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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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Freshwater FAQs, Ask us a question: Crew@WetWebMedia.com

Updated 6/24/2019
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

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Question about my albino African clawed frog     6/24/19
Could use some help. Included is a picture of my albino African clawed frog. As you can see it has a “blister” coming from it’s back end. It has been like this for the past 2 days.
<Medicate quickly; you have limited time here! Bacterial infections rarely fix themselves, and these frogs quickly sicken and die. I'm going to send you to some reading, here:
If you look at the Red Leg section, you'll see what you're dealing with, and the recommendation to try Maracyn II and Maracyn Plus. If antibiotics aren't available without prescription where you live, a vet may provide them if asked, or else you'll have to resort to a reliable antibacterial such as eSHa 2000.>
It is in a tank with one other frog who doesn’t have any issues.
<Yet! I'm a bit concerned by the substrate, which is much too coarse for these frogs, and could easily explain the damage. Standard operating procedure for these frogs is to use NO substrate at all, but alternatively, a very smooth, lime-free sand (such as smooth silica sand or pool filter sand) can be used. Avoid gravel because they can swallow it and that usually proves fatal if not quickly regurgitated.>
I have had them for 6 months now. I have tried google searching for possible diseases or fungus. Nothing appears to match my frogs symptoms. If you can please let me know what you think this could be and a possible solution to help it!
Thank you for your time,
<Hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Question about my albino African clawed frog     6/24/19
Thank you for getting back to me. I am going to change the gravel & try to find the antibiotics today.
<Glad to help and good luck! Neale.>

New fishkeeper advice; FW stkg.  6/23/19
Hello crew.
<Hello Phil!>
After extensive web trawling I have come across your site, its extensive forum discussions, and now your email address to see if you can help with a couple of issues we are facing as new fishkeepers .. parents helping 13 yr old. Rapidly finding mixed messages btw stuff we've read and our local store, a branch of Maidenhead Aquatics.
<Understood. The MA chain is generally excellent, but each 'branch' operates a bit more like a franchise, buying into the identity, and maintaining certain standard, but how the store is run in terms of
livestock, recruitment, etc. is very much up to the branch manager. So some branches will specialise in cichlids because that's what the branch manager likes, while others will be stronger than average in marines, yet others will regularly import oddballs like killifish rarely seen in other branches. Staff vary, from the average sort of store clerk through to dedicated hobbyists who know enough to write books. I've yet to see a genuinely bad branch, in the sense of a place with dead fish littering the tanks for example, so on the whole, I like to recommend the Maidenhead Aquatics chain as a basically safe bet for the casual hobbyist. But some branches are definitely exceptional and worth a trip, even compared against the more 'famous' independents like Wildwoods or Pier Aquatics.>
Around Easter established brand new 65 litre tank with live plants and rocks, filter and heater. 24 C. After 2 weeks added first fish, 6 Male guppies, 3 x dark blue and 3 x red fin and 2 orange shrimp (one died after couple of days, other one fine and has had baby, now back to 2). All went fine. Regular water changes happening. About 3 weeks later bought 10 neon tetra to join guppies.
<A questionable combination, and to be honest, I don't rate either Neons or Guppies as 'easy' fish. Let's begin by pointing out the fact Neons prefer relatively cool, soft water: 22-25 C, 2-10 degrees dH, pH 6-7.5. By contrast fancy Guppies at least appreciate warmth, 25-28 C, and despise soft water, requiring at least 10 and ideally 15-25 degrees dH. While not essential, the addition of a little salt can help tremendously, maybe 2-5 gram/litre. There's not much overlap between them, so they're unlikely to
thrive in the same tank. Now, the other reason to avoid both species is the generally poor quality of the specimens in the trade. Neons are just hopeless, and after trying a few times, I've just written them off as worthless. Possibly with soft water, suitable quarantining and ruthless removal of sickly specimens you might get lucky, but for the average aquarist they're very risk. Guppies vary, and specimens bred locally are normally fine. But the farmed specimens do seem prone to diseases, and I suspect that extensive use of antibiotics ensures they survive okay on fish farms and through the supply chain, but once in the home aquarium, a fair number of specimens seem to just waste away. Again, quarantining, perhaps alongside suitable use of antibiotics on a prophylactic basis, could do the trick, and certainly optimal water conditions help, but again, as fish for casual aquarists stocking ordinary community tanks, I'd write them off as too risky.>
Within 1 week slight signs of white spot on the tetra.
<Whitespot is not uncommon in new tanks, and medications like eSHa EXIT -- my favourite for this disease -- should work quickly and effectively. The old heat/salt method can work too.>
Back to store, given tank treatment, spots on tetras appeared to clear overnight but then lost about 2 a night over last 3 nights. 2 remaining but not very active. Probably only a matter of time ... During this time the most aggressive dark blue guppies taken to tail biting one of the red ones.
<Male Guppies can be mutually aggressive. Certainly, keep large numbers if they're just males, six or more, and the bigger the group, the safer they'll be. If mixed with females, which can help, outnumber the males with twice as many females.>
Significant chunk gone - see attachment. So trying to understand what has happened and move forward positively. Fear end of line for tetra, presume sick batch or tank shock? What do you think?
<See above.>
Is it worth trying again with another shoal style fish after a gap period?
<Certainly there are many better, easier species. For casual aquarists, schools of X-ray Tetras (also called Pristella tetras), Emperor Tetras, and False Penguin Tetras (widely sold as just plain old Penguin Tetras) are perhaps the three best picks. They handle hard water perfectly well, and in groups of at least 6 specimens, behave completely peacefully. Emperors are quirky in that males hold little territories, but given space they won't do any harm. Cherry Barbs are a good Asian alternative, with males and females
having different, but equally charming, colouration. They're especially fun to watch! So far as livebearers go, none of the common species are truly bombproof any more thanks to decades of inbreeding, but if you can get wild-caught or so-called 'Feeder' Guppies (essentially mutts or crossbreeds) then these can be good. Personally, I keep Limia species instead; these are similar to Guppies, not quite so colourful, but lively and hardy. Various species out there, the Humpback Limia and Blue Limia my two top picks.>
For guppies is it best to isolate aggressor or tail damaged one?
<See above; isolate the aggressive male in a breeding trap for a few days can help, but in a small group, the next male down the pecking order will likely become the bully instead.>
Have tried both approaches for about 24 hrs with little change in behaviour. If this aggressor removed, will another assume that role (pecking order style) or cannot say for sure.
Injured fish also now showing slightly swollen tummy (which have read could be stress response too)
<Possibly, but more likely sick; Epsom salt usage at 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres can work a treat if the problem isn't a bacterial infection.>
Any help and guidance on above and best next steps would be appreciated.
Welcome to publish this on the site if it could help others, just wasn't sure how!
With thanks. Phil
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Replacing a gourami "show" fish        6/15/19
Hi everyone... I just wrote you the other day about a suddenly picky Trichopodus trichopterus with respect to diet... sure enough, I found her dead this morning.
<Oh dear.>
4 years old, 3" (body) long, and recently slowing down a bit, I was not surprised, yet I kept the water clean etc. just in case. Sad. It was a good run for her.
Now, I have five mature cherry barbs (Puntius titteya) and two, year-old Synodontis nigriventris catfish in my vertical, 15-gallon tank.
<Both nice species, though 15 gallons is a mite small for Dwarf Synodontis.>
I would like to occupy the upper level of the tank with another gourami. I figure a (pair of?) Trichogaster labiosa could be a good choice, since I see your team recommends them often.
<They are certainly robust and undemanding.>
I'm worried, however, about the aggressiveness of the catfish.
<Can't imagine Synodontis upsetting Trichogaster labiosa, given space enough for both. >
Perhaps a Trichopodus leeri?
<Another excellent species, though that much bigger, so less obviously suitable for a 15 gallon system.>
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated... Thank you! --Matt
<Can you obtain Ctenopoma? Microctenopoma fasciolatum for example is a tough, attractive fish that places few demands on the fishkeeper, though it will need frozen/fresh food, not flake. Some of the large Betta species might also work, such as Betta pugnax. These are gentle fish, but should be fine with Cherry Barbs, and provided the Synodontis are well-fed, these latter shouldn't bother them much (they can be fin-nibblers if hungry).
Cheers, Neale.>

Black Tetra; breeding        6/17/19
Dear Crew. I am engaging in breeding aquarium fish. I saw some of your articles while searching for the internet and found them interesting. I though you may help me as I have some problems in black tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) breeding. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask following questions.1. What the water values be when rearing black tetra brood stock? a. pHb. gHc. kh (should it be ?)d. Temperature. Photoperiod2. Do black tetras reproduces in the same way as neon tetra as they are from the same family? a. Do they reproduce without any problems during a certain period and face with insemination problems in remaining periods?3. During breeding: a. pH b. gh. kh (it is especially not preferred in breeding the characin group, is it also valid for black tetra?)d. lighting e. temperature. Should we set the breeding water as black water; If yes, do I need to use tannic acid or Catappa for this? Thank you in advance for your assistance.
<The Black Widow Tetra is relatively easy to breed. It's a classic egg-scattering species, so something like bushy floating plants such as Cabomba or killifish spawning mops can be used for them to scatter their sticky eggs, or you can go old school and place them in a tank with glass marbles across the substrate, and the eggs will roll into the cracks between the marbles. Either way, the aim is to minimise egg predation by the adults. Condition the fish beforehand, using a wide range of frozen or ideally live foods, ensuring the fish are healthy and sexually mature. Females when they come into breeding condition will be notably rounded, and the males will often seem to 'sniff' around them, chasing the females or displaying in front of them. Some people place pairs in the breeding tanks, others small groups. Keep the tank dark, with maybe a sliver of light from outdoors to help the fish recognise night and day. You can certainly add blackwater extract, Catappa leaves, etc. to condition the water and tint it brown if you want. Either way, spawning takes place when water temperature is maintained a couple degrees higher than normal for a couple days, and you do need to ensure the water is slightly soft and acidic (exact pH and hardness not too crucial, but around 5-10 degrees dH, pH 6.5 would be ideal). Really, your biggest problem is not so much spawning them (they'd like spawn in a soft water community, let alone breeding tank) but ensuring the eggs aren't eaten and, when the fry become free swimming, about 4-5 days after hatching, you have the tiny live foods the fry will need. As with most tetras, we're talking infusoria initially, and baby brine shrimp a few days (maybe a week) later. You may have some success with finely powdered flake foods and other baby fish foods (Hikari First Bites, Liquifry, etc.) but these tend to be a bit unreliable with tetras. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Turtle question        6/15/19
My turtle (yellow belly slider?) is floating butt up on the bottom of aquarium. Eats, suns and sleeps normally. Is it a bladder issue?
<No. Yellow Belly Sliders do not have swim bladders.>
<Will direct you here:
Turtles that lose their balance when swimming most often suffer from some type of bacterial infection. Since your chap is otherwise healthy, antibiotics should work quickly and effectively. A vet will help on this.
If not treated, such bacterial infections usually end up killing the

Fancy Goldfish question....White bumps on the Wen?        6/15/19
Hi again,
I am looking for someone to tell me that white growths on my huge Oranda's Wen are not ICK.
<Mmm; not likely they are ich at all, IF this is the only site where the spots are. Instead these are discrete body slime accumulations. Nothing to worry about>
I see people who say that it's normal for these fish to get some lumps and bumps of a whitish nature on their Wens as they grow.
<This is so>
But this white spot looked like 3 little lumps in a group which have how irrupted and are hallow holes, like the tops blew off and something came out!
There are more spots on the Wen, but I don't see any spots on the rest of the fish. Except for his male spots on his gill covers. He's definitely a boy.
But now I am concerned that if the spots opened something that came out is now in my pond and looking for more fish to get onto. I have 5 three inch fancies and the 1 six inch one,....in a big pond, with water lilies, pond hyacinth and pond poppies. If I put salt in it will kill the plants!
<Too likely to hurt them, yes>
We have 2 Pond Air stones going, and a nice full waterfall, for oxygenation.
We clean the overflow filter box every 2 days, it get dirty fast, but is easy to clean. I have a UV light in the pond, but it doesn't seem to do much ....still have lots of algae growing in it. Not green water though, just on the sides of the pond, and since I know goldfish should eat greens I am not too worried about the algae. In my mind green algae means healthy water!
Because our water tends to get acidic quickly I have the waterfall coming down on a nice piece of Texas Holey Rock to keep the minerals in there for buffering. It has been raining a lot, so I haven't done any water changes,.. .since the pond gets full and then water trickles out between the top stones on the edges. Would you do 50% water changes on pond goldfish too?
<Only 20, 25% intervals; during the summers, once a week; none when the water temp. falls below 55 F.>
I don't mind, I'm home all the time, so if it needs to be done, I'll do it! In the house we did 20-25% water changes per week regularly.
<Ah, good>
The water may not be as warm as it should be for fancy goldfish,....it's been a very cold spring and early summer. For a few days it got hot here and we thought it would stay warm, so we put them back in from being indoors for the winter. I suppose we could ad a heater to the pond if you think it might have caused the problem. If it even is a problem. I don't know what to think He is happy, active, eating well and swimming normally. None of the other seem to have white bumps yet.
We have been feeding them Goldfish Crisps,...but after reading on your goldfish site, i have ordered the Spectrum Goldfish pellets and will use those instead.
(I use spectrum for my reef tanks too.)
<I do as well; a fine product>
Unfortunately I can't get good pictures of it now in the pond. I hope my description helps.
So, is this a normal thing that happens on Wens sometimes? Or is it a nasty
bug that I need to kill off?
<The former>
This same fish had some red lines in his tail while he was in the tank for the winter,....we thought he had caught it on something and had bruised it, but now after reading your site it looks like it was fin rot? Or a Fungus?
<Likely septicemia of a sort from simple stress>
It seemed to resolve on it's own though. The 6 were in a 75 gallon tank, and we tested regularly, so I don't believe it was water quality.
These chubby goldfish are like the Golden Retrievers of the fish world, I'd be very sad if we lost one of them. They have so much personality!
Amanda Wilson in NJ, USA
<I would do nothing (overt) here. NOT treat, but be patient. Enjoy your system, pets. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fancy Goldfish question....White bumps on the Wen?        6/15/19

Thanks again Bob! It's a zoo over here! LOL!
<My fave Mandy. BobF>

Re: Fancy Goldfish question....White bumps on the Wen?
Now, GF book endorsement question
Hey, while you are there, what do you think of this book? It's older, 2001, but it looks like besides your little book on goldfish it's the only thing that really has any details. The rest of the books are just a quick overview this one looks good. But it's expensive! Is it worth $100? https://wwwamazon.com/Fancy-Goldfish-Complete-Guide-Collecting/dp/0834804484
Fancy Goldfish: Complete Guide To Care And Collecting Hardcover May 1, 2001
By Erik L. Johnson (Author), Richard E. Hess (Author)
<Mmm; well, I collect aquarium and related books, magazines... including goldfish, pond. This is a good book IMO, but am surprised at the used price. Yikes! Bob Fenner>
Re: Fancy Goldfish question....White bumps on the Wen? GF book rec.s       6/16/19

Yes, I am too. I will think about it.
<Mmm; do see Neale's less expensive goldfish book suggestions here:
Thank you,
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Fancy Goldfish question....White bumps on the Wen?      6/16/19

Yes, I see that. But none of those books are specifically about Fancy Goldfish. I just wish there was an updated book on them, that included the newest hybrids they have come up with. Maybe I'll ask the breeder of the ones I bought,....they might have a suggestion.
<I have a few. B>
Thanks Bob.
Re: Fancy Goldfish question....White bumps on the Wen?      6/16/19

Morning Bob,
Ok. What are they? Your suggestions.
<Please see the ends, bibliographies of pieces posted on WWM re Goldfish (the bibliographies). Bob Fenner>
Re: Fancy Goldfish question....White bumps on the Wen?        6/17/19

Will do!
<Cheers dear.>

Ceramic tile as bare bottom        6/15/19
Hello Crew,
I have a FW 240g display tank, 400g total volume, including sumps and wet-dry. In the DT, I want to replace the 1/2” layer of gravel substrate with impervious ceramic tile. This will provide the cleanliness benefits of bare bottom, but still allow for a more pleasing aesthetic. Do you think there are toxicity issues with the tile? If not,...
<IF the tile is sufficiently fired; no problem/s>
The bottom dwellers in the tank are ~30 Botia (angelicus and striata) and 8 Synodontis multipunctatus. In the tank, there are dozens of caves, rocks, logs, and it is heavily plastic-planted. Will the bottom dwellers, especially the Botia, be disconcerted by not having gravel to route (sp?) around in?
<I do think they are better off with gravel/sand substrate... And would not personally switch to the tile. If this were a temporary situation (e.g. passing at a wholesalers), my opinion would be different; but substrates do many (good) things for a system, its life.>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Turtle question; donating to WWM        6/15/19
Thanks you! I tried to contribute via PayPal but had no success. Can you give me an account to send you a donation?
Thanks again
<Am surprised... the link at the top, right corner of most all pages should work. Have just tried:
Re: Turtle question; donation button on WWM      6/16/19
Thanks you! I tried to contribute via PayPal but had no success. Can you give me an account to send you a donation?
Thanks again
<Thank you for this; not sure why the 'tip jar' isn't working, but will ask Bob F. In the meantime, glad to help! Neale.><<Is working now... RMF>>
Re: Turtle question; WWM donation button     6/18/19

Hi everyone!
I'm 6 days out of hip replacement surgery so I might be a little fuzzier than normal ...
<Am permanently fused so>
I just went to the web site and clicked the Donate button.
It took me to Pay Pal, where I donated $16,261,2121.28
<and I got the pop-up you would expect>
I then tried $10.00 and it asked all the right questions and thanked me.
Then it took me back to WWM and I got an email receipt
So -- can someone start from the beginning and tell me what does and does not work?
<I tried for just a sawbuck and got the same. Thank you, BobF>

Yellow-belly aqua terrapin; egg-bound      6/10/19
Can you please help me ?
<Have sent your query to our "turtle expert"; but will try to answer you here as well as I can>
I have a problem with my 15 year old terrapin. ..She is gravid, from 7th of May (all evidence seem that this is the date..or around then...) but she is not passing the (infertile) eggs so I took her to the vet at the end of May and he made an Oxytocin injection to her but she didn't pass the eggs after that. I have another appointment tomorrow 10th of June with the vet and he told me he will do another Oxytocin and he hopes she will pass the eggs.
I am very worried because I read that the 2nd Oxytocin must be done after 24 or 48 hours in order to be effective...I hope it is not too late...
<Me too. As you'll find in this piece (https://tortoise.org/general/eggbind.html ) from my local turtle and tortoise society; there are a few causes of egg-binding in turtles... >
She seems she cannot find a nesting place suitable for her..
I have made a plastic storage box with all proper sand and humidity but nothing... I have placed her in a small dog's piscine but nothing..I don't know what else to do..
She has been gravid the 2 previous years also. She had a great difficulty passing the eggs also but she managed to do it, half of them in the water and half of them with the 1st Oxytocin...This year seems to have the biggest problem.
How many Oxytocin injections can be done? More than 2? and what should the period be between them?
<Next to consider is likely surgery>
Also, in the event of a surgery can the vet make an ovariosalingectomy at the same time to prevent future incidents of binding?
<This I do not know; but suspect that this can be done surgically.>
because she is suffering so much from this situation and we are all so stressed!
Thank you very much for an answer....
<Do read the citation, link above. Bob Fenner>

My clown knife fish         6/7/19
so I recently got a clown knife fish about 5 days ago now on Sunday and since I put him into my quarantine tank I have only seen him once and I have never seen him eat I would like to ask if I should search my quarantine tank for him to check if he is alive and well
<Mmm; well, Notopterids (clown knives) are shy as juveniles and adults...
You do have some decor for it to hide in I take it. Any dither fish to serve as company? Have you searched, read on WWM re the keeping of this fish? Bob Fenner>

Help with my fish telescope please      6/5/19
I wanted to ask for help with my telescope fish, which had a small point that moves during the day.
<A small point? I see murky/cloudy eyes... Likely due to issue/s w/ the environment. Do you have water quality tests, data to share? What re the set up, history of operation?>
I am enclosing a picture of my fish, please help me know what I can have and what remedy I can treat. (in the lower part of his right eye)
<Please respond with useful information. Bob Fenner, Athens>
To your comments.
Raúl Núñez - Chile

Re: Help with my fish telescope please     6/6/19
I wanted to ask for help with my telescope fish, which had a small point that moves during the day.
<A small point? I see murky/cloudy eyes... Likely due to issue/s w/ the
environment. Do you have water quality tests, data to share? What re the
set up, history of operation?>
I am enclosing a picture of my fish, please help me know what I can
have and what remedy I can treat. (in the lower part of his right eye)
Thank you.
Raúl N.
<This appears to be an inclusion of some sort.... does happen. Nothing to do re... not to treat. BobF>

Re: Help with my fish telescope please        6/8/19
<This appears to be an inclusion of some sort.... does happen. Nothing to do re... not to treat. BobF>
R: There is no remedy that can help eliminate these balls? already has 2 in one eye and 1 in another eye.
<... one last time hopefully: What are your water quality measures? What re the set up here? Filtration in particular, the history of the set up? BobF>
Please your help, I will appreciate it.
Attentative to your comments.
Raúl N.

Re: Question concerning sudden Columbian tetra death             6/6/19
Hi Bob,
Everyone is accounted for this morning and hungry. I see no signs of illness in any of the remaining 12 tetras.
<Ah, good>
I added some Stressguard to tank yesterday and the tetra with one swollen and cloudy eye is very much
improved. I found a second tetra with cloudy eye and it has completely resolved. I'm seeing some nipped tail fins and a lot of aggressive chasing among the tetras.
<To be expected>
If not fish on fish aggression, I'm thinking that I may have contributed to the one tetra's demise. I mix my water for water changes in a large trash can and I use a small pump to add water to the tank.
<I wager this is a good practice. It is summat what I do... heating, storing pre-mixed freshwater a week ahead of change outs... in totes in a greenhouse; moving the water with a pump>
I try to direct the water flow away from the fish but it's difficult with the top configuration of the acrylic tank and the fish are so curious. I'm thinking I may have unintentionally hit them with a strong stream of water. I may go back to adding the water in using a container.
The blood worms that I use are San Francisco Bay frozen cubes.
<Also an exemplary source, company>
I'm trying to give the Acara some variety as he refuses pellets and other than the cichlid flakes the blood worms are the only frozen food he will eat. I will discontinue if they are harmful for the tetras. They aren't fussy eaters.
I hope this smaller photo file goes through.
Thank you again for your help.
<This one fish... the spot... could be resultant from a physical trauma; secondarily bacterial. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question concerning sudden Columbian tetra death          6/6/19
Second pix from underneath.
Possible nip? Skin is open
<Good pix. Again; could be. BobF>

Trichopodus trichopterus changed eating habits?         6/6/19
Hi crew! Question—my three spot Gourami has enjoyed several years munching on a combo of flakes and NLS Float pellets. Suddenly, she spits out the pellets but still eats the flakes. She even “tries” to grab the pellets and “misses” them. The flakes were never enough for her so the pellets were doing the trick. Is it possible that she simply can’t digest the pellets anymore? She is about 4 years old (in my tank) and 3.5 inches long, if that helps. Thanks for all you do! —Matt
<It's more likely the flakes are 'off' or she just doesn't like them. She's not old at 4 years. Flakes and pellets have a shelf life of about a month, and much beyond that there is a risk of them oxidising and becoming rancid, especially in warm or damp conditions. Even if not actually nutritionally bad, it can lose the flavours that attracts the fish to eat it. It can be worth storing large tubs of flake in a cold, dry environment, and decanting out small portions to last a month or so into a smaller, separate container. If all else fails, starve the fish for a few days, and then offer something new, even human food like chopped up white fish or shrimp. If the fish happily consume that, but still ignore the flake, then the flake is probably bad and not worth keeping. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Trichopodus trichopterus changed eating habits?     6/6/19
Thanks for your reply and for your help!
I had no idea that the dry foods have such a short shelf life... wow.
<As I say, does depend on ambient temperature and humidity. But if your fish aren't eating flake that they liked before, and you can rule out disease or water quality issues, then it's worth considering if the food is stale. Certainly if the fish are scarfing down other foods, but ignoring the flake they ate before, it might have gone off.>
So much for expiration dates. The pellets are brand new, however... is it possible that they are too big?
<Can be, or too hard. The larger pellets meant for big cichlids can be impossible for smaller fish to handle.>
The last batch were fine and I bought the same brand/type. Perhaps the Gourami is just “over them”. Any ideas for another surface floating food that could fill her up? Sinking foods are lost to my two ravenous nigriventris :)
<Trichopodus are omnivores, so will nibble on softened plant foods, such as blanched lettuce leaves, cooked peas, sushi Nori, and so forth. So feel free to offer these if your fish seem peckish and you don't want to overdo the protein input and resulting water quality issues. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Trichopodus trichopterus changed eating habits?        6/8/19

I’ll give it a shot. Many thanks!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

African Cichlid Fin issues      6/5/19
I have a question for Bob Fenner, after reading through many if the help topics on the website.
<He's on his travels right now, but will cc him in case he has any input.>
I have a mixed group of African Cichlids, 150gal tank, two Fluval FX6 canister filters. I have about half a dozen fish with a charred, burnt black looked section on their dorsal fin. I don't think it's fin rot exactly?
<Black patches that appear out of nowhere are usually ascribed to ammonia burns or similar. Remember, at high pH levels, ammonia is much more toxic than in acidic pH. Something to do with the ratio of ammonium ions to ammonia molecules being different in acid vs. basic conditions. Anyway, the
point being that even 'trace' ammonia/ammonium levels that you'd ignore in, say, a soft water community aquarium would be much more lethal in a Mbuna community because of the high pH levels. While we tend to "overcrowd" Mbuna especially to reduce their territoriality, that does mean filtration has to be absolutely top-notch, and there's no point having lots of bacteria if you don't also provide them with plenty of oxygen. I'd also make the point that Rift Valley cichlids are a mixed bunch, and mixing Mbuna with, say, Tanganyikans or Aulonocara invariably causes problems eventually, and it should go without saying you'd not mix any of these Rift Valley cichlids with soft water species like Kribs or Jewel cichlids from West Africa.>
All the rest of the fins are in perfect condition. Looking for some help, I can also send photos once in contact with someone. Thank you so much
<Hope this helps. Neale.>
Re: African Cichlid Fin issues      6/5/19

By mixed, I meant the species, however, all are lake Malawi Haplochromis. I treat my tap water with Seachem Prime, Malawi pH Buffer and Cichlid Lake Salt. Attaching a photo of one of the fish. Hope this helps.
<Would still suspect environment, with the possibility of aggression between the fish causing some of the physical damage. Do check the pH and water quality; without these information, we can't really help much.
Cheers, Neale.>

Cory’s      6/5/19
My female Cory has a yellow spot on her top fin, she has always been very active, and still is, what could it be
<Hi, could be many things, can you please send us a pic?... will be far easier to id the problem. Wil.>

African Dwarf frog help      6/5/19
I'm new to the hobby and started fishkeeping in January.
Since then, I've expanded from 1 10 gallon tank to 3 separate tanks. I just had an African dwarf frog die tonight after I placed it in quarantine
yesterday and I'm not sure why. I'd like to try to figure it out to make sure my other frogs are ok.
<Going to direct you to some reading first:
With amphibians (and reptiles) generally, most diseases are best prevented rather than treated, and under good conditions both amphibians and reptiles are remarkably hardy and healthy. Indeed, even if you do have a vet trained to handle amphibians and reptiles (what vets call 'exotics') things like frogs are often too small to medicate successfully or, more usually, not economically worth medicating when the medicine costs ten times more than the frog cost. So, bottom line, get the basics right, and life is better
for both you and the frog.>
Here we go.
<Fire away.>
The tank is a 54 corner bowfront. It was started at the beginning of April in the Walstad method. It is fully planted, soil base with gravel top layer. The gravel is aquarium gravel, definitely larger than all of the mouths of the fish. There is no filter. I have 1-2 powerheads circulating water at lowest setting. I use 2 100 watt heaters to keep the tank around 78-79 degrees F. There are two pieces of driftwood (Malaysian driftwood and Manzanita). After about 3 weeks, I had 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate. I added 4 African dwarf frogs and 2 clown Plecos. within a week, I lost one dwarf frog. I'm not sure why, possibly fungus as he had white cottony something on him.
<Cotton-wool like fluff can be fungal infections; the fluff are the hyphae infecting (secondarily) wounds caused by handling or aggression. Skin shedding is more like transparent sheets of tissue peeling away. It's very distinctive.>
It could have been shedding skin. He died before I could fully treat him.
no other frogs showed any problems.
<That's a good sign. Often with frogs there's an all-or-nothing situation.
If the other frogs are undamaged and uninfected, they will hopefully go on to live happy lives. That said, the flip side is that there are certainly fungal and bacterial infections that can be contagious. However, such infections are often (if not quite always) secondary to the frog being damaged, starved, harassed, or otherwise in some way having its immune system compromised.>
Fast forward now, my tank currently holds 1 male Betta, some rummy nose tetras, black phantom tetras, dwarf Corys, pearl Danios, snails. I finished treating the tank for ich about a week ago. I was using Metroplex and focus to make sure the invertebrates would be safe. I also just stopped running a UV sterilizer due to a pretty spectacular case of green water.
(before this, there was some blue green algae which I spot treated with hydrogen peroxide and some bacterial blooms). When feeding the tank, I feed once a day with 1 cube of frozen food. the frogs come to the front to eat and are able to find food amongst the chaos. I usually feed brine shrimp, a mix called emerald entree, daphnia, or bloodworms for a treat.
<All sounds fine, though I will offer the usual caution that mixing frogs with fish is rarely successful. At the very least, catfish and frogs will compete (especially at night) for food. Frogs are also easily scratched, and even a non-predatory fish like a small Plec or loach could potentially cause harm while fighting over food. Bear in mind that underwater fish wildly outclass frogs and newts when it comes to mobility and perception, and in the wild these amphibians will only be common in places where the
diversity and abundance of fish species is low.>
3 days ago, I noticed one of my frogs floating at the top for long periods of time. He also seemed slower to react. The day before and yesterday I was able to catch him pretty easily and he wasn't eating. I tested the water 2 days ago and found I had 0 ammonia, .25 nitrites, and 0 nitrates. I added a double dose of prime for the nitrites. I think what happened is when I did a water change, I accidently stirred up the dirt and increased the nitrite level in the water from the dirt. All other fish and frogs are showing no signs of distress. I have cardinal tetras in quarantine in a 5 gallon tank. They'll eventually go into my 54 to replace the fish I lost to ich. The QTank has an established sponge filter, a heater at the same
temperature as my main tank, and has been housing the cardinals for about 2 weeks. I caught the frog and placed him in the tank. He didn't eat at all.
<Sounds as if this one 'was a goner' by the time you noticed him. If he was newly purchased, I'd be tempted to put that down to bad luck (or at least, bad maintenance at the retailer, starvation and physical damage being two major risks for Hymenochirus spp. during the wholesale and retail phases of the journey to your tank).>
Earlier today, when I came home, he was starting to swim weirdly. he would almost swing in the water, like he couldn't coordinate his limbs to swim correctly. it was like this discoordinated side to side movement. He also would float on top or stay at the bottom. I just found him on the bottom of the tank, dead. I did a visual exam to with a magnifying glass to see what was up. The only thing I saw was red lesions along his underside, a little bit around his lower leg, and on his front claws. The red lesions
looked to be like pinpricks, so maybe bruising?
<Possibly, or simply a secondary bacterial infection: Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, or something else along those lines. Although the following link is to a page detailing the larger Xenopus aquatic frog used widely in labs, the diseases and treatments recommended are identical to the situation with the dwarf Hymenochirus species you're keeping:
Red Leg is a common problem with both genera of frogs, though as those writers imply, easily preventable even if treatment can be difficult.>
There seemed to be no other problems with him. He didn't seem bloated or overly thin. I just want to make sure my other frogs and fish are going to be fine.
Thanks for any help!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Elephant ear Gourami - Osprohenemus exodon   6/4/19
Hi Neale,
<Hello Nathaniel,>
I’m the proud owner of a new custom tank with a 28 sq foot print. I’m looking to get a bigger fish and have identified a giant Gourami.
<Interesting fish. Very friendly, quite smart, but no looker, and massive!>
I have found a shop that claims to have a very rare giant Gourami - the exodon. It looks like one (a darker mark near its tail and looks to have a more open jaw with some small teeth).
<Osphronemus exodon; yes, the eyespot on the caudal peduncle is distinctive, as are the easily visible teeth on its jaws.>
It’s about 9 inches, so although well off adult size, big enough to get a good identification.
I can’t seem to find much about them other than they are extreme rare.
<Rare in the trade, at least; no idea how rare they are in the wild.>
I know with giant gouramis aggressiveness varies from fish to fish, but from my research, the ‘standard ‘ giant Gourami tend to be more peaceful and the ‘red tailed’ tend to be very aggressive.
<Not sure I'd call any Osphronemus peaceful, to be honest. They are generally tolerant of dissimilar fish (L-number catfish, for example) given sufficient space, but if cramped, they can (the males, perhaps?) become a bit spiteful. I'd call them unpredictable more than anything else, and would tend to choose either robust tankmates (cats, loaches, etc.) or else species far too active to be bothered by them (large barbs, characins). I'd tend to avoid similar-looking fish that might compete for space; obviously other large gouramis, but cichlids too.>
Do you by chance know where the exodon features in the aggression scale?
<Hard to say with so few of this species kept, but Osphronemus are mostly robust rather than overtly hostile, so long as tankmates are non-threatening.>
Will it like be able to tolerate tank mates?
<See above.>
I’m think of moving him in with a Florida gar I have and maybe an arowana / bass.
<The Gar is a good choice, given space, especially if 2-3 are kept (Gar are fairly gregarious). Arowana should be fine. Peacock Bass might be a bit too similar in shape.>
It is currently in with some smaller cichlids and I’m told no aggression, though sometimes it can be worse with bigger fish as they are seen as more of a threat.
I know it’s dietary requirements are different, but I’m aware of that and will plan accordingly.
<Not sure these fish are wildly different from other Osphronemus; a mixed diet, biased towards fruit and vegetables. Meaty foods used sparingly.>
Any other advice on how to identify it or generally about the exodon would be much appreciated.
<See above.>
Thank you very much in advance
<Most welcome! Neale.>

Turtle’s Problem   6/4/19
Hi, can u indicate what is wrong with my turtle?
<Not quite sure what you think is the problem here. The white stuff on the shell is probably a combination of limescale and the older 'scutes' starting to come off. If the shell smells normal (not musty) then I wouldn't be too concerned. Some people periodically clean off limescale with a toothbrush dipped in vinegar, but it really isn't necessary. Cheers, Neale.>

King Midas Cichlid Help Needed   6/4/19
<Hello Jillian,>
We have had our King Midas Cichlid, Midas, for 11 years.
<Nice fish!>
When we received him he might have been 2. So he could be 13 years old or older.
<Understood. Either way, he's a fair age.>
He is in a 75 gallon tank by himself. All of the water quality levels are within normal ranges except nitrate levels which we can never get below 20ppm no matter how much water we change in the tank.
<Likely your tap water has 20 ppm nitrate, so any amount of water changes won't fix that.>
We typically do a 33% water change approximately every 2 weeks and vacuum/suction/syphon the substrate. We have a Marineland Emperor 400 Bio Wheel Power Filter.
In January, he seemed to be loosing his tail to fin rot or something else, I'm not sure. We removed the charcoal filters, followed the directions on the box and treated him with API General Cure twice.
<General cure-alls are fairly unreliable. It's a good idea to take a bit more time to determine the disease and use the specific treatment. API General Cure includes Metronidazole and Praziquantel, so is primarily of use against protozoan parasites and worms, but won't do much/anything against bacterial, fungal or viral infections.>
It seemed to help and his tail healed and started growing back.
Now, the tail growth has stopped (but hasn't gotten worse) and he sits on the bottom of the tank during the day on his side breathing very heavily.
The only time he is active is to eat (he eats well) and when he sees children.
<Sounds familiar! My specimens was very 'friendly' in the sense of sitting at the front of his 200 gallon tank and interested in (attacking?) the students sitting on the sofa thing in front of his tank.>
He swims to the surface to eat and also as soon as he sees our daughter or nephew he becomes excited and active for a little while but then he goes back to laying at the bottom of the tank breathing heavily again. He has always been a picky King Midas Cichlid. He won eat vegetables like zucchini, lettuce or kale like I've see other people recommend. He won't eat brine shrimp or even pieces of regular cooked shrimp. He won't eat the bigger pieces of fish food that are meant for fish his size. He will only eat the very small 1mm size pellets. We feed him New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula pellets 2-3 times a day. The only other thing he will eat occasionally are earthworms.
<All sounds fine.>
We have well water, so it's not chlorinated. We have had it tested, it is very minimally on the acidic hard side. After a water change we change the charcoal filter, add a 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to compensate for the hardness/acidity, aquarium salt, Boyd Enterprises VitaChem Fresh vitamins and sometimes stress coat depending on his health. That combination has always worked and kept him healthy until now.
<Indeed; they do need hard, alkaline water conditions, but beyond that general requirement, are reasonably adaptable.>
Is he just getting old or is there something I can treat him with to help him?
<Likely age is part of this, yes.>
I have been researching and the only other thing that seems that might fit is a bacterial gill disease. Could that be a possibility and what is the best thing to treat him with, I have read about various medications?
<Using an antibiotic isn't a bad idea. As per Finrot; something like Maracyn 2 (Minocycline).>
I feel so terrible for him and want to help him but I don't want to give him something that will hurt him or make him worse.
<Antibiotics are generally tolerated well if used as instructed.>
He has been truly loved and enjoyed all these years and we don't like to see him struggling and suffering.
<Understood. This is a great species with a high level of intelligence and personality. They should live 12-15 years in aquaria, but this does vary, and is surely a good deal less in the wild. So he's had a good innings either way.>
Thank you in advance for your time and response, it is greatly appreciated!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Problem diagnosing disease.   6/4/19
Hello crew. I hope you are doing well, as always.
<Thanks. All good here!>
I was out for a week and left my aquariums in my family's care. I came back and noticed quite a few things off. This is all regarding a 150 gal peaceful cichlid community.
Before I left I noticed my SAE ( 5 year old, 8 inc long) had a bit of pale skin around his dorsal fin. I paid not much worry as they sometimes scratch themselves on wood, really minor stuff.
I came back and he's got several pale patches, a tiny bit of its caudal fin cut-off with a red patch and a small, cauliflower-like growth. Belly is flat. I moved the guy to quarantine. Other occurrences in this same aquarium: one of a school of 6 Congo tetras is dead, body half eaten so not much to see. Another one has the same pale patches near its dorsal fin, and has a chunk of flesh cut from his tail... small bit but cut off nonetheless, flesh strands and all...
An Ancistrus ( 6 years old, 5 inch long) has white skin and many cauliflower like growths... his behavior is as usual and is feeding normally unlike the SAE and Congo which are distressed.
Finally, my yellow Acara ( 5 year old, 8 inch). Has skin peeling off near its head and start of dorsal fin. He's feeding normally and all but it looks like its skin is just that, peeling, whitish.
The Ancistrus, SAE and tetra were moved to a 10 gal quarantine. I haven't been able to correctly diagnose the disease, it looks like many things listed online... Costia, Chilodonella, Columnaris... they all present whitening of skin and peeling but each fish shows unique symptoms...
<There's a bunch of things here, some contradictory. The cauliflower-lid growths, if on an otherwise healthy fish, can indicate viral infections. Such growths will be smooth rather than frayed or bloody. They are rarely associated with damaged fins and skin, especially if dead skin and blood are visible. These last two symptoms are more typical of bacterial infections and/or physical damage. Again, viral infections rarely cause rapid deaths, and may even spontaneously heal after months/years. Lymphocystis is the classic example of that, being caused by chronic exposure to some stress factor, such as heavy metals, but can be healed by prolonged good care. Bacterial infections, by contrast can/do cause rapid death, especially Columnaris (Flavobacterium columnare) also known as Mouth Fungus though neither a fungus nor specific to the mouth! Now, the reason for all this mayhem is the tricky bit to solve. One possibility is one of the cichlids is less peaceful than you suppose. It may have decided to hold a territory or even spawn during your absence, and while defending its eggs, damaged the fish that approached it. This is VERY common in community tanks with cichlids, with even relatively mild species, such as Blue Acara, being known to cause very real harm. Another possibility is overfeeding, such that ammonia levels spiked. If you're only gone for a week, it's invariably the best thing to simply not feed the fish at all. Maybe throw in some cheap aquarium plants (such as Elodea) and the fish will, if sufficiently hungry, nibble on that. Finally, exposure to some airborne or waterborne toxin is possible. This can happen when people use certain paints, or cleaning products, or very occasionally, accidental or malicious introduction of some toxic item into the tank by children or idiots. Hard to say, really.>
Quarantines is being water changed every day, treatment of salt ( 50% dose) Methylene blue and a treatment of 500mg daily of Amoxicillin.. I haven't wanted to try a specific treatment but rather went a generic route... SAE and tetra look more colorful and are feeding 2 days after but they still aren't quite recovered. The acara's condition is getting worse but just slightly... probably has 3-4 damaged scales...
<Water changes certainly part of the solution, and if toxins used/present, replacing as much water as practical, together with the use of carbon (or even some better chemical adsorbent, such as Polyfilter) will help. I'd suggest changing 80-90% of the water immediately after seeing an aquarium in distress, and then another 50% the day after, each time keeping water chemistry and temperature as close as possible to the original conditions. Replace carbon after a week, if not sooner, to prevent leaching of any chemicals back into the system. So far as medications go, a wide spectrum antibacterial (e.g., eSHa 2000) or antibiotic (e.g., Maracyn 2) would be useful.>
Rest of the fish are fine. No aggression whatsoever in this tank. Photos of SAE are in links. Will take pics of Acara in a while and send you.
The 150 gal has been running for 6 years and arguably its a tank where I learned about fishkeeping.. my "experimental" aquarium... as such.. I reckon its been plagued by several diseases through the first years. I haven't added a fish since last year. I reckon its time to strip down the tank and start anew, but that requires at least a week of preparing, but I must save my fish.
https://scontent.fsal1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/fr/cp0/e15/q65/61121929_10218691321929969_8221876046719352832_n.jpg?_nc_cat=101&efg=eyJpIjoidCJ9&_nc_ht=scontent.fsal1-1.fna&oh=aa0a4e9255e483270d7e42b5d9398659&oe=5D8C877B >>
Thanks, as always.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Problem diagnosing disease.      6/5/19

Hello. Thanks for getting back to me.
I'm also inclined to believe this is of viral origin.
<Makes two of us, then.>
The fish in quarantine are healing their wounds but they still present the growths, some disappear and leave behind a small hole in the fish's body. These holes are what I'm focusing in healing, but I'm not sure if the growths can be stopped. SAE Looks better, Congo tetra is back again and feeding, Ancistrus is also healing.
<All sounds promising.>
I am in the process of tearing down the aquarium and a starting a new. I plan on keeping the sump running so the cycle is not completely lost, but part of the reason of tearing down the aquarium is removing any latent pathogens, think I should scrub the sump as well?
<Possibly, and you can use commercial aquarium sterilisers to achieve this. Alternatively, binning old media, gravel, etc. and replacing with new will do the trick, alongside sterilising what you aren't replacing. Flip side is anything that kills pathogens this aggressively will also kill filter bacteria.>
I have added a couple more pics. Cryptoheros sajica with said growths and the holes they leave behind. Also the Acara with the peeling skin. Please note, the Acara has what look like small bit of skin loose, but I'm also fearing they are actually something else, like anchor worms, I've never seen them live, I'm not sure how long they are.


<I don't think the holes look a lot like Hole-in-the-Head disease, but that's another thing to consider. Perhaps treating the cichlids as such, if they fail to heal under their own steam, would help. Cheers, Neale.>


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