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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

Updated 5/27/2017
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

Callamanus worms!        5/26/17
Hello crew! Hope you are doing alright.
<Thank you Robert; yes>
Direct to the point, I've wrote a few times these past months due to many unexpected and sudden deaths/ wasting, and I think I've finally found the culprit. The pic is of an Iranian red rainbow that suddenly waited in less than a week, and only when I found its corpse today could I conduct a proper examination of it. Many times before the corpse would be half eaten when I found it. But now I'm pretty sure that my planted tank is suffering of Callamanus worms right?
<I agree; appears to be to me as well>
I'm planning on medicating with Fenbendazole, although I would appreciate if you could give me other possible effective treatments. I also cant find a correct dose to medicate the tank. ( should I dissolve it? Get the fish to eat it?)
<Again; yes; and do please read here Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/nematodesfwf.htm>
as of right now all fish are eating and have a colorful appearance so I'm in time to save them all. It is a 150 gal tank heavily planted with dirt substrate. A collection of tetras, rainbows, fancy Plecos, Kuhli loaches, rasboras, and dwarf cichlids inhabit the tank. There is also a 6 inch vampire shrimp which I really would like to protect from medication. I hope you can help me crew.
<Read on! Bob Fenner>

Re: Seeking ACF Medical Advice        5/26/17
Hello, the ammonia problems have been sorted and all frog behavior has been normal for the last few weeks.
Unfortunately, today I noticed that the female has one bloated leg.
Behavior and appetite are normal and neither of the other two frogs show any abnormalities. Do you have any suggestions?
<I would check water quality again, do a substantial water change, and see if anything improved within a day or two. Epsom salt, at 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres, can help with swelling. If no better after a few days, then try antibiotics again.>
Images: http://imgur.com/a/RCU9I
<Goofy looking animals, aren't they? Nice clean tank though.>
Thank you,
<Welcome and good luck! Neale.>

African dwarf frog help please        5/26/17
I've spent quite a few hours reading over your information and questions regarding African dwarf frogs, but nothing seems to be quite the answer I needed. I have three ADFs living in a 5.5 gallon aquarium with one Betta.
It is filtered and heated to 80 degrees.
<Sounds good.>
Recently I caught my male "hugging" one of my females about 36 hour s ago.
He held on for about 3 hours, and she laid 4 eggs (which were apparently not fertilized).
<Quite possibly.>
Ever since then, she has not eaten, and has a bump on her back, which is right above her tailbone, and is pointy in shape rather then round and soft.
<The bump may well be a result of Amplexus. Post-mating, female frogs can/do become relatively inactive.>
Until this morning her vulva appeared very swollen. For several hour after he let her go she would go upside down at the surface and hip thrust at the air, like she did when he was attached, but that behavior has stopped. The other two frogs and Betta seem to be doing fine, with ph at 7.6, no ammonia or nitrites. I feed a variety of frozen thawed bloodworms, Mysis, and brine shrimp, and I've no doubt they occasionally steal some Betta pellets.
She is also hanging around the heater at the top of the aquarium much more then usual. I'm very worried about her. Since the issues I've done 3 50% water changes, and I use Prime each time. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<This is one of those times where "wait and see" is the best advice, in the short term anyways. Separating the female, for example in a floating breeding trap, isn't a bad idea, but keep the trap not-too-close to the heater or light otherwise there's a risk she'll overheat and suffocate. If she isn't perking up within the next day or two, write back and we'll think some more. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African dwarf frog help please     5/27/17
Thank you so much for your fast response! It's reassuring to know they can be inactive after Amplexus, and that I've got someone knowledgeable to give advice. I'll wait and see and hope she gets better soon. The male grabbed
the other female right as I am writing this, but he let go quickly. I'd love to have some tadpoles, but not at the risk of my females lives.
<Understood. Adding fluffy plants (whether real or fake) such as Java Moss can go a long way towards creating safe spaces for eggs and tadpoles.
Surprisingly, people do sometimes find a few survive long enough to be removed (for example with a turkey baster) into a floating breeding trap, and raised in there. Breeding dwarf African frogs is done, and many reports are online for your perusal.>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: African dwarf frog help please     5/27/17

Thank you so much for your fast response! It's reassuring to know they can be inactive after Amplexus, and that I've got someone knowledgeable to give advice. I'll wait and see and hope she gets better soon. The male grabbed
the other female right as I am writing this, but he let go quickly. I'd love to have some tadpoles, but not at the risk of my females lives.
<Understood. Adding fluffy plants (whether real or fake) such as Java Moss can go a long way towards creating safe spaces for eggs and tadpoles.
Surprisingly, people do sometimes find a few survive long enough to be removed (for example with a turkey baster) into a floating breeding trap, and raised in there. Breeding dwarf African frogs is done, and many reports are online for your perusal.>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Neale.>

fresh water tank. Coating on inside glass panels        5/24/17
Hi, I have a 30 gallon tank. Two fancy tail guppies. Change filter every 30 days. My water is crystal clear but tank sides all the way around have a cloudy residue. I can wipe off with finger but is hard to remove with a
towel. Do I need to drain and re do whole tank?
<Mmm; maybe... being both lazy and adventurous myself, I'd first try a "razor blade" type aquarium scraper, or a single edged razor blade itself>
My fish are happy and healthy. Close to bearing young. My filter is running on high. I have a bright light on during the day and soft light at night. Help. Karen
<I suspect the material here is biological in nature... rather than a simple/r chemical "scale" type problem... as your fishes are healthy as you state. Bob Fenner>
Re: fresh water tank       3/25/17

Thank you!
<Welcome. Have seen/experienced such "light-white" glass (and acrylic) coatings at times... as the system "matures", other organism groups supplant... Bob Fenner>

"Found" turtle; not eating, wheezing?      5/23/17
hi I found at turtle on the side of the road and it was not moving scared that it was going to be hit I took it home where I found out that it was a midland painted turtle but now it isn't eating and it is making a weird grunt noise what does this mean.
<The best thing to do with wild reptiles is to leave them where they are.
This has to be close to a safe, turtle-friendly body of water already inhabit by the species in question. Just dumping a turtle in "the woods" or a backyard isn't acceptable because there's no knowing if the turtle will
find the food and shelter it needs. Your local herpetology club or natural history society may be able to help here. The next best option is to contact your local animal rescue charity or agency. Wild animals can be acclimated to captive life, but there may be legal issues here (many reptiles are protected at city, state or national level) and on top of that wild animals can come with parasites and other issues that need to be taken into account. If you want to keep this animal as a pet, then please write back and we'll offer up some help. Cheers, Neale.>

Algae stuck on fish; Helostoma        5/21/17
Hello! I have Kissing Gourami for a few years now, eating algae here and there. One morning however, I notice a green spot of algae on his head. I never seen algae do this before, what do I do?
<Nothing... this too will come off in time. No worries. Bob Fenner>
Re: Algae stuck on fish      5/22/17

Ok, thank you very much.
<Certainly welcome. Have seen such algae on Helostoma spp. quite a few times. Again, not problematical. BobF>

lump on goldfish tail       5/21/17
Sent from my iPad
<Claire.... text? Image? Bob Fenner>
Goldfish With Lump on Tail       5/21/17

Hi there I'm wondering if you can help me
Please see the photo below with my fish with the white lump on his tail.
<I see this>
We have had this fish for approx 3 years and the lump appeared about 6 months ago and has got bigger over time.
The lump does not appear to be affecting him at all as he is still swimming and eating well
Do you have any idea what it could be and if there is any cure
Many thanks for your help
Kind regards
<A growth of some sort... common; genetic, viral?... environmental, likely partly a matter of nutritional issues with goldfishes. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/GFgrowthsFAQs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Fwd: Goldfish With Lump on Tail       5/21/17
Hi again
I don't think it's anything to do with feeding or the water as there are 2 other fish all of which we've had for 5 years and seem to be extremely healthy with no lumps or problems
Could it be a cyst?
<Mmm; yes ("a thin-walled, hollow organ or cavity containing a liquid secretion; a sac, vesicle, or bladder."); but doubtful... peruse where I've referred you. B>

Super soft water... in FLA!       5/19/17
Good day! I could really use some help. I keep and breed show quality Bettas as a hobby. I have a good grasp on basic fish care. I have run into trouble in my new home. I'm not even sure how it's possible because I live in Florida but the pH is 6 and hardness is zero.
<Strange... all the times, places I've visited FLA, the water was hard and alkaline...>

Doesn't even register with KH or GH tests. My fish simply don't thrive in this new water and I can't keep plants alive either.
<Not surprising... there's likely nitrification issues w/ a total lack of hardness and such low pH
. Do you add... oh, I see this below>
I didn't realize the importance of water hardness keeping water stable until now. I currently add baking soda to my fish water to a hardness of 4-5 with the API test kit.
Can you point me in the right direction as to the best way to keep such soft water stable?
<Yes; please read over Neale's article here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
and consider making up his "Malawi mix">
I'm very careful to quarantine all new arrivals, I do regular water changes and feed only quality food yet my fish constantly get fin rot, dropsy, velvet, etc etc etc. never had many issues until the new water��
Thanks in advance!
<Hope this helps. Bob Fenner>
Re: Super soft water       5/19/17

I forgot to add that I use 1 tbsp of salt per 5 gallons. I will switch that for the marine salt with the Malawi mix recipe.
<Good; there are many salts... simple table/NaCl is of little use>
Yeah, this water is from my irrigation well. My house water has .1 ammonia straight out of the tap but all other parameters were good for Betta. It wasn't working out very well in the fish room either so I switched to the well water.
I thought it was really strange when I started using the well water that I didn't have to scrape white crust off the glass anymore, lol. Now I know why. I thought my API test was possibly faulty so I took the water sample to my LFS and they confirmed the super soft water. It's a shallow well under a massive oak tree.
I have ordered a TDS meter as well. I'm sure there is going to be a learning curve to this, lol.
<Perhaps your source water is RO filtered...? Would be quite expensive>
The article was very helpful. I didn't realize bacteria for the nitrogen cycle doesn't function well in my water. That explains a lot.
<Ah yes>
Well, hopefully my fish will recover.
Thanks so much!
<Certainly welcome Amanda. BobF>
Re: Super soft water     5/20/17
Ok. My water parameters after using the rift salt mix at 25% are:
pH 7
GH 8
KH 2
<Ahh! Much better>

I'm thinking add a tad more baking soda and a little less Epsom salt. I'm thinking the salt mix I bought may have a little more magnesium than other brands.
<I think you're right on here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Super soft water       5/21/17

Just one more thing. To raise the GH-where is the calcium coming from with the rift salt mix? From the marine salt? If so, is that sufficient?
<Epsom salt raises general hardness; bicarb raises the carbonate hardness.
The marine salt adds a bit of both, plus a few extra ions that round out the mix so it's more "natural" in its range of ions. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Super soft water      5/23/17

Just got my TDS meter today. 315TDS after adding the rift mix to my well water (60ish TDS).
All my tanks were well over 1000 TDS so I immediately did 50% WC and will continue that daily until the number is closer to the pre tank water.
My question is how high TDS is too high knowing now what the TDS of the clean water is?
<Mmm; depends on what the "total dissolved solids" are made up of; and what livestock you are keeping, and to some extent, what you're trying to do with it... For a general mix of aquatic life, a few hundred ppm TDS is
'about right'... 60 ppm is too small for most all other than wild-collected organisms from very soft water (much of the Amazon e.g.)... 1000 ppm and thereabouts in Lake Malawi, Tanganyika type water...>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Super soft water /Neale       5/23/17

Just got my TDS meter today. 315TDS after adding the rift mix to my well water (60ish TDS).
All my tanks were well over 1000 TDS so I immediately did 50% WC and will continue that daily until the number is closer to the pre tank water. My question is how high TDS is too high knowing now what the TDS of the clean water is?
<The exact upper limit will vary with the species. Livebearers and Central American cichlids for example would enjoy much more hardness than, say, Neon Tetras and Angels. I'm not familiar with the "TDS" scale as you quote it. Normally, hardness is described in mg/l or parts-per-thousand/parts-per-million. Anything that approximates to "medium hardness" should be about right for the average mix of community species.
Cheers, Neale.>

Identification of possible parasite       5/19/17
<Karan... we ask that folks send image files of a few hundred Kbytes; yours is some 17 megs... >
Hi there
I have a very poorly Betta who has been battling a number of issues for a few months. He has PopEye in one eye which has not responded to any treatment - daily water changes, Indian almond leaves, Epsom salt baths, Myxazin, meth blue baths (all treatments spaced out over a few months).
<Unilateral exophthalmia can be the "Dickens" to cure, depending on root cause, how entrenched it has become
He has lost a lot of colour and energy but still eating and I have now spotted something attached to his side which I think is a parasite but I'm not sure. Would you be able to help identify if it is a parasite and what
type it is and what treatment you would advise?
<Yes; I see what appears to be an "Anchorworm" (actually a crustacean parasite) on the "chest area"; please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/anchorwrmfaqs.htm
He is in a filtered 12L hospital tank (half filled as not swimming to bottom great - swim bladder?) temp 82 with ammonia and nitrite 0 and nitrate 40 (tap water 40 too at the moment) I use Prime to condition water.
<Please write back if your course of action is not clear here (after reading); I would carefully tweeze this adult Lernaeid off, dab the wound site w/ a proscribed topical antiseptic... and treat the system per the above reading to eliminate unattached stages. Bob Fenner>

Re: Identification of possible parasite     5/20/17
Thanks Bob. Apologies for size of pics! I attempted to remove the parasite but it didn't go well and the head is still buried.
I now have one very stressed out fish and half an anchor worm!
<Well; a bit more chance for secondary infection... but the rest will decompose in time>
I'll get some Waterlife Parazin and treat with that. Hoping that will sort the worm and improve his overall health if he survives tonight.
Thank you :)
<Steady on Karan. Cheers, BobF>

Oscar discoloration        5/17/17
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to assist me with the discoloration on my Oscar. I'm so grateful for the work that you do! I'm very sorry for the length of this email but I want to be as detailed as possible. My husband and I have researched this thoroughly and are quite stumped.
<The length is okay; the 6.5 megs of blurry pix not so much>
I have a 180 gallon tank stocked with two juvenile Firemouth cichlids (roughly 3" each), two juvenile jack Dempseys (roughly 3" each), an Asian upside cat fish (5"), a common Pleco (4"), a 10" marbled sleeper goby, a
10" tiger Oscar and a 12" red Oscar.
<A nice mix>
Ammonia reads 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, and Nitrate 20ppm. Ph stays consistently at 8.2. The tank has been running in my home since October and was previously set up for more than 3 years at my brother in law's house. It has two CFS 500 canister filters and a custom built 55 gallon sump with biological media and filter pads that runs
approximately 1800 gph. A 25-30% water change is done each week and if nitrates go higher than 20ppm (usually after the kids help feed the fish) I do a 10% water change daily until it is lower.
I use prime as a dechlorinator. We use cistern water in our home, the water parameters at the tap are 0ppm for nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia. The temperature is 80°F. The Oscars eat Jumbomin large floating sticks, gut loaded crickets and mealworms. Occasionally, the red Oscar will steal a shrimp from the sleeper goby. There was a slight Cyanobacteria outbreak, however, that was resolved by water changes and switching from t5ho to led lighting.
The red Oscar was rescued from a LFS, previously housed with two other red Oscars (also 12" in size) in a 75 gallon tank before being traded in to the store. The tiger Oscar was rescued from a Craigslist post. It was living in
a 125 gallon tall cold water tank. It was housed with a Bala shark and a wild caught Kentucky Bluegill. Both of the Oscars were rescued and added to this tank at different times in December.
The tiger Oscar started losing patches of color about two months ago. (I have attached photos of the progression in chronological order.) After water changes they will either clear up or get worse, it is not predictable. They are not upraised or "on" the scales and fin. They are also not pitted or sunken. It is as if some of the scales are losing color and becoming opaque on the fins. The fins and scales seem to be intact, no fraying or sloughing. There have been a few instances of a single gill and fin being clamped temporarily but no other symptoms. Even during the times with the clamped Gill and fin it had normal behavior. Still eating and swimming well, no gasping or lethargy. I treated with Prazipro and Maracyn
<Good choices here>
at different times as suggested by a couple of my aquatic enthusiast friends but have not had any luck in resolving it.
About two weeks ago, the red Oscar started displaying these spots as well.
It has not had gill clamping or fin clamping at this time.
After performing the usual water change this week, the patches have gotten dramatically worse. (This is the last photo attached)
I am unsure if this is something contagious or if it is environmental 
<A wise speculation... I discount the latter; and would REALLY like to sample these areas, take a look under a microscope...>
but I have had no luck attempting to find the answer on my own.
Thank you so much for looking in to this for me,
<Could be that this issue is protozoan or (still) bacterial... that Erythromycin/Maracyn didn't "get". I would lace taken foods with Metronidazole/Flagyl and treat in three doses... as gone over on WWM, the Net and in reference works like Ed Noga's. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dwarf Gourami dilemma.      5/13/17
Hello Neale, Crew!
I hope this email finds all of you happy and well! It sure does me!
<Hello Kimberley,>
Some good news! Neale, your assessment, as ever, was correct.
My little Gourami has almost made a full recovery! He's still got some distension in his swim bladder, but it is no longer herniated and he is swimming upright and in full control over his movements.
A far cry from 7 weeks ago, when he was curled nose to tail on the bottom of our other tank!
We've had a few minor setbacks along the way, of course. After introducing him initially into his new home after exhibiting vast improvement in his cup (it was a clear plastic cup that I taped to the rim of the aquarium,
suspended inside the tank) he immediately decided to exact vengeance on all the snails in his tank. Apparently, he really likes to eat them.
<Some fish will, and Gouramis generally have a reputation for eating snails if sufficiently hungry. Dwarf Gouramis are also known to "spit" water above the waterline to knock down food, like Archerfish. Try floating tiny bits of food on the surface first, like minced prawn, then stick some small bits on the waterline and see if he'll go for them. That certainly worked for my Archerfish!>
I've had to remove him back to his cup to stop the hunting (and consequent intestinal stoppages, or so they seemed) on a few occasions, and this morning when I released him, I did not feed him, knowing he'd go for the
snails. (For the longest time, I couldn't figure out why his he shared with the BGK tank had no snails, and our other tanks did. Now I know!) He's been relentless in his hunting of them.
<He's unlikely to have trouble feeding on the softer snail varieties like Physa and Physella spp., but I would avoid Melanoides spp. because these have very tough shells that aren't easily crushed or broken and might cause
In any event, I just wanted to give you an update and let you know that so far all is well with my little guy; I'm glad I didn't euthanize him, and I'm glad I took your advice.
Cheers all, and thank you again for all that you do. WWM is the FIRST place (and usually last) I go to get information on my aquariums!
Have a wonderful day! Regards, Kimberly
<Always good to hear about happy endings, so thanks for writing. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dwarf Gourami dilemma. (Soon to be solved!)       5/21/17

Hello Neale!
I'm not writing you today for advice, but in the last 2 months of caring for my little Mr. Gourami, I think I may have found something significant..
I searched on your site for it, but I couldn't find anything about it.
When I reintroduced Mr. Gourami into his solo 10gal tank, Ammonia-0, Nitries-0, Nitrates <20ppm (planted), I told you that he started chasing all the snails in his tank and eating them. He would get his normal flake food, and some shrimp/Spirulina mix at night. What I noticed, though, was that after eating, he would start spinning uncontrollably really fast, and have a very dark stress line across his abdomen. That reminds me of another observation I had. Back to the spinning. At first I thought that he was so damaged from his injury, that anything passing through the injured part would cause pain. Not a way to live, I'd imagine. I also thought the snails were causing the reaction. But then I noticed that his tail (and his swim bladder! Re: initial herniation) was very, very thin. Then his abdomen swelled. I thought maybe because his anterior gas bladder chamber was so thin, it was getting trapped in the posterior chamber. I also looked up DGD.. no other symptoms. I tried fry food, since it was so fine, maybe easier for him to digest, but then after seeing the same reaction, I remembered that such foods high in protein could/would cause constipation.
So then I tried some algae wafer a little later... same effect. So I was lost. Then, I looked at the ingredient list for the flake, fry food and algae wafer. All 3 had some form of wheat flour, or wheat gluten. Do you think, that with the industry continuously feeding the same processed-type foods to fish, as humans get, it could stand to reason that they could have developed a gluten intolerance? That, or the fact that no fish I've ever seen or heard of ever came into contact with any kind of wheat in the wild.
So what say you? Do you think it's viable, that a gluten-free diet (most commercials have it) could really help all of these fishes' sensitive digestive systems?
<It's really hard to know. In the wild, fish wouldn't really be eating much, if any, gluten. For sure herbivorous and omnivorous fish will consume some terrestrial plant material that falls or otherwise ends up in ponds and rivers. It's also true that grains of various types have been used to feed food fish like carp and tilapia for many years. But whether they're well adapted to digesting gluten isn't known to me, and it's certainly possible that for some species -- such as the less herbivorous gouramis -- it may be something they find hard to digest. That said, good quality flake
food mixes have been used for many decades now with great success, and across a wide range of species. There's nothing to stop you switching to alternate brands/formulas though; I happen to value the Hikari micro pellets for small fish like gouramis, but the Tetra brand foods are also extremely good and unlikely to cause health problems if used correctly. One thing I'll mention is that fish food can go bad very quickly in damp and warm environments. Certainly packages should be kept cool and dry, and if you can, use packages that run out within a month or two (if you buy bulk, consider storing the tub somewhere cold, dark and dry, while decanting just a small amount into another container for daily use).>
My Gourami is now being fed seaweed and shrimp/Spirulina mix only, and he has not had the same reaction to the foods that contain wheat. In fact, he's had no mishaps since the change in the diet, only one day ago. Not to be macabre, but his feces was a tad thin (not stringy) at first, but he just evacuated a solid, substantial seaweed movement. And had no issue passing it.
<Definitely worth experimenting. If this one food causes problems, stop using it! Even if gluten isn't the issue itself, there does seem to be something amiss.>
Just some info, maybe gluten is the culprit for some underlying issues FW keepers have.
I'm not a marine biologist, and it's only one fish, but so far so good with this one. Hasn't hurt him to only have a veggie/meat treat diet.
Cheers Neale, and Crew. Have a great weekend. Regards, Kimberly
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions       5/12/17
Thankful for your help, Bob. In terms of trying to assist in preventing anything spreading, would 1 tablespoon of salt for this 10 gallon be good to add for this situation, with a Corydoras paleatus, Synodontis petricola, Otocinclus, and a beloved apple snail?
<As long as your water quality is fine, I would leave off w/ the salt addition here. Of the fishes you list, none appreciate more salt (combinations of metals and non-metals)>
I heard it could be beneficial in preventing any illness spreading, but wanted to make sure it won't hurt the cats.
<... there is quite a bit to relate re "adding salt/s" issues. Again, I would not do so... though the source water here has little dissolved solids (including salts)... am out/up in Waikoloa presently... the ponds about A Bay were about filled in from the storm a few years back. Am hoping the ones near Kaloko fared better>
I am doing a 50% water change daily, room temp water (74/75) / same as tank, all stats are solid (0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10-20 ppm nitrates, 7.4 - 8.0 ph), so would I add the salt after one of those water changes and just do it once? Thanks. No sign of anything but some of the Synodontis bar bells are a bright white. Also could be I never examined them this closely too. No white fuzz or patches I can see. Thanks so much. Be safe bro. Dave
<Maybe read Neale's short treatise here:
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Got My First BGK       5/10/17
Hi Neale!
As we last e-mailed, I have put getting an Elephant Nose aside for now and I'm focusing on my BGK. I feel so privileged to be able to care and enjoy such an exquisite creature that I may be getting a bit neurotic, but I have
a concern, so here goes.
First of all, I had to take the Tetra dither fish out - they seemed to be bullying her away from the food - so they're back in their old tank.
<Understood. There are some very peaceful characins out there, to the point they're "boring" in many community tanks. Hatchetfish for example, and Pencilfish. Both ideal tankmates for juvenile Black Ghosts. As they get
older/bigger, and their predatory instincts become something to consider, there are possible tankmates, though placid catfish are probably the easiest to accommodate, Dianema species for example.>
The Brochis are on back-order so now she is sharing her tank with a 2 inch albino bristle nose Pleco - ONLY! They seem to pretty much ignore each other.
<Correct; the small to medium-sized Loricariids and L-numbers are ideal tankmates for Black Ghosts.>
So, despite the fact that I know my tank was cycled before I got the BGK, I've been doing water tests every few days and the biological filter is working well (never a hint of ammonia or nitrite, and nitrate is staying below 10 ppm as the orange color in the test tube is fairly translucent).
The canister filter and powerhead are keeping the tank clean and the water moving. I feed her Cyclops, daphnia, and now BABY brine shrimp, along with some mashed bloodworms. I defrost and rinse these foods and drop them in the tank at the top of both of her fake hanging plants (remember the blurry picture?) which allows the food to drift down and get caught among the leaves and flowers where she can get to them without the current taking them away to be sucked up by the filter.
<Sounds great!>
I feed her three times a day plus once at night just before I turn out the lights. She looks beautiful! The PraziPro did its job well and she has a nice roundness to her body around her pectoral fins.
<Glad to hear this.>
Her color is pristine black and white and her body and fin are perfect. So what's my problem? Well, every article I read about this species, here and around the internet, says they are nocturnal and don't come out at night; that they stay in their glass tubes or caves during the day. But my fish is not doing that.
<These fish are intelligent, by fish standards anyway, and perhaps more generally. They can and do adapt to daytime activity if there's something in it for them. Peace, subdued lighting, and plenty of food usually does the trick.>
I see her out multiple times of day (mostly in the afternoon). She's in her hanging plants looking for food or swimming between them. She swims through her glass tube and eats what she finds along the way but doesn't
stay in there. I don't see her out at night as the tank is dark, but every morning the food I put in before lights out is gone - nothing left. I know she's sleeping because if I look in the plant on the right side of the tank around 11am, I see her laying in a tangle of the plant's silk leaves. I guess she can hear me in the water,
<Correct; as members of the Ostariophysi, knifefish have excellent hearing and an ability to hear vibrations such as footsteps.>
or maybe she can sense me somehow, because if I say something she'll wake up and drift over to look at me to see if I brought more to eat. I believe she's doing well, but I don't know this species beyond what I've read and
she's not following the script. Do you see anything here that I should be concerned about?
<All sounds good to me! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Got My First BGK

Thank you!

Unknown disease        5/10/17
I've seen my share of diseases and parasites since I've rescued fresh/salt water fish from LFS and people but this one is a tad different.
I have 150 gallon, sump with about 13 varying sizes of goldfish (Moors, ryukins, calico) Last week I lost my 6 year olds and blind Moor that rather unexpectedly but all the other tank mates showed no signs of distressed.
The Moor appeared to have a lump on the forehead/nasal area. I wrote it off as a tumor or an injury thinking he bumped into the glass but now 7 days later I see the same lump but now LUMPS on my Calico...the lumps almost
look like a fluid filled blister aand they are growing. The Calico shows signs of dropsy and I know the prognosis and will most likely put him down but WTH is this? I haven't introduced any new fish in over a year...guesses?
<... either genetic trouble and/or poor environment, and/or bunk nutrition.
You offer no information of use.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Unknown disease....       5/10/17
I offer no information of use? Just because I didn't include ammonia levels pH and so forth it's automatically genetic or environmental aka I don't keep a clean tank?
<GIGO... vague generalities in response to no data proffered>
Apparently you Bob aren't the expert
<Previously married, flow under pressure.... I stand or sit accused>
just as I am not because you can't identify the alignment.
<... ailment?>
...<Vulgarisms deleted. B>

Yellow Bellied Slider turtles       5/10/17
I need some advice on my two yellow bellied slider turtles.
<Sure! Seems like this message has been "maturing" awhile in somebody's inbox, but let's see if I can help...>
I purchased these two almost 3 yrs ago as a birthday gift for my daughter.
<Hmm... the usual reminder to other folks: pets make poor presents unless the recipient has specifically asked for them, and is able/willing to provide the necessary long-term care, which in the case of Sliders is something around 20+ years.>
She has decided to not keep them any longer at her father's house and I have moved them back to my place today.
<Thank you for taking them back. Shelters are overwhelmed with unwanted Sliders and other freshwater turtles.>
I noticed that the smaller of the two seems to be favoring the back right leg and the tail.
<May be injured, but "metabolic bone disease" (MBD) is more likely. Lack of UV-B lighting and insufficient calcium in their diet is a MAJOR cause of such problems in pet reptiles. Can be improved through better diet and
calcium supplements, though the actual damage might never heal 100%. So do review their (previous) behaviour and diet, and look to see if there are signs of physical trauma (a bite or bruise, for example) or else if everything looks okay from the outside, but the limbs aren't working properly. If the latter, then MBD is fairly likely. A vet can help, as can some reading, here:
Check the UV-B lamp is working/no more than 12 months old (they wear out within 6-12 months, after which point they might be "on" but not pushing out enough invisible UV-B to be useful. Revise diet as needed, adding a
calcium source to their usual feed.>
I have observed the larger of the two attacking the smaller one. I have tried to look for details as to whether the smaller one is a male and the larger one is a female, as I had requested two females when I purchased them as babies.
<Males smaller, but have longer claws on their 'hands'.>
However, I am concerned about why the one is tucking his/her leg and tail inside it's body. I see some scales hanging onto the leg. I am going to separate them for tonight by putting the smaller one in a plastic bin and
keeping it inside the main tank. However, I need to know if I should 1.
seek vet care for the smaller one or if this will repair itself
<Visiting a vet is always a good idea, funds allowing. Some animal rescue charities can help too, providing low-cost or free vet services.>
and 2. should I remove the turtle from the tank so that it can heal?
<If there's no obvious wound, then no need to remove from the water. If they're fighting, then separation will be useful, but if they're not fighting, then no need to separate them. Do bear in mind turtles aren't social, and they both need access to the UV-B lamp for some of the time each day. Sometimes creating two separate basking spots helps. Perhaps one under the heat lamp, one under the UV-B lamp. Even better to use two combo heat-UV-B lamps, but whatever works best for you.>
I read an article where if a turtle is injured that water only keeps it infected due to the bacteria in the water.
<If there's an open wound, then yes, "docking" is a good idea. But if there isn't a wound, there's no particular advantage to this.>
However, I am concerned about whether an aquatic turtle can survive outside of water.
<Yes, indefinitely, if bathed in water for 30-60 minutes a day for feeding and drinking (they can't do either on land, really) but will otherwise be fine kept dry.>
Please give me advice, otherwise, if my boyfriend has his way, he'll turn them into turtle soup (just kidding).
<Sorry if this is late, but hope of use! Have cc'ed our turtle expert just in case I've missed something. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Yellow Bellied Slider turtles       5/10/17

Thank you for your response.
Since emailing you, things have gotten better between the two. Bigger one has longer claws than smaller one.
<Likely the male.>
Smaller one is NOW fighting back whenever bigger one is aggressive. It will push it's claws into other's face and shove it away. Or it will tuck its back legs/tail and swim away. It will put its back away from the bigger one.
Leg looks better, no scales flaking off. So it seems that they are getting along better. I have a 75 gallon tank, so plenty of room to swim for both.
I have two docks under lights for both to rest on.
<Good. Just be careful with the UV-B; it's crucial, but often overlooked, and saves a lot of money in the long run.>
Their diet is 65% plant matter and 35% protein (consisting of crickets, super worms). Plant matter is organic kale, romaine, shredded carrots. As the greens come into season, I will add them to the mix.
<All sounds ideal. But again, do think about calcium. While there's some in leafy plants, there's not a lot, and very little in insects. What you really want to do is dust small bits of meaty food, like earthworms or tiny bits of fish, with calcium powder (easily found in reptile stores, or simply grind up some cuttlebone). This will dump lots of calcium into the turtle, and if you do this once or twice a week, you'll be fine. Some turtles will actually eat cuttlebone directly, so try putting a small bit in their tank and letting them have a nibble. I've seen terrestrial turtles
(tortoises) go for cooked bones from the barbecue, but this probably isn't as healthy.>
As for asking for turtles, my daughter had asked for them. I had consulted with the ex-husband to ensure that he would assist in the care of them.
However, they both decided to half-ass the care. So, they are back with me and doing well.
<Thank you for doing this. They're nice pets, but like reptiles generally, you have to do a fair amount up front to keep them healthy. Compared to cats and dogs, they're a lot less hassle over their lifespan, but it's the up front expense that often causes problems for less than perfect pet-owners.>
As for social, I had researched and asked the company that I bought them from about whether I should have two or just one. They said that two would be fine, so that is why I requested both females.
<Hmm... kind of sort of. The flip side to females is egg-binding; do read on WWM re: this topic. It's not common, but not unheard of either, even when females are kept singly. A single male is actually probably the easiest way to keep turtles.>
I realize that at the size they were when babies, you can't tell, so it is possible that they are 1. both males or 2. one male/one female.
Again, thanks for the response.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Question on Blood Parrot Fish - Red Gill Cilia     5/9/17
Hi Team -
I wanted to double check something with you all.( I have read all I can find related to this issue including posts you all have from a few years ago and find conflicting info)- I have two Blood Parrot fish in a 45 bowfront tank. I got them small, they are now about 5 inches long and getting pretty stout. I have noticed they have the red gill cilia hanging out of their gills now that they are bigger (one of them has it more so than the other), where it looks like a ton of short red tentacles hanging out. Was there ever a consensus that this is a "norm" for them since they are a hybrid? I saw some posting on it a while back, with pictures and mine look the same. I am regular with water changes ( every 4 weeks) and have live plants in the tank, water parameters good and temp is regulated about
76 degrees. No other issues with them.
Thank you :)
<If these "tentacles" are bright red and feathery-looking, they're almost certainly gill lamellae. They might be overlong, but what more often happens is that the gill covers (or opercula) are either too short, damaged, or become twisted in such a way that the gills underneath are visible. The intensively farmed Blood Parrot cichlid is much more likely to have this sort of deformity from birth than most other fish, but even (genetically) healthy fish can be exposed to physical damage, trauma, or environmental stress that causes the gill covers to become deformed. Look up "gill curl" on large catfish and Arowanas, where it is a very common problem that occurs when the fish are kept in a tank too small for them. In any case, in itself, exposed gill lamellae isn't usually a problem, but it does allow sensitive tissue to be exposed to the environment, and the reduction in pressure within the gill cavity does mean that gaseous exchange (i.e., ventilation) is somewhat compromised relative to normal. So keep these fish in a well-oxygenated environment, away from anything likely to peck at them, and take extra care when handling them, e.g., by using a soft, fine net rather than a coarse one. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Question on Blood Parrot Fish -Red Gill Cilia     5/9/17

Hey Neale, thank you for answering so quickly – I wanted to shoot you a couple of pics right quick to take a quick look – I think the bigger of my parrot fish does have a slight gill plate curl of sorts on the left side, which is what the pictures are of – his left side – I have nothing in my 45gal bow front except these two parrot fish and a little lobster – he has his own little Stonehenge rock area and a small log he hangs out in – but I was considering taking him out and putting him in his own gallon tank to protect him, and my fish as they get bigger they might try to eat him but also don’t want to put them at risk if it isn’t a good idea to have t my lobster in there if my fish could be more prone to disease if the gill lamellae are much more exposed than normal fish?
<Crayfish are never really 100% safe with fish -- or vice versa when crayfish moult and aren't able to defend themselves. So moving a crayfish to its own tank is something I usually recommend. But you'll know your own fish better, and if you think he's safe in his burrow, and he's too small to harm the cichlids, he may well be fine.>
That being said, it sounds like I should perhaps add a long air bubbler wand or something to increase oxygenation to make things easier for them.
<I would. Or something similar, perhaps a spray bar for the filter outlet, that sort of thing.>
I have a BioWheel filter with two biowheels for a 60gal size tank on their aquarium, and the water circulates a good bit, but will add an airstone wand if this will help them. I know they are hybrids and I hate that ☹ I took them as a rescue.
<Understood. Many fish in the hobby are hybrids -- Goldfish, Angelfish, Discus, Guppies, Mollies, Platies, and Swordtails to name but a few! But Blood Parrots do seem to have more than their fair share of detractors -- as well as some persistent health problems.>
I am sorry if the pics are big – they were the best I could get yesterday and just wanted you to take a fast look -THANK YOU Neale – you all are GREAT!!
<Glad to help, and good luck! Neale.>

Update on Betta with swollen belly. fin rot?       5/7/17
*Inserted your latest reply at the beginning here so you might easily recognize and find the previous associated correspondence. Betta likely with virally mediated tumor that developed about four months ago. 4/25/17*
<Thank you; edited out in this reply for clarity.>
So I tried the Epsom salt recommendation. 3 tsp's in his ten gallon for a week. Thank you. Also making sure pellets are thoroughly soaked before feeding and alternating between pellets and I thaw him a new food, "Emerald Entree" frozen food to help with his digestive issues. His tummy swelling is gone! :)
<Well, that's a plus.>
He still has the tumor/cyst on his side, but at least the additional bloating in his gut is resolved.
Pretty much cleared the Epsom salt from his tank with several 50% water changes over this past week.
<Understood, but it isn't toxic/stressful for fish, so feel free to use at the stated concentration for as long as necessary.>
But "now" he's got some fin rot!
<Not uncommon after some types of infection.>
Soooo frustrating. Swelling is down and much color was returning after Epsom salt and diet changes, as he was quite bloated, faded, and blotchy looking before treatment.. But now fin rot..? Two steps forward and one
step back.
<That's still progress.>
He has lost a small amount of fin tissue.. mostly at caudal fin. maybe 20%, and anal finnage is red/pink tipped at the ends of about 8 of the rays.
<All can grow back quickly.>
It is not streaked from his body.
<Which is a good sign.>
Anal fin is pure white with red/pink dots at the very tips of the rays.
Immediately checked all parameters with API master kit.. 0 ammo.. 0 nitrites. 10 ppm nitrates. temp 80 F. All these are the same as usual. LFS recommended another course of Kanaplex? I protested that he recently "had"
two courses of that antibiotic to address the tumor/cyst a couple months ago without any positive results. "shouldn't I try something else?" I asked. IDK what best to do.
<Antibiotics in themselves aren't dangerous to your fish, or if used correctly, your filter bacteria. But at the same time, it should be understood that each aquarium antibiotic contains a different drug.
Kanaplex is Kanamycin, Maracyn 1 is erythromycin, Maracyn 2 is Minocycline, Furan 2 is Nitrofurazone, Ampicillex is Ampicillin and so on. Each antibiotic drug treats a slightly different set of bacteria; this is just
as it is the case with humans, where penicillin might work in some situations, but your doctor might use erythromycin in another. So, if one antibiotic you buy from the pet store didn't work as well as hoped, you
could try another. A lot of aquarists use the combination of Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 together, for example, as the two drugs involved cover a wider range than any single one of them. Alternatively, use a non-antibiotic
medication like eSHa 2000 with a good track record (as opposed to the decidedly hit-and-miss teat-tree oil and other new-age products out there).>
So I added 10 tsp's API aquarium salt to his ten gallon after his weekly tank vacuum and 50% water change this afternoon. Please.. Any ideas on what I might do for this new fin rot problem?
<Salt in itself won't help with Finrot, and can stress freshwater fish if overused, so do be careful here. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: update on Betta with swollen belly. fin rot?       5/8/17

Thank you so much. I'll probably try the Maracyn 1+2 combo..
<'Tis popular. One handles gram-positive, one gram-negative bacteria -- so together should handle a very wide range of pathogens. Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish.... trouble      5/6/17
Hi! I've searched, read, treated, observed, been patient but I'm stumped. I bought some angelfish online that all died within about 3 weeks. A couple were dead on arrival and they just kept dying. I threw everything away from
the tank. In the process of this, I spread something to all my other tanks.
The fish now have small white dots on filaments of pectoral and ventral fins, fins are frayed and separating between the filaments, most have lost their scales, "pinkish fuzz" from (see picture), along with fin rot. I've
treated with Furan 2 for 2 weeks, then Levamisole one treatment, then CopperSafe for one month. Treatment hasn't cured. The fish are eager to eat, act healthy but very hypersensitive at times. What should I treat with?
<Metronidazole... Flagyl... and hope>
See pictures
Thank you
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Angelfish       5/7/17
Thank you so much!!!!!
<Glad to share Jill. BobF>
Fwd: Angelfish       5/7/17

When do you think I'll see a different if it's going to work?
<Days to a few weeks. B>

Question water and Rams.      5/4/17
I have a question about water: can you have water that is very hard,....it's full of Manganese here, and also have a moderate ph?
<Mmm; you can; though it's rare. Typically, water containing much Mg (and or Ca) and being "very hard", also has a high pH>
Most of what I've read about water is in regard to cichlids, as I have 3 golden rams and 3 Bolivian rams in a 45 gallon tank with Corys and fancy guppies.
<Well; IF the Rams altogether are cultured (very likely); they may well be more tolerant of high/er alkalinity, pH... the Corydoras are likely fine (unless one of the much more soft water directly imported species... which I doubt); and guppies enjoy hard, high pH water>
I see after reading your site about Rams, that if the water was warm enough for the cichlids it'd be too hot for the other fish. I didn't realize they needed it so warm.
<The upper seventies F. will/would likely work for all species here>
I don't even have a heater in there right now, my girl friend's ended up malfunctioning and cooked her fish, so after the winter is over I put mine away. it's just spring in NJ.
<I definitely would get/use one; swings in temperature; too much too fast, can be debilitating>
I do every now and then lose a fish, most often a female guppy, my males are thriving. Not sure what's up with that....I have to keep buying more females or maybe it would be better if I just kept males, but I love having baby
guppies. It's getting hard to find female guppies these days, pet stores are always out of them.
Just a few days ago all the fish were inhaling froze blood worms. Today one of my 3 golden rams is just listless. Leaving the other 2 alone,.......The Bolivian rams are very aggressive,.....and do tend to chase the Golden Rams
somewhat. But not so much so that any one has nips or wounds.
Did I make them sick with the blood worms? Are they bad for Cichlids?
<Bloodworms, sewer fly larvae, have been implicated in freshwater fish disease. I'd only feed them sparingly; though frozen ones s/b parasite free. Hikari Brand is>
The Guppies just love them! Much more than flake food.
The Cichlids do too.
(The reason I feed blood worms is I have a Pea puffer in a small take by himself and I feed him 1 worm at a time,.... it takes about 6 to give him a round tummy, then he's done. What I have left from the cube goes to the fresh water tank/or Salt tank every other day.)
Last year I had the same 3 golden rams outside with my goldfish in a small man made pond and they did very well,....came in in the fall with very bright color, I am guessing from the natural light?
<More than this>
They were all fine though. So how did they do so well in water with goldfish, a huge feather finned Squeaker cat fish, and not heated water? But now, with no goldfish, water changes once a week of at least 50 percent, and lots of space am I losing one of them?
I'm so confused.....because my water doesn't fit the norm. It's very hard, but the ph is in the middle 6.5-7. I am not sure what to do for the little fella....he's not a newbie, he's gone through many water changes with no issues,...there are lots of hides....But the hardness is very hard.
I can add Mopani wood and try to soften the water,....not sure if that will help?
<It should over time, but better to blend in some less hard water. Do you have RO for potable uses? I'd mix this half way>
And I hate the tea colored water, even after soaking and boiling the wood it still makes the water in the tank look like tea.
I know this is a long rambling email,.....I am sorry. But if anything jumps out at you besides the temperature, let me know. How warm can the Cory's and guppies and 1 bristle nose live in with out cooking?
<Yes; should be able to>
Or do I need to separate the cichlids? Why now? I've had them for more than a year now,... they have grown big and beautiful. The only change is the substrate,....I took out the old multicolor one I hated. And after through rinsing slowly added an off white one that is more like sand. It's very nice. I even have snails working away in the sand eating left overs if there is any.....
I just don't get it.
Thank you! Mandy in NJ
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: Question water and Rams.      5/4/17

Hi Bob,
<Hey Mandy>
Well the Golden Ram is dead this morning, as I thought she would be. She was almost white with gold edges,....almost sounds like that Neon Disease.... listless, no eating, color fading,.....dead.
<Mmm; well... cultured Rams are too easily lost nowayears>
Yes, I'm sure they are aqua cultured,...I ordered them online a year ago.
I Will go easy on the blood worms, these are not Hikari, although that is my normal brand. My daughter got these for me.
<I see>
She didn't know any better and we were out.
Have you heard of any current problem with female guppies in general?
<Yes; like the cultured Rams, they just don't have the "oomph" genetically of Guppies from decades back. My strongest suggestion (for both, all really) is to seek "locally produced stock" if at all possible, practical.
The mass-produced imported from Asia stock is abysmally weak
They never seem to make it more than a few weeks, and I always watch to be sure they aren't being Harassed to death by the males,....and get to eat. They also never have babies,....used to be you had 2 guppies and soon you had
hundreds? What is up with that?
<As stated... this part of the trade/industry has gotten MUCH worse>
I'm getting old I guess, things are changing, and not for the better!
Guppies aren't as strong and healthy as they used to be. Even Endler's.
I've tried them too,....still no luck.
<Mmm; we should go back here... Start at square one as the saying goes. You do have moderately hard, alkaline water? Medium temp.? No ammonia, nitrite, little nitrate?>
Thank you for your time Bob,
<Am very glad to help, share with you Mandy. We can/will discover and right whatever the issue/s are here.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Question water and Rams.     5/5/17

So, I just tested the water from my well directly from the tap, I use 5 in 1 test strips. And it comes up in the middle in general hardness 60. And 80 for carbonate hardness. Ph 6.5 to 7, In the middle really.
Is that alkaline water?
<Mmm; the term alkaline is unfortunately confusing... as used for both "hardness" and pH... this water is slightly "alkaline" in terms of the former, and slightly acidic per the latter (pH). It is of use for the keeping of the species you and I have discussed>
The problem with looking for fancy guppies in my area are they no one has the really nice ones with the amazing tails. But I'll try.
<Perhaps the local fish clubs, Craigslist... might help you find folks involved in their culture?>
Thank you,
<Welcome. BobF>

Older Molly Fish in crisis questions      5/4/17
<Dave; 11 megs of pix... Ughh mate; we ask that folks limit....>
Aloha and thanks so much for being willing to offer thoughtful advice to people caring for animals they love.
<A hu'i hou!>
I'm writing about Hilton, the fish I've had the longest, acquired as a centimeter-long speck of silver from an outdoor lagoon next to the ocean at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in December 2014. I estimate she was born in early December 2014.
<Oh! headed out that A Bay way next week>
Several photos, including a recent one, are attached. I suspect from research that she is a Molly fish of some kind, considering where she was born; perhaps you can make a concrete ID.
<Mmm; at one time this molly (non-indigenous) was considered Poecilia sphenops Valenciennes in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1846... now a hybrid>
She very briefly lived in a brackish water container before spending the rest of her life, until now, in a freshwater 10 gallon tank, no salt added, with no health problems until earlier this year, as she edged into her third year of life.
Early in 2017 I noticed a small white fuzzy patch on the side of her tail; soon thereafter I spotted a similar small patch on the edge of her tail.
The "Hilton May 2" photo shows the erosion that second patch caused.
<See this>
She was quarantined along with a male also acquired in the same place in May 2015, though he had no symptoms (I did this so she'd have some company/normalcy). First she received Furan-2 for a four day treatment.
<Mmm; is the system water hard and alkaline? I'd make sure and likely add salt per Neale (Monks) input on WWM>
When the patches disappeared, they went back to her home tank, only to have a spot on her right side near the dorsal fin develop a small wound of some kind, and another fuzzy spot develop on the left side of her tail. She and the male returned to the hospital tank, and underwent an 8-day Furan-2 treatment. At that point I decided she would live permanently in this tank so I could provide further care if needed. While the fuzzy patches went away, they first sort of turned blackish, the erosion on the edge of her tail slowly continued. Soon, she developed a disinterest in eating, not
swimming away from the bottom of the tank, and at that time underwent a further Furan-2 treatment. Poco was removed to the home tank, as he often attempts to mate with her, and that seems to be a stressing her. Following the subsequent Furan-2 treatment, she has continued to refuse to eat. I began researching things to try and cure the illness and make her comfortable, and started salting her water for the first time. It is - I assume - marine salt, since it was bought from a fish store sometime ago, in a 3 pound bag and otherwise unmarked; cost maybe $3-4?
<Can't tell from here>
Something like that. I started using about a teaspoon of it per gallon in her 3-gallon hospital tank and have bumped it up to about a tablespoon. She also went through a five-day medication of Jungle Lifeguard, before another round of Furan-2, all with her water salted. There is such conflicting information as to the amount of salt I should put in each gallon of her water to try and heal her; that is one thing I could use advice on.
<... See, as in read... WWM>
Bittersweet, the wound on her side has healed a great deal recently; it has no fuzz, appears much smaller (evidenced in the May 2 shot) and there is none elsewhere on her; the spots where there had previously been white patches on her tail have a slight blackness to them; there are no current white fuzzy patches visible, even with a magnifying lens.
After folks at a pet store viewed a recent video from April 22
https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=qDDl3lgi2vc , they suspected it was a fungus and recommended API Fungus Cure, which she started yesterday, now on day two. May 1 I shot a second video
<This issue is baseline environmental. No sense treating w/o fixing the water quality>

I am extremely concerned at her lack of eating. It is at least three weeks.
There is a small amount of Anacharis and a moss ball in her hospital tank which the pet store folks said was a good thing. I've attempted to coat algae pellets (among her favorite foods) with garlic (including Garlic Guard), tried other bottom feeder pellets, peas, frozen bloodworms, live brine shrimp... all to no avail. Freeze dried worms are her favorite, but she won't leave the bottom.
Any suggestions you have regarding what I can or should do, I would greatly appreciate. In two years of fishkeeping, this is the first encounter with something like this, and I love her very much. If there is a way to save her that I can manage, I will try. Forgive my long email.
Thanks so much and I apologize for all my apparent shortcomings as a fish keeper.
Dave Lawrence
<Water quality measures please, including temperature. Bob Fenner>

Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions       5/4/17
I am so sorry about the large image file sizes. Forgive me, and am so grateful for your help and speedy reply. God bless you guys. I will reduce sizes anytime in the future.
<Ah, thank you>
So she is a Molly; thanks for the details. I've never seen anyone with her shape in a pet store, or really in photos online, so it's always been sort of a mystery, until now.
<Oh, there are quite a few species and many sports, hybrids of Mollienesia/Poecilia... Do a quick Google search re the genera, common name>
The water is tested with Tetra test strips (I will buy an expensive liquid test kit after reading about the strips), and they report the water is hard to very hard, with low to moderate alkalinity 40 - 80ppm KH , at the lowest level of nitrates and nitrites (nitrates always kept at the 0 or far left pad color, and nitrites at zero or up to .5 or the second pad on the left, at which point I make a water change with same-temperature pre-dechlorinated water).
<Ahh; need to improve, increase biological filtration and/or decrease the amount of food/wastes being processed. There must be NO nitrite or ammonia present>
How could I increase the alkalinity?
<There are a few ways/means; the safest, easiest is to add a bit of baking soda
(sodium bicarbonate) to the new, change water... when you do tank maintenance every week. Read here:
The temperature is 74 in 24 hour AC apartment. The heaters I've seen available nearby raise the temp to a potential 78, +/- 2 degrees.
In terms of the salt level, I've read so many posts with so much detail it's hard to find a direction for how much I should use; is 1 tablespoon per gallon appropriate to create a healing environment, or if not, how much, preferably using teaspoons or tablespoons for measuring?
<I would JUST read, follow Neale's pc...
How long can she live without eating and what would you recommend I do next?
<Read, then act... B>
Thank you again.

Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions     5/5/17
Mahalo, Bob, so much. It can be overwhelming searching your vast material, so those direct links are great. I got the sodium bicarbonate for raising the KH (for her 3 gallon tank
<Do take care... such small volumes shift very easily in terms of water quality... >
that is just a dusting in a teaspoon-- Like barely anything in it, correct?).
<Pre-mix in other water... change out the water itself Dave>
Fresh photos are attached as well, just taken tonight, and low file sizes.
She is going into her fourth day of her 4-day API Fungus Cure treatment which started Tuesday at 10am, and ends Saturday at 10am. Hilton has not eaten since at least April 10. It has been a very upsetting time since then
so I really, really appreciate help.
What do you recommend I do after the API Fungus Cure treatment ends Saturday morning, if she is still with us?
<I would move this fish back to a larger main/display system. Too stressful, toxic in a small one>
If you think I should not be continuing with that or that I should be modifying her treatment in some way now, please advise. Saturday morning, per the Fungus Care package instructions, I will be putting in a fresh new
carbon filter cartridge, and changing at least 25% of the water, unless you thought differently.
<You may need to change a good deal of the water here daily, every other day. DO measure for ammonia>
Her 3 gallon tank has, for the past few weeks, had gradually increased salt in the water, and I read the article by Neale, thanks again, including measurement details to conduct the heavy (not recommended) anti-fungus treatment; but looking at her and her case, what would you advise as a level of salt for her water going forward from Saturday morning, in teaspoon measurement?
<Per Neale's work, some middling value to accommodate all life kept>
In the tank, there is Anacharis/elodea held down by a small metal plant weight,
<Ahh! Yikes. Get rid of the lead. Pb is toxic to all; including the plant/s!>

a small moss ball, a Tetra filter sleeve with some substrate and a shell from her home tank in it... and that's it. Plus the airstone cranking air and the filter (now there are two foam filters in the carbon's place during the treatment). Tell me if more plants, less plants is better. The tank is bare as you can see; I baster out every object, and try to leave her food in there for only a few minutes each time, before getting it out of there and any crumbs.
The areas that previously had the white fuzzy patches have now turned black; does this reveal anything to you?
<Yes; generally a good sign... healing>
As you can see in the pics, the areas on the tail that previously had the white fuzz have this black and there's no fuzz; also an area on her face has gotten the black marking in just the last 24 hours, on the left side; is that a sign of the treatment working and it is dead skin or something worse?
<The former>
I imagine you've seen this before, and this reveals something to you about the nature of what illness she has; is it a fungus or do you think you have a diagnosis on what I am battling?
<Was, is environmental more than pathogenic. Perhaps a read here:

Since you IDed the species, do you know the lifespan?
<A few years... to a handful>
I am curious if this is a part of her being old...
<Could well be>
I'm buying the API master test kit Saturday; her test strip tonight said 40 ppm on nitrate, 0 on nitrite, 150 or hard / close to very hard color 300, 40 on total alkalinity, between the 7.8 and 8.4 on ph. Can ammonia still be present if nitrites are 0 (pad totally white)?
 Otherwise I wondered how during the day the nitrates went up so much.
<Measure the new water, change out half and check 24 hours later...>
if there's anything else, any medicine, or anything you think I should/could buy that would help, or direction on follow-up to the Fungus Care treatment starting Saturday morning (or a change before then), I'm so grateful for.
<Really; just improved environment... nutrition of a good deal of greens content (I really like Spectrum pellets)...>
Dave Lawrence
Honolulu Host, All Things Considered
Hawaii Public Radio
<Oh, I listen to this show/segment on KPBS here in San Diego on 89.5. Bob Fenner>

Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions     5/6/17
Thanks so much, again Bob. Distilled questions/comments for easier response here:
A.) I will be very careful and pre-mix the sodium bicarbonate in what will be new tank water.
B.) On returning her to her main tank, her mate and some Endler's males are in there; they will pick at her; she is vulnerable and it will cause stress. In her state, I don't think she could continue to heal with fish that are harassing her; she is largely calm and secure from that where she is. I don't think she is strong enough to take it yet. She would be a sitting duck. When she first went into this hospital tank, she ate regularly through her first two Furan-2 treatments and was very relaxed.
After moving her mate Poco out, I briefly reintroduced him to see if it would be positive for her, and he was a complete a-hole, trying to nip and behaving as Mollies (and Endler's) typically do toward vulnerable fish. He was out in under 20 minutes.
<Rats! Any way to add more decor, break up the environment... confuse the present status quo/dynamic that might allow her return? Another system?>
C.) So in lieu of moving her, am I reading from your comments that I should change 50% of the water Saturday morning, when I put a new carbon filter in?
<I'd only change these out every few weeks... the carbon does what it does... and bio-filtration added/established is better>
D.) I do measurements daily as is and Saturday will have the kit, as well as the spectrum pellets if available at the store. What else can I do to improve her current tank environment?
<Mmm; nothing really>
E.) I will remove the plant weight. Any suggestion how to keep plants down safely?
<Let them float is better... See WWM re Egeria/Anacharis....>
F.) On the salt levels for her, forgive me but I don't know how to employ the "middling value to accommodate all life" thing; should she be receiving salted water, and what amount, in teaspoons or tablespoons, should I provide per gallon when I do the water change tomorrow/Saturday morning? I will mix it before adding.
<A level tsp. per the system... half for half of it>
G.) Are there any other medicines, water additives or products I should buy tomorrow?
<None recommended. More harmful potentially than useful>
H.) Are any plants valuable for her to have in there to make it a better environment? I have some hornwort, like the lily pad-looking plant with light green in the left center of this stock photo; fox tail... some others I don't know the name of, all in her main tank, which I could move to her hospital tank. Or I could buy some at the store...
<The Elodea/Anacharis you have is ideal, as well as the Ceratophyllum mentioned>
Thanks so much Bob. I'm trying my best and am grateful for your expertise.
<Glad to have a conscientious, compassionate person on your end. Bob Fenner>
Fwd: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions     5/6/17

Sorry. Forgot to attach this stock photo I refer to in line H, Bob. Forgive me.
<Ah, no worries. B>

Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions     5/6/17
Aloha Bob,
So sorry for the delay in replying; trying to work and it's a bear of a day.
<No worries Dave>
I don't think I can put her back in her home tank due to nowhere to put the other fish that will peck at her. Right now, she is sitting on the bottom of the hospital tank, not having eaten since at least April 10, so I just don't think she is strong enough to be in there being harassed as opposed to recovering with peace and security, despite the smaller space. I know it sucks, but in the 3 gallon she has no one to bother her, and I will have to try to make her comfortable in there. I will change the water as much as you suggest each day, starting Saturday/tomorrow.
1.) With that unfortunate reality in mind, relating to tomorrow morning when the Fungus Care treatment is officially finished, what should I do for her water? I didn't understand your comment below that said <I'd only
change these out every few weeks... the carbon does what it does... and bio-filtration added/established is better> Does this mean don't do a 50% water change, and stick to the directions that call for a 25% water change?
<The 25% is best>
Also, the directions say return to a fresh carbon filter. I can use a fresh one, or the one she last had in there before the treatment, which was only a couple weeks old. I can also add the current sponge filter to that, if
you think it would be beneficial. Again, there is also a Tetra filter cartridge sleeve filled with substrate from her home tank sitting in there, too. Please tell me which filter cartridge to use, and if any shells, rocks or other objects could be beneficial for her in the 3 gallon.
<Wait another couple weeks on changing any/all>
2.) I will remove the plant weight and let the Anacharis float, plus will try to find the entry on your site you refer to below about plants.
3.) On salt, to be clear, are you saying I should put 1 level teaspoon in of salt for the entire 3 gallon tank, or if changing half the water, half a teaspoon for the entire 3 gallon tank?
<One level tsp. for the entire volume; part for part>
4.) Per your advice, she will not receive further medicine but I will get the spectrum pellets, and any other food you advise. I will continue to try enticing her with algae pellets and the frozen bloodworms, both alternately
dipped in garlic guard (and all of it cleaned out after she ignores them).
5.) I can add the fox tail Ceratophyllum and also the lily pad-looking plant in this attached photo, the plant in question is immediately to the right of Hilton's head in the shot; I have plenty of that, the fox tail, and the Anacharis. Should I add all of these to her 3 gallon?
<If there's room; yes>
Any advice on how much of them to add, should they all be allowed to float, and should I buy any more of these or other plants at the store tomorrow, or any better contraptions to hold them down?
<... let them float>
I could buy her a little house or cave of some kind, too, if you think it would help her.
6.) After the initial water change (which I asked for directions on above), what should I do each subsequent day in terms
<... weekly changes unless there are water quality issues... known from testing>
I am so sorry for all the questions. Forgive me. I value her like a child; I have no children, and will never buy another fish or capture a wild one like I did with her, I am so traumatized by this situation.
I cry every day about it, Bob. However, I seriously doubt she would ever have lived this long in the Hilton Hawaiian Village lagoon. So she has had a great life, and still is very lively. God bless you for shepherding my
dear little friend and her terrified keeper through this. You are doing a huge service for good in this world.
<I REALLY like the anchialine ponds there and all along the Kona coast... and the life in them.
Be of good cheer Dave; you're doing all that can be done. Bob Fenner>

Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions       5/8/17
Aloha Bob,
Yesterday I got: API master freshwater test kit, New Life Spectrum Algae Max, plastic food clips, and a small ceramic house.
Her previous carbon filter cartridge was not available, so I used a new one (these are Tetra small carbon filter cartridges). In place of carbon filter during treatment, there were two filter inserts; one made of material not
unlike the Tetra "bio-bag" material (which I removed), and the other a foam one (I rinsed off in home tank water and returned to her hospital tank filter, along with the new carbon cartridge).
I conducted a 25% water change with clean room temp dechlorinated water, though due to coming off her four-day Fungus Cure treatment, tank water level was slightly low, so in all, she received about 2/3 of a gallon of
this water (to her 3 gallon hospital tank).
Several hours later, I added a single teaspoon of salt, first mixed into about 8 oz. of her tank water and slowly/widely dispersed into her tank.
She soon began moving about frantically, swimming to the top and looking very animated or conceivably distressed, so in caution I was hurting her, I extracted one gallon of water quickly, put in a gallon of fresh regular
dechlorinated water, and she settled down immediately and was again completely relaxed. I keep many gallons of dechlorinated water at room temp/same as tank temp on hand and they always get water at the same temp they are in.
She has plants you suggested and a snippet of one other around and floating above. Food clips, though made for holding seaweed and other vegetables at meals, also work well to gently grasp/hold plants, so Hilton can have them on the bottom, a nearby roof of living greenery; she loved sitting under floating plants in her home tank. I hope you think that was a reasonable way to remove the metal plant weights, while still keeping nice living
plants close around her down there. She never was much for logs or hiding places, though occasionally did sit in a log, so I got a small ceramic one at the store, both as familiar decor and a potential place for privacy/exploration, and, it holds down another few snippets of the same plants.
She didn't eat the food during multiple feeding attempts, but thanks for turning me onto it. The home tank crew had it for dinner, and ate it eagerly. Should it be refrigerated for freshness?
<This is best; yes>
Test results: I did it yesterday and today. Yesterday was done a few hours after the initial water changes and before the incident with the salt, and were: ph 7.6, high ph between 7.8 - 8.0, ammonia .25ppm* (though keeping in mind the tank dyed water color following the API Fungus Cure was the exact same light fluorescent green color as the chart), nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 5.0ppm or less. Today, the test was nearly identical; the ammonia reading
has no tint of green, it is a lighter yellow than the card provided, so one could either say it's either 0 somewhere leading to .25ppm in closest match. It definitely is not the strong/darker yellow that the 0ppm is on the chart, but has no tint of green. Tank water color is much less dyed green now, too. Any advice on pulling down that ammonia or if the other numbers need to be adjusted is appreciated.
<All good here>
Thanks so much for the guidance and forgive my errors. I also do believe she is simply at the end of her life and nothing will get her to eat. Do you think 2 1/2 years is normal for a fish like her?
<Is about the regular lifespan, yes>
Living in that lagoon she'd never have lived until this age, I am convinced. They drain that thing constantly and condition it so people can swim in it, exposing the water to who knows what with sunscreen, etc. I love her.
<Be of good life Dave. BobF>

Re: Older Molly Fish in crisis questions       5/10/17
Aloha Bob,
Hilton passed last night. I was there, thankfully. Moments after I got home, too, like my Mom in Heaven had her wait until I could be there. Very heavy.
Thanks for all your advice and assistance in caring for her. I'm quite grateful.
<Glad to assist you Dave>
I am trying to carefully monitor her home 10-gallon tank to prevent a fin rot / Saprolegnia or whatever it is outbreak from occurring.
<Mmm; true fungal (many such labeled are actually bacterial) infections are actually quite rare; mostly very challenged fishes and/or poor environments are involved>
My Corydoras paleatus looks fine, but sometimes it's hard to tell if there is any growth on him due to his coloration and the way light affects it, so, since Hilton had lived in there, I have extensively cleaned it to remove decaying organic matter and any waste, including about 50% water changes each day since last Wednesday. Always same temp conditioned water.
Also removed some of the plants that created waste. From what I read the Saprolegnia and fin rot can be brought on by excessive decaying organic waste, including leaves, etc. from plants.
Stats in water are solid: high ph 7.4 - 7.8, 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites, 10 - 20 ppm nitrates.
Any recommendations to ensure fin rot doesn't spread in there?
<Keep doing what you're doing... water changes and staying vigilant>
A big heartfelt mahalo. Sad days here. God bless you.
<Cheers my friend. BobF>

Hybrid and Betta imbellis      5/3/17
I wonder whether you can help.
<Will try.>
I had a pair of Betta imbellis that I got in January. They went into a cycled tank. Ph 7.6, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 30. They were put in a 57 litre Fluval Flex. After a few days they spawned. The babies were removed as the tank was not suitable for them and I was not expecting them to spawn straight away. The babies had a high die off and I am left with 3 healthy looking 10 week old babies.
<Various reasons for problems with Betta fry; cold air perhaps the commonest. Do also review the usual suspects like airborne pollutants, non-zero copper levels in tap water, ammonia spikes, etc.>
After a couple of weeks of having the Imbellis the female died. She was active and swimming around and then I noticed she was struggling. I went to get a bowl to float her in. Came back and she was dead. My male got very
depressed and was recommended that I got another female. I did that and he perked up. One day she did the same thing and died with no outward signs of sickness. I chose not to get another female without knowing the cause of the deaths and as to whether the male was doing something and killing them off without me noticing. He again became very withdrawn and died a week later.
<Oh dear. Shame, as these are nice fish!>
I also have hybrid Bettas which are a cross of Stiktos x Samaragdina guitar x Mahachaiensis.
<That's quite the hybrid. At what point are they simply mongrel Betta spp.?>
The water parameters are the same as above and both have consistently stayed the same and have had the water tested weekly before a water change.
My male on one pair a few days ago became lethargic and started breathing heavily. He was put in a tub so that he could reach the surface and has died today. No fungus, no bloating or signs of constipation or parasites.
No marks on the body. The two tanks are in separate parts of the house and no equipment is shared.
Does it seem that there is something that I have done wrong or are these fish generally weaker?
<Hybrids can be weaker, yes. With Bettas, I've no specifics on this. Often we talk about hybrid vigour, but that isn't always the case. Some crosses aren't viable (fail to fertilise eggs, or the fertilised egg fails to form a healthy embryo, or the development of the foetus fails in some way). But I'm sure there are situations where hybrids are born but aren't as vigorous as either parent species.>
I do not want to loose my imbellis baby or the female to the pair that died or my other pair of hybrids. All tanks have IAL kept in their tanks, kept at a temperature of 28, filtered and 30% water changed weekly. They are fed
on Spectrum pellets, frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms and daphnia.
<Which all sounds fine.>
I am not new to Betta keeping and have over 50 plus tanks of fry and cannot see that I am doing anything different that I know of that can be making them sick.
I also wondered if you knew whether the remaining female hybrid could live with the other pair of hybrids I have or is that likely to cause aggression between the two females and need the same ratio as a sorority tank?
<Hard to know. In theory females should all get along. But a male of one Betta species will certainly view most, if not all, other Betta species as a potential threat, and this of course includes females since the males alone guard the eggs. Now, Bettas in one species can communicate, and understand things like threat displays, but hybrids or different species may not understand the signals sent by a male from one particular species.
In short, there are so many variables here that you might want to err on the side of caution, at least while you're down to a small number of valuable fish. As/when your breeding population is replenished, some experimentation may be worthwhile.>
Thank you for your time
<Welcome. Neale.>

Cory health in 15-gal column tank      5/3/17
Hello Team, I searched the archives and I can't find this one.
I was hoping for some help with Corys in my tank. I have had a 15-gallon column tank for two years, with a single Opaline Gourami, five cherry barbs for a year (three m, 2 fem), and two (avg.) non-dwarf Corys. I feed flakes and float pellets once daily, a sinking shrimp pellet every few days, and freeze-dried bloodworms once a week. My ammonia and nitrite levels are zero and my temp hovers around 77 degrees. I filter with an AquaClear 20.
<Mostly sounds fine...>
I seem to only manage to get a 6-month lifespan from my corys, regardless of the breed. This seems short; when one passes, I buy a new pair to avoid loneliness, and the cycle continues. Just today, I have a single one again. (1) should I purchase a single or a pair more corys if any, and (2) am I doing something wrong or are corys simply a bad idea in this configuration?
<Corydoras are basically sound fish, but they do have a couple weaknesses.
Firstly, they're low-end tropicals. A good temperature range for most species is 22-25 C/72-77F. Corydoras sterbai is the one widely trained warmer water species. Anyway, the warmer the water, the more oxygen they
need. This brings us to the second point, their need for air. If the tank is too deep, they can't easily swim to the top to gulp air, and this in turn leads to stress. I don't think a 15 gallon tank is likely to be too deep, but if there's something stopping them swimming, like a strong current or aggressive/nippy midwater fish, it might have an effect on them.
Finally, there's the oxygenation of the substrate. If the bottom of the tank has poor water movement, the substrate can become anaerobic, and together with microscopic scratches to their whiskers and fins, Corydoras become sickly, listless, and may well die. So short term: I'd clean the substrate, I'd check the water flow, I'd lower the water temperature, and I'd check none of the other fish are harassing them.>
I know they should be kept in larger groups but I don't want to crowd them on the small floor. Should I choose another scavenger instead?
Bristlenose catfish seem too "dirty".
<They are not messy at all, given their size; but they're also pretty rubbish scavengers, being more or less algae-consumers. I find Whiptails a much better substitution for Corydoras. Standard issue Rineloricaria species are sociable, hardy, and long-lived.>
Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for all you do!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Cory health in 15-gal column tank      5/4/17

Great advice, thanks Neale. I think I might give the whiptail a shot, as you suggested. For this columnar tank setup, so you think I should go for one or two?
<Definitely more fun kept in groups. Males hold little territories (like a crevice in a bit of bogwood) when breeding but otherwise Rineloricaria species do seem to be sociable much of the time. Singletons can do fine though, they just aren't as much fun. Do note that Whiptails are day-active, and prefer sandy substrates where they can bury themselves in at times. They will also change colour on sandy substrates, which is very cool to see! Underrated fish, I think because they *look* delicate -- even though they're actually quite hardy animals.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Worms in my tub!      5/3/17
Hello! Can you please tell me what kind of worms these are?
<Video Link HERE>
I found them in my bathtub after giving the kids a bath! We live in northwest Indiana if that helps any.
<These look like insect larvae; likely hatched from "flies" getting into the house, some bit of water left in the tub... no worries. Bob Fenner> 


Freshwater Aquarium  Articles & FAQs

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