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FAQs on Freshwater Livestocking 3

Related Articles: Stocking 5, 10 & 20 Gallon Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Freshwater Livestock by Neale Monks, Freshwater Livestock Selection by Bob Fenner, The Ethical Aquarist; Freshwater Fishes to Avoid by Judy Helfrich Acclimation of New Freshwater Livestock by Bob Fenner, Fishes, Amphibians, Turtles

Related FAQs: Mis-stocking issues (incompatibility behaviorally and/or environmentally), FW Livestock 1, FW Livestock 2, FW Livestock 4, FW Livestocking 5, FW Livestocking 6, FW Livestocking 7, FW Livestocking 8, FW Livestocking 9, FW Livestocking 10, FW Livestocking 11, & Stocking Small Systems, & FAQs on: Freshwater Livestock SelectionCommunity Tank Livestocking,

Let's get together for lunch... I'll be eating you.

FW mix: ghost knife, barbs and red-tail shark   12/9/06 Hello! <<Greetings! Tom here.>> It's been such a blessing to have a website like WetWebMedia to hobbyists like me. Thank you very much! Thank you in advance for your reply as well. The crew has been really helpful. <<You're quite welcome and thank you for being so complimentary.>> I am just wondering, is it possible to keep 3 tiger barbs (2"), a red-tail shark(2.5") and a black ghost knife(3") in a 15 gallon aquarium? (Since the black ghost knife would not grow that fast I want to keep it there first.) <<Not in my opinion. First, I wouldn't want to make the assumption that a given fish will be 'slow-growing'. There's been evidence to the contrary about the rate of growth of the Black Ghost Knifefish. Second, the tankmates you're suggesting might find the Black Ghost pretty tempting to nip at, particularly the Barbs. Third, there may just be enough similarity, early on, between the Red-Tail Shark and the Knifefish to cause problems behaviorally. These 'Sharks' are quite intolerant of their own kind as well as other species that resemble them. Finally, unless you're prepared to ultimately house the Knifefish in a tank that's, minimally, 90-gallons or greater, I wouldn't consider this animal. Fascinating as these creatures are, they need room, room and more room in order to thrive. As you may already be aware, you can expect a healthy individual, in appropriate conditions, to grow to as long as 20 inches. That's a lot of fish!>> Will they be good tank mates? <<See above'¦>> Other references say that it is possible to keep them together but the pet shop said otherwise. I do not know what to believe. <<Believe the folks you spoke with at the pet shop.>> Can I still add one red-tail shark and one more tiger barb with my 5 fishes already inside? <<A second Red-Tail Shark would be a recipe for disaster if only between themselves. Stick with only one per tank. A fourth Barb would not be a problem but, again, this presupposes that the Knifefish is not part of the scheme. I'm sure many of our readers feel that we belabor the issue of tank size but it's with very good reason. I don't advocate mixing species that are known to be questionably compatible but in a large enough environment, you'd have a chance. In a small environment, there'd be little or none. Our first responsibility must be for the lives we take into our charge.>> Again, thank you very much for your help!!! ja Lukban manila <<I fear that I've been a bit of a 'wet blanket' but I commend you for asking before acting. I think it's a good bet that you'll have your Knifefish when you're properly prepared for it. My best to you. Tom>>

Purchase of Brachydanio frankei   8/12/06 Dear Sir,    I carrying Ph.D on inter specific androgenetic clone of Brachydanio frankei    I need to buy 50 to 100 pairs of Brachydanio frankei and Brachydanio frankei long fin    Kindly let me about modalities and cost of these fishes    Please do needful    Thanking you,    With Best Regards,    V.Sridevi    JRF-Junior Research Fellow    Department of Biotechnology    SP Women's University    Tirupati    Andhra Pradesh    INDIA <I would try some of the members of the OFI or FTFFA (.com) here. We don't sell livestock. Bob Fenner>

FW restart: Tankmates for glass cats, etc   8/12/06 Hey guys and gals, Due to me being a bad human, <But looking to improve...> I'm going to be restarting my tank. I have a 29 gallon freshwater that I've let get pretty nasty. It's currently stocked with two male Golden Wonder killifish, two Australian Rainbows (probably splendida australis), a 10" Pleco, <Yikes... I'd trade in for a smaller model, species> and a glass catfish. The Pleco will soon, with luck, be going to a new home that recently lost one, as I know he's now way too big for this aquarium. <Oh! Good> Of the Killies and the rainbows, one of each pair is definitely larger and more aggressive. I've never seen them after the catfish, but something has been - I found the second catfish dead this morning, and the remaining one has very little left of his tail fins. I've noted tail damage on them both lately, but I'm moving in too late for the one :( Any idea who is more likely to be the culprit? <Mmm, about even twixt these species... would have to catch someone "in the act"> My current plan is this: I'm going to move the catfish to a 1-gallon tank by itself. I'll start up my 10-gallon backup tank and cycle it. When it's done, I'll overhaul the 29-gallon and start it cycling to bring it back up to full use. I understand that the glass catfish are often very sensitive to changes in water quality, <Yes> which is one reason I figured to keep it off by itself, along with the mysterious attacker problem. I know now (I didn't research before I got them) that they are schooling fish. Should I go ahead and get one or two more for it to "room" with in the 1-gallon during all this, to save stress from being alone, or would the crowding be worse stress? <Mmm, for this species, another "toss up" proposition... One gallon period is too small to keep stable... but this catfish can be crowded with its own kind> I know the Killies are good for cycling. Are the rainbows sturdy enough to use for cycling or are they best kept in the old tank till the cycling is complete in the new? <Both are tough here, but I'd use only one species> Are two Killies, or two Killies and two rainbows, going to be enough to cycle each tank? <Just two of either will be... though I would not use fish for establishing cycling. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm> Once it's all back and in control, I'd really like to focus more on the peaceful community types. The glass catfish have me charmed. Focusing on the cats, the 29 gallon aquarium, and my own lack of experience, what would you suggest as far as the best types of tankmates, and population sizes? <Mmm... small barbs, Danios, Rasboras, platies, Corydoras...> I'd like to have at least one type of top feeder, one type of bottom feeder, and perhaps some sort of algae eater. I really prefer not to have them chasing each other around, however, and I'd also like to get all of a type as far as preferences for water circulation (less than I currently have) and quality go. <You are wise here> Am I hoping for too much? *grin* I had run across a site at some point that listed good tankmates for each species listing, but I've forgotten what it was. I'd also like to avoid snails, because they managed to breed in my BioWheel filters and clogged the whole thing up with baby snails. Ugh. Also, one more question. I typically go to PetSmart (a bad habit, probably) for supplies. <Not so bad if you know what you want> I've bought plants there... they come in a rubber-banded bundle, also banded with some sort of metal strip that is amazingly flexible. Any idea what this strip is; <Lead, Pb> or more importantly, whether it's safe to keep the plants bundled with it to make them easier to plant in the gravel? <Can be done, though I prefer to undo such "bunch/ed plants" and either plant the stems individually or allow (most species) to float at the surface> I had a horrible time with bottom-rooting plants, because they simply kept coming out of the gravel. I think I've exhausted my questions for now. Maybe in five minutes I'll have more... <Heeee! Thank you for writing so well, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: more canal fish (fixed) FLA Catfish ID, tiny tank/s cont.   7/30/06 Well I wouldn't worry about the beetle because the beetle could fit in the catfish's mouth. I'll take it out if it gets bigger. <Ah, good> What was the problem of the one catfish dying in the canal water but not dying in freshwater. <Don't know, but likely adapted to the former... different make-up than your fresh/tap water> Is a hexagon beta tank big enough for the catfish? <Not indefinitely no... Look up the species on fishbase.org... see how large it gets?> They look like a pink tadpole with whiskers, and they have a little strip of fin from their head to their tail, top and bottom. The tail is like a little fan or paddle.   Do you know what kind of catfish this might be? <Look up the family Ictaluridae...> I looked in this fish field guide I have and it may be a brown bullhead. <Might be> Which is better because I thought it would be a channel catfish but they get 4' and I do not want that. <Even the Bullhead gets large...> Also the tail shape of a channel catfish is not like a paddle or fan, and they don't have as many whiskers as the brown bullhead or my baby catfish. <Good observation>   There is also a bully in my tank. Now I have one Sailfin molly, no gobies, 2 male Brothers, and one shrimp. I think it's my Flagfish because he is the biggest. <This species can indeed be "nippy"> So I put the Betta divider the tank came with in and put him and a Dalmatian molly that is also mean on one side and the others on the other. Some of the fish can fit through but they can swim back to the other side, the 2 fish that are supposed to be there can't.      ...No dead fish today! <Maybe keep an eye on the weekend paper classifieds for a new, larger system/world for your and their use. Bob Fenner> Compatible Aggressive Fish   7/24/06 I have a 100 gallon tank with 2 red devils, red tail catfish, <Phractocephalus.... this cat by itself needs or will need more room> 5 flower horns, <? small I hope/trust> 2 algae eaters and 2 jewel cichlids. What are other compatible fish mates? <Umm... nothing. You're already more than "topped off" stock-wise here> I also have a 55 gallon that I want to start as saltwater. I have been getting mixed responses on how to start it. Please give me your input! <Take a read on WWM, fishbase.org re the ultimate likely size of these fishes... the cat will get large enough to inhale all... Bob Fenner>

Some questions for your excellent FAQ... FW... cycling/stkg... op.    7/13/06 Hi Guys, <And Gals...> Thanks for the great FAQs! <Welcome> I'm fairly new to this, so I have a few questions.  I have a 5 week old 30 gallon tank with 10 tiny neon tetras, 4 small Dalmatian mollies, 2 small clown loaches, 4 small guppies, 1 small golden algae eater <Keep your eye on this... gets mean> and 2 small platies, all gradually added over the last 3 weeks.  By small I mean approx 1-1.75 inches long.  All appear healthy and active. Cycling is probably almost complete, although ammonia gets up to 0.5 occasionally <Toxic, stressful... should be zip, nada... before ever introducing aquatic life> so I do a weekly 20% water change. Ph is 7.2, nitrite is 0.0 I've read that the mollies like some aquarium salt - should I add some, given the other fish in the tank? <... no... the Neons don't "like"/tolerate it...> My clown loaches look fine and have good colouring, dark black and reasonably bright orange stripes, so I guess they are healthy, but they never seem to eat anything! <Try frozen/defrosted Bloodworms, Tubifex...> I bought some Hikari loach sinking pellets, which the mollies and neon's love, also some sinking algae pellets, and plenty of flake food, but so far I've never seen them eat anything.   For the first few days the loaches hid a lot, but lately they've been happily swimming around pecking at the bottom, but show no interest at all in the pellets.  Are they starving? <Not yet... may be the ammonia...> The mollies have the opposite problem, greedily eating everything as fast as they can. I add a load of flake food 2 or 3 times a day, and they eat it in under a minute - should I add more than this - it seems a lot! <I would feed nothing if ammonia is present> Lately, 1 neon tetra has started swimming head up, tail down, and has to fin continuously to stop from sinking.  I guess he has a swim bladder infection? <Mmm, no> Should I put him down to save the other fish from being infected, or risk it and hope he gets better? <Fix the environment...> Finally, I have some bushy plants which a growing very fast and look very healthy at the top, but the leaves are growing brown and falling off at the bottom. Is it now too dark down there, as the top of the plants are causing deep shadows? <Read on WWM re growing aquarium plants...> Can I simply chop off the bottom 2-3 inches of stem and plant them back in the gravel, or will that kill them?   <For many species this will work out fine, but not all> Alternately, should I lop off the tops to give the bottom leaves more light and hope new leaves grow? <What species?> Thanks! Mike. <Do give a read on the subjects of FW cycling, Ammonia, the species you've acquired, intend... on WWM. There is much to relate here, for you to know, be aware of. Bob Fenner>

Small FW tank stocking 7/10/06 Hey WWM Crew! :) <Hi> I've emailed with questions before, and you guys have been so considerate and knowledgeable... so I decided to bother you again. Oh, the thanks you get. :) <Thank you> My husband and I have an Eclipse 7-gallon Hexagon tank. It used to have a Betta in it, but we moved the Betta to a smaller tank so we could use the 7g for some different fish. It's been empty for a couple days, so we've been planning on what to do with the tank. <Small, limited choices.> We'd like a mix of fancy guppies (male only), platies (specifically the "black panther platy," if it really exists. Xiphophorus maculatus, I think), and some Amano or cherry shrimp. Is this a good/compatible mix? <Tank is too small to mix these.  Probably 3-4 guppies would be best, the platies get to large to keep in the hex tank.> I've read that guppies and platies make fairly good tankmates, especially because their feeding habits are similar. <They get along ok, but platies prefer pure fresh water, while guppies like some salt and can even live in full strength salt water.> Which leads me to my next question: Can I feed both the guppies and the platies Hikari Micro-Pellets and some frozen bloodworms? <Sure> Is there a rough amount (oz per fish) of bloodworms I should feed them per day or week? <1-2 worms per fish, depending on size.> (The Micro-Pellets have protein, vegetable fiber and vitamins, all of which I hear is necessary for happy tropical fish). <I like Hikari, they make a quality product.>  Should I supplement the diet of the shrimp with algae wafers? <Maybe 1/4 to 1/2 a pellet every 4-5 days.> Currently, we're planning on re-planting the tank with some live FW plants and a piece of driftwood, letting it cycle for 2 weeks, and then introducing one or two fish or shrimp at a time, probably in 2 week intervals. (If I can wait that long!) <Patience> BUT, I hear that FW plants do not like salinity. We're currently using RO water with a little added salt (1 tsp per 5g) because we read that a little salinity was good for Bettas (as well as guppies and platies) and our treated-tap water was WAY too hard for happy living creatures. <Most hardier plants should be ok at this salt level.> Would FW plants thrive in this tank? (The tank comes with a 15-watt incandescent light bulb, and it sits in a fairly sunny spot in the house.) <Some will, just be aware of what you are buying.> And does iodine make plants unhappy as well? I wanted to add a drop or so of Kent's Iodine every week for the shrimp, once we get them. <I wouldn't use the iodine in such a small tank, overdosing is too easy to do.> Lastly, I know that a common rule of thumb is 1 inch of fish per 1-1.5gallons, but people have been telling me that I can fit more fish into my tank because the guppies and the platies aren't that large. We were thinking 5 guppies, 2 platies and 3 shrimp. Would this overload the tank? If so, we'll just have to get less fish :) <Yes, forget the platies, the hex has limited surface area which leads to limited CO2-O2 exchange.> Alright, I'm done with the questions. I apologize if they're just repeats of old questions!! <No problem> Thanks so much for helping us to learn more about all this. I'm sure our fish are happier because of it~ <That is what we are here for.> T'anks, Stella & Jared <Chris>

20 gallon freshwater stocking question... Trouble already with mis-stocked, incompatible water quality and behavior fishes  7/9/06 Hello, <Hi there>     I have a 20 long I have the following equipment: 1.  Penguin mini bio-wheel filter 2.  UGF with an Aquatic Gardens model 600 power head <Heeee! I gave the private label name for AG to Petco when I was a Buyer/Consultant there in the early nineties...> 3.  2 Corallife 10w 50/50 mini  CF's 4.  Hagen 50w heater 5.  Whisper  40 and 10 air pumps driving 3 bubble wands <Mmm, these will be hard to keep going over time... clog> 6.  1 1/2 inches of colored gravel 7.  Artificial plants My fish include the following: 1.  One Goldenwonder Killie measuring approx 2 1/2 inches 2.  Two Figure Eight Puffers both measuring 2 inches <Yikes... really nippy... need some salt with age/growth: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm> 3.  Six tetras 5 Glowlight and one Neon (left from my first tank) <... "like" very different water quality than those fishes above> My chemistry is as follows: 1.  Nitrate 20 <Getting to be too high> 2.  Nitrite 0.5 <Definitely too high, toxic> 3.  GH 300 4.  KH 100 5.  pH 7.4 6. Ammonia 0.0 I do a 20% water change weekly to maintain my chemistry. <Need to do something more... See WWM re FW nitrate, nitrite>     OK now for my question. What can I put in this tank that my Killie won't ...well kill. I am wanting more color in my tank but the LFS have little that interest me. I don't want to introduce any aggressives into my community tank but I still want more color. I am attaching a picture for your reference. Thanks, Philip Rodda <You really need to "go back to square one" Phil... re-think your system, what you'd like to have... trade in all but one of the above listed fish groups or all of them... Please peruse WWM re FW livestock selection: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm The linked files at top. Bob Fenner>

Re: 20 gallon freshwater stocking question... Trouble already with mis-stocked, incompatible water quality and behavior fishes   7/22/06 Bob, <Philip>     I have taken your advice on the puffers to heart. I have removed the puffers into their own brackish tank (cycled for 8 weeks) <... not cycled biologically... do see WWM re... the use of BioSpira...> I have added a second powerhead to the UGF in the 20L I have noticed an algae bloom on my airlines and larger rocks (looking into either snails or algae eating fish) I think this is the cause of my high nitrates reading. <The root cause of both is likely related> I have added two dwarf Gourami's both about 2.5 inches the fish in the 20L seem more at ease with the puffers out my 20 Long now contains the following: 1. 5 tetras 4 Glowlight 1Neon 2. 1 Golden Wonder Killie 3. 1 Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami 4. 1 Dwarf Gourami My chemistry is exactly the same as my previous E-mail I now have color in my tank and it seems peaceful. many thanks Philip Rodda <Sound like positive moves! Bob Fenner> oops I did have a different reading on my Nitrites they came out at 0.0 <Ohh, even better! BobF> again thanks Phil

My 27 gallon planted tank, mis-mixed livestock, lacking bio-filtration   7/7/06 TANK: 27 gal. Fluorite + Florabase, Eheim 2222, 9W turbo twist UV, CO2 via Milwaukee regulator (daytime only), Hagan bubble ladder as diffuser, Corallife 55x2 (4 wpg, often just burning one light to reduce algae threat), LED lunar lights FAUNA: 3 Panda Cory, 2 Dwarf Oto, 2 Yoyo loaches, 1 Clown Pleco, 1 Dwarf Gourami (removed from tank to 5 gallon because acting aggressive), 2 platies, 2 mollies and 4 guppies FLORA: Anubias Nana, Hygro Tropic Sunset, Crypt Wendtii Gr/Br, Water Hyssop, Dwarf Crypt, Rotala rotundifolia, Hygro corymbosa, Taiwan moss, Stargrass, Riccia, Cuba, Pearl Grass, Weeping Moss, Microsword and much, much more. CHEMISTRY:   pH 6.1 <A tad low> No2 0.3 <Should be zip> KH 20 ppm GH 60 ppm nHh3 0.6 <Dangerous> Po4 0.3 <Too high> Routine 50% H2O changes weekly. Bottled fertilizer applied weekly. QUESTIONS: (1) The female molly just gave birth to 30 fry (+ 5 stillborns). I bought fry food and feed twice daily (before and after work). Apart from keeping their fry cage clean, what more should be done to help improve them mature? <... need harder, more alkaline water... Have you read on WWM re the nutrition of Mollienesia?> (2) The mollies and guppies (unfortunate gifts from a well-meaning friend) need salt. But my panda Cory's don't like salt. Which suffers? Do I add salt for half the tank, or deprive them of salt to appease the other half of tank inhabitants? Which need is greater? <Yours... for another system to separate these two> (3) The dwarf Gourami is aggressive with all other fish. Is he ok in a 5 gallon tank or should I find him a new home? Or is there possibility that his aggressiveness will subside? <How many females do you have present?> (4) My ammonia seems high. <It is... deleteriously so> There is no fish or plant rot that I can see. There is blue-green algae on the glass between the tank and substrate which I keep disrupting by trying to remove by scraping clean. Apart from water changes, is there a way to reduce the ammonia? <... You likely have inadequate provision for/of biological filtration... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwammfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Julianne McCaffrey

Compatible fish, FW 6/29/06 Hi Crew! When my 18 - 19 gallon tank has matured a little more I intend to add some fish since after my initial dreadful start to restarting this hobby I am now only left with 3 fish, I have 2 upside down spotted cats - Synodontis nigriventris and a Pleco (not sure what). I have looked through the website and am still uncertain of what would be best to add. <Keep reading, dreaming... visiting LFS> I use slightly hard but very pure water as the water passes through a ceramic filter which filters finer than a blood cell. <Not all that small...> I will of course do a water / ph check before I buy anything. I also need to roughly know (allowing fish growth) how many fish I can add to a small tank of this size. <Depends on species, tankmates...> I was considering Neons or cardinals or black Neons but information varies on the ph and my water, I guess, would be far from ideal perhaps with the exception of the black Neons. If I could add something like that then maybe a shoal of 8 - 12 or instead just more of the same spotted cats as there are only two at the moment or again instead maybe a black ghost knife or a Betta. Your feedback always valued. Thanks. Oh I should add that I maintain a temperature of about 22 - 26 for my current fish, usually around the 25 C. Many thanks. Steve. <... Bob Fenner>
Re: Was: compatible fish, now filtration point.
 - 06/30/06 blood cell size, smaller than a fair few water filters on the market ;) <Mmm, do know this... Still many orders more magnitude than toxic chemicals... Do see WWM re FW livestocking. RMF>

Nonsense mixing of FW fishes    6/6/06 Hi I just have a quick question... I had an Oscar about 3 inches (the size of all my fish) that looks like it was eaten... <?> I also have another Oscar whose fins are tore up pretty bad.. I also have a red devil.. a little aggressive but has never bitten any other fish, I think and I have 2 Bala sharks perfect condition and yesterday I picked up two miscellaneous cichlids I think one is a peacock and the other one I give up it is light blue with a face that is wide and kind of bull nosed long body....what do you think would eat my Oscar? I greatly appreciate any replies. Dominique <...? The mixing of unknown species is a recipe for disaster... Know what you're doing, buying ahead of purchase... likely the misc. animal/s are at work here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Nonsense mixing of FW fishes  6/8/06
Thank you so much...I took back the unknown cichlids...I now have 3 Oscars and 4 sharks 1 Pleco in a 75 gallon tank and everyone is happy....(the red devil went back as well) thank you so much. Dominique <Ahh, thank goodness. Please do adopt a policy of investigating first the purchase, addition of any new livestock. Their system, nutritional needs, rates of growth, ultimate size, compatibility... Bob Fenner>

New tank and dying fish 6/5/06 I recently (3-4 wks) started myself a tank (125gal). I got it set up let it sit for a day or two. Then put in rock. Then a day or two later put in some gold fish to establish it. <Better ways to establish the cycle, also likely introduced pathogens if using common "feeder" goldfish.> After 3 days we put in my sister larger fish a Bala shark very large and a cichlid very large. <Too soon> Let them all in there for 2-3 days. I took them all out and put in some fancy tail guppies and Lyretail mollies. <Too soon>   Within the first two days the one of the mollies and one of the female guppies died. About a week later we added more. <Slow down.> A few different types of tetras, a couple different types of Danios and some more Lyretail mollies. <Stocking too quickly> Right off the bat the mollies started showing trouble. <I bet, tend to be sensitive to water quality.>   Got this white stuff come up instantly that looked like dry skin. They died with in 6 hours of putting them in the tank. All my other fish are doing well. <Look ok, but probably suffering from an uncycled tank.> We added a swordtail orange type of fish and now it too is showing trouble. <Really need to stop adding fish.> All my other fish are doing fine but these are getting that dry skin look and within hours are laying on the bottom of the tank. Like I said it is a 125 gal. I have taken over half the water out recently and replaced it. <Keep it up, probably necessary every few days if you are going to keep fish while cycling the tank.>   It has new filters in it and all the other types of fish doing great. <I bet they would disagree.>   What can I do? <Slow way down, stop adding fish.> What treatment can I put in there and what is it that is going on? <No treatment, problems are environmental.> Thank you for any help. <Please slow down.  Your tank needs to cycle before adding any more life.  Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm .   Also please spell and grammar check any future correspondence before submitting, it takes a long time to fix these before posting.> <Chris>

Stocking a 25 gal.  Freshwater Tank  6/5/06 Hi!  Love your website!  My sister gave me a 25 gallon tank (it is shaped like a bow front but is angular rather than rounded), it is 24"  x 12"  x 21".  It would be 26 gallons except for the way the front angles in.  I have a female Betta and 6 blood fin tetras in the tank right now.  They are getting along fine.  I did have a male Betta in there also but after a few days he became too aggressive for the female and I removed him to a 5 gallon tank.  I was thinking of adding 3 more female Bettas and 6 rainbow platies but wasn't sure if this would be too many fish. Or would it be better to just add the 3 Bettas or just the 6 platies? <Likely all will go in here fine> I have a 20-40 gal.  waterfall filter which includes a biological filter and an undergravel filter.  I have 5 plants also (sorry not sure what they are).  The tank is heated.  Sad to say I haven't checked ammonia levels yet but after checking out your website I definitely will.  Any suggestions is appreciated!   Thanks.   Cathrine Daily <Sounds "so far, so good"... Much written, recorded, accessible on the Net for folks who take the time to learn to/search. Bob Fenner>

FW, stkg., algae eaters, algae control  6/5/06 Hi Bob, I have a 10 gallon tank, (almost a year) with the following: 1 dwarf Gourami, 1 zebra loach, 3 Otos, 5 Pristella tetras. The Otos aren't doing a good job of cleaning off the algae on the surfaces, live plants etc. <This genus of little Loricariids is not really great at this task...> I have about 6 plants in there, no plastic ones and driftwood.  I would like to add an Ancistrus to eat the algae.   Is this going to be too crowded?   <Mmm, maybe... You'll need to keep an eye that this new cat and the Otocinclus are receiving food... likely from sinking wafer/pellet additions> And if so, how can I get rid of the algae especially because its taking over the plants and I can't enjoy their natural beauty. <Many things to state. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/algcontags.htm and the linked files above> I also leave the lights on for up 12-16 hours a day <I'd reduce this to 12> for the plants and just because.  Also, my Ludwigia (is that how you spell it?) <Close, will correct> has lost all of its bottom leaves and only the top ones are left, I wonder if its due to insufficient lighting? <One possibility. More likely light intensity, quality than duration> I have one newly replaced 19 watt fluorescent bulb. <Need more than this... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/lightingags.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, Lydia

Stocking with glassfish and guppies   5/27/06 Hello, my name is Jean. <<Hello, Jean. Mine's Tom.>> Your site is a font of wonderful information! Keep up the good work! <<Thank you kindly and I'll do my best for you.>> I have a 20 gallon tall freshwater tank. <<Okay. (I'll make a little "mental note" that it's "tall".>> I currently have 3 guppies and 3 (formerly painted) glassfish in it. I know I should keep my glassfish in larger schools, so I do plan on getting more (unpainted!) glassfish soon. Additionally, I think all 3 of my guppies are males (I think what I see is a gonopodium on each, and no one has ever gotten pregnant), but they do not seem to be bothering each other too much, no nipping at all. I had another psycho guppy previously who was a killing machine, I returned him. <<Hmmm...a psycho Guppy. I understand what you're saying but, you must admit, it sounds a little humorous.>> My questions are: What additional fish can I add to this tank that will get along with my glassfish and guppies? <<Provided you quarantine first, any of the smaller varieties of Tetras should be fine. Cardinals, Neons, Black Neons, et. al. A "tall" tank doesn't have the surface area for a great deal of gas/oxygen exchange so you're better off with small fish. I, additionally, would stress quarantine with the Neons. 'Neon Tetra Disease' isn't isolated to these fish only. There's no known treatment and it's virtually 100% fatal to any fish that contracts it. Bad news? I know of this first-hand. Good news? They were quarantined when it killed 11 out of 12 of my Black Neons. As you might surmise, I can't stress 'quarantine' enough.>> Should I do anything about having all male guppies, if they seem to be doing alright? <<If you don't see any problems arising I wouldn't worry.>> I'm not itching for fry right now! <<Understood.>> I would like any additions to my tank to be peaceful, as I don't want another psycho killer fish. <<I'll leave Piranhas out of the equation then... :)>> Further, I add about 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons to my tank, for the sake of the glassfish and general health. The guppies don't mind. My hardness (GH) is a constant 120 ppm, and my pH is currently at 6.8. What other fish can I add considering the salt level? <<Just about any.>> I've considered mollies but can't they be aggressive, especially with the guppies? <<Depends on the fish, Jean. I can't tell you that a lot of this isn't a 'crap shoot'. Mollies are great fish and typically mild-mannered and peaceful. Can you wind up with a "rogue"? Sure you can. I've heard of fish that should never get along becoming "buddies". We try to advise based on "likelihoods", not certainties. Anyone who tells you differently hasn't done his/her research.>> Further, are there any bottom feeders that would be o.k. in this environment? (I love exotic little Plecos, like Bristlenoses, but heard they can't stand the salt). <<It's true that Catfish, generally, don't appreciate salt in the water but one tablespoon per five gallons isn't likely to be a problem at all. A lot of times, when salt 'treatment' is recommended - at much higher dosages than you have - we advise against such when Catfish are living in the aquarium. If I had one admonition here it would be to return back to the size of your tank. Bristlenose Plecos tend to stay small but get large enough that oxygenation might be an issue. If it were a long tank, with a larger "footprint", I'd tell you to go for it.>> Thanks so much! <<Hopefully, I've been of some help, Jean. Tom>>

Basic FW Questions 5/9/06 Hello, Your site is very helpful. Can you suggest some colorful fish to go with my 4 zebra Danios in their 10 gallon tank? <Too many to list, live bearers, small rainbows, certain tetras to name a few.  Small in size and quantity is important for a 10G> Also, there is some white crust forming on my lid and a white residue on parts of my filter. <Most likely calcium deposits> Thank you. <Sure> <Chris>

Dwarf Puffers + Cichlids + sharks + Koi +.... - 5/3/2006 I wasn't able to find the specific information I needed, so I was going to go ahead and e-mail you guys (and gals). <<Go for it!>> I have had a dwarf puffer for about two weeks, and he's the happiest little thing in the world. <<Sweet little things, aren't they?>> He was the absolute tiniest in the fish store, so I had to rescue him, and he's subsequently known as Spot. Well, I've also decided that rescuing cichlids and taking a Koi a friend bought me was also a great idea. I have a 40 gallon tank with a dojo loach, a 3" Koi, the puffer, a one eyed Bolivian Ram (he's about 3"), a red finned shark, a baby Convict, and a baby Kenyi female. They're all very small, the loach and the Koi are the biggest. There's almost no violence in the tank, the worst that happens in that I can't find the puffer in the tank sometimes. The filtration is very good; I have under gravel filtration + a power head, and a good cleanup crew. <<I'm sure I don't have to tell you how over/improperly stocked you are though, right?>> My worry is that, not that the puffer will be aggressive (he's such a gentleman, due to his young age) but that my cichlids will be more aggressive to him as they get bigger, and he doesn't. He's had a few encounters with the Koi almost taking him as dinner although he seems to never notice, and he's very active. I've been thinking about getting an albino Oscar. <<Certainly not for that tank?!>> I'm worried about the puffer. <<I would be worried for all of your fishes.>> Is there any chance he'll get eaten or bothered by the other fish? <<Yes.  Also, DP's will take on fish many times their size.  Your puffer will be out-competed for food in time, if he is not already.>> Or would it be a better idea to downgrade him into the 10 gallon tank and put the ram in there also? <<I would put the DP in the 10-gallon, with a few Amano shrimp and a few Otocinclus.>> I'm really at a loss as what to do, since the lure of an Oscar is overwhelming. I feel bad for the puffer, especially due to his increased curiosity and happiness in this tank. What do you recommend I do? <<If you really want all of these fish, please do purchase more/larger tanks to house them properly.  I know the lure of certain fish can be great, but it is our job to take care of them properly.  Good luck my friend.>> Thank you so much! <<You are quite welcome. Lisa.>>

Changing A Tank Around ... FW set-up, stkg.   - 5/2/2006 Hi there, I haven't been able to find anything specific enough on the site on what I'm looking for...so hopefully you can help me out :) I'm relatively new to fish keeping and this is what I currently have: 35 gallon tank:  Marineland filter with BioWheel; Artificial plants; Brightly coloured gravel; Couple medium size rocks (with holes to swim through); and the following fish: 1 White Tetra; 2 Penguin Tetras; 10 Neon Tetras; 10 Harlequin Rasboras; 2 Platies; 1 Plecostomus; and 1 Snail.  Once I change my tank, I would like to add 2 Clown Loaches and a few more Neon Tetras. < Clown loaches get big over time. I would not recommend these.> What I would like to do is change the tank to a more natural looking setting, and need some specific instructions on how to do this.  I want to change the gravel to something finer and more natural looking.  I also want to add the correct substrate because I want to add live plants. < Take out everything you don't want. Replace the gravel with Fluorite, add the wood and rocks. The bacteria live on the Bio-Wheel so you don't have to worry about disrupting the biological filtration. Just rinse everything really well and use rocks that are intended for the aquarium.> Then, I would like to add a couple of good hiding places for the loaches and Pleco...maybe a piece of driftwood and some type of rock formation. There are so many opinions out there on what is best and what you should and shouldn't do, I just want an instruction list from someone I trust (like you're crew) that I can easily follow. What are the exact steps I need to take, and in what order? < I would take out everything on one half of the tank. All the fish will move to the other half. Change the gravel and take out the rocks and plants you don't want. Add the new stuff to the bare half of the tank. then do the same to the other half.> What do I do with the fish while I'm making the change? < They will simply move out of the way. Try to do it slowly so not to startle them too much.> What types of plants do you recommend (I'd like to try and breed my platies if possible)? < Start with easy plants like Cryptocorynes, Anubias, java fern and java moss.> What type of wood / rocks do you recommend for decorations? < Look through some books or online and get some ideas for how you would like your tank to look. Then go to the store and try to match it.> Any other suggestions that I may be overlooking? < When you remove things your water level may drop below the heater, turn it off or unplug it to be safe. When you are done to a water change to clean things up.-Chuck> Thanks SO MUCH for your help with this! Donna

FW Fish Recommendations For A 35 Gallon Tank  - 5/2/2006 Thanks for the quick response! Other than clown loaches, do you have any recommendations on what I could get?  I would like to get some type of fish as the focus or highlight of my tank.  Either something a bit larger than all of my current fish, or something with some great colour? Thanks again :) Donna < Neons are very small and will be intimidated by fish that are too big. Check out some dwarf cichlids like German rams or Kribensis to occupy the lower areas of the tank. You could add some threadfin rainbows or cherry barbs to mix in with the additional Neons. None of these fish will outgrow your set up.-Chuck>

55 Gallon FW Recommendations   4/26/06   Hello, I sport a 55 gal tank and would like your opinions, thoughts, or statements about my setup. Contents: 1 Red striated discus, 1 pictus cat, < A predatory catfish from South America and will eat smaller fishes that will fit in its mouth.> 1 silver tipped catfish, < Probably in the genus Pangasius and will get very big and eat smaller fish.> 6 GloLite tetras, 1 Chinese algae eater, < Actually a very poor algae eater and sometimes attacks the slime off the sides of discus.> 3 German blue ram cichlids,  4 bamboo shrimp, 1 Blue crayfish, < A predatory crustacean and will try to catch fish and eat them.> 3 peppered Corys. For Plants, 2 Amazon swords, 5 banana plants, some Nymphaea dubyana, and some Anacharis with about 1 3/4in. gravel. I am using an EHEIM canister filter with EHEIM bio and mechanical filters. I also use Seachem's Purigen and 2 Chemi-pure pouches in addition with no undergravel filter. I use Doc Wellfish's salt at the recommended 1 tbls per 5 gal water.  Minimal fluorescent lighting with 1 24in.coralife Nutrigrow  and 1 color enhancing standard that came with the hood. I do about a 30% water change once a week. Its a little hard to determine water parameters as I am using Jungle test strips. A little hard to read and probably not that accurate. I have no ammonia or nitrite with nitrate about 20. Hardness between 25-75 and Alkalinity between 80-120. The pH is the hardest to read but it looks to b around 6.8 to 7.2. I also use Boyd's Vita-chem as directed. I have only had this for about 5 months now but so far everything is great. My Rams and disc love to eat from my hand. Definitely not shy. Sometimes my silver tip will join.  One morning I noticed my disc had a big cut behind his eye and even had meat hanging from it, but the next mourning it was almost completely gone and now you can't even tell it happened. At that time I had plastic plants so I replaced them with real ones. I had no idea they heal that fast. Wow.  I wasn't told about the silver tipped brackish and marine requirements as he gets older but I guess that's my fault for not doing my homework. One concern I have is my disc and the silver tipped cat occasionally stretch their mouth and fins. I was told this is due to improper pH level for these fish. I was also told to use Mark Weiss's  Instant Amazon, Ketapang Vital, and Immuno Vital. This seems like a lot to be adding to the water? I also use Seachem's Prime for water conditioner. I was also curious as to how my disc would react to adding moon or lunar lights.  The more I learn about aquaculture the more I realize I got a bit ahead of myself.  My plants are doing fine but could maybe use a little more light. About every 2 weeks I add SeaChem's Flourish excel. All my fish are active, colorful, eat vigorously and don't fight. I realize now that some of these are going to need a new home. I am hoping to get a 75gal but don't know if I can afford it now. Most of all I love my disc and the silver tipped cat is too cute to let go. If I cant provide him with a new home do you have any suggestions on what to do with him. I heard that there are fish auctions?  Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thank U very much for your time.  :-)Jason < You are adding all these chemicals to the water only to have the Chemi-pure take all of them out right away. Your plants are not very demanding and can probably due OK without the fertilizers.-Chuck>

Problems with aquarium ... FW, ich... stkg.    4/9/06 Hello, I was wondering if you could help me with a problem that I am having.   <Will try> I set up my aquarium (the first one in 15 years!) and proceeded to perform a fishless cycle.  The aquarium is a 96 Litre (25 gallon) tank.  It is a planted tank with both live and plastic plants.  I used ammonium chloride to initiate the cycle <... a bit dangerous... easy to overdose> and measured nitrites and nitrates to observe the spike and subsequent drop.  I could not test ammonia levels as in Switzerland I have yet to find an ammonia testing kit. <Interesting. Likely "against the law" due to the toxicity of the test reagents. They are>   The tap water has the following natural parameters: pH: 8.0 <A bit high for your Cardinals mentioned below> KH: 5d GH: 7d Tank temperature is kept at 26-27C.  I stocked the tank with fish when the nitrites were at 0 ppm and the nitrates at 12ppm.  I put in 4 male guppies and 10 cardinal tetras and 1 Pleco (which I now fear may outgrow the tank). <Most species sold for aquariums, yes> To acclimate them to the new water I placed them in a plastic bag floating in the water for about 20 minutes.  I then introduced about 1-1 and 1/2 cups of tank water into the bag every 20 minutes for about 1 hour.  After this time I removed the fish from the plastic bag and set them free in the tank.  I tried to avoid adding any water from the plastic bag into the tank, but maybe a little bit (i.e.: some drops) entered the tank.  I disposed of the mixed water and bags. For the first 4-5 days everything seemed fine.  The cardinals and guppies and Pleco seemed very happy.  On the 5th day I thought I noticed some white dots on one of the tetras, noted it in my journal, but didn't take action.  I am a bit rusty after 15 years... <I'm permanently fused after forty...> Two days later, it was as I feared.  Almost all the tetras had what obviously appeared to be ick.  Bad.  I raced to the fish shop and purchased a preparation based on malachite green.  I treated the tank at half dose (because of the cards and Pleco) <Good> and treated at the same time with anti-biotic (1/2 dose). Temperature was raised to 28C. <Very good> Thirty percent water changes were done every 2 days along with substrate vacuuming.  Over a period of 3-4 days I lost all the tetras.  I was devastated.  After I lost the tetras, the guppies started exhibiting lots of white spot.  I continued the treatment.  I am on about day 8 of the treatment now and the guppies seem to be doing much better.  The ich is visibly gone, but I will continue to treat.  Two guppies have developed what appeared to be tail rot, so I upped the dose of the anti-biotic and added some anti-fungal medication (at half dose also).  They finally appear to be doing better (tail damage seems to have halted) and seem to be eating.  But now, one guppy (with the biggest tail) seems to be getting picked on by two other guppies.  It looks to me like they are trying to nip his fins, and his tail fin is already quite damaged (from the rot, I suspect). My questions are: 1. Can I do anything to discourage this nipping behaviour? <Mmm, more decor, plants, more frequent feeding... perhaps isolating the "nippers" for a few days in a floating/breeding trap...> 2. How long should I continue to treat with the malachite green? <Every three days for two weeks maximum... Is toxic> (Just today I noticed no more white spots, so all the cysts have probably fallen off in the last 24 hours) <... Yes... I might risk even elevating the temperature another C.> 3. Will the anti-biotic treatment kill my biological filter?   <Could> 4. When is a reasonably safe time to add more fish given I have just treated for ich? <A few to several weeks> 5. What type of (and how many) fish will do well with the guppies and water chemistry? <Posted... on WWM, fishbase.org... elsewhere> I have a choice of Gouramis, blue rams, platys, mollies, cardinal tetras, angelfish, glassfish, penguin tetras, harlequin Rasboras, meekis, ramirezis, <Same as "Rams"> and neon tetras. (25 gallon tank, 5 fish current inhabitants) <I would stick with soft, acidic, tropical OR hard, alkaline, cooler water choices... other than the two you have indicated above here> 6. Any idea what could have caused the ich infestation? <Oh yes... You bought the fish/es with this... One of the "in the good old days" statements one might make. Livestock nowadays is far more likely to have problems...> I appreciate your time and assistance with my questions, <I appreciate your writing, sharing. Thank you and good life to you and yours. Bob Fenner> Thank you, John Theal.

Stocking Plan  - 04/05/2006 I am planning on setting up a 55 gallon tank in about a month or so and was just wondering if my fish choices were likely going to be compatible or if they are very difficult to keep. I figured in a 55 gallon there would be ample hiding places. I have plenty of time for tank maintenance. I wanted to put some Gourami's, a Cory or two, rosy barb and maybe another barb, a gold dojo loach, and a gold algae eater. I have read lots of conflicting things about how I should purchase my Gourami's but not much on the others. Should I get one male of each species of Gourami or a pair of each species or half males half females one of each species. I am just looking for some general info on Gourami's although it may not exist. I don't know how important it is to keep the fish the same size, like will a max 5 inch Gourami pester a max 4 inch or things like that. I have heard to stay away from mixing dwarf and normal Gourami. I figure the algae eater although it can possibly get quite large shouldn't bother anything and the Cory's will hold their own, but I don't know about the barb's. Also, is there any small schooling fish I can add a lots of that may have a chance at safety? Thanks! Mike <Male Gouramis can tend to be a little aggressive. But usually it only involves a little chasing. As long as you have plenty of hiding spaces, and everyone is getting enough to eat, you should be OK with mixing species of the same size. But every fish has his own personality. Many times this factors in far more than the general info available for the species. So give it a try, but keep an eye on them. Adding females may add a reason to fight. I would avoid doing this unless your goal is to breed. As for the loach and Cory, not usually a good mix. Pick one or the other and add five or six of the same species. They both do much better in a group of their own kind. Same goes for the barb. Rosies are good community fish, but need the comfort of a school to thrive. And I would avoid the Algae Eater at all costs! A Bristlenose Pleco is a far better choice. They are better at controlling most Algaes and are far less aggressive. A single BN Pleco will do fine by himself, but you could have two in a 55 without problems. Avoid the "Common Pleco". They grow slowly, but to a monstrous size. Make sure you do a fishless cycle before stocking the new tank. Don>

Is this too many fish for a 12 gallon tank?    3/29/06 5 neon tetras 4 Hatchetfish 4 dwarf Corys 2 dwarf Gouramis 1 golden mystery snail <Not really, Evan. Given what seems to be a careful selection on your part, these guys will occupy, generally, different strata in your tank. Tom> Thank you.

FW/BW Mis-mixes  - 03/26/2006 First off, I just wanted to say that I love your site and you all do a great job.  I was just wondering what you thought about the mixture of fish I have in my 90 gal tank.  I currently have 2 red devils, 1 Florida gar, <Neat fish... illegal in many States... get way big> 1 green terror, 1 tiger Oscar, a small Pleco, 1 figure eight puffer, and 1 dragon goby. <These last two... are increasingly brackish with age, size... should they live...>   The biggest so far is the red devil at about 7 in. <I'll bet! Some of these are really devils!> So far I have had the tank for about 4 months with no casualties. Everyone seems to be getting along swimmingly.  I am worried though that with this size tank there will not be enough room for all species when they reach their full potential. <To put this mildly> I have gotten so attached to them all I can't bare to let one go. (Unless it's for their own good.)   <You need at least two more tanks... and a lake if you're going to try raising the Lepisosteus> I do weekly water changes, vary their diet, etc.... and treat them all with the care they deserve.  What do ya think? Thanks - Steve, MI <A brackish tank, an easier going cichlid tank.... See WWM re these species systems, compatibility... Bob Fenner>

New Fish And Quieter Filter  - 02/20/06 Hi Crew! I have a 10 gallon tank which is really empty (well, seemingly to me). It  contains 2 Cory catfish -1 peppered and 1 bronze- and a Bolivian ram (so said at the pet shop). I was wondering what other fish could be compatible for these fish without overloading the tank. < Almost any community fish would work well in your tank. Small tetras, livebearers small barbs etc...> Also, over the past year my filter has been  growing louder and louder, and I was wondering why this is (the noise is driving  me mad since the tank is located in my bedroom near my bed...)? I clean the  filter regularly, and can't seem to find the problem... Thanks for all of your help, love the  website! Christine < Disassemble the filter and wash everything well with a garden hose with a aggressive spray attachment, especially around the impeller. Sometime small grains off sand or carbon get between the impeller and the sides of the filter causing the grinding sound.-Chuck>

Adding Fish To A FW Setup  2/18/06 Hi, As I am yet to find anyone or anywhere as great on fishkeeping as you guys, I wonder if I could ask you a fairly basic question about my tank with particular regard to my Gouramis? I have a six month old, heavily planted 150L tank (see below for stats) which houses 6 Amano shrimp, 2 dwarf bristle nose Plecs, 7 cardinal tetras, 2 zebra loaches, 3 rummy nosed tetras, 1 black neon tetra and two rather tetchy male dwarf neon Gouramis. My Gouramis peck at each other a bit; at feeding time and "lights-on" in the morning they can get quite aggro although they've not done any major damage to themselves. A neighbour is getting rid of their tank and I figured that adding their 3 female dwarfs might chill my guys out somewhat but really what I wanted was a professional opinion on whether I can add any more different fish after I add the females and, if so, what? < The females will cause you males to spar even more for their attention.> So far the only things I've seen that I've fancied have been Kribensis - which wouldn't get on with the Gouramis - and some amazing red whiptail catfish which I thought might be OK. What do you think? < The Kribs stay pretty close to the bottom of the tank and would only chase other fish around if they were breeding. The whiptails would be fine. Lots of other possibilities.-Chuck> I'd really like something a bit dramatic! Thank you so much, Tamzin. Tank: 150L Hagen Tropiquarium 88 Lighting: 1 x 20W Life-Glo, 1 x 20W Power-Glo. On 12 hrs per day. Substrate: Eco-Complete gravel mixed with special sand (can't remember what it's called!) Filter: Fluval 4+ Routine: Nutrafin CO2, 25% water change every 10 days, Nutrafin ferts added every change Temp: 80 Decoration: Big bit bogwood, small flowerpot, lots of plants Food: Every other day there's flakes or frozen bloodworm plus algae tablets or veg. Once a week they get live food (daphnia, Artemia or bloodworm). Param.s: NO3 0-5,NH3  0, NO2  0, GH   16, pH    7.6   

Freshwater Tanks set up    2/17/06 I'm very experienced in saltwater fish, but I've only tried freshwater once.  The last time I had a freshwater tank, it was a disaster.  There was a huge outbreak of ich that killed all of my fish.   I'm interested in starting up 1, possibly 2 freshwater tanks.  I have a 20 long and a 29 gallon. I have 3 ideas for the 2 tanks: a) An aggressive tank with barbs and sharks b) A friendly tank with tetras, catfish, Gouramis, loaches and killifish c) Breeding fish, I'm not sure which type though. For the setup of both of them, I'd prefer to go bare bottom or just a VERY thin layer of gravel. Is that okay? <Yes> For the aggressive tank, would a Pleco get destroyed? <Likely not> And if it were in the 29 gallon, which sharks and barbs are easiest to care for, and how many can I fit in to the 29. <See WWM re> For the friendly tank, would this combination work for the 29 gallon: 1 Pleco 2 Peppered Cory Cats 2 False Julii Cory Cats 2 Neon Blue Dwarf Gouramis 1 Clown Loach 10-15 Neon Tetras <Should, yes> For the breeding tank, which type of fish (excluding guppies, Danios and goldfish) are easiest to breed? <... some of the smaller barbs, Danios, Rasboras> My final question is, how do you stop ich? <Posted on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm> I know it is always present, but if an outbreak does occur how can you stop it if it has started to take over the tank? Thank you and have a nice day. <Read. Bob Fenner>

Am I overcrowding my tank?  02/12/06 Hello,   I'm kinda new to the whole fish keeping experience, and would like your help. I have a 2 1/2 gallon tank with two female balloon mollies and 4 ghost shrimp. My question is are my fish safe from over-crowding? <Mmm, not really... small volumes are very easy to "get away" with pollution, vacillating water quality...> and if possible is it okay for me to have one more balloon molly? <I would not> I've been doing a bit of research and what I can gather the general rule is a fish of one inch for every gallon, <Better one cubic inch per every 3-5 gallons> but I've read cases where people had more fishes in their tank than they had gallons and they were having no problems. I would also like to know if I can feed my mollies any vegetables like say: lettuce or cucumber. Any suggestions you can give me will be much appreciated.   Thank you,   Marissa <Good question... but your chances of trouble increase tremendously with adding more life to small tanks. Bob Fenner>

Stocking a 25 litre aquarium   2/9/06 Hi Crew, I have a small aquarium (25 litres). I have just finished cycling (fishless of course) and I am currently planning on stocking it. I think that I should stick to small sized fish, probably Cardinals and Zebra Danios. I must note here that I have calibrated the biological filter to a high ammonia value. It is now able to completely convert 3mg/L of ammonia to nitrite and nitrate in a few hours. This means that I could go for a relatively higher bioload. Do you think that a school of 15 fish (Tetras mixed with some Danios) would be fine for my tank ? <... only if they were very small species. Apart from physiological consequences of crowding (e.g. the ammonia you mention) there are psychological...> Would you suggest that I keep a smaller school of Tetras (around 5) and add a couple of Colisa Lalias? <A good choice> I am looking forward to your suggestions. Thanks in advance. Spyros <Add a small school (three individuals) of a species along with the Gouramis and see how you like this. Perhaps a couple of Corydoras sp. catfish... Bob Fenner>

FW Qs on stocking, chemistry  02-05-06 Dear Crew,    <Alexia>   I have a 55 gallon tank with 1 clown loach, 1 yo you loach, 4 albino Corys, 1 panda Cory, 2 other Corys I don't know the name of them they are gray and black. 2 common Plecos, 2 Bala sharks, 2 rainbow sharks, 2 red lyre tail Dalmatian mollies, 4 male guppies and 1 female guppy, 2 male dwarf Gouramis, 2 Opaline Gouramis and 2 angelfish.  Is my tank overstocked?  This is just temporary for right now What size tank should I have?    <Maybe mis-stocked... the sharks will fight to a degree... the Rainbows chase, eat the guppies, mollies... and the Balas could eventually outgrow it... you can look up these: http://wetwebmedia.com/faqstips.htm>   I believe my female guppy is pregnant.  I know where her gravid spot is and all the pictures I find on the internet show the whole area to be completely black.  Here gravid spot is only half brown but she is really really fat.  Is she pregnant or is there something else wrong with her?    <Impossible to say from here, likely gravid though>   My main question for you all is that I have been having problems with my water smelling awful.  I have done water changes after water changes and it just does not work.  I usually change 30% of my water using my gravel cleaner but the smell will not go away.  Do you all have any suggestions for this?    <Nothing other than good maintenance>   My ph stays between 6.8 to 7.2, ammonia is 0 to .25, <Should be zip, nada, zilch> nitrite 0, and nitrate is 20.   I have been using ACE to help the ammonia is there something else you suggest? <I would not use Ace... contains formaldehyde. NovAqua, StressCoat, others would be better as water conditioners> Also what exactly is the best brand to buy when buying stuff for the ph and ammonia? <For what purpose here?> Another thing what and where can I find the right chemicals in case my nitrite and nitrate decide to act up?      If you can help please do!!      Thank you   Alexia Galindo <Please familiarize yourself with WWM, the indices, search tool. Bob Fenner>

Re: What does a sump mean for a beginner's freshwater system? Livestock Sel.   2/2/06 Hi Bob, and thanks for your advice!   <Welcome> I think your collective attitude of encouragement is absolutely  wonderful!   I've gone ahead and purchased the 70-gallon tank/cabinet/hood  minus the sump. My next decision lies in how to set it up--which won't  occur for a few months, as we'll be moving, so I've got lots of time to read  books, observe fishes at the LFS, and make a decision. <Good> I've read a few  goldfish books, and do like the idea of maybe 5 goldfish and a school of white  clouds (not too crowded?). <No> But I've also done extensive reading on Oscars,  and that is a fun (and messy, I understand and not intimidated)  consideration!  Here's where I'd like your opinion, strictly opinion, I  know.  This tank will be the focal point of either the family room or  living room, so I really want it to be attractive.  I know I can make a  goldfish tank attractive,  but what about an Oscar's tank? <Mmm> From what  I gather, they tear things up quite a bit, so maybe no live plants, and even not  too many fake plants lest I spend too much time replanting everything? <Part of the fun... weights can be banded about the bottoms... replanted...>   I've also read plenty about potential tankmates for an Oscar, what is your  opinion on potential friends for 1 Oscar in a 70 gallon? <Larger Catfish/es, other Neotropical cichlids...> I guess I'm  trying to collect info that will help me decide if I should keep Oscar on the "potential" list for this tank.  Actually, I also have a few cichlid   books coming my way.  I know there's such a devotion to this family of fishes, but I'm not sure I understand it yet (outside the Oscar, that is).   Is it mostly a fascination with their breeding?   <For some, yes... But I would hazard a guess it's more to do with their intelligence, play behavior, bonding with owners> If so, that's not  something I'm ready for yet. They certainly are beautiful at the  store.  Any other suggestions for a wide-open 70 gallon?   <... many> I love to do  my reading(!), so if you toss me a few bones/ideas/suggestions I'll gladly do  some research.  Thanks, I truly appreciate your time, and also your  dedication to answering all the questions that you do! Katie <Do keep perusing WWM, the Net, your books... Bob Fenner>

Big Tank, Bigger Fish, Uncertain Filter, and More - 12/15/2005 Happy Holidays, greetings to you all, <And to you!> I just wanted to get suggestions on a 180 Gallon freshwater tank 36 EuroFil  wet/dry filter, I currently have an silver Arowana 9 in; <Will outgrow this tank, and not too long from now> 2 Pleco,  2 Discus, 2 Bala 2 other fish I was not able to get the name from the vendor? <Learn what these are; it's difficult to impossible to properly care for an animal without knowing what it is; not knowing its dietary, environmental, behaviour, and compatibility information is dangerous at best - to the fish itself and to its tankmates.> Can you suggest what other fish I can put in the tank <I can't comfortably recommend anything in a tank with unknown inhabitants.  Those guys aside, I would omit the discus (very sensitive, shy animals) and add a few balsa, which are active, enthusiastic schoolers.> and best way to maintain, if I need to add air, bio-balls? <I'm not sure what you're asking here....  I know virtually nothing about your system at this point....> and where to get more information regarding the "EuroFil 1 wet/dry filter" please. <Wow, this one's a stumper!  I've done quite a bit of Google searching, and found everything from oil filters to cooling towers - but nothing coupling "EuroFil" and fish....  if you can find the manufacturer of this filter system, you should be able to contact them for an owner's manual.  All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Helping oneself to WWM re livestock selection, maint.  12/16/05     I had a 10 gallon aquarium with a few mollies, a platy, and a algae eater. I bought a 55 gallon aquarium, because I wanted a bigger tank with more exciting fish, but i <"I"...> did not want to get rid of the fish i had.  When I went to PetSmart to buy a vacuum I bought an upside down catfish and a little frog. <These two are not compatible...> With all these fish in my new tank, i have a total of 6 fish, an upside down catfish, an algae eater and my frog. These fish i have do not get any bigger than maybe 2.5 inches, with the exception of my algae eater, and catfish. I want some kind of fish that is pretty and bigger than these fish i have, but will not eat my other fish. I like the big goldfish and the angelfish, but i have no idea what will do okay together, <Nope> because of the pH, temp of the water and other reasons. Please help me with this, because my aquarium looks so bare. <Please help yourself. Such compatibility, system notes are posted on WWM>   I need a big beautiful fish for this size tank. Also, i have read that the fish i have do better with salt in their water. Is this true and will my other fish do okay with the salt. <Is true and there are> Okay i have one more issue, when i filled my new tank up, i used water conditioner, but my water is not clear, it has a white appearance. <Read on WWM re... will clear of its own accord in time...> It had so many bubbles in it, i think it's from my water being so cold, and the outside being so warm. My water temp is about 75-80 degrees now, but still "white". I used the cloud away drops, <Not a good idea> but I don't think that was my problem, it was all new water, and from a well. Thanks for your help, Andrea S. <Ahh, "Andrea", "woman of the sea"... do keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Response to Helping oneself to WWM re livestock selection, maint.  12/16/05 Well i <I...> am sorry that I bothered the crew at WWM, and just to let you know that I have been reading. The fact is that the WWM website is sort of hard to understand. <How would you improve it?> I can sit here and search and search, and it seems like i find nothing,  or understand what i am reading. I just figured I would ask the experts. Also, just to let you know that the rude comments can be left out, because "I" am not some stupid woman.  I am a nurse and very smart. I come to you because I don't understand much about the aquariums, if you need help with your foot fungus, you can come to me. And I will help myself, which is what you put in your email to me.  Thanks, Andrea S. (Woman of the sea, ha ha) <Is a/the meaning of your first name...> I think i will go to books-a-million and buy a book on aquariums, and i will buy you one on manners. <Appreciate this. Bob Fenner>

Looking For Show fish  12/16/05 Hey guys, Your site is an excellent resource and a great wealth of info. I appreciate having a place to go for help and advice. I recently upgraded from a 10 gallon to a 55 gallon freshwater fish tank. I had my 10 gallon for about 4 years when I was in college and it was had several different types of fish. (My buddies and I would do the impulse buy thing when we went to the fish store) Its been a couple of months now and I've been slowing stocking the tank and getting partners for the fish that were singles in the 10 gallon. I currently have: 3 Glo-Lite Tetras 3 Red Fin Tetras 2 Bronze Corys 4 Marble Hatchets 2 Black Skirt Tetras 2 Golden Killies (I think that's the name) 3 Serpae Tetras 3 Harlequin Rasboras I definitely have the community aquarium thing going. I use an Emperor 400 for filtration and have several fake plants but may consider going with the real deal in the future. I regularly test the water and everything is great, PH of about 7.3 (the PH of water here tends to run a bit high) and no ammonia or nitrites, Temp of about 79 degrees. Now to my question: With the 55 gallon tank up and running I have more options on types of fish and the amount of fish I can have in the tank and I've been doing a fair amount of research on what I can get for the tank that would really set it off and be the "exotic" fish or fishes that everyone will look at. This has been somewhat disappointing for me because everything I look at seems to be semi aggressive and could pose a threat to my other fish. Some fish I have looked at are the Knife Fish, < Glass knife maybe, all others get big> Elephant Nose Fish, < Cool fish, but hides all day and only comes out at night.> and German Blue Rams. < Rams would work. Wild ones require soft warm water, but the German ones are tank raised and are more tolerant of a wider range of water conditions.> I think the Knife and Elephant may try to eat some of the current fish and the Ram requires different water conditions than my current fish. Is my info correct or could any of these possibly work in my tank? Could you also suggest a couple of fish that would be "different" from what I currently have and be the show case of the aquarium. I would like to stay around the $30-$40 price range for right now. I realize that the level of care and feeding for these different types of fish will be different from my current fish but I am looking forward to the challenge. Thanks for any help you can provide. Matt < There are a few ways to go. Bigger fish are an instant attraction just because of their size. Unfortunately bigger fish eat smaller fish or at least intimidate them to the point they may become stressed or diseased. The other option is to go with a big school of smaller fish. A big group of cardinal tetras in a large tank with black gravel and live plants is pretty awesome. You don't have to use cardinal because they prefer soft acidic water but you could use other tetras or Danios and have the same effect. Do a Google search on the Aquatic Gardeners Association. On their web site they have aquascaping contests all the time with live plants. There is plenty of WOW in those tanks. Dwarf cichlids like curviceps or Kribensis are easy to care for and are great fun to watch while breeding and guarding their eggs and fry.-Chuck>

Fresh Water Stocking 11/25/2005 First, I'd like to congratulate you all on a truly excellent site and valuable source of information. <Awesome, lots of good folks here sharing information.> I have an established, 50-gallon FW tank containing six Bloodfin tetras, six black skirted tetras, four red minor (serpae) tetras and one red flame Gourami. The tank, at this point, is lightly planted with several decorations which provide suitable entertainment but no "hiding" places, to speak of. <Entertainment like burping clams, bubbling volcanoes, and sunken pirate treasure?  My favorite is the Sponge Bob character Patrick whose home opens and closes to reveal Patrick watching TV, hilarious, I could watch that all day long.  Maybe add some driftwood, it looks nice, helps lower pH, gives you the cool tea colored water, and fish can hide behind it if they feel the need.> I'm currently using granular peat in a Fluval 304 canister filter to add coloration as well as lower the pH level of my tap water which tests at 7.8. Tank pH is maintained at 6.8-7.0. <6.8pH-7.0pH is a potentially large swing; try to nail it down somewhere in that range.> I'd love to add six to eight Panda Corydoras to my aquarium but have concerns about overstocking. I feel that this may be pushing the limits of my tank but would greatly appreciate your opinion/insights. <You've got small mid to upper level swimmers that do not produce a terrible amount of waste.  I say add the Corys, they are great scavengers and a group of them would be a nice addition to your tank.  8 should be fine.  Best Regards, Gage> Thanks for the great work. Tom

Help from The Los Angeles Zoo board member  11/17/05 Hi Bob, <Richard> As you can see I am seeking guidance on the topic mentioned here below.  I tried sending the message to Dionigi based on an article I read in The Krib, but Erik replied he does not know his where about. I then thought that maybe you know someone to refer me to entertain consulting regarding these matters. Awaiting your guidance, truly yours, Dr. Richard Sneider <My comments below. RMF>

Huge community tank Dear Dionigi, I am on the board of The Los Angeles Zoo. We are contemplating doing a very large freshwater tropical fish exhibit containing many conspecific and community tanks, many of which will be planted, and ranging from a couple hundred gallons, to several thousands. I have extensive knowledge in various fresh water species, including many predatory fish, but limited community tank experience. As a preamble to such exhibit I am personally building a 1,500 gallon planted tank under the consulting of staff from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. While the tank is being built I started housing a 200 gallon community tank containing several species: discus, Altums, other angels, <I would not keep Symphysodon and Pterophyllum species together... some evidence of parasitic host reservoir action twixt and behaviorally incompatible> rummys, harlequins, Corys, cardinal tetras, and so forth. This tank is bare bottom, with 5 large canister filter and UV sterilizer. The tank has been running in great condition, with all the fish thriving in great activity, color and health, until recently, when my largest discus started folding fins, and thrusting itself against the equipment in an effort to scratch itself. In addition my large Altums starting folding fins and get reclusive. I resorted to the use of Quick Cure (Formalin=Malachite), but on no early sign of recovery, moved after two days to Clout (broad spectrum shot gun bomb). It has been two days since the use of Clout, and still no visible signs of improvement.  <Mmm, likely an internal protozoan. The vast majority of "standard cures" here have involved Metronidazole/Flagyl (see Noga re). Many folks speculate Octomita/Hexamita... as causative agent here.> I have now become very concern on setting a large community planted tank, and fear that an epidemic like this cannot be controlled and eliminated, and as such, embark not only on a devastating personal 1,500 gallon experiment, but embark the Zoo on a collection of them!  <Mmm, I would definitely quarantine, treat all incoming fishes per the above, a month or more in advance of introduction. Your system is now infested (much more expensive, difficult to treat), and you don't want to keep re-exposing your livestock to the Flagyl> Are you familiar with Clout as a remedy? Is there anything that can be done to assuage my newly acquired fears and hope of successfully keep large community planted tanks? <Am familiar, and would just use the Metronidazole> Upon reading your great article on fish health diagnosis and remedies I also became concern with the high maintenance lengthy periods needed for successful quarantine, but now, more than ever, realize that these are necessary to prevent disasters.  <An emphatic YES!> <<I thought a quarantine period of 30 days disease-free was standard protocol for ALL public zoos/aquaria, is standard for all but the most delicate specimens acquired for the LBAOP.  Might want to contact them re: their quarantine procedures, best I've witnessed.  Marina>> If we have a few quarantine containment established tanks, are daily water changes necessary? <Checking of water quality, regular (weekly) changes likely sufficient> I would imagine, since some of the suggested prophylactic treatments would likely destroy the bio systems for the nitrifying bacteria...  <Possibly> I would sincerely appreciate your guidance in the issues above mentioned. Awaiting your response, truly yours, Dr. Richard Sneider <Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Help from The Los Angeles Zoo board member  11/18/05
Hi Bob, <Rich> Sincere thanks for your guidance. With all the distress signs in the tank, such as loss of coloration and motor skill complications, along with some blood lines in the angel's fins, I think I have a combination of a toxicity and a  parasitical/bacterial infestation that is still lingering. <No fun...> After two days of Quick Cure (Formalin=Malachite), and three days of Clout, I don't seem to see much improvement, but know that some of the potential improvement may be masked by toxicity manifestations. <These are (as you well no doubt know) quite toxic medicants...> My thinking is:  A) do a 50% water change, and filter with carbon, and replace by metro...as suggested, or <... Would... but limit the water changes to 25% daily...> B) do the water change and raise the temp to 88 dgf and commence a salt treatment... <Sounds good... but what re plants?> C) In addition I can inject my largest discus (worse sufferer) with Flagyl and Levaquin (have done this in the past with black Serrasalmus and discus and has worked well). <Thank you for this information> D) add another day of Clout and then water change Please note that as of yesterday, since I run 5 large canister filters with lots of media, my ammo was still 0, and had not raised the nitrate/nitrite much.. <Good> Which of the above choices would you do? <A, with no more than quarter water change outs in a 24 h period, B, with as much salt is tolerable, C, with care on the larger, more valuable fishes, not D> Thank you again for tour time and guidance! Sincerely, Dr. Richard Sneider <Glad to offer my input/ideas. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Help from The Los Angeles Zoo board member  11/18/05
Thanks, Clarification: Either A or B right, <Mmmm, A and B... but no more than 25% of water volume changed out in a day, elevated temperature is fine (just reduce slowly later), you'll want to leave the activated carbon out while medicating... the salt... oh, I see this below> and if so, which? Or both? How much salt? No plants in this tank, bare bottom... Thanks! <I would add a level teaspoon of "aquarium" or synthetic marine salt per twenty gallons of system water a day, for three consecutive days... Cutting back if the fishes appear mal-affected. Bob Fenner> 

Coldwater Fish Tank Stocking  11/15/05 Hello, I am very impressed with your site, it is very useful. <Thanks> I am 15 years old and in my bedroom I have a 6.6 gallon coldwater aquarium with a filter but no heater. The tanks dimensions are 24 inches x 8 inches x 8 inches. At the moment I have six white cloud mountain minnows and two Garra garra taeniata.  I am interested in either getting rosy red minnows - will they school with the white cloud mountain minnow or will they create two separate groups? Or a trio of guppies for breeding (two males and one female) or zebra Danios (are the long finned or short finned species better? what is the minimum number of these I can have in my tank to keep them content?) What would be the best mix or either guppies, red minnows or zebra Danios to go with the fish I have at present? How many would you suggest? Thank-you very much for your advice, Joe < Go with the Danios. If they are all the same size they will probably school together. The fins of the male guppies may get picked on by the other fish. Get about 6 of each for a schooling effect and to make them feel more comfortable. Check the nitrates and do your water changes often to keep the nitrate levels down.-Chuck>  <<Mm, I think Chuck mis-read the size of this aquarium - this is far too small for six of each of these groups....  -SCF>>

Guppies with Danios and White Clouds  11/16/05 Thank-you. Would 5 zebra Danios (would long finned or short finned be better?) < Your own personal preference.> with a trio of guppies (1 male and 2 females) the 2 Garra garra taeniata and the 6 white cloud mountain minnows be ok for my tank if did regular water changes? <The long flowing fins of the male guppy are tempting for many fish to nip at. Other wise the stocking rate would be just about right if you did regular water changes. Check the nitrates. If they get above 25 ppm then you will have to change more water or change it more often.> Its just I like the idea of guppies and possible breeding. If I get enough Danios I am hoping and have been told that they will not nip the male guppies fins (especially if I get a small-finned male?) < Try it out and see.-Chuck>  <<If I recall correctly, this is in reference to a six gallon aquarium.  I, personally, feel that this stocking suggestion is far too much fish in far too little space, but may be accomplished by employing an aggressive maintenance schedule....  But that's just me.  -Sabrina>>

Stocking A Tank - 11/16/2005 I have had my Garra garra taeniata <Mm, I think this is perhaps misspelled.... but I do assume you mean a fish of the genus Garra.> for 3 weeks now and I added the white cloud mountain minnow exactly a week ago. Is it a good time to add either the trio of guppies or the Danios today? <Mm, depends on the tank.... size, water quality, and so forth.... Please be browsing WWM regarding these things. Wishing you well, -Sabrina> 

Stocking a 6.6 Gallon Tank  11/18/05 I sent the below email and on the website it said chuck misread the size of the tank and '6 of each of the below type of fish is too many'.  < Go with six of only one type.> At the moment I have six white cloud mountain minnows and two small Garra garra taeniata. I want to get either/and guppies and zebra Danios. How many zebras could I have? How many guppies could I have? Could I have both? What, in your opinion, would be the best mix of these 3/4 fish? < I would go with six Danios and six white clouds. The guppies will be picked on by the faster fish. Make sure you have a filter that pumps at least 2o gallons per hour and clean it once a week.-Chuck> 

FW Additions to a 55 Gallon  11/11/05 WWM Crew, Hello there!  I have a 55 g tank with (1) large  5" Parrot Cichlid,  (1) 6" Bichir, (2)  3" African cichlids, and  (1) 2" Pleco catfish.  I'd like to get rid of the Africans (they are  just too aggressive) and replace them with a school (7 or so) of barbs or  other such smaller fish.  Any suggestions? I'd like a  low-maintenance species, if possible.  The tank has been up and  running for about 4 years (Eheim2013/undergravel filter) and I generally have no  water quality issues.  I perform regular water changes of course and run   Chemipure in the canister.  Will I have to worry about Tigers, for  example, nipping at my Bichir or catfish? Thanks,  Kim < Barbs are actually a very good choice for what you want to establish in your tank. Tiger barbs come in many different colors. They are fast and active and will really show off in a big school in your 55 gallon. They generally pick on slower moving fish with fragile fins like mail guppies, Gouramis feelers and extensions at the tip of the fins like on angelfish.-Chuck>

Mixing Fresh with Brackish fish 11/6/05 <Hi Anna, Pufferpunk here> I have a very "unique" tank to say the least. I inherited a 90 gallon system originally drilled for reef use and then patched to work for freshwater. At the time I had just a few fish left over from a my 20 gallon (of which only one tinfoil and a fire striped dwarf Gourami are still with me), so I took in a friends figure 8 puffer and a mono argenteus. <Monos are a schooling fish that grow to around a foot & require marine conditions as adults.> I decided to convert the tank to slightly brackish (1 tbs aquarium salt per gallon, I now use Instant Ocean to maintain the pH) <Not nearly enough salt to call BW. Even to make low-end BW (SG around 1.005), it takes roughly a cup of salt/5gal.> for the mono and invest in a snowflake eel. He is to the best of my knowledge, a Gymnothorax tile. I then got 2 Colombian shark cats and a large Pleco. <Plecos do not like salt of any kind. The Columbian sharks are schooling fish that grow up to 18" & require SW as adults, as does the eel.> Recently, in an effort to make the 90 gallons feel more full <Sounds like it's getting pretty full to me--you need to consider adult sizes of all your fish.> I bought 3 breeding pairs of black convict cichlids who have done very well for the 2-3 months I've had them, I also purchased a lone green terror as an experiment to see if he could live with my less aggressive fish (he's also done very well with the salt and only bothers the convicts). My dilemma now is that I have half brackish fish living in the proper water, <Not exactly> and half new world cichlids who have been acclimated but both groups having vastly different water needs. <Definitely correct there> I'm wondering what a good middle ground would be for pH? 7.0 seems to be OK for all of the fish as it is on the high end for the cichlids and the low end for the brackish fish <Extremely low for BW--should be 8.> but I'm afraid that as the eel requires a saltier environment (and a pH of 8) that the cichlids will begin to stress. <and the other aforementioned fish that require SW conditions as adults. The puffer also likes a pH of 8, although does best at a low-end SG of 1.005.> I also wonder if the cichlids can adapt to a harder water than is ideal for them? I was contemplating adding some AragAlive marine sand to the existing cichlid substrate to help maintain the pH, could they handle that? <Cichlids are best kept in harder water & aragonite or crushed coral substrate is necessary to keep the pH around a steady 8 for BW fish.> I am also curious is the salinity has any effect on the growth of the freshwater fish? My tinfoil especially seems to have stopped growing at 7" from 2.5" when I got him. I guess all in all this is a big experiment, both to see if the freshwater fish make it and if I can keep aggressive fish with my leftover community tank mates. I just want to try and make sure I'm doing all I can to meet their diverse needs. -Anna <Sorry, it just can't be done. For the best health & well-being of your fish, you need to choose between the 3 types you have--FW, high-end BW & low-end BW. I believe you already see the results of keeping your fish in improper conditions... ~PP>

Cubic Inches Of Fish - 11/06/2005 Great website! I'm hoping I searched enough, and am not missing something horribly obvious somewhere. I'm rather deficient in figuring out how to translate fish to cubic inches (without a Bass-o-matic), and a bit worried about overloading my tank. <Yeah, pretty tough to reconstitute the fish after Bass-o-maticking them.> I've got a 29-gallon rectangular tank, a hunk of (probably synthetic?) driftwood that's hollowed out with caves, some plastic plants, gravel media, a heater and a BioWheel filter. I've recently added some live plants, and planning to eventually replace all the plastic ones. The fish are as follows: 1 male Betta, 5 Golden Wonder Killies (2 males, 3 females), a Pleco, 2 "Australian Rainbowfish" (I think they are M. lacustris), and two glass catfish. <The Plec will outgrow the tank; might consider one of the smaller Ancistrus species Plecs.... the 'Bushynoses'.> I'd brought home the rainbows and one of the glass cats without doing my homework, and then found out how much the cats prefer their own kind. Two days later I brought home the other glass cat the store had. I'd originally planned to have more rainbows, but the cats are fascinating, and apparently more dependent on that schooling factor. So, I'm looking to fill the rest of my "quota" with more glass cats, but I'm just very uncertain how many I can add without pushing my system too much. <I think you could get by with six or seven glass cats pretty confidently.> While the Killies are happily trying to populate the tank all by themselves, I don't think many, if any fry will survive the attentions of so many live-eaters (right?); <Correct.> and while I know the Pleco will grow, at some point I can always find him a new home and replace him with a junior. <Mm, I like to recommend planning for the entire life of your animals.... after all, they are lives that are now in your care, under your influence.... I would look to replacing this animal with an Ancistrus sp. Plec as above.> So what limit should I place on my little buying frenzy? <As above, I'd aim for six or seven glass cats, and see how things go for a while. They reach 15cm, but are relatively slow growers in my experience. I think you'd do well at this number.> Thanks so *incredibly* much, -Kathy <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Cubic Inches Of Fish - II - 11/06/2005
Attn: Sabrina <Sabrina here, trying her best to pay attention....> No need for posting or answer - <Mm, everything gets posted.... unless you specifically request that it not be posted.... and everything gets answered, to the best of our abilities.> thank you! <Any time. glad to be of service.> Since the Pleco, for good or ill, is already under my care, I'll do what I can for him, for as long as I can... when time comes to replace him, I'll have this suggestion of yours to keep from having another pass-along fish. <Sounds excellent.> By that time, I may be able to look into a tank just for the Pleco, as well, since I'm pretty soft-hearted. <A great thing to consider. Should you choose to do so, that would then give you more tank space to play with, too - a bigger tank for the Plec means a bigger tank in general - which means more or bigger fish! Uhh, this hobby's too addictive.> Thanks again! <You bet. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Cubic Inches of Fish - IV - 11/10/2005
Thanks very much for the help so far from Sabrina! <Quite welcome, m'dear.> I could ask for a few more answers to be fed to me, <I'll feed you answers if you feed me avocados.> <<Mmm.. I miss living in La Habra Ht.s., land of origin of the Haas avocado, they roll about the streets!  MH>> but I'll attack this another way. What are the approximate estimated round-about sorta figures that would allow me to calculate the cubic inches of my fish? <Sigh....  I was walking around that topic because there simply aren't any.> For instance, species A, would be about x cubic inches per inch of length. I hope this makes sense, and I'm not going to end up drowned in too complex of a math formula. <If you DO find a formula for this, you will perhaps be famed as the greatest mathematician ever.> <<Actually, Koi-keepers do have something of a formula already worked out, is specific to Koi, though.  Marina>> I'm thinking it's a fairly simple idea of average mass by size.   <But then you still have to take into account aggression, how much space a fish "uses", and so on and so forth....  It's really just a matter of becoming accustomed to fish, their sizes, their attributes, their behaviours....> This way, I'll know when that Pleco has gotten too big (he may be already, he's grown awfully fast) as well as what size tank I would have to consider for him in the future... without asking every time.   <Mm, as for a tank in the future, use your intuition that you will gain from observing him.  Know that he can reach 12-18 inches or thereabouts, and you'll be able to understand what sort of space he will need from understanding what he does, how he acts/reacts, and so forth.> Maybe you could start a cubic inch conversion FAQ! *begs* I know, it'd be a huge project... <There are some stocking calculators across the 'net....  one I recall at a forum....  none, in my opinion are actually realistic.  There's just too much that goes into determining a fish's needs.> In absence of it, I'll reiterate the fish types I have: Betta, Golden Wonder Killie, Aussie Rainbow (probably M. lacustris), ghost cat, and that getting-bigger-by-the-minute Pleco (probably a Hypostomus). Perhaps also a general idea of how to figure an Ancistrus, although I'd imagine it'd be close to the same factor as the Pleco.   <You could guesstimate how big a fish would be if you "balled it up".... then use a formula for figuring the volume of a sphere....  but this still wouldn't get you anywhere, I fear; such things as "X cubic inches per X square feet of surface area" things are just not even ballpark accurate in many cases.  They can be used as *extremely* general rules of thumb, but every fish must be considered by much more than the volume or mass of its body.> Thanks yet again... Kathy <All the best,  -Sabrina>

An "A" For Fishkeeping 101 - 11/05/2005 Hi all - absolutely love your website and spend far too much time reading it, to the point where I sometimes have to remind myself to stop reading and actually get up and take care of the fishies I've been finding information about.  <Heh! Awesome. Thanks for the kind words.> I have a general question for you that I can't find answered anywhere. My kids and I started aquarium-keeping as a home school project about a year and a half ago.  <Hopefully everyone's passing with "A"s!> After starting with one 29 gallon tank, we are currently up to 4 freshwater tanks of various sizes, from 10 to 55 gallons, in addition to QT tanks and hospital tank when needed.  <Aha, wonderful!> We tend to keep our tanks "understocked" because we don't want to crowd or stress our little guys (and gals) in any way.  <VERY good.> As part of the home school project, we did a lot of research before we started, and along with using you guys to research particular fish or questions we have, we use "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums" by David Boruchowitz as our fishy "bible" when questions arise.  <A good book, for sure. Hopefully there will be another good freshwater book available in the near future....> My point in giving all this background is that in spite of doing the research and being very careful and diligent with our water testing, water changes, etc. we still have occasional unexplained losses - fish that appear normal one day and then are dead the next, or sometimes a fish that appears listless for a couple of days and then goes to the great beyond. Is this just part of the hobby, and we need to accept that we're going to lose a fish or two now and then, or is it reasonable to expect that we should be not be losing fish like this and we must be doing something wrong?  <Hmm.... You're not necessarily "doing something wrong".... Certainly sounds like you guys have done your homework.... But, as with any living organism, fish don't "just" die, they die for a reason.... Rarely (though sometimes) "old age", and sometimes not preventable.... Best to try to identify anything in the system that may be wrong, or determine how delicate a species is - some, like neon tetras, are very hard to tell if there is something "wrong" due to their size or other factors.> Thanks for any insight you can give to what I realize is a very general sort of question. <But an excellent question, nonetheless. Try taking a look at what sorts of fish you have lost, and try to determine if you could realistically tell if something had been wrong prior to the fish dying.... if all is well in the system, then you are doing an excellent job thus far.> Karen <Wishing you all straight "A"s, -Sabrina>

My Paraplegic Platy 10/22/05 Hi there,  <Hi Catherine here!> I have a 10 gallon tank that contains 1 huge blue Gourami, 4 zebra Danios, and now 2 platys. I started out with 4, three of which really looked pregnant, but I guess are not. 1 I found dead and the other just disappeared. I want to blame my Gourami, but am trying not to. Anyway, there are now 2 platys. 1 seems to be doing very well.  The other one as of late, who used to look pregnant, is now awfully thin. I try to feed it alone even, but it barely eats. As of today I have noticed it in the oddest of places in my tank, and realize that it is balancing on leaves, caves, etc. because it is looking paralyzed. I am so sad about it. I separated it tonight into a bowl and fed it alone again but I don't know what to do.  Thin and paralyzed, this is my problem. Now if it dies, do I buy a couple more as the 1 will be all alone? Or do I buy Danios, which seem happy and healthy. My Gourami is about 4 inches long and pretty thick. It is not very aggressive either, and the little guys seem to do well with it. So it is the platy I worry about. What should I do? Thanks for your time. Tracey <You have a teeny tiny tank for soooo many fish. Both the Gourami and the Danios would really prefer to be in a 30 gallon. Remember, fish poop. This makes waste which is toxic to the fish. You don't provide ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. However, I suspect that if you test your water these will be high. This is probably stressing your fish and the platys are most susceptible.  The solution: big water changes frequently until you get a larger tanks. About 1 tablespoon of either Epsom or Marine salt per gallon of water may also help your platy perk up. As far as the isolated platy, I'd keep it isolated until it is looking better in case it really has a bacterial infection. I assume this "bowl" is heated and filtered. If not, your fish probably won't do very well in it. Look around WWM for more info on your fish. Catherine> 

55 Gallon Filtration  10/6/05 Hello Girls/Guys, <Howdy Mike> I set up my first, 55 gallon, tank approximately three months ago.  Your website has proved to be an invaluable source of reliable information along the way - most retail stores around me give varying advice depending on the time of day.  So, thank you.  Anyway, the tank seems to be fully cycled (nitrates present at a comfortable level, nitrites and ammonia very low, <Should be zip, nada> and pH is stagnant).  My current stock consists of 2 blue Gouramis, 2 dwarf Gouramis, 2 pictus cats, 2 common Plecos, and 4 tiger barbs (seems to be the right amount to keep them preoccupied with each other rather than the Gouramis' fins).   <Yes... adding one more, odd numbers works out even better> I have a question and a concern.   My concern is that the water is still cloudy.  I do partial water changes weekly and vacuum alternating halves of the gravel biweekly.  I scrub off the algae biweekly as well.  I've changed the filter media according to the directions.  What could be causing the cloudiness and how can I get rid of it? <Inadequate filtration, circulation, aeration, the types, amounts of foods fed... water quality in general...> My question is about the filtration system and heaters.  I've read through countless pages of FAQs and haven't found an answer that pertains to my setup, but I apologize if this is redundant.  I currently have a Whisper 60 power filter and an "All Glass Aquarium" heater.  I recently ordered a Marineland Visi-Therm 200 watt heater and the Marineland Emperor 400 (notice the definite article).   Would I be best off to run both filters and both heaters at the same time if I have the power? <Yes to running all... the filters will do well together... and don't use much power, and the heaters will not use any more power... as they only "turn on" when temperature is low> Will this create too strong a current for the fish I have? <Nope> I've received conflicting advice from local retailers.  I'm hoping you can clear it up for me. *no pun intended <Heee!> Thank you for your time, Mike <Welcome. Do just clean one outside filter per that water-change, gravel-vacuuming interval... leaving the other with its filter media to re-inoculate the newly cleaned ones. Bob Fenner>

I'm a beginner and my luck hasn't been great ...  10/3/05 I really love the site, let me start off by saying that, it has been a lot of help. <Great...glad to hear it! You've got Jorie here tonight.> Since I got my tank about a month ago, I have had some issues with it.  First off, I had an outbreak of Ich, which I cleared up pretty quickly using a mixture of Super Ick Cure and Aquari-sol, seemed to do the trick and the fish are all acting normal now. <Do keep in mind the only way to truly rid a tank of ich is to let it run fallow (that is, fishless) for 3-4 weeks.  Otherwise, the ich will remain in various stages of its life cycle, and will re-appear.  Keep the water conditions pristine, and thus help boost the fish's immune systems, and hopefully they won't be as susceptible to ich and other diseases.> Let me tell you what I have in my tank and my tank specs; 1 - 1.5" to 2" Red Tiger Oscar 1 - 1.5" to 2" Chocolate Cichlid 2 - 1" to 1.5" Texas Cichlids 1 - 1.5" Albino Pleco 4 - Feeder Goldfish (soon to be removed, very soon) All in a 30gal. tank with bio-wheel whisper filter, heater, the whole kit-n-caboodle. <Glad to hear the goldfish will be removed, as your tank is a bit heavily stocked.  Also, feeder goldfish are *notorious* for bringing in all sorts of diseases...I do hope you quarantined them (along with all new additions) before adding them to the new tank.  I might also point out that you seem to have added your fish pretty quickly...did you cycle the tank first?  Please keep a very close eye on water parameters, incl. ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, and make sure that all are at zero, or the fish are at risk of becoming very sick. Finally, keep in mind that your Pleco and Oscar will definitely at some point be too big for your 30 gal. tank...consider making alternative  arrangements for them sooner, rather than later, to avoid more complications later on down the road.  I'd recommend a book by David E. Boruchowitz, called The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums...he's got a great way of explaining tank setup, from start to finish - you may benefit from reading this, and other resources, on starting out with a new tank.> I started with the Tiger Oscar, the Chocolate, and one Texas.  No problems here. Put in the albino Pleco.  Soon after, the tank had the flare up of Ich, noticed my Texas acting funny and my Oscar had white spots.  Cleared that up, everyone is good again. <Again, be sure to *always* quarantine new fish, inverts, plants, etc. for a month or so before adding them to the main tank.  You'll save yourself a lot of trouble by not introducing disease, bacteria, etc. into the main tank this way.  Most of us have learned this lesson the hard way - all you can do is start this beneficial practice from this point forward.> Put in an Electric Blue Hap (big mistake as I found out).  Found him dead last night at the bottom of the tank, come to find out, he is really aggressive and the rest of the fish are just territorial. <You are stocked to the max., in my opinion.  Take a breath, enjoy the fish you have! Don't add anything else at this point; one day, when you move the goldies, Pleco and Oscar, you'll have more room for additional fish.  You must do research, however, on what fish are compatible with what others...the book recommended above is helpful on that front as well.> Removed him, checked my water.  This is where I got a little concerned.  pH 7.4 (good for the cichlids, this I know), nitrites 5.0 (high as I have found). <Yes...this will kill all your fish...do water changes immediately until ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are all zero. Read up on cycling.>   I knew nothing about nitrates or ammonia, which I am now finding out about,  so I am not sure about their levels. <Invest in a test kit that measures all of these things.  I personally like Tetra's master test kit. Stay away from the "strip" type kits, as they are notoriously inaccurate.  A test kit is a must for all fishkeepers...it will make your life much easier in the long run.  Most times, fish's health problems are caused either directly or indirectly by poor water conditions; anytime something is going wrong in the tank, do a complete water work-up, and you'll likely find the source of the problem.>   Anyway, took the Hap back and purchased another Texas (smaller one, which may be a slight problem). <Please do not purchase any more fish until everything is stabilized in your tank! Your tank is not ready to accept any more fish, and generally, you should have at least a couple of months between new additions.>   He is hanging around the top of the tank and the other Texas is picking on him/her a lot.  Is there anything I can do to calm these fish down?  I currently have a smaller bridge type ornament, which the chocolate has made his territory, that is for certain, and a grouping of fake plants, which it seems the bigger Texas has made his territory.  The Oscar could give a darn less about any other fish in the area (lazy fish, but so pretty). <Too many fish...return the new addition, if possible.  Keep doing water changes, as your tank is still cycling. Stop adding new livestock.> Also, my Oscar I think got into it with the Hap and is experiencing some weird coloration, almost like a tin film around his facial area (around the eyes to the mouth).  Is this just battle damage that can be healed up naturally, or is this something worse?  Any help <Again, good water conditions are paramount. Do a water change ASAP and keep the water quality good. Keep a close eye on the wounded fish and if he appears to be getting worse, you'll have to quarantine him for closer observation/medication.  Best thing you can do is keep the water clean right now. (Sorry, am I beating a dead horse? Hopefully you'll understand just how important this is!> you guys can give me is greatly appreciated.  OH, also today I added a tire track eel, which has burrowed himself and has found his new home comfortable as far as I can tell, so he isn't a big deal. <STOP ADDING FISH! SEE COMMENTS ABOVE!> Thank you, Jacob <You are welcome.  I hope I have helped.  Jorie> FW Snowflake Eel?  9/26/05 Could you keep a Snow Flake Eel in a freshwater environment? < For about 2 minutes and then it would die.> And if I did add 1 tablespoon of salt for every 5 gallons, would Neo tropical cichlids be ok? A Pleco? Thanks < Cichlids can handle a little salt in their water. There are many species of Pleco's. Go to planetcatfish.com and check out the specific requirements for your particular species of Pleco.-Chuck>

FW minnow shark and BR shark catfish... ID, together? 9/24/05 Hi Bob, <Catherine here today.> I just purchased two Bala sharks, an angel fish and a silver tipped shark from the pet store.  They're all small, two inches at most, right now.  The pet store told me that they would be fine living together. Is this correct?  <Well, maybe.  They are all fairly aggressive fish.  The balsa may nip the angel eventually.  I'm not sure what a silver-tipped shark is.>  Where can I find books on these type of fish?  <You can get some basic information from: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm.  You might also want to use amazon.com>   Also, I saw the same looking fish at another store and they called it a high-fin bull shark instead of a silver-tipped shark.  Are they the same thing?  <I Googled both names, being unfamiliar with these common names.  The silver-tipped shark that most commonly appeared was catfish and I only found saltwater bull sharks.  They may very well be the same thing, but I don't know what you have.>  My tank right now is 20 gallons, but I want to up-grade tanks and give my gold fish this tank.  <Your goldfish will be appreciative.  Your balsa will get to be nearly a foot long and need a tank of 70+ gallons.  Depending on the type of angel, 30 or 50+ gallons would be appropriate.  www.liveaquaria.com has good pictures and reasonable estimates of tank size.>  Also, the pet store told me that the sharks were freshwater fish, is this correct? <The balsa are freshwater critters.  The silver-tipped probably is a freshwater fish if it's still alive, but you might want to surf the net a bit to see if you can find out what it is.> Thanks so much for your knowledge.  Jennifer <Hope it helps, Catherine> <<Cath, Jenn, please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ariidcats.htm RMF>>

Oddball Tank Problems  9/19/05 Hello Robert, < Chuck, this time.> I was hoping that you could give me some much needed advice on how I'd like to setup my new 90 gallon. I have many tanks but this one is going to be different than all my others. I want to make this an "oddball" tank. I'll just give you a list of some of the species I would like to have. Chaca Chaca Catfish < Will stay on the bottom looking like a piece of wood. May be difficult to feed since it will be sitting on the bottom of the tank while more active feeders are bouncing around getting all the food.> Marble Achara Catfish, < Not familiar with this one so go to fishbase.org and check it out.> red-tail catfish (short time) < Gets four feet long!!!> silver Arowana (not for very long) < Gets three feet long> black ghost knife, < Gets up to 18 inches, hides a lot and prefers smaller live and frozen foods.> fire eel < Gets up to 3 to 4 feet long. Very cool when larger.> Managuense cichlid, < Gets big with a bigger attitude. Will be problems for all other fish.> ornate Bichir < Gets up to 2 feet long and loses almost all its color and markings when older. Lives a long time!.> leopard Pleco < Very cool Pleco that is easy to keep and very active, even during the day.> red-fin Pleco < Expensive, get one with a full belly. Hollow bellied Plecos die very soon. Go to Planetcatfish.com to get all the details for food requirements.> pike cichlid, < There are many species from 3 inches to over 2 feet.> and the grand finale...a hystrix stingray (how big is this as an adult). <Big 3 to 4 feet across depending on the species you actually get.> I realize that some of them will get too large to be kept in this tank as adults. I'm also concerned about the cichlids and if they will be too territorial with these other large fish.  I'm also curious as to what other fish can we added to "oddball" tanks. I've ordered 100 lbs of sand for substrate. I currently have an Emperor 400 running on it. I've also picked out the Eheim Pro II 2028 canister filter and the Turbo-twist UV sterilizer.  I'm just wondering if that will be adequate or if it will be overkill. Any help you can give me soon would be greatly appreciated because if I don't hear from you I'm going to go ahead and order my filter and UV sterilizer. Thanks a lot, Josh (Iowa) < I too have thought many times about setting up an oddball tank but you are creating a great deal of work for yourself and going to be putting you fish through hell in the meantime. Of all the fish you have listed I would go with a silver Arowana with a leopard Pleco. The Arowana would eat feeders and other foods from the surface while the Pleco gets the scraps and algae from the bottom and the rest of the tank. Once the fish are settled in you won't need the sterilizer unless you don't quarantine your feeders.-Chuck>

Help with rearranging fish tanks!  9/10/05 Hello WWM Crew, I've used your site for some time and have learned quite a bit from you.  Thanks for your help!  I have two fish tanks, one is mine, and one is my parents.  My tank is 35 gal, freshwater.  I have 6 guppies, 3 platies, 2 Bala sharks (about 4 in.), <Get bigger...> 2 iridescent sharks (about 5 in.), <Not freshwater...> and a Chinese algae eater.  My parents have a 55 gal. tank, with 2 giant Danios, 2 very old, large Plecos, another FW fish that I can't identify anywhere (silver fish shaped somewhere between a Gourami and a silver dollar with long, flowing fins), and a fantail goldfish (I have no idea how they came up with this mixture, but everyone is doing fairly well in their tank!)  The thing is, the Chinese algae eater in my tank has become very very aggressive only with my iridescent sharks (for no reason, they stay to themselves and with the Bala sharks usually) and recently I have noticed that one of my iridescent sharks has a "hole" on top of its head  as if something bit it.  (I have noticed the CAE trying to do so, he was not always so aggressive!) <I would remove this fish... trade into your local fish store, or see if your parents want to risk it in their 55> Also, I have just recently found out that my sharks are slightly brackish fish through another website, and that they grow to be about 12 in. long! <Yes... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ariidcats.htm and the linked files above...>   Is there any way that I could possibly rearrange these fish within the two tanks that would make them all happier? <Mmm... not really... Your Balas need a larger tank... even the four foot long 55 won't ultimately accommodate them... the goldfish is coldwater... could live by itself in your 35... the "sharks" (actually Ariid catfish) need brackish, finally a marine setting... You need at least two more tanks if you want to keep all healthy here> And the sharks look happy with where they are now, (except for the CAE) would I have to move them to the 55gal or leave them as they are? Also, at the very least, is there anything that I could do to maybe "calm" my CAE?  Thanks again, I appreciate your help. <Once CAEs become "riders" they do not reform... Must need be put in with meaner, faster, larger, more aware tankmates. Bob Fenner>

FW fish selection  9/7/05 I searched all over the site and could not find and answer to this question. Sorry if it has already been covered. This my first tank and it is only a 2.5 gallon (live at college, not much room for anything else). My girlfriend <Time, resources for both fish and a girlfriend? Things have changed since I attended college!> and I purchased it from a local pet store where they recommended two tetra and a platy. Everything was going fine until the platy became the target for attack. First the black tetra attacked him continuously. We returned him and got credit for another fish. A week later, the serpae tetra began attacking the poor platy. We returned him as well and picked up two mollies. The store said these fish would be fine. Everything is good, except that the platy is hyperactive. He never stops moving quickly around. The mollies will try to move close to him and he freaks out all around the aquarium. I figure things might settle down as he gets used to the new fish. Will the fish be alright eventually? <Maybe... or not> I am trying my hardest to get my first tank going, but it is not working for me. Thanks for the help. <Ah... understand that all the fishes you list are actually social animals... the tetras you had would likely be fine behaviorally, in a grouping, in a larger setting... the same with the platy... though your tank is small, you may want to add (another) female. Bob Fenner>

Overstocked? 8/23/05 Hi I was just wondering if I have overstocked my tank. I have 1 Blue Gourami, 2 Dalmatian mollies, 4 platies, 2 rainbow sharks, 2 tetra like fish that get to be 2 inches, and 2 other fish that get to be 2 inches long. <Would need to know the size of the tank to make a determination.  If in a 10 gallon, these fish are definitely overstocked.  In a 25 gallon, they are not, it's all relative.>   Thanks in advance Tommy <No problem. --Glenn>

Overstocked Aquarium? - 08/18/2005 Hi, I am new to aquariums. <Welcome to the addic- I mean, hobby!> I am wondering about overstocking. I think I am overstocked, if so I will buy a new tank immediately.   <Now THAT's dedication!> I have: a new 29gal tank with filtration for a 40 gal tank, many hiding places made with live plants, rocks that won't leach minerals, drift wood. <All good....> The tank has been cycled (in two weeks with the aid of culturing the appropriate bacterial species within BioMax blocks using the specific conditions for each bacterial species, then inoculating the various bacterial species ,daily, based on water chemistry readings); all done in my home with homemade lab equipment)  I cycled the tanks with 9 tetras and one "accidental" minnow. <Do please look into/consider "fishless cycling" for future reference.> My temperature is a fairly constant 24 C (75 F), pH is 7.7-7.8, ammonia zero, nitrate about 0.1, nitrite about 0.15, <Still cycling, then, somewhat> general hardness about 160, carbonate hardness about 120...I have one Gourami that is very shy and has trouble eating, I think overstocking could be the issue? <What's in the tank?> Also, I have ready many formulas on how to calculate the amount of fish to have based on length, they suggest I am overstocked. <All or nearly all such formulas simply don't work....> And, What is the max size of a fish for a given aquarium size? <Depends on the fish.  Seriously.  Fish vary *tremendously* in their space needs, and not always based upon size.> For example; my 29 gal, will my molly be too big? <A molly will prosper in a 29g tank.> I read that he is at the limit for a 30gal but not over...I have these fish: One Sailfin molly, 1 small minnow one inch long and not growing fast.., three dwarf Gouramis, three platies, one algae eater (Pleco) that I will trade in for a smaller one when he is longer that 4-5", <Consider an Ancistrus/Bushynose Plec next time, as these rarely exceed 5-6", and are excellent consumers of algae.> two albino Corys, 9 tetras (three species of 3 each, blood fin, black skirt, red eye). Most of the fish are about 65% fully grown, I have check all their max sizes.. <I would feel better about this mix in a larger tank.> Also, would  having 9 tetras (3 of each black tetra, Bloodfin, red eye) be too much for a new 10gal aquarium? <Pushing the limits, but probably fine.  If you can split the fish up in this manner (the tetras in the 10g, everyone else in the 29), I think your tank(s) would be much easier to maintain and enjoy....  for you *and* the fishes.> Thanks so much! <You bet.> Kev
But Wait, There's More! - Overstocked Aquarium - II - 08/18/2005
Hi, I forgot some info that could be important. My fish all seem happy and do not fight except a little nipping during feedings. <To be expected.> With the exception of one dwarf Gourami that seems very shy. <Do please keep a close eye on this fish.> Thanks again, <Any time.> Kev
Third Time's A Charm! - Overstocked Aquarium - III - 08/18/2005
Hi very sorry for three emails, an error in chemistry that I sent you. nitrate is about 10ppm (mg/L), nitrite is about 0.1 mg/L/ <Yep, not completely cycled, or a bit overstocked.> Thanks,  -Kev <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

A real livestock mis-mix, need for useful, quick information for a new FW aquarist 8/14/05 Hi, I live in North India, temperatures approx 30C. I have recently brought my kids a glass aquarium approx size 24inchX12inchX12inchX. It has an air bubbler and one mechanical filter. The Store keeper told me this tank can hold 20 fishes of 2 inch. <Mmm, of some species, perhaps...> However I have bought only 13 fishes out of which two have already died and a third is already dying. The fishes are Two goldfish (one sick), Two bubble goldfish, Two Angelfish, One Carp, one albino shark, Two coloured barbs, one red carp, one crocodile fish. One albino shark & one carp have already died. <Yikes... these fishes are not compatible... need different water qualities, have too diverging temperaments... First off, you need to decide whether you want this to be a cool water (goldfish, carp) or tropical aquarium (angelfish, barbs...) and easier-going to more aggressive set up... then the issue of livestock size, number... a good value to aim for is one cubic inch of fish per five gallons... You have about fifteen nominal gallons... three cubic inches... at full size... as in (really) one goldfish... not twenty> All fish stores do not seem to be offering much help except for trying to sell me more fish & medicines. Local bookstores also do not seem to carry any decent books I am using underground water which is u/v filtered, left to stand overnight. I have already started searching net for more information. I would be obliged if you would help me out with following questions: 1. Are there two many fishes I suspect they are. <Yes> 2. After Introduction of black crocodile fish a number of fishes started to get injured, bloody fins, injuries on body etc. <Yes... don't know the scientific name of this fish exactly, but it is likely a very aggressive species> 3.What further precautions can I take. I am already changing 50% water on a weekly basis. <... a great deal to relate beyond the stocking issue here. Please read through WWM re freshwater maintenance...> 4. Address of any Indian website or Indian books on this topics. <Am surprised that there aren't some prominent ones... your country is vast, has some very nice aquarium species indigenous... You've tried your search engines with the term: "tropical fish, aquariums"?> Thanks Sandeep Raghuvanshi <Do think on what sort of system, key fish/es you'd like for your children... and study re their tank, habitat requirements... Bob Fenner>

125g Stocking Scheme - 08/11/2005 Hi, <Hello!> First I would like to start off by saying that you guys have helped me a lot <Bob will be delighted to see that someone used "a lot" correctly (very big grin)> with my 125 Gal. tank, as it is almost complete. <I am delighted that we could be of service to you.> (It would probably be full  of dead fish right now.) It is set up with some plants, driftwood, 180 pounds of eco-complete and fluorite gravel, two 300 watt heaters, a FilStar  Xp3 filter and a Corallife 48" double compact fluorescent freshwater light. <Sounds wonderful.> It has been running perfectly for 5 days, and is ready for some fish. <Sloooooow down a bit.  If it's not cycled yet, you're not going to want to stock it yet.  I am a fan of the "shrimp" method of fishless cycling - add a small piece of cocktail shrimp and let it start to decay.... replace every few days.... until you've seen a spike in ammonia, then nitrite, and a bit of nitrate.  Then add fish SLOWLY, preferably after quarantine.  The other option is to do major water changes, daily, until the tank cycles - and with delicate fish, you're still running a risk.> So here is my question: Can I stock the tank with the following? *   6 Discus *   6 Rams *   25 Cardinal Tetras *   3 Bristle-nosed Plecos *   3 Clown Plecos *   10 Corydoras (asst.) <Corys are schoolers; perhaps consider a couple different species, and have several (5-6) of both species.> *   5 Bettas (In Betta holder w/ suction cups) <I am not at all a fan of these Betta chambers....  far too small a space for any fish.  Please reconsider.> *   200 Shrimp <Woah!  Holy mackinaw!  Are you having a party?  Serving fresh-caught shrimp skewers?  You won't need so very many shrimp, I can pretty much guarantee.  And, if you stick with advanced breeders (cherries and zebras, for example), they'll multiply on their own.> *   6 Dwarf African Frogs <I would skip these - the temperatures that discus prefer are, I believe, too high for the frogs.> *   About 100 Asst. plants If not, what should I exclude/lessen? <Just as above.> What should I use to cycle the tank? I was thinking the Cory cats (5 at a time) <No.  All of the animals you have mentioned should not be used for cycling.  In my opinion, NO fish should be used for cycling....  can and does cause irreparable damage to a fish's gills....> What temperature should I keep the tank? <78*F-82*F, were it me.> What should I feed them? <I would stick with prepared foods (flakes, pellets, frozen foods, frozen bloodworms) and possibly live insect larvae (bloodworms, mosquito larvae).  You can even raise earthworms for feeding, if you desire.> Thanks,  Anthony <Sounds like it will be a fabulous setup!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Fish For a New Planted Tank I have a 125 Gallon tank with 9 bags of Eco-complete gravel and 6  bags Fluorite. The tank has an XP3 FilStar canister filter and two 300  watt Via Aqua heaters. It also has a 48" Corallife double bulb compact  florescent light. I wanted to put medium to large Plecos, German rams, cardinal  tetras, and of course, Discus. So my questions are as follows: Are these  all compatible? < All these fish come from the same geographical area and have similar water chemistry requirements.> How many of each can I have? < Lots. Depends what you want to do. Get at least 6 rams and 6 discus to almost guarantee that you will have a spawning pair. Once they breed they will chase all the other fish away from the spawn. You need to get at least a dozen cardinals. They are a schooling fish and are more comfortable in a group.> What type(s) of  Plecos) do you recommend? < Small types like Otocinclus, Farlowella and whiptail cats. Go to planetcatfish.com to check out all the different Pleco types.> Do Discus destroy plants? < Not really. They are not big diggers and usually leave plants alone.> What types of plants  do best in this situation? < Amazon swords, Cryptocorynes Val.s and sag's. Stay away from single stemmed plants unless you have very good lighting and CO2.> What temperature should I keep the tank? < Around 80 F. The rams and discus would like it a little higher but the plants start to break down if you get much higher that this.> Which  of these fish should I use to cycle the tank? Thanks, Anthony < Probably the rams. Just because these dwarf cichlids will be busy picking at the bottom for food. The others may not and the left over food will cause an ammonia spike.-Chuck>

Overstocked? 7/30/05 Hey Everyone! Just a quick question about If all these fish would be compatible for the tank size. 20 Gallon - 3 Silver Hatchets - 6 Flame von Rio tetras - 2 Kribensis (2 females...not planning to breed) <Mmm, likely would be okay> If so what should I cut back on? <The cichlids if anything> ::Mucho Gracias, Sarah <De nada senorita. Roberto Fenner>

55 gallon community tank 7/27/05 Hi.  I just purchased a fifty five gallon tank.  I currently have a twenty gallon with two silver dollars in it.  I want to transfer the silver dollars (I've had them about two years) to the fifty five gallon and create a community type tank and perhaps buy one or two more silver dollars.  What other fish would you recommend to round out my aquarium community?   <Perhaps some "more" peaceful cichlids of the same area... Eartheaters, Festivums...> Also, the silver dollars tails are torn.  This is a new development.  How should I treat this and will the tails grow back?  Thanks. <No need to treat... will regenerate through time... with good care, nutrition, water changes> P.S. I also have one "leprenas" I think its called.  It sort of looks like a loach but it is black and yellow striped. <Actually, probably a characid of the genus Leporinis... can be trouble in terms of chewing on other fishes... Use your search tools with this spelling, word... Bob Fenner> Salvatore J. Frontiero, Esq.

Bad Combination of Fish 7/19/05 I have a 10 gallon tank with one beta (2" body), one goldfish about the same size as the beta, and three recently purchased young cichlids, a Firemouth, African mixed, and a convict.  I realize my tank will be far too small in short order, but for now the cichlids are under 1".   My main problem is the convict is really going after my lazy beta, and doesn't bother the other fish. I separated him and he seemed to become depressed and doesn't eat as much.  What would be good food for the young cichlids, and also, will they stay smaller if they aren't moved to a bigger tank. Thanks < This is about the worst combination of fish you can get. The goldfish actually prefers cool water while the rest are tropical. The Betta is a slow moving still water fish and you have placed him with cichlids from both Central American rivers and African rift lakes. The cichlids will surely tear the Betta and goldfish's fins to shreds over time before they turn on each other in the 10 gallon tank. If you feed you fish a good quality food like Spectrum, Marineland or Dainichi then they will grow no matter what size tank they are in if you do regular water changes.-Chuck>

This Is What Happens When You Don't Research.... - 07/17/2005 Currently I have a 30 gallon tank.  It took my fiancĂ©© and myself a month or so to get the water levels right so we could add new fish. <Ahh, good.  I'm glad you cycled the tank before adding fish - this is an important start!> This is what we have now, and please bear with me because I am not sure of the exact names:  2 white kissy fish, <Likely "kissing Gourami"....  And mind you, those "kisses" are NOT "kisses", at all.  A form of aggression.  These will also ultimately outgrow a 30 gallon tank.> 2 tiger barbs, <Schoolers - would prefer to have more than just two, once you get your tank settled and choose what you are going to do.> 3 Bala sharks (added on Friday), <These also will outgrow a 30.  Probably okay for a few months, at least.> 2 red tail Pacu (I think that is what they are called, but they look like piranhas to me) <Pacu are pretty closely related to piranha, so keen eye on that!  Dude, Pacu will get *FAR* too large for a 30 gallon tank.  No kidding.  18 inches, according to FishBase, but I've seen larger in public aquaria.  Please read about this family of fishes here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/serrasalminae1.htm  These fish will grow quickly, and really have no place in your tank.  Sorry to say.> and 3 snails (added on Friday).  Here are my problems:  The kissy fish hate each other. <Of course.  That cute "kissing" is their way of trying to prove who's the bigger meaner fish - they're trying to rip each other apart, basically.> They chase each other around the tank until one hits the side.  When they do appear to kiss it is like they are smacking each other.   <Yep, totally normal.  Remove one of these fish, or both will suffer.> The tiger barbs are okay except they seem a little neurotic.   <They'd love to have a few pals.> Here is the real problem, these two Pacus are like the mob going out on a hit.   <Yes.  Very aggressive animals.  Would you believe, in the wild, they eat mostly vegetable matter and fruits?  Pretty mean for veggie eaters, if you ask me.> When we got them they were about 2" big, now they are about 5 1/2".  At the same time we bought 2 Balas.  Well, needless to say those two Balas disappeared.  No trace, I looked everywhere and they were just gone.   <I assume the Pacus had nice, plump bellies after this.  I can't believe the barbs are still around, if the Pacu are ambitious enough to kill balsa - keep a close eye on all your critters.  Er, and do please consider removing the Pacus quite soon.  At 5.5", they NEED more space.  They'll make more space - by removing your other fish from the plan - if they need.> The kissy fish seem to have some fin damage since adding the Pacus but show no signs of any disease.   <Just a matter of time, I fear.> Today I noticed that one of the new Balas has top fin damage.  I thought all of these fish were supposed to get along.   <No....  not at all.  I fear you have been sorely misinformed.> I don't know what to do with these two devils that are wreaking havoc on my tank.   <Remove them.> Also, none of the fish will eat while the light is on.  We have to turn it off otherwise they wont eat.   <They're probably terrified of each other, at this point.  Removing the Pacus and at least one of the kissers will help with this.  Adding a few more barbs will help, as well.> The Pacus go crazy when we turn the light on and hide for about 1/2 hour then come out. <Normal.  Adding significant amounts of cover (plants, rocks, decor) helps fish feel safer and helps them to come out more often.> HELP! <As above - I would remove the Pacus immediately, as well as one or both of the kissers.  Add a few tiger barbs, and find a few other smaller, semi-aggressive animals to add to the tank.  And next time, do your research BEFORE purchasing the fish.  A good place to start:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm > Thanks, Carrie <Wishing you and your fishes well,  -Sabrina>

Stocking a New Tank Hi, I have a newly set up 26 gal. tank with TetraTec filter, heater  capsule, light, air pump, etc. I currently have 2 dwarf Gourami,  2 black neon tetras, one clown Pleco, 2 Longfin zebra Danios, 2 Cory cats, and 2 mystery snails. My water is medium-high hardness, pH 7, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, and the tank is 78 degrees F. I have a "frill plant" (I think it's either a  Parrots feather or Cabomba), an Amazon sword, 2 banana plants, a Vallisneria, and a bunch of Anacharis. The tank has been set up for about 2 weeks. I have several questions: 1.) I have a black, fuzzy substance on a shoot from my Amazon  sword. Do you have any idea what this could be? <Black Hair Algae. I suggest you just pick off the affected leaves. Very few fish that would fit in your tank will eat it. You could try to find a pair of Flag Fish.> 2.) Can I add any more fish to this set-up? If so what? I was thinking of 10 cardinal tetras. <That should be fine, but not right away.> 3.) I currently have a 16 Watt fluorescent bulb, do I need a  stronger bulb if I am adding one or two more plants? <Would depend on the plant. I would wait and see how the ones you have do under this light.> 4.) I purchased 2 small angel fish, one died and the other disappeared. I checked the entire tank, the filter, and the exterior of the  tank. Do you have any idea where it could have gone? <Maybe eaten by the Pleco. He would not have killed it, but no catfish ever turns down a free fish dinner when he finds a carcass before you do. BTW it is vital that a Clown Pleco has natural driftwood to chew on. This is a very important part of his diet. He will not live long without it.> 5.) How long should I wait before adding more fish? <At least another month. In the meantime you should be testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Your tank has not had the time needed to mature. You have too many fish now for an uncycled tank. It may require daily water changes to keep everyone alive until you're fully cycled and ready for more fish. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm 6.) I am interested in crabs, prawns/ shrimp, and crayfish. Can you direct me to a few species that are good choices for my aquarium, that  wouldn't harm my fish or plants? <Stick to shrimp. The others are not really good in a planted community tank. Start with a few Ghost Shrimp. Don> THANK YOU! ANTHONY

Stocking a New Tank Hey crew, I'm in need of some advice here. At the moment, I have a 12-gallon Eclipse System Aquarium in the middle of the cycling process. I've started debating about what fish to stock it with when its finished cycling and would prefer to have this setup as diverse in livestock as I can make it or would be allowed.  I've began to consider having Gouramis and/or cichlids as the centerpiece fish. Of course, with a 12 gallon, I'd end up going with the dwarf types. Would I only be able to choose one type since I only have a 12 gallon? < Cichlids are territorial. One type of dwarf cichlid would be fine. A dwarf or sparking Gourami would work.> If so, which one/type would you recommend keeping in mind factors such as beauty and temperament. < Dwarf cichlid would work well. They are often combined with plants and tetras. Gouramis tend to occupy the upper portions of the tank.> With my preference in these fish, What combination of fish (types and quantity) would you most likely stock my 12 gallon with? This is really more of a opinion request I would guess, but any response would be much appreciated. Thanks a lot, crew! < I usually recommend that you view a few fish stores and find a fish that you would just love to have in your tank. From there we can work around your favorite fish for suitable tank mates.-Chuck>

Decisions, Decisions, FW Tank Ok, after about a month of talking on WetWebFotos and asking you guys questions (you were really really helpful, by the way) I have my final plan. 4 Ram Cichlids 4 Corydoras catfish (I want to get some peppered and some panda. does it matter if I mix them up, if I only got 1 albino would it be left out?) 4 rummy nose tetras are there any other fish I should consider a good mix with these fish? My tank is still cycling and has been for a week. nitrites are reading 0 and my pH is 7.0 However in my tank, I want it to be about the rams. so what makes them happy? and what can I do so they possibly breed? >> Dear James, Without knowing how large your tank is the mix seems fine. I would recommend 8 rummy noses as they will be more comfortable in a small school. Your Corydoras should all school together even if they are several species. You may want to add four Otocinclus cats to keep the algae down and the glass clean. Your rams will eventually breed, and should do fine in that tank. But be ready for some trouble with baby rams: they are very small and need very small first foods. Good Luck, Oliver <<

New large tank occupants Hello, <Hi there> I am a fish enthusiast on a budget and have spent a little too much on replacing fish we didn't know the needs of first to take lightly the responsibility of finding out everything about them first.  <Ahh, at least the economic prerogative...> I got my first tank in September or October of 2004, which has now bloomed into 7 tanks scattered all over the apartment. However, my masterpiece is still a work in progress. In fact, it's so much in progress that it's all still in my head at the moment, and I figured I might as well check with you guys to see if you think I'll have any problems with what kind of setup I want. The tank itself is a custom-built 72"x15"x15" (which I believe calculates to just over 70 gallons), which I plan to keep on a low room divider so it is visible from both sides.  I would like to have a planted tank with various Aponogetons, swords, Vallisneria, and crypts. For livestock, I want German blue rams (Microgeophagus ramirezi), pearl Gouramis (Trichogaster leeri) and glass cats (bicirrhis). Originally I was thinking of getting about six rams, six to eight pearls, and about eight glass cats. However, according to this website: http://www.cidadevirtual.pt/cgi-bin/mrf/d_dimget/mrf  I should be able to stock much more heavily than that. Would it be a problem if I bumped the numbers up to eight, ten and twelve respectively?  <Likely no problem> Also, I intend to base the environment on the rams' needs, as they are the most delicate and sensitive. Do you think a pH of 6-6.5, very soft water and a temperature in the 80s will be a problem for the other fish and/or plants? <All listed should do fine> I do not have a good supply of water, so I was planning on using peat in the filter to achieve these results, with a little tweaking.  <Can be done... I would look into other work treatment technology though... Reverse osmosis most of all> Please let me know if you see anything wrong with my scenario. Thanks so much, and congratulations on having such a wonderfully informative site! Melina P.S. I just trimmed one of my puffer's teeth last night as a result of reading up on all the puffer FAQs. I was wondering why he would always run into the food but never actually get anything in his mouth!  He's enjoying a round of snails at the moment ;> <Outstanding. Bob Fenner>

Big fish - Little Fish, FW Fish Compatibility Hello WetWebMedia crew, Your site is awesome and incredibly helpful. I am about to get a 55 gallon tank and would like to feature some fish of different sizes and colors, but I'm having difficulty finding a sizable fish that will accept being in a tank with little guys. Some of the possible smaller fish in the tank may be: Congo Tetras, Corydoras, Dwarf Gouramis, Variatus, Danios and Mollies. Would Silver Dollars tolerate such small friends? Any alternatives? Thanks for any help. Pete Thompson  < Go to fishbase.org to look up species requirements and sizes etc... Look for fish that won't get too big or require special care. Then look at the water tolerances. You don't want to mix brackish fish with soft water fish. Silver dollars get too big and love to eat plants. A good rule of thumb is big fish will usually eat small fish if they can, so you don't want too much of a size difference between fish.-Chuck>  

Freshwater Stocking, studying Hello crew! How are you guys? Well I have a question about my 10 gallon tank. It is cycling right now. I was wondering if this is acceptable.  9 neon tetras 3 platys (one male two females) <Should be fine> Also I want it to be a planted aquarium so is 25 watts of fluorescent light enough? <For many types of plants, yes... Please read on WWM re light, lighting for planted aquariums, plant selection...> If I have too many fish how many tetras should I have? Thanks again you guys! <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

New Tank Stocking Hey guys. You have all helped me soo much, but I still have more questions.....hope I'm not annoying you!! I'm getting about a 20-30 gallon tank in about 2 weeks and I want to keep about: 4 small catfish (pepper, panda or similar), 3 swordtails, 3 platies, 3 guppies/mollies undecided) and 4 neon tetras. Does that fit? If not I would get rid of the Neons first, then the guppies/mollies. What is an ideal setup for all these fish? Also what is a good temperature to keep all these fish happy. Thanks!!! <The mix sounds fine. Of course the bigger the better when it comes to tanks, so go for the 30 if possible. I suggest a filter rated for a larger tank, 50 or 55 at least. A temperature of 78 or so will keep all happy. However do not bring home the fish with the tank. Set it all up and do a "fishless cycle". You will need a test kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Failure to cycle your tank is almost always fatal to your first few fish. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Don>

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