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My new bumblebee catfish
<"Bumblebee catfish" is, unfortunately, a very common common name....
There are at least a few very different animals that I can think of that this could be. It'd be wise of you to start trying to figure out what, exactly, you've got.>
She was doing fine but now doesn't seem too move much at all and is breathing really heavy.
<Bad news, for sure.>
I put her in a breeding net thinking maybe it was stress but is still doing it and put some pellets with her to eat and she won't eat.
<Definitely something is amiss....>
In my tank I have:
-a rope fish
<This fish gets far too large for a 29 gallon aquarium, and may, in such confines, find his way out of the tank. I really wouldn't keep this fish in less than a four foot tank.>
-4 mollies (2 Sailfin mollies -2 tattooed mollies)
<Please read up on tattooed fish.... This really is a deplorable practice.
Keep a close eye on them; many fish do not survive long after the tattooing process. They are very susceptible to infection. Please do not buy more tattooed (or dyed) fish. Doing so only creates more demand for this awful practice.>
-ghost knife fish
<This fish also needs a much larger space.... Gets 18 inches, eats smaller fish, is extremely delicate....>
-2 skirted fish
<?? Perhaps you mean black-skirted tetras? Disconcerting.... This is a very "nippy" fish; also a schooler.... needs to be in larger groups of its own species, and will be a threat to other fish by nipping their fins....
I absolutely would NOT have a delicate black ghost in with these, in a 29 gallon tank....>
-2 gold fish
<Not compatible with anything else you've listed, I'm afraid. Goldfish really want cooler water - and, seriously, they are big, messy fish. They'll get over a foot (unless they're "fancy" goldfish) and really need something close to 15 gallons or so *per fish*. These are best kept in ponds, or in great large tanks.>
- 2 tangerine Mollies.
<So, let's recap: A total of 6 mollies, 2 nippy tetras, a Ropefish, a black ghost, two goldfish, and a somewhat unidentified catfish. This tank, I'm sad to say, is very, very overstocked.>
Everyone else in the tank seems fine.
<"Fine" is a temporary condition at best, with this mix, I fear.>
Did a 25% water change and didn't help. Any idea what could be wrong with my bumble(her name)?
<Yeah, quite probably there's something about the water quality here that she's not liking, and/or she's running into territory or compatibility issues. You really must test for Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. Ammonia and Nitrite must be ZERO, Nitrate less than 20ppm. If any of these are not so, you will need to do water changes until they are corrected. With this much fish "load" in a comparatively small tank, I would be a little surprised if the water quality is really okay. The reason the newcomer might show problems with it when the others don't is because the existing fish became slowly accustomed to it over time; the catfish just went from water of one type suddenly into this crowded system. Catfish are also a little sensitive to water quality issues. My very strong suggestion to you is, after checking/correcting water quality, to consider reducing the number of fish, and researching the needs of each and every fish you have to see who is most compatible with whom. Were it me/my tank, I would probably try to re-home the goldfish into an ornamental pond (depending upon where you are, this may be impossible until Spring), or, if they are still small, giving them a tank of their own where they can have cooler water than the other fish. I would also try to re-home the Ropefish and black ghost - these just aren't great tankmates for the rest of your system, and both really need more space than is afforded in a 29 gallon tank. Especially the black ghost.... They're NOT a good fish to keep in an overstocked tank. They're very, very delicate. Also, the tetras really want more of their own kind, so adding to their school, once the other fish are moved, would be a good idea. Just do NOT add more fish to this tank until the less compatible ones are out. The catfish.... really depends upon what exactly she is. It's very possible she'd be compatible with the mollies and/or tetras, depending.... Do try to look her up, on WetWebMedia, maybe also http://www.planetcatfish.com , and general Google searches. Hopefully, with testing/correcting water quality and changing your stocking scheme to focus on compatibility, she'll be okay. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Bumblebee Catfish, (Over)stocking - II - 11/05/2012
Okay tested water it was perfect
<"Perfect" is relative.... Some fish like certain things, others tolerate things some can't, etc.... "Perfect" for the ghost knife, for instance, may mean far too low a pH/hardness for the mollies' tastes (though they're pretty durable, tolerate a lot of "imperfection").... What I'm getting at, here, is that "perfect" is almost meaningless to me/us, even to you. Real numbers are what's important. The bare minimum is to be sure that Ammonia and Nitrite are ZERO, Nitrate less than 20ppm. Beyond that, you won't be able to nail any sort of perfection with this less-than-compatible mix.>
and 30 gallon tank is only for 3 months then I'm upgrading to a 55 gallon.
<Ahh, very VERY good news.>
Both rope fish and black ghost knife are little.
<Only for now. And the ghost knife, currently at risk of being nipped to death by the tetras, if it survives, will ultimately become large enough to attack your smaller fishes during the night when it is most active. Size isn't the only consideration in compatibility.>
My tank is also done up to make sure there are no openings for the type fish too jump out.
The gold fish are only in tank for now they are Christmas presents for nephew.
<Also good. Hopefully they will be in a suitably large system.... The 29 gallon tank they're currently in would do nicely for quite a while, once all of the other fish are moved up to the larger system. As for the bumblebee cat, without knowing precisely which catfish you have (the most "common" by this name are Asian bumblebee cats (Pseudomystus siamensis) and South American bumblebee cats (Microglanis iheringi), the former gets over 5" and eats small fish, the latter stays smaller than 3" and is a great community critter. Not to mention there are a few other cats that go by this common name. As to why it's having trouble, without knowing details of water quality and possibly how it was kept prior to purchase, the only best guess I'd have is a compatibility issue, perhaps with the likewise nocturnal ghost knife. There are too many possible conflicts/issues to really identify the cause of the fish's stress beyond being in too small a space with too many less-than-compatible buddies. The move to a larger system will likely help you and the fish a very great deal, but nothing will help more than reading/researching each of the species you have, and understanding their needs. Best wishes, and good luck with the move to the larger tank, you (and the fish) are sure to enjoy it! -Sabrina>
Whitespot on giraffe Catfish.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I am looking for advise regarding treatment for my giraffe Catfish which seems to be lightly covered in small white dots.
<As in Whitespot/Ick?>
A couple on his eye and one red dot/lump under one fin (at the front). He is 13 ish inches long. He resides in an established 250 litre tank (with rocks more like 210l of actual water), one Frontosa, 6 generic Malawi (4 haps, livingstoni, and peacock) 1 yellow lab. And large generic Pleco, LARGE.
<Much, much too heavily stocked and far too small for this species'¦>
Have had the water tested and showing ph7-8, 0 ammonia, 0.2 nitrate. Lots of oxygen. Tank gets a daily 15 l water change, mix or treated tap water and ro. I have moved the Catfish to a spare 160l established, 0 across the board on the water test, ph7. My question is how I should be treating the giraffe for his condition?
<Would use the salt/heat treatment here.
Salt is less toxic to catfish than copper and formalin.>
I have some tetra Contraspot. I have salts. Im just unsure of how safe the stated dosages are. I know that scaleless fish are more sensitive to medication and don't want to further distress him.
I have not yet added treatment of any kind, there is no carbon on the doctor tank filter. I also intend to remove the Malawi from the tank entirely as its all about the tangs for me. I look forward to any advise you can offer.
<You need a bigger aquarium! 400, 500 litres would be more sensible.>
Many thanks in advance. Greg.
Re: Whitespot on giraffe Catfish. 1/15/12
Hi, appreciate the feedback and advise.
When I acquired the tank I always intended to loose most of it's stock, but when arrived fell for the giraffe and the Frontosa. I know they can get big'¦
From the selection of fish noted earlier, are any suitable in this tank long term?
<We're talking about a 250-litre aquarium/66 gallons US? Well, you're pretty much limited to species that get to about 20 cm/8 inches in length. Anything bigger than that and you're really hitting walls. Water quality will be difficult to preserve, and the sheer size of the fish will make aquascaping and territoriality difficult issues. For example, Frontosa are sensitive to non-zero nitrate levels, developing things like Hole-in-the-Head disease when stressed.>
The Frontosa and Plec would be an overall preference,
<Now, a Plec could do okay in there. But the Frontosa alongside it is a tough call. As a singleton it might do okay with the Plec, assuming excellent water quality and lots of water changes. But Cyphotilapia Frontosa is a social species best kept in groups of at least three (one male, two female) and the more the merrier. As such, it's best seen as a species for tanks upwards of 500 litres. Giraffe Catfish get huge, and even a 500-litre tank is something you'd use for juveniles to subadults rather than full-grown adults. Bear in mind these fish can reach 90 cm, and even in aquarium 60-70 cm is typical. As it happens, there's a Dwarf Giraffe Catfish, Anaspidoglanis macrostoma, that only gets to about 20 cm/8 inches, and it'd be ideally suited to your 250-litre system. As for the Malawians, within reason, and with due care for social considerations, you could keep quite a collection in 250 litres. Peacocks are probably the easiest to keep alongside other stuff because they're basically midwater fish. Mbuna are the least accommodating, though Yellow Labs are okay, if nippy (I've seen then strip the fins off Bichirs!).>
but I am fully open to suggestions here as have no intention of trying to keep unhappy fish in a cramped environment.
much nicer to look at a happy tank. You can kind of get that vibe.
<I do. And I like keeping big catfish and oddball fish as well, so I see where you're coming from. If this was me, and assuming moderately hard, slightly basic water, I'd go with the Peacocks, a Dwarf Giraffe or some other medium-sized African cat, and perhaps the Yellow Labs if they were behaving. There are some nice medium size Synodontis worth thinking about, e.g., Synodontis flavitaeniatus, any one of which could work well. Distichodus affinis would be a fun characin for midwater usage.>
Mine currently needs attention to reach this state of equilibrium. Please don't hold back.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Whitespot on giraffe Catfish. 1/18/12
Hi, strange things are happening now, the giraffe was moved to an established bnk, raised temp to 81, added the required salt. (1 gram per litre.) has been in for two days now. Last night, the only fish in the tank were 5 tetra (silver with blue fleck on tail) all floating with no visible damage. I fished out and got water checked. On had risen slightly from 7 to just under 8 which I put down to the salt. However, at lunch today the giraffe was floating also, all it's skin was floating around the tank'¦ At least it was quarantined... It also had tons of red veins throughout its tail.... Any ideas??
<Are you sure you used the right amount of salt? 1 gramme/litre is very little; I've used 2 g/l when treating Whitespot on Cardinal Tetras and they were fine. Classic soft water fish! Likewise, Bob Fenner and others routinely recommend this safe approach to Whitespot when compared with the far more toxic copper and formalin alternatives. But if you add the wrong amount of salt, you could stress your fish. Nonetheless, if the water was too salty, say, 5 g/l, you should have seen the fish behaving strangely long before they got sick. In brackish water you'll see freshwater fish swimming about nervously, breathing heavily, and so on. Do also check nitrite and ammonia levels -- if the filter is unhappy, the fish certainly will be. Red veins tend to suggest something is irritating the skin and fin membranes; could be salt, but could just as easily be ammonia, nitrite, or a rapid pH change for that matter. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re: Whitespot on giraffe Catfish. 1/18/12
Thanks for the reply. I meant to say at the beginning the last email that the ph had risen from approx 7 to approx 8. This could be the culprit?
<Easily. Do also remember ammonia is more toxic at pH levels above 7.>
The giraffe Catfish and tetra just seemed to go quietly?? Also, I added 2 grams per litre.
<Should be fine.>
I was mistaken on my last email, the nitrate are .3
<Are you sure you mean nitrate with an "a" and not nitrite with an "i"? Nitrate test kits rarely measure with this level of accuracy, typically ranging from 0 to 100 mg/l. Nitrite test kits by contrast do go from 0 to 5, and can indeed detect low levels like 0.3 mg/l. Nitrite is very toxic, and a sign the filtration system isn't adequate and/or working properly.>
ammonia 0 and ph8 but have performed water change already. As always, appreciate the feedback and time you guys give to ALL who enquire. I guess the ph could have been the cause here but am not entirely convinced... The red veins were very present though'¦
<Do water changes, 25% every our, maybe 3-4 times today. Forget about the salt for now; just get the pH level down and dilute the nitrite. Review filtration, stocking. Don't feed. Siphon out any organic muck. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re: Whitespot on giraffe Catfish.
Hi, I am performing water changes but as the fish have all died
<Oh! I didn't get that impression. Sounds very bad. Trying to think what would have caused this. Salt, at 1 gramme per litre, should be completely harmless. Salt water is 35 grammes per litre, so we're talking a tiny salinity, one-thirty-fifth seawater salinity. Even 2 g/l would still be less than one-sixteenth!>
I was thinking about starting this tank again, No need for the water unless something else becomes ill,
thanks again for your assistance, I have a feeling the PH raising and thus making the poisons even more toxic may be to blame.....
I will defo request assistance through you guys if I have issues in the future, thanks again.
<Cool. Do peruse the excellent Planet Catfish website while shopping for catfish. It also has a forum, which is a good place to get expert advice on stocking options concerning rare catfish. Cheers, Neale.>
Mystus leucophasis question 8/3/07 hi all. just to forewarn you this is my first fish tank since childhood, the other day I got the notion that I wanted a fish tank. I went to the store and purchased 3. two Ryukin and a Mystus leucophasis only about and inch long). the worker at the store had told me that they were fine to be together, so I took them home and gave them names. this morning I noticed that my Mystus leucophasis wasn't swimming upside down, so I thought it good to research this species...one to find out if it is in fact compatible with the Ryukin, and two just to know more about it. I did discover that they are aggressive and, for me, going to be a bit more maintenance than the goldfish. I think I'm asking for some basic info for a beginner on the catfish and if the 2 are in fact going to live together peacefully. and I am using spring water (at the stores suggestion) and my water is reading at 83-85 plus degrees most of the time. is it ok if at night I put the air conditioner on and the temp goes down to 78. if this is a problem how can I fix it. perhaps ice cubes? :o) I haven't done any ph readings but after reading some of your letters to others I am going to get some tools for that tonight. thanks for any help faith <Hello Faith. Okay, there are a bunch of issues here. To start with, impulse buying of fishes is never a good idea. Fish are animals, not shoes, and when you make a mistake it's the animal that suffers, not just your wallet. But to your credit, I'm pleased you've done some research now and are looking for help. Anyway, yes, Mystus leucophasis is completely and utterly incompatible with your fancy goldfish. Even assuming it doesn't eat them (by no means impossible, given Mystus leucophasis can get to 30 cm in length) it could still hassle them at feeding time or damage them when acting territorially. Mystus leucophasis is also a tropical fish, whereas goldfish are not. At 24, 25 degrees C you might be able to keep them together, but that's really a bit too warm for goldfish to be happy in the long term. Water chemistry, to be fair, isn't a big deal for either fish. Mystus leucophasis is very adaptable and inhabits a variety of waters. Anything between pH 6 and 8, and running from "soft" to "hard" on whatever hardness scale you're using will be acceptable. Goldfish prefer alkaline pH (around 7.5 is ideal) and "moderately hard" to "hard" on the hardness scale. I have no idea why you're using spring water. Sounds insanely expensive. Both these fish will adapt to most kinds of tap water. Avoid water from a domestic water softener though. Always add dechlorinator to the tap water before adding it to the aquarium. Do not add salt. Check the pH and hardness of the water from your tap before using it, so that you have some idea what your local water conditions are like. More than likely it will be fine, but if you happen to live in a soft water area, you may need to harden the water. See here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2oquality.htm . As well as a pH test kit and a 'General Hardness' test kit (which measures in degrees dH usually though sometimes milligrams per litre calcium oxide or calcium carbonate) you should also own a nitrite test kit. Ideally, you'd have an ammonia test kit and a nitrate test kit too, but the nitrite test kit is a good starting point. This tells you something about the quality (as opposed to the chemistry) of the water. You want a nitrite value of zero. Anything else is bad, and the higher the number, the worse the conditions, and the more likely your fish will get sick. Beyond this, I think you want to spend a little time browsing the beginners' articles over here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm . Hope this helps, Neale>
Re: Mystus leucophasis question Attn: Neale 8/3/07 Neale, Thank you so much for you very helpful response. I have decide to return the Mystus leucophasis for now, until I am better equipped at handling one. Also I will be switching to tap like you suggested and buying all the testing equipment necessary and doing more beginners research. I do agree that impulse buying animals is cruel and unusual punishment to them and shouldn't be done. I've learned my lesson, hopefully not too much at their expense. Thanks again Faith <Happy to help. I think you did the wise thing. Big catfish are amazing animals and truly wonderful pets; I've had one for 15-plus years and we've both become rather fond of each other. But catfish should be researched first because you're buying an animal that will place certain demands on you. In the meantime, enjoy your goldfish, read around about other aspects of the hobby, and I dare say before long you'll have the experience and interest necessary for keeping catfish, angels, seahorses, or whatever! Cheers, Neale>
Need some advice on state of water for an Asian Bumblebee Catfish 8/16/06 Hello, I have searched through this site, as well as a fair amount of google search as well, <?> but cannot seem to find a straight answer to my main question at hand. Which is probably due to a flaw on my part given that it is a simple question. But, when all else fails I figure it's better to just opt up for some advice from people who have more knowledge in the area. First, tank setup: -20 Gallon -freshwater -live Plants in the area of; Egeria densa in small groups. -fake plants-misc, in thicker groups and broad leaves to shade part of the tank -gravel substrate, natural, on 70% of the tank and sand on the rest -medium natural stone built up to cave in middle of the tank, ledges -medium lighting [not sure of the exact watt] during 40% of the day, natural sunlight for 20% -whisper power filter, box, one corner, running around on the 5-15 gallon level -sponge biofilter in opposite corner running high current -heater, submerged, water temp stays around 70 degrees -water levels range normal/level, mild spikes do show once or twice every few months Fish: -one Asian Bumblebee Catfish. [not false bumblebee] <Pseudomystus siamensis Regan 1913, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bagrids.htm> -one guppy fry, in a breeder net due to no room in the other tanks, will be moved in about two weeks -possible group of natural glassfish, depending on the answer to my question So, the question is; I know the glassfish prefer salt in their water, but I cannot seem to find anything of much use about the salt tolerance of the Asian Cat. <Is sometimes found in brackish conditions... see here on fishbase: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=11987> Or what I have has contradicted itself, some sites say they are as sensitive to salt as Corys, others state that they can tolerate some salt. <I agree with this last> So, really, any advice on the matter would be wonderful, as I'm having some problems with it. Also, if the salt isn't an issue, do I need to upgrade to a bigger tank to handle a school of glassfish and the Asian? Thanks so much! <A handful of Glass cats could fit in this twenty. Bob Fenner> Mystus vittatus and Mystus leucophasis 7/12/05 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Lee> It's me again, the hobbyist from Singapore who last wrote to you about Datnoides (Coius). Hope you don't mind my asking, but what actually is the correct name of the fish listed as Mystus vittatus on your page? <I think this is what it is listed as... though other M. vittatus generally have more body striping> Why I ask is because I have a school of 10 of them, and also, all along, I have known a fish called Mystus vittatus that looks nothing at all like the fish in your photo. The fish I know as Mystus vittatus is a very typical looking Bagrid - long whiskers, tall dorsal, prominent pectoral fins, a fairly noticeable adipose fin (like what you see on a black lancer). It is silvery grey, with a series of horizontal stripes that are slightly darker. <I see...> The fish in your photo, which is what I have in my tank, looks to me more like a Silurid or a Pangasiid (a very small one) rather than a Bagrid. <It may be that the one photo I have is misidentified... unfortunately, looking through my files, I don't have others to compare it with> I assume these fish will not grow very large, because I bought them a couple of months ago along with a school of Puntius arulius, and am housing them all together in the same tank (a 50-gallon long). The barbs are growing a bit faster than these catfish, and arulius is not a very large barb. <... hopefully you don't have the popular Pangasiid!> Talking about fast, these catfish move like lightning. At dusk, they shoot through the tank looking for food so fast you can hardly see them. In the day, they bunch up under a piece of driftwood, but they are not shy, and will come out quite readily whenever food is offered. Obviously, they have strong schooling tendencies. They are really nice in the aquarium, but again, what are they - really? <Do you have pix to send along?> On the subject of Bagrids in general, Mr. Eric Ronald Alfred, an ichthyologist and the now-retired curator of the Singapore National Museum, used to consider them very rare in local waters. But when he started collecting in brackish environments, his catches of Bagrids went up. <Yes> I am not very sure which species he was getting, but I always wonder about whether we should be keeping our Bagrids in fresh or brackish water. <At least some salt content, and always in hard, alkaline water> Which brings me to the next subject, the Burmese Upside Down Catfish, Mystus leucophasis. <A beautiful fish> The first imports into Singapore arrived a fortnight ago, and I bought six out of that shipment. They settled into my tank (pure fresh water) straight away, started eating, and growing. Though, when there is no food around, they hide under driftwood, they are not in the least shy, by day or by night. Flake food, pellets, frozen food, live food - everything goes into them. They were about an inch long a fortnight back, now they are an inch and a half. And they spend more time upside down than the Synodontis nigriventris in the tank right beside them, or the Synodontis eupretes in the tank on my front porch. <Nice to live in a tropical country> The Burmese Upside Down Catfish has proven (so far) to be tame, hardy, and great conversation pieces. Only thing is, they are very territorial, and you find only one per hiding place. Even though small, they managed to kick a three-inch Panaque nigrolineatus out of the favourite piece of driftwood and I had to move the Panaque to another tank. <Like softer, acidic water anyway> I hope Mystus leucophasis becomes established as an aquarium favourite and look forward to hearing more about it. Yours sincerely, Lee Chiu-San <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>
Re: Mystus leucophasis... Really at Wal-Mart...
beh./size - 05/01/07 Dear crew:
I read on your website a question concerning the
Mystus leucophasis. The answer about the size was not answered, instead
because the fish was bought at Wal-Mart you suggested another species.
Sir, I realize Mystus leucophasis is hard
to come by--but I assure at one point about 4 months or so (roughly)
Wal-Mart did somehow gain access to some.--I have 1,and I will send a
picture of him to prove it. So let me ask you How big does Mystus
leucophasis get? I have found "experts "that say anywhere
from 5 to 12 inches and all points in between. Some say the female gets
to 12 inches and the male to 5 inches. Can you answer question for
me?---and if you wish to see a picture just let me know. Wal-Mart or
no--this is a Mystus leucophasis. Thank you in advance for your
response. Sincerely: Michael Daniels <According to the original
description Mystus leucophasis gets to 30 cm in length, but Fishbase
only quotes 12.5 cm. Which of these is typical I cannot say. Assume the
worst, and provide this fish with a large aquarium and suitably large
tankmates. Cheers, Neale>