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Toxotes jaculatrix (Pallas 1767), the Banded Archerfish. The principal species used in the trade in the west. Asia and Oceania; India to the Philippines, Indonesia, Vanuatu, the Solomons, New Guinea, northern Australia. To one foot in length. An adult in an aquarium.
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Updated 4/4/20
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Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

About to give up; Mbuna stkg., beh., disease f's        4/4/20
Hi there,
<Hello.>
It was suggested that I forward you guys a post I put up on cichlid-forum.com today, in hopes you may offer some advice. Here it is. Thank you.
<Sure.>
Hey guys, new here. Been keeping fish for about 20 years and am so frustrated the last year or so I’m about to abandon ship. I’ll try to give the full story. About a year and a half ago I had a thriving 75 gallon Mbuna setup. Beautiful tank with happy fish. Then, I got the bright idea to upgrade to a 125 gallon and have had problems ever since.
<Oh dear.>
During the move about a year and a half ago, a couple of the fish got stressed obviously but all made it until one came down with what I believed to be columnaris or fin/mouth rot.
<I am glad you've made the connection between stress and disease. What I'd further throw into the mix is social behaviour. Mbuna operate best when overstocked. That's because no one fish can actually secure a territory, and paradoxical as it might seem, the fish are more aggressive when they hold a territory than when they're trying to claim a territory. Net result, overstocking doesn't stop aggression, but it does dial it back. In the wild, the fish live in huge numbers and have the space for weaker fish to be pushed out into less desirable areas where aggression is less. For sure those fish won't be able to breed, but they aren't outright killed. In captivity, the weaker fish can't do that. Anyway, if your fish had been overstocked in 75 gallons, and you switched them to a new, bigger tank, two things would happen. First, all the territories would be disrupted, so they'd all be struggling to claim a patch. Secondly, with more space, it's easier for more aggressive individuals to claim and hold a territory. Their aggression would go up a notch now, because they'd switch from "house hunting" to "actively attracting a mate", and that means they'd be even more aggressive than before. At least, this is how I understand it!>
It quickly spread and I vigorously tried everything to cure my beloved Mbuna. After a long battle and numerous antibiotics and treatments, the majority died and the few remaining were horribly sick and I euthanized them. At that time I took down the entire tank and cleaned everything and drained it completely. It all sat in my garage completely empty in -30 degree weather as I live in Minnesota.
<Well, that should deal with any parasites, but bacteria are well able to go dormant through such cold, especially if dry.>
Now, a year and a half later I just set up the 125 gallon again and performed a fishless cycle using Dr. Tim’s ammonia. Cycled in about a month, and conditions were pristine. Nice hard water, ph around 8.5, no ammonia or nitrites obviously and very low nitrates. Temp is a steady 77 degrees. I introduced 20 Mbunas from <vendor name removed> on Tuesday this week. They all appeared healthy but took cover as expected. None would eat or come out and now it is day 3 and same story. However, upon closer inspection tonight it appears that several of the fish have symptoms of the columnaris or fin rot yet again. Could it be that the crap survived on my rock or tank walls with no water in sub zero temps for over a year?
<Bacteria? Yes. Bacteria are not killed by cold (hence why freezing food delays spoilage, but doesn't stop it). Furthermore, the bacteria involved in Finrot and Columnaris are opportunistic and latent in all aquaria. There's really nothing you can do to stop them getting into the tank. Even a course of antibiotics diminishes them, and allows the fish's immune system to clear them out of the fish's body -- but they will always be present in the aquarium. If nothing else, their spores get into the tank from our hands, from the air, likely even in new water unless we're sterilising buckets and pipes each time we use them.>
I just don’t believe that is possible. I’m so incredibly frustrated that I’m considering just giving up on the hobby. <vendor name removed> will refund my money but that’s not the point. I just don’t get it. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
<When it comes to this sort of mass death, my gut reaction is to leave the tank running, fallow, for a couple of weeks. This will break the life cycle of many parasites. I'd carry on adding fish food, of course, to give the biological filter something to work on. A bit of fish fillet or a prawn works just as well, decaying away over the days, releasing ammonia for the filter bacteria (nitrifying bacteria) and keeping the good bacteria that start the decay process (ammonification bacteria) happy as well. If you have a tank where plants are suitable, and there are plants in Lake Malawi, these are really helpful too, because they bring in lots of good bacteria on their leaves and roots. They also help balance the tank a bit, removing waste and providing a bit more oxygen. Anyway, either way, let the tank sit for a while. Then sit down and be realistic about things like water chemistry, water quality, and the frequency of water changes. I don't often recommend carbon, but if you've had a mass die-off, the use of carbon (replaced every few days) is one way to remove dissolved organics that might have been toxic, such as paint fumes. Even better are the high-end chemical adsorbents like Purigen. Basically, treat the tank as if it had fish, but do your best to clean it without killing off the good bacteria. Now, after a couple of weeks, think about introducing a few fish. Obviously pick robust species, but the key things with Mbuna are to choose the least aggressive species first, working upwards through the pecking order. Juveniles often (always?) travel better than adults, but the flip side is sexing juveniles can be hard. Finally, and this can be a bit brutal, if you've utterly failed with one group of fish -- perhaps they aren't the right ones for your water chemistry, time/budget, etc. Maybe think if some other type of fish might not be easier. In a big tank, Aulonocara for example might well be a lot easier to keep than the more aggressive Mbuna, or there may be some Haplochromis-type fish that would work even better. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Water chemistry questions       4/3/20
Hi, I have been reading your site, more than ever lately due to the current state of the world, and can't say enough about the great information and help you provide. I have been in the process of redoing my 265 gallon tank the past couple months. I took out all the rocks, rinsed them off and rearranged them in preparation for stocking with Lake Malawi haps and peacocks. I've been doing weekly 40- 60% water changes and my parameters are all good.
Ammonia- 0
Nitrites-0
Nitrates- 10-20 when it hits 20 I do a water change
<Ah, good>
pH- 7.6
GH- 10
KH- 7
When I let my water sit out overnight the pH measures 8 after 24 hours. I don't understand why this hasn't been reflected in my tank. Is it because I don't have enough surface agitation and the CO2 doesn't bubble out?
<Perhaps a factor... more likely aerobic processes in the system are eating away at the carbonate hardness>
I use the output on one of my FX5's to agitate the surface but maybe it isn't enough. But I also add the water straight from the tap, using Prime before, during and after and make sure the water going in creates major surface agitation. I just purchased a strong air pump and I'm going to set up an extra sponge filter and an air stone as well. Also, think I'm going to start filling a couple 40 gallon garbage cans with water, let them age and do my water changes this way. Like all of us, I have extra time right now. Any thoughts on this?
<I too store new (tap) water in totes/Rubbermaid troughs out in a greenhouse prior to their use every week... Don't use any chemicals to modify chemistry... as I keep Malawi Cichlids, Melanotaeniids... some silver dollars, Corydoras, Loricariids... but these are all tank bred/raised in captivity. I would not change your protocol>
I also have a 55 in the basement I have used for misfit fish in the past. It has one male yellow lab that was getting beat up in the main tank and one Syno lucipinnis that was left from a group of five. To be honest, I unfortunately haven't paid much if any attention to that tank for what seems like a couple years. I feed a couple times a week but I cant remember the last time I did an actual water change or cleaned the filter.
<I would feed daily, change some % of water weekly>
Well, with this free time I decided to clean that tank up and take better care of the two fish in there. The lab in there actually is better looking than any in the 265. He's bright yellow with no bearding or barring as opposed to my other ones. I figured I would do some water testing on that tank before I started cleaning it because I didn't want to give the fish too much of a shock. I figured that nitrates and GH would be sky high (I lazily had been topping the tank off) and that pH would be lower obviously. Here are the results:
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates between 80 and 160 (not good)
GH- gave up after adding 30 drops
KH- 8
pH- 8.2
<What sort of rock, substrate here?>
And that totally surprised me. I'm trying to figure out why and how the pH could be that high and wish it was in my 265. I use crushed coral as the substrate and there is one tufa rock in there as opposed to the main tank which is a blend of aragonite sand and play sand and contains only lace rock.
<Oh; there you go>
I know from reading this site and cichlid-forum.com that crushed coral and aragonite really don't raise the pH when the water is already alkaline.
<Not so... I think you're confusing buffering capacity at a given pH w/ pH itself>
The only other difference I can think of is the tank is more heavily oxygenated because of low stock and the surface is strongly agitated by an Eheim Pro 2. This tank evaporates very quickly so that leads to extra strong surface agitation. I would appreciate any thoughts on this as well and please don't beat me up too much about my neglect on that tank. ��
<No; the aeration, dissolved oxygen content won't account for this>
Thanks again for all your help and hope you keeping safe and healthy, Jim
<Thank you for sharing Jim. Bob Fenner>
Re: Water chemistry questions       4/3/20

Hi Bob, thanks for the super quick response! So you really think it's the crushed coral that is raising the pH in the 55?
<... what else would it be?>
I guess I was under the false impression that it wouldn't raise a pH that was already alkaline and was more of a factor in acidic water.
<Let me try another poss. explanation. Imagine a world that all substances have some pH value and solubility (we live in this universe)... as substances go into solution (in our case aqueous... water) they interact w/ each other... acids and bases... those materials of lower and higher pH than 7.0 cancel each other out on the basis of their preponderance... materials on the same side of the pH scale (of neutral, 7.0) can elevate or depress pH on the basis again of their own pH and solubility. So, if you have bicarbonate in a solution, they will raise the pH (above 7) to an extent, whereas adding carbonates will raise the pH further still. Does this make sense?>
I did add some crushed coral to one of the FX5 filters but it probably isn't enough to make a difference. I don't want to use crushed coral in the 265 for appearances and also it would deter the natural sitting behavior of the peacocks and some of the haps.
I also agree it's better to stick with what's coming out of the tap then try to doctor the water to "perfect" parameters.
<Yes; this is very often the case. I only "fool" w/ water hardness and pH for experiment and some breeding>
Another question for you? What do you think of Chemi- Pure, specifically do you have any experience with Chemi- Pure Blue?
<I knew Dick Boyd himself decades back, his sons and now deceased wife (Dot)... and now the Turners who own/operate the co. Our service company used to use a gross (12 times 12) units in maintaining fresh and marine systems... monthly. It is a fabulously useful chemical filtrant media (which can/does become biological). I don't have direct experience w/ the more modern "blue" product; but have read naught but positive reviews>
I feel like my tank is missing something that I see on many YouTube videos of other people's tanks, mainly the African cichlid ones. Their water is just so crystal clear. A few that I follow talk up Chemi- Pure Blue but I also wonder sometimes if they are getting some of the product for free.
<Heeeee! This I doubt>
I know Neale is absolutely against chemical media unless it's for a specific purpose but some others on here are proponents. Thanks again, Jim
<I strongly encourage you to try it/them out. Very safe; and effective. Bob Fenner>
Water chemistry questions /Neale        4/3/20

Hi, I have been reading your site, more than ever lately due to the current state of the world, and can't say enough about the great information and help you provide.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have been in the process of redoing my 265 gallon tank the past couple months.
<Boy, sounds like quite the project!>
I took out all the rocks, rinsed them off and rearranged them in preparation for stocking with Lake Malawi haps and peacocks.
<Potentially excellent combo. Mbuna often harass both those groups, so sticking with Haplochromines and Aulonocara is a really good move, especially if you get the balance between open sandy areas and rocky fringes right. Bear in mind neither particularly need or want deep caves, though Aulonocara don't stray far from rocks in the wild.>
I've been doing weekly 40- 60% water changes and my parameters are all good.
Ammonia- 0
Nitrites-0
Nitrates- 10-20 when it hits 20 I do a water change
pH- 7.6
GH- 10
KH- 7
<All sounds fine.>
When I let my water sit out overnight the pH measures 8 after 24 hours. I don't understand why this hasn't been reflected in my tank. Is it because I don't have enough surface agitation and the CO2 doesn't bubble out?
<Possibly, but I wouldn't expect CO2 to be a major factor in a tank without any fish yet. I'm not clear from the above whether you have added fish or are still doing a fish-less cycle of some sort. Either way, a few fish shouldn't be producing so much CO2 the pH drops. So let's just tick off all the obvious things. Are there any plants? Vallisneria for example is an important part of some Lake Malawi biotopes, so is definitely an option. During the daytime this plant is capable of not only removing CO2 from the water (which would cause pH to rise) but also breaking down bicarbonate ions (i.e., KH) and in doing so (which will cause pH to decline). The effect can be very strong in bright light conditions. Next up, are you using any bogwood? These can absorb carbonate hardness ions, softening the water, and lowering the pH. Finally, have you tested your tap water? Some tap water, especially water from aquifers and wells, has an unstable pH for all sorts of reasons. The commonest is that it contains dissolved CO2, and as it loses this, the pH rises. Testing the pH of freshly drawn tap water, and then comparing it with the pH of the same sample 12 or 24 hours later can be informative. Regardless of what you are seeing, and what the explanation might be, the best approach is simply to buffer the water better. The old Rift Valley Salt Mix works well here (obviously) and since your cichlids will handle pretty much liquid rock, feel free to tweak the recipe to get what you want. I'd be aiming for a KH of 10-15 degrees, and with that sort of carbonate hardness, the pH won't change much between water changes.>
I use the output on one of my FX5's to agitate the surface but maybe it isn't enough.
<Easy enough to test, surely? But unless the tank is massively overstocked, I can't imagine the dissolved CO2 from the fish being enough to dramatically alter the pH of the water.>
But I also add the water straight from the tap, using Prime before, during and after and make sure the water going in creates major surface agitation.
<Some argument for letting water sit-and-stand before use, but if you add a generous measure of Rift Valley Salt Mix (per 5 gallons/20 litres: 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate); 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate); 1 teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements)) you should be golden.>
I just purchased a strong air pump and I'm going to set up an extra sponge filter and an air stone as well. Also, think I'm going to start filling a couple 40 gallon garbage cans with water, let them age and do my water changes this way. Like all of us, I have extra time right now. Any thoughts on this?
<Not a bad idea! But personally, I don't bother with ageing water.>
I also have a 55 in the basement I have used for misfit fish in the past. It has one male yellow lab that was getting beat up in the main tank and one Syno lucipinnis that was left from a group of five. To be honest, I unfortunately haven't paid much if any attention to that tank for what seems like a couple years. I feed a couple times a week but I cant remember the last time I did an actual water change or cleaned the filter. Well, with this free time I decided to clean that tank up and take better care of the two fish in there. The lab in there actually is better looking than any in the 265. He's bright yellow with no bearding or barring as opposed to my other ones.
<Sounds a nice fish! This species is very variable, and bear in mind that the Yellow Lab is a specific geographical form of a species that is mostly blue in the wild. I don't think we, as fish breeders, have done a good job in maintaining the brightest yellow colours. In the wild females presumably select the brightest colours, but hobbyists and fish farmers have been rather slapdash in which males are crossed with which females, so we end up with distinctly less brilliant Yellow Labs that have more of the other colour genes than they should.>
I figured I would do some water testing on that tank before I started cleaning it because I didn't want to give the fish too much of a shock. I figured that nitrates and GH would be sky high (I lazily had been topping the tank off) and that pH would be lower obviously. Here are the results:
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates between 80 and 160 (not good)
GH- gave up after adding 30 drops
KH- 8
pH- 8.2
<Nitrate not great, no.>
And that totally surprised me. I'm trying to figure out why and how the pH could be that high and wish it was in my 265. I use crushed coral as the substrate and there is one tufa rock in there as opposed to the main tank which is a blend of aragonite sand and play sand and contains only lace rock. I know from reading this site and cichlid-forum.com that crushed coral and aragonite really don't raise the pH when the water is already alkaline.
<No, but they do maintain it. All tanks become acidic over time. Nitrate and phosphate from biological filtration form nitric and phosphoric acids while organic decay produces acids such as tannins. What aragonite and carbonates do is buffer against this, neutralising those acids in real time. However, they only do so if in contact with the water. In older tanks, those rocks and sands will be coated with bacteria and algae, as well as dirt, and this is like the candy coating around a chocolate M&M, isolating the acidic substances in the water from the alkaline substances in the rock or sand particle. So over time, this buffering capacity weakens and potentially stops.>
The only other difference I can think of is the tank is more heavily oxygenated because of low stock and the surface is strongly agitated by an Eheim Pro 2. This tank evaporates very quickly so that leads to extra strong surface agitation. I would appreciate any thoughts on this as well and please don't beat me up too much about my neglect on that tank. ��
Thanks again for all your help and hope you keeping safe and healthy, Jim
<Hope that the above helps, and stay safe yourself. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Water chemistry questions        4/4/20

Bob, thanks for your help. I appreciate your expertise and opinion. I'm going to give the Chemi- Pure Blue a try. Jim
<Welcome; and please report back w/ your observations. BobF>
Re: Water chemistry questions        4/4/20

Hi Neale, thanks for your response.
<Welcome.>
I should have said the tank has been running for about 12 years and is stocked with 6 Synodontis Multipunctatus (original to the tank), 4 large clown loaches and 30+ yellow labs. Originally, this tank was going to be an all male hap and peacock tank but due to some bumps in the road (fish disease, birth of two children) the plan never fully materialized. The kids are 11 and 9 now and besides having to drive them everywhere for activities, I have enough spare time to get my tank back in order and hopefully fulfill my dream for it. I started working on the tank before the corona virus nightmare ensued but now I have even more time. I guess that's one small positive.
<Silver linings, and all that.>
After reading your response, I now answered one of my questions, with your help of course. The pH is lower in the tank because of the large bio-load and possibly excess CO2. I guess I thought with large, weekly water changes I could fix this.
<If the tank is really overloaded, then no, water changes won't help massively, unless you're doing them daily. CO2 will build up within a few hours. To some degree this is normal: in ponds for example you get quite dramatic pH changes as plants remove CO2 during the day (so pH goes up) and at night, when photosynthesis stops, CO2 goes up again (lowering the pH).
Within reason, aquatic animals and plants are adapted to this. Of course, this isn't acceptable in situations where fish adapted to very narrow ranges of conditions, such as Malawi cichlids.>
I have never tested it lower than 7.6 so I guess it's not that big of a worry.
<Agreed.>
Actually, the retailer where I plan on purchasing my new fish from, breeds and keeps their Lake Malawi cichlids in a pH of 7.8 with a KH of 6 and GH of 9. This is almost identical to what I have coming out of the tap.
<Indeed. At the low end, but acceptable for Malawians, which contrary to popular belief, don't need especially hard and alkaline water so much as *stable* alkaline conditions and good water quality.>
The place is called Aquahaus Gaus in Germany. Do you have any experience with them?
<No, but the Germans take their fishkeeping very serious (like pretty much everything else they do) and unless I'd heard stories to the contrary, I'd trust them to be reliable.>
Their facility is gigantic and it looks like they are expanding even more.
I don't think I can directly buy from them but there is an importer here in the US who is partnered with them and only a 5 hour drive.
<That is the usual situation. Wholesalers usually sell to retailers, and not consumers. However, just looked at their website, here: https://aquahaus-gaus.de/stock-list
They do seem to sell directly to European consumers via their website.
Might not be much help to you in the US, but they do also advertise 'Worldwide shipping' so might be worth writing and finding out.>
Their fish look amazing and are reasonably priced for 3-5 inch quality males. My plan is to move the yellow Labs out of the 265 (maybe keep a couple of the nicest males) and add 18-20 male haps and peacocks at the same time. Do you think this is reasonable for my size tank?
<Twenty fish in total? Yes, should be fine. Let's say each fish can get to 6 inches long, and you get twenty of them, that's 120 inches of fish. The old "inch per gallon" rule says you could keep 265 inches of small community fish in your tank, but reduce that because these fish are much bigger, and I think you're good.>
I would keep the clown loaches in there as their size dictates they wouldn't do well in the 55 gallon tanks.
<Less keen on this. Clown Loaches need much different water chemistry, and can also get massive. They'd put a hell of a strain on the filter, and given we're about right with the 20 cichlids, throwing in four Clowns, potentially 10-12 inches long when fully grown, and I think we'd be overstocked.>
I will be setting up. I know there are purists that say never keep clowns with African cichlids but my water parameters aren't as high as most who keep Africans.
<It's a bit more than just 'purists'. For sure at pH 7.6, up to 10 degrees dH, 5 degrees KH, Clown Loaches shouldn't have any health issues. But above that and the Clowns will suffer. Plus, you've got rainforest fish in the case of the Clowns, which want a dark, planted tank with soft sand to root about it; while the cichlids are rocky reef associated, don't mind bright light, and basically prefer a much different habitat. Could you find a happy medium? Perhaps. It'd need to be a planted tank with bogwood roots
and smooth, water worn cobbles. Lime-free sand or gravel, not coral sand. No tufa rock (too scratchy, and likely to damage the Clowns). Because of the plants and bogwood, and the absence of limestone materials, you'd need to be 100% on top of water chemistry by adding minerals to each bucket of
water. But it'd still be a fine line, and too much hardness and alkalinity will stress the Clowns.>
Plus they have been in that tank for 10 years as it is. The haps and peacocks I am interested in will be more on the less aggressive side as well. One concern I do have before I go ahead with this plan is I have seen more flashing from my yellow Labs than I consider normal. There are a couple whose fins are clamped and they are a little lethargic as well. I haven't seen any sign of Ich or any other parasite. Also, if Ich was present I imagine the clowns would be the first to show it.
<Is often thus, yes.>
I was hoping my water change regimen would take care of this issue on its own. I'm curious, would elevated CO2 levels or a lack of O2 contribute to this?
<One displaces the other, yes. So if CO2 goes up, O2 goes down, because water can only dissolve so much gas of whatever kind.>
From experience, I know that fish tend to be at the surface of the tank when oxygen is depleted and I haven't seen that at all.
<Depends a lot on the species, and high CO2 may not mean O2 is dangerously low. Some fish are facultative air-breathers, like the Clowns, but cichlids aren't, and observing the breathing rate is usually informative.>
Does elevated CO2 cause a different reaction or would that just boil down to the fish not having enough oxygen as well?
<See above; short answer: no, if O2 still sufficiently high, even if lower than maximum.>
I look forward to your response and appreciate your help. Bob also replied to my original email so feel free to share this with him if you like.
Thanks again, Jim
<No problem! Neale.>

Convict; repro. mostly; comp.       4/2/20
Hey there I actually have a question on my one single female convict that I have in a tank. In my tank there are also five ghost cat fish a few tetras two twig catfish, And only one single female convict.
<Not a combination I'd recommend. Twig Catfish, Farlowella spp., need strong water currents, relatively low temperatures, and an abundance of green algae. Otherwise they end up dead. Very few people keep them alive for long, sadly. No idea what your tetras are, but Ghost Catfish, Kryptopterus spp., are sensitive fish that are easily bullied. Again, not obvious companions for a hard water cichlid species know to be highly aggressive.>
So my question is would she be able to lay eggs even though there is no male?
<Unlikely, but can happen. Remove the eggs. They will be unfertilised, of course, and will rot and go fungussy within a few days. Once that happens, it's no better than leaving a dead fish in the tank -- one more source of ammonia for the filter to deal with.>
There are eggs in my tank that she started to protect do you think it is one of the other fishes eggs that she is protecting?
<Defensive Convicts can be extremely troublesome, so keep an eye on this tank. If it's 100 gallons you'd probably be fine, but 20 or 30 gallons, I'd be getting that female out ASAP. Frankly, Convicts aren't community fish, and shouldn't be kept as such.>
Thanks Vee
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Can anyone tell me what the black spot is?       4/1/20
It a little spikey on top. Fish shows no adverse signs relating to health or activity.
<Did this come out of nowhere? If so, then perhaps an ammonia burn or some other type of physical damage. If it's always been there, likely genetic, developmental, or even evidence of nerve damage. For now, observe, check water quality and chemistry, and if needs be, slowly optimise living conditions to better suit this species. Cheers, Neale.>

White circle around Rummynose eye      3/31/20
Dear WWM,
Thank you for the excellent guidance you provide, it helps us to enhance our understanding of the wet pets.
<Thanks for these kind words!>
The attached picture is of one of my 7 Rummynose tetras who would be about 2.5 years old in the tank. It has developed this white circle around the left eye but Its behavior is otherwise normal. Swimming, interested in food and energetic. I think another one of the group is also showing a trace of
something similar in 1 eye.
<Looks like 'Pop-eye', or Exophthalmia.>
Some details of the tank: It is a 29 gallon heavily planted non CO2 tank in its 9th year. Mostly slow growing plants, LED lighting on 8.5 hr. timer.
Fish include various small tetras, Corydoras cats, Bristle nose and whiptail plecs, cherry barbs, Kuhli loaches which seldom show up, and a pair of Bolivian Rams. Filtered by three 500 l/hr. HOB filters with ceramic media, sponge, SeaChem de nitrate. pH 7.5 (stable), TDS 225 ppm in meter, NO3 about 30. Small dosing of DIY macros every other day and weekly with Flourish Comprehensive and Iron alternatively. Indian summer is pushing the temp up to 28.5 C and then the chiller brings in down to 26.5. This happens at least 4 times a day, so might be a source of temperature fluctuation related stress. Bi weekly water change of 50 percent. No live food, Hikari, Ocean Nutrition, Tetra and NLS flakes and pellets
Can you please tell me what might be wrong? And do I need to intervene?
<If the pop-eye is a single eye, the chances are you're dealing with physical injury. The use of Epsom salt (1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres) is useful for reducing the swelling. This will raise the general
hardness a bit, but across a few weeks won't do any harm. Beyond that, there's nothing much to be done, and with luck the swelling will go down.
If both eyes are popping, that's more serious, and tends to imply environmental stress or a bacterial infection.>
Please stay safe and healthy.
<And likewise to you and yours.>
Thanks and regards
Devakalpa
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: White circle around Rummynose eye       4/1/20
Dear Neale,
Thanks for the details. I am afraid that the affected fish did not survive.
I did not see it in the morning, so must have been consumed by the other inhabitants.
<Oh dear. Let's hope nothing contagious was passed between them.>
I am doing a major water change and cleaning filters. Other fish and inverts seem normal for now.
Regards
Devakalpa
<Well, good luck with remaining livestock. Take care, Neale.>

Re: White circle around Rummynose eye <<RMF LOOK for update>>       4/3/20
Dear Neale,
Thank you.
<Welcome.>
I saw on the WWM website that our mail exchange has been published but the second message and its response is missing. May be it will be updated later.
<I believe this is what Bob F does, as the days, weeks pass.>
I wonder if that discontinuity might misguide someone later who could associate the picture/symptom with PopEye only and miss out on your updated prognosis of a possible bacterial infection, likely columnaris.
<Understood. It may well be that Bob will collate both/all massages, making it clear where we went with this.>
Please consider not publishing this message.
<Noted; Bob?>
<<I am only finding the posting from 3/31 and 4/1... is there another? RMF>>
Thanks and records
Devakalpa
<Cheers, Neale.>

Blue lobster/crayfish (with a relevant Dune quote added!) <Kai Walud!>      3/31/20
Hello,
My boyfriend and I just got a blue lobster from Petco a few weeks ago and today we came home to find him in the corner of his tank on his side.
<Not normal behaviour; do check water quality, temperature, etc. Assuming this is the standard issue, cheap and cheerful Procambarus alleni native to Florida. So aim for hard water (10-20 degrees dH); an alkaline pH (around 7.5 is ideal, and certainly avoid acidic conditions); and temperatures around 18-25 C/64-77 F. While generally very hardy, like any invertebrate they are quickly killed by exposure to certain toxins, especially copper.>
We thought he was dead because he wouldn’t move when you touched him, so I gently tried to grab his tail and he was very much alive and got his tail out of my fingers.
<Good. Less stressful is just to look at the face. You should see various little bits whirring about, as well as the gills under the tail.>
Although now he’s still laying on his side with very very little motion.
<That's less good.>
He is the only bottom feeder, there are two female Bettas (they get along great) and he seemed super happy until now.
<Not indefinitely they won't. Procambarus alleni is an omnivore, and while it prefers to eat aquarium plants, it will consume carrion when available, and if lucky enough to catch a sleeping fish, that's fair game too. As with all crayfish, unsuitable for community tanks, and best kept in their own system. For a start, copper is a common ingredient in fish medicines, as are various organic dyes, and these stress or kill crayfish without delay. And, as mentioned, fish don't work well. Big fish will damage crayfish immediately after moulting (when their shell is soft) while small fish are viewed as food. Recall this quote from 'Dune'? Relevant to people mixing fish and crayfish -- Paul: They tried and failed? Reverend Mother Mohiam: They tried and died.>
I’m not sure if I should be worried or not, I’ve read on your site that he may be molting (we haven’t had him long enough to see his first molt).
<Moulting is very specific. Requires iodine to work (marine aquarium iodine supplement fine, used at half dose; otherwise regular offerings of seafoods such as unshelled prawns as well as iodine-rich sushi Nori you might be fine). Crayfish retire to a cave, but they don't lie down. The shell comes off over the head, like pulling off a sweater, and the crayfish keep a low profile until the shell is hardened. They will often eat the shell (which is a good thing, so let them). Crayfish lying on their sides are usually sick. Since we know little/nothing about Crayfish disease and medicine, they either get better under their own steam or die. The most you can do is optimise living conditions through water changes, increasing aeration, and making sure the water quality and chemistry are perfect.>
Although I would like you’re input, I can send you pictures or videos if you like.
Thank you!
<Hope this helps. Neale.>

My golf fish seems to have fin rot but I don’t know exactly      3/31/20
At first my golf fish started to get a few pieces of its rear tail being torn off it looked like.
<Golf fish? Torn its tail? Should have used a five iron maybe, instead of a driver...>
I quickly blamed my other fish I just got from a local stream.
<This is certainly possible.
Fancy Goldfish (so, pretty much anything other than your Commons or Comets) are incapable of doing well with things like Minnows and Shiners. Even with the best will in the world, these more active wild-type fish will simply view the long fins of Fancy Goldfish as either toys or meals. Often both. Commons and Comets are simply carp with different colours, and, in the case of Comets, longer, but not disabling, finnage. So they usually do fine with native fish, size and temperament allowing, but if combined with aggressive or snappy fish, they'll be damaged as easily as any other inoffensive schooling fish.>
I don’t know exactly what fish they are but they have a blue rear fin and a yellow belly. I looked up a few fishes that looked similar but the closest one was a molly.
<Really do need a decent photo. And to know what country you're in! If you're in the US, what state you're in makes a big difference too, the fish faunas of the Southeast being entirely different to those of the Pacific Northwest. But broadly, if you're in the US, there are likely two sorts of fish you'll catch easily outside of the warm Southeastern states: various cyprinids (minnows and shiners) and then the various sunfishes (such as pumpkinseeds, sunfish, and bass). Cyprinids tend to be active schooling fish, with pelvic fins set well back along the body, rather like your Goldfish. Sunfish are typical perciform fish, with their pelvic fins more or less underneath the pectoral fins. They are less active, more like lurking predators really, and tend to be territorial and nippy.>
This is the fish.
<Your photo is much too small to be of much use. The long body is cyprinid-like, vaguely like Nocomis spp., but then again, the longitudinal stripes remind me of the Umbridae, such as the Eastern Mudminnow. But really, no idea without a proper photo.>
But then I started to speculate it was fin rot. But I am not completely sure of it here is a picture of the golf fish. Also I have separated the golf fish and the other fish.
<Wise. Goldfish recover well from this sort of injury given good water quality (zero ammonia and nitrite); but feel free to use a commercial fin rot medication if you have one. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My golf fish seems to have fin rot but I don’t know exactly       4/1/20
Okay I’m glad to know that the photos were too small I had a feeling they were here are some original sized pictures of both fish
<Right, the greenish fish with the dark stripes -- it's a Sailfin Molly of some kind. Poecilia latipinna more than likely. A more or less strictly herbivorous fish, so therefore eats much the same things as Goldfish. Needs hard, alkaline water to do well; some salt is often recommended, though not strictly necessary. Would suggest you do some reading, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/mollies.htm
No particular reason it can't cohabit with Goldfish, but some male Mollies can be aggressive, so best watch how they interact. Cheers, Neale.>


Env.

Re: Questions for 2 Bettas - follow up, lost my original email thread      3/29/20
Good morning WWM, so I have a really bizarre update on this Betta. In the last week he has taken a turn for the better!
<Yay!>
His fins are growing back and his swim bladder problems (floating at the surface for him) are gone.
<Nice.>
This has happened over the past week. This morning I woke up and he is swimming at all levels of the tank like normal. I'm bewildered because I never expected a recovery, let alone something this fast. He is still very skinny so I am hoping if he is getting better, I can get some weight on him. If the mycobacterium suspicion was correct, is this sort of recovery even "possible" or maybe it isn't mycobacterium after all?
<Yes, though rare. There's no treatment for Mycobacteria infections, but some fish do indeed recover. Perhaps more likely some other problem, bacterial or otherwise, was at work. Constipation and exposure to airborne toxins are two such examples of things that can cause acute problems followed by spontaneous recovery. >
I just can't wrap my head around this sudden recovery.
<Stranger things have happened! Cheers, Neale.>

ADF Behavior, & repro. f'      3/29/20
Hello again Neale,
<Hello Hanna,>
I wrote to you perhaps around a week ago about my female ADF with cloudy eyes.
<Indeed.>
I followed your instructions, and she is almost entirely back to normal, and all tank mates are happy and healthy!
<Yay!>
However, perhaps I am making a problem out of nothing, but I had another concern I thought you would be best to ask you about.
<Sure.>
I've searched for any answers about this by scouring the internet but I did not find the information I was looking for. My ADFs are one male and one female, and as previously mentioned in another email I have had them for about 2 months. When I first got them from the pet store they were extremely small and underfed, so much so that they were almost translucent.
They have grown immensely in the two months I have had them, almost doubling in size.
<Not bad at all!>
The male developed his subdermal glands, and the female has clearly began to develop her more rotund and pear-shaped body. I would wager a guess that they are around the ages of 5-6 months each but it's hard to say.
<Maybe, but hard to know, as you say.>
However, they have not shown any inclination towards amplexus with each other.
<May simply be too young, or even of different species (there are at least two in the trade) so not willing or able to sexually engage with one another. On top of this, these animals are largely nocturnal, so we really only see a bit of their behaviour in the tank when the lights are on.>
I contacted a few other ADF owners, who shared that their little guys started breeding almost right away and took to each other quickly and a very young age. Perhaps my frogs are simply still not ready, as I know the average age of sexual maturity for these guys is 9 months, but I was curious nonetheless.
<Often people hear the males singing first. Sounds like a squeaky door to me, but apparently female frogs love it!>
My two have never shown any inclination towards amplexus, and I wanted to make sure that this wasn't a sign that something was wrong.
<Unlikely.>
Do some ADFs simply never choose to breed with each other?
<Indeed, just as with people.>
Are mine still too young?
<Quite possibly.>
There is obviously no need for them to breed, but I know that amplexus is often a sign of a healthy and happy environment for ADFs, and I became worried that I was doing something wrong.
<I'd not worry about this. If they're feeding and active during the daylight hours, those are the two best signs.>
Thank you for all your helpful answers and care!
Best, Hanna
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago      3/27/20
Hi again Neale,
Hope you are well :)
<So far as I know, but these days, that doesn't always count for much!>
The dwarf chain loach are going good except after cleaning gravel in my main tank and removing plants 2 of the females were behaving weirdly. Maybe they have a disease or could it be from male harassment?
<Kinda sort of. Female Guppies surely do get harassed by males in small tanks, and 70 litres would be small for our purposes. Once harassed, the resulting stress can make them more prone to the usual bacterial diseases, much as aggression might.>
I moved one out and treated it with general cure and fungus cure in the 70L tank. I also treated main tank with Praziquantel and then today I spotted the other female in the main tank swimming weakly, more like drifting around really but breathing heavy.
<These symptoms are pretty generic and could be all sorts of things.
Optimising living conditions, and medicating as per a bacterial infection is probably your best bet, ideally alongside something like Metronidazole to deal with protozoans that may or may not be Hexamita, but do cause 'wasting' type problems in Guppies.>
I moved her to into the 70L and medicated both tanks with general cure.
This is a video of the fish, any idea what's causing it or what disease it could be? I'm going to test the nitrate in main tank. The ammonia and nitrite was fine.
https://youtu.be/rw0RwnB4fxY
<Does look more like acute environmental stress if this came out of nowhere after cleaning the tank. Have seen similar with cichlids when adding too-cold water by accident. Recover with time if conditions appropriate, but if you've introduced a toxin, a series of water changes may be needed.
Likewise if you've messed up water chemistry, especially by either lowering pH or hardness in the case of Guppies, a similar thing may happen. Use a water chemistry test kit, and act accordingly.>
Thanks again
<Welcome. Neale.>
re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago     3/28/20

Thanks so much for your reply Neale,
<Welcome.>
Its great you are well :) I heard P95 masks protect against the virus so if you could get some that's a start
<Indeed.>
The weird thing is the females I moved have improved but more fish in the main 130L tank seem to be catching it. Is it possible its hydrogen sulfide poisoning?
<H2S would cause immediate respiratory distress, such as gasping at the surface. Appreciable amounts of H2S are very unlikely in aquarium situations. You'd not only need a very deep substrate (at least 8-10 cm) but the water would have to be decidedly oxygen-poor, because otherwise the H2S reacts almost instantly with the oxygen in the water. Even those things wouldn't result in much H2S without bucket-loads of organic material being somehow inside the substrate and decomposing away from oxygen (so, for example, no plant roots to transport oxygen, and no burrowing snails to turn over the substrate and keep it clean). Nobody worries about H2S in ponds or marine tanks, and in marine tanks anoxic conditions are actively encouraged to help break down nitrate. I think the whole H2S thing is a bit
of a myth, really, and while theoretically possible, probably doesn't happen in typical freshwater fish tanks with plants and snails.>
Because when I was gravel vacuuming I noticed sooo much bubbles coming out of the gravel.
<H2S has a very distinctive bad egg smell. Furthermore, where it is being produced, the sulphides react with chemicals readily, the most famous reaction being the one that produces iron sulphide. If you've ever dug into sand at the beach, you'll have noticed when go deep enough, a layer of black sand and a bad smell. This is iron sulphide (the black sand) and hydrogen sulphide (the bad egg smell). If you're not detecting either of these in your aquarium, then H2S is not likely being produced in significant quantities. I think this also gives an indication of the sort of environment H2S production needs for quantities to become dangerous: very deep sediment, very fine particles like sand blocking the diffusion of oxygen, no plant roots, no snails, and no preventative maintenance of any kind.>
I moved almost all the females today even though only 1-2 extra were afflicted, and moved them all to the 70L. A male is afflicted but I couldn't catch him, he was hiding in an impossible spot.
<In theory, if the fish were exposed to H2S but survived, moving them to better conditions, or ideally, simply aerating the tank vigorously to drive off the H2S, should allow the fish to recover. Animals produce H2S in small amounts within their bodies, and have ways to deal with it. My understanding is that even in humans exposed to enough H2S to become unwell, treatment is essentially supportive, waiting for nature to takes its course. Put another way, if your fish are in better conditions now, H2S
poisoning would be a transient thing, and you should seem recover, slow or rapid as the case may be.>
I ordered more medication for the tank (metronidazole) as I'm out. It should arrive this week, its 25 grams this time which is loads more than I had before. The meds I added to main tank didn't seem to help. I also ordered Flubendazole incase its a parasite though I'm not sure how to dose it.
<Best to follow the supplied instructions on the packaging. Vets will prescribe dosages based on the concentration of the drug and the body mass of the fish. Everything else is hit-and-miss (especially the usual aquarium approach of X teaspoons per Y litres/gallons). Manufacturers generally provide a usage that is basically reliable for the average fish in the average fish tank, but you may find repeating the course of medication worthwhile, especially with de-wormers.>
I added carbon pad and PolyFilter to the filter incase it is hydrogen sulfide poisoning.
<Do remember BOTH of these will remove medications, so DO NOT use alongside medicine. Indeed, removal of H2S is best done by increasing aeration, since H2S reacts quickly with oxygen. If you truly suspect this is a problem, I'd remove the fish to a bucket, remove all the substrate (and any plants, if
present) and then put the fish back. Clean the substrate, and return to the tank. If you don't have plants, you only need enough sand or gravel to cover the glass, a 1-2 cm of this will not become anoxic. Still, if you have plants with roots, then H2S is very unlikely to occur because plant roots transport oxygen (the root hair cells are highly dependent on aerobic respiration) and some oxygen inevitably diffuses out into the sediment.>
Their water was already low ph pretty much.
<Do bear in mind acidosis will quickly stress Guppies; you do want hard water for them. As a reminder, 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.0 is about right. If your water chemistry is unstable or soft, addition of marine aquarium salt works extremely well with Guppies. To say they thrive in brackish water is an understatement, but even a little salt, maybe 3-5 gram/litre, makes a tremendous difference. Breeding on fish farms often uses salt, simply because it's a quick and cheap way to keep Guppies healthy. Hardy
plants won't mind this level of salt, at least not up to 3 gram/litre.
Guppies also appreciate warmth, especially the fancier varieties. I'd be keeping them around 28 C, but bumping up the aeration as well.>
It may of gotten lower from the release in gases though I added some marble to the filter. The 70L is way harder water like 7.6 and all the females reacted well to being moved from the acidic tank to 7.6.
<I would imagine. Wild Guppies may well handle acidic conditions, being found across a range of environments from acidic swamps through to coastal marine lagoons, but fancy Guppies aren't as genetically diverse and tend to be much more finicky.>
So I think maybe it in fact is a toxin i.e. hydrogen sulfide.
<Toxins of other sorts, like paint fumes and aerosol cleaning sprays should always be considered, but again, water changes should eliminate these and you should see the fish recover thereafter.>
Also I tested the nitrate and it was pretty low, only in-between 0 and 5ppm.
Which is surprising as its stocked pretty high and has excess of snails and minimal plants. I'm thinking the gravel was doing anaerobic filtration.
<See above; only if very deep, very neglected, and very plant/snail free.>
This is the tank atm (foggy due to adding SeaChem pristine and disturbing gravel again).
https://youtu.be/duzAhUz8h4w
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago     3/28/20
Hi thanks so much for your reply Neale,
<Welcome.>
I think the females haven't actually recovered but they are no worse. Sadly an Endler male I liked must of died overnight without a trace. I noticed a yellow Endler has been missing ever since I moved it from Quarantine to the big tank.
I'm starting to think it is worms and likely not hydrogen sulfide/a toxin.
As a couple more guppies are being affected. Even after water changes.
<Camallanus worms are very common among farmed livebearers, but the symptoms are usually obvious, with red, thread-like filaments appearing from the vent. But if you have a bunch of fish, all suddenly getting sick, without any obvious symptoms pointing in a clear direction, it's a better bet to go with the environment. As we've discussed, Guppies are adaptable but do have firm preferences: medium to very hard water; pH around 7.5 to 8; gentle water currents; and a fair bit of warmth. Check you are providing these first, before a scattergun approach to medicating is undertaken.>
Though I don't know why suddenly it would strike them and spread.
<Indeed; see above. Check environment, top to bottom, first.>
Any idea what kind of parasite it could be?
<Not from the symptoms presented, no.>
I don't really feel like it's bacterial. I mean it is a possibility but I can't think of what kind of bacteria could cause these symptoms and also spread like this.
<Bacterial infections tend to be opportunistic. Some exceptions, but mostly things like Finrot and Mycobacteria make trouble when the fish is damaged, stressed, or otherwise unable to employ its normal immune system.>
Should I use Levamisole or Flubendazole (wait till it arrives later this week). I heard Flubendazole is gentler on fish but I don't know if I should wait till it arrives next week sometime.
<Both can work, but don't use them unless you're obviously dealing with worms -- i.e., visible from the vent, or at the very least there's abdominal swelling developed over several weeks or months together with normal behaviour and appetite but an overall loss of conditions. Worms do not suddenly take over a fish and kill it within days. Cheers, Neale.>
re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago      3/29/20

Thanks so much for your reply Neale,
<Welcome.>
Its great you are well :) I heard P95 masks protect against the virus so if you could get some that's a start
<Indeed.>
The weird thing is the females I moved have improved but more fish in the main 130L tank seem to be catching it. Is it possible its hydrogen sulfide poisoning?
<H2S would cause immediate respiratory distress, such as gasping at the surface. Appreciable amounts of H2S are very unlikely in aquarium situations. You'd not only need a very deep substrate (at least 8-10 cm) but the water would have to be decidedly oxygen-poor, because otherwise the H2S reacts almost instantly with the oxygen in the water. Even those things wouldn't result in much H2S without bucket-loads of organic material being somehow inside the substrate and decomposing away from oxygen (so, for example, no plant roots to transport oxygen, and no burrowing snails to turn over the substrate and keep it clean). Nobody worries about H2S in ponds or marine tanks, and in marine tanks anoxic conditions are actively encouraged to help break down nitrate. I think the whole H2S thing is a bit of a myth, really, and while theoretically possible, probably doesn't happen in typical freshwater fish tanks with plants and snails.>
Because when I was gravel vacuuming I noticed sooo much bubbles coming out of the gravel.
<H2S has a very distinctive bad egg smell. Furthermore, where it is being produced, the sulphides react with chemicals readily, the most famous reaction being the one that produces iron sulphide. If you've ever dug into sand at the beach, you'll have noticed when go deep enough, a layer of black sand and a bad smell. This is iron sulphide (the black sand) and hydrogen sulphide (the bad egg smell). If you're not detecting either of these in your aquarium, then H2S is not likely being produced in significant quantities. I think this also gives an indication of the sort of environment H2S production needs for quantities to become dangerous: very deep sediment, very fine particles like sand blocking the diffusion of oxygen, no plant roots, no snails, and no preventative maintenance of any kind.>
I moved almost all the females today even though only 1-2 extra were afflicted, and moved them all to the 70L. A male is afflicted but I couldn't catch him, he was hiding in an impossible spot.
<In theory, if the fish were exposed to H2S but survived, moving them to better conditions, or ideally, simply aerating the tank vigorously to drive off the H2S, should allow the fish to recover. Animals produce H2S in small amounts within their bodies, and have ways to deal with it. My understanding is that even in humans exposed to enough H2S to become unwell, treatment is essentially supportive, waiting for nature to takes its course. Put another way, if your fish are in better conditions now, H2S
poisoning would be a transient thing, and you should seem recover, slow or rapid as the case may be.>
I ordered more medication for the tank (metronidazole) as I'm out. It should arrive this week, its 25 grams this time which is loads more than I had before. The meds I added to main tank didn't seem to help. I also ordered Flubendazole incase its a parasite though I'm not sure how to dose it.
<Best to follow the supplied instructions on the packaging. Vets will prescribe dosages based on the concentration of the drug and the body mass of the fish. Everything else is hit-and-miss (especially the usual aquarium approach of X teaspoons per Y litres/gallons). Manufacturers generally provide a usage that is basically reliable for the average fish in the average fish tank, but you may find repeating the course of medication worthwhile, especially with de-wormers.>
I added carbon pad and PolyFilter to the filter incase it is hydrogen sulfide poisoning.
<Do remember BOTH of these will remove medications, so DO NOT use alongside medicine. Indeed, removal of H2S is best done by increasing aeration, since H2S reacts quickly with oxygen. If you truly suspect this is a problem, I'd remove the fish to a bucket, remove all the substrate (and any plants, if
present) and then put the fish back. Clean the substrate, and return to the tank. If you don't have plants, you only need enough sand or gravel to cover the glass, a 1-2 cm of this will not become anoxic. Still, if you have plants with roots, then H2S is very unlikely to occur because plant roots transport oxygen (the root hair cells are highly dependent on aerobic respiration) and some oxygen inevitably diffuses out into the sediment.>
Their water was already low ph pretty much.
<Do bear in mind acidosis will quickly stress Guppies; you do want hard water for them. As a reminder, 10-25 degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.0 is about right.
If your water chemistry is unstable or soft, addition of marine aquarium salt works extremely well with Guppies. To say they thrive in brackish water is an understatement, but even a little salt, maybe 3-5 gram/litre, makes a tremendous difference. Breeding on fish farms often uses salt, simply because it's a quick and cheap way to keep Guppies healthy. Hardy plants won't mind this level of salt, at least not up to 3 gram/litre.
Guppies also appreciate warmth, especially the fancier varieties. I'd be keeping them around 28 C, but bumping up the aeration as well.>
It may of gotten lower from the release in gases though I added some marble to the filter. The 70L is way harder water like 7.6 and all the females reacted well to being moved from the acidic tank to 7.6.
<I would imagine. Wild Guppies may well handle acidic conditions, being found across a range of environments from acidic swamps through to coastal marine lagoons, but fancy Guppies aren't as genetically diverse and tend to be much more finicky.>
So I think maybe it in fact is a toxin i.e. hydrogen sulfide.
<Toxins of other sorts, like paint fumes and aerosol cleaning sprays should always be considered, but again, water changes should eliminate these and you should see the fish recover thereafter.>
Also I tested the nitrate and it was pretty low, only in-between 0 and 5ppm.
Which is surprising as its stocked pretty high and has excess of snails and minimal plants. I'm thinking the gravel was doing anaerobic filtration.
<See above; only if very deep, very neglected, and very plant/snail free.>
This is the tank atm (foggy due to adding SeaChem pristine and disturbing gravel again).
https://youtu.be/duzAhUz8h4w
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago      3/29/20

Hi thanks so much for your reply Neale,
<Welcome.>
I think the females haven't actually recovered but they are no worse. Sadly an Endler male I liked must of died overnight without a trace. I noticed a yellow Endler has been missing ever since I moved it from Quarantine to the big tank.
I'm starting to think it is worms and likely not hydrogen sulfide/a toxin.
As a couple more guppies are being affected. Even after water changes.
<Camallanus worms are very common among farmed livebearers, but the symptoms are usually obvious, with red, thread-like filaments appearing from the vent. But if you have a bunch of fish, all suddenly getting sick, without any obvious symptoms pointing in a clear direction, it's a better bet to go with the environment. As we've discussed, Guppies are adaptable but do have firm preferences: medium to very hard water; pH around 7.5 to 8; gentle water currents; and a fair bit of warmth. Check you are providing these first, before a scattergun approach to medicating is undertaken.>
Though I don't know why suddenly it would strike them and spread.
<Indeed; see above. Check environment, top to bottom, first.>
Any idea what kind of parasite it could be?
<Not from the symptoms presented, no.>
I don't really feel like it's bacterial. I mean it is a possibility but I can't think of what kind of bacteria could cause these symptoms and also spread like this.
<Bacterial infections tend to be opportunistic. Some exceptions, but mostly things like Finrot and Mycobacteria make trouble when the fish is damaged, stressed, or otherwise unable to employ its normal immune system.>
Should I use Levamisole or Flubendazole (wait till it arrives later this week). I heard Flubendazole is gentler on fish but I don't know if I should wait till it arrives next week sometime.
<Both can work, but don't use them unless you're obviously dealing with worms -- i.e., visible from the vent, or at the very least there's abdominal swelling developed over several weeks or months together with normal behaviour and appetite but an overall loss of conditions. Worms do not suddenly take over a fish and kill it within days. Cheers, Neale.>
re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago      3/29/20

Thanks so much Neale
<Most welcome.>
I added more marble to raise the ph slowly.
<Wouldn't be my recommendation. Do read WWM re: water chemistry; the old Rift Valley salt mix, used at about one-half dose, is ideal for Guppies and extremely cheap to make.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
Gradually change the water chemistry in the tank by doing 20-25% water changes per day, with incoming water being treated using the Rift Valley salt mix appropriate to that volume of water, not the whole tank.>
Will add more in a few days. What temperature would you recommend for guppies?
<25-28 C is about right for fancy Guppies.>
Also all the tanks have rift lake cichlid salt in them too.
<Well, shouldn't need the marble then! Are you using enough? If you are using Rift Valley salt, the pH should be around 7.5. Ordinary salt, as in sodium chloride, WILL NOT change the pH, and is of no value. Carbonate salts add the KH, and Epsom salt (or equivalent) the GH; do read the above linked article.>
What would you suggest I do? More water changes? Every couple days? Or little water change after a week? Any thing else?
<Do please read first; after, if needs be, write. Cheers, Neale.>
re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago      3/29/20

Thanks so much Neale,
<Welcome.>
Last time I checked the ph it was 6.4 which was actually an improvement.
<Yes, but still far too low for Guppies; this alone could explain their distress and death. No need to invoke pathogens.>
But I added slightly more marble, I think there's about 1/3 of a cup in there now maybe slightly more.
<The thing with marble is that while it does dissolve slowly, raising the KH and pH, it's slow and unpredictable. Adding Epsom salt (for GH) and sodium bicarbonate (for KH) are instant and accurate. Just stir into a bucket of water, test, and off you go!>
I will check the ph tomorrow and see how my fish are doing :)
The temperature is 26-27
All the females are in the 70L with a higher ph I think its like 7.6.
Ok I will add a bit more rift lake cichlid salt too
Thanks!
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago      3/29/20

Hi again Neale,
<Hello Sarah,>
Just a quick update, I was checking my guppies and saw one that is affected has stringing clear/white poo.
Does that mean parasites or bacteria?
<All it means is that the intestine is shedding extra mucous. The mucous binds the faecal particles together into long strings, and the greater the proportion of mucous, the paler the faeces. Extra mucous in the digestive tract can happen for a variety of reasons, from inadequate fibre through to certain types of gut parasite. You can't rule worms in or out without examining the faeces under a microscope, where worm segments and/or eggs will be apparent. Hexamita is another parasite associated with stringy
faeces, but again, you can't confirm without microscopic inspection. A bacterial infection, though possible I suppose, is unlikely to cause this particular set of symptoms; to the best of my knowledge, anyway.>
Thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago       4/1/20
Hi again Neale,
Just a quick update.
One of the male guppies that has the disease suddenly has really bad fin rot. Could this mean its a bacterial disease? Maybe part of the disease? Do any parasites cause this?
I have a video of it
https://youtu.be/EFaak7K3DuA
<Nice clear wounds to the tail, it looks like. I'd be thinking physical damage, certainly if (and you can tell better than me) the torn fins have clean cuts, like they've been snipped with scissors, rather than mouldy-looking patches of dead white or pink tissue. Fancy Guppies are routinely harassed by Bettas, so I'd not trust the Betta for a start!
Medicating as per Finrot only necessary of the damaged fins fail to heal or there are signs of dead white or pink tissue. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago      4/2/20

Thanks for your reply Neale
This is the only guppy nipped and I'm pretty sure the other guppies were doing it because he's sick and they want him gone Id say.
<Yep. Sounds plausible; but do read online -- Bettas and Guppies are not reliable. Depends a lot on the personality of the Betta, some more nippy than others. Ironic, given they're an easy target for fin-nippers, but who said life was fair?>
I put him in a Net breeder in same tank so he wont be bitten<If there's space, adding more Guppies is actually more likely to help -- by diluting aggression within the group. If all males, then more males; if mixed, then more females.>
and dosed a half dose of fungus cure. Hope it helps
<As do I. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago       4/3/20
Hi again Neale thanks so much for your reply
<Welcome.>
There's only a few adult males in the breeder tank and then about 25 females.
<Sounds a good male/female ratio for this species.>
I think the guppy is going a bit better today. I see he's done some poop which is good. He also seems less exhausted. I do think the guppies were nipping him.
<Does happen.>
Ill keep an eye on the Betta though. If any others fins start looking the same it will be obvious its the Betta i think.
A guppy already gave birth how exciting. Unsure if the Betta will eat all the fry or not.
<Yes; as will adult Guppies. Neither species recognise the babies as anything other than food.>
These were from mixed breeding so not too important.
<Perhaps, but crossbred Guppies are hardy and useful pets for casual aquarists.>
The males I moved over are the most superior. I really needed to give away some fish or sell I didn't want to have so many fish in the breeding tank.
But hard with Covid
<Understood. Cheers, Neale.>
re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago       4/3/20

Hi again Neale,
So I checked on fish today and there doesn't seem to be any improvement or deterioration.
<Well, that's encouraging, I guess, albeit not all that promising.>
The male has long white poo and 2 females in the 70L. The affected ones tend to have medium equilibrium issues.
I'm thinking it might be a flatworm or tape worm since Iv medicated pretty hard core with Levamisole and metronidazole. Yet only did partial medicating and low dose with Praziquantel as I ran out.
So I ordered more 100 tabs that should arrive next week. I added general cure but the amount of Praziquantel in it probably isn't enough.
<Praziquantel is a bit hit and miss. Definitely worth doing 2-3 courses.
But if worms aren't to blame, won't do much. At some point, Metronidazole is only worth considering if Hexamita is suspected. API General Cure includes this medication, and Praziquantel, so is worthwhile. Do understand
though that if the aquarium isn't optimised otherwise, e.g., the pH and hardness are wrong, the fish won't recover. Also, carbon removes the medication from the water, so be sure to remove carbon from the filter. If all you have is Guppies in there, or you can move them to their own tank, I'd be minded to just use marine or even plain vanilla aquarium salt for a while, at 5-10 gram/litre (above 5 will kill most plants, so dose appropriately). In other words, good solid brackish conditions has a profoundly tonic effect on most Poecilia spp. livebearers and may break the
life cycle of those parasites unable to handle salt. Lower doses, 2-3 gram/litre, can be very helpful too, and definitely worth a shot. Cheers, Neale.>
re: sudden guppy illness after disturbing gravel a week ago       4/3/20

Thanks so much for your reply Neale,
<Welcome.>
With the 70L it is a harder water tank. I believe the ph is around 7.5 but Ill check tomorrow. There is also rift lake cichlid salt in it. There's no carbon in any tank atm.
<All sounds fine.>
I'm thinking of removing the ones affected (~3) into a different QT tank to try and further hopefully remove the disease.
<Possibly, but I'd assume all fish are infected if one or two of them have worms. Some parasites, notably Hexamita among cichlids, are likely ubiquitous, but only become a problem when the fish is stressed. Likewise opportunistic bacteria such as Aeromonas and Pseudomonas. Camallanus worms seem to be endemic among farmed livebearers, and unusually for wormy parasites, can infect other fish directly, rather than through another animal host such as a snail or crustacean. My point is that while some diseases can be treated in isolation tanks, such as Finrot, where keeping the injured fish safely away from other tankmates is a good idea, in other cases you have to assume all the fish have it, whether they're exhibiting symptoms or not.>
As if it is worms, they may spread through eggs in the white faeces coming out of the fish.
<Correct.>
Plus I could medicate with much higher levels of rift lake cichlid salt to have a anti-parasitic affect.
<No. This won't work. Rift Valley salt mix has no effect at all on parasites. Sodium chloride can, if used at high enough concentrations, e.g., 2 g/l for Whitespot, but Rift Valley salt mix is mostly magnesium sulphate, which has no such effect at normal concentrations.>
I feel like there was subclinical levels of parasites in a fish or in the gravel.
<Yes and no. Many fish parasites will have a free-living stage, yes, but this often only lives for a very short period of time. The classic example is Whitespot, where the parasite is free-living for about 24 hours at 25 C.
If it can't find a host after that, it dies. Some Camallanus species, by contrast, have free-living larval stages that need to have infected a copepod within about two weeks, and any later than that will die. So while some parasites can 'wait around' for a short while, the ones we're dealing with in aquarium conditions generally can't, which is why leaving a tank fallow for a few weeks is quite a good way to 'reset' it back to its pre-disease-ridden stage. What is infinitely more likely is that many/all of our tropical fish have low parasite loads when we buy them, and if we
don't, for example, de-worm them, there's always a risk those parasites can cause problems. Often, they don't. Fish have excellent immune systems -- if you think about a tropical fish, it's basically swimming around in a warm,
wet Petri dish filled with bacteria! Compared with land animals, where dry air is extremely good at killing off parasites and pathogens, fish have to deal with being exposed to bacteria all the time. But if we stress our
fish, or fail to provide the right balance of nutrients, or whatever else, then their immune system weakens. It's this, more than anything, we need to focus on. When we see a fish get sick, we shouldn't only ask "what is the
disease" but also "why did it get sick at all". Make sense?>
Then due to disturbing it and stressing the fish with the larger than normal water change and removal of plants, their immunity was lowered and some succumbed to clinical parasite/disease infestation.
<Indeed, some combination of these, and/or other factors, and to some degree bad luck and/or bad genes, farmed Fancy Guppies being especially prone because of their inbred nature and consequently smaller gene pool
than their wild or mixed breed "feeder fish" cousins.>
I think no more are catching it due to me feeding literal mashed up garlic to them as well as their garlic and vitamin soaked food.
<Certainly vitamins help, and garlic stimulates the appetite of many fish, which means they're getting more calories.>
I'm planning on removing that gravel and adding a 2cm thick layer of sand as its cleaner and it will help the ph raise.
Thanks so much!
<Sand is interesting. If you're keeping just Guppies, or some other hard water fish with them, adding some coral sand to a gravel or silica sand substrate can boost the carbonate hardness and buffer against pH drops.
Very helpful! Sand also prevents dirt sinking down because sand has such fine grains. An old turkey baster will be really good for spot cleaning such a tank, as you'll see the dirt sitting there on the sand! Cheers, Neale.>

sick eel... Need data       3/22/20
A friend asked me to hold his tank and fish so I don’t know what kind of eel he is but they’ve been settled in at my place for 5 days give or take. The eel seemed fine at first but his breathing has been very labored, he opens his jaw to full capacity and now sometimes he opens it all the way and keeps it open for 10-15 seconds at a time. Don’t think he's ate in a few days and the other fish are eyeballing him. What do I do
<We do need some information here. Freshwater or Marine? Do you have a photo of the eel to help us identify the species? Moray Eels for example do breathe in what seems a rather laborious way. There's a nice video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylza7oVWb1U
But really, your message doesn't tell us anything useful. We do need to know whether we're talking freshwater or marine; what the water chemistry (freshwater tanks) and salinity (if marine) are; how big the tank is; what the other fish species are; and what sort of food you're offering. Cheers, Neale.>

Black spots on silver dollar      3/20/20
Hey I have noticed black raised dots on 2 or the 4 silver dollars. They seem fine though. I’m worried about medication because I have a Mbu puffer as well. Is this normal or should I treat?
<Yeah; apparently these are Cercariae, (larval) stage of Flukes/Trematodes... Can be treated for... though are not likely (very) deleterious now that the fish is in captivity. No determinant host to pass on, complete the life cycle. Do read re Trematoda...
http://www.fishelp.io/en/online-hospital/d/cercariae-black-spot-disease-black-ick-diplopstomiasis-16
If I were the aquarist, I might well do nothing treatment-wise here. Bob Fenner>
-Sony

Is my turtle ok     3/19/20
This white spot showed up a few days ago I thought that it was just something on him and after looking closer it looks like it his skin.
<Hard to tell from your photo. If it's dry skin flaking off (looks like sunburn on a human) that's normal. But if it's part of the living skin, that's not normal. Dry docking is a good first approach:
https://yarmouthvetcenter.com/dry-docking-turtles.pml
Keep the injury clean and if it looks to be healing, just carry on until the turtle is better. Do read the above link, especially with regard to drinking, feeding, and defection.>
I don’t know what it is should I be worried about him or will he be ok.
<Cheers, Neale.>

BLACK GHOST KNIFE FISH and RED TAIL ALBINO SHARKS, comp.    3/18/20
Greetings.. Thank you for an informative website. Are black ghost knife fish and red tail albino sharks compatible in the same tank? Kind regards, Phillip Chapman.
<They can be; that is, I've seen them kept together. Both need room... this minnow shark can get big (and mean). They are fine in terms of water quality conditions. One needs to make sure the BGK has enough hiding space (a tube is great)... And you need to make sure that both species are getting food. The "sharks" can be very aggressive feeders. A good idea to place food (frozen/defrosted or live... meaty) in two areas at the same time; on the bottom. DO read re both on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Re: BLACK GHOST KNIFE FISH and RED TAIL ALBINO SHARKS     3/19/20

Many thanks for the info. It is greatly appreciated.
<Welcome Phillip. BobF>

ADF cloudy eyes      3/16/20
Hello, I've become the caregiver to two African Dwarf Frogs (one male, one female) in the past two months, and up until about two weeks ago, they have been very healthy and happy. I made sure to read up on them quite a bit before purchasing, and tried to give them everything they may need. They
cohabit a tank with a tiny male Lyretail guppy, and they get along wonderfully. They have been together from the start, and have never had a single issue. Their tank is 3.5 gallons, which is indeed quite small, but as they get bigger I intend to upgrade. The tank is heated and filtered, and I am sure to regulate the times the tank is lit, and the frogs are fed.
They have a diet of two types of frog sinking pellets, and freeze dried blood worms (for treats), and are fed every morning.
However, the female ADF suddenly had very cloudy eyes one morning. They look very milky, but she still seems to be able to see as she reacts to things that startle her. She has no bodily discoloration, no signs of a bacterial infection, and appears physically fit. At first I was concerned she had become blind and perhaps her eyes had been scratched, but I'm sure it is likely due to something about her environment. The male is completely fine, and has no signs of anything but perfect health. He is just as active as ever, but she has become more withdrawn, and tends to stay more close to the surface, which is very concerning to me. They are both quite young, as the male just reached sexual maturity, and I suspect the female is either younger, as she is still the same size as him (or perhaps even a sexually
undeveloped male).
Is this an infection due to the water quality? They have had quite the move lately, as I just had to evacuate my college dorm and travel back home, so perhaps it is due to this trauma? Could it be the pH of the water? They had to have all of their water changed for the move, besides the smaller containers they were transported it, but the water they were eventually put into was sat out for 48 hours, and treated as well. However, she was having these cloudy eyes before this move, so maybe it is the water quality as a whole? I am extremely concerned about her well being, and want to do whatever will help. I was concerned that some of the treatments you can buy at pet stores may do more harm than help if I got the wrong one. Should I wait to see if she regresses more before taking action? I didn't want to
isolate her as that may cause her more trauma, and I felt that letting her remain in the home she has known thus far would be best.
Please get back to me as fast as you can! Best, Hanna
<As a rule, if both eyes are cloudy, you should expect environmental conditions to be the problem (one cloudy eye often means physical trauma).
So, that being the case, the first thing is to review the environment. As you correctly state, 3.5 gallons is much too small. An 8 to 10-gallon tank would be my minimum for this species. On top of that it needs heat and good filtration. Use an ammonia or nitrite test kit to check the latter. Both should be zero; if not, that's why fish or frogs get ill. Temperature should be around 25 C /77 F. You're right to steer clear of hokum medications like salt and Melafix, and really anything that advertises itself as a cheap cure-all. If cheap cure-alls worked, nobody would need to visit their doctor or vet, would they? I'd probably go with an antibiotic right now. Maracyn 1 (erythromycin) and Maracyn 2 (minocycline) are both safe, with the latter being best if you can't use both simultaneously for some reason. Follow the instructions carefully, and remember to remove carbon, if used, from the filter. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: ADF cloudy eyes        3/17/20

Hello Neale, Thank you so much for your prompt and helpful response! I have just ordered Maracyn 2, I got kits to test the water quality, and I am looking for a bigger tank. When treating my little female ADF, should she be put in quarantine when using the Maracyn?
<No.>
Or is this a safe antibiotic to use with the male ADF and the Lyretail in the tank as well?
<Yes; and much the best approach in case the other livestock are infected as well. Antibiotics, used correctly, only harm bacteria. Fish and frogs should be fine. Do watch the filter, but the instructions will explain how to keep the filter bacteria safe, if relevant.>
Thank you so much! Hanna
<Most welcome. Neale.>

What happened to yabby     3/15/20
Hi
<Cecilia>
I found my yabby not active and he was dead the next day . His colour changed to green . What is the cause of his death ?
<Mmm; need more/information. What re this animal's system, food, water quality? Please tell me/us about the system, filtration, maintenance... Have you had this crustacean long? Bob Fenner>

Questions for 2 Bettas - follow up, lost my original email thread     3/15/20
Hello again WWM, I have a follow up question for Bob or whoever could give input. Back in January I emailed about 2 of my Bettas, one of which had some nasty fin rot. I don't have the email but the discussion is "*Questions for 2 Bettas" that is here-
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BettaHlthF39.htm 
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BettaHlthF39.htm>*
*The Betta with bad fin rot (his name is Khonsu) went thru another bout of losing fins, likely to due to some poor water chemistry since the doxycycline nuked his good bacteria. I corrected water conditions and stopped the rot pretty fast. He looks absolutely horrid. He has almost no tail, and has yet to see fin regrowth. My main concern is he is very skinny. I don't have a good pic of him but if you imagine the gaunt face of a starving person, that is him. If you look at him from the front you can see grooves on either side of his head that shouldn't be there (his skull?). From above he is almost paper thin. He's been skinny for a few months as well but I was so caught on his fins I didn't notice as much. He also has swim bladder issues and has been floating for months. Despite all this, his energy levels compared to January are outstanding. He is no longer lethargic. He loves to greet me and swim and do as much normal Betta activity as he can. When I first emailed WWM, he spent most of his day sitting on a leaf and rarely swam around. His color is still good as well- no loss of color at all. He doesn't have any loss of scales, lesions, bumps, etc.*
*I am concerned more for his skinniness than his fins or SBD honestly. He has regular poops and isn't bloated at all. His tummy/underbelly appears concave/sunken in. He eats heartily, twice a day. I feed New Life Spectrum mainly, and have been raising white worms for my fish. I feed him no different from my numerous other Bettas. I have debated parasites with other people but I figured I would have seen something by now. He was treated in the past with PraziPro. I haven't medicated him for almost 2
months. I have been letting him live his life since he acts happy, expecting him to drop dead any day. I'm curious what you believe this may be and if I should try anything, or just go on as I have been and leave him alone. I loosely call it 'wasting disease' as I have no idea at this point.*
*He has me absolutely stumped, in all my years in this hobby I have never encountered a fish with these issues, let alone for this long (almost six months). *
<PraziPro, or Praziquantel, isn't an especially reliable anti-wormer. It's well worth trying something else, such Levamisole, to see if there's any benefit. In any case, this does indeed sound more like a type of 'wasting disease' usually attributed to Mycobacteria, and this is effectively untreatable. Usually such infections kill fish quickly, but not in all cases, and death may take weeks or months. His own immune system may be helping to some extent. The bottom line is that if you've de-wormed, used antibiotics, and perhaps used an anti-protozoan medication (Metronidazole is the best choice) there's really not much left over. Good water quality, vitamin-rich food, plenty of warmth, and that's about it. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Questions for 2 Bettas - follow up, lost my original email thread     3/19/20

Thanks for the input on it possibly being Mycobacterium. I did some more research with the actual scientific name instead of 'fish TB' and it is adding up more.
<Yep. But we tend to avoid the Fish TB term because it technically belongs to a single Mycobacterium species, Mycobacterium marinum, and more specifically, once the Mycobacterium has crossed the species boundary and infected a human. But yes, the name Fish TB is widely used, though rarely by vets.>
Do you happen to know anywhere that I could test him post mortem?
<Not where I am, in England, at least. If there's a local university with a fish biology or microbiology department, that's perhaps your best bet, especially if there's a scientist working on this sort of pathogen.
Otherwise, you could ask a vet, but I wouldn't get your hopes up.>
I'd be interested in results. I have considered a fish vet for him as well but around here, the prices are a little wild. At this point I am content to let him live as he is since he is peppy enough.
<What I'd do, too, until there were signs of distress.>
Thanks for everything.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Baby Mbu puffer /RMF      3/14/20
Hey so I got a Mbu puffer 3-4 inches, he’s eating and pooping, swimming around the tank chasing ghost shrimp. Just getting to know more about this fish. I know they tend to carry parasites. So I can’t tell if the underside of him is food or parasites and I should start treating.
<Mmm; I personally would hold off on carte blanche treatment (for parasites) here. Rationale? It's too easy to do more damage with exposure to vermifuges, protozoacides than it's worth>
Also what’s your opinion on PimaFix & MelaFix? Is it good to use?
<These Melaleuca plant extracts have some bactericidal action (so does alcohol, soap...), but rarely treat anything effectively. In short, IMO/E, they are placebos at best. DO just search these API products by name on WWM>
If you want to see a better clearer video of the fish to get a better idea, you can click this link.
https://youtu.be/vkGi-QabmxQ
<Ah, thank you. Appears to be a fine, healthy specimen>
Thank you in advance.
-Sony
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Baby Mbu puffer /Neale       3/14/20

Hey so I got a Mbu puffer 3-4 inches, he’s eating and pooping, swimming around the tank chasing ghost shrimp. Just getting to know more about this fish.
<Uhh... you do realise they get gigantic? As in, the size of a small dog? Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/mbupuffer.htm
Unless you're a millionaire, the chances are you won't be able to afford the literally huge tank (1000 gallons) they need as an adult. While fabulous fish, and I applaud your excellent taste, these fish are very difficult to keep properly. Most end up being passed onto public aquaria. The dental work they require is just one of many challenges ahead of you.>
I know they tend to carry parasites.
<They can do, and deworming isn't a bad idea. Levamisole or Praziquantel are perhaps the ones most often used. But most parasite risk comes from people feeding them live foods, particularly feeder fish. Do not do this! Cannot be stressed how dumb the use of feeder fish is. It's an unnecessary risk for most pet fish. Live shrimp and crayfish should be safer, but neither is 100% safe, so if you can use marine fish and shellfish (which won't have parasites likely to survive in freshwater fish) you're doing the right thing. Gamma-irradiated frozen foods, as used for marines, are the ideal.>
So I can’t tell if the underside of him is food or parasites and I should start treating.
Also what’s your opinion on PimaFix & MelaFix?
<Unsuitable for a family audience.>
Is it good to use?
<No.>
If you want to see a better clearer video of the fish to get a better idea, you can click this link.
https://youtu.be/vkGi-QabmxQ
<Does indeed look adorable.>
Thank you in advance.
-Sony
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Baby Mbu puffer      3/15/20

I just ordered an 9x3x3 tank. I should be good for a while I believe.
<For a good while, yes, but keep track of nitrate, as that's the useful benchmark here. Anything above 20 mg/l is bad for these fish, especially as they mature. Also observe behaviour. It's pretty clear when they're bored or swimming up and down at the same spot all the time.>
1000 gallons is ideal I’m a little shy but I might okay I think. Yeah I did a lot of research prior to buying him. Most places said 500 gallons so I went more than that to be safe.
<Wise.>
I’m definitely not a millionaire not even close just a crazy person.
<Maybe a little fish crazy, eh? Not a bad thing: so am I!>
I would never feed feeder fish to my fish.
<Yay!>
I’m currently buying human grade frozen clams, Snow crabs, crawfish, frozen mussels, and ghost shrimp (pet store)for him. I’m also trying to grow snails in a separate tank for him.
<All sounds good. Minimise mussels and crustaceans, unless you use a vitamin supplement. Both these are high in thiaminase. Squid, cockles, and most white fish fillet (including tilapia and Pollack) are thiaminase-free.>
I bought PraziPro to treat Incase it is parasites but I have no sign that he is infected yet.
Thank you for your response.
-Sony
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Baby Mbu puffer (RMF, any further commentary on Melafix?)<<Done>>     3/15/20

I bought vita chem to soak the clams in, but I have access to syringes and will prob inject the food prior to feeding once he starts eating more shelled food to maintain his beak. For puffers it’s hard not to feed bivalves.
<And no reason to stop. It's specifically the Mussels, i.e., family Mytilidae, you need to avoid (Mytilus and Perna species are the ones on the food trade). Clams, on the other hand, are good, including the widely sold Asian Hard Clam, Meretrix lyrata, and the Cockle, Cerastoderma edule. Both of these are perfectly fine, as are most other clams you're likely to see in the food trade. Scallops and Oysters are also good, if rather expensive.>
What else are my options? Crawfish and snails?
<Pretty much. Bear in mind that wild Pufferfish will be consuming a wide range of animal and plant foods, with freshwater species likely to consume aquatic insects, worms, algae, and probably small fish and carrion when the opportunity arises. Certainly, whole lancefish (easily obtained frozen, for marine predatory fish) will be consumed readily. There's really no practical way to prevent the teeth from overgrowing, because feeding puffers nothing but crunchy foods quickly becomes expensive. Still, if you're using a vitamin supplement, then thiaminase-rich foods like whole frozen shrimp become a lot safer.>
Do you recommend any specific vitamin brand?
<Kent Marine Zoe Marine certainly contains Vitamin B1/Thiamine, so is a good pick if we're worried about thiaminase in certain foods.>
I was searching for vitamin b1 or thiamine bottles but it was vague. Even vita chem doesn't say those ingredients.
I did read the article about Thiaminase on WWM
<Cool.>
-Sony
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help     3/6/20
Hi,
Could you please tell me what is wrong with my dwarf gourami? It's looking rather unwell, I have attached some photos. The tank has been setup for over 12 years, it's a 500 litre tank, we have neon tetras, tiger barbs, clown loach, red tailed shark, Raphael catfish, penguin tetra, common Plec, bristle nose Plec, mollies, all the other fish appear to be OK.
Many thanks, Jo
<Hello Jo. I'm going to direct you to a little reading first:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/dwfgdis.htm
Dwarf Gouramis are a difficult species. In theory they're great: small, colourful, very well behaved, and easy to obtain from almost any aquarium shop. However, the species is very commonly affected by a viral infection (known as Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus) as well as being prone to bacterial infections (Mycobacteria) that are difficult if not impossible to cure.
There may be an element of stress going on, Dwarf Gouramis needing soft, acidic water that's fairly warm (26-28 C) but without much current. But there does seem to be more to it than that, with vets finding the virus latent in large numbers of fish farms in Singapore. Short answer to your question then, unless you can find obvious evidence for something else -- such as Finrot or Fungus, neither of which your photos are sharp enough to reveal -- I'd not hold out much hope. Certainly, feel free to use a good
antibiotic (or failing that, an antibacterial like eSHa 2000, though these are even less reliable here). Optimise living conditions and diet, of course, and review your tankmates to make sure there's no aggression that could be causing stress or bite-marks. Beyond that, not sure I can offer any easy answers. Regards, Neale.>

Re: Help    3/7/20
Thank you for your reply email, I've taken another look at it and it's feelers seem to be much shorter, less than half the size of the other dwarf gourami, I've tried to get a better picture, the white spec is something in the water passing by not on the fish. Does fungus always appear as white marks on the fish?
Many thanks, jo
<Erosion of the 'feelers' (the pelvic fins) in Gouramis is generally taken as Finrot, and needs to be treated accordingly. But the white patches on the body are more similar to bacterial infections, including Mycobacteria.
DGIV is another possibility. Fungus invariably looks like patches of cotton wool, so is easily recognised. Regards, Neale.>

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Freshwater Aquarium  Articles & FAQs

  • Set-Up: Gear/Components:, Set-Up, Tanks, Stands, Covers:, Water, Filtration of All Sorts, Sumps, Refugiums:, Circulation, Pumps, Powerheads, Aeration, Electricity, Heating/Chilling,  Light/Lighting:; Types of Systems:, Substrates, Aquascaping:
  • Livestock 1: Stocking/Selection, Biotopes, Quarantine, Acclimation. Fishes: Stingrays, Inadvanced Bony Fishes, Eels, Tetras & Their Relatives, Killifishes, Livebearers, Catfishes, Goldfish, Barbs, Danios, Rasboras, Minnow Sharks, Loaches, Misc. Fish Groups

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    What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term

    by Robert (Bob) Fenner


    Livestock 2: Gouramis, Bettas, Cichlids, Fresh to Brackish Water Fishes, Invertebrates (Hydra, Worms, Snails, Insects, Crustaceans...),

    New Print and eBook on Amazon

    Betta Success
    Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

    by Robert (Bob) Fenner


  • Herps: Amphibians, Turtles,
  • Maintenance/Operation: General Maintenance, Algae, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health,
  • Freshwater Aquarium Science:  Behavior, Topics, Reference and Aquatics Writing Business, Reviews, 

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