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We ask that, before submitting a query, you refer to Neale Monk's: Before You Write; A Checklist of Common Problems with Freshwater Aquaria, Bettas, Goldfish, and Freshwater Turtles (Terrapins), Tips on Asking Questions, Ask the WWM Crew a Question, FAQs on FAQs. EDFP, TBPFWFAQs, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs, Subscribe to the Daily Pics

Astronotus ocellatus (Agassiz 1831), the Oscar. To seventeen inches (45.7 cm). South America: Rio Amazonas basin in Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Northern Paraguay and French Guiana. Freshwater: pH range: 6.0 - 8.0; dH range: 5.0 - 19.0, temp. 22 - 25°C. Wild type at  the Shedd Aq. 2015 
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Freshwater FAQs, Ask us a question: Crew@WetWebMedia.com

Updated 12/6/2017
Other Specialized Daily FAQs Blogs: General, Planted Tanks, Ponds, Brackish, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs,
Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Darrel Barton,
Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized daily Current Crew Bios., Not so current Crew Bios
____________________________________________________________

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Note: RMF is out dive traveling 12/9-17; hence the dailies may be delayed.

Bristlenose ID?
Hello:
Just wondering if it is possible to ID a Pleco? There are a bunch of these "Silver Tipped" Plecos at the LFS
Are these the Common Bristlenose or something with an L#?? I have looked everywhere to ID them online and some people say they are common Bristlenose that were line bred. Thank you
<Hi Judy. Identifying Ancistrus species is hard. The standard "Silver-tipped Bristlenose" is (nominally) Ancistrus dolichopterus, but those usually have off-white edges to their fins, particularly their dorsal and tail fins. Females can lack these, of course, but on the male these white edges are usually pretty obvious. Coupled with the lengthy tentacles
on their heads, male Ancistrus dolichopterus are particularly easy to recognise. That said, I'm sure there are other wild-caught Ancistrus species out there that are very similar, and it's probably a safe bet that the name "Ancistrus dolichopterus" is simply a convention in the hobby for any and all species that have this basic appearance. Ancistrus hoplogenys for example is very similar indeed. Let me direct to an excellent article over on PlanetCatfish that covers the thorny issue of identifying Ancistrus species of this general type, here:
https://www.planetcatfish.com/shanesworld/shanesworld.php?article_id=380
On the other hand, the common generic Ancistrus sold in Britain at least is the species often referred to as Ancistrus temminckii, though quite possibly something else entirely, such as Ancistrus cirrhosus. This is the sort that starts off black-grey with bright white spots, and as it grows becomes more mottled brown-grey, the spots become less contrasty. This type of Ancistrus generally lacks the off-white edges to its fins, and so looks a lot like a scaled-down Common Plec. Your catfish seems closer to the 'Ancistrus temminckii' sort of Ancistrus than the 'Ancistrus dolichopterus' sort, but that's about as far as I'd be comfortable going! As I say, identifying Ancistrus is notoriously difficult, there are literally hundreds of species, including some described under trade names (i.e., L numbers) but as yet not defined as scientifically valid species. This is even before you think about the (likely common) hybridisation in home aquaria, though perhaps less common in the trade, where fancy varieties of Ancistrus has not really been a thing beyond albino and/or long-fin forms.
Still, unless the Ancistrus was wild-caught and supplied with a known origin, I'd rate your chances of identifying a given fish as close to nil, but those nice folks at PlanetCatfish do have an excellent forum frequented by some first rate aquarists.
Cheers, Neale>

Aquatic Experience – Chicago reports successful year with 21% increase in attendance     12/9/17
Images available for download here<https://photos.app.goo.gl/ec32eVoxXKdhQLvg2>
Fifth annual Aquatic Experience – Chicago reports successful year with 21% increase in attendance
Show with “everything aquatic under one roof” will make its East Coast
debut at Meadowlands Exposition Center outside NYC in 2018

CHICAGO (December 8, 2017)—The World Pet Association (WPA) is thrilled to announce a 21% increase in reported attendance at its fifth annual Aquatic Experience – Chicago, held November 3-5 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center. Plans are already underway for the sixth Aquatic Experience set to debut at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey, just outside New York City, from October 19-21, 2018. For more information, contact the World Pet Association at 626-447-2222.

At Aquatic Experience – Chicago 2017 a total of 139 exhibitors filled the thriving show floor, showcasing the latest in aquatic trends and products alongside local and national hobbyist groups, livestock and equipment experts, and the industry’s best and trend-setting manufacturers. The Aquascaping Live! Contest participants competed in two categories (Nano or Large tank) for $3,900 dollars in prize money. First place winners in the Large tank category were Brady Kerewich, Phil Kerewich and Jake Zucker; first place in the Nano tank category went to John Pini. The 2nd International Shrimp Contest Shrimp King Award went to Silane Dilwyn Tng, and the grand prize of $500 was awarded to Mario Toromanovic for Best of Show in this year’s American Cichlid Association Fish Competition. For a complete list of winners please visit aquaticexperience.org/aquatic-competition-winners<http://aquaticexperience.org/aquatic-competition-winners/>

“Thank you to all attendees who have continued to exceed our expectations in Chicago every year,” said WPA President Jacinthe Moreau. “We’re thrilled to be expanding into the East Coast market next year and to be moving the show to the Meadowlands Exposition Center just outside of New York City. We already have a great aquatic presence at our America’s Family Pet Expo and SuperZoo shows in the Western US; this move expands our support of the aquatic industry across the entire country.”

This year’s show hosted the return of the only traveling sea lion experience in the United States, Sea Lion Splash; the educational Fish from Around the World exhibit; an electric eel display; a jellyfish touch tank; and a Kid’s Aquarium Contest. Guests also learned from aquatic experts as they attended seminars featuring high-profile speakers addressing intermediate level information to advanced aquatic issues.

Aquatic Experience – Chicago 2017 was generously supported by: Platinum Level – Aqueon, Coralife, Kent Marine; Gold Level - Fluval, Hikari Sales USA, Inc., Segrest Farms; Silver Level - DrTim's Aquatics, Fritz Aquatics, Industrial Test Systems, Inc., Rod’s Food, Southwest Cargo, Tetra, Two Little Fishies, Zetlight. Media Partners include: Aquarium Hobbyist Magazine/Reef Hobbyist Magazine, BlueZoo TV, Pet Age, Pet Business, Pet Product News, Reef Builders, Reef to Rainforest Media (Amazonas/Coral) and Tropical Fish Hobbyist.

The World Pet Association (WPA) is the oldest industry organization promoting responsible growth and development of the companion pet and related products and services. WPA works to inform and educate the general public in order to ensure safe and healthy lifestyles for our animal friends. WPA is the host of America’s Family Pet Expo, the world’s largest consumer pet and pet products expo, held annually in Costa Mesa, California. The organization also produces SuperZoo, an annual pet industry trade show that showcases a comprehensive collection of exhibits and offers a variety of informative educational seminars, and Atlanta Pet Fair, the Southeast’s largest competition and trade show for the professional pet stylist. For more information, please visit www.worldpetassociation.org<http://www.worldpetassociation.org>.

<Outstanding. Will post/share on WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner>
Thank you so much!
Liza

How to slow air flow    12/9/17
I have the aqua culture 20-60 gallon double outlet aquarium air pump. My question is, how can you adjust the strength of the pump? I bought it mainly for an air toy in my aquarium and it is too powerful. I read a similar question on Wal-Mart's site (questions and answers/reviews) and the answer suggested that the only way to tone it down would be to bleed off a
little of the air with a t way connector valve or perhaps a pinhole in the airline.
<Yes to the first idea. Get/use a "three way" valve and use the controllable port to bleed off the excess pressure/volume>
I tried the pinhole idea before buying the valve, bad idea and had to replace hosing as it stopped all or any airflow.
<... not able to control>
Can I use the T way connector valve to bleed off some air to reduce the flow strength? If so, how would I connect that?
<The incoming line between the pump and the valve will "line up" with the tubing going from the valve into the tank... the controllable port (using the screw valve) that is at a right angle you'll use to drain off whatever amount of air you want. If it makes a hissing sound, you can put a short piece of open ended tubing on it or still a pipe cleaner into the valve port>
Thank you for your time,
Bryanne
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

About African dwarf frogs and eggs; repro.      12/7/17
So my Male African dwarf must of just turned 9-12 months old and now it is mating with my 3 year old female.
<Cool!>
The have been mating for many days now.
<What happens. Sometimes you even hear the males croak.>
For awhile they only laid 4 eggs 2 were fertile but died. This morning I looked in my tank and there’s prob about 500 eggs are they all fertile if so how can you tell if they are?
<By looking, really the only approach is to wait and observe -- after a day or two, infertile eggs (or at least non-fertilised eggs) will go cloudy, and eventually rot. A good approach is to remove most of the eggs to something like a floating breeding trap, so you can see them more easily. Plastic turkey basters are great for this. As the days pass, remove any cloudy eggs. Methylene blue is the tried-and-trusted medication for preventing fungus spreading onto healthy eggs if you need to optimise your chances of getting big numbers of tadpoles. Cheers, Neale.>

Powerheads and angelfish     12/7/17
Hello:
Just wondering if any type of current is bad for freshwater angels? I have a powerhead here from a while ago and I heard they are good for cutting down on algae, but I assume that one would have to turn it up too high for
algae and it seems that not many fish appreciate much current outside Plecos. Thank you
<Angels don't like current, no. Nor do they like bright light, and they certainly don't need live plants. So a tank optimised for Angels need not to be hard to keep algae free, with or without a Plec for company. Decorate
with rocks and bogwood, plus a few floating plants up top, and physically remove any algae from the glass as/when required. So far as current goes, something like a turnover rate of 4-6 times per hour is ample, preferably with the flow of water dispersed around the tank (e.g., with a spray bar) as opposed to a single jet (i.e., the default filter outlet). Whereas Angels come from deep, sluggish backwater pools and streams within the
rainforest, Plecs mostly come from a completely different environment, shallow water rapids and riffles. There are exceptions of course, but the popular L-numbers tend to prefer, and often demand, cooler, brighter tanks
with a lot more water current and oxygen. Your standard issue farmed Angels and Plecs are not so picky, and there is overlap if you're careful, but L-numbers haven't been bred across the generations for hardiness, and many are wild-caught, and simply must have conditions close to their natural default. Cheers, Neale.>

Molly coloring or ich?   12/6/17
Hi Crew,
I bought a couple of mollies today at my LFS. I was thinking it was natural coloring for a molly but now I am hoping it's not ich. I attached 3 best pics they are not great pics but they are the best I took of around 10 hopefully you can tell me if my fish have problems. Thanks in advance Joe
<I can't make out if this fish has Ich or not Joe. That it is full-bodied and has erect finnage, is out swimming are good signs. Is the water here alkaline, hard... are you using aquarium salt? I would ask you to read re Mollies on WWM, starting here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/mollies.htm
and as much of the Molly FAQs files linked at top that you have time for. Bob Fenner>

Re: Molly coloring or ich?     12/7/17
Thank you for the reply Mr. Fenner
I am not using aquarium salt. Should I be?
<Mmm; IF the other life here can tolerate it... yes>
and if yes on what type of schedule?
<... please read where I referred you>

My tank is a 40 gallon long. One of my fish is a black ghost I know that is eventually going to be to small but I took him from a friend in a pinch that took down his tank. My other fish are blood fin tetras and Cory cats.
I thought I read somewhere that black ghosts can't do aquarium salt I know you will clarify that for me.
<The Tetras and likely the Corydoras are not fans of much salt... Better to place the mollies elsewhere if you have another cooler water, higher pH, dKH system>
Also I know you said you can't tell by the photos that it is ich BUT is black with white spots ever a common pattern on a molly?
<Mmm, yes... there are actual "Salt and Pepper" varieties>
You mentioned that
<...That it is full-bodied and has erect finnage, is out swimming are good signs>... I am taking it that you mean "good signs" as to the possible health of the fish and not "good signs" that is probably is ich.
take care. Joe Kerner
<Likely this fish is fine; would be better in a tank w/ conditions that
favor it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Discus just not 'happy' :(    12/5/17
Hi Bob,
An update on the Discus, wish it was good news. So, despite Polyfilter, an increased water temperature and water changes to get nitrates well below 10ppm, I got up this morning to find the blackest of my Discus had died. It had seemed to perk up a bit the last couple of days and was showing its stress bars rather than being completely black. Then last night it was hovering close to the water surface.
<Darkness, poor body orientation... are very bad signs>
I turned up the aeration but obviously that didn’t help. No water change yesterday so I can’t even blame that. So, of the 3 I have left, I now have one who’s swimming slightly head down. Seems ok otherwise, eating and out and about. I’m not treating for anything, although I do have swim bladder medication on standby. It’s definitely not constipated. Sorry for yet another ramble, at the moment I feel like banging my head on a brick wall! I’ll keep up the water changes and see how these 3 get on. On the plus side, they’re not aggressive towards each other....best wishes. Liese
<Without knowing what, if anything, is amiss here; am wont to suggest a change. IF they were mine, I might try adding a "black water tonic/extract" in the hope of positively influencing water quality here. There are a few such products, or you can make one yourself from a peat product. Bob Fenner>

Low-Light Freshwater DSB with a Bichir?      12/2/17
Hi WWM Crew!
<Hello Kim,>
I'm looking to overhaul my 75g tank from being high-light/mid-tech (I'm using liquid carbon instead of injected CO2) to low light/low tech.
<Understood.>
The goal is to make the tank lower maintenance since the weekly 50% water changes, plant trimmings, and daily fert dosings are going to be difficult to keep up on shortly (I'm pregnant with our first child, so I'm expecting
most of my free time to be spoken for soon)!
<Completely understandable! Did much the same thing when my own daughter arrived. Switched to a very basic system with slate chipping substrate, a few rocks, Anubias on lava rocks, and stuck with the sorts of fish that
will literally go months between water changes and not get fussed, such as Anostomus and various catfish.>
As part of this overhaul, I'd like to swap to using a freshwater deep sand bed per the instructions in Deirdre Kylie's article on your site.
<A nice idea!>
My only concern is that it's mentioned that digging fish tend to be incompatible with this approach...
<Precisely. Also, not totally convinced it's the ideal solution for tanks with big fish. Not that big fish will mess up the DSB, but that their solid wastes and uneaten food create a lot debris, and you really do need to siphon this out regularly. So you'd want an aquarium that's easy to clean, hence my preference for thin layers of gravel or slate in such situations rather than sandy substrates with lots of plants.>
Would a single Bichir (Polypterus palmas palmas specifically) cause problems for a DSB?
<Probably not. It's a fairly small species by the standards of the genus, and on top of that doesn't dig much. Have kept precisely this species in a tank with a sandy substrate and it did no digging that I observed.>
I'm assuming some of the sand critters would be eaten, but I don't mind restocking them periodically.
<Likely very regularly! The smaller Bichirs are primarily, perhaps even exclusively, predators on small benthic worms and insect larvae.>
I wouldn't think a single Bichir would be able to single handedly wipe their populations out... Right?
<I think you might be surprised! But it's certainly worth a shot, if you don't mind topping up the burrowing worms every few weeks.>
I just don't want the Bichir's digging to burp a toxic amount of bottom-level gas into the tank.
<Very unlikely to happen. Bichirs don't dig deeply like, say, Horseface loaches or Spiny eels. At most they're poking about the debris, such as leaf litter.>
Also, I've heard that Bichir tend to show their best colors on pink or dark substrates.
<Overhead shade is probably more important.>
This is my first time using pool filter sand, but I've heard it's on the lighter end of the substrate colors...
<Initially, at least. It does age after a year over two.>
Would it be too light to bring out the best colors in the Bichir? Or would the difference be negligible?
<I found the latter to be the case, in my tank with plenty of floating plants.>
I thought about using black diamond blasting sand instead, but I wasn't sure if it would be compatible with a DSB.
<Theoretically, but it's often abrasive, so not ideal for fish that rest on the substrate.>
Given a choice between fish aesthetics or an effective DSB I'd obviously go for the DSB!
<Plain vanilla smooth silica sand would be the best all-around choice.>
Lastly, what level of planting is required for a successful DSB?
<Enough that most of the sand has at least some healthy roots, as the roots are crucial for maintaining a low, but adequate, level of oxygenation in the upper part of the substrate. That's important to avoid too much anaerobic decay in the top couple of centimetres. Toxic gas forming deeper down isn't going to be released, and more to the point, produced very quickly, so the actual risk of trouble is very small. Doesn't really matter what plants you use, so long as they have extensive root systems.>
I was planning on a combination of Amazon Swords, Vallisneria, Crypts, and maybe a Red Tiger Lotus (allowing it to float it's leaves) for the rooted plants, with a fair amount of driftwood with Anubias and Bolbitis, possibly
some Water Lettuce.
<All sound fine, though I personally find Water Lettuce a bit hit or miss in tanks with hoods. Amazon Frogbit much easier, and if you trim the aerial leaves of floating Indian Ferns, that's another good choice too.>
I'd like to have some open sandy areas however. Would open sandy areas cause issues of gas build-up?
<Nope. The roots from your plants spread out a great deal. Something like a single Vallisneria will have its roots extending at least 20 cm/8 inches, even before you factor in the daughter plants.>
If so, should I try to keep the open sandy areas as shallower sand?
<No real point, to be honest.>
Thanks for your help! My inner science geek is loving the idea of trying the FW DSB out!
~Kim
<I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how easy they are. They're really what happens to the substrate in ponds, just indoors. Cheers, Neale.>

Hopefully final update on Blobby White Panda Corydoras     11/30/17
Hi Crew, back in October I wrote to you about some sick Corydoras I had in quarantine that had developed a white coating and we had a bit of to and fro on different treatments, whether to euthanise etc. Despite trying every
treatment available to me I have slowly lost more and more of the Corydoras including one that didn't have any of the white patches, but whose mouth seemed to have become swollen shut by small warty or tumorous bumps.
Tonight I finally lost the last of the white bumped corys.
<Sorry to hear this.>
I still have 3 Panda Corydoras that are mostly clear, one has a white lesion on his tail which hasn't changed for weeks, the others look a bit odd around the nostrils or on their fins but seem fairly healthy.
<Understood. Would continue to keep these isolated for now.>
The 2 sterbai Corydoras that were in the same quarantine tank never showed any sign of this illness, and neither have the rasboras that are also quarantined in this tank.
<Odd, but I suppose a silver lining.>
To recap: samples I have tried to take of this white matter have resulted in scraping off a waxy substance with no details of note when viewed under the microscope.
<May simply be mucous and/or decomposing tissue, neither of which will show much under the light microscope at low powers.>
Affected fish look really terrible but have mostly had an active demeanour, eating and swimming fairly normally right up until the day they die.
With this last fish I caught him in his death throes (laying on his side and struggling to swim or orient) and decided to euthanise him since his condition was so poor and I did not expect him to get better. After netting him out he appeared to have a red lump, an abscess or tumor I guess, on his caudal peduncle which looked to have broken to the surface and might be what finally did him in.
<Agreed.>
Since, unlike the others, he had very thick bumps with strips of healthy skin in between, I became determined to try and get a good sample off him to have one last look under the microscope. Upon closer examination I saw two tiny blisters on his white bumps, which finally clued me in that these bumps are not ON the skin, they are IN the skin. Or, rather, maybe they are the skin, thickened?
<Could be either really, and without seeing the fish, impossible for me to say. The fact is that many skin infections do cause blisters just below the surface, e.g., Whitespot cysts. So in and of itself, the fact there's a thin layer of skin over a growth or cyst doesn't rule out external parasites or infections.>
The stickiness I experienced when trying to take previous samples would have just been slime coat. I tried to scrape the thickest white patch and it was much like when your hands are wet for too long and the thickest parts swell and become easily damaged.
<Understood.>
With this new information I Googled once more and almost immediately came across a page about Carp Pox (Cyprinid Herpesvirus)
https://www.koi-pond-guide.com/carp-pox.html and the picture on this site looks pretty close to the blobby lumps that
were covering my Corydoras. The description of waxy lesions and fish that remain active and with a good appetite also matched what I experienced with my fish. I don't know if corys are susceptible to this particular virus but it does seem they had something similar all along which would explain why none of the treatments I tried worked. The page lists Lymphocystis and epitheliocystis as other possibilities but none of the pictures I saw of those looked anything like what was on my corys (and I suspect the antibiotics would have treated one of those).
<Viral infections are very difficult to diagnose except perhaps in those cases, like Carp Pox, that the symptoms are well defined and familiar enough that aquarists can recognise them easily enough.>
Have you heard of Corydoras being affected by a fish herpesvirus before?
<No; it's generally regarded as quite species specific, affecting Koi, its Common Carp ancestor, Goldfish, and its closely relative the Crucian Carp.>
I do remember our government in Australia talking about releasing CHV-3 into our waterways to kill pest carp species which makes me think they are sure it doesn't cross to other species.
<Indeed; what experimental evidence I could find on this suggests that native catfish, eels, and Rainbowfish, among others, were all unaffected by the virus.>
Mistakes have been made before though - cane toads spring to mind. I can't find much more information out myself but I feel that I have finally got a satisfactory idea of what was going on. I have been pretty strict with not sharing equipment between this tank and my other tanks and now I'm wondering if the usual net-disinfectant etc and washing my hands, will be enough to prevent the spread of this virus. Any advice on this front would be appreciated!
<CSIRO feel that the virus is not going to risk Australian native fish, though that's primarily because there are no native cyprinids in Australia, so even if the virus adapted a little bit, there are simply no even halfway related carp-like fish in Australia it could mutate towards. Catfish are far too distantly related for this risk to be significant. It's a bit like how humans can get mutated versions of viruses that originally infect monkeys or apes, but generally don't get viruses that infect cats or horses.>
Anyway just thought I would pass on my findings and my suspicions that this case was some kind of viral skin infection. Perhaps in healthier or hardier fish it even may not have been fatal as it took 8 and 9 weeks to kill four
of my Corydoras. So for now I will continue to monitor this tank and keep everything isolated as before and I will continue with just clean water and good diet as the treatment.
<Indeed. Just because CHV isn't the issue here, doesn't mean a virus of some kind can't be in play. There absolutely are viruses that affect widely disparate species out there -- the DGIV virus that affects Dwarf Gouramis has also been detected in certain other species. How common this is, and how dangerous, is hard to say. One issue is that there really are so many viruses out there -- and as aquarists we can diagnose so few of them -- there almost certainly is a Corydoras virus out and about, we just don't recognise it.>
Thanks for your help!
Bronwen
<Welcome. I'd tend to put down your experiences to bad luck. Might be a virus, might not. Hard to know. I'd isolate the sickly ones for another couple weeks at least, but if the disease has otherwise 'run its course' it may have run out of species it can infect. The Rasboras can probably go into the display tank, and the Corydoras sterbai may as well, since they seem to be immune or at least not affected by the virus, bacteria or pathogen. Good luck! Neale.>

A male and female Medusa Pleco tank size     11/30/17
Just wondering if a 38 gallon tank is big enough for one male and one female Medusa Pecos along with a singleton angelfish?
<Ancistrus species, including Ancistrus ranunculus, should be allowed about a square foot/30x30 cm per specimen. That should include at least one decent hiding place each. Your tank should be ample for both the catfish,
particularly if there's a decent heap of bogwood roots in there for the catfish to utilise. The Angelfish is an odd choice for a companion though, given Ancistrus ranunculus requires a strong water current that replicates its fast water habitat in the wild -- conditions Angelfish dislike. I'd perhaps be going with a tougher Ancistrus species, or even something like Panaque maccus or Peckoltia pulcher if you wanted the Angel; or if the catfish is what you want, a more riverine species such as the quirky and colourful characin Anostomus would be better. In all fairness its
oxygenation that matters, and if you manage that without a strong current, your combo could work, but that won't be easy.>
Thank you
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: A male and female Medusa Pleco tank size    12/1/17

Neale:
<Judy,>
Just wondering what I would have to do with the fish tank to keep a Medusa, L-034. I do have one male of this species now with an angelfish and a long bubble wand in the 38 gallon. Would I need something to make a current
along the bottom?
<Yes; the species is sensitive to low oxygenation, and its lifespan notably shortened under such stress. Won't die at once, but will be stressed; do read PlanetCatfish entry on this species, and other reliable L-number websites for more. Since it's a benthic species, it's not so much bubbles as water movement that matters. A bubble wand will pull water up to the surface, helping with air/water mixing, and hence absorption of oxygen. But that said, your standard issue Hillstream biotope system is closer to the mark. Water turnover rates upwards of 8 times per hour surely necessary, and 10-12 probably ideal. Annoyingly, this species also appreciates high temperatures and soft water, just like other Rio Xingu species, so you have this awkward trio of requirements including two, high oxygen and high temperature, that are actually antagonistic to each other -- warm water holding less oxygen than cool water. Hence Rio Xingu species have a well-earned reputation for being difficult to keep. Low stocking and high
levels of water movement are important.>
But I know that would be bad for the angel that feeds from the bottom. I am thinking of rehoming the Medusa and just getting the Butterfly Pleco, L-168 instead.
<Actually needs much the same as the Medusa Plec, so six of one, half a dozen of the other...>
I never see the Medusa as he doesn't rasp on the wood, just lives in a decoration in the day.
<Not sure either Ancistrus nor Dekeyseria spp are much given to eating wood. Both are mostly aufwuchs feeders, consuming green algae and tiny invertebrates they rasp away from rocks and rotting wood. Neither difficult to feed, e.g., with Hikari Algae Wafers or similar.>
Thanks
<Welcome. Neale.>

Choosing a S. American Exotic     11/30/17
Hello Bob, Happy Holidays.
<And you Ritesh>
I have this eight and half gallon aquarium.
<Nice!>
I would like to put a rare and exotic s. American species in it. Any suggestions
. Been on eBay. Seen some cichlid pairs. But I want to know if maybe you have seen something more.
Best, Ritesh Varma
<Mmm... Maybe a pair of Apistogrammas...
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/dwfsamcichlids.htm
And/or a small grouping of Characins, perhaps two, three Hatchetfish.
And some dwarf Corydoras!
Bob Fenner>


Note: CO2 tank on left, piezoelectric chiller on right

Re: Choosing a S. American Exotic; Dwarf Cichlid sel.      12/7/17
I found Apistogramma Nijjseni to be an attractive fish. But everyone recommends 15g and up. I have a planted aquarium. 9g. There is nothing in there except Amanos and small horned cleaning snails. Would a pair survive?
<Probably. Your two main challenges are these:
Firstly, males can be hard on the females. Apistogramma are not really pair-forming. Most have what's called a harem, with the male guarding a territory that can include several females. So sometimes they are hostile
towards young females or females who don't want to breed. After mating the male continues to guard his patch, but the females often look after the fry alone. Indeed, females can become so protective they attack the males! It's therefore really important to have LOTS of caves (half coconut shells with a couple of holes are ideal).
Secondly, Apistogramma are sensitive to nitrate. In a small tank this will build up quickly between water changes. Regular water changes are very important to keep living conditions good.
Hope this helps! Neale.>

small tear     11/29/17
Hello,
<KF>
My iridescent catfish is 6-8 inches long, lives in a 125 tank with two parrot heads. Sharky got excited the other day and scratched himself on a sharp edge on a decoration.
<Ah! Very common; and will state for the record here that this fish will outgrow this system in time>
There is no blood, or discharge and I have removed the offending decoration. All water parameters are correct and he seems fine but should I do any preventive care on his scrape?
<Maybe; but I would not do much; lest some aspect of water quality, biological make up (nitrification e.g.) be impugned. Perhaps some salt addition as detailed by Neale here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Normally he is very mellow but the vacuum bumped the tank stand making him bang around and get hurt.
Thanks for any ideas. I plan on keeping him and he will live in a 300 gallon tank with current mates.
<Ahh, good! This fish will very likely be fine, self-heal in days to a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Re: Adding new Fish - Complete makeover   11/28/17
Hi Team,
<Hello again, Shriram!>
I have cleaned my tank and have got a couple of small Angel fish. They are looking fine as of now. They have been here only for the past couple of days.
<Nice fish. If this is the 10 gallon tank of blessed memory, they'll be fine in here for a while, up to about 8 cm/3 inches in length, but ultimately you will need at least 20 gallons for a pair of Angels -- assuming they're a pair! Two males will fight.>
When I switch on the light on the tank, they kind of hide under the rock or get behind the heater. They again start coming out when the light is switched off.
<Angels dislike bright overhead light. In the wild they live in deep, dark water with plenty of overhead cover. They like to hide among the tree trunks and other sunken vegetation. Floating plants are a quick fix, for example the Floating Indian Fern (Ceratopteris thalictroides) is a great way to add some cover.>
How do I get them accustomed to the tank light. Or should I wait for a week before I start switching on the tank light.
<They will settle down in time, yes.>
Please suggest.
Thanks and regards,
Shriram
<Welcome, Neale.>

Casper, the friendly Betta that won't eat as yet      11/26/17
Hello, my name is Jeni. I have a white elephant ear half moon male Betta, Casper. I've had him for a little over a week. He lives in a 2 gallon tank with an airstone, heater set at 78°f, and a sponge filter. I do 30% water changes every 3 days.
<I'd do these changes once per week... on a given day; like Sunday, so you can remember>
His water tests are at 0, except nitrates which are at 5ppm. The ph is at 7.6, and sometimes it rises to 7.8.
<These values are fine>
I treat all of his water with API Betta conditioner. I've offered him Aqueon Betta pellets and Tetra Betta worm shaped bites. He has yet to eat for me.
<Mmm; I'd try a bit of frozen/defrosted meaty fare here. Likely either Brine Shrimp or Tubifex Worms... and over time, mix in a few pellets, less frozen>
At first, he swam around his tank a little bit, then about an hour later, he was laying on the bottom not quite on his side. About 3 hours later, he was pretty much on his side, and has remained this way since. He moves once in a great while to another place in the tank just a little ways from where he was before. For about 3 days now, I noticed a couple of small spots on his face that look to be a dark green color or black. There is also a patch of
yellow discoloring on his back behind his head, along his stomach like a line between his side and his underneath, as well as a small patch between his 2 front fins (his chest area).
<I wouldn't be overly concerned with these color observations. Bettas have a good deal of color change, reflection>
I've spent several days looking at pictures and reading various sites to try and figure out what is wrong with him. I want nothing more than to help the poor little guy, but I'm scared to death that I'll give him the wrong treatment and make it all worse.
<You are right to be concerned here. MANY more fishes are harmed by well-intentioned treatments than not>
The different opinions and "facts" on various websites are so wide spread with little consistency I'm overwhelmed
and frustrated. I just want to help him get rid of what's hurting him. I appreciate any advice!!
<I would stop the water changes for now, raise the water temperature to 82 F or so, and try the foods I've mentioned. This Betta will very likely respond positively. Please do write me/us back w/ your further observations. Bob Fenner>
Re: Casper, the friendly Betta that won't eat as yet      11/26/17

Hello. I can't thank you enough for your time and attention to this situation!! I will follow your suggestions and send you an update in a few days.
Thanks again!!!!
<Glad to help you and your Betta Jeni. BobF>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re: Elephant Nose - Peacock Eel question. Comp.        11/24/17
Ok, this morning I had to move the Eel. When I woke up, it was at the top of the tank hiding behind the spray-bar from the filter and the Elephant Nose was pacing back and forth as if "stalking" it.
<Oh! Doesn't sound good.>
So now the Eel is in the BGK tank with its two Ropefish buddies (72 gallon). I don't think the Eel will mind the extra current as there are a lot of places to hide or get out of the current, and plenty of sand to dig through - is that correct?
<Yes; Spiny Eels enjoy strong water currents, provided they can burrow into something that keeps them secure, like soft sand or a hollow tube. They are riverine fish, so more than able to move about in strong currents. They
just don't like constantly swimming. What suits a Black Ghost should suit a Spiny Eel just fine. Very similar requirements, and indeed, to some degree ecological niche -- nocturnal predators on small worms and the like.>
I'm really glad that this territorial behavior indicates that the Elephant Nose is doing well as I truly love this fish, but now he seems to be going after the Ropefish.
<Uh-oh. Any chance of adding something to disrupt this behaviour? Some active midwater dither fish (Congo Tetras would be African species that fit the bill nicely) might help to give the Elephantnose something to target
without being vulnerable themselves. Synodontis species are good too, having what Loiselle referred to as a 'Mosaic' approach to retribution -- not actually aggressive if left alone, but like the prophet Moses, more than able to wreak bloody vengeance when pushed, so tend to be left alone by all but the most psychotic tankmates. A group of adult Synodontis nigriventris should be a good choice, and usually aren't nippy or bothersome, something which can characterise the larger Synodontis. There are some gentle giant Synos out there though, if you want a single, bigger catfish; Synodontis eupterus springs to mind.>
The smaller of the two Ropefish is now in the same spot the Eel was this morning while the larger is swimming circles up and down the wall beneath him.
<Does sound like territoriality, in which case adding -- not removing -- fish can be the solution, by spreading out aggression. Another tip is to remove the aggressor, rearrange the tank, and after an hour or two, return the aggressive fish. With luck, this resets the dynamic as the aggressor has lost his territory, and now behaves more like a newcomer. Sometimes, even giving the aggressor a 'time out' by confining to a net or something inside the tank can work, by reminding him he's not top dog, and there's someone even more terrifying in the jungle, namely, the fish net!>
Now the Internet is full of advice, some good - some not so good - about the Elephant Nose (and everything else of course.) and every article I've read says the Elephant Nose is a schooling fish and shouldn't be kept alone. Is that true?
<Right, here's where things get complex. In the wild, yes; these fish occur in big schools. HOWEVER, in fish tanks it's very difficult to keep a big enough group that they coexist. As you know, they're electric fish, and
constantly jostling for position by jamming each other's frequencies. It's something we can't see or hear, but presumably stressful. So if you keep, say, three or four specimens, you usually end up with just the one dominant
fish. Think about Piranhas and you've got much the same problem. I guess if you had space for six specimens it'd be worth a shot, but you'd need a really big tank, given adults are 20 cm/8 inches or so in length. Bottom line, outside of jumbo tanks, it's simply easier to keep a singleton. They can't do much harm to L-number catfish or Synodontis, so those are reliable tankmates, and equally, a school of Giant Danios or Congo Tetras isn't going to be overly bothered by them simply because they're too quick for it to harass.>
Because my Elephant Nose seems to be telling me it wants the tank to itself, and that's ok.
<Certainly, for whatever reason it doesn't appreciate the fish it sees as competing for food or hiding places.>
I have another 75 gallon tank up and running that houses only a 3 inch Baby Whale and a 2 inch Senegal Bichir (an odd couple, I know, but the Bichir is the only fish the Baby Whale has terrorized to madness) and it would be
quite easy to move the Ropefish to that tank.
<Sounds a teeny-tiny Bichir! I'd treat that chap very delicately at this point, as they are a bit sensitive when this small.>
I just want everyone to be healthy and unstressed (me too if that's possible!).
<Hopefully the above will help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Elephant Nose - Peacock Eel question       11/24/17

Well, I can't do anything about trying to get new fish today because of the holiday, but I do have 5 Serpae Tetra in my community tank who seem to LOVE to chase each other around all the time anyway and are too fast for the
Elephant nose to catch - would that work, at least temporarily?
<I would not... Serpae Tetras are highly social, and highly hierarchical, little nippers -- really scaled down Piranhas! Fin-nipping is part of the way they feed, so they're poor choices for pretty much anything. Nice fish
to look out, and fun, but best kept in large groups on their own in shady, planted tanks. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Elephant Nose - Peacock Eel question       11/24/17

And yes, that Bichir is very small. I got that one and another that is barely an inch long from a guy who wanted to try to use them as feeder fish for his 5 Jack Dempseys.
<I... uh,... don't know what to say... so pointless and cruel. It's not like JDs are obligate piscivores in the wild, and the farmed fish will eat most anything.>
Apparently he found new victims elsewhere and wanted the bichirs gone.
<I despair of my fellow fishkeepers sometimes. Neale.>
Re: Elephant Nose - Peacock Eel question       11/24/17

I completely agree. Want to hear the "kicker?" He has his own business - aquarium maintenance.
<Yikes! In all honesty, he may be a great fishkeeper for all I know. But he really needs to break the feeder fish habit! Expensive, risky, cruel, and without any kind of benefits for any of the fish widely kept by aquarists.
I admit there are one or two very rare things, like South American Leaffish, that really do need a supply of home-bred livebearers or Killies to stay alive, but most everything else can and should be weaned onto alternatives. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Elephant Nose - Peacock Eel question       11/24/17

Hey Neale, if you don't already think I'm crazy, this may make up your mind. I moved my Ropefish out of the elephant nose tank because the EN was harassing them to the point that they were throwing themselves against the lid trying to get out. But even that didn't stop the EN's tirade - he started in on the plants and seemed to almost be thrashing around the tank.
I did water testing and results came back no ammonia, no nitrate, and nitrate was definitely less than 20 ppm (this tank's water change day is Tuesday). I put my Neon Tetras (8) and Harlequin Rasboras (7) in with him and he became a mad bomber blasting his way through the schools repeatedly.
I had a random thought that this fish is experiencing some sort of short-circuit and tried to remember when this behavior actually started. I thought it started shortly after I put in a terracotta "cave" I made for them. He acted weird when I first put it in, but he always acts weird when I make any change to his tank. But looking back, this was different.
Instead of hiding, the EN was approaching the terracotta cave in an almost aggressive manner, and then backing away from it - repeatedly. Also, the Peacock Eel was lying under the sand right next to the terracotta cave when
the EN first attacked him. So I looked up terracotta and it was described as a "clay type earthenware, glazed or unglazed, most commonly used in the old days as an ELECTRICAL INSULATOR..." (ok, lights are going on now!) The article went on to say that all clays are the best electrical insulators because they completely resist the flow of electric charge? So I took the terracotta cave out (half an hour ago), and although the EN is still pretty
active, he's just swimming around, he's no longer charging the rasboras or the tetras. This is really important because he still has two decorations in the tank, his other caves, that are ceramic but these items are glazed
(the terracotta cave I made is not). Do you think it's possible this could be setting off his aggressive behavior through some distortion of the electrical signals this fish relies on to function in its world?
<It's possible, but I'd have thought less likely than the 'buzz' from the wiring in and around the tank, such as the lights. But still, empirical evidence always trumps the theory, so if removing the cave helped, and he's now settled down, then I'd definitely call this a win if I was you!
Elephantnoses use their electricity in two main ways, for navigation and for communication. So far as navigation goes, it's why they keep their bodies so stiff and straight, and as they release electrical charge, they detect any distortions in the field they produce, and that tells them where objects are. It's kind of like radar I suppose. The communication thing, as we've discussed, includes a lot of hierarchical elements because there is a best frequency for the navigation field, and only the dominant one will use this frequency, forcing others to use less ideal frequencies. The lower down the pecking order you are, the worse the frequency you're left with.
(If this isn't a good metaphor for Net Neutrality I don't know what is, but I digress...) Things that interfere or reflect with the frequency the dominant fish is using will be seen as a social threat. That might be another dominant fish, in which case they fight, but I suppose it could be some unusual object that somehow reflects or distorts that frequency, irritating the dominant fish. Being just an animal, albeit a relatively smart one, he or she would be angry, but likely to transfer that aggression to another fish rather than some dumb rock, because he or she knows rocks aren't social threats! Anyway, that's my theory for now! Good luck sorting it all out, Neale.>
Re: Elephant Nose - Peacock Eel question    11/25/17

I think your theory is correct - thank you for your help!
<Maybe a hypothesis is a better word! But anyways, good luck, Neale.>
Re: Elephant Nose - Peacock Eel question    11/25/17

If I could trouble you with just one more question, and then I promise to drop it, but I'm sitting here looking at the Elephant Nose, I can see he is a lot calmer, but still agitated to a lesser degree. He seems to be fixated on one corner of the tank. It's where the terracotta cave was but its no longer in the tank at all. But what is over there are the tiny, baby bichirs. Could the EN be recognizing their species by sight and see them as a physical threat, not a social threat.
<By sight, no; Elephantnoses have poor eyesight, and recognising a 'species' isn't really something fish do. A big giant Bichir would be seen as a threat, sure; a baby one just registers as background detail. As always with animals, beware applying human motives and human senses to their world -- we/they are simply too different, and making comparisons is the pathway to confusion. Elephantnoses primarily react to electrical stimuli, possibly other fish, but mostly fish that are emitting electrical fields themselves. They will also react to things that conduct electric fields in a novel way, such as balls of aluminium foil in their aquarium.
They are gregarious (so do get lonesome, I'm sure) but also hierarchical (so become aggressive in small groups). Their secondary sense is taste, which is what their 'trunk' is all about. So foraging is important to them.
Think about ways to make their lives more interesting perhaps, by offering live foods -- baby brine shrimp for example are very popular with some -- which takes them a while to find and eat.>
The bichirs went into that tank at the same time as the terracotta cave (I made it for them as a safe haven).
<I would simply observe for now. It may well take time for all to settle in, and settle down. Cheers, Neale.>

Adding new Fish - Complete makeover... same mis-stocked 10 gal....       11/22/17
Hi Team,
<Hello Shriram!>
I have had many interactions with you earlier with regards to the stocking of my 10 gallon. Last (As of yesterday) I had the following stocking:
2 - Firemouth Cichlid
1 - Walking catfish (Who grew to half the size of my tank)
2 - Silver shark(Bala Shark)
1-TinFoil Barb.
<As you know now, none of these are suitable for 10 gallon tanks except perhaps as tiny juveniles.>

I have returned all the fishes to the LFS and got a few pairs of small yellow morph.
<Is this Labidochromis caeruleus, the Yellow Lab? While a relative dwarf among Mbuna, I can't really see a group of these being kept in anything smaller than, say, 30 gallons. They are quite aggressive towards one another, in a pecking order sort of way, and like all Mbuna very sensitive to poor water quality.>
The Old Fishes were removed yesterday and the new ones were added. Today morning I found all the yellow morphs dead.
<Oh dear.>
Not sure what I did wrong.
<Well, to start with, you need to assess the environment. Labidochromis caeruleus will not live long in soft and/or acidic water; they're classic Mbuna in requiring hard, alkaline water (15-25˚dH, pH 7.5-8.5 would be about right). On top of that, again, like all Mbuna, they have almost no tolerance for poor water quality, so zero ammonia and zero nitrite are important. Finally, just like all other Mbuna, oxygen is crucial, and they won't live long in tanks that are overstocked or under-filtered.>
I am very upset because of the incident and am planning to do a full cleaning of my tank this weekend and then look for other options, like turning my 10 gallon to a planted aquarium or adding other smaller fish varieties, etc. I am still confused as what could have gone wrong with the morphs.
<Do see above, but obviously without knowing what fish you were keeping, or what the conditions of the tank were, it's hard to say.>
I need your advise in what I should be doing next with regards to my tank.
Thanks and regards,
Shriram
<Some general thoughts on stocking small tanks is here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
While that article is a few years old now, the underlying point, that small tanks need small fish, remains true. Perhaps better to tell me what small fish you have access to locally, and we can offer some advice about keeping them! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Adding new Fish - Complete makeover      11/22/17

HI Neale,
<Hello again Shriram,>
Do you Tearing down the tank (Removing the gravel and cleaning and 100% water change) would be a good idea to start with, in that will I need to wait till my tanks cycles again or should I do only a vacuuming of the gravel and replace the water alone, before adding new fish.
<Giving a tank a good clean is often worthwhile, e.g., rinsing the gravel and wiping the glass. But leave the live (mature) filter media alone. At most, rinse it in buckets of aquarium water, squeezing out the dirt.>
My LFS has guppies, zebra Danios, dwarf gouramis, etc.
<So all the old favourites!>
Please note that my tank has a Heater and would prefer tropical fish.
<Understood. Do look at some of the 'newer' small fish in the trade -- Ember Tetras, Dwarf Rasboras, Endler's Guppies, Daisy Ricefish, etc. -- as well as the usual small fish like Golden Pencilfish, Neons, Whiptail cats, the smaller Corydoras, and so on.>
Please provide some suggestions on the fish that I can add and also what I need to do next with my tank.
<See above, and the article linked to earlier.>
Thanks and regards,
Shriram
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: LFS is doing a huge import... opinions?     11/20/17
Hello crew, hope you are doing fine.
<Thank you Roberto; yes>
Weird, i cant find the response you gave to this mail... well, i am also forwarding the past message just for context.
<Is posted (I do this) in a couple places; here is one: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWLvstk13.htm
the import came a few days later after i messaged you, and fast forwards a couple weeks, here's what's happened.
No Biotodoma cupido (bummer).
10 H. psittacus brought in, about 15 cm the smallest one... whew, i wasn't expecting fish this big to come.... Didn't get any... yet, they all look full and have started to show colors at the lfs... only 3 bought so far, not likely buying one, they were brought bigger than i expected, likely displaying aggression at this size.
8 Uaru fernandezyepezi came in... they looked very weak and distressed. They are between 3 and 4 inches, one kicked the bucket at the lfs... 2 have been bought. Still 5 left which have seemingly got in better shape since. They still don't look totally well though, they are kept with silver dollars and a couple bulldog Plecos in a 15 gal or so aquarium... this is at the lfs... the price is surprisingly low... $14 each!! I mean, these guys are supposed to be expensive aren't they?
<Can be; depending on where, size, and actual species>
I'm assuming they are tank bred in that case... if... given a couple weeks more, and see if they are any better... would it be more or less safe to buy a couple?
<Should be>
the price is unfairly tempting. I have some wood that is leaching tannins and have access to almond leaves. My tap water pH is commonly between 7.7 and 8.1 and kH is around 9. I'm not sure how low i can get these parameters with just wood and almond leaves.
<I'd mix in softer water, reverse osmosis... to lower the pH below 7.0>
Not sure if it is worth it since the parameters may reset when i do water changes, which could potentially be fatal as they would be sudden.
Do you think it is worth the risk of trying a couple of them in a species tank?
<If it were me; yes>
Among other fish of my interest are about 10 or so varieties of Plecos. Being a Pleco collector, i bought an adult pair of Ancistrus ranunculus... they are about 10 cm already, one with very big and bushy bristles while the other one has small and fewer... so I'm assuming i sexed them correctly. Many other Plecos, true zebras even (not paying the $200 tag though). some Panaque varieties, Hemiloricaria sp, some that look like randomized but yet similar patterns and colors of Peckoltia sabaji, so I'm assuming there a few, related species among them.
<Am a huge fan of Loricariids>
Is there any Pleco species i should be wary of, considering my water parameters?
<Any from soft, acidic water habitats (I'd use Fishbase.org here) that are wild-collected, weak...>
i have a small but healthy collection of Plecs and have had trouble with not a single species, yet.
Many other species, not many i can house/have interest in right now. Pikes, Ossa knife fish, red bellied piranha, Apistogramma (learned to stay away from Apistos a long time ago, until i get R/O water, at least), altums. etc.
As always, thanks for your time, it always gets me excited when exotic fish get brought in.
Roberto.
<Me too! Bob Fenner>

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