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FAQs on Freshwater Environmental Disease 7

Related Articles: Environmental Disease, FW Disease Troubleshooting, Freshwater DiseasesChoose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks,

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Community tank stocking (filtration; health) -- 2/21/09 ok please help..i have a 60 gallon tank which has 2 small spiny eels. 4 medium angels. 2 large adult angels.2 adult silver dollars.. 1 yo-yo loach. 2 striata loach..1 small talking catfish..and 1 Pleco aprox 14 inches..i have 1 Fluval underwater filter pump and a separate air box pump putting air in..water temp is 78.about 1 week ago i noticed 1 of my large angels had a black spot on its head..i rang the fish shop and explained and they said it was normal as adult angels get lumps when they are trying to breed so i left it thinking it was fine (mistake)..after about 4 days i noticed that the angel with the black spot now had a lot of white lumps all over it...it wasn't white spot I've seen that b4 this looked very diff..i rang the fish shop again ..explained again..and again they said this was normal for angels...so i left it...after about a week and a half..nearly every angel in my tank had started to get the same white lumps..i then realized this was not good..so i took some pictures with my phone and went into another fish shop and showed the guy..he told me it looked like Finrot and fungus and that this was the treatment i should use (anti fungus and Finrot) i took the stuff home and began treatment..followed instructions to the letter...it has been aprox 3 days since adding the treatment..it said in the instructions i should increase the air as the treatment kills the oxygen so i did..after about 2 hours of increased air my hole tank has gone very murky milky colour...i left it another day thinking this was fine...earlier today all my fish was swimming around fine..i was awoke by my wife from this evening approx. 5 hrs earlier they all looked gd apart from the lumps which seemed to be getting worse on the angels..and .....i had 4 dead medium angels on bottom 1 adult dead 2 striata dead...i was in shock and very upset I've had these fishes over a year..i could see that the other fish all looked as if they was dying also.i looked across the room at my 4 ft tnk which currently has breadng kribensis in it and medium sized babies..aprox 20 ish cribs all diff sizes from 3 previous breads. 2 small Plecs. 2 small red claw crabs..what else cud i do..i moved the 2 silver dollars in. the talking catfish. the 2 eels. the yo-yo loach and the last remaining large angel..all the fish seem to have come back to live except the angel it is laying on side gasping for air ..i have put it in a breeding net in the tank to keep the other fish of it..i think the cribs think it is a running buffet (...i don't understand what has happened to my tank..i do water changes every 3 or 4 weeks..always use haloex dechlorinator aprox 15 drops to a bucket of water..my fish have never been ill it all seems to have gone horribly wrong in 2 short weeks..could i have been diagnosed with wrong fish illness and the meds of killed them i am not happy..i have got to take my prize 14 inch Plec and give it to fish shop toms just so it gets out of the tank as there is no room in my 4ft and is still in the tank all the fish got the white big lumps in..none of the fish i have transferred have any signs of the white lumps which the 5 angels that dies had. also the 2 striata that was dead had no marks or lumps on.. maybe help diagnose what it was..and advice on the tank..i think empty maybe once Pleco has gone and clean gravel and glass and start fresh...pffff..i love fishkeeping so much this has knocked me for 6...in advance thank you for taking the time to read this and for ure advice <Hello Roxanne. For the love of God, please use some capital letters, proper spellings and basic punctuation next time! This was horrible to read! Bob usually just bounces back e-mails like this one, but I'm in a good mood, so I read through it. Next time I won't be so lenient! We do ask specifically for properly written e-mails on the "front door" of the FAQ section. Anyway, no, it isn't normal for Angelfish to get lumps when breeding. I'm not sure what "black spots" might be as these aren't obviously any one disease. But the two commonest problems with Angels are Finrot and Whitespot. Finrot looks like patches of white or bloody tissue on the body, and often the fins start eroding as well, with distinctive red patches along the edges. This is either caused by poor water quality or, less often, physical damage, e.g., but fin-nipping or aggression. Whitespot looks like a sugar has been sprinkled on the fish. Both are relatively easy to cure if diagnosed early. Some treatments are definitely better than others. Things like salt and Melafix/Pimafix are of marginal (zero) value. So the first question I have is what medication are you using? The second question is about water quality. Assuming this is Finrot (as I think it is) it's extremely likely that water quality isn't as good as you think. Grab a pH test kit and a nitrite test kit and test your water. The pH value should be somewhere between 6-8 for Angelfish, but it should be stable from week to week. They don't like changes. The nitrite level should be zero. Not "trace" and not "in the safe zone" but exactly and precisely zero. If you find your test kits exhibit problems in either of these particulars, then that's your immediate problem and you'll need to act accordingly. While your tank is fairly large, 60 US gallons isn't an enormous amount of space, and I'm concerned you're tank is (significantly) overstocked and/or under-filtered. Aquaria with biggish fish like yours should have a filter rated at 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. So a 60 gallon tank will need a filter rated at 6 x 60 = 360 gallons per hour. If your filter isn't rated at that amount, then that's a major problem and you'll need to fix this, perhaps by adding another filter. I'll make the point here that the "estimated tank size" given by filter manufacturers are wildly optimistic, in the same way that cereal boxes say they contain 25 servings and motor cars supposedly do 35 miles per gallon. Hence we should be using turnover as the measurement, not what the manufacturer suggests. So, please, review the following: medication, water quality, stocking, and filter rating. Between these, I think that's your problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Hello... Rambling... overcrowded Goldfish and Pleco... another sys. w/ Peru Angels... another anomalous env. cond.  12/30/08 Hello, my name is Tash. I have had freshwater fish for a couple of years. I have two fish tanks with tropical fish and one with fancy gold fish. I have had a problem with my gold fish for a while. It's a 45 g tank with 7 gold fish (two of them are about a foot) and two Plecos over a foot long. So I know the tank is way overcrowded, I'm just waiting for a chance to put them in something bigger like a pond. Now I have two 110g filters running, but before, since I got the big gold fish, they had bloody stripes all over their fins. I tried to treat them with a few different antibiotics because I was told it was a bacterial infection. <Mmm, not directly... is/was environmental... bacteria were secondary. Need better "water quality"> None of the medicine helped so I gave up. It has been a few months now and they're doing ok. The spots are still there, but it didn't get worse. In my other 45 g tank with 12 eight-month-old 'Peru' angelfish, I noticed about a month ago, a little bit of redness at the base of their fins. I called the breeder and he told me to raise the temp. to 88 degrees for 5 days, and do a lot of water changes. <Good advice> The redness did get smaller, but so far it did not go away. Any way, my main problem is my 55 g community tank. Two weeks ago I noticed that one of my male angels (I have two breeding pairs in the tank) had the same kind of redness. About a week ago the male and another female were in bad condition with red stripes all over their fins breathing fast and didn't eat much (or at all) since then. Other two angels are marble so I couldn't see if they had red spots too. I, recently, put new fish in that tank without quarantining them. I knew I made a huge mistake so I decided to medicate the whole tank. I used Furan 2 (which was recommended by a friend of mine that owns a fish store). We figured that it was Hemorrhagic Septicemia. After four days of treatment they did not get better. Now they all have white slime all over their body and look very sick. I have moved them into a 10 g tank. I think that the rest of the fish are ok and that it's only the angels. Now I'm using Triple Sulfa and Maracyn Plus. I tested the 55 g tank and the PH 7.8, nitrite 0.3, ammonia 1.2, but with water changes and filters running it should get back to normal. I just don't know what I'm dealing with and I don't know how to fix it. Please help. Thank you <Help with what? I would continue to do water changes, monitor your water quality... I strongly suspect you have high accumulated DOCs... likely evidenced by nitrate accumulation... Fix your water quality... and that's about it here. Bob Fenner>

Sick goldfish... "feeder" blocks, sys./Env. dis.    12/02/08 I have two orange head Orandas in a 15 gallon tank. All was fine until a few days ago. I put a long term feeder in while away on the holidays and when I returned I noticed a white film on the fins of both of them. The water is clear, the tank is clean and yet they have this film and are lethargic. The only thing new was that feeder. Very Truly Yours, Amy <Amy, "feeder blocks" should NEVER be used. End of story. They're rubbish, in fact worse than rubbish. All they do is make the aquarium dirty. Fish can go a couple weeks without food, even longer if there are some aquarium plants for them to eat. Moreover, your tank is too small. What the feeder block has done is tipped the balance, and likely what you're seeing is a reaction to poor water quality. Goldfish should be kept in tanks upwards of 30 gallons, and provided with decent filtration. The clarity of the water is neither here nor there, and can't be used to judge whether the tank is "clean" or not. Broadly speaking, the stuff in the water that kills fish is invisible. Lots of fish are perfectly happy in water that looks like milky coffee, but you can have crystal clear water with ammonia in it, and that ammonia will quickly stress and kill your fish. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Fish at the bottom of the tank (Communities; overstocking!) and mis-... env. dis., iatrogenic   12/02/08 I have a 20 gallon tank, and we have 1 big eyes goldfish, 1 sucker, 2 angel fish, 1 red tail shark and,1 fancy goldfish, and 2 other's that i have no ideal what they are. My question is that they are sitting on the bottom of the tank. I have checked everything. What can I do about that. I hope that you can help me, Thank you <Your tank is WAY overstocked. Four Goldfish would need a tank at least 40 gallons in size. A pair of Angelfish could easily dominate a 20 gallon tank, bullying everything else once spawning. A "sucker" could be anything, but I'm assuming either a Pterygoplichthys catfish (maximum size: 45 cm/18 inches) or Gyrinocheilus aymonieri (35 cm/14 inches). In either case, has no business in anything smaller than a 55 gallon system. Red-tail sharks are notoriously aggressive and territorial, and given their size (15 cm/6 inches) deserve a tank 40 gallons or more in size. The water quality is likely incredibly poor, and there's almost certainly not enough oxygen in the tank. Your fish are showing signs of stress; soon enough they will get sick, and then die. Time to sort through your livestock, and re-house them as required. There's no way you can humanely or responsibly keep them altogether in the tank you have. Cheers, Neale.>

Baby BiOrb tank - my fish have died, advice for future please. -- 09/07/08
Hello there,
<Good morning,>
I am in desperate need of some advice.
About 5 months ago I bought a baby BiOrb tank.
<Please understand this tank contains just 15 litres (less than 4 US gallons) of water. It is not suitable for fishkeeping, end of story. It's a very expensive, very attractive, bucket. A total con? Well, depends on how you define "throwing your money down a hole" but the image on the front with Goldfish and such is completely misleading. At best, it could house a single Betta, or alternatively a few Cherry Shrimps and funky Nerite snails. But that's it. No other fish of any type whatsoever will be happy or easily maintained in a tank this shape or size. The small volume means that fish wastes can't be diluted effectively, and the tiny surface at the top (because its a sphere, not a box) means very little oxygen diffuses into the water. By any standards, it's useless for fishkeeping.>
We slowly introduced 6 guppies, a loach and 2 platys. When I brought the platys home and put them into the tank to adjust in the bag I noticed there were 9 babies in their which must have been born on the way home. This is the first time I've had fish so I wasn't sure what to do with them. As I had already had a guppy baby survive to 4 months (at that time) and bearing in mind it was after shops closing time I decided to add them all to the tank.
<Long term none of these fish will survive. As they grow, they'll expect more "resources" in terms of oxygen and waste management, so there will come a point where the Baby BiOrb is overloaded, and they'll sicken and die.>
All of the babies survived, 6 of them lived in the filter (which it seemed they could swim in and out of) and three were happy hiding in the rocks at the bottom of the tank. The guppies also had babies and two of these survived by living in the filter.
Two weeks later I noticed that one of the guppies had a fur on her and was waving her head from side to side, then I noticed another had white spots/. After researching on the internet I discovered this was Ick. I immediately went to my pet shop and was recommended the BiOrb
First Aid filter. I carried out the instructions and hoped for the best. Removing the existing filter managed to kill all the platy babies which were living in it (I was distraught about this).
<Right; the "fur" is Fungus, and typically means poor water quality. No great surprise really. The Whitespot/Ick is a parasite likely brought in with the new. Both diseases need prompt treatment with specific medications.>
Gradually day by day all the fish have died including last night the two guppy babies. I am left with only the loach which doesn't seem to have developed Ick. This has been a very upsetting experience and I was wondering what I should do now. How do I find out whether the
loach has Ick (he doesn't appear to have any spots or fur) and how do I go about introducing new fish and ensure that this experience does not repeat?
<You absolutely cannot add any more fish to this system. Please, re-home the Loach. What species is it? I'm guessing a Clown Loach (orange-and-black creature) or a Weather Loach (mottled brown, eel-like thing with long whiskers). Either way, completely unsuitable for this system, and being both gregarious species need big tanks that allow them to be kept in groups.>
I was also wondering what I should do when the babies are born. We have lots of ceramic media in the bowl for them to hide in but if they are living in the filter how do I get them out and what happens when they get too big to swim out and get trapped?
<Rearing the babies is the least of your problems. But do see here for the basics:
I would appreciate any help and advice.
<Take the fish out of the darn thing, and either put shrimps/snails in it or sacrifice it to the Fish Gods. Either way, it's of no use for what you want. The pet store sold you a "bill of goods" as the Americans say... (in other words, you were taken advantage of as someone who didn't known what they were buying). Have a read of this:
And then get back to us if you're still unsure about what to do next and we'll do our best to help. Do also invest in an aquarium book, or at least borrow one from the library. Beginners often start with very small tanks (by which we mean anything less than 90 litres/20 gallons) and these are notoriously difficult to stock with suitable fish. Maintaining good water quality in small tanks is hard work too. So it pays to be upfront about the problems, and make sure you've done your research. Fishkeeping is a very simple hobby if you do things precisely "by the numbers" in terms of fish requirements and water chemistry; but if you try to make things up as you go along, or worse, rely on the advice of the store clerk, you'll almost certainly end up with dead fish.>
Many thanks,
<Most welcome.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Baby BiOrb tank - my fish have died, advice for future please. -- 09/07/08
Hi Neale,
<Hello Lucy,>
Thanks so much for this advice. The loach is a weather loach
<A lovely fish; needs at least a 25-30 gallon tank though -- gets to 20 cm eventually, and does want some buddies. Does great with Goldfish in an unheated tank indoors. Lots of character.>
and I will see if I can find a bigger tank in which to rehome him. I'll do some research and check out the links you recommend first as you suggest.
<Very good.>
I really appreciate your no-nonsense and speedy reply. I certainly do not want to repeat this experience, it has been heartbreaking.
<I understand. We've all been there. What we try to do here is to show how keeping fish can be rewarding, rather than upsetting.>
Many thanks,
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Brown blotches on fish  8/19/08 Hello WWM Crew, I'm hoping that you can help me figure out what is going on with my fish. They have developed little brown blotches mostly on their heads and backs. <I see these in your excellent photos> It started two months ago with a single spot that appeared on the back of one Gourami (Trichopsis pumila). I researched fish disease in books and on the net, but I couldn't find anything similar, so I figured the spot was just normal coloration, or possibly a bite mark, or bruise. I waited, but the spot never got better or worse. After a few weeks, a second Gourami developed a few spots on her back also. Then another, and another, and last week, I noticed the neon tetras have the spots too. The fish don't seem bothered; their behavior is normal. The tank is 45 gallons, established 1 year, with a canister filter, gravel, bogwood, plastic plants, and floating anacharis. Residents are 20 Zebra Danios (only 6 adults), 12 male guppies (only 2 full grown), 2 darters (Etheostoma nigrum, 1 inch juveniles), 13 Trichopsis pumila (only 3 adults), and 5 Neon tetras. <What about the African Cichlid?> I know that sounds like a lot of fish, but most of them are less than 1 inch, and the big boss of the tank is a whopping 2 inch female Zebra Danio. I do 10% water changes daily <Wow! Disciplined> and vacuum the gravel monthly. <I'd switch this to 20% or so weekly doing both> Ammonia 0, nitrate 10 ppm, pH 7.6, temperature set at 74F (but has been up to 80F some days this summer). Fish are fed twice a day from a menu of standard flake, Spirulina flake, frozen bloodworms, and live baby brine shrimp. Once or twice a week, I give them a pea, lima bean, or cooked spinach. <I'd skip this last...> The danios, darters, and guppies don't have any spots (yet?). <A good clue> Yesterday, I noticed similar looking spots on my shellies (Neolamprologus multifasciatus) who are in a separate tank. <Oh> I have a pair of shellies with fry in a 20 gallon tank. I just noticed the tiny fry in the female's shell a couple of days ago, and since then, I've been paying closer attention to their tank. The male has a couple small spots on top of his head, and the female has a small spot on her chin. I don't know if this is the same thing that the gouramis and Neons have. <Likely similar "cause"> The Shelly tank has sand substrate, ph 7.6, ammonia 0, nitrate 5-10 ppm, and temperature set at 76F (but also overheats on hot days). Do you know what these spots are? <Only guesses...> The Gourami, which originally developed the first spot, was in a tank with female guppies at the time. I had been keeping my 3 gouramis in their own 10 gallon, until a pair formed and turned on the third. I found her one morning hiding in the corner with her fins badly nipped, so I moved her to the female guppy tank. A few days later, I noticed the spot on her back. Her fins eventually healed, and the spot didn't get worse, so I moved her into the 45 gallon, where she is now. After the pair spawned, I moved them to the 45, and when their babies turned eight weeks old, I moved 10 of then to 45 and traded-in the rest. Now about half of the gouramis in the 45 are affected with brown spots, as are 3 of the 5 Neon tetras. Do you know what is causing these spots? Are they harmful? How should I treat them? <I would try discovering a likely cause of toxicity... the spinach, bogwood... and see if by their exclusion for a month or more, this symptom subsides. This sort of "Melanophore expression" is not uncommon, usually a result of exposure to something in the water... No "treatment" necessary or advised otherwise. Bob Fenner> Nathan

Accident or murder?? FW env. dis... Psych. crowding, physiol. stress    8/16/08 Hi Crew, <Ave,> I'm hoping you can help me explain what seems to be a sudden and mysterious death. I started with two Gouramis (one gold, one Opaline), one algae eater and three albino Corydoras. On the advice of the LFS (as a first time fishkeeper) I had them all in a 7 gallon tank before realising that this was waaay too small. <Quite. Corydoras paleatus get to about 5-6 cm, and should be in a group anyway, and I'd class them as fish for the 90 litre/20 gallon aquarium. Three-spot Gouramis, Trichogaster trichopterus, can be aggressive, the males especially, so aren't fish to "cram" into any system. Generic algae eaters tend to be either the big and nasty Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, or just big Pterygoplichthys spp., in either case unsuitable for most community tanks, and certainly nothing less than 200 l/55 gallons.> I recently upgraded to a 42 gallon tank. <Nice. However, if you have Gyrinocheilus aymonieri this will still be too small and once mature the fish will become aggressive and really very mean. Most Pterygoplichthys species will outgrow this tank within a couple years: they can reach 45 cm/18".> I set it up with new substrata (small smooth granite-like landscaping pebbles and aquarium gravel). <Not wild about using gravel with Corydoras; they prefer sand. Do watch out for abraded (i.e., short) whiskers: it means they're being damaged by the substrate.> Being mindful of new tank syndrome I added all the plants from the old tank and put some of the old filter material into the canister with the new material and let it run for a few days. I then did ammonia and nitrite tests (zero) and added seven long-finned zebra danios to help the tank cycle. I left them there for almost a week, then did another water test (zero) and introduced the three albino Corys. A few days later I went through the same process to gradually introduce the algae eater, then (a few days later) the Opaline Gourami then (a few days later) the gold Gourami. I introduced the gold Gourami the day before yesterday. During the whole process I was doing small water changes every few days. <All sounds good. You "cloned" the filter, one of the best ways to create a new tank safely and quickly.> I had yesterday off work (my tank is in the office) and when I returned today my gold Gourami was dead! Everyone else seems ok. I immediately did another water test and both ammonia and nitrite are still showing zero. The test water for both tests changed colour almost imperceptibly compared to the last test, but nowhere near enough to take the colour to the next level up from zero (which would be 0.25ppm for each). I did a 10% water change and the water was a bit smelly, which has not happened before (maybe from the dead fish?) <It sounds as if you didn't move enough filter media: you need to put 50% of the media from the old filter into the new one to mature it. Also, how many days did you leave the filter running without fish? The bacteria need ammonia, and if you don't add fish within about a day, the filter bacteria start dying off. Not all of them, but some of them. I'd predict that if you hold back on the feeding, and then do nitrite tests every day or two, while doing 25% water changes daily, within 4-5 days it should all be fine.> What could have gone wrong for the gold Gourami? I had her for about 17 months. Could it have just been the stress of the move, or of being left by herself in the old tank for a few days? <If the first Gourami you put in the new tank was male, it is entirely possible he turned aggressive when a "new" fish appeared in his territory and killed her. There's a theory called "Dear Enemy" in animal behaviour that essentially explains why fish ignore other fish they're used to, like the ones they've grown up with, but become aggressive to any new fish added to the tank.> Thanks for your help. Leanne <Hope this helps, Neale.> Re: Accident or murder?? (FW sys; Trichogaster hlth, soc. beh.)   8/18/08 Thanks very much Neale. I've checked on fishbase and I believe I have a gold version of Gyrinocheilus aymonieri so he/she will be moving to a new home asap. <OK.> Re; sand for the Cory's - I live in a remote town with only one LPS which does not stock sand especially for aquaria, so what kind of sand could I use? I have access to builders' sand, river sand etc. <Go ask for smooth silica sand (also called smooth silver sand). It's widely used in gardening, and I buy mine from a garden centre. I believe its used to improve the drainage of potting compost and the like. Really, any lime-free (that's critical) sand that feels smooth rather than sharp will be adequate. River sand is sometimes okay, but some river sands contain lime and will raise the pH and hardness. There's nothing wrong with gravel _per se_ in a Corydoras tank, but it does need to be smooth ("pea") gravel or similar, otherwise the poor little catfish do tend to get infections, particularly on their bellies and whiskers. And I'm sure Dante mentioned a level of Hell set aside for people who are mean to Corydoras!> Thanks again. <Most welcome.> Leanne <Cheers, Neale.>

Can you help me?  Platy hlth.    7/22/08 WetWebMedia, I'm new to your site and I understand that you don't want questions that have already been answered. I took the time to look at Neale Monks' chart and I'm still unsure as to what plagues my platy. <Oh?> I have a 10 gallon tank with 6 platys. <To be honest, a bit small for this species... likely to be prone to poor water quality and pH instability.> All the fish are looking healthy and fine, except one. He is a large male platy- a twin sidebar- and the biggest fish in the tank. When I got him from the store he was perfectly healthy. I've had him for about a week and half and he was fine right up until the drastic Ph drop. <Ah, and there it is: small tanks experience pH crashes more easily than big tanks. Either you aren't doing enough water changes (I'd recommend 25-50% weekly) or else you have water lacking in carbonate hardness. If the latter, I'd recommend grabbing some marine salt mix -- not "aquarium salt" -- and adding 3-5 grammes per litre. The carbonate salts in marine salt mix will provide extra carbonate hardness, inhibiting pH drops. Platies will tolerate the slightly brackish conditions very well.> Most of the fish showed signs of Ph sickness, but I brought the Ph back up slowly and now all my fish are seemingly fine, except the big fish. I think he has some kind of internal parasite, because when he swims he seems to be using his head instead of his tail to move. He looks as if he's literally shaking his head at everything- I know this can't be normal. <It's not a mystery parasite; this is standard issue "Shimmies" or similar. A generic reaction to stressful conditions in livebearers. Most often seen with Mollies. No real cure as such, but if conditions improve, it should get better by itself.> He didn't do this when I first bought him. I would consider maybe water quality, temperature issues, but the other fish are fine. <Not everyone succumbs to stress at the same rate: not humans, not fish.> They're happy and normal. No one else seems to be getting what the big fish has- it doesn't appear contagious. On top of the constant 'wagging' motion of his body, he also can't seem to recover from the Ph spike. First he was floating at the bottom, tail clamped, now he's floating at the top, tail clamped. Other fish will swim past him and bump him and he won=E 2t move or react sometimes- something is definitely wrong. Maybe I read over the list of symptoms and simply didn't know what to look for? I'm sorry for troubling you. Can you please help me? <Do first check the pH. It should be 7.5-8, and it should stay there week in, week out. Use marine salt mix (Instant Ocean, Reef Crystals, etc.) as an additive as described above. Will help considerably. Also keep up with your water changes. Your Platy will recover if conditions are good. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Can you help me?  7/23/08 Neale, Thank you for your advice. <Most welcome.> I'm going to try the marine salt out. I already have dissolved aquarium salt in the tank, so does this mean I should change all the water before I put the new salt in? I don't want to over-saturate the water with salt. <No need. Add the marine salt mix to each bucket of water (at the dosage stated, taking care it dissolves before use). So when you take out a bucket or two of water this weekend, replace with a bucket or two of water with 3-5 grammes/litre marine salt mix. Always be careful not to overdose. If you're not good with sensible measurements of mass and volume, I have a software tool (for Mac and Windows) that helps you calculate salinity and convert between Metric and US units. http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/Programs/brackcalc.html > Can I ask you one more question? <Fire away.> Around the same time I bought the large male platy in question, I also bought a smaller male who is yellow and slightly see-through. When I first bought him I noticed he had some red around his gills, but I chalked this up to his natural coloration. <Likely just the blood in the gill filaments being visible through the gill covers. Quite a common "thing" on fancy versions of all sorts of different fishes.> While researching the symptoms of my fish in question, I came across information that stated red gills could be an indication of ammonia poisoning. I had never heard of ammonia poisoning before and didn't even know that fish secreted ammonia through the gills. Is it normal to buy a yellow twin side bar platy and see red coloration around the gills? <Don't worry about this. If the fish had Ammonia Poisoning, it would be obviously very sick -- e.g., skittish, gasping at the surface, clamped fins, etc.> I don't mean to be paranoid, but the coloration around the gills seems to have darkened. I'm worried my ammonia levels could be out of whack because I don't have equipment to monitor ammonia. <I'd highly recommend buying those little dip-strip test kits. Over here you get 25 strips for about £10, but you can slice each strip down the middle to make twice as many. These have ammonia, nitrite, pH, hardness, and sometimes other useful tests -- all on the one strip. While expert fishkeepers will make the point they're less accurate than the tests with liquids and plastic bottles, I think these dip-strips are indispensable, especially for beginners. In general, if you don't have nitrite in the water, you likely don't have ammonia, so I'd not be worried anyway.> This should be my last question- I don't mean to bother you. <No bother.> Again, thank you for your help. I really appreciate it. <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Can you help me?  7/23/08 Neal, Thank you so much. You need not reply back and your questions have been very helpful. I will do all you suggested! Thank you! <Glad we could help. Cheers, Neale.>

White scum/slime growth  7/22/08... FW dis. trbshtg. I've had a problem with my new aquarium. Its about 20g with a air pump, aqua clear filter and many decorations. At first I started off with 2 mollies. One got swim bladder and died shortly after and the other died the next night from unknown causes. <Not "unknown causes" at all -- from poor water quality. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwestcycling.htm A new aquarium needs to be cycled first, and you are best doing this WITHOUT fish. The simplest way is to grab some live filter media from another aquarium and at least half-fill the new filter with it. Failing that, there are products like Tetra Safe Start and Bio-Spira that add bacteria to the system. Used properly, they speed the cycle up so you can add a few small fish at once. If you can't get those, then leave the tank devoid of fish, and add pinches of food every couple of days for about 3-4 weeks. This will give the bacteria something to "eat", so they multiply in the filter. Keep testing with your nitrite test kit, and when nitrite is zero, add some fish.> I tried again with 2 more mollies but after 3 days they became sluggish and slow and just died. <No surprise at all. Mollies are extremely delicate fish when kept in freshwater tanks. While bullet-proof in brackish/marine conditions and often used to cycle tanks, they cannot ever be used for this purpose in small freshwater systems. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm > I checked my nitrates and ph and ammonia but all the levels were extremely low. <No such thing as "extremely low" with regard to ammonia and nitrite; these need to be ZERO. As for pH, for Mollies this needs to be around 7.5-8, so "extremely low" means nothing at all in this context.> I tried again with two small angle fish but the same thing happened to them as did with the mollies. <Angelfish are, if anything, even worse for a new tank than Mollies. Please, it's time to read about keeping fish and start making some SENSIBLE choices. At the moment you are not only killing a bunch of innocent animals needlessly, but also wasting money. At least one, and preferably both, of these issues should concern you.> I left for Peru for three weeks and decided to leave the tank fishless and allow the beneficial bacteria to take over. <The bacteria need food, and in a tank without fish (or the addition of some protein source like flake food) no maturation will take place. Use some logic. The bacteria break down ammonia and nitrite, and these come from the break down of protein, either by the metabolism of the fish or simple decay. Without ammonia and nitrite, there's nothing for the "good bacteria" to eat, so they won't multiply.> Coming back I put in a Pleco to take care of the brown algae growth that occurred and two guppies. <Oh the humanity... you do realise that Plecs get to about 45 cm in length, and moreover are so heavily polluting that in an non-cycled tank sticking one in a tiny 20 gallon aquarium is practically a death sentence.> The pet store told me the fish may have been sick at the time of purchase but if it were to happen again to take and immediate water sample to them and the dead fish for testing. <Hmm... Did you tell the pet store people you were sticking fish into a tank without a mature filter?> On closer inspection of the tank I saw a white film growing in a mound on the bottom of the tank, it almost looks like a old Kleenex in the water but its not. Any idea of what it could be and is it harmful to my fish. <The white scum is likely nothing more than opportunistic bacteria and fungi. In themselves not harmful, but you don't see them in healthy tanks, just really, REALLY unhealthy ones. The bit that is harmful to the fish is YOU. Quite clearly, you have only the vaguest idea of how fishkeeping works, so before buying any more fish, please please PLEASE read a book. Specifically, about cycling tanks and the nitrogen cycle. These are where you're going tragically wrong.> Also I have another tank that runs of the same water I used for my new tank. I keep a fantail goldfish and a Pleco in it and they have not had any problems. What could have caused my fish to die so quickly in that other tank? <Non-cycled aquarium; ammonia/nitrite; overstocking; lack of understanding.> Thanks for reading and any answer would be appreciated, thanks, <Certainly done my best.> Dennis <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: White scum/slime growth   7/22/08 That makes a lot of sense. I haven't seen many of your mentioned products here in Canada but we do have similar ones. I had added cycle to the tank while I was gone, its dormant beneficial bacteria and becomes active in the presence of oxygen. <"Cycle" has a mixed reputation in the hobby, but I'm sure its better than nothing.> I put several capfuls in before I left and added several more when I got back. <Is this what the instructions say? With these products it is important to do precisely what is required.> I had a nitrate and ammonia absorber pad in the filter media but have since removed it, it was from Hagen, a common brand around here. My ph is around 8 right out of the tap from our well. The bacteria had some fish waste to live of while I was gone and some uneaten food, and possibly some dead algae. <Doesn't necessarily work this way; the bacteria grow in response to a regular provision of ammonia. A big lump one day and then nothing for a week won't necessarily work.> I had also added Waste Control to the tank before and after my trip, its another beneficial bacteria product. <Hmm...> The new fish seem to be doing fine, just because I'm waiting to feed them for 24hrs after introducing them to the tank. The pet shop definitely does not tell you all the information you need like what fish to start your tank off with and the limit, they based it by size of the fish, they said the smaller they are for instance mollies you could start with 2 or 3 max but obviously not. <Before spending money on fish, spend some of a book. This will be the wisest money you will spend. There are two ways to keep fish: the easy way and the hard way. The easy way involves buying a book, reading it, understanding the basics, and then making informed choices regarding fish species. The hard way is to buy a tank and some random fish, throw them in, and try to fix the problems as they occur. Expensive, dangerous for your fish, completely unrewarding and ultimately likely to seem more of a chore than a hobby.> If my Plecos get to big I know a nice home for them at a local restaurant indoor pond. <Unless you have a 50 gallon tank right now, don't waste your time with the Plec. If you keep it properly, it will be too big for anything smaller within 6 months.> I also forgot to mention that the newer tank has some aquarium salt in it but not enough to classify it as a marine tank. <Aquarium salt is primarily a trick used by retailers to extract money from the ignorant. You should never need to add aquarium salt to a freshwater tank. It serves no practical purpose. If you add enough salt to benefit brackish water species (like Mollies) you should be using marine salt anyway, which is a different product, and in the amounts required to be beneficial will stress most freshwater fish. Again, put your wallet away and put your reading glasses on!> I am doing weekly water changes on both of my tanks of 25-30% of the water with gravel vac. <This is a good water change routine to maintain. You shouldn't need to clean the gravel weekly, but if you want, go ahead. Will do no harm. Plants of course don't like the gravel being shaken up though.> How long should I wait before I can do Bi-weekly water changes and do I ever need to do a complete tank cleaning like emptying everything out and washing everything down, I know that would eliminate a lot of the nitrifying bacteria and that would be bad for the fish. <In a well run tank you should never really need to do this, though some folks (like me!) enjoy doing this every couple of years. Hope this helps, Neale>

Re: White scum/slime growth   7/22/08 Is there any book in particular you would recommend for beginners? <I happen to like 'Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Tropical Freshwater Aquarium' by Gina Sandford (2000).> Also because I have seen one of my fish get swim bladder in the past, what can you do once a fish gets it, is there any medication or certain foods to give them to reverse the condition or once they get it are the goners? <"Swim Bladder" isn't a disease. All fish have a swim bladder. Well, not all of them. But most of them. Anyway, what you almost certainly mean is your fish go sick, swelled up, and died. This almost never has anything to do with the swim bladder. It is rather more likely your fish got struck with a system bacterial infection, and that almost always follows on from poor water conditions. While this is hard for inexperienced fishkeepers dealing with problems to accept, the fact is healthy fish in a properly run, properly stocked aquarium hardly ever get sick. Seriously, if you do things precisely "by the numbers" your fish won't get ill, except perhaps from an (easily cured) case of whitespot brought in by new fish that aren't quarantined properly. Do read my article here on Livestock Selection, paying attention to the "sickly species" as being exceptions to the rule. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestk.htm Otherwise you can reliably expect your fish to do very well. I have a 16 year old catfish in my aquarium next to me here! Lots of people keep fish that routinely live for 10+ years, even relatively small things like Angelfish. Done right, this IS a low effort hobby!!! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: White scum/slime growth  7/23/08 I did some research on some recent symptoms of my guppy. Not long after feeding she began swimming awkwardly and stayed near the bottom of the tank. One cite said it was most likely caused by consuming dry food to fast so my question would be what to do at feeding times. <Sounds dubious.> Should I tear up the flakes somewhat and soak them in a glass of water and then place them in the tank, and the glass of water should I take the water from the tank so that Im not putting in untreated water. <Waste of time. But if you want to do this, go for it!> Also if this is right how long should I soak the food, basically I think my fish had indigestion because I'm testing my ammonia, nitrite and phosphate and the ammonia and nitrite was 0ppm and the phosphate was 1ppm. <If your fish keep getting sick, then the environment is bad. It may be improving now (let's hope!) or the problem may be about stability, with the water sometimes being good and sometimes not so good.> I did a 30 percent water change and gravel cleaning yesterday and this morning my guppy was back to normal and swimming around with its friend. <If you do a water change and then the fish behave better than before, this is a VERY GOOD sign water quality is the problem.> In my other tank I am sometimes having trouble with green water, the phosphate reads zero and I do have a phosphate absorbing pad in the filter but a few days after the water change the water gets a green tint and slowly gets darker, I used P-Clear to clump the particles and trap it in the filter and it seems to work. Is there anything I can do to prevent it, I only light the tank for 8 hrs a day and there are 3 live plants in there. <What sort of 'live plants' are these? A lot of less experienced aquarists get conned into buying terrestrial plants under such dubious names as "wheat plants" and "umbrella ferns". See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/keepoutfw.htm All these do is gently rot, messing up the water quality. Other plants are slow growing, like Java ferns and Java moss. These will have no positive effect on water quality at all. Then you have plants that aren't growing because the lighting isn't right. Almost without exception, the default lights on most aquaria are too weak to support things like Amazon Swords and Hygrophila; these need at least 2 watts per gallon, and this is usually FOUR tubes running across the top of the tank, not the usual one or two. Again, all these things do is sit there, usually dying by inches, messing up the water.> It doesn't get direct sunlight and the goldfish consumes all the food I give him so there isn't any waste but the Pleco doesn't always get to his food right away, but it is a sinking tablet and it dissolves and spreads across the gravel then he eats it. <Pretty normal. In any case, you should be doing 50% water changes per week with this combination of fish, and unless your tank is VERY big -- 55 gallons upwards -- you'll quickly reach a point where the fish faeces just make a complete mess even if the filter somehow keeps the water (technically) safe even if it is cloudy. Remember, solid waste is unsightly, whereas invisible waste is deadly. The job of the filter and water changes is to take care of both issues.> Sometimes my piggy goldfish finds it first. I only feed the Pleco every three days and only a third of a tablet so that he still sucks up the brown algae growth in the tank. <Starving the poor Catfish won't achieve much, so be realistic. A juvenile Plec 5 cm long should be getting about one-half algae tablet every other day. I'd augment that with fresh vegetables, such as cucumber, tinned peas, sliced courgette (zucchini) or sweet potato. I weigh these down with lead weight of the type used to hold aquarium plants in bunches. Feed these as much as you want: they have no effect on nitrite/ammonia being protein-poor foods. Remove uneaten food when it starts to get messy though.> Im going into town today do I will look for that book you recommended. <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: problem with aquarium system, disease... emphysematosis, induced... no reading   7/8/08 Hi, The system is run by a 1 hp pool pump. <... For this many gallons? Why? You want to read/look into a better, non-high-pressurized pump... this one will "drive you into the poor-house"... See WWM re Pump Selection: Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i2/External Pumps/External_Pumps.htm and the linked files at the bottom> There is a lot of air/water mixing in the strainer chamber so i guess there is pressurized water there. <... yes... this is along with the improper pump, the cause of the trouble here> Is there a possibility of having too much oxygen in the water which is causing "the benz"? <As in Mercedes? Yes> i notice that when the fish were removed they recovered quickly in a medical tank using MelaFix. <... you're joking right? Ridiculous> the water renters the tanks through 1" tubes emptying by the top and there are fine bubbles in the return water into the tank. The bubbles on the fish though are coming through their skin, not attaching to them. The pH is 8.0 (African cichlids) ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0. Thanks! Don <... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/PdBblDisease.htm and the linked file related at top. BobF>

Re: problem with aquarium system, disease... emphysematosis, induced... Thanks for all the help! I'm off to shop for a new pump! Don <Ah, good! BobF>

Fish Bent in Half: Improper Housing - 7/1/08 Hey guys! <Hello! Benjamin here today> My fish is in a bowl on his own, fed regularly but only a small amount, washed regularly and given attention. <Hee! I don't know if he needs 'attention' but it sure is fun to watch our fish! On the other hand, there really are no fish that are suited for life in a bowl. I assume you have a Betta or a goldfish- a Betta needs a heated, filtered aquarium; a goldfish requires at least 15 gallons of living space to prevent toxic build-up of wastes. Please read on wetwebmedia.com re the specific needs of whatever the denizen of your bowl is> He is currently almost bent in half and led on the bottom of the bowl. When he swims, he swims in circles but keeps sinking to the bottom. Can you please tell me what is actually wrong with him and if there is anything I can do to help him? <Based on his living space, probably poisoning from ammonia or nitrite compounds; otherwise a late-stage symptom of internal infection of the coelom or gas bladder. If your fish has not reached expiry by the time you read this, small frequent water changes with dechlorinated water may help- as will some time spent reading about proper husbandry for this fish and future charges> Thanks in advance, Vicki <Best of luck, Benjamin>

Re: Fish Bent in Half: Improper Housing: Since the Sun has Risen Yesterday, Surely Tomorrow... - 7/1/08 Hello! I have kept fish in the same tank for years and most usually live 3-5 years. But thanks anyway for your advice. <Past successes do not dictate future ones...Bacon would have things to say here... <<! A new high! Sir Francis evoked on WWM!!! RMF>> the point in case here is that your fish is improperly housed and one way or another its demise is imminent and hastened by being kept in a bowl. Please read re basic fishkeeping, ethics on wetwebmedia.com. If this is a Betta spp. you are slightly under the expected lifespan; if this is a goldfish you have barely reached a sixth of their low-end life expectancy. Ultimately, although bowls may be popular they simply cannot be used conscientiously- that they are safe or adequate for any fish is false. As G.K. Chesterton points out, "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions"> Vicki <Benjamin>

Struggling guppy, New Tank Syndrome 6/17/08 Hi. I am hoping you can help me. You have helped me with fish in the past that I have had to return due to poor retail advice. <Will try.> I have 3 guppies in a 10 gallon tank. I have been bringing my water in to be tested weekly for about a month, as I wanted to add another but want the water to be right. I have had the tank for about 2 months and the guppies for about a month or more. The water keeps testing high in ammonia. <This is a big problem, perhaps you need more filtration.> I started with 4 guppies and one died (I'm assuming ammonia poisoning -bloated, gasping, stayed at the very top and then the bottom before I separated him and he died.) <Sounds like it.> I would like to get a new one to replace him and maybe dwarf Corys. <I would not even think about adding anything until you get your water parameters in check.> Last time I brought the water in, the salesperson told me to start with a Ph test kit. I have been using it. This sounds like a dumb question, but after reading a previous q&a on your web site, I want to be sure. If water is testing at 7.6 or higher... which do I use, the up or down solution. <For guppies I would do neither, that is just about perfect for them. They prefer hard, alkaline water, even slightly brackish water.> Of course, confused again because the salesman the week before said that the ph was fine, ammonia high. But, this salesperson said that the ph drops would help with the ammonia. <It tends to make the ammonia a little less toxic, but having ammonia at all is such a big problem that finding ways to rid it from your tank is more important than slightly reducing its toxicity.> Also, one of the guppies was the smallest to begin with. The other two guppies play with each other all day and ignore him for the most part. He doesn't get much food, he is slower to the take and they grab it. I have tried to feed them first and while they are eating, drop flakes right at the other fish, but they always get it first. He is showing signs of fin rot. He is losing most of his orange tail. He also seems to be struggling with thicker orange poop. What can I do. <Improve conditions, perhaps separate to allow it to feed and get stronger. Guppies are very tough on their weaker tankmates.> My husband is ready to "toss the tank" --- that it shouldn't be this hard and the kids are affected each time since they are their fish. Thanks so much in advance. <Keeping exotic animals alive in small glass boxes is more difficult than most people expect. Check out this excellent article by Neale Monks for a start, and read through our guppy sections for more. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppies.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm . Also be aware, contrary to popular opinion fancy guppies are not the most robust fish, and beginners in the hobby often struggle with these fish which were sold to them as starter fish.> <Chris>

Re: struggling guppy 6/17/08 Thank you for such a quick reply! <Welcome> One more question. I have been told that frequent water changes can just delay the cycle. However, with poor water tests, how often and much would you recommend I be doing? <Since you have fish in there, they may be necessary to do daily, ammonia is extremely toxic and needs to be controlled in this situation. This will slow down your cycle but really you don't have much choice.> Also, the tuxedo guppy still has the "poop" he was struggling with when I left over an hour ago. I guess it's more brown than orange. Is this probably "poop" or could it be something else? <Most likely poop.> Thank you again. Your quick reply was truly appreciated! Beth Crenshaw <Welcome> <Chris>

FW Cardinals, and something sinister- Stressed Fish Start To Have Problems 06/15/08 Hello WWM crew. First, I have to thank you again for this great resource- your time and expertise help so many people. You helped me a great deal in the past with the curious subcutaneous worms plaguing my Cardinal tetras. Thank you so much. < Thank you for your kind words.> Treating the tank with Seachem's Cupramine at ¾ of the recommended FW dose worked well; every single Cardinal pulled through! The only "casualties" were a clutch of eggs that my male M. altispinosus decided to eat despite his mate's valiant efforts at guarding them (they are usually a great breeding pair). That being said, something sinister seems to have creeped into the tank. About a week ago, I found a Cardinal looking emaciated and lethargic. He had hidden too well in the plants and I had not found him in time to effect any positive change. A few days later, a heat wave struck. When I arrived home, the temperature was close to 90 degrees F! Everyone was either floating oddly or lying on the bottom. Off with the lights, on went the AC, and I floated sealed bags of ice on the surface. Remarkably, everyone recovered fully except for one large female Cardinal, who I found the next morning. Yesterday, another Cardinal started "shedding"- imagine a dog shedding its winter coat, but a fish shedding its scales. He also appears to have popeye! This evening, another Cardinal appears to have the beginnings of popeye. One Cardinal could have been an isolated incident. The second could have been an accident. But four Cardinals within a little over a week? I DON'T like those odds. Everything sounds environmental, but- Ammonia = 0, Nitrite= 0, Nitrate=0 (aquarium is long established/cycled, I just have a lot of very happy plants), water is soft (RO mixed with tap, cleaned at least weekly), pH is 6.6, temperature is 82 degrees F. Is there something else that I should be testing for? Could there be another connection between these incidents? There has only been two recent change to the tank: one day before the first Cardinal's death, I added a new Fluval canister filter to the existing tank filtration (which remains in place), and I had begun using new ferts for the flora (iron enriched "Plant Gro" by Nutrafin, since I can't find Flourish with iron locally- but I do use Flourish root tabs). Coincidence, correlation or causation? Tank mates include: 28 Cardinals (not that I can actually count them) 4 M. altispinosus 3 Otocinclus (Very fat and happy) 1 Longfin Bristlenose Plec 1 SAE Last edition to the tank was the Plec, but I have had him for a long time and transferred him to my main tank because guests always commented on how beautiful he was. Everyone was quarantined for no less than one month prior to their introduction to the tank. Their diet (in case it is relevant at all'¦) consists of mashed peas, thawed frozen bloodworms, Nori (which I think they play with more than actually eat), Spirulina flakes, Tetra granules and Nutrafin Max flake food (and whatever eggs/fry tank mates manage to steal from the rams and the Otos). I would greatly appreciate any insight into my Cardinals' plight- advice, guidance, suggestions, musings, criticisms or reasons why atmospheric pressure is conducive to the integration of pachyderms into society. Thank you so much, and enjoy your weekend, Tianna < Here is what I think is going on. During the heat wave your fish and biological filtration were stressed. Oxygen levels were low and metabolism was up. Not a good combination. You fish may have somewhat recovered but the stress made them vulnerable to bacterial infections. For a short time period you probably didn't have much biological filtration because the beneficial bacteria died off during the heat wave. If nothing else their numbers may have been affected. As bacteria start to colonize the canister filter they consume oxygen. Some filters get to the point they consume all the dissolved oxygen going into the filter. Make sure that the return tube forces the returned water to the surface so it can be oxygenated. The infections can be treated with Furanace but this will turn the water green, and the plants and bacteria will be affected. I would recommend to isolate any diseases cardinals and treat them in a hospital tank with Furanace type of antibiotic.-Chuck>

HELP-URGENTLY PLEASE... FW... hlth./env.  6/12/08 Hello, I have a 500L tank which consisted of the following: 6 Oscars, 2 Yabbies, 2 blue Acaras, 1 Texas, 1 Synodontis nigriventris, 2 Severums. Things have been running smoothly for about the last 6 months. About a week and a half ago one of the yabbies died, not to my knowledge as it was hiding in a cave at the back of the tank. The tank then started to get cloudy, I did a water change and then realized the yabbie was dead. He was in pieces, At first I thought it was one of the Oscars who had attacked him a I could see the rest of his body. A day or two later after the water change I found the rest of his body and discovered that the other Yabbie had also died. I got the rest of all the yabbies out of the tank. <By "Yabbie" I assume we're talking about crayfish here? Oscars eat crayfish in the wild. That's why they evolved those strong jaws -- not to catch fish as many people think, but to crunch the shells of crabs, crayfish and snails. So mixing crayfish and Oscars isn't a brilliant idea.> A day or two later the tank started to get a little dirty again, I looked and found more bits of Yabbie. I'm getting into detail with this as I'm not sure weather this was the cause of the problem I had now with an increasing number of my fish or it was just the start of the problem (My suspicions are that it was the cause as there have been no change in food, no new fish and no change in my very strict routine in caring for them, but can not be sure.). That night after cleaning the rest of the Yabbie out of the tank I went to feed them and realized that the Texas was gasping at the top of the water and her colour was nearly black and had a pale film over one eye, I removed her straight away and put her in my smaller tank which has a small variety of other fish, as I don't have a hospital tank. <My instinct here would be to assume the dead crayfish wrecked water quality. Cichlids are very intolerant of nitrite and ammonia, and that's the issue with the Herichthys. No need to move any fish -- just to a 75%+ water change, make sure the filters are in working order and not blocked with grunge, and if possible add some aeration to help the cichlids recover.> The same night I took one of the Acaras out as he looked a little down sitting on the bottom so just to be sure I put him in with the Texas. <I'm amazed the Aequidens hasn't been destroyed by the Herichthys yet. Matter of time... While Aequidens rivulatus is robust enough to mix with Central Americans, Aequidens pulcher certainly isn't.> At this time all the other fish looked fantastic and the water was looking great. Two days went by and the Texas had improved dramatically and the Acara looked fine, so I put the Acara only back in the tank. The next night he was gasping under the log and had a bulging eye which was cloudy. <Classic cichlid reaction to poor water quality. Do check nitrite and nitrate, this latter being very dangerous in cichlid tanks.> A the same time I noticed my Synodontis nigriventris had holes of flesh taken out from all over his body which looks more like a flesh eating disease. <Hmm... not sure about this. Synodontis nigriventris is a small catfish and could potentially be damaged by these robust cichlids, or for that matter by large catfish. As you perhaps don't realise, Synodontis nigriventris is also a gregarious species, and should be kept in groups of 3 or more specimens. Singletons are very shy.> I took them both out and put them into the smaller tank, a day has gone by and there has been no improvement. <There won't be. Once the bacteria and/or Hexamita infection gets started, you need to treat with suitable medication. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfishmeds.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm Would recommend doing the antibiotics first, and then the anti-Hexamita medication next. Cichlids won't "get better" by themselves -- they die.> I have now also noticed that two of the Oscars have which looks like pop eye only in one eye, I was looking at a third one and he looks as though he is starting to form a film on his eye. Otherwise the other fish look fine. <Treat. Now!> I am doing a 50% water change tonight as thought it would be the safest option. I'm wondering what you think the best option for me to do next to treat these problems. Thanks Teags <Hope this helps, Neale.>

RE: HELP-URGENTLY PLEASE 6/13/08 Hi, do you recommend using one of the treatments listed under the "Bacterial Infections (internal)" heading first? for example API erythromycin or an equivalent we could find in our country Australia) <Outside of the US, antibiotics (as opposed to antibacterial drugs) are usually only sold with a prescription from your vet. So with that in mind, if you need to use Erythromycin, you'll need to call your vet. This doesn't add dramatically to the cost, but it is another hoop to jump through. This said, with cichlids your first line of call will be to use Metronidazole to medicate against Hexamita, the more likely pathogen at work in your system. Again, outside of the US this is a prescription-only drug, though some alternative, over-the-counter medications may be available. In the UK for example, there are things like eSHa Hexamita 'Discus Disease'. Invariably these alternative medications only work if used early on in the disease cycle. Cheers, Neale.>  

Extremely contagious and lethal(?) Disease   4/4/08 Dear WWM Crew, I have two, freshwater tanks. One is 55 gallons, and currently is stocked with 1 Pacu, 2 kissing fish, 1 Pleco, 1 blue Gourami and 1 powder blue Gourami, the tank currently has 0 ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 0 Nitrate, a ph of 6.4, and moderate alkalinity. <I hope you realise how big the Pacu will get! Seriously, even a 250 gallon aquarium will be too small for this fish, let alone a 55 gallon one! These things are gigantic! Up to 1 m/3' in length, 30 kg/70 lb in weight.> The second tank is my hospital tank (recently converted from an isolation tank for a catfish who killed 8 other fish) which is 10 gallons, and I believe is currently overstocked with dying fish. These fish are, 1 catfish, 2 tetras ( species unknown, they are roughly silver dollar sized) and 2 goldfish. The ammonia is 0, the nitrite is very low, 0.5 to 1, and the nitrate is around 5, and the ph is 6.4. <Well yes, dangerous overstocked. There is no such thing as "very low" nitrite. It's like being pregnant, it either is or it isn't. If you have nitrite in your aquarium, it's dangerous to the fish. Period. So you need to get those fish out of there. A 10-gallon tank is certainly not viable for Silver Dollars, Goldfish, or most catfish except perhaps dwarf species of Corydoras.> Both tanks have a temperature of 84 degrees Fahrenheit (probably too high, high in hopes of killing mystery sickness). <Why do you think this would help? And yes, it is too warm and likely stressing at least some of these fish.> The tanks also have a tablespoon of aquarium salt for every 5 gallons, and 5ml of Stress Coat by API for every 5 gallons. <Again, why do you think salt is helping? None of these fish come from brackish water. Adding salt to the water is at best pointless, and at worst another layer of stress.> The 5 fish all have a variety of symptoms, but all of them seem to have the same root. <Unquestionably poor water quality.> The goldfish both suffer from quickly decaying fins (since I first noticed on Sunday, march 30th) one, only having bloody stubs where fins are supposed to be They also suffer from scale loss, having "bald spots" where scales once were. <Finrot and/or Fungus and/or Mouth Fungus. Curable, but caused by environmental conditions so those will need to be remedied as well. Fix water, and treat with something like Maracyn or eSHa 2000.> The tetras I have had for 2 years and used to be my most resilient fish. One is blind in both eyes ( the eyes being covered by a thick, slimy, white coat) and one eye has a red, organic mass hanging out of it. The other Tetra is only blind in one eye, and I only discovered this today. <From bad to worse. Likely bitten out by aggressive fish, though perhaps caused by poor water quality.> Both tetras also suffer from mildly decaying fins, and the inability to find food ( will they starve, eventually?). <Oh dear oh dear oh dear. "Mildly" decaying isn't really all that cheery; it merely means they're not at Death's door just yet. Same causes/solutions as the Goldfish.> The catfish has a bad record, and also suffers from the same kind of blindness the tetras have, which is remotely an upside, because now he can't find, and eat, his tank mates, he too also suffers from mild fin rot. What is this disease? <Basically the disease is YOU! You can't keep fish, or at least aren't making any effort to keep them properly. If I could, I'd be around to your house to rescue these poor animals! Since that's not an option, let me tell you what you need to do. Firstly, these fish need much bigger tanks. Some of them likely can't be kept with tankmates at all. So you need to sort that out. Send us photos, and perhaps we can identify the fish and tell you what's friendly and what's not. You need to massively upgrade your efforts at keeping your tanks clean. That may mean additional filters, and it certainly means less feeding and more water changes. You need to be striving for zero ammonia and zero nitrite every single day. Big fish need big tanks and big water changes. You should have filters offering not less than 6 times the volumes of the tank in turnover per hour, so a 55 gallon tank needs a filter rated at more than 330 gallons per hour. You need to be doing 50% water changes every week. And you need to spend some time reading books on fishkeeping. You're making lots of mistakes, and your fishes are suffering horribly. This is a catalogue of animal cruelty, and you're getting a lot of very bad karma. So fix things, make your fish happier, and really enjoy the hobby.> And where did it come from? Most importantly, how do I save my sick fish? Thank you, for your time. Koda <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Extremely contagious and lethal(?) Disease   4/4/08 Dear Neale: Thank you for your input about the tank. My son was just looking for some sound advice not shitty criticism. As a 13 year old this is the beginning of his fish hobby which I hope he continues after the really crappy things you had to say, such as "the disease is you". I will not be recommending your site any longer to anyone, as, well, you seem to be a contaminate yourself. I hope your fish are happy with you because from the brief encounter I have had I am sure you do not make too many other PEOPLE in your life very happy. Thanks again! Jennifer <Hello Jennifer. I'm sorry you didn't feel my advice was helpful. But being thirteen years old and starting out in the hobby doesn't allow someone to treat fish badly and let them suffer. The fish your son has had either died, had their eyes bitten out, or developed severe Finrot. In no way at all were they being cared for properly, and there was no sign at all that research had been done prior to purchase. For example no-one in their right mind buys things like a Pacu for a beginner's aquarium. As I said, these things can (and will) get to the size of big dog. Your son asked me what was going wrong. I gave it to him "straight up" rather than candy-coated -- the problem was how he was keeping the fish. Period. End of discussion. I then went on to suggest things he could do to correct things. I took half an hour out of my life to spend reading and analysing the problem. My e-mail was constructive even though it was highly critical. If you feel your son was offended by something I said, I apologise. But that doesn't let him (or you) off the hook as far as those poor, suffering fish goes. If you choose to ignore my advice, and watch yet more fish suffer and die agonising deaths, then that's between you and your conscience. I've done the best I can. Cheers, Neale.><<Well-done Neale. RMF>>

An apology for Neale In this case, I mean apology in the sense of "in defense of". 4/4/08 <Indeed?> Neale has received a few nasty remarks lately because of his direct answers, which for most readers seem to be just what they need. When he responds, the information is always well laid out. Suggestions for improvement are presented in a procedural manner that anyone can follow. He evaluates the situation like a mechanic evaluating a problematic car. Whereas most people don't feel offended when their mechanic says, "Your oil is dirty" or "Your brake pads are worn", certain people take it very personally when he explains what is likely to be wrong with their aquarium. <Certainly what I try to do. But as CJ once said in 'The West Wing', "we can all be better teachers". If in trying to explain things to someone I only succeed in making them angry, then obviously I'm not doing the best I can.> To refer to a specific example, an enraged mother wrote in after her son asked for help and Neale laid out the facts. Thirteen years old seems like old enough to know better to me... nevertheless, every child matures differently, so let us accept that this young man truly never considered that it might be *him* that is the problem and not the fish. How could any responsible parent just watch their son's aquarium crash and burn? And how exactly could Neale's words be more off-putting than the rising body count of dead fish? <I would tend to agree here.> I work at a library, and I see several books on rodents and ferrets being checked out. Most people read about pricey reptilian pets such as bearded dragons and iguanas before they purchase them as a family pet. If replacement fish were not generally so cheap, parents would perhaps be more attentive to the mishaps in their child's aquarium! <I think this is at the heart of things. Community tropical fish are cheap. Many species cost only a couple of dollars. Cut flowers are more expensive than many tropical fish! So people tend to view them as disposable things. I have made the point many times here at WWM that while fish are wonderful pets for children, it is up to the adults to ensure that the needs of the fish are met. No-one would buy a cat or dog and leave it to their child to ensure it was fed, taken to the vet, and so on.> Sorry, I digress. In short, Neale is a fantastic writer! His wit and candor make the daily FAQs all the more enjoyable to read. It's a shame that a few take offense, but please don't be discouraged, Neale - the majority of us are so grateful you came aboard, gracing us with outstanding content. I have bookmarked several of your articles, many of which I have passed along to other fishkeepers who need a jumping off point. I appreciate that your articles are sophisticated enough to engross a more experienced freshwater aquarist, yet not too technical so as to put off a complete novice. <Thank you so much for the kind words!> EVERYONE does a terrific job at WWM...but a special thanks to you, Neale! <Very much part of a team, alongside whom I am glad to work.> Have a nice weekend, everybody. Nicole <And likewise to you Nicole, and happy fishkeeping! Neale.>

Re: Extremely contagious and lethal(?) Disease 4/4/08 4/5/08 Neale, Bravo! Well Done! Five, yes 5, gold stars for you. Its replies to 13 year olds, and their parents, like this one that I personally think should be more of the norm when situations dictate. Bloody well done mate! Craig <Hello Craig! Thanks for these kind words! I'm not sure WWM necessarily wants to have a reputation for savaging errant teenagers, but as you observe, perhaps once in a while it's not entirely out of order. Sincerely, Neale.>

Boesemani Rainbows in trouble. New tank syndrome...  - 3/21/08 Hi guys, <Andrew> I've learned much from your website in the past, but so far have not been able to find any sort of real answer to my question. I have been keeping marines and corals for about three years now, with great success, but recently decided I'd like to go back to my roots and set up a small FW tank. In addition to my 75Gal deepwater reef setup (LPS and soft corals) I've had a 20Gal tank that was home to a nice BTA and clarkii clown, along with a yellow coral goby and Gold headed sleeper goby (who put on heaps of weight after purchase!). Anyway, the idea was to move what stock I could to my main display, and traded the BTA and clarkii back for store credit. I stripped and cleaned the tank THOROUGHLY and refilled it with new filter media, and substrate, and of course FRESH water. I ran the tank for three days and tested PH only and it was 7.2, with temp of about 78 (which fluctuates cause of the ambient air temp here in Aus) I got myself 6 neon tetras and popped them in, and they seemed to be quite happy despite the fact that they like slightly acidic water usually. <Mmmm... how was this new FW system cycled?> The whole idea behind this tank was to raise some juvenile Boesemani Rainbow's and move them to a new home when big enough, so seeing that the tetras were doing fine I bought 8 X 1 - 1 1/2" rainbows. Now I know that this is a rather large load for a new filter, but was able to use a little filter media from another healthy FW system to get it started (this is starting to read like war and peace!). <Mmm, no... this is far more exciting> After about three days of happy swimming (and daily 15Gal water changes with dechlorinated tap water) the fish began developing white opaque patches on their bodies, one at first then the others day by day. It did not look like anything I've seen before, almost like slightly cooked flesh! and though I could not try it looked like it might rub of with your finger. I continued with the daily water changes as per plan to alleviate filter overload, but the fish continue to succumb to this white patch. after about a day, each fish moves to the surface where it breathes rapidly and dies almost hours later. Of course after seeing the first fish with the gasping symptoms, I cranked the Air bubble up to max to help with oxygen saturation in the water, but it had no effect, as I imagine their gills were likely coated in the same "substance". I also tried using Stress coat (with aloe vera) as I thought this might help, though I've never used the product before. <Is a good product... but not efficacious here... for what you have going on won't work> Strangely enough the Neon tetras seem to be unaffected, and none have any signs of disease. I have now lost 3 Rainbows in total, and expect to lose another over night. Now I know by now you neck must be sore from all the shaking with contempt, but any help would be much appreciated = ) Andrew <Is really very likely "just" new-tank syndrome... the Rainbowfishes being more sensitive than the Neons... I would either look for a real bacteria culture product like BioSpira or Dr. Tim's equivalent... or move the Melanotaeniids to a better-established setting. Bob Fenner>

ick in an uncycled tank, Oranda treated with heat and salt. acidity in water. Iatrogenic troubles, reading  03/16/08 FW Daily? <? all are posted> Hello. First, thank you for your website, which I have perused many times over the last 2 years while getting interested in keeping fish. I have mainly been interested in the cold water section, as my parents have a pond and I have been helping them with their Shubunkin issues. My interest in their fish led me to get really interested in aquatic life in general, particularly in goldfish. <Ahh!> Now to my current issue which concerns my new fish, and temporary tank. I am building a 55 gallon tank for them next week when I get paid. Last week on Friday, I bought 2 x >1.5" Orandas and placed in a 20L tank with filter (un-primed, but dosed with Stress-Zyme) <Mmmm, this won't work... the system needs to be cycled> and an air-stone, and thermometer. The filter has a heater, so I switched it to minimum (18C), for a stable temp <Good> (it can get cold in our house at night). They were acclimatised to the temp for one hour in the bag and then I mixed tank water into the bag three times over the next hour, then released them (with the water which I now regret). I added dissolved rock salt to 0.1ppm, to help them settle down. I kept the tank light off until day 2. Their daily routine is (and has been since): curtains open, 30 minutes before tank light which is on for 8 hours, then tank light off while room light on for an hour, then room light off; and darkness until morning. I didn't feed until following day and gave them cucumber. Next day, a part of a pea, next day a blanched leaf of romaine lettuce and dried blood-worm, next day some dried Nori which I soaked first. I noticed red-cap fish flashing against the airline tube on the 2nd day. The other is an orange Oranda. From the outset, I checked parameters 3 times a day (pH, ammonia, nitrite, salt level, occasionally checking nitrate). Their water was always conditioned with dechloriminator at water-change time (and upon the first tank-fill). I changed 25% per day. On the 4th day I started to see ammonia, so I did PWC partial water change, and added a drop of ammo-lock. <This is only a temporary fix...> I used Stress-Zyme to help prime the filter. <Won't do this> The red-cap was flashing still. I was still feeding lightly with greens as above, including blanched spinach. Back to the 3rd day, I was shocked to see my red-cap covered in white spots. I Googled, diagnosed Ich, and Googled some more. I added more salt up to 0.2ppm. <Not an effective cure...> The feeding continued, very lightly, with different greens. On 4th day, added more salt up to 0.3ppm and increased the temperature slowly. Following days; I kept up with parameter tests, increasing temperature until 29C over two days. The water was going more and more acid, down to between 6.5/7.0 (my tap water comes out at 7.5). I also noticed fluctuation in temperature, so bought a second heater, and installed it too. I set it to 29.5C, <!> and bought another thermometer. The temp in the tank was stable at 30C on the thermometers and the salinity was stable at 0.3ppm. Both fish seemed fine, no gasping for oxygen, I was watching them day-in, day-out. Plenty of aeration, filter making a waterfall, bubbles breaking the surface well. On the 5th day, the infected fish started losing its spots, and on the 7th they were all gone (so I am timing 70 hours until I turn the heat down gradually, or earlier if necessary, or later if possible). Also, the few black coloured ammonia burns that only the red-cap had, started to go away. Both their appetites are great, they try to eat my fingers when I put them on the surface. <A good sign> The water was beginning to smell a bit rich, I thought it must be the heat. Not bad smelling, but rich. Organic and a bit fishy. Some slight foaming around the tank corners. Last night (day 8), the pH was down to 6 (yellow on test card) with only another 2 days to go before I start to lower the heat over a period of days. So I tried not to panic, and decided to do an immediate PWC. I looked at my change-water, already heated to the correct temperature and matched in salinity, and decided to throw it, and get some fresh. The reason being, I used the hot tap to fill it, and let it cool rather than use the cold tap, just for convenience. I panicked that the carbonates were being depleted with this method, <You are wise here> and I didn't want to add more acid water, or rather water which wouldn't buffer. So, I mixed fresh cold and warm water together, aware that I should err on the side of caution with pH, and added the salt as before, and heat, and dechlored it. Meanwhile, still panicking, I thought I would add the tiniest pinch of bicarb, premixed with a little water. Well, I tested the tank 5 minutes later and the result was a little more green, but still green-yellow 6.5. This could have been a whole .5 raise, and of course I felt terrible that I could have altered it too much, too fast. I kept the lights dimmed in the room the whole time to keep the fish calm. But I think I saw one of them go upside down in the bubble stream (the orange one who didn't get the Ich). The red-cap seemed fine. I regret adding it, because I read afterwards on the net, that goldfish will tolerate a pH down to 6 if it was gradual, but on the other hand, I heard that Orandas were more sensitive than other goldfish. I learned about panicking after I did this. I kept the lights dimmed, but sat and watched for a while. Only the orange fish was acting abnormally, although I could have been imagining it. It seemed to be dazed, and rather than resting, it was just glass-staring and going to the corner and back, and repeating. The red-cap seemed fine, perusing the gravel looking for things, like he does at night, in dim light. After a while, I put a bit more light on and approached the tank. They were both full of life, and excited to see me. I talked to them a while, then checked the temperature of my change-over water. It was matched, so I did a 25% change, checked the pH again, it was still green-yellow 6.5. <No worries> My plan for the next day (now this morning), was to do 4 or 5 small small water changes throughout the day. I want to reduce any DOC (concerned about the smell and acids) and get any poop from the bottom before it goes acid. I will continue with this the following days, and see if the pH rises any. Otherwise, it must be my Dechlor, or ammo-remover, or bio-load turning the water acid. I was leaning toward ammo-lock and bio-load. The fish will have to fast until I've worked it out. This morning at 8 am, checked the pH and its more orange-yellow!!! I panic again. I don't think under 6 is going to be good for my fish. I added the tiniest pinch of bicarb this time, more diluted in filtered water, and dripped half the mix in the water, then a 25% water change too. I added some activated carbon but there is no room in my filter because I put a lot of filter wool in it, so I placed 3 pieces in the various currents in the tank. It then occurred to me to flush the filter media with temperature-matched salinity-matched dechlored water. Having done that into a waste bucket, I now know where most of the problem was coming from. There was a green leaf salad and waste in there (the Nori, and possibly bits of cucumber, and green poo), so I flushed it out of the media, and replaced the filter. The foaming on the water has reduced, as has the smell. Just more water changes today are planned and panic over, I'm sure. I also stood by with the net, because my fish were pooing spinach like machines. Any more pH rises when I change water should be gentle with smaller / more frequent water changes, and any acids in the water are now minimised I hope - wouldn't you say? <Mmm, no... see below> The carbonates in the water won't be eaten so quickly too, but I don't want the pH to get too far back to neutral until the ammonia phase is over. An hour later (now), tested for ammonia and it was up to 0.25. <... toxic...> My change-water Isn't heated yet, so added a drop of ammo-lock. Not worried too much as the pH is still 6.5. ; then dosed the filter with Stress-Zyme. In another hour, will do a 25% change, and test the ammonia and pH. if the pH is still 6.5, I will do another 25% (or less) a bit later ??, and remove the carbon. Update: have done the above water change, pH 6.5, ammonia between 0 and 0.25 - slightly green coloured. This is all notes as I've gone along, from about day 5, written up to give to you for help. If you can offer me any advice on how to get through the next days, and help me out with this fear that it's all going to go wrong, I'd really appreciate it. My fish seem perfectly well, I just want them to stay that way. Thanks very much, David. <Troubles... initially... This volume is too small for these fish... it wasn't, isn't cycled... Your reliance on chemical treatments won't work to adjust for nitrogenous accumulation... the Salt... I'd be setting up the 55 gallon, using a bacterial prep. to cycle it stat.! And moving these goldfish ASAP. Bob Fenner>

Dying black neon tetras... Iatrogenic mis-stocking issues, FW    2/24/08 Hi, yesterday I went to a Petco and bought 5 Neons tetras, 5 black Neons, 3 cherry barbs, and some weird looking catfish its white and black. <Need to find the name of this fish...> I already had a plecostomus about 6 inches an orange finned shark, <Incompatible> 1 black skirt tetra, and 10 guppies. About 4 days ago I bought a 29 gallon tank, my old one was 10 gallons. the temperature is about 78 and ammonia pH nitrate levels are all fine. <What does this mean? And... how is this new tank cycled?> So far since yesterday 2 black Neons have died and 1 is swimming awkwardly and seems to be losing some color. I don't know what is wrong with it also another one of the tetras seems to have a bite mark in it. do you know what is wrong? <Likely the minnow-shark is bullying the others, perhaps the catfish as well... You've placed too much, and incompatible life too quickly here> also one of the cherry barbs seems lonely it is laying on the ground in the back corner of my aquarium and only come out to eat, while the other two barbs are swimming around peacefully and full of energy, it also looks like this barb has the beginning to a shredded tail. Is there anything I can do to have the barb become more energetic? Thanks <... Need to go back a few steps here... Look up the physical needs, temperaments of the life you have jammed in to this too-new setting. What you list is incompatible... some likes hard/alkaline cooler water, others soft/acidic more tropical... What you have will not work. I suggest looking up, reading re... starting where you were initially instructed: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm Bob Fenner>

Um.. I'm worried... Oscars... simply fighting, or an electrified situation?  2/18/08 I have 2 albino tiger Oscars. A couple of nights ago my larger one started freaking out and trying to almost jump out of my 55 gallon tank. <Yikes! Two of these fish need more room than this...> I would hear a crash and splash and it seemed he was almost unconscious in the water. My other one seems to be following his pattern because I picked him up of the ground this morning. I do have a top but they jumped threw the lid. <Yes... can happen> They are both very scared up and have almost knocked them selves out. It keeps happening but there's nothing wrong with my other fish in the tank. Im really worried could you please help me with your advice.,,,Aki <I do hope so... I am concerned that you may have a situation here of "stray electrical current"... making these fish "jumpy"... DO be careful around the tank till this can be checked, solved... Have someone check with a volt meter... FIND the fault... DO install a GFCI on all aquarium gear that uses electricity... IF this is not the root cause here, I suspect the two Oscars were "just" fighting... need to be separated, ultimately placed in a system of twice this size or larger... Bob Fenner>

Sick jack Dempsey I haven't got a clue!!! Poor English, no reading...   2/8/08 hello, my jack Dempsey and 2 Plecos have something sticking out of their anus and he appears to have a white film on the top of his head. It doesn't appear to be nematodes its little (less then a centimeter) on all 3. The tank is a 75g with a1 one and a half inch flower horn, a one inch jewel, 5 or 6 inch convict,5 or 6 inch ob peacock, two 3 inch clown loaches, the 5 or 6 inch jack, one 1 or 2 inch Texas ,and a 4 or 5 inch Brazilian. The ph has been at 6.2 for 3 months plus <This is much too low... indicative of?> but everything else seems to be fine when I test the water. <... data> Iv been doing 20%water changes weekly and just noticed that they were sick a few days ago. His body isn't swollen but maybe a little sunken in and he is still eating. My fish now have ich. <Also indicative of poor water quality, stress> He and the convict are the only two that don't have visible symptoms I am using Maracide <...> and hope to get ether get Maracyn oy Maracyn 2 but don't know what med. to treat <None> him with??? So the description as I see it is its white and short kind of stubby there is no sign of his anus being swollen as in swim bladder (which I had a case of also not to long ago which has been treated) if you could offer any help I would greatly appreciate it!! Iv been looking every where and have found nothing. thanks a lot, Kristin <Likely the root problem here is environmental stress... I recommend reading, water changes and the use of your spelling/grammar checker. Please start here with the second: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cichliddisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: sick jack Dempsey I haven't got a clue!!! 2/9/08 Thank you, <Kristin> I've tried chemicals and nothing seems to work for the ph. <Mmm, what did you use? We should start as far back as you think... to see what needs doing here> So I put some sea shells in Tuesday night. <Can we start with your tap/source water? What is the pH, and alkalinity or hardness?> and tested the water last night to see if there was any change, the alkalinity was up to 40 from 0 <!?> so I thought that was a good sign. I did use the spell check!! Thank you for your help!! I was also wondering I have a turtle also and I put one of his decorations from about a year ago in the fish tank sun. night after washing it off and Monday the fish had ich could it be that they got the ich from the decoration??? <Mmm, no... the ich had to have been in the tank, on the fish already... but in a low population... not a very infectious state...> Thanks again, Kristin <Will you please test your water again and report to me? In the meanwhile, do keep making partial (10-20%) water changes daily. Bob Fenner>

Thank you for your help!!! Re: Sick Jack Dempsey, Water Testing f'   2/14/08 hello, I contacted you last week about a sick jack Dempsey. I took a sample of water both from the fish tank and the tap to the LFS and everything was fine the ph is 7.2 the nitrates are fine!!! I was using a test strip which they said is inaccurate after a couple times of opening the bottle. I had no clue, the gave me some different ich med. because my fish are dying fast!! I would have not taken my water up if you hadn't suspected a problem so thank you very much for all of your help!!! Kristin <Welcome! BobF>


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