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Astronotus ocellatus (Agassiz 1831), the Oscar. To seventeen inches (45.7 cm). South America: Rio Amazonas basin in Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Northern Paraguay and French Guiana. Freshwater: pH range: 6.0 - 8.0; dH range: 5.0 - 19.0, temp. 22 - 25°C. Wild type at  the Shedd Aq. 2015 
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Freshwater FAQs, Ask us a question: Crew@WetWebMedia.com

Updated 9/21/2017
Other Specialized Daily FAQs Blogs: General, Planted Tanks, Ponds, Brackish, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs,
Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Darrel Barton,
Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized daily Current Crew Bios., Not so current Crew Bios

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

need help on ph      9/21/17
Hi guys need your help........Had a doubt in mind and as always hoping to get a solution of it. My question is in regards to pH and kH I have been reading about it and find it to be very complex to understand. Of what I
understood I realized was that I need a pH of 6 to 8 for my red blood parrot fishes. On enquiring I came to know that the pH of tap water here is
7 to 7.5.
<This is a good range for this hybrid cichlid>

But I also felt that pH of tank could be going down as my tank is properly socked so more dissolved organic compound which would be lowering pH which I am afraid would be affecting the nitrogen cycle
<Mmm; yes to captive systems being more reductive, decreasing in pH over time... as biological processes nick away at alkaline reserve. But, not usually a problem; given regular maintenance; in particular partial water
changes. If you simply siphon out (best by gravel vacuuming) about a quarter (25%) of the system water each week, and replace, the new/replacement water will have sufficient alkalinity to keep the system (and pH) stable>
Hence after reading much to increase my pH I added 1 tsp of baking soda for 5 gallons of water understanding that it will buffer the water which in turn will increase my pH Till now my fishes are fine. Am I right in doing
this and can I continue the same ?
<Likely is a good routine; not harmful here. I would get/use an alkalinity test kit (KH or GH) to check all; only add the baking soda to new water>
Also this all is based on my assumptions and I have not used any test kits
Kindly advise
Regards, Raj
<Have you read Neale's pieces on the subject on WWM? Do so. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility between Ropefish and spiny eels     9/20/17
Hello to all and good afternoon!
I currently have two custom tanks, one 100x50x50cm 250l (40x20x20" 66g) and a 80x35x45cm 126l (32x14x18" 33g)
I have long since fallen in love with oddballs, currently I have a Macrognathus circumcinctus with some guppy and shrimp in the smaller tank it has around 10cm (4") or so, eating frozen brine shrimp very well, the bigger tank has some bichirs and a striped Raphael catfish (the bichirs are going to be rehomed, the catfish also might get out), I have ordered 3 Ropefish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus) with a friend, they are 20cm(8") according to him, the plan on the long run was getting more M. circumcinctus (getting a group of 4~6) and getting them together with the Ropefish and probably a African knife fish in the bigger tank, and probably a purple gudgeon or African butterfly for the smaller tank
Today though, it downed on me that the M. circumcinctus might look a lot like an earthworm to the Ropefish, and that maybe M. siamensis could work better for getting bigger, then I've been thinking of setting the smaller
tank for a group of M. circumcinctus and the bigger tank for the ropes, knife and M. siamensis, the bigger tank has a sump, a whole lot of canister media and is soon getting a fluidized sandbed, nitrate reactor and a little aquaponic setup, very well filtered, bioload wouldn't be a problem there, the smaller tank has a diy internal filter, so i wouldn't dare stock too much in it, it has a whole lot of Egeria densa though;
Now that my whole story is out in open, my main questions are:
Would Ropefish eat M. circuncinctus ?     9/20/17

If so, would I have a problem with doing M. siamensis instead ?
If not, how many would you consider a proper number for the tank ?
If I were to keep the M. circumcinctus in the smaller tank, could I get more to make a group ?
That should sum it up, I am free to any suggestion, thoughts on the setups and advices, the bigger tank is absolutely scape proof, the smaller has four 25cmx4mm openings at the top, I will soon take care of them though
<The short answer is that Ropefish are inept predators adapted to taking bloodworms and other insect larvae. While they can (and do) consume bite-size fish such as Neon-sized things, they are otherwise harmless, .
Assuming the Spiny Eel in question is similar in size to the Ropefish, it should be absolutely fine. An adult Macrognathus circumcinctus (around 20 cm/8 inches) should be okay, but I agree, Macrognathus siamensis (30 cm/12 inches) would seem better on paper, though frankly I've never seen any that size. Ideally, look for something like Macrognathus aral that get bigger, but not very much bigger, than the Ropefish. Here's what I'd do -- throw in a couple big earthworms and see what the Ropefish do. If they're devoured at once, there's your answer! As a rule, predators shouldn't be kept with tankmates less than 2/3rds their size, unless the potential prey is very obviously too well defended to be vulnerable. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Compatibility between Ropefish and spiny eels      9/21/17

Thank you for the fast answer Neale, I guess I will just do that, try out with earthworms to see, in the worst case I'll just grow the M. circumcinctus in the small tank and when it reaches a nice size put it on the bigger tank...
<Quite so.>
Or even better, if I do find a M. aral I'll just let the M. circumcinctus chilling in the small tank and have the M. aral in the bigger tank
<Agreed -- M. circumcinctus is a great species for community fish that aren't too tiny -- Platies, Bleeding Heart tetras, X-ray Tetras, Harlequins, that sort of thing. M. aral is a nicer species for big fish communities, but without the territoriality of the Mastacembelus, as opposed to Macrognathus, species Spiny Eels. Cheers, Neale.>

When to euthanize goldfish     9/20/17
My blue Oranda Zeus is very sick with hemorrhagic septicemia. He has petechiae on his throat and belly along with necrotic flesh sloughing about his mouth, head, and lower gill area. I am treating with Kanaplex and salt.
He is not eating and is bottom sitting. I bought clove oil today but every time I put my hand in to scoop him up he perks up and scoots around. I guess my question is this...in your experience, have you ever seen or heard of a fish this ill recovering?
<Yes; I have; in several cases>
Does necrotic flesh ever grow back?
<Yes... for fins, if the basal area is not completely eroded. On the body, emarginated tissue can regenerate completely>
It's even to the point of flowing in and out of his mouth (the dead flesh). I suppose this is happening internally as well. I am suspecting Columnaris.
<? The Kanaplex should treat this>
He is alone in a 30 gallon bare bottom tank that got cloudy a few weeks ago due to over feeding and lax HOB filter maintenance, followed by a hydra outbreak which was treated with "No Planaria". He went downhill from
there. Current water parameters are fine...0 ammonia...0 nitrate...nitrate not tested...pH 7.4....temp 72. Should I try and do more or euthanize?
<I am not a fan of "giving up" at all easily. I would continue with investigation (reading, books and the Net) and treatment here. Bob Fenner>

Red terror cichlid and red tiger Montaguense cichlid hobbyists vs. vieja cichlid an paratheraps cichlids hobbyists.   9/18/17
I'm John I'm a red terror cichlid and red tiger Montaguense cichlid hobbyist. I heve beef with a vieja cichli do hobbyist named pun ashby on YouTube he has a video of a black belt cichlid beating up a red terror cichlid
I was angry when I saw that but it's ok that's why I'm breeding a male red tiger Montaguense and a female red terror cichlid and when the babies come they will grow up to 32 inches and beat every vieja cichlid and paratheraps cichlid there is��
<May be. Bob Fenner>

ill Pleco    9/17/17
hi I'm new to everything about fishes and keeping them in aquarium , in my country isn't much of knowledge about Pleco and I'm not sure i can even find the right medicine . but i don't want to keep a Pleco infected with
fungus or parasite so i wanted to ask you about a red bump on the nose of my baby Pleco . what is it ? is it a fungus or parasite or worm ? please help me.
<Appears to me to be a physical injury... perhaps a scrape against something hard, or rub?>
i don't know which specie it is but i can send you a picture of an adult Version . my Pleco is 5 cm long (nose to tail ) . i gust got it 2 days ago and i saw the red bump (i send the picture).
<I would not treat this fish, injury with medication/s, but just keep the  system stable and water quality optimized. I want to have you read here Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlecTraumaF.htm
Bob Fenner>

Re: ill Pleco. Now fdg....     9/17/17
thank you soooo much for you're help , i was scared to death that maybe it's a parasite . they are very very expensive here���� thank you again .
sorry for bad English �� and i will definitely read the page you send me .
forgive me but one more question if i may�� does these small Pleco eat fish food or just microplants ?
<Mainly feed on algae... tablets are fine; some folks supplement with a bit of animal matter (bloodworms, frozen/defrosted, or dried/soaked so they sink are best here). >
and do i gave them any vitamins ?
<Likely prepared foods will provide these>
thank you for
all you're hard work and help ��
<Glad to help/share. Bob Fenner>

Stocking soft water tank    9/17/17
Hi there,
I've been reading lots of your FAQs this afternoon, but still feel I need to run my questions by you. I have a 109 litre bow front tank (24" long, 19" deep), with a deep layer of soil and sand substrate growing low light plants without CO2.
<Sounds nice.>
We have naturally soft acidic tap water and I keep it at 80F. Obviously not a huge tank, but I just want some peaceful living fish to watch in my retirement with no plans of expansion. I have tried a number of Amazonian
fish, with some but not complete success. I've had some losses due to water quality, but I think I've corrected some of my mistakes.
<Understood. In fact, Amazonian fish can be relatively adaptable if you choose the right species and avoid the known troublemakers! While some communities of fish will be exposed to very soft, very acidic water all the
time, other communities are in more variable areas>
At the moment I have only one Corydoras paleatus (lost two), and four Emperor Tetras (one male, three female). I did have a school of ten, but I did not realize they could be bullies, and I've lost about three males and six females. My surviving male is still bullying the others, and I'd like to trade them in, leaving an empty tank but for my Cory.
<Unusual for things to get this bad, though yes, the males are mildly territorial. It may be that your tank was too small for them, or the initial ratio of males to females was off. A single male alongside three females should be fine, so I'm a bit surprised you're still have problems. This species is usually quite good.>
Don't want to overstock the tank, but I want to replace the Cories. Should I stick with the same kind or would it be ok to switch to Dwarf Cories, for the sake of space? Or switch to Corydoras sterbai because of the warm
<I'd avoid the teeny-tiny Corydoras such as Corydoras habrosus and Corydoras hastatus as these are best kept on their own or alongside nano species like Ember Tetras. But otherwise Corydoras do mix reasonably well, so if you have 3-4 of one species, you certainly can add some others, and they'll coexist happily enough. That said, a single species in a large group is probably the best option. Corydoras sterbai is the classic hothouse flower among them, and will be much happier in warm (28-30 C/82-86 F) conditions.>
I wanted to try a couple of Angels, but from what I'm reading, my tank is too small for the minimum six. I hate to buy just one, but would one be happy on his own and is it risky to put two in the tank?
<A singleton Angel will be fine, and assuredly the best option for a tank this size.>
I've always liked to stick with one biotope, i.e.. Amazonia, but now I'm thinking maybe I should forget about that and get a couple of Pearl Gouramis instead of the Angel(s). Remember my main objective now is peace!
<A single Angel will usually be peaceful, friendly, even entertaining, as they are intelligent and learn quickly to recognise their owner.>
I've tried Frogbit a number of times (for the Gouramis), but it doesn't survive - could it be because I use a hanging over-the-back filter?
<Possibly, but normally the problem is water droplets on the leaves (because of too much splashing or humidity) alongside the heat produced by the lights (in which case the leaves burn). Ensuring adequate ventilation, while turning down any water flow so there isn't much/any splashing will help. Do also check nobody is eating their roots! This is a great species for reproducing Amazonian pond conditions, and since most of the fish you want to keep prefer slow or still water conditions, that'll suit them too.>
Last, I'd still like to have a school of tetras and my two absolute favourites are Rummynose and Cardinals. Choosing one or the other, could I still have the Angel or Gouramis, and have a school of ten tetras?
<Yes. Both species are excellent companions for either species. Rummynoses do tend to be a bit more expensive, but in large groups look stunning.>
I love the Rummies because of the way they swim together, but I have a feeling you will tell me the Cardinals are the better option.
<Not really. Both are regularly kept alongside Discus, which are very similar to Angels in terms of requirements.>
I'd really like to make the right choices this time and let this tank go into a long-term phase of maintenance only. Please be brutally honest and thanks for your advice!
<Hope this helps!>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Stocking soft water tank    9/17/17

That's a great help, Neale; thank you!
I'm going to go with the single angel, and hold off on the rummies or cardinals until I see if the emperors will finally settle down.
<Sounds wise.>
I'll add a few Corydoras sterbai, and give the frog bit another go; maybe if I keep it in a 2 gal. tank on its own to see if it will establish, then move it into the community tank.
<Definitely. I've found this plant very easy to grow in some tanks, but where it gets pecked or nibbled, it eventually peters away to nothing.>
You guys provide an unparalleled service to us amateur aquarists!
<We're all volunteers here, and appreciate your kind words.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Weather Loach w/Bumps     9/16/17
<Hello Wendy,>
Your wonderful website has helped me before so I'm hopeful you can give me some pointers.
Ghosty (pictured below), approx 5" & 3 yrs old; 55 gal tank; co-habits w/other loaches Jake 7", Jr 4" & Tiny 2", 1 angel fish, 3 zebra Danios & a 2" Pleco. Water parameters as of this am are Amm 0, Nitrites 0 & Nitrates .25. Now that they are in the 55 gal vs. a 10 gal, it's much easier to keep the tank healthy.
<Sounds fine, though do believe Nitrate is 25, not 0.25, which would be unmeasurable with typical test kits.>
Over the last week, I've noticed Ghosty not eating as much, and about 3 days post onset of eating behavior change, I noticed lumps appearing on top side of back very near tail fin. I have noticed what looks like slime film
floating in tank & his dorsal & tail fins aren't clear, they seem somewhat cloudy or slimy looking.
<I see this.>
He seems to swim & act normally otherwise. All other fish appear healthy & not affected by whatever is going on with him.
After today's cleaning, I added Stress Zyme & Vita Chem to tank in hopes of
boosting his health.
<Neither of these "cure-alls" does much. Stress Zyme is all but redundant in a properly maintained aquarium, while Vita Chem is a vitamin supplement, but just as with humans, assuming a balanced diet, basically pointless.>
Standard PWC includes Prime & Stability by SeaChem.
<Much more useful products.>
Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
<In the short term, I'd observe. But I'd consider three things. One, physical damage. I'm not a huge fan of gravel substrates with Weather Loaches, because gravel tends to damage them, leading to skin damage and bacterial infections. Anti-Finrot medication can undo the damage, but do check the gravel isn't sharp, and also that there aren't any objects likely to have caused such damage, like jagged rocks. Cloudy fins are a classic indicator of incipient Finrot, which is another pointer in this direction.
Avoid copper and formalin where loaches are concerned, but antibiotics and products such as eSHa 2000 should be fine. The second is diet. Deformities of the spine and fins can indicate malnutrition, which while unlikely with
fish that have hearty appetites, is certainly possible if you rely heavily on one or two types of frozen or fresh foods rather than optimally balanced pellets and wafers. Finally, there is so-called Slime Disease caused by
various parasites of the genus Ichthyobodo, sometimes known as Costia in older aquarium books. Slime Disease manifests itself as increased slime production, often distinctive lumps of the stuff, as well as clamped fins,
lack of appetite, and over time, wasting and death. It's tricky to deal with, but commercial medications are available. One last thing to bear in mind is that Weather Loaches are subtropical fish -- constantly maintaining
them at tropical temperatures is probably not ideal, and will shorten their lives appreciably.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Weather Loach w/Bumps     9/16/17
Hi Neale,
Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly!
You’re right, it’s 25 ppm with my liquid testing kit.
Would you advise treating for both Fin Rot & Slime Disease? Is there a product available in US which you recommend for treating both? If not advisable to treat both at the same time, which would you treat first and how much time would you give it before I treat the other?
<I would try to determine which was most likely given the symptoms. Normally Finrot appears on the fins first, usually as pink or white blotches, followed by eroding fin tissue. Of course if Finrot sets in on wounds on the body, you can certainly have a situation where the fins are fine but you see white, rotting tissue around the wound. Slime Disease is not particularly associated with wounds or fins, but rather expanses of excessive slime on the body. There may be an off-white to grey colouration over the background colour. Listlessness and wasting may be associated with Slime Disease. Your retailer may have some products that work against both, but if not, choose something for Costia, and simply run an antibiotic alongside it for the Finrot. This combo should be safe, though as noted before, avoid copper and formalin, both of which are particularly toxic to loaches.>
Are the other fish susceptible to whatever’s ailing Ghosty & thus should I treat the 55 gal tank (assuming yes if parasitic but no if bacterial due to injury, except other loaches at risk of same if they get injured on pea gravel)?
<Costia can be contagious, but seems to "pop up" when fish are stressed. So while you could medicate the tank, if a hospital tank is available, and the other fish seem fine, then by all means remove the infected fish. Finrot is not contagious as such, and fish suffering Finrot can be treated separately if necessary.>
Or move him to the 10 gal tank (currently populated with 5 guppies, an angel fish & 2” Pleco) & treat Ghosty with antibiotics there? I suppose I could move all occupants of the 10 gal to the 55 gal thus making the 10 gal a hospital tank, but I fear Ghosty would become lonely by himself, which would not help him recover any quicker.
<Quite so.>
I have not looked into better foods for the loaches but will do so, I would hate to think they are not receiving adequate nutrition. They do love frozen peas as a treat but I typically just feed a pinch of Tetra Tropical Crisps and Omega One Shrimp pellets (3-4, every other day or so). I have followed your advice from 2 years ago to err on the underfeeding side vs. the overfeeding side. Any US recommendations for food would be much appreciated.
<I do think your range of foods, including greens, is probably fine. The problems occur when people use just one thing, like bloodworms, which have a poor nutritional profile.>
The water temp is kept around 75 degrees - not sure how to make it cooler than that as tank is on my main floor & Kansas does get fairly hot in the summer. I can keep it much cooler in the other seasons - down to about 65 if the angel fish can handle that.
<Understood. I would keep the heater on (your Angels will suffer below 22 C/72 F) but avoid anything above 25 C/77 F as that'll be well above the comfort zone of these loaches.>
Thanks again!
<No problem! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Weather Loach w/Bumps     9/16/17

Great, thank you SO much Neale!
<You are most welcome!>

Re: Weather Loach w/Bumps    9/17/17
After researching, I have decided on either API TC Tetracycline or Seachem Paraguard. Do you have any preference or experience with either product? Paraguard seems like a “safer” or less harsh treatment but I have no experience with either, so thought I would ask for your expertise. Thank you so much for your help! :)
<Hi Wendy. Seachem Paraguard does not contain an antibiotic, so is a less specific medication. So Seachem Paraguard is probably a good "first pass" medication if you're not sure what the story is, but the fish isn't in bad shape. Antibiotics are more limited, only dealing with bacterial infections, but they are far more effective at treating such diseases than anything else. This makes antibiotics much the best choice if the fish is in a serious state and/or you're 100% sure you're dealing with a bacterial infection. Make sense? They're both good products, just different! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fish in picture with electric blue Dempsey    9/15/17
Hi just thought I'd let you know that these are spotted tilapia!�� my previous excitement is now gone and I have spotted tilapia with my African cichlids lol.
<Mmm; Pelmatolapia mariae? Do you know the species? Tilapia/Oreochromis/Sarotherodon... are African Cichlids. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish in picture with electric blue Dempsey /Neale      9/16/17

Hi just thought I'd let you know that these are spotted tilapia! My previous excitement is now gone and I have spotted tilapia with my African cichlids lol.
<It'll likely be fine. This fish used to be called Tilapia mariae, under which name you'll see it quite often in older, more comprehensive aquarium books such as Baensch's Aquarium Atlas. It's fairly robust in temperament,
so not a community fish, but outside of breeding not outright psychotic.
I've kept them with large catfish (e.g., Synodontis nigrita) for example without problems. It's a food fish though, and you should expect an adult size of at least 20 cm/8 inches under aquarium conditions. Also, while basically a herbivore (like most tilapia) with a need for plenty of green foods, it can consume bite-size fish, and again like all tilapia has a limitless appetite! Water chemistry is not a major issue, but avoid very soft/acidic conditions, as the species is more of a coastal freshwater, even brackish water fish than an inland, blackwater or swamp-dwelling fish.
Cheers, Neale.>

Medusa Plecos; stkg w/ conspecifics      9/14/17
Is it ok to get a female Medusa Pleco L-034 to keep with a male or would they be territorial when not mating?

<Also known as Ancistrus ranunculus, this species is no different to any other Bristlenose Plec. Yes, the male is territorial, but his 'patch' is an area about 30 cm/12 inches around his cave or log, and in the average tank
with several square feet of living space alongside a selection of other hiding places, the female will be just fine.>
Also there would be an ongoing problem of what to do with the offspring which I assume would be showing up on a regular basis.
<This is one of the harder Ancistrus to breed. Sexing them is hard, when young at least, because only mature males develop the full head of bristles. Colouration and fins are otherwise much the same for both sexes.
They are also a bit more fussy than Common Bristlenose Plecs, demanding softish water, warm water (25-28 C), and plenty of oxygen -- typical Rio Xingu conditions, but not the usual conditions in community tanks. Assuming you provided these conditions, any offspring you'd collect would actually be quite valuable, but as I say, this isn't a species that cranks out fry.>
Thank you
<Most welcome! Neale.>
Re: Medusa Plecos    9/15/17

Yes, thank you. The water the medusa is in does have plenty of oxygen, is about 78-80F, but is kind of on the hard side.
<Likely not a health issue for adult fish, but the wrong hardness does tend to make reproduction less likely. Something to do with triggering spawning perhaps, or preventing the eggs developing normally. That said, few catfish are really picky, and if they choose to breed, I'd fully expect a few fry, even in a community tank -- Ancistrus fathers are very protective and capable chaps!>
Tap water in the US always seems to be harder water. I know someone in Canada who has tap water that one could keep Discus in, but that is there
<Likely varies across your country, as it does here in the UK. A lot of Americans in the Midwest and southwest do get water out of a chalk aquifer or some other hard water source, that is true, but elsewhere, like New
England and Washington State enjoy much softer water chemistry. Cheers, Neale.>

bloated Betta     9/13/17
Hi there
Hope you can help. My Betta is a bit bloated and not pooing so often.
<Mmm; yes; looks a bit prolapsed>
He's been fasted for 2 days and then fed frozen daphnia.
He was still bloated so
I gave him an Epsom salt bath.
<Even better>
He's still a bit bloated and then I noticed this protruding from his anus - any idea what it is?
<Yes; the cloaca (communal sex and excretory opening)>
He's done a thin poo that is clear in places but took ages to come out. Been advised to worm him with ESHa or treat with Octozin but not sure what to do.
<Octozin would be my choice here; along with the Epsom in the system. They are fine to use together>
Any advice would be welcome thanks!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: bloated Betta     9/13/17
Great thank you. Would the Octozin be for treating internal parasites that cause the bloat?
<Hopefully... this situation might involve bacteria, Protozoa>
Can parasites also cause constipation?
<Oh yes>
I'll continue with daily Epsom salt baths and get some Octozin.
<Please do keep us informed. BobF>

Re: bloated Betta     9/19/17
Hi there
I did the 3 day course of Octozin coupled with daily Epsom salt baths and daphnia. He did a couple of small poos but is still bloated and not regular. We went on holiday for 10 days a few weeks ago. He was fed daily but his tank was a mess when we got back and some of the uneaten pellets had white fungus growing on them. Wondering if this is the cause and perhaps its bacterial?
<Could be contributing causes>
Any suggestions are welcome.
<I'd just keep this fish in (clean) Epsom treated water for now; and continue w/ laxative type foods like the Daphnia/Water Fleas, frozen/defrosted Brine Shrimp/Artemia. Bob Fenner>
Re: bloated Betta     9/19/17

Thanks. Do you mean add the Epsom salt to the tank or continue with baths?
<To the tank itself; per Neale's article I've linked, sent to you. B>

Black Spot (Neale?)     9/13/17
<Howsit Whit?>
I'm having a bit of a mystery with my Betta. He has this black mark on his head that showed up in the last two months or so.
<Mmm; first off, I REALLY like your photos. Second, am really NOT liking this spot>
He is in a 10 gallon heavily planted tank with neon tetras and Neocaridina shrimp. Tank parameters are ph 7.4-7.6, ammonia: 0, nitrite:0, nitrate:0 (0 nitrate is normal for my tank due to all the plants).
<I see>
He did injure his tail a few weeks ago on something in the tank but that is healing nicely. I don't recall if this showed up at the same time.
Do you have any ideas what it could be our if I need to treat it?
<This blackish area looks like a growth... perhaps a melanoma. Some folks might advocate cutting it off... Am going to ask Neale Monks here for his individual input. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Black Spot, Betta, Neale's input       9/14/17
I'm having a bit of a mystery with my Betta. He has this black mark on his head that showed up in the last two months or so.
<Looks to me like less of a mark and more of a growth, blood blister, or some other type of mass inside the nostril.>
He is in a 10 gallon heavily planted tank with neon tetras and Neocaridina shrimp. Tank parameters are ph 7.4-7.6, ammonia: 0, nitrite:0, nitrate:0 (0 nitrate is normal for my tank due to all the plants).
He did injure his tail a few weeks ago on something in the tank but that is healing nicely. I don't recall if this showed up at the same time.
Do you have any ideas what it could be our if I need to treat it?
<Short term, I'd observe. Give a couple weeks and see if anything changes.
Perhaps run some antibiotics if you have them handy, as per Finrot, but likely unnecessary so not a priority. If, after a couple weeks, the growth or mass is smaller, then leave things be for another couple weeks. If it's
an actively growing melanoma or tumour, there's nothing to be done except humanely destroy the fish as/when quality of life deteriorates. If it's a cyst, it probably won't enlarge quickly, if at all, so there's no pressing health issue to worry about. No treatment, either. Sometimes cysts heal under their own steam, sometimes not. Vets can remove them from big fish (such as Koi) but it's hard to imagine this being viable with a fish as
small as a Betta. If it's a blood blister, for example caused by hitting the head against the glass when jumping, it should heal in time, just as with humans.>
<Good luck, Neale.>

Wavemaker for a 10 gallon freshwater, and stkg sm. sys.    9/13/17
Hi Team,
I have a 10 gallon freshwater tank with the following stocking:
1 Tinfoil Barb
2 Firemouth
2 Bala Sharks (small)
1 white catfish
1 Blue rainbow cichlid

Would it be a good idea to use a wavemaker taking into consideration my tank size and stocking. I am currently using an air motor for aeration which makes kind of a grrrrrr..... sound.
I am looking for an alternate...Please suggest.
<Hi Shriram, I would just use a hang-on-back bio-wheel filter of whatever brand. You mainly just need water movement and to keep the water surface turbulent. You could use a small powerhead (a Maxi-Jet or whatever in a small size) but I don't know that this would even be necessary.>
The Firemouth since this morning seem to sitting behind an artificial plant and chase the rainbow when he tries to come near them. I haven't seen this behavior in so many days. I am going to observe them for a couple of more
Any idea on why they must be getting territorial all of a sudden.

<Depends on how long they have been in this tank together. The cichlid is a territorial fish to begin with and might just be interested in taking over that spot, as you say, just observe them closely for any signs of fighting.>
Thanks and regards,
Shriram Natarajan
Blue Rainbow cichlid stays near the filter    9/15/17

HI Team,
I have observed that my Blue Rainbow cichlid has been staying near the filter since yesterday. I have seen him swimming around with the other fish (Tin Foil, Firemouth, Bala Sharks). Yesterday he even didn't seem to come out for food when we fed them live worms.
He seems to looking normal and don't find any symptoms of disease.
<Mmm; well; this IS an untenable (unsustainable) mix of fishes... need MUCH more room, now, and will not do well into the future in a ten gallon. I fully suspect the one fish is "hiding" out from the others, rather than
anything else>
What could probably be going wrong.
<Territoriality most likely. Really: take some time, look up (books, the Net) re each of the species requirements here: Water quality, feeding, space... Either trade them (all) back in, or save as quickly as practical
for a tank of several times the present volume. Bob Fenner>
Thanks and regards,
Shriram Natarajan
Re: Blue Rainbow cichlid stays near the filter... ask the same questions...      9/16/17

Hey Bob,
<Hey Shriram>
Thanks for getting back to me on my last query.
Here's another one.....
Can I leave my tank with just my current stocking..
<No mate. As previously stated... >
1 Tin Foil
2 Firemouth
2 Bala sharks
1 white catfish.
<Don't know what this cat is>
what are your recommendations.
<As I mentioned. Reading, study... trading all in and starting again, or getting a MUCH larger system.
Thanks and regards,
Shriram Natarajan
Re: Blue Rainbow cichlid stays near the filter; not listening to advice. Again   9/18/17

Hi ,
<Hello Shriram! Gabe here>
Got a chance to get some snaps of my 10 gallon last evening...Just thought of sharing with you.
<Thanks for sharing :)>
Can you look at the images and help if I can add any fish to it.
<As we have stated before, the fish you have in your system are much too large to be in a 10 gallon system. They will need to be put in a much larger tank. If you want to add any more fish, you will need to upgrade
your tank size.>
A little scared to add smaller fishes.
<Smaller fish will most likely be eaten by the cichlids, and as I said, they will not fit in the tank.>
Thanks and regards,
Shriram Natarajan
<Shriram, PLEASE upgrade your tank size before even considering new additions to your system. The fish you have will quickly outgrow their tank and will need to be put somewhere else before they stress and die. Thanks
for writing, Gabe>

Sick male guppy      9/10/17
Dear WWM crew
I have a 5 week old 70 litre tank with 9 male guppies and various live plants. I set the tank up using Tetra Safe Start with 7 guppies and monitored water daily using API liquid test kit. It's currently reading ph 7.6, ammonia 0.25, nitrite 0, nitrate 10-20. I've been doing approx 30-40% water changes daily and dosing with Seachem Prime. Five days ago I did two things that I'm now regretting. I added 2 new guppies to my original 7
(didn't know about quarantining) and later that same day I fed them all live bloodworms for the first time. All the guppies (including the 2 new ones) seem fit and healthy apart from one of my original guys (a beautiful sunset tail). Within hours of me adding the new guppies and feeding them all bloodworms (which he definitely ate) he was hovering at the bottom of the tank looking very miserable. He keeps away from the others (not that they bother him) and every time he tries to swim even half way up the tank he spirals back down and crashes into the gravel. He has a red lip where he crashed into the gravel (poor thing). He is still eating bits of flake that fall to the bottom and his poop is coloured red and a bit stringy.
He's lost a tiny bit of weight and has paled but there aren't any other visible symptoms. He's been like this for 5 days and has been hiding in one of the ornaments but comes out when he sees me (friendly little guy) but stays at the bottom. I'm worried he perhaps got a parasite from the live bloodworms or has picked up a disease from one of the new guppies (although they are both fine). Any advice would be really appreciated.
Kind regards
<Hello Andrea. When it comes to farmed fancy Guppies, I'm not an optimist I'm afraid. The quality of what you see in the UK trade (and likely elsewhere) is barely fair-to-middling, and they are plagued with bacterial and parasitic problems best dealt with by quarantining before putting them into the main aquarium. In any event, given where you are now, the chances are this chap has some type of bacterial infection similar to Mycobacteriosis. It is definitely worth treating as per Finrot, in the off-chance we're dealing with an Aeromonas or Pseudomonas-type infection.
In the UK, a product such as eSHa 2000 is probably about as good as you're going to get without access to antibiotics from a vet. Red blisters on the skin can be Finrot, and often are in new tanks. But alongside lack of
appetite, loss of colour, and a tendency towards lethargy or unnatural shyness, all point towards the distinct possibility of something more serious. Upping the temperature a bit, to around 28 C, might help (farmed fancy Guppies are more sensitive to chilling than their wild ancestors) and if it's an option, the addition of a little salt, 2-3 gram/litre, can be a useful tonic for most livebearers. Do, of course, keep a close eye on water quality -- non-zero ammonia is a sign that the filter isn't mature, the fish are being over-fed, or there's too many fish in the tank -- so review, and act accordingly. Good advice is to not feed fish when ammonia is not zero! Do double check that your tap water doesn't contain ammonia, because you can get false positives in some situations where Chloramine has been present in the tap water but chemically neutralised by the water conditioner. To check for this, look to see if your water conditioner treats ammonia and Chloramine, draw some tap water, add the water conditioner, and then do an ammonia test. If it is not zero, chances are that the ammonia there is actually 'safely' locked away by the water conditioner. Personally, I prefer using nitrite test kits to monitor water quality immediately after setting up a new aquarium, precisely because of this problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater tropical parrotfish      9/10/17
Could you tell me of something called Hith my fish has a tiny white spot on top of its head and someone on another website says it looks like hith but I've never heard of it
<HITH is an abbreviation standing for "Hole in the Head" disease. The "holes" go into the head of the fish, as opposed to the white pimples characteristic of Whitespot (Ick) so it is generally easy enough to tell the two diseases apart. HITH is a difficult disease to treat unless you use Metronidazole, which is the best medication available for the disease. HITH may be related to a parasitic organism called Hexamita, which infects and
destroys the sensory pores in the skin, but the trigger is invariably environmental stress. In the case of cichlids -- which are more prone to HITH than any other freshwater fish -- low oxygen, high nitrate, and a poor diet (no fresh greens) seem to be the "holy trinity" of causal factors.
Prevention is better than cure, but in its early stages, HITH can be treated with Metronidazole, as mentioned earlier. Follow the instructions carefully, including removing carbon from the filter during medication.
Cheers, Neale.>

Lymphocystis and Potamotrygon (RMF?)<I totally concur w/ your stmt.s>     9/9/17
I recently found white cauliflower like white tufts on the side of one of my CA cichlids. Upon much research I've 99% concluded its Lympho. Now my whole 340g system is infected.
<Let's be clear about Lymphocystis -- although there is a pathogen involved, it is almost certainly triggered by the environment rather than being contagious. Some type of stress is usually involved. For example, maintaining Scats in freshwater rather than brackish water, or exposing bottom-dwelling fish to a substrate that isn't kept properly clean. In the wild, heavy metals and industrial pollution are believed to be the main reasons Lymphocystis becomes common in some lakes and seas.>
I was going to rearrange some fish, one of the being some Marble stingrays into the 340 and cichlids to another system. My question do I have to break the 340 down and clean it or will the virus disappear upon removal of the
infected fish?
<There is no cure for Lymphocystis, and because it isn't contagious, it isn't something that needs to be eliminated. Treatment is really all about optimising living conditions (and probably diet, e.g., with a vitamin supplement and/or fresh green foods) and waiting for the fish to get better by itself. Lymphocystis tumours will take months, even years to subside, though vets will sometimes surgically remove tumours from big, expensive fish such as Koi. I think you'd be surprised how often Koi receive high-end medical care comparable to cats and dogs! For more mundane fish, time is the great healer when it comes to Lymphocystis. Do remember that Lymphocystis is unsightly but usually not life-threatening (unless the tumour obstructs something important like the mouth, gills or vent).>
Can Potamotrygon even catch the virus.
<Exposed to the wrong conditions for a long time, sure, it's possible. But the virus is probably latent in most aquaria, and not something we normally worry about being "catchy". Killing viruses in aquaria is virtually impossible anyway, though again, some treatments do exist for the high value Koi which are subject to viral infections of various types.>
What steps should I do to clean the system after removal of contagious fish and setup?
<Think about what inorganic stress factors (such as heavy metals, like copper) might be present in the system. Think about the cleanliness of the aquarium generally -- the quality of the water, the frequency of water changes, and the turnover rate of the filter. Low oxygen levels can easily stress big fish like Stingrays and South American cichlids. Diet is probably a factor too, especially when you're keeping cichlids -- most are omnivores in the wild, but aquarists frequently neglect the green content of their diet, and fresh greens are probably important sources of vitamins that help support their immune systems.>
Thanks, Don
<Cheers, Neale.>

Day and Night Plecos  9/7/17
<Hello Judy,>
I was wondering if there are any smaller diurnal, day time Plecos that can be kept with a male Bushynose?
<So far as Loricariidae go, the best bets are Whiptails. These are active day and night, won't compete for food, but are completely peaceful. Alternatively, there are the Hypoptopoma species, which are a bit like giant Otocinclus, up to around 8 cm/3 inches in length. Lovely fish, with requirements much like Otocinclus -- lots of current, plenty of oxygen -- but strongly herbivorous in diet.>
I have a feeling the answer is no, as it would be an issue of territory and for some maybe interbreeding. Thank you
<Most welcome, Neale.>


Freshwater Aquarium  Articles & FAQs

  • Set-Up: Gear/Components:, Set-Up, Tanks, Stands, Covers:, Water, Filtration of All Sorts, Sumps, Refugiums:, Circulation, Pumps, Powerheads, Aeration, Electricity, Heating/Chilling,  Light/Lighting:; Types of Systems:, Substrates, Aquascaping:
  • Livestock 1: Stocking/Selection, Biotopes, Quarantine, Acclimation. Fishes: Stingrays, Inadvanced Bony Fishes, Eels, Tetras & Their Relatives, Killifishes, Livebearers, Catfishes, Goldfish, Barbs, Danios, Rasboras, Minnow Sharks, Loaches, Misc. Fish Groups

    New Print and eBook on Amazon

    Goldfish Success
    What it takes to keep goldfish healthy long-term

    by Robert (Bob) Fenner

    Livestock 2: Gouramis, Bettas, Cichlids, Fresh to Brackish Water Fishes, Invertebrates (Hydra, Worms, Snails, Insects, Crustaceans...),

    New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

    by Robert (Bob) Fenner

  • Herps: Amphibians, Turtles,
  • Maintenance/Operation: General Maintenance, Algae, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health,
  • Freshwater Aquarium Science:  Behavior, Topics, Reference and Aquatics Writing Business, Reviews, 

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