big and messy and carnivorous and above all else sensitive as a Black Ghost Knifefish, and Angelfish are only adding to the workload. Whatever else is going on here, water quality is surely the root cause.>
now well the angels have died and now one of my tetras have white spots in fins great... well I tried api, Pimafix for 5 days before the angels died.
<A fairly hopeless product.>
one died about 2 days after I started the treatment, then I did a water change about 25%waited 2 days then I tried
copper safe by Mardel for a week and the rest of the angels died,
<You're randomly medicating! Stop. Sit down. Put the kettle on and have a nice cup of tea. Think about what's going on. Water quality is surely a problem, so start by doing water changes and of course don't feed the fish. Clean the filter out if it seems bunged up, and maximise its ability to remove ammonia by removing things like carbon and making space for biological media. Of course, carbon can't be used with medications (it removes them) so you should have removed carbon anyway; I'm just making the point for clarity.>
the ghost knife seems fine but the tetra has the same white spots on fins, so the whole tank has to be treated with some thing that will work without hurting my buddy the ghost knife
<Here's the thing. One of the bits of aquarium voodoo is that if you overstock or wrongly stock an aquarium, the Angel of Death visits and deals with the problem in his own way. You've been incredibly lucky the Knifefish has survived thus far -- but I wouldn't push that luck.>
something that will work. the temp is 74-76 pre set heater, I use filtered water from martins it is ro water the system says so were I fill up at,
<Just RO water? Honestly? You don't buffer the water with something like Discus Salts? You don't mix it with hard tap water? Here's another source of problems if you're keeping the fish in pure RO water. RO water contains no salts at all, and this makes it dangerous for fishkeeping. It sounds to me like your existing fish adapted to it over time, but the new fish couldn't adapt quickly enough, and that's what killed them.>
I do water changes about every 3 weeks its a 29 gal tank the nitrites are..o.. and the nitrates are 20-40 ph 7.5 I have live plants, well what's left of the after the copper safe got them..plz help what can I treat the tank with that will get rid of this problem without hurting my ghost knife..
<You need to sit and think about this tank VERY carefully. If you have been keeping them in pure RO water, that's bad. You need to do a series of water changes to add some hardness. Not massive changes, and since you're keeping South American fish, soft water is great. But either mix 3 parts RO with 1 part hard tap water, or else buy some Discus Buffer and add that to your RO water before use. Do maybe 10-20% water changes daily to improve water chemistry. Secondly, look at the filter and the size of your tank and reflect on water quality. Something's amiss here. Clean the filter, clean the tank, reduce feeding, improve water turnover. Don't add any more fish. Don't feed for at least three days while things settle down. If you medicate, and you should if Finrot is still apparent, use an antibiotic, not copper or formalin, as both of those are lethal to Knifefish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick tank with Ghost knife  2/4/12

Thank u for your reply, the hard water source would have to come from the outside spigot,
<Hang on a second here. What comes out of the tap in your kitchen? Be crystal clear that domestic water softeners DO NOT make RO water. All they do is replace temporary hardness with sodium. General hardness remains, as well as that extra sodium, so what they make is NOT suitable for fishkeeping. But if you're using genuine RO water, the expensive stuff, then yes, you can mix with hard tap water. Treat the hard tap water with standard water conditioner, of course. Preferably one that removes chlorine, Chloramine, ammonia and copper.>
if I was to mix it with the ro water. and what would be the mixture?
<For soft water fish, 1 part hard tap water to 3 parts RO water is ideal.
But use a water hardness test kit on your tap water first. I'm assuming your tap water has a general hardness (degrees dH) of around 20. For soft water fish you want something like 2-10 degrees dH. So if you mix 50/50 hard tap water with RO water, you'd get a general hardness of 10 degrees dH. Mix 3 parts RO water with 1 part hard tap water, and the general hardness would be 5. Simple maths.>
or we do have soft water, in the house.
<Do not use water from a domestic water softener in an aquarium.>
so what would be the mixture for soft water and witch one would u choose, the hard water is city water hard with metals, and chemicals, and as far as treating the tank I thin its Ick, I don't know is there a med I can use that will combat all, that's safe for the knife fish? what's it called?
<Salt.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Read for the details. Cheers, Neale.>

Black Ghost Knife Fish; Sticky Situation   01/18/09
We recently got a BGK and he was doing really well in our tank with our other tropical fish (30 gal with 3 guppies, two tetras, 2 loaches, electric blue German Ram Cichlid, 2 glass fish, 2 Danios, and two mollies [too much?
we calculated that even at there biggest size we have about 29.5 inches, but they are all babies right now.])
<The Black Ghost Knifefish certainly needs a much bigger tank; 210 litres/55 gallons being the minimum. It's not so much size but sensitivity: these are fish from shallow, fast-flowing water around rapids, and simply can't deal with the stagnant, oxygen-poor, pond-like conditions in a small tank. Most Black Ghost Knifefish die a few months after purchase for precisely this reason. The "inch per gallon" idea is also hopelessly misleading. Think about it for a few seconds. Twelve Neon tetras and one adult Oscar have the same length in inches, around 18 inches. But do you think they would both be happy in an 18 gallon tank? Of course not; an Oscar wouldn't even FIT in an 18 gallon tank!!! So, you have to use those "little grey cells" a bit and look at the big picture. Sure, the inch-per-gallon rule is okay for very small things like Neons or Guppies, but the bigger the fish, the less it works. And once you have fish with special needs (like your Knifefish) or territorial demands (like the Ram Cichlid) then the whole thing goes out the window.>
But yesterday he got stuck to the side of the filter and he keeps doing it, and now he is swimming funny. Maybe he is fine, but I get paranoid because he is my favorite fish in there.
<Likely, very NOT fine.>
Also one of our Danios started attacking the other fish and one of our guppies killed another.
<Keep Danios in groups of 6+. In smaller groups -- as I've said for the second or third time today -- schooling fish often become aggressive. Every aquarium book ever written tells you this, so please, look up the demands of each species you want FIRST, and then BUY the fish ONLY if you can house the appropriate numbers and in the right sized tank.>
(we took the killer fish back to the store) but could that be a sign of them being sick, because it is not very common for guppies and Danios to attack anything.
<It's usually a sign the fishkeeper has made a mistake. Trust me on this:
there are very few Psycho fish out there! But there are many more fishkeepers who ignore what's known about a fish, and hope that randomly adding one or two of everything in the shop will work out. It usually doesn't. Danios can be aggressive in small groups, and by *adding* more, not *removing* one, you're more likely to fix the problem.>
We had a fungus on our molly but when to the store and got tables for it and none of the other fish have gotten it.
<Mollies are best kept in brackish water. They certainly need hard, basic water (pH 7.5-8, 15+ degrees dH).
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm
While some aquarists keep them in freshwater successfully, most aquarists (especially non-experts) will find them easier to keep in slightly brackish water, with around 6-9 grammes of marine salt mix added per litre. While this won't harm your Guppies, your other fish WILL be stressed by this. As is (again) stated in most aquarium books, Mollies are not suitable for the average community tank.>
Our Ph is a little off today but it's 6.9,
<Too acidic for Guppies/Mollies.>
our ammonia is 0.0, and our temperature is usually 80, we are going to the store to get a nitrate test today. We have about 8 large plants and two small plants as well. But we try to keep our fish as happy as possible and have many hiding places for our bkg. We feed him (at night) blood worms, brine shrimp and once in a while he will eat flakes. He is just not swimming like usual, and he just kind of floating. Why do you think that is?
<Bad water quality, insufficient oxygen. Intolerant of copper and formalin, so if you use such medications, you'll poison it. A demanding species for expert fishkeepers. Most casual fishkeepers end up killing them within weeks/months. Hope this helps, Neale.>

BGK Problem... FW over and mis-stocking issues, no reading -08/25/08 We have a 55 gallon freshwater tank that has been set up for about three months. We have 3 discus, 4 swordtails, <Mmmm, "like" very different water conditions...> 4 clown loaches, 1 Pleco, 6 balloon belly tetras, 6 t-bone tetras, 1 elephant nose and 1 black ghost knife. <Not generally a good idea to mix weakly electrogenic fish species> The BGK and elephant nose were purchased together and were the first fish introduced. The BGK was about 3" when purchased and he is about 5" now. We added the other fish gradually. We do a 25% water change weekly. We are figuring out the feeding thing, and know we've been feeding too much, because of the water levels. Before we did the water change yesterday the levels were: PH 6.8, Ammonia 0.10, Nitrite 0.10, <These are toxic...> Nitrate .40. <Likely you've misplaced the decimal... forty ppm... is way too much> Last week when we took our water sample to the fish store, we were told the water levels were fine, except the ammonia was a little high. <Any ammonia is reason for immediate action. Debilitating to deadly poisonous> That, also, was before the water change. All of the fish have been doing well, except for swordtails, which were dying, one each day, for no apparent reason. <... do some reading... the "reason" is obvious.> It looked as though they were being picked on by other fish, because their fins looked very ragged. 8 have died. 4 remain, so we are done with swordtails for now (replaced them with the clown loaches). The BGK was doing fine until a few days ago, when I noticed that the white stripe on his head was pink. The next day it seemed even pinker, but he was still eating aggressively and chasing other fish if they came too close to his "house". Today I noticed that he has a worm-like thing hanging from his chin/throat underneath. It looks like a Tubifex worm. He isn't eating much, and is pretty much staying in his house when we feed them. However, his pink stripe is lighter, looks like it is turning back to normal color. We give the fish live Tubifex worms, frozen brine shrimp and frozen blood worms. Pretty much worms every day and alternate with the shrimp and blood worms. We sometimes give them flake food. Can you help diagnose the BGK or tell me how to help him? Thanks so much... Jere <All you need to know is archived on the WWM site... Your system is dangerously over-stocked... Start reading on WWM re Nitrogenous issues: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm the third tray down... Acting on this knowledge should save most of your livestock... Then read re each species/groups needs ("Systems")... Then we'll chat. Bob Fenner>
Re: BGK Problem  8/26/08
I guess you can tell I'm a novice, huh? After the water change, the ammonia was down to zero. <Ah, good> Today the BGK looks back to almost normal. The white stripe is a little off-color, but that weird worm-thing is gone and he has resumed eating. We haven't had any fishy deaths for almost two weeks, and the only ones that died were swordtails. <Mmm, you really need a much larger system... actually two...> I really appreciate your answer, and I plan to keep reading your Web site. I have been all over the Internet searching sites on aquariums and fish. I found so much conflicting information, that I was at my wits end. Then I found your site, which seemed much more consistent and extremely informative. I will continue my research in your archives. >Very good< The fish store where we bought the fish will buy back fish as long as they are healthy. We sold them four beautiful silver dollar fish when we bought the discus, because they told us the two didn't mix. The discus are still small, so we'll probably sell back more of our fish as they grow. I am in love with this hobby and my fish. I don't want to kill any more fish! Thanks again for your answer. I'm impressed with your expertise. <And I with your apparent even-mindedness. Cheers, BobF>

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