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The beautiful Neon Tetra

Pregnant fish   7/22/06 Dear Fenner? <Yes> I need advice. My fish have spawned barring 1. I think she may have unloaded one side but is getting fatter by the day on the other. <Mmm> I don't know whether I should attempt a massage to help them on their way? As I am concerned that she will explode? Have you any advice? Alan Hooker <Is worth trying... that or the "Epsom Salt Bath" trick... detailed on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Twitching Fish   1/21/06 Hey, I have two 29 gallon tanks, one has mollies in it and the other has small cichlids. I noticed today that in both tanks they had a fish twitching. Both of the fish look in good health and have been eating well, just  twitching a lot. Any advice? (there's no ich spots) < Usually when my fish are scratching and twitching it means that the nitrate levels are up and the bacteria are starting to prey on my fish. Do a 50% water change, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. Check the nitrate levels before and try not to let them get that high again. I try not to let them get over 25 ppm. Some fish can handle more , some cannot.-Chuck> When do angelfishes, Plecos, swordtails and Flowerhorns reach sexual maturity?   1/14/06   Can this be known by their age?   thanks! >>generally, yes. Swordtails and angels around 6 months, Flowerhorns around 8-10 months and Plecos, depending on the species from 12-36 months. What be This Fish? I am sorry I have to write yet again, but I have been trying to figure out what these fish are. I got three fish from a friend's mother who has goldfish. She bought these three fish for her daughter to start with, but her daughter did not want to try them, so she gave them to me. They look like silver dollar tetras, but they have two black stripes running from top to bottom right after their eyes. They also look like the black widows, except for the black dorsal fins. I am guessing that my three tiger barbs stressed them out because they have lost their black stripes. The previous owners did not know what they were. They just went and bought some "cute fish." Thank you in advance. <I think that they are Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus or commonly referred to as the yellow tetra. Check out fishbase.org and see if you can find your fish.-Chuck> 

Borneo Sucker Fish Today I went down to the local pet store in Sumner (this particular one is really a fish and bird store and has just an incredible selection of fish, although everything else is higher priced than PetSmart, but their fish are taken extremely good care of) looking for a new pleco to replace the one that I took out of the 80 gallon. Well, I found an Albino one I liked, and a couple black coolie loaches for 1.99, but then I saw these odd little gray sucker fish with white spots labeled "Borneo Sucker Fish", I have to admit that I fell in love with them, but being less than an inch long and costing me 6.99 I only bought one. I've never seen anything like this, and the pet store fish expert (I've known her for a long time, she's young and cute too!) said it was very hardy, but I still don't know much about them. Can you fill me in on it? <These are actually hill-stream fishes: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-27,GGLD:en&q=borneo+sucker+fish> If it turns out to be a good fish, I might buy a few more of them. Right now its in a ten gallon with some sword tail fry and it'll stay in there until it grows a little bigger. According to my friend it should get a couple inches long. <These fishes are often lost... due to less than ideal water conditions... as you will see by following the link above... they need cool, fast-moving water... Bob Fenner> Rainbow trout Hello, <Hi there>    I have 2 Rainbow Trout, that have been in a 55 gal. tank since birth. They're now getting to around 10-11 inches a piece , and now they're fixing to hopefully be introduced to their new home, a 150 gal. tank, until they outgrow that one too... <I'm sure they will.. I've seen some really big rainbows in my time.> My ambient temp usually stays around 65-68 degrees, and in tank temp. is around  the same, only fluctuating 1-2 degrees at a time. This week I'm finally purchasing a chiller for the new tank so I can keep their temp at a consistent 55 degrees. <Very good, that is needed for these fish.  They are found in some chilly water systems, and too warm would be very harmful, and possibly shorten their lifespan.> The fish up to this point have been very healthy, eating well and even playing with one another in the tank, appearing to really be enjoying themselves. In my 55 gal  I have as follows: 55 gal tank - 2-top fin 60 gal filters 2 - powerheads 801 series (400 gal. per hr) 2- ft long bubble bars for the back with it's own air supply -2 10 in bubble bars with it's own air supply. As you can tell, my aquarium stays well oxygenated, and with plenty of current for this species of fish. <wow, I'll say.  This fish really need high levels of diffused o2 in their tank, and love the current.> my water quality is terrible, (well water), and I have to treat it very good before adding to tank) <Well water is not as bad as city water.  These fish are found in water conditions typical to many home well sources.  High chlorine can be extremely bad for these fish.> My water is as follows : nitrate-20 ppm. nitrite-o ppm. Hardness-between 150-300. Alkaline-between 180-300. ph level- between 7.8-8.4  I know the ph is probably a little high, but I have made several attempts to lower it with the use of various decreasers. <It is a little high, but the few other people with trout in their home aquariums seem to have similar numbers.  Their fish seem fine, and they don't worry about adding pH decreasers.> And I usually have no luck. I don't know if these fish have something to do with raising the ph level or not because of their species. Well, anyway in the last two weeks , I have come home several times to find them either sitting at the bottom of the tank breathing very hard, or hovering at the top gasping for air. <These are cold water fish, and need lots of fresh water.  My guess is that they aren't getting the oxygen they need.  A 55 is not very large for fish like this, they are not very deep.  Which hinders the fishes motion in the tank.> Then swimming erratically ie: sideways, tail towards the top of tank & face down in the gravel. Some of these symptoms led me to believe that maybe they have the whirling disease that's common with Trout. <This is something that effects many coldwater fish.  It's often seen in goldfish, koi, and carp as well.> But then, someone told me to treat them with anti parasitical meds. I have used, Coppersafe, T.C. capsules, parasite clear, MelaFix, Prime & Amquel+ (for controlling nitrates and ammonia) and lots of aquarium salt. (all at different times, of course). And I dropped in a couple of those "tank buddies" tablets . They seem to get better fast ,almost back to normal, and then the next day, the cycle seems to repeat itself. I really want to do a 25% water change for them, but the instructions on some of these meds say not to for 5 days. <That is quite a list of additives.  I would seriously suggest you do some large water changes to bring in freshwater for these fish.> And this morning I woke up for work, and when I came in and checked on them before I left, I noticed that each one of my fish have this weird looking white dot in the center of their eye. One eye per fish. I don't know what to compare this "white dot " to other than a nasty pimple. I say pimple because it protrudes into a point shape that may stick off of the center of the eyeball  maybe by a mm or so. I was told" pop-eye", cloud eye, and other things, even ick, but I have seen all of these before, and I think it's maybe a fungus, or some sort of parasite. <The fish might be suffering from Ichthyosporidium.  Fish with this condition will swim abnormally!  Also Skin and eye defects can appear, usually in small white nodules.  It is a fungal disease that spreads throughout the body.  I would suggest you do a large water change, vacuum the gravel, and begin medicating the fish.  There are a lot of choices out there for treatments, i have read that medicines containing phenoxyethanol work on fish.  Also i had hear good things about AquaPharm Super Ick Cure in treating things like this.  Though I have never used that product myself, the research I had done seems to support the claims.> What could this be? And how should I treat it? I really feel bad for these two fish as I want them to eventually have fresh water again  and live healthy lives, not heavily medicated water all of the time. If you have ANY suggestions, please let me know, as these are my babies. Thank you very much. <Get that tank going soon, they need larger space.  You should try doing a large water change, and then smaller ones following it to get as much freshwater as you can before you start doing any medicine treatments.  Look for medicines containing phenoxyethanol, which is great at stopping fungal infections.  Good luck. -Magnus>

Tank Size Question Hi, <Hi! Ryan with you> I have a question about tank size, I can't seem to find an accurate answer to my specific question. <OK>  I currently have a 10 gallon tank with 1 silver Mollie, 1 swordtail, 1 Betta, 1 small fancy guppy, and 1 pleco. I'm planning to upgrade to a larger tank before the pleco gets too big. <Great> I'm look at either a 30 gallon tank or a 55 gallon tank.   Which would be a good size, and would it be possible to add any more of the species above (besides the pleco)?   <I would certainly advise a 55 for the pleco.  He's going to be a monster if you keep him well fed.> Also.  Is there a general rule of how many fish per gallon of water, depending on size? <There are so many, but certainly none are reliable.  Does a predator have more influence on a bio-load than an herbivore?  Certainly.  See where this gets tricky?  You have to test your water frequently, and know when to stop adding fish.  Being observant of water chemistry is the best way to safely stock your tank.  Best of luck! Ryan> Thanks,  Jason

Xenentodon- FW needle Gar Hi. So.. When I got my first tank I did a bad thing. I got a fish I didn't know anything about. He was labeled a needlenose gar. The people at the petstore said he wouldn't get much bigger. <heehee...hahaha> They lied. <oh, ya> He went from about five inches to almost a foot. <fishbase.org... to 18" long as an adult. A formidable predator> he looked like half of him was mouth. <they eat live fishes and bugs only. Leap out of the water at people in the wild, they say> little pointy teeth sticking out. silvery body, tiny little fins. dark stripe from mouth to tail. a silver cigar with opaque silvery white fins. He ate by grabbing fishies in the middle then juggling them around so he swallowed them head first. I guess he was a Xenentodon<?> <perhaps... see here: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=10124&genusname=Xenentodon&speciesname=cancila  > He ended up in a 55 gallon aquarium because it was the largest I was allowed to keep by my apartment lease:< I couldn't find anyone who would take him who didn't want to put him in with Oscars and large cichlids. Cartman was a really shy fish, feeder goldfish would pick on him if he didn't eat them all right away. Enough excuses. I only had Cartman for 4 years, he died one weekend while I was away on vacation. I really miss him. I'd like to get another one someday but I can't find very much information about them. <do consult www.fishbase.org for the first step on a search. The fundamentals are here> They're silly little fish. I kept him at pH 7 temp of 78. I still am not sure if I did bad with that. <very fine> I learned that Cartman at least was pretty skittish. <they all are... no bright light or fast fishes as tankmates. Best kept alone in a species tank> He could jump with the best of them. and liked to ram his delicate little snout into the glass. I put a lot of duckweed and floating plants in the aquarium to try and stop him from jumping out, it seemed to help. I also put hygro all along the edges of the aquarium so he wouldn't ram into the glass as much. <all good> I got a little nightlight to turn on before turning on his aquarium lights. <excellent idea> The only other fish I kept him with were five or six spotted Raphael's because He either ate everyone else or they made him more skittish. <they are funny that way> When the Raphael's went into a feeding frenzy and ran around the tank at night he just went to the opposite end of the tank.. Normally they stayed in their caves at the bottom though and he stayed at the top. My real question after all this talk is.. How bad did I do by Cartman..? <other than the tank size, I say very well> And how would I treat another one better. <a six foot tank would be nice... a 125 gallon long to 180 gall standard> I really miss him. a few years have past. I have mainly catfish and dwarf cichlids now. But someday I'd really love to have another Xenentodon<?> and treat him right.. Do they want company? <ahhh...no> a Little school? do they want to be alone...What size tank would make him happy?  What can I feed them other than nasty feeder goldfish? <keep a tank of feeder goldfish and gut load them with nutritious dry and frozen foods before going to the gar. Else the gar will die of a dietary deficiency. Insects would be excellent too... crickets, grubs, maggots, waxworms, etc.>> Cartman refused everything else I offered him and would just get skinny as a pencil.. <live food only> I hated the nasty fungussy ichy feeder fish but didn't want him to starve. What kind of set up would make him happiest? <no fresh feeder prey... always have a separate feeder fish tank with a 2-4 week reserve to screen for communicable diseases to your gar> Or.. for the happiness of all should I just not try and keep any ever again..? <no worries... you can do right by another simply in a bigger thank> Thank you so much for listening to me ramble. I feel very badly about Cartman and miss him. Jenn <best regards, Anthony>

New tank: Freshwater Game Fish I recently set up a 125 gallon freshwater tank and am trying to determine at what rate I can safely add fish.   <'kay> I have the following filtration on this tank: an undergravel filter with three power heads, an Emperor 400 and a Fluval 304 canister filter.  The tank has been up and running for 11 days.  On day one, I added 20 Zebra Danios to the tank.  On day 5, I added about 20 feeder minnows and 3 feeder goldfish. Ph level is 7.6 and Ammonia is still testing at 0. I plan on keeping freshwater game fish in this tank.   <WOW! Unusual idea!> Specifically, I have the following fish which I would like to eventually add to this tank: 6 Perch (4"), 1 Walleye (4"), 1 Crappie (3"), 2 Smallmouth Bass (one 3" and the other 4"), 1 Largemouth Bass (3") and a Bullhead (2").  I would like to know: 1) at what rate can I add these fish to the 125, <If you add them correctly there should never be an ammonia spike. Freshwater fish are a little more tolerant of ammonia than marine fish but any measurable level IS toxic> 2) which fish should be added first (what order), <Smaller fish first. All the fish that you mention are aggressive. Anything that is small enough to be eaten should be put in first. Please provide lots of cover for your fish. Oh...I might would add a few less perch> 3) can I put the Largemouth Bass in this tank or is he better left in one of my other tanks and, if so, can the Largemouth co-exist with two Tiger Muskies in a 75 gal.? <This is an unusual selection of fish and let me say right from the start: I have no aquarium experience with any of the fish listed except the Danios. Having stated that fact: in general, stocking of fish should always be slow...like one at a time every two weeks while testing for ammonia between additions. Realize that all of the fish that you mention are predators and will totally wipe out any living critter that can fit in its mouth. Lastly, when stocking a tank, always consider what the ultimate size of the fish will be. For instance: I frequently fish the "Walleye Run" in the Maumee River outside of Toledo, Ohio. I've seen walleyes way more than 10" pulled out of the river! I have personally caught bass that weighed 5-7 lbs. In the long term, I can't possibly imagine that a 125 gallon tank will be enough. But you can always invite your friends over and have one heck of a fish fry! HA!>     Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. <I wish I could be of more help. Freshwater stocking rules apply to all freshwater fish regardless of species. WetWebMedia has lots of information on this topic...stock slowly, provide lots of cover, in a predator tank all fish need to be about the same size, consider the maximum size of each fish as it relates to your tank size, test for ammonia between additions, (constant ammonia means your pushing the filtration too hard), and consider that your filtration is somewhat limited. David Dowless> 

I took advice on Gourami/Tiger Barb What's up Steven Pro! <Nothing much. Just answering a few questions before heading off to work in the snow.> The introduction of 3 larger Rosy Barbs to my 29 gallon tank containing 4 Tiger Barbs seems to have toned down the Tigers aggression. I read that its good to have odd numbers in a school. Any truth to this? <Not really, three or more is ok.> If so, I'll get one more Tiger Barb. <No need.> I took your advice and have a Golden Gourami in quarantine now. <I still must take a minute to compliment you on a quarantine tank for freshwater fish. Most people with literally hundreds of dollars in saltwater fish are too tight with a buck to buy a quarantine tank and protect that investment.> I could not pass these up, they where an unusually nice, bright shade of gold and looked healthy. Should I have gotten two? <They are ok in pairs. Males have a longer pointed dorsal fin, females shorter and rounded.> The place where I got the Rosie's wanted me to get a Rainbow fish instead of the Gourami. I thought that would be too many hyper fish. I am floating an Elodea plant in the 29 gallon tank to give the Gourami a place to hide from the Tigers if needed. Is this O.K.? <Sure, but I doubt the Gourami is going to feel threaten or need to hide. They are pretty tough fish.> It's the only floating plant I could find. Do Otocinclus eat algae wafers? <Sometimes> I was advised to get some of that New Life Spectrum water stable wafer stuff. I also put a chunk of African bogwood in but I have not seen the Oto's go near it or the expensive wafers. Instead the Barbs devour the algae wafers! What else can I do to supplement the Oto's diet? <The plant and driftwood will help. I would just continue to use the wafers. As long as someone is eating them you are ok.> They are cleaning the algae out fast! Thanks, Stephen <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Minnow Shark, Dwarf Puffer compatibility Hey, I have  dwarf puffer fish with a full grown Bala Shark and it has not touched my puffer will it be ok? <Hard to say, Bala Sharks are not terribly aggressive, but big fish will eat small fish if given the chance. When you say the Bala Shark is full grown, do you mean 13in?  I would not keep the two together.-Gage>

Freshwater Livestock Bouillabaisse I have a question that may sound a bit off I have a 40 gal community tank and not sure of the exact equipment like what type of filter except it is a bio filter.  This is my problem since we are relatively new at this we went an easy route we have platys, neons, tetras, swordtails, female guppies, no males yet, One silver molly, 3 catfish and a Pleco.   One of my platies looks pregnant and one of the males is very swollen also this just appeared tonight the fish is not swimming well, but doesn't spend a lot of time on the bottom like you described in dropsy any advise would be appreciated. Dawn Maryland <Hi dawn, this mix of fish will not work well in the long run.  The Platies, Guppies, and Mollies all prefer hard alkaline water, while the Tetras prefer soft neutral water.  This does sound a little like Dropsy, are the scales protruding?  Please read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm Best of Luck, Gage>

Ghost or Glass Catfish and midget clown loach I had a Ghost Catfish and it died this morning it was perfectly fine except some of its tail was bit of by my firemouth cichlid.... <Oh oh... these two fishes are not compatible... the Firemouth (and most cichlids) are way too mean to house with an easygoing species like Ghost Glass Cats> The water conditions are fine and I didn't see any visual problems with the fish. just wondering what could have happened. It wasn't to old either it was only like 2 inches long.  <I suspect that the initial trauma and "dark of the night" was too much for your catfish... Look for more "armored" species of catfishes, like the Suckermouth Catfishes. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm> Also I have a baby clown loach ( doing fine) but when I got him hw was only like an inch long and he really hasn't grown much at all probably have had him for 4 months now.  <Mmm, loaches are slow growers, but they also need plenty of "high quality" food... Are you making sure yours is getting enough protein in its diet? You might want to look into sinking pellets of sorts here> I had to treat him for ich right when I got him could the medication have effected his growth (used a malachite green based medication. <You're right. Good input, observation. It definitely could have done so.> Thanks for your help bye <Keep studying. Bob Fenner>

Big Freshwater Fishes Greetings, <Hello> *Firstly, thanks for sharing your most informative / colorful web site with us all. <A pleasure> Secondly, I would like to run a few things by you for your feedback please in regards to a 180 gallon tank approx 6'x2'x2': <Okay> -stocking tank with the following choices: a silver Arowana, an Oscar, a Pleco, a Pacu, and a clown knifefish. can't house all five since that would be too much fish for this size tank don't you agree, thus which mix would be best for optimum growth? <I might leave off the Pacu (Colossoma sp.) or make plans to trade it in (or maybe use a few Silver Dollar species instead...) when it gets too big... the Knife will hide a great deal of time during the day... and the Arowana will have to be trained to take food so the Oscar doesn't get it all> -utilize one Imperial 400 power filter at one end and one Magnum 350 canister filter with bio wheels at the opposite end of the above tank. do you think that would be adequate? <I would add a few powerheads, and count on adding some larger filtration (my choice? A sump with mechanical media) as these animals get larger> -how do u feel about metal stands vs wooden stands for a tank this size forgetting about appearance sake? <Actually, larger systems are better with substantial metal stands than wood. If you're having one built, look into having it powder-coated for keeping it clean, rust-free for the longer haul. Bob Fenner> Thank you kindly,

Re: Big Freshwater Fishes Thanks so very much for your prompt response. An additional thought is what are the maximum growth size of the below mentioned fish if all housed together in that particular tank? <Please see the sections including these species posted in the articles indexed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Bob Fenner> Mark Ng

Stocking a freshwater tank Dear Bob, <Anthony in his stead> Please don't laugh. Oh, OK, go ahead and laugh, but please answer my question when you are finished. I will be stocking a 30 gallon freshwater community tank.  <hahahhahhahha... Oh, wait... too early> I'm thinking along the lines of easy to keep fish... nothing exotic, a mixture that inhabit the top, middle, and bottom of the tank; I will not overcrowd the aquarium, I will keep either peaceful fish or active fish but not both (my list of fish and the number of each will be a topic for another email). Here is my question: Because the males of most species are more colorful than the females and because I am not interested in having the fish breed would it be OK if I stocked the tank only with male fish or would I have a tank full of very unhappy fish that would not thrive? <hmmm... that depends on the species as some are more tolerant, but overall it is likely to be difficult or challenging. Do investigate by species. I'm thinking colorful corys on the bottom, possibly Harlequin Raspboras in the mid and nifty hatchetfish on the top if you are prepared to feed them better foods and keep the tank peaceful> Thanks for your help, Judy <best regards, Anthony>

Sarcocheilichthys sinensis: Freshwater Tiger "Shark" a Cyprinid (freshwater lake gudgeon) I have been trying to find info on this fish rare fish from the amur river for over a year now.  A knowledgeable person at an aquarium store told me to check your site out. Impressive let me say.  <awesome...thank you! Please do tell a friend yourself> The fish I keep is sarcocheilichthys sinensis. I have found limited info on fishbase, and one article that I had translated. Out of the hundreds of places I have checked that has even heard of them is fish2U who offers them for sale, but hasn't had them in stock for over a year. They were kind enough to return my email, but they didn't know anything about the fish. <hmmm... cold water species, grows to 24", indeed rare in aquaria... ugly pictures here: http://gauntlet.homeip.net/~susanna/pic/kalat/webkalat/toro2.jpg> Finding someone who keeps them would be great.  <I spotted this chap in the public domain of the Internet... do e-mail him if inclined for fellowship... looking at the bottom of the forum page:  http://fishprofiles.aspforums.net/display.asp?file=4984&forum=Cyprinid%20Corner and here: http://fishprofiles.aspforums.net/display.asp?file=6150&forum=Cyprinid%20Corner > Finding someone who knows of any successful breeding would be even better, but impossibly unlikely.  <perhaps not... similar fishes (Hi Banded Chinese Shark, eg) are aquacultured> I was told if anyone could do it, yall could. <Bob is away in Indonesia for another 2 weeks... do follow up please with him then if you like. The fish is rather rare in captivity and little more than generalizations are available. Bob may have anecdotes to share. Kindly, Anthony>

Water Flow and Mollies I have read THOUSANDS of pages and researched everything I possibly can and have yet to find answers to the following questions. I am sure it's out there somewhere, but it is probably the last page on the internet. I have a 72 gallon freshwater aquarium with mollies, a few guppies and Gouramis. <A bit of a strange mix because of the aggressive tendencies of the Gouramis.> I have a Fluval 404, a Fluval 204 and a Magnum Pro with the 2 BioWheels going. I have 5 albino mollies that don't seem all that happy. They don't seem sick necessarily either. I think it has something to do with the water flow. I try to adjust the outflows so that the water hits the front corners of the tank and arcs down towards the center. This seemed to make them happy but I am not so sure any more. How should I direct the water flow for my tank? <I would do as you have described above.> Above the water line with lots of agitation? Below the water line with a bit of a current? Should the two Fluval outputs face each other from opposite back corners? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaghh! I am also wondering if the size of air bubbles would have any significance. <Really Mollies are going to be much more "concerned" with their water quality; pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, salt content, and temperature.> One more, are their special needs for albino mollies that I need to know about? All of my other mollies seem totally happy. <Your albino forms maybe a weaker variety, but still I think if there is something wrong it is not circulation. Your Fluvals are rated for 340 and 180 gph respectively and the H.O.T. Magnum Pro no more than 250 gph. That is a total of 770 gph for a 72 gallon tank, just about right.> Oh well, I hope you can help me or send me in the right direction. Any information you can give me that I could really study and learn more about fish behavior would be great too. <There is much to peruse on www.WetWebMedia.com> Thanks so much, Amanda Best <Have a nice night! -Steven Pro>

Yikes, Snakeheads! Did you see this? <A HREF="http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/07/23/snakehead.reut/index.html"> http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/scienc...reut/index.html</A> <Not until now... don't believe Snakeheads will persist in cold States in the U.S.... but might be good for grist for the mill for more bucks for simple servants. Bob F>

CNN.com - U.S. wants snakehead imports banned - July 23, 2002 <When are "we" going to ban humans? Bob F> http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/07/23/snakehead.classification/index.ht ml << CNN.com-U.S.wantssnakeheadimportsbanned-July23,2002.url >>

strange brew I have a 55gal tank and I was wondering I want a freshwater shark and I have a black goldfish mollies to female and to males I have zebra fish and head and taillight tetras and I was wondering if I could get any big fish with out theme eating my small fish thanks <it is tough to suggest a shark for this strange mix of fishes. They are so different and require such different water. The goldfish is coldwater and like neutral conditions, the Mollies are brackish and like alkaline water, and the tetras like soft acidic water. None of them belong together and they are all unlikely to survive together for many years on averaged water chemistry. As far as peaceful sharks, though... do look at Bala and Arius species in the WWM archives. Best regards, Anthony>

Mollies, Guppies, & Hatchetfish Hello John, Paul, and Ringo! You know, it's tough to refrain from coming up with new questions when we all have such a wonderful trio of celebrities to answer our every question! I feel a bit like a 'groupie, ugh, I hope it hasn't come to that! But as you 3 know, this hobby is abundant with questions!!! Here's mine: I have this lone little orange molly in my daughters tank full of guppies. I know mollies like brackish water, and I have even heard that given time they could live in ocean water. So, with that said, how 'bout I put her in my reef tank? Happy fish, or sad fish? <Depends on your other fish in the reef. Most mollies will be fine will one tablespoon of salt per five gallons of water. Your guppies should be happy with that too.> Secondly, my daughter also has a pair of Silver hatchet fish with her guppies. I have been trying to find more than just average info on these fish. All I know is that they have never bred in captivity. You guys did point me to one little tidbit of info on them, but it didn't say much. I want to know where exactly they are caught, what type of water including ph., dh., temp., etc. etc. AND, is the water in a calm location or is it turbulent? I think Hatchets are a very interesting species and I would like to devote a tank to them for study, possible breeding and at the same time be sure they are 'happy' with their living environment. Kapish? <Kapish. Your best bet for additional info is the Baensch's Aquarium Atlas for Freshwater. -Steven Pro> Thanks so much my treasured ones! Pam

I need info on a fish Hello Bob I have a problem,  <WWM crew member, Anthony Calfo in your service> my son just came home with 2 gold fish and a fish he calls (I don't know how to spell it, so I hope you know what I am talking about) PLATASCUOMUS).  <yes, a tropical Plecostomus catfish...AKA algae eater> I hope you know what IM talking about. If you do then my question is does this fish need a filter and air?  <yes, as all really do (without you having to do daily water changes) but more so than the gold fish in this case> I would be grateful if you can answer me as soon as possible. I don't want to kill my sons pets. he doesn't have much luck with his pets, they usually die on him or run away.) Thank you so much. Have a great day. Mikey <talk that little fella into bringing home books before livestock <wink>. Conduct partial water changes (say 25-40%) daily with dechlorinated like temperature water until you secure a proper aquarium and filtration or trade the fish in, my friend. Anthony>

Re: can you help me find a fish? Dear Mr. Fenner, <You got Steven Pro this morning.> It's Matt again writing in regards to the response you gave me about that freshwater "wolf fish" as I called it. I looked at the articles you suggested and, honestly, none of the pictures I found looked anything like the fish I'm talking about. I'm at a loss. Do you have any other ideas? <I think I know what fish you are talking about from your previous description, but I do not know any other name than the common one, wolf-fish. I was unable to find it online anywhere, so I suggest you borrow a copy of Axelrod's Atlas of Freshwater Fish and page through the section called "Other Families". You need the big Atlas as the Mini-Atlas does not have this fish.> Thanks again, Matt Stahura <Sorry I could not be more helpful. -Steven Pro>

Re: California desert fishes bob i just read up on an article on the californian desert. it says there are some 40 species of fish living in the area. are they living in underground streams? <Many are egg-laying toothed carps... cyprinodontids... living in "marginal" circumstances, yes. We will go out when you are here to visit them. Bob Fenner> perry

RE: Stingrays at Walmart Hi Bob! I'm really happy to tell you that my local Walmart has stopped selling stingrays, at least for the time being. But now Target is selling "Aqua-Babies", those little plastic cubes with a baby aquatic frog or two baby guppies inside. <Argghhhh, not this cruelty again!> You can take the top off and feed them, or change the water, but they're selling these without telling people that these animals cannot live in them their whole lives. My boyfriend and I are going to try to take care of this problem at our local store, but I just wanted to make you aware of the problem. I'll keep you updated. <Please, if you care, do write, e-mail the retail outfits involved and lodge a complaint with the marketing/merchandising departments... even the highest level (CEO, Chairman) that you can reach... express your thoughts, feelings... This does "make a difference". It is the difference between silent stewing and action. "Thoughts w/o action are worthless" Kung Fut Zu> Just a question - I was reading a back issue of "Marine Fish Monthly" and columnist Tom Miller mentioned he was starting a website that would serve as a companion to his monthly column. Would you happen to know anything about this? <Mmm, no... Have heard from what must be this same fellow a few years back, and have heard other people say he is a prolific writer, concerned, informed. I do hope he avails himself of the powerful vehicle that is the Net> It was an issue from 1995 I believe, but I was just wondering if there was a website still around. Thanks! <Oh! This IS a time back. Don't know about this site... You might try writing the magazine, listservs with the same sorts of questions... hoping to locate him and the site if it exists. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Gina

Aquababies at Target Hi Bob! I called Target's Guest Services Line and spoke to an actual human and made my complaint (my call was documented and recorded). I also wrote a document which I am posting on some message boards I frequent. (I am attaching this document in MS Word format, please feel free to post its content on Wet Web Media if you wish.) <Outstanding. Will gladly post the same to our sites tomorrow, sans your email address> My boyfriend is drafting a formal letter to send to Target Stores Headquarters and also our local store. He's an environmental specialist, so hopefully his letter and phone calls (which he also plans to make) will receive some attention. <Yes> Thanks for your encouragement to do the right thing. Sincerely, Gina <Thank you. You have done a great deal of good. Would you mind if I sent your note above and message to Sue Steele at FAMA magazine for possible inclusion in the editorial section? Bob Fenner> Dear Animal Lover: I became aware of a very disappointing situation during a shopping trip at Target last night. Target stores are now carrying a series of products called 'AquaBabies', which are freshwater fish, frogs, or crabs enclosed in a plastic box (four inches long on all sides) with water, gravel, and a live plant. A small hole in the top of the box is provided for feeding. My first concern is that this is an extremely cruel way to keep a fish or other aquatic animal. These items are sold with the intention of leading the customer to believe that the live animals contained within can live in this set-up and have a happy, healthy life. (This is highly unlikely.) I called the guest service phone number for Target stores (at the national level) and explained my concerns. Over the course of my phone call, I learned that the animals contained in AquaBabies are taken care of about once a week by a representative from the distributor that handles these products. From this phone call, I gathered the following: - No one working in the Target Store is responsible for maintaining the live animals that are being sold there. - No one working in the Target Store is designated to provide information or assistance to the consumer regarding the live animal that he or she may purchase. (Even WalMart does their consumer this courtesy!) - These animals are only getting fed about once a week! Probably not even getting their water changed! This only furthers my concern about the handling of this product by a store with such a good reputation. My other objections to this situation include: - The fish that are included are generally species that will be one inch long when mature. I saw an AquaBaby system with two baby guppies, which will equal two inches of fish when they are mature. Aquarium hobby experts recommend one GALLON of water volume per inch of fish. This product allows less than 64 cubic inches of water (for TWO fish, in this case), which is 0.2771 gallons. - My local Target's selection of supplies for aquarium hobbyists includes'¦ two different brands of food! Nothing else! One would think that, if the store wishes to handle live animals, its corresponding selection of supplies would be a little more complete. Here is how you can contact Target if you'd like to object to this situation: Website: www.target.com/index.jhtml  Phone number: 1-888-304-4000 (Since none of their phone menu options were appropriate for the purpose of my call, I stayed on the line until I spoke to a guest Service representative. They will ask for your name and phone number, and they do record the call. I also told the person to whom I spoke that I usually spend over three hundred dollars at Target each month, but that I will not shop there until this product is removed from their stores.) Address: Target Stores, 33 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis MN 55402 It would also be helpful to contact the manager of your local Target store. Other resources: AquaBabies Website: www.aquababies.com (Remember, this is a commercial site, and any information from this site should be verified by referring to an educational resource. Also, please note that the website markets the product as an enclosed ecosystem, but the product comes with instructions for feeding, so the advertising is false in that respect.) Wet Web Media: www.wetwebmedia.com (A site for hobby aquarists, full of factual information and logical advice. Maintained by Robert Fenner, author of The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, who is also aware of this situation.) Fishbase.org: www.fishbase.org (Scientific site, information on fish organized by classification) Thank you in advance if you choose to participate in the endeavor to ask Target to discontinue carrying this product. Sincerely, Gina Gwiazdowski

RE: Aquababies at Target Hi Bob! Thank you ever so much for the time you take to make a difference, especially in a situation like this. I would be absolutely thrilled if you passed my e-mail message and letter to Sue Steele at FAMA. Also, I was alerted to the existence of this site, which is a boycott site addressing Aquababies. It includes a lot of letters from different companies stating reasons for discontinuing their business with AquaBabies, or refusal to discontinue this business. Also notable are letters from a former employee of an AquaBabies kiosk in a shopping mall, and letters of disapproval of the product from many, many people in the ornamental aquatics industry and hobby. Here's the address: AquaBabies BOYCOTT site: http://www.rk2000.com/boycott/aquababies.html Please be sure to give this address to Ms. Steele, as I think it would definitely be of interest. Also feel free to pass my e-mail address to her as well, if she wishes to correspond with me. Thank you very, very much! Sincerely, Gina <Done. Thank you. Bob Fenner>

New Goldfish Book Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you for your offer to place a review of my Goldfish Book on your web site. I did not offer you the book to expect a review, however it is greatly appreciated. Your Goldfish Book is on the way. Thank you. <Ah, thank you. Am "entirely self-serving" in such offers... FAMA for instance pays a whole fifty dollars for reviews... and really, hope to promote learning, more involvement in our hobbies by such "promotion"> The Book can be ordered from: Goldfish Connection 8890 Hamot Road Waterford,Pa. 16441 $24.95 plus $5.95 shipped priority mail. Only someone like yourself, who wrote a book, can appreciate all the work that goes into it. <There is truth in this statement> It took me almost two years to bring together some of the best Goldfish Experts in the world to contribute to the Book. If you visited our web site, you can see that we cater to a small market, the very high end Goldfish Collector. We are the largest Importer of Collector Quality Goldfish in the U.S. <Hmm, have we met? At Aquarama (Singapore) a few weeks back?> Many of our Goldfish Collectors also collect tropical fish. Knowing the Tropical Fish hobby as you do, is there a high end market for Tropical Fish, such as collector quality Loricariidae and others? <Yes, absolutely. Even in the United States... the market is "diffuse"... hard to find, reach... but it is certainly "there"> Do you think collectors are willing to pay to have them shipped? <Yes, they do so for many other groups of fishes... cichlids, rainbows...> Thank you for your time, Rick Goldfish Connection www.goldfishconnection.com <A delight and honor my friend. I will post your book title, address, and pricing information on our principal site. Bob Fenner>

Can you help? Hi! Im new to the world of fish keeping and would like to ask you if there are any fish that you can recommend for the beginner? Ones that are easy to keep etc. My tank is about 4'x1'x1'. Thanks. <Hmm, all sorts... Look to ones that can especially "get along" with your local water conditions (pH, hardness mainly)... but the livebearers called Platies, and some of the smaller barbs, danios, rasboras (read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/barbsdaniosrasboras.htm) come especially highly recommended for a new tank. Do read over our site: (www.WetWebMedia.com) and join our chatforum (http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/) as well as read over a good general freshwater aquarium reference work for sufficient background... and welcome to this fascinating hobby! Bob Fenner>

Gold Fish Hi Dr. Fenner I had two beautiful spotted long wavy finned gold fish in a bowl for over a  year. Recently, after a vacation, one died. I thought the other one might be  lonely so I got him/her 2 smaller friends (also goldfish, but just plain and  less than 1/2 its size.) They are very frequently at the top, sucking air. I never noticed this  with the other fish. Is the bowl too small.... ? It's about 2 quarts I guess. Are they in any danger? Thanks for your help. >> I would agree with your analysis... there is not enough surface area in your container to comfortably accomodate all your fish... And possibly the new ones are infected. Many diseases show themselves in breathing/gill disorders... At any length, do you have any plans to provide larger quarters? A ten gallon tank set up would be ideal... with a small outside hang-on power filter. And for now, do lower the water down a bit to increase the surface area of their bowl... though not too low as to diminish the volume too much.... if they all are gasping, or the water turns cloudy, do move one or more of them to another soap/detergent-free container. And for the next few weeks take care not to overfeed your goldfish as this contributes to their breathing problems. Good luck. Bob Fenner

Fresh fish suppliers Bob How are things going? I see you've done some work on your site, looks good. Do you know of a co. - farm where I can get distributor pricing on all freshwater fish? I found some in Malaysia and in Asia but was wondering if there might be some in the U.S. something closer to home.  I know of the wholesalers in L.A. but I would like to get it at their cost so we can compete. Any help would be greatly appreciated Thanks, Vince Reef Keeper  >> The best, hands down is Steve Lundblad's, Dolphin International... the office in LA 310-645-2046... call, ask for Bob Hollie... he knows me. But, and this is very important... these folks are the biggest outfit of their kind... but are transhippers... you need to have a facility and protocol for handling, hardening the livestock before sending it beyond... Otherwise, the DOAs and consequent problems with selling the livestock from them will be tremendous... There are several other companies like Dolphin around... i.e. freshwater transhippers... that are well known by me... in Florida (as in farms as well)... but, as I say, this is a serious undertaking... and I feel bad giving what are likely incomplete information... investigate the bringing in, acclimating, treating, holding, shipping science and techniques thoroughly... Bob Fenner

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