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FAQs on the Rainbowfishes 1

Related Articles: Rainbowfishes Fishes at the rainbow's end;  An introduction to the Atheriniformes, the Rainbowfish and silversides by Neale Monks

Related FAQs:  Rainbowfishes 2, & FAQs on: Rainbow Identification, Rainbow Behavior, Rainbow Compatibility, Rainbow Selection, Rainbow Systems, Rainbow Feeding, Rainbow Disease, Rainbow Reproduction,

Glossolepis incisus, a female in captivity. 

Gasping Rainbow   1/3/08 Great site!! I think I have found a little piece of heaven here at WWW! I've read many articles but can't seem to find an answer for this problem. First. the specs: Tank 46g bowfront, moderately planted, Emp. 400 BioWheel filter (with ceramic rings), Rena 100W heater, Amm = 0, nitrIte = 0, nitrAte = around 20, temp = 78-80, oxygen saturation between 5 and 8 mg/l, pH 7.8, dKH = 3, GH = 89.5, phosphate 1.0 ppm, weekly water changes (20-25%) with half tap water/half RO water, weekly detritus vac (not a deep gravel vac due to plants), livestock: 2 pair Boesemani, 2 pair Praecox, 2 flying foxes, 3 Otos, 5 Harlequin Rasboras, 4 Cardinal Tetras, 1 Skunk Botia. Tank has been set up and fine for a year. I feed flakes and Spectrum pellets once per day and maybe once per week a treat of Mysis shrimp, white mosquito larvae - all cleaned up within a matter of minutes. The only new addition is the Botia about 3 weeks ago - thought I had a snail/plant-eating problem. Approximately 5 days ago, I noticed the two male Praecox were gasping for air, not at the top of the tank, still eating/swimming/acting normal - except for the gasp. New Year's morning, the largest Praecox male dead, other one still gasping. All other fish are acting normal, no gasping, eating well. The remaining Praecox male is gasping, mouth area is dark blue, in fact his whole body is a little darker. No spots/wounds anywhere. He goes through the motions at feeding time, but doesn't seem to actually eat much. It's just weird that only these two seem to be affected. I've never noticed any fighting between these two or with any of the other fish. My other tanks (30g planted and 55g Oscar) are maintained in the same way and all is fine. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Michele <Hello Michele. Your aquarium water chemistry/quality stats sound pretty good, so the problem here doesn't seem to be a water chemistry/quality issue. I'd do a 50% water change today, and then another 50% tomorrow though... not so much for water quality, but in case there are toxins in the water. It's surprisingly easy to poison fish: tobacco smoke, paint fumes, and other chemicals can get into the water. People sometimes (accidentally or otherwise) add food or drink to tanks during holiday season parties, imagining the fish would somehow enjoy it, so that's another thing to think about. Big water changes will help. This said, if it's just the one species in distress, then there's a chance the issue isn't so much environmental as disease, some pathogen specific to Rainbowfish. Treating with an antibacterial or antibiotic medication could be worthwhile in this case. I don't know how old your fish are, but the lifespan of dwarf Rainbowfish is not long, likely well under 5 years. Finally, Skunk Botias are hardly what one would call peaceful fish. Though they usually mix well with rainbows, do look out for signs of chasing. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gasping Rainbow 1/6/2008 Good to know. I do fret over water quality a bit. Although, I guess I could work a little harder to drop the phosphates! My tap water is pretty phosphate-high. <Shouldn't be a problem, especially if you do generous water changes. 50% water changes once a week couple with careful feeding should cure pretty much any nitrate/phosphate issues in freshwater community tanks.> A 50% change was done the day before the first fish died. I thought I totally stressed him. <Unlikely to be killed by a water change, unless the new water had a very different chemistry (pH, hardness) than the old water. Fish don't easily die from "stress" any more than people do. As a long term thing, yes, perhaps stress can weaken fish or allow pathogens to do more harm. But most fish don't get scared to death just by a water change!> This said, if it's just the one species in distress, then there's a chance the issue isn't so much environmental as disease, some pathogen specific to Rainbowfish This is what I am thinking and finding in research. <Ok.> All of the Rainbows were mature, except the two female Boesemani. Could just be their time to check out. <Usually there are obvious signs that fish are life-expired, typically things like deformities or a certain slowness about repairing damage to scales and fins.> Finally, Skunk Botias are hardly what one would call peaceful fish. Though they usually mix well with rainbows, do look out for signs of chasing. I'll keep an eye out. I did notice a bit of chasing the first two days he/she was in the tank, but none since then. <Good. You may be fine.> Thank you so much, Neale. Michele <Happy to help. Neale.>

Boesemanni fungus   8/8/07 Hi to the crew, <Hello Lynnette,> I want to thank Neal for his response to my earlier question/problems. (previous email included at bottom of page) I have evaluated my maintenance. I am making a conscientious effort to try to provide the best environment (other than nature) for my fish. <Very good.> After I received the response from Neal my fish did not display the white mouths again until this week. I have kept up with the water changes as previously noted. I have well water that I heat and aerate for a few days before each water change. <Ah, but do you add dechlorinator? This does more than remove chlorine. It also neutralises ambient ammonia (e.g., from agricultural run-off) and locks away metals like copper (e.g., from the pipes). Aerating won't do these things, so isn't a substitute.> My water parameters are the same as before. I have stepped up cleaning my canister filter in hopes that would help. I rinse the bio media in a bucket of tank water every two weeks. The hob filter media is rinsed at every water change. <Don't clean the filter too often. Once a month is probably too often, and I do mine a couple of times a year in some cases. You see, every time you take the filter apart, you stress the bacteria a bit, and you definitely run the risk of cleaning away the bacteria. The sign to clean a filter is when the flow of water is obviously less than before. Otherwise, leave it be.> Since the fungus symptoms have returned I am ready to medicate the fish. From my research it looks like sulfa meds are the med of choice? My local fish store is Petco and I don't trust them to recommend medications for my fish. Is there a drug that would be better suited? <Here in England I'd use Interpet combined Finrot/fungus, but in the US your options seem to include things like Seachem Sulfathiazole and Mardel Maracyn. Just don't either "tonic salt" or new-age cures like Melafix or Pimafix. None of these are consistently effective.> I also would like to know if I could treat the whole display tank since 14 of the Rainbows show varying degrees of small white tufts on their mouths? <Always always always treat the entire tank with something communicable like this. This holds true even if you have to remove a sick fish to a hospital tank.> I know this isn't the best choice but I don't have a quarantine tank large enough to treat all at once. I have quite a few plants in the main tank ,Corydoras and the Pleco. I considered moving out the Corydoras and the Pleco but I honestly don't know if I could catch them out without tearing the whole tank down. What's your opinion/recommendation? If I treat the main tank should I remove the plants? <The cats and the plants should be fine. Check the medications available against the information provided on the packaging or the company web site. I don't have experience of those American brands so can't speak personally. But generally, as long as you follow the instructions to the letter (and remove carbon from the filter) medications are safe and effective.> Trying to figure out how to do this so all fish that need treated are treated and the catfish aren't negatively affected. <With cats, it is specifically copper and formalin that are suspected to cause problems for them. I've never found that to be the case, but then playing Russian Roulette once and surviving doesn't mean its a safe game!> I appreciate all the time, patience and knowledge that is put into this web site and the responses to questions. I totally respect all of you. <Cool. And thanks for saying so; I'm sure we all appreciate it.> Thanks for helping, Lynnette <Good luck, Neale>

Re: Boesemanni fungus -- 08/08/07 Thanks to Neal for his help. I have another question for Neal or someone to help me with. After I medicate my 55 gal tank with the sulfa what kind of aftermath can I expect as far as cycling again. I have a full bio load now and fear what the ammonia and nitrite spikes will do to my fish. What can I do to make sure my fish make it thru till the tank is stable again after the medication? I appreciate your help.. many thanks. Lynnette <Hello Lynnette. While I can't verify this from experience (Sulfa drugs are not sold over the counter in the UK) my assumption is that provided you follow the directions on the package, your biological filter should not be harmed by aquarium-specific drugs. Having said that, I'd still remove 33% of the filter media and keep it alive in a bucket of untreated aquarium water by bubbling through some air via an air pump and airstone. That way, if something does go wrong, you can do a 90% water change and then restore the filter to near-normal output by putting the "saved" filter media back in. Regardless, visit the web site of the drug you intend to use, and read up any FAQs they have online. Most of the big aquarium drug companies have this information online. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Boesemanni fungus 8/10/07 Hello Crew, <Hello Lynnette.> Neale answered my last question and I really appreciate his efforts. My problem now is the color of my water. I'm treating my 55 gal display tank with triple sulfa manufactured by API. I did check their web site and sent an email to them asking questions about the effects on the bio filter. I did not receive a response and decided to go ahead and medicate according to the directions. <OK.> I administered the first dose last night and watched apprehensively to see how my fish reacted. They all seemed to tolerate the medication without any ill effects. Tonight when I came in from work I noticed the water looked like strong tea. I tested the water, but was unable to read the results clearly. The color in the water made the tests impossible to read. I used the dip stick tests and the test where you add the drops to the tubes of water. Just guessing by the intensity of the color results the ammonia and nitrite appeared negative and the nitrate looked darker. So I presume I had nitrate but not sure of the reading. I have 4 pieces of driftwood in the tank. Each piece is about 14 inches long and of various shapes. The tank also contains live plants and the substrate is natural colored river gravel of pea size and smaller. The drift wood has been in the tank for 4 months without causing any discoloration in the water. I purchased the wood from a pet store and the wood was specifically labeled for aquarium use and stated it was "ready to use". <Odd. Does sounds like the bogwood has coloured the water, though. Did you remove carbon from the filter? One thing carbon does is absorb the tannins from bogwood, so if you've removed the carbon recently, as you should have done before treating the fish, then the tannins will start to accumulate in the water. Result: tea-coloured water.> Will this discoloration in the water harm the fish or affect the effectiveness of the medication? How will I get accurate test readings so I can monitor the ammonia and nitrite? I don't know the effect of sulfa on the bio filter but am prepared for the worst. The fish are acting as usual, still with the tufts of white on their mouths. They are all feeding good including the Pleco and catfish. Actually the colors of the rainbows look really stunning in the dark water. I searched them for any signs of distress but couldn't find any. <The colour of the water is largely immaterial. Like cloudy water, tea-coloured water is something that annoys aquarists more than it troubles the fish. Provided water chemistry and water quality remain stable, don't worry about it. The main thing is to finish the course of medication. You can then do regular water changes to dilute the tannins. Many fish actually quite like "black water" and you'll notice that their colours will become more intense. This is most obvious with tetras and cichlids, but you might see it with rainbows, too.> Thanks for all your assistance. The knowledge and willingness to help of the WWM Crew is priceless. <Happy to help> Lynnette <Cheers, Neale>

Blue and yellow rainbow fish ID -- 07/23/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Branon. Marco here with you.> I've been looking all over for a good ID on some rainbow fish I bought recently and have pulled up zeros on WWM, Fishbase, and a few Bow sites...though it was a case of "Which picture looks like you?...". <It would be good to know where they came from. That'd make an ID easier. Have a look at http://www.fishbase.org/keys/keyslist.cfm?famcode=564 . The first link will provide information on genera, the other ones on species. These keys provide probably almost any ID information on this group available (e.g. fin rays, head shape etc.). With the fish in front of you and those keys you likely will be able to identify your fishes. That's better than just comparing pictures.> They were labeled 'blue-green rainbow' and 'Yellow rainbow'. Please help me ID these guys. <My first guess for the yellow ones is: colour morph/subspecies of Melanotaenia splendida e.g. http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=13102 . If the black stripe is very prominent also have a look at http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=11307 . If it is bordered orange or reddish see http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=25621 . The blue one is possibly an colour morph/subspecies of M. splendida e.g. Melanotaenia splendida inornata. Anyway, using the keys probably will give you more reliable information.> Thanks, Branon. <Hope that's sufficient. Cheers, Marco.>

Boesemanni Rainbows, hlth.    7/19/07 Hello WWM crew, I have to tell you I have learned so much from your web site. You do a GREAT job. I have a problem with what I think is fungus on the mouths of my Boesemanni Rainbows. My tank is 55 gal with a Marineland c-360 canister filter which I used for bio filtration. I also use a AquaClear 70 for mechanical filtration and occasionally carbon. I have been doing 50% water changes every 4-5 days. The tank has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20-40 Nitrate, ph is 8.0, total hardness is 250, total alkalinity is 300 ppm and temp is at 79.Inhabitants include 12 Boesemanni Rainbow, 6 Turquoise Rainbow, 6 Corydoras, 2 Opaline Gourami and 1 L-137 Pleco. The tank has been up and running for 6 months, cycled with Bio-Spira. I have some live plants that grow slowly but look healthy, I don't know the varieties. I am religious about water changes and vacuuming the gravel. I admit that I over feed at times but am trying to curb this. No new fish have been added for 3 months. They are fed omnivore frozen foods once a day, live mosquito larvae a couple times a week and Spirulina flakes daily along with a few algae wafers at night. I keep noticing some white fluffy looking stuff on the Boesemann's mouths. It seems to be attached around their lips. I don't notice any on their bodies. It comes and goes, will be there a few days then gone a few then back again. Various other fish are scratching occasionally some days and not other days. I don't want to medicate but I also feel things aren't right. I thought I could correct it by increasing water changes but I've been doing that for over a month and nothing has changed. The fish eat good, have very good color and are active. What can I do to be rid of the occasional scratch and the tufts of white stuff on my fishes mouths? I appreciate the time it take you to reply and am so glad you are there to help and offer advice. Lynnette <Hello Lynette. The white stuff on their mouths is either plain fungus or mouth fungus (which, despite its name, is neither a fungus nor confined to mouths!). Either way, your retailer will have medication to treat the fish. Prompt action is essential because it is easy to cure early on but impossible to cure when it becomes severe. Be sure and remove any carbon from the filter before treating the tank. Mouth fungus is typically caused by water quality issues. Though your numbers look good to me, perhaps you're not keeping in the "safe zone" consistently. Overfeeding is definitely one way to mess up water quality. Double check you're doing things "by the numbers" -- reflect on whether you're using the right amount/type of dechlorinator (e.g., one with chloramine remover if there's chloramine in your water supply). Review your filter cleaning routine (are you doing anything that might kill off the bacteria, like rinsing under a tank). Just go through the basics and think about what might be amiss. Mouth fungus rarely comes out of nowhere. Good luck! Neale>

Question about injured scale on boesemanni rainbow   6/25/07 Dearest Bobster- How're you doing? What's new with you? We are gearing up for our trek out to HI at the end of next month...it's rapidly approaching - I'm very excited! <Fine, thanks and oh yessss> I wanted to ask you a quick question about scale damage on one of my beautiful boesemanni rainbows. I'm almost positive it was caused by an over-excited SAE, who generally goes berserk at feeding time and is quite aggressive to the larger fish in the tank (3 boesemanni, 2 boys and 1 girl). He's such a monster that he actually killed his companion SAEs many years ago. <Uncommon, but does happen> This over-aggressive behavior's been going on for years and perhaps I should have removed him before, but 1- I don't have anywhere else to put him, and 2- several years passed with no problems. Thus, I've let him continue to remain as the tank bully, as up to now, there haven't been any significant issues resulting from his poor behavior. As of late, my alpha male rainbow has a very obvious couple of damaged scales right in his midsection (the area where the SAE usually head-butts the others). I understand that secondary infections are always possible when a fish has a lesion, so I've been very careful to do extra water changes on this tank. Also, I've been adding MelaFix about once a week (who knows if it does anything, but it makes me feel better!). I understand that scales grow back in time (I should mention that the damaged scales are still present and haven't actually fallen off, but they are raised like a scab of sorts); generally how long does that take? <Quite a while with Melanotaeniids... weeks to months> Should I be using any sort of antibiotic or other medication, in your opinion, to speed healing/prevent infection? <Mmm, no, not a good idea in general to use antibiotics... I would use... two nets... to remove this Crossocheilus> Or just leave things alone? The good news is that the problem definitely hasn't gotten any worse over the past few months, but I do realize that the underlying issue is still present- this SAE just can't get along with any other fish. I'm going to start asking if any local fish stores would take him for their larger, aggressive display tanks. Probably not, but doesn't hurt to ask, right? Too bad he can't live in brackish with Puffy, the F8 - that may teach him a lesson. <Yikes> Just curious if you'd advocate any additional treatment for this Rainbowfish. Oh, and salt's not an option, since the tank's heavily planted. I could transfer the boesemanni to QT (well, after I replace the hospital tank I broke a couple of weeks ago!) - do you think that's warranted? <As you state... optimized water quality with water changes... perhaps soaking foods...> Your advice is always appreciated. Hope you are well. See you soon! Jorie <Looking forward to it. BobF>  

Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -- 06/14/07 Good evening, <Hello!> My name is Carol. I have a couple of (I hope) quick questions for you. I have a 75 gallon FW community tank. I went out of town for two days and came back to find out that my fish sitter didn't notice the filter had been turned off (guess she hit the powerstrip while grabbing food). The water quality was bad needless to say. I didn't even bother to test how bad just did a 50% water change. Of course I made sure ph was similar for water change. <Good... or even lower...> The next day one of my two large Gouramis was unable to keep himself righted in the water. Tail up, then tail down. He could swim just not stabilize himself. <Likely metabolite poisoning of some sort...> He ate what he could get to for two days. I did another 30% change two days after I got home. The same day I finished reading what I could about what his problem was and came up with swim bladder problems. <But what root cause/s?> I moved him to a 10 gallon hospital tank and treated with Epsom salt (1 tsp per 5 gal) two days ago. I've tried feeding him peas to no avail. I am confused on whether I should also try treating with an antibacterial food? <I would not> From what I can figure out the filter being off can cause swim bladder problems but the bad water quality could have caused an internal bacterial infection mimicking the same symptoms. <Yes> I don't want to start treating him with everything under the sun if I should wait some more time to see if the Epsom salt will work. <Yes, this is what I would do> Everything I've read and nobody had both aeration <Mmm, not this... these Anabantoids are facultative aerial respirators... can just go to the surface to breath...> and water quality issues together with swim bladder problems. Thank you so much for your time. I truly hope we can help save George and get him back to his buddies. All of my other fish in the main tank are fine. In fact, I need to find a good birth control method for my guppies. Thanks again. Carol <Heeee! So hard to get them to take those little pills, or... I'd like to repeat that I would NOT continue to treat this fish per se... but would likely return it to the main display... Recovery from such environmental insults can take weeks to resolve. Bob Fenner>

Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -- 06/15/07 Bob, <Carol> Thank you so much for your quick reply. What ph would you recommend for him? <Mmm, "middling"... actually much more important to not have this shift than be much (like half or so a point) higher or lower than 7... The comment I made was in reference to nitrogenous waste anomalies. Turns out that ammonia and nitrite are MUCH more toxic at higher pHs...> My only concern with moving him back to the display tank is that he cannot compete for food. Is he not better off where he is so I can try to hand feed him? <Likely so...> Just a side note, you're next on my list to meet. I just started my first reef tank at Christmas (so much to learn) and have already had the good fortune to have both Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo come to town. <Ahh! Very nice folks, friends> Ask Anthony, Jeff and the rest of HRRC can throw a pretty good party for speakers. <Heeee! Ugh, am trying to recover from last nights regular Thurs. eve dinner party... did my bit stretching putting away the fancy wine glasses thus far... gots to sit down a while...> We would love to see you in Virginia Beach some time soon. <Oh! One of my sisters was born there (Dad was a lifer in the Navy...)> Thanks again for all of your help. You and the rest of the crew deserve many thanks for the countless fish you have saved and people you have kept from leaving the hobby. Carol <Ah, yes... one of our indirect intentions. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem - attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/15/07 Bob, <Carol> Thanks for getting back to me again. I (of course) have a couple new questions. I still can't get him to eat anything. I can hold him in my hand and was thinking perhaps something out of a syringe. Kelly showed us how to tube feed but I don't think that's necessary and I'm too big of a chicken to do it anyway. <Mmm, don't be... think on how important the life of this animal is to you... the good you are trying to do it> Can you make any suggestions as to how and what to feed him? <Mmm, yes... my fave, a small piece blanched (or microwaved) zucchini... with a bit of the skin peeled off> Also, his fins and lower lip are getting really beat up from rubbing the rocks originally and now just the bare bottom of the QT. Should I use something along the lines of Melafix to help with that? <Mmm, not a fan. I would add nothing... too likely to upset bio-filtration, do more harm than good> Ok, one more little incentive for coming here. I can hook you up with the local beach hashers. <Oh! This IS a bonus... Heeeeee!> I won a few down-down challenges in my day. So, are you a runner with a drinking problem or a drinker with a running problem ? Thanks again, <A bit of both... On out, Dogfish/BobF>
Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem (new info) - Attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/15/07 Hi Bob, I know you haven't had a chance to reply to my last e-mail but I wanted you to know that George finally seems to be having some sort of bowel movement. He still hasn't eaten. The feces is long, stringy and almost colorless or whitish. What I have read says that it is usually internal parasites. I'm confused so I thought this new information would help you help me. Thanks again, Carol <Do see Neale (Monk) and my comments re the use of Flagyl/Metronidazole and Anabantoids... Bob Fenner>
Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME - Attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/15/07 Bob, <Big C> Ok, I come to you with head hung low and hat in hand. You can use me as an example of not doing completely thorough research. A little history. The FW tank was my boyfriend's project until he said "oh, George is dying. I'll miss him but I guess I'll have to flush him". <Mmm... I don't "like" such cavalier stmt.s...> I told him to get out of my way and took over. However, he is innocent in the cause because he was out of town with me. My really dumb mistake was asking him what kind of fish George is. He told me Gourami and I bought it. When you sent me to the last link I noticed my fish was nowhere to be found. In fact, no Gouramis had horizontal stripes. I hope I get a little credit for realizing I hadn't actually researched the fish itself in images before I medicated him. So, I took pictures to the LFS and he is a Rainbowfish. From what I can find, he is an Eastern Rainbowfish. I am so sorry for wasting your time earlier (well, I do have two dwarf Gouramis I now know). This fish isn't even a facultative aerial respirator, is he? <Mmm, no my friend> Knowing all of the symptoms, is the cure still Flagyl/Metronidazole ? <Is the treatment of shotgun approach, yes> I guess I have a few new fish to ID, huh? Again, I am so sorry. <No worries. BobF>
Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME - Attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/15/07 Bob, Oops, in my embarrassment I forgot to attach the photos of George. I don't want to be wrong again. Carol <Is a Melanotaeniid... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rainbows.htm BobF>

Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME - Attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/16/07 Bob, "Knowing all of the symptoms, is the cure still Flagyl/Metronidazole ? <Is the treatment of shotgun approach, yes>" I'm not trying to indiscriminately treat him. You had suggested that I should use Flagyl/Metronidazole when I wrote to you about the stringy, white feces. When I thought he was a Gourami. If I should just wait longer to see if he recovers I'm willing to do that. However, I don't want to leave him untreated if it is internal parasites. Please clarify your answer. I just really want to help this fish. Thanks again, Carol <I would treat sequentially with this and an anthelminthic... as proscribed on WWM. RMF>

Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -Answer not in Daily FAQs - Attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/17/07 Bob, Good morning. I checked the daily FAQs and the last post is not there. You know, the one you couldn't get to me in the e-mail. I know this is a pain but I still don't know exactly what to do for George. Since you read so many e-mails here's a recap of my last question. <Hasn't been posted yet... I would use the Flagyl and an anthelminthic sequentially>

Lady boesemanni with a sore belly   4/15/07 Hey Crew. I have a school of seven boesemanni Rainbowfish in a 55 gallon tank. Over the last few days the female has taken ill. <Only one of the seven is female?> She's breathing heavily, and her belly is looking a little swollen. Also, the skin around her ventral area has turned slightly pinkish, and the ventral fins are extended (boesemanni almost always have their ventral fins held tight against the body). <Good observation... and the general "health" trend is indeed that freshwater fishes keep their fins retracted most all the time, marines extended...> She is still feeding and otherwise behaving normally. I'm fairly sure the cause is not environmental (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate is always 5ppm or less, pH 8.0). As I write this, I'm about to isolate her in a 10g hospital tank, and I'll probably treat with aquarium salt. I don't really expect this will solve the problem, but I'm not sure what else to do. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for your help! JM <I would add a course of Furan compound to this ten gallon treatment tank... 250 mg. every three days, changing out half the water for three periods. Please read on WWM re Melanotaeniid health, the use of this class of antimicrobials. Bob Fenner>

Enough already? Adding Melanotaeniids to a largely FW Amazon mix   1/31/07 Hi, <Hello> Thanks for running such a fantastic site.  It has been a real help with a whole bunch of questions that I have had.  However, I now have one that I am not sure how to work out the answer to. <We're in the same boat...> I'd really like to add a few Dwarf Neon Rainbows to my tank (Juwel Rekord 96l / 25g US).  Ideally 2 males and 4 females as I read that you need a 1:2 male female ratio. <Better than "even pairs" yes> The staff at more than one LFS have said that it would be fine, but I suspect that I am pretty much up against the carrying capacity of my set up. As it has been healthy (more or less) for the year or so since it was set up, I don't want to risk messing things up.  The current inhabitants are: 9 x Neon Tetra 5 X Oto 6 x Amano Shrimp 3 x Corydoras What do you think? <Mmm, there's room enough, but the Rainbows do "like" different water quality than the fishes you presently have... likely some "middling ground" could/can be found to suit all here though> Enough already, or should I go for the Rainbows?  I guess the alternative would be to wait until some of my fish die off through (hopefully) old age. Thanks in advance. Phil <Do take a read on... WWM, Fishbase.org re the water conditions of all these fish species. Bob Fenner> Your notes about Rainbowfish   1/8/07 To Whom It May Concern: <Paul> I am a veterinarian conducting a major review of diseases of Rainbowfish and was interested in reading your notes on Rainbowfish at the following website: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rainbows.htm <Ah, yes> Can I quote you for a project I am doing and if so who will I quote as the author of this material? <Certainly, and myself> Kind regards Paul Hardy-Smith <And to you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Your notes about Rainbowfish   1/8/07 Thank you Robert Another quick one - besides mycobacteriosis have you had any other experience of significant infectious disease in Rainbowfish? <In commercial settings there have been what appears (unfortunately not confirmed by examination, culture...) Aeromonad-related losses. I suggest a querying of the various "Rainbow" groups BB's here... many fine folks, some quite sophisticated... that am sure will cooperate with you openly... I would definitely seek out Kent Webster on the U.S. West Coast... a breeder> Also - pardon my asking, but where do you come from (when I put in a "pers.comm., I generally like to acknowledge where the person resides!) Cheers Paul <Oh! Am a Yank... out in Hawai'i' currently. Permanent residence in San Diego, S. California. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Re: Your notes about Rainbowfish - humble request for follow-up Attention Jorie Johnson  - 1/22/07 Dear Jorie, I can indeed notify you and your team there when the review is complete. It will at some stage be released as a public document, so downloadable. <Sounds great - looking forward to it!> On another note, I was wondering whether you may be able to help me. <I'll sure try.> We are trying to get some idea of the trade in Rainbowfish in the US as we understand it is quite substantial. Do you have any idea what sort of numbers are traded each year over there and the most commonly traded species? If not, do you know of someone who may have this information? <This is not something I know, but perhaps Bob himself can shed some light...am copying him here. And, if he doesn't know, he certainly would be equipped to give you some alternative names within the industry...Bob?> <<Mmm... the biggest breeder/supplier I know is Kent Webster... in LA... Do you have contact with the Rainbowfish Study Group (www.rainbowfishes.org/), am hopeful they might have such data. RMF>> We are at this stage restricting our review to Rainbowfish in the family Melanotaeniidae. <Excellent.> Kind regards Paul Hardy-Smith <Thanks for responding - hopefully Bob will be able to help you further, or at least point you in the right direction! Best regards, Jorie> Re: Your notes about Rainbowfish   1/8/07 Dear Paul, I am a part of the WWM Crew; I was reviewing Bob's reply to you, and I just wanted to ask if you would perhaps be so kind as to notify me/us when your review is complete? I am very interested in Rainbowfish myself, having kept boesemanni, threadfins, furcatas, Celebes, etc., and would love to read your findings on this subject.   Many thanks! Jorie Johnson> Rainbow-Killies-Planted Tank set Up  9/12/06 Hi, I'm in the process of planning a FW planted 54g corner tank (38"x27"x22") and was wondering if I could get a second opinion on a stocking list. Equipment will be an Eheim 2028 can. filter (275gph output), 300w in line heater, 55w pc light w/6700k bulb, 15g QT tank and a separate 15g hospital tank. I'm planning on weekly water changes of approx. 10 gallons, (more if nitrates rise beyond 20ppm.) Also, the water from my tap tests: 7.2 pH, 3 degrees KH and 6 degrees GH. My current stocking plan is: 1m & 3f threadfin rainbows, I. werneri 1m & 3f Pacific blue-eyes, P. signifier 1m & 3f forktail blue-eyes, P. furcatus 1m & 1f red-lined killifish, A. striatum 1m & 1f rainbow notho, n. rachovi 1m & 3f spotted blue-eyes, p. gertrudae 1m & 1f clown killifish, a. annulatus 1m & 1f blue notho, n. patrizi My main questions would be... Too many fish? < Between the filter and the plants you should be able to handle the nitrate load.> Any obvious aggression/territoriality problems sure to surface over the weeks?? < Many of the rainbows are in the same genus. I would expect males not to get along. The rainbows may be too active for the Killies and out compete them for food.> I'd rather have less fish than more problems. Also, should all of these guys be okay with my tap water? < Most of your fish would prefer a pH to be lower than 7, but you are very close already.> And any suggestion on a temperature that everyone would be happy with? Thanks in advance for your input and dedication to helping the hobby, (and hobbyist.) < Go with 77 F and thanks for your kind words.-Chuck> Extreme Delay, Sabrina's A Ditz - 08/26/2006 Rainbowfish comp. Hi WWM Crew, <Hi, Erin!> First, I would like to extend my most sincere thanks for the service you are providing to all of us interested in aquarium hobby. I have learned more in the past 2 months since finding your site than in the past 5 years I have had my 20 gallon. <Well....  with the considerable delay that's coming with this reply, I hope you don't hate me/us.  Yikes.  I really, REALLY need to move and shorten my commute time....> I also have a 55 gallon fresh water tank. The tank is moderately planted. The tank has one large and one small piece of drift wood and some large river rocks for structure.  I figure the actual volume of water at about 45-47 gallons.  It has been running for about 4 months now. I have introduced 6 Zebra Danios, 5 Cherry Shrimp, 2 Bristle Nose Catfish, and 2 Green Cory Cats. We are interested in creating a colorful and active community tank. After a lot of reading and a tour of 6 area fish stores I have developed an interest in Rainbow fish.  I realize there are many types of this general category of fish. I would prefer to have smaller fish with plenty of room so we have decide we would be most interested in the smaller varieties growing to a maximum length of about 3.5 inches.  One of the most appealing varieties is the Threadfin Rainbow (aka Iriatherina werneri).  I have some concerns regarding compatibility with our cherry shrimp.  I have read these fish are omnivores and that they have large mouths but their throats are narrow. As a result, special care must be taken to provide small enough pieces when feeding. I am still concerned they may have compatibility issues with my Cherry Shrimp. Do you think the Threadfins would eat them? <I rather doubt it, but I suppose it's possible.  Threadfins are really quite small, as Rainbowfish go.  I think I'd risk it. I do not want to unleash terror on the shrimp as they are my favorite tank inhabitants.  Also, do you think other types of Rainbows would be okay if the are of similar size or smaller?   <Probably.> I would also be interested in any general comment / reservations you may have about keeping this type of fish. Thanks for you time.   <I've never kept them myself.  I've heard that they are delicate and prone to Mycobacteriosis/"Fish TB"/"Rainbowfish Disease", so I would heartily recommend a longer-than-usual quarantine prior to adding them to your system, both to allow any symptoms of disease to show up and also to allow the fish a longer time to adjust to your water and care.> Erin Costenbader <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Bloodworms for Rainbows  8/25/06 Hello, <<Hi, April. Glad to have you back! Tom here again.>> I need some expert advice that I have not been able to get at the pet store and haven't found searching the internet.  Can you help? <<You know I'll try.>> Here it is: I have 7 threadfin Rainbowfish (Iriatherina werneri).  Three males and 4 females.   <<Very nice choice, April.>> I had planned on getting more, but the LFS was "closing them out". The males were added first and hid and shook for 4 days before coming out. The females were just added 5 days ago and you should have seen the males change.  They were parading around the females and even changing colors.   Very pretty and impressive. <<Boys are definitely show-offs regardless of the species. :)>> Okay, the question.  I bought frozen bloodworms as this is what they were getting at the store along with flakes.  The package has separated cubes to defrost and feed.  The problem is this is way too much.  I just today put a few in the tank and they seemed to like them.   I read that this species has small throats and food has to be small.  Do I need to cut the worms smaller (yuck)?   <<The worms will be soft enough for the fish to chew what they can of them. I wouldn't be concerned about this aspect.>> How long can I keep the rest of the defrosted worms in the fridge?   <<Personally, April, I wouldn't store these for more than a few days at most.>> I did plan to feed the bloodworms once a week.   <<A couple of times a week won't hurt at all. They're a good supplemental food source.>> With people food I don't keep in the fridge longer than 4 days.  So I wonder if I should give a few more in 4 days then toss the rest? <<Wasteful as it seems, this strikes me as the best course of action, April.>>   I also thought it a good idea to feed the worms the day prior to or the day of cleaning/water change to get rid of the uneaten worms. <<An excellent plan in my opinion.>>    I read about the foods that Rainbowfish like in general, but due the threadfins smaller size, do you know of better food choices? <<Not better but you might consider frozen brine shrimp, as well. Small enough, I should say, and also a good supplement. The downside is that it brings us right back to the "problem" with over-supply. One thought would be to see if it's possible to snap one of the cubes in half with a sharp knife, preferably without shooting a chunk of frozen bloodworms through the kitchen window. :) The future alternative would be to go with the freeze-dried variety, the smallest container you can find. Freeze-dried foods lose none of their original nutritional value and would eliminate the waste. As for purchasing small containers of food, I recommend this because the food goes stale after a time. I don't hold on to any of mine for more than three months before pitching it out and buying new stuff for my guys.>> P.S.  I want to thank you again for your previous help when I lost the first fish to ICH.  I waited, tested and researched before purchasing these threadfin Rainbowfish.  I really was ready to just give up with the whole aquarium deal.  But thanks to your help and encouragement, I have a nice healthy tank with beautiful fish.  I couldn't have done it without you. <<If I were having a bad day up until now, that's over with, April. I can't think of a nicer compliment and I pass that on for all of us here at WWM. Thank you.>>   Tom, I changed my mind about the "blue Rainbowfish" (8/6/06) since they didn't know or want to know what the scientific name was.  Got me worrying about how big they would really get and how healthy they were. <<Well done. Actually, it's, legitimately, Melanotaenia praecox. Provided there's been no "tampering", these would have been a good acquisition but, between you and me, I like the Threadfins better. My best to you and the whole "crew", April. Tom>> Blue rainbow fish   8/6/06 <<Tom with you, April.>> First, thanks so much for the information you provide. There is a lot of information out there and I get different answers from every LFS that I ask.   <<You're more than welcome, April. There certainly is a "soup-to-nuts" amount of info abounding, particularly at fish stores.>> Here are a few questions.   <<Let's take these one at a time...>> I'm cycling (re-cycling after an ich breakout that killed our first fish).  I'm checking the nitrite and ammonia each day.   <<Good. In fact, better than good!>> Ammonia is 0, but nitrites still high.  I added a small sponge filter that I plan to use in a quarantined tank.   <<Also, good. (I like your thinking here.)>> My main tank is a 16 gal. bow front with a nice sword plant and a few snails (unwanted but cleaning up).  I saw some beautiful blue rainbow fish at the LFS.  I read that they can get to 4 inches and you should have a horizontal surface of at least 40 cm.  I have 19 inches across.   <<At about 2.5 cm per inch (2.54 for those who appreciate "rigor"), your tank fits the bill.>> Could I get away with 4 blue rainbow fish if this is all I put in?   <<"If"? Yes. "Best laid plans", however. We always want more fish. With extremely careful selection and, impeccable water care, your tank might support more than these. Not endorsing it but,...>> Well, I might need an algae eater eventually.   <<Not necessarily. Besides, there are many "algae eaters" available. Please, research these. (My favorite LFS has a Common Plecostomus that would not fit in your tank...literally. Beautiful animal, though. Simply huge!)>> Also I was told that my penguin 100 bio wheel power filter would not remove nitrite and I should consider changing filters.   <<Out of context, perhaps? Any "fully-cycled" filter will remove nitrites. It's just a matter of how much. I, frankly, don't see how a Penguin 100 wouldn't be more than enough filter for a 16-gallon aquarium. Sounds like "bum" information, to me.>> This is a new filter that the other LFS recommended with the new set up.   <<Not a bad choice at all, in my opinion.>> Last question, do you know that a "fruit tetra" is?  I searched your site and they were only mentioned.   <<In nature, there's no such thing. This is a man-made 'aberration', typically created from the White Tetra. The fish are subjected to multiple "injections" of dye or, thrown into a bath, to "create" the appearance of 'strawberry', 'blueberry', etc. The so-called 'Painted Tetras' get much of the same. You and I will never sit down over coffee if you purchase, i.e. endorse, this practice. 'Nuff said.>> Thanks from April in Colorado. <<You're welcome from Tom in Michigan.>>  

Rainbow Congos?   7/27/06 Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you for taking the time to read my e-mail. <Hotay> I was sold five of these fish and told they were Congo tetras.  Three with red fins, which I take to be males, and two with yellow fins (female).  They behave in the way I have read about Congos behaving, but their fins appear different.  Are they Congo tetras?  Or another species in the family Alestiidae? I have enclosed a photo. Thank you again for your help, Johan Kohler Cave Creek, AZ <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rainbows.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Rainbow Congos. (Dwarf) Neon Rainbows from New Guinea. You are quite right. <Have been out, collecting these...> Still glad to have the fish; they are beautiful, peaceful, and reproducing! Thank you again, Johan Kohler <Yay! Bob Fenner>

Colorless Boesemanni Rainbows   7/8/06 Hello.  I have looked all over and haven't found anything like my question.  About 3 weeks ago I bought 4 Boesemanni Rainbows from a LFS.  All the rainbows in the tank were silver with  only hints of color. <Likely just young... really don't "color up" till are a good two plus inches in length> In a display tank there were 3 or 4 rainbows with beautiful colors, so I knew they were capable of colors.  I specifically asked if the ones in the tank would get color, because they looked nothing like the ones in the display.  The guy that I asked I have talked to before, and he seems to know what he's talking about.  (I've compared his answers with you guys' and others)  He said that they were probably stressed in a small tank with a lot of fish, and with the nets fishing around; they would  get their color when they were  more secure and settled. <This is also a factor>    Another thing he mentioned was that they might not be mature yet. (3 of the 4 that I got are 3 1/2 inches or so, and the 4th is maybe 2 1/2 inches, so I would think that at least the 3 should have decent color.) It sounds good, right? <Yes> It's been 3 weeks and they still are silver, for the most part.  I have seen them  get dark vertical  stripes (but not totally dark blue/purple) and sometimes they have a darker yellow tail, but the color never stays for long.  They've never looked like the pictures I've seen of Boesemanni.  They are in a 75 gallon tank with 5 Congo tetras, 7 longfinned Danios, 2 dwarf Gouramis and a Plecostomus.   The water is within safe parameters on the test strips (even ammonia), and none of the other fish are picking on them.  I can't figure it out.  Would more plants/rocks/hiding places help?  Or do I just give them more time?   Thank you for your time and thoughts. Alicia <Well... there is some hope that these will improve with time, good care and feeding, but there are instances that without good "upbringing" that Rainbows (among other life) are more permanently "decolorized" from poor care... Only time can/will tell. Bob Fenner>

Ailing Rainbowfish   5/14/06 Good afternoon, everyone! <Well hello there - this is Jorie> I have searched through your site but still have a few concerns... I appreciate any advice since I know you are all very busy answering questions. :) <I'll try my best to help - Rainbowfish are one of my all-time favorite FW fish - I've got several different species!> One week ago, I bought two Rainbowfish, a Boesemann's and a what I believe is a Lake Tebera. I have a 29 gallon community tank with two red platys, three zebra Danios, two young lemon tetras, two elderly black tetras, one mature Angelfish, and two sword tails. Also two common Plecs (the other one is recovering in this tank from a bad fin nipping - seems to be doing fine now, happy and active with beautifully healed fins!) and two small Corys. <Yikes! My friend, this is a lot of fish, some pretty sizeable (esp. the common Plecos, the angel, and the boesemanni).  First of all, if there's any chance of returning the rainbows, I'd say that is your best bet.  Rainbows are schooling fish, and do best (both health-wise and color-wise) when kept in groups. Obviously you don't have room to add any more rainbows to your tank, so if it's at all possible, I'd say find them another permanent home.> I do 10-15% water changes every week, <I'd be doing at least 25%, probably more like 50%...> use Stability each week, <...I am not familiar with this product...> sometimes using Amquel+ & NovAqua+ combo instead. <I assume this means you are using tap water? Many people think rainbows are super-easy beginner fish, but this just isn't so.  In my experience, rainbows demand *pristine* water conditions; in fact, due to continuous problems with my boesemanni and ended up investing in a RO/DI water system and a UV sterilizer...> This tank is very stable, <...great...> never had any incidence of ich except when I bought two clown loaches from Wal-Mart (very bad impulse buy, will never do again), <Hey, we've all learned this lesson the hard way.  All you can do is take the knowledge, incorporate it, and move on, smarter and stronger.  I hope you've now learned how big clown loaches can grow (i.e., min. of 12"!)...definitely too big for your tank, notwithstanding the fact that you are already overstocked...> and everyone in the tank is acting and looking perfectly normal, with good appetites and activity level. Water tests are as follows - ph 7.0, nitrite 0.5 ppm, somewhere between 250-425 ppm total hardness. (These Mardel starter test strips leave a lot of room for the imagination when it comes to hardness!) <Yes, test strips, in general, are notoriously inaccurate...I'd suggest investing in a good liquid test kit, like Tetra's Master Test Kit...everything you need is in there, and it's fairly reliable...> I live in Central Florida, so tap water is pretty hard. <Fish generally appreciate consistency more than exact precision, so that's the most important thing.  However, as I mentioned above, I never had much success keeping rainbows in tap water.  Check out www.airwaterice.com for good deals on RO/DI units...they are quality products with long lifespans, and I think you'll see a great improvement in the rainbows, as well as the other fish.> This morning I found the Lake Tebera (I think) Rainbowfish hanging out above the powerhead, near the heater (temp is 78 F, and I'm using a Penguin 125 w/BioWheel, BTW), with his eyes looking red and cloudy and acting as though he were blind. He bobs along, bumps into fake plants, doesn't eat. His tail fin seems to have what looks like a tiny bite, but I am worried is maybe fin rot? Most distressing though are his red cloudy eyes. One eye is so badly clouded that his pupil is not even visible. <This sounds like Popeye - a bacterial infection usu. caused by poor water conditions.  Based on your complete information, am I correct to presume you did not quarantine your new rainbows when you first got them? Quarantining all new livestock is truly the best plan, but is even more important when you are introducing wild-caught fish, like rainbows, into your community.  They are notorious for bringing along various diseases and should be observed in QT for a min. of 3-4 weeks.   Having said that, all you can do is learn from the experience.  At present, you need to get the affected fish into his own hospital tank...> (Oh, and I say he, but I have no idea what sex this fish is.) <It can be difficult to tell with rainbows, esp. when they are juvies.  Once they mature, the males and females have different colorations that make it a bit easier to know...> I have a Styrofoam cooler (holds maybe 3 gallons if filled to the brim), and I put him in there. I put in a new, never used Fluval 1 filter that I was planning on using for a turtle tank, so that the water stays clean and aerated. I put in 2 tsp of Epsom, since the tank is filled with 2 gallons of water -- half is tank water, other half is brand new dechlorinated tap water, as well as two .5L water bottles of Zephyrhills just to top it off, heh) and also a few drops of Stress Coat and NovAqua+. Could this medication do any harm? <First off, distilled water is not generally great for fish - it is missing essential elements, minerals, etc.  Also, you may have shocked him when you transferred him from straight tap water in your main tank to this setup.  For now, consistency is key - keep the water clean and do not go back and forth between tap and distilled.  I'd stick with tap.  Also, in this QT, is there a heater? Make sure there aren't significant temperature fluctuations, as this can wreak havoc on a fish's immune system.  I don't think the Stress Coat and NovAqua+ will do any harm, but I'm not generally a fan of adding all sorts of chemicals.  Right now, you need to focus on keeping the water clean and stable.  Also, you may want to try a broad-spectrum antibiotic, such as Maracyn I and/or II. Whatever you choose, dose according to instructions and keep a close eye on the fish...> I am very reluctant to try any OTC fish medication and thought maybe these conditioners would help. <I applaud you for not running out any buying every medication in town - that can many times make matters worse.  Conditioners, however, won't generally help a sick fish, and in my opinion, nine times out of ten are unnecessarily used also.  For you, if you stick with distilled water, you will need to look into additives like ElectroRight and pH Adjust - as mentioned above, distilled water is lacking certain necessary elements for fish, and likely has a pH of 5.0 - way too low.  And, if you go the route of a RO/DI filter, those products work nicely as well.  If, however, you stick with your tap water, you will simply need a chlorine remover, as you have been using, and that should be sufficient.  I cannot stress enough that stability is much more important that a precise pH, level of hardness, etc.  Use your test kits regularly to ensure there isn't great fluctuation.> The CopperSafe I used for the clown Ich outbreak seemed to be so harsh! <Copper is a very harsh medicine, no doubt about it.> I also cut a plastic 1 gal water bottle in half so that he would have a little transparent "cave" for security, <Nice thought, but your fish might appreciate a non-transparent one...> and put a 120v incandescent bulb over the water. (It's a ceramic heater type lamp, which I was planning on using for the turtle tank, also.)  I am hoping the plastic and Styrofoam will help keep the water warm without a heater, as I have no extra heaters at the moment. <Do keep an eye on the temperature of the water - you don't want it to fluctuate.  If need be, you can purchase a 25watt heater for this 2-3 gal. tank.  Do be sure there's a thermometer in the water.> I made sure to cut the plastic bottle very smoothly; I didn't want him to run into anything sharp in his blinded state. <Good idea.> Also, I know this was a bad idea, but I thought he might be hungry so about three hours after putting him in the makeshift hospital tank, I caught him with my hands (freshly & carefully washed with Dawn) and put him back in the main tank. <You are right - not a good idea.  You can feed your sick fish sparingly while in QT...> He didn't eat anything, but I thought he looked worse. He seemed so pale, with a whitish cast over him and his eyes seemed a little redder (though maybe I'm imagining this.) The thought of salt on red irritated eyes sounds so painful, but I realize this is probably a secondary bacterial infection so I thought I'd try Epsom salt on my own before writing to you guys. <Epsom salt cannot hurt and may help.  You need to stop moving this fish back and forth, though, as you are needlessly stressing him out.  Also, when you do need to transfer him, please consider investing in a fish-safe net - this is much less traumatic on the fish.  For now, keep him in QT, observe with the Epsom salt, keep the water clean and stable, and heated, if possible.  If conditions don't improve or worsen, look into a broad spectrum antibiotic.  Also, be sure to feed him quality nutritious food, esp. while he is ailing - bloodworms (frozen, then thawed), or Mysid shrimp, or a good quality pellet (such as Spectrum New Life) if he'll accept them.> Sorry for the wordiness of this e-mail. <It's helpful to have more, rather than less information - don't apologize!> If you could give me an idea of what else to do, I would be so grateful! <Hopefully I've done so.> I feel I have been irresponsible somehow and the death of this little guy might prompt me to start re-evaluating my skills as a fishkeeper, or for that matter, my worthiness as a human being... ;( <OK, don't do that, but do keep in mind QTing is very, very important, whenever you get new livestock.  Also, with your current stocking list, you really shouldn't be looking to add any new fish.  All you can do is learn from your mistakes - we've all made them, and ultimately, it makes us better fishkeepers!> You all do such terrific work! To think, it is purely in the volunteer spirit. If I ever hit it rich I'll contribute richly to the WWM!! <LOL! Thanks for the kind words...'tis a great group of folks here at WWM and they have and continue to help me immensely!> Thank you in advance, Nicole <You are welcome.  BTW, how is the boesemanni doing? Jorie> P.S. Oh, forgot to mention that he is back in hospital tank now since he didn't seem hungry or sociable, and I wanted to treat him and quarantine him in case his condition is contagious. <Excellent - leave him there and monitor him closely.  After he's improved, you'll still want to leave him for at least 2 weeks to ensure he is totally healed and doesn't relapse.> Re: Ailing Rainbowfish   5/14/06 Hey Jorie! <Hi again, Nicole!> Thank you for the lightning-fast reply! I do realize my tank is overstocked right now. This is because these are two tanks -- a 20 and a 29 gallon -- consolidated into one. I know this seems very mean and careless to do! It's because I had to move, going from having my own 2 bedroom apartment to being somebody's roommate (long story, I'll spare you the details, just that I am having some financial difficulties right now). <I totally understand - financial difficulties are no fun for anyone.  As long as you realize that your take is quite full, that's quite different that not knowing.  I am sure you will do right by your fish and provide them with a bigger space once you are able.  In the meantime, just be sure to do more, rather than less, water changes, to keep up with the extra bioload.> I am setting the 20 back up soon, but for right now I have one very busy tank. It seemed like things were ok because everyone gets along real well and seems to have found their own place in the tank, but I am getting to work on the 20 now that this poor guy has developed this crud. Popeye, you think? His eyes don't seem swollen, just cloudy and red. <He could have injured his eye, and this is a secondary bacterial infection...> I will continue to observe and treat him as I have been, if he doesn't improve I'll try the Maracyn. <Sounds like a good plan.> I have the established gravel and the old filter and filtration unit from the 20, but not the heater, I accidentally cracked it :(. <Been there, done that! Glad you realized before you put it in the tank!> When I set it back up I'll let it cycle -- fishless cycling for about 3 weeks -- maybe by then he will be looking and seeing better. <Sounds like a great plan.> Oh, I forgot to mention this, but I do get R/O water, about five gallons worth, from my LFS to do my weekly water changes. I just used tap water right now for the emergency W/C and 50% water for the quarantine tank. The 5 gallons is what I do my 15% change with, but I will buy another canister and up that to 10 gallons a week. <Got it.  When you have some spare $$$, I'd suggest looking into your own RO/DI unit - it will definitely save you money (not to mention the hassle of lugging 5 gal. of water around!) in the long run.  When you are ready, as I mentioned, www.airwaterice.com is a great site...very helpful folks.> My 20 gallon was my beginner aquarium, hence where my platys and Danios came from. Also the source of the other Pleco and the angelfish, who was such an adorable little baby - now grown up to the size of a moon pie!! Alas, what else could I have expected? <Hey, most of us have been there - this is how we learn. And, side bonus is having the larger fish to control the livebearer population - my rainbows must be eating all my platy fry, as I haven't seen a single one in about a year now!> I am sorry to say I did not quarantine the rainbows. I didn't realize they were wild caught fish, I just heard that they were very adaptable to hard water, easy beginner fish, etc. as you mentioned. <Many people will tell you they are an easy fish - I tend to disagree based on personal experience and second-hand stories from folks like you.  I really don't know why so many LFS tell people how easy they are to keep.  They definitely require stability more than anything - they just aren't as "forgiving" as platys, for instance.> My LFS seemed not to know much about them (they specialize in marine setups, although that to me seems like no excuse), since they were labeling them "rainbow tetras." <Ugg - perhaps you should politely educate them?!> The Boesemanni is doing just fine, beautiful color, eats everything. Except for glassworms, which the container said were a favorite of "rainbows, ram cichlids, etc." but nobody seems to like these. I do feed a variety of foods every day. For example (feel free to skim this part) <...no, this is helpful info!...> Freeze dried: Spirulina flakes, color flakes, Bio Blend granules, brine shrimp, Cichlid omni and Community formula flake food from Ocean Nutrition, Frozen: Bloodworms, Spirulina & vitamin enhanced brine shrimp, also the glassworms duds. <Sounds great.  The only change I'd suggest is substituting Mysid shrimp for brine - much higher nutritional content.  But, of course, use up what you already have!> For the bottom feeders: sinking pellets, algae tabs and blanched zucchini. The platys liked skinned peas but nobody else did, and what a mess! <LOL! At least you must have had very "regular" platys...> I know I shouldn't have gotten the Rainbows with the stocked conditions, but I had planned to have my 20 already set up by now. *sigh* It just seems so daunting to set up an aquarium, on my one day off a week! But with this new impetus I will be doing just that. <It is a lot of work at the beginning, but will pay off in the long run...> I also have been wanting to give the angel away, either trading him in or selling him since he has grown so large, but the LFS I got the rainbows from doesn't sell angelfish, and the other store is an all purpose pet store that doesn't take trade ins. Also the aforementioned LFS is not interested in any fish like Danios, platys, etc. They would probably take them for free as feeder fish, maybe! <I couldn't bring myself to do this, either.  With regards to the angel, maybe try www.aquabid.com or even post on the forum at www.wetwebmedia.com Maybe someone local can/will help you out?> Any ideas? Besides giving back the rainbows, which I will do if I have to, but I sure do hope to find another alternative. They have really grown on me, probably my favorite fish... <Yes - me too!  Play it by ear...I'm glad the boesemanni is doing well.  Hopefully your other rainbow will recover as well.  In the meantime, you can read up on your new "favorite" fish in Dr. Gerald R. Allen's "Rainbowfish: In Nature and in the Aquarium" (ISBN: 1-56465-149-5).  I cannot wait to have a rainbow species dedicated 90 or 110 gal. tank one day:-)> A million thanks, Nicole <You're welcome...hope all goes well. Jorie> P.S. Thank you for the advice on the liquid test kit. I am going to look online for one. <Try www.drsfostersmith.com - good prices on dry aquarium goods, generally.  Or www.bigalsonline.com> P.P.S. I have heard conflicting advice on netting fish. I do have a big and little net, those coarse green ones, but... heh, my hand just seemed less harsh on red, irritated eyes than that mesh! I won't move him again, though - he is staying where he is for a couple of weeks until he is all the way better. <I am surprised you were able to catch him w/ your hands! Maybe b/c he isn't feeling well...my rainbows are impossible to catch!  The green nets are just fine, but if you are truly concerned, you can always pick up one of the marine white ones that are softer, with less holes...truly not necessary though.>

Parasites Attacking The Rainbows  - 05/10/2006 Hello!  I seem to have encountered a problem that I cannot answer through the vast resources of this website, or even my home library on fish diseases.  I have a 125 gallon tank set up primarily for Rainbowfish.  There are 18 various Rainbows in there at the moment with a handful of Corydoras, loaches and a Pleco.   This is an established aquarium that I have not added any new fish to in over six months.  A couple of days ago I noticed one of my Rainbows (m. parkinsoni) had almost a perfect segmentation in its color, or rather, the complete absence of color starting at the tail and reaching halfway up the body.  It is almost as if the latter half of the fish is not receiving proper circulation.  I thought this may have been due to a change in diet, since I have been feeding more flake food than normal.  These fish are accustomed to frozen treats like bloodworms and brine shrimp, which I resumed feeding.  Now a second fish (g. Wanamensis) has this same half de-coloration.  I ran the normal water tests, ammonia/nitrite read 0 and nitrates only came in at 10 ppm.  The pH read 6.8 which is the same as fresh tap water where I live.  To be safe, I moved the two fish to a hospital tank but I have not begun any treatment since I don't know what I may be treating them for.  Any ideas?  The Wanamensis is still eating.   The Parkinsoni I'm afraid has stopped taking food. I seem to recall encountering something similar to this a few years back.  Ironically, it too involved a Rainbow, m. Splendida I think, but I had the afflicted fish in quarantine and I returned it without learning what it was or the outcome for that particular group of fish. Any insight you could share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Brook < I have found that these things turn out to be bacterial and respond well to Erythromycin. Watch for ammonia spikes because this medication will affect the good bacteria needed for biological filtration.-Chuck>

Response to Rainbow Fish Email  - 1/6/06 Hello, I sent an e-mail about a weird lump on the underside of one of my rainbow fish, just in front of the bottom fin. The lump seems to be getting smaller but it still worries me to not know what it is. I hope it's not something my other fish can get. I thought I'd send you another e-mail to ask if there is a certain FAQ site I should be checking for the answer to my original e-mail, or do you reply in another e-mail? I look forward to hearing from someone. Thanks a bunch, Kris < We get lots of email everyday from all over the world. We answer everything eventually, usually not more than a couple of days. We do have computer/server  issues from time to time and things just disappear. We try to figure it out as we go but sometimes we never know what happens to the emails. Go to the WWM homepage and do a Google search on rainbow fish. You should find a response there. Lumps a can be many things. If it was bacterial you would eventually see it burst into an open sore. I am guessing that it may be a parasitic worm that could be cure with Fluke-Tabs. This is more common with pond fish, or new fish that may have been imported after being raised in a pond.-Chuck>

Overcrowding?  11/20/05 Hello. I have written to you guys before and you were very helpful, so I thought it would be smart to check with you before I made a new addition to my tank. I currently have a 10 gallon tank with 2 sparkling Gourami, <Trichopsis pumila?> 2 black skirt tetra, and 1 threadfin rainbow. They are happy and healthy and have been for a few months now. The water parameters in the tank are stable. I would like to add two more tetra of a different kind (possible true Rummynose) to the tank and I was wondering if that would be too crowded. All the fish are pretty small (no bigger than an inch and a half) and I plan on getting a larger tank within the next 6 months. Thanks a lot for your help! Jessica <I do think you should be okay with this addition behaviorally and physiologically. Bob Fenner> 

Red Iran Rainbow Hello again. Thanks for getting back to me! Unfortunately my red Irian did not make it and this morning yet another one has past away. I'm quite sad! You had recommended that I use Metronidazole. Should I treat the whole tank (minus the bio wheels and carbon) or should I move the remaining 3 fish to a "q" tank?  As I was reading through your response, I noticed that I did not include that about two weeks prior to all this nastiness, we had purchased 2 pink kissing Gouramis. We did the whole "q" tank thing to watch them for a week and they didn't show any signs of disease. I really don't know much about diseases in fish (just what I have read about the signs & symptoms). Could they have introduced some sort of parasite that doesn't show any signs or symptoms? And another question I have is how do you really go about bringing the fish home and placing them in a "q" tank? Like the pink kissers, they didn't show anything, but should I have medicated them just to be safe? Are you supposed to do things like that when the fish first get home? Thanks again for your help Chuck, your responses are truly appreciated (not to mention that you are helping a newbie like me learn some important things!) <Chuck's away this week, so I'll jump in on your basic questions. Metronidazole will not harm your beneficial bacteria, so I would treat the tank. I would also feed Metronidazole treated food at the same time. It is effective against internal protozoan infections only when fed. I QT all new fish for 30 healthy days and only treat if a problem is found. Hope that helps. Don>

Mean Dwarf Rainbow Hi there, <Hello Jennifer> I've looked through your FAQ's and can't seem to find anything about this.  I have a 12 Gallon Eclipse system that's been running for about 4 months now. I initially started with 4 dwarf Rainbowfish, 2 male and 2 female, <Mmm, would have been better with one male, three females... and this tank is too small...> at the suggestion of the aquarium store employee (another employee later told me that you shouldn't cycle a tank with rainbows, but that's not the problem here).  Almost immediately we noticed that the largest male was constantly picking on the females, and wouldn't even let the other male swim around the tank (he had to hide in the rocks or behind the filter, poor little guy).  About a month later, one of the females developed a sore on her side and looked like she was going to die, so we returned her to the pet store.  The large male Rainbowfish continued his relentless harassment of the other two fish. Two weeks later, the other female died. And then finally, the smaller male died. Now it's about a month after the small male died, and the large male is still in the tank all by himself and seemingly doing just fine.  Water quality checks out ok, but we do have a bit of a brown algae problem. So, I don't know what to do now. It seems like that fish is just mean and doesn't want to have any tank-mates.  I'm a little miffed at him for killing off the other three fish!  I would really like to have an aquarium with two or three different types of fish, but now I don't know what to do. <I do... trade him in... start with a new livestock plan> If I return him to the pet store, do you have any suggestions for my setup?  (Our water is slightly hard with a slightly high pH). Thanks much for your help. I really love your site. :-) <Ah good... then read it over to make up a list of possible organisms... that stay small, are apparently compatible... and check with us, others re their disposition with each other. Bob Fenner> -Jennifer

Sores on Rainbowfish <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> It's happened before and now two of my mature Rainbowfish, one a Yellow and the other a Boesemani, have open sores on their sides. In both cases the sores are, more or less oval in shape and leave an open wound of about 3/4 on an inch in length. In both cases, too, the wounds appear about an inch back from the base of the fish's pectoral fin.  <This sounds sadly familiar. See if you can track down a copy of Dieter Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases" and take a look at the photo on page 22...it shows a Rainbowfish with something that sounds very much like what you are describing. Untergasser labels the photo as an example of "open tuberculosis", which is caused by a mycobacterium that is found somewhat frequently in fish tanks.> I don't know if this is something specific to Rainbowfish, but this has happened to Rainbowfish that I've had in the past and on a number of occasions, most recently... about six months ago I lost a Parkinson's Rainbowfish after the same kind of sore developed. <I have lost four neon rainbows, four Australian rainbows, and three turquoise rainbows to this before I knew what it was. If you check the forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk and do a search for posts by JKJ454 about her rainbows, you might find some useful information there, too.> Presently, none of the other fish in the tank, including a New Guinea Red Rainbowfish and a Melanotaenia trifasciata (Goyder) and an M. herbie, have this kind of sore. <Keep your water quality pristine... that can keep what may be an existing infection from taking over and becoming lethal. JKJ is using a UV system on her tank, and her Boesemann's are looking good.> Is this something that is particular to Rainbowfish? <No, but it seems sadly common in rainbows.> In any event, I haven't been able to find anything written on it and if you can identify the problem it would be appreciated. THANKS....Alan <There has been word that mycobacteriosis, aka fish TB, can be treated with Kanamycin -- however, the cost of the treatment may be quite high. Much more info available at the links here: http://www.fishdisease.net/cgi-bin/search.cgi?ps=10&q=mycobacteriosis&t=&Submit=Search ... and check the WetWebMedia site, too. Now that you know what to search for, you should be able to find a fair bit of info. I do hope that this is *not* what your fish have, but fear that it might be. If it is, do wear full-arm-length aquatic gloves when you mess around in the tank. --Ananda>

Australian Rainbow Howdy Folks! <Hey, AJ!  Please do forgive the delay; I've been in the middle of half a dozen computer crashes this past week/weekend> I've been reading up all night at your (lovely) site, and haven't found the answer I'm looking for.   <Wow!  Guess we'd better try and help out, then!> I have a 55 gal FW community-ish tank.  Of my tank members, I have 2 Australian Rainbows (that's what PetSmart calls'em anyway).   <Certainly covers a lot of fish.... check out this site:   http://members.optushome.com.au/chelmon/Austrailian Rainbows  if you're interested in identifying your fish and learning more about them.> I've had them for a least a month now and both have been doing great!   <Good to hear.> I recently won a battle against a nasty low pH problem and have been testing my water regularly ever since.   <Heh, I'm envious of your low pH!> So, when I came home tonight to see my large Rainbow swimming in circles (to the right) with two huge swollen eyes, I was baffled.  I pay pretty close attention to my fish, and I don't recall having seen his eyes looking even slightly swollen before.  As a matter of fact, everyone was fine when I left for work (9 hours earlier).  To double check, I ran all of my tests... no ammonia, no nitrites/nitrates, pH 7.3, GH 7.5, KH 6, temp 77F... all of which are in good/acceptable ranges according to my test kit (it is right, isn't it?).   <The only thing that I'm concerned on is "no nitrites/nitrates" - just wanted to make sure you understand these are two completely separate nitrogenous wastes that must be tested with separate kits.> The swollen parts of his eyes are also red from the front, like he has internal hemorrhaging, but its not his actual eye that is red.  Are these symptoms of the dreaded bacterial Popeye?   <Though there can be other causes (injury, for one), yes, this sounds like "Popeye" (exophthalmia).> If so, it is likely that my (many) other fish are in harm's way?   <This is certainly possible.  It'd be a good idea to isolate him in a quarantine/hospital tank, if at all possible.> His behavior is very erratic as sometimes he's acting normal, and sometimes he's spinning around, and sometimes he's being spastic at the surface (like he's trying to jump out).  He didn't appear to be interested in food but he's not doing the typical 'twirling head down' pre-death dance.   <The spinning is possibly of great concern....  please do check out the links on this page:  http://www.fishdisease.net/cgi-bin/search.cgi?ps=10&q=whirling+disease&t= .  Although it is (hopefully) more likely that he's just having trouble swimming from his illness(es), it would be good for you to understand more about Whirling Disease in case that is what you're looking at.> So, overall, I guess I just want to know what I can do to save him and, more importantly, the rest of my fish.  Oh yeah (this may be important), I read on ONE little unprofessional site that a cause of Popeye is excessive aeration(?)!   <Er, not really, no.  It can be related to having too much dissolved gas in the water, but you'd probably be seeing other symptoms of "gas bubble disease" in that case, including bubbles in the fins of the fish and very heavy breathing.> Several days ago I purchased a 48" flexible bubble line so that my fish would have more bubbles to play in (the Corys LOVE them) and it is attached to the same air pump the 12" bubbler was attached to.  Is the excessive aeration thing true or is all of that just an unlikely coincidence?   <Coincidence, IMO.  You could try removing the second airstone for a couple days and see if that helps.  Right now, the best recommendation I can give you is to isolate the sick fish in a separate tank and add Epsom salt to the water at a rate of 1-2 tablespoons per ten gallons; this will help relieve the pressure in the eyes, possibly clear the issue up altogether.  Do please watch for any other symptoms of illness, as well; it may be a good idea to get the fish on some antibacterial food (perhaps with Oxytetracycline, provided you can find it), in case it is a bacterial issue.  Otherwise, it'd be a good idea to use a good, broad-spectrum antibiotic like Kanamycin in the water.> Thanks a million for any help (and for all the help you've given in the past simply by posting your replies to other people's questions!)!! AJ <Our pleasure, AJ!  I do hope this reaches you in good time, again, I apologize sincerely for the delay.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Picking Up from Here >Dear WWM Crew: Thanks to all for your invaluable help and support up to this point.   >>We do what we can, though my efforts are new. Here's the deal: >I've got a 44 gal. freshwater tank that housed the following fish: 2 Boesemani rainbows 3 male threadfin rainbows 5 balloon-bellied mollies 3 green Cory cats.   >The tank's parameters are all normal, no nitrites, ammonia, pH = 7.5; I haven't tested for nitrates yet, but will do tonight. Unfortunately, through an error of mine, there was introduced to my tank something horrible and insidious last week.  I did not fully understand the benefits of QTing *all* new tank members, but believe you me, it's a mistake I'll not make again.  Anyway, I introduced four dwarf neon Rainbowfish w/out QTing, and within forty-eight hours, two had died and the other two looked *horrible*.  Symptoms included lethargic behavior, not eating, grayish/whitish patches with some red underneath, and fin/tail rot.  I immediately pulled the two remaining dwarf Neons and put them in a hospital tank, and based on the symptoms I saw at the time (and with much help from the chat forum!), began treating these guys w/ Maracyn-Two.  Well, within another 24-48 hours, they had also died.  Again, through my posting on the chat forum, I discovered that very possible I had stumbled across "Rainbowfish disease", or fish tuberculosis.  So, I began researching that, and everything I've seen thus far leads me to believe that this disease is virtually impossible to treat. Yesterday, I noticed one of the Boesemann's not looking very good, so he was put into a hospital immediately.  His outward symptoms did not look like what had affected the dwarf Neons - the boesemanni appeared to have "true fungus".  As such, I chose to treat his hospital tank w/ Maracyn-Two and MarOxy.  Well, this morning I woke up and he was gone too.   >>Oh dear, my heart is breaking for you! In doing even more research today, I've decided that if another rainbow exhibits disease symptoms, I'm going to treat him in a hospital tank w/ erythromycin...I believe that sometimes that works against fish TB...please confirm if that's the case. >>IIRC, it is, however, you would do well to have several medications on hand, I would add Melafix and Spectrogram to the list of meds you already have on hand. >I'm *very* concerned about my remaining fish, and so far, here's what actions I've taken and/or plan to take: increase water changes from 10-15% to 20% weekly, I've ordered a UV sterilizer (scheduled to arrive next week...hopefully soon!) to kill any free-floating bacteria in the water, and, in general, will try to keep the stress level (for both the fishes sake and mine) at a minimum.  Is there anything else I can/should do?   >>Truthfully, you're doing everything I would do, the only advice I can add is to use salt (ratio of 1tsp./gal) while medicating and q/t'ing.  You cannot use this in the display with the plants. >If we are truly dealing with Rainbowfish disease (fish TB) - can it be contracted by the mollies and/or Corys? >>It may, but I must apologize for not having better answers at this time.  I do not think fish TB is specific to any genus or species, treat everyone the same right now. >At what point do I need to completely break down the tank?  In the event I do need to break down the tank, do I need to toss the plants (Aponogetons and Anubias )?   >>I don't think that you need to break the tank down, though putting everyone in q/t for a minimum of one month and letting the tank lie fallow may be helpful.  Remember not to use the salt with the plants.  I don't know that plants can act as carriers for disease, Google has provided me with nothing helpful. >Please help- I do realize that I made a mistake by not using proper fish-introduction techniques (i.e., quarantining), but what can I do from here? Thanking you in advance, Jorie >>You are doing everything you can at this point, with the exception of the salt.  I cannot say, "You should do this, that, or the other thing", because you're doing what I would.  My suggestion is to stay the course right now, and we'll keep our fingers crossed that you lick this!  Best of luck, Jolie!  Marina>

FW Fish Disease Dear WWM Crew: Thanks to all for your invaluable help and support up to this point.   >>We do what we can, though my efforts are new. Here's the deal: >I've got a 44 gal. freshwater tank that housed the following fish: 2 Boesemani rainbows 3 male threadfin rainbows 5 balloon-bellied mollies 3 green Cory cats.   >The tank's parameters are all normal, no nitrites, ammonia, pH = 7.5; I haven't tested for nitrates yet, but will do tonight. Unfortunately, through an error of mine, there was introduced to my tank something horrible and insidious last week.  I did not fully understand the benefits of QTing *all* new tank members, but believe you me, it's a mistake I'll not make again.  Anyway, I introduced four dwarf neon Rainbowfish w/out QTing, and within forty-eight hours, two had died and the other two looked *horrible*.  Symptoms included lethargic behavior, not eating, grayish/whitish patches with some red underneath, and fin/tail rot.  I immediately pulled the two remaining dwarf Neons and put them in a hospital tank, and based on the symptoms I saw at the time (and with much help from the chat forum!), began treating these guys w/ Maracyn-Two.  Well, within another 24-48 hours, they had also died.  Again, through my posting on the chat forum, I discovered that very possible I had stumbled across "Rainbowfish disease", or fish tuberculosis.  So, I began researching that, and everything I've seen thus far leads me to believe that this disease is virtually impossible to treat. Yesterday, I noticed one of the Boesemann's not looking very good, so he was put into a hospital immediately.  His outward symptoms did not look like what had affected the dwarf Neons - the Boesemani appeared to have "true fungus".  As such, I chose to treat his hospital tank w/ Maracyn-Two and MarOxy.  Well, this morning I woke up and he was gone too.   >>Oh dear, my heart is breaking for you! In doing even more research today, I've decided that if another rainbow exhibits disease symptoms, I'm going to treat him in a hospital tank w/ erythromycin...I believe that sometimes that works against fish TB...please confirm if that's the case. >>IIRC, it is, however, you would do well to have several medications on hand, I would add Melafix and Spectrogram to the list of meds you already have on hand. >I'm *very* concerned about my remaining fish, and so far, here's what actions I've taken and/or plan to take: increase water changes from 10-15% to 20% weekly, I've ordered a UV sterilizer (scheduled to arrive next week...hopefully soon!) to kill any free-floating bacteria in the water, and, in general, will try to keep the stress level (for both the fishes sake and mine) at a minimum.  Is there anything else I can/should do?   >>Truthfully, you're doing everything I would do, the only advice I can add is to use salt (ratio of 1tsp./gal) while medicating and q/t'ing.  You cannot use this in the display with the plants. >If we are truly dealing with Rainbowfish disease (fish TB) - can it be contracted by the mollies and/or Corys? >>It may, but I must apologize for not having better answers at this time.  I do not think fish TB is specific to any genus or species, treat everyone the same right now. >At what point do I need to completely break down the tank?  In the event I do need to break down the tank, do I need to toss the plants (Aponogetons and Anubias )?   >>I don't think that you need to break the tank down, though putting everyone in q/t for a minimum of one month and letting the tank lie fallow may be helpful.  Remember not to use the salt with the plants.  I don't know that plants can act as carriers for disease, Google has provided me with nothing helpful. >Please help- I do realize that I made a mistake by not using proper fish-introduction techniques (i.e., quarantining), but what can I do from here? Thanking you in advance, Jorie >>You are doing everything you can at this point, with the exception of the salt.  I cannot say, "You should do this, that, or the other thing", because you're doing what I would.  My suggestion is to stay the course right now, and we'll keep our fingers crossed that you lick this!  Best of luck, Jolie!  Marina>

Madagascar Rainbows Won't Eat Dear Friend <Good morning to you my friend> I have an urgent question - I have recently bought some Madagascar Rainbows - they looked well at the store but since then they have little interest in what I am feeding them. I read that they would take flakes. After they did not, I tried dried bloodworms and later frozen bloodworms. These do not seem to interest them. Three of them just died, no doubt by starvation. <You might try feeding them small live foods. Small fishes (if you're sure they're disease free) or live worms such as bloodworms. Sometimes even small earthworms will entice finicky eaters.> Kindly help. Thank You. Faris <You're welcome! Ronni>

"Pseudomugil signifer pic" (corrections to Rainbowfishes materials on WWM) Hi Bob, Gary Lange here. I saw that Anthony Calfo was going to be giving a talk at the NEC this year and he had marked Wet Web Media.com as a site to visit for some of his stuff. Naturally I had to take a look at the Rainbowfish items and I was rather surprised at some of the items laid out below. Was looking at your pic of Pseudomugil signifer at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rainbows.htm and got a good chuckle. That is a picture of Telmatherina bondtii. I'll have to go back and look at the spelling but it is absolutely not signifer. Note that in further in your section there is a picture, not a great one that is correctly labeled P. signifer. I will also make the point that you have essentially the same fish as the first "signifer" that introduced the section labeled as P. furcatus. Again a mislabeling. check out http://www.rainbowfishes.org/gallery/index.php?currDir=./Blue-Eye_Species&pageType=image&image=furcatus23.jpg for the real thing. You might pop over to http://www.rainbowfishes.org/ and do a little checking. Please change these as soon as possible as there is a lot of misleading info out there on the web. I'm sure you want to have the most up-to-date info on this site. If you pick up Harro's Aqualog on Rainbowfish you'll be able to look up these fishes and easily tell from the pictures there that what I am telling you is true. Since I obtained many of these fishes from their original source I am also in a position to know this for a fact and not just an opinion. I also have some problems with your other pictures. The "trifasciata" is no a trifasciata at all but rather the infamous cross "Crossing Rainbow". It goes by a few other names such as the "royal rainbow" and a few others. I thought we had a "hall of shame" on the rainbowfishes.org site with a picture of this fish but this seems to have disappeared. Further down in your behavior section you show a picture of one of these same crosses. Whether it's incisus x boesemanni or incisus x herbertaxelrodi I guess is still an unknown. I haven't taken the time to do this myself to see the actual colors. Bless you for mentioning the avoidance of crosses. That and crappy breeding selection is the worst enemy of the Rainbowfish. So much of the stock in the aquarium trade is looking pretty poor these days. If you see something labeled M. marcii this is also a cross. The photo of the G. wanamensis is listed as an "aquarium pair". This would not be the case at all as the fish in front of the male wanamensis is some sort of a Melanotaenia. It may be a non-cross it's just too tough from the picture to definitely label it. The strong lateral line marking obviously makes it something other than a G. wanamensis though. Water changes. Rainbowfish REALLY like water changes. I typically perform 50% water changes on my fish (weekly suggested but at least 1x every 2 weeks) and they really enjoy this. 10-20% weekly changes really just doesn't get the job done. Hardness, pH On the GH side anywhere between 100 ppm - 250 is fine for them. Harder is ok too but they get tougher to breed and the eggs sometimes don't hatch at the higher hardness values. On the KH end I feel that it is extremely important to get at least 3-4 degrees of carbonate hardness here. If you have softer water supplement it by adding baking soda, sodium bicarbonate. In my water a tablespoon in ~ 55 gallons increases by about 1 degree KH. pH bounce is something that really stresses Rainbowfish and if present can cause them to get TB. Most of the Rainbowfish people have pretty well discounted the other wasting diseases. TB is not easy to test for but when it has been done - skin ulcers, mouth ulcers, bloating (shot kidneys) and wasting have all been positive for TB. I'll have to do some searching of my hard-drive and archives but I'm pretty sure I can help you out with some accurate pictures of the mis ID'd animals. I really wouldn't suggest pulling them from the website that I mention above as I think he resized those jpegs and they are much darker than the originals. There are several examples of trifasciatas and P. furcata and P. signifer on that site. This week won't be a good one as I'm in a rush to get everything done to get out for the NEC. If you go perhaps I'll see you there. Most likely I'll see Anthony out there. I guess he does your salt water section. sincerely, Gary Lange       <Thank you for the corrections Gary. Will input (soon!). Bob Fenner>

Praecox Rainbow <Ananda here today...> I want to let you all know how much I appreciate this site. Early last year I ventured back into Aquarium keeping with a small 10 gallon set up for my daughter. After 20+ years away I had a lot to re-learn. <Yep. A lot has changed in this hobby!> Bob helped me with an early disaster and since then I have been able solve most problems by reading from this site and other suggested sources I found here. <Good to hear> About 8 months ago I set up another aquarium (29 gallon) and it has been running very well. It does however seem to me, that the local fish stores, would rather have me kill my fish and come to buy more than to keep them well. Their advice often conflicts with WWM. Your site has kept me from needing to replace fish very often. <We have no commercial interest in selling you fish, so....> The Aquarium is a beautiful addition to our home. I do have a problem now with some Praecox Rainbowfish I have had for about 3 months. I started with 4, lost 1 with it's tail caught in the filter intake, and 1 more to what I believe to be some sort of internal nematode. The fish showed no signs of sickness but developed a dark spot near the tail which became swollen over a 10 day period, and then over night the fish had symptoms of dropsy. I quarantined, but the fish died in a few hours, before I had any idea how to treat it. After death, I dissected it and found a few (6) small (3mm) worms bright red and visible to the naked eye. Under 400X microscope, they seem to be a nematode of some variety (I need more experience with specific identification). <Do pick up Dieter Untergasser's book "Handbook of Fish Diseases". It has many, many photos of various nasties that make our fish less than healthy.> The remaining 2 Praecox seem healthy, eating fine, no signs of stress, but 1 has a swelling at the base of his tail. The swelling is similar to the swelling on the fish I just lost. I have quarantined, and I am treating with Nitrofurazone. The fish seems fine other than the swelling. Might it have the same worm? <Likely yes.> and if so how would you recommend I treat it? Is there some precautionary thing I should consider doing to the tank as a whole? No other fish in the tank show any signs of illness. <If you can find or make an anti-parasitic food, I would feed this to the tank for several days. Without being sure exactly what type of parasite this is, I can recommend only a general anti-parasitic medication. Do keep the remaining Praecox in a separate tank.> My water here is hard, 8.0 so I have checked Fishbase for fish that are tolerant. I have some brass (Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus) tetras, 2 Boesemann's, 2 lace Gourami's, 2 Corys, and a bushy nose Pleco. With 20% weekly water changes I never see a rise in Nitrite or Nitrate levels. I am finished stocking and expect to have about 33 inches of fish, if everyone reaches maximum size. I have about 25 inches now. <It sounds like you have been stocking your tank according to the outdated "one inch of fish length per gallon of water" rule -- it sort of works for slim-bodied fish like neon tetras, but you have several deep-bodied fish. If even some of your fish reach their maximum size, you will end up with an overstocked tank. I think a better measure to use is adding the height of the fish  to the length of the fish (and the "thickness" of the fish for wide-bodied species) to get the total "fish length" to compare to your tank gallonage. And even then, this works better for tanks that are shorter and wider, with more surface area compared to their depth, than for tanks that are taller with less surface area compared to their depth.> Thank you again for the wealth of information you provide, Mark <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Australian Rainbows ~ <Ananda here...> I was just wondering if there is a way to tell the females from the males with Australian Rainbows? <These are not the easiest fish to sex, but it is possible. Sometimes the body shape of the female is shallower than that of the male.> I have 9 of them in my tank, and two of them have really different tail fins, different than the others that is... I have a few who are a really pretty peacock purple, and silver, and then a few others a real deep peacock shiny green and some sapphire and silver colored ones... Any ideas here? <With all the species and subspecies of rainbows, I'm not going to try to guess which may be males and which may be females. I think you may have two or three species. Your best bet may be to find some good photos of the species you have -- try the Aqualog series, if you can find it.> Thanks :-) <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Wholesale Australian Rainbowfish I have visited your website about Australian rainbows and can you please put me in touch with the people who will supply them to a friend of mines shop in England, either their email address or their phone number. <Rainbowfish in general are not too hard to come by, at least in the US. Your friend should be able to find them through his regular channels.> Thank you <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Rainbowfish article Dear Mr. Fenner(?), The photo at the top of your article appears to be misidentified. It is almost certainly Pseudomugil signifer, of which there are a number of variants, not P. furcatus, as labeled. Best Wishes, Paul Martin (past RSG member) <Thanks much for this. Will check, correct, Bob Fenner>

Unusual Fish Source Hi, I ran across your web site on rainbows. I have been keeping and breeding rainbows for a number of years now. I am always looking for new sources for hard to find fish. Any leads you can provide on suppliers would be great. <Try http://www.alloddballaquatics.com If they do not have what you are looking for, they should be able to steer you in another direction.> Thanks, Mark Burdette <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Best thing to use for bacterial pop-eye? Hi guys, One of my big rainbows has pop-eye....again. What's the best anti-bacterial medication to use for this?? Thanks, Ananda <a broad-spectrum antibiotic in QT is the best bet, but if it happened recently and is simply swollen (may not be infected yet/at all) then one Tablespoon of Epson salt per five gallons may alleviate the water buildup behind the eye. Do consider especially if removal to QT is not convenient or possible. Kindly, Anthony>

Sick Rainbows ><Ananda...whaaaaasssssup, er... I mean... How are YOU doing?  >Anthony> Just got the splint taken off today, & my arm hurts w/o the support. Still using the sling. And the model name of the sling is "Encore" -- I keep hearing a commercial along the lines of "Go ahead! Break your arm again and we'll be just as useful next time!" Argh.... <<ouch! Do feel better soon!> >One of my neon rainbows has two bumps on his skin. ... >< ...You haven't added any wild caught fish or live plants recently have you (parasitic larvae/copepods)?> Um, yes, actually... just put a couple of new plants in about a week ago. <and the plants were quarantined like fish for 2-4 weeks first? or given a good rinse and alum bath first? That's OK... I usually don't either... although it does help to buy plants from fishless systems when possible> >Her eyes are looking like they might be developing pop-eye. ><starting to sound like bacteria are at least part of it (exopthalmia (eye-popping)> That's what I figured. ><reapply antibiotics... although this time use a product with both Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone That's why I'm using the Furan-2 (Aq. Pharm.); each capsule has 60mg Nitrofurazone & 25mg Furazolidone & 2mg Meth. blue. I've been using 1 capsule daily in a 10g hospital tank, & the silicone is now a nice pretty turquoise color. Should I change the dosage? <the dose you are giving is actually mild... however, the small scaled rainbows may not take a higher dose. Just increase the duration of the treatment in QT. kindly, Anthony> Thanks, Ananda

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