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We ask that, before submitting a query, you refer to Neale Monk's: Before You Write; A Checklist of Common Problems with Freshwater Aquaria, Bettas, Goldfish, and Freshwater Turtles (Terrapins), Tips on Asking Questions, Ask the WWM Crew a Question, FAQs on FAQs. EDFP, TBPFWFAQs, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs, Subscribe to the Daily Pics

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 10/16/2017
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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New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Care on Thorichthys helleri?     10/16/17
Hello, crew.
<Hello again Roberto,>
Last time I contacted you about my Uaru, I guess an updated is needed. He didn't make it lamentably, so this is a lesson for me on keeping delicate soft water species, and staying away from unnecessarily small fish (I got him at probably less than 3 cm). The bigger Uaru (19-20 cm) is as lively as ever. I do in fact keep him in warmer water and gets his share of greens.
<Lesson learned, I guess!>
Anyway, on a new topic, a local hobbyist has brought in what supposedly are wild caught Thorichthys helleri, but as far as I know its way more possible for them to be aureus. They are from rio Izabal, Guatemala. They range from 4 to 6 cm.
<There are several Thorichthys species, and identifying juveniles is very hard. Will direct you here, to Fishbase:
http://www.fishbase.org/identification/SpeciesList.php?genus=Thorichthys
According to Fishbase at least, the only Thorichthys species in Guatemala are Thorichthys affinis, Thorichthys aureus, Thorichthys meeki, and Thorichthys pasionis.>
I've read conflicting information about them. Fish base cites them as hard, alkaline water fish, in the range of 23 to 26C, but a couple other sources cites them at the upper ranges, 28, 29 C. which doesn't sound quite right to me, Guatemala is quite cool.
<Indeed, but often the temperature is more to do with the immediate environment. Shallow, still pools in grasslands tend to get hot, while shaded rainforest streams are cooler, and fast water upland streams will be cooler still.>
There is not much information about these guys online, could you shed some light?
<So far as temperature goes, 25 C will be a useful default. All Thorichthys species are sand-sifters, so a tank with a soft substrate rather than gravel is required. Their tall body shape is indicative of slower to still water, so avoid turbulent currents, but as with all cichlids, decent turnover is required to manage the nitrogen cycle properly and ensure there's lots of oxygen. The diet in the wild of all Thorichthys is a mix of algae, organic detritus, and small benthic invertebrates such as insect larvae and worms, so structure their diet accordingly. Because of their delicate sand-sifting jaw structures, do not mix with other cichlids likely to pick fights. Dwarf cichlids are usually fine though.>
I have a spare 45 gal where I might try a small group for breeding purposes, but not sure if these are alike their cousins the meeki. We catch wild meeki, not hard at all to keep, but I've heard the other, rarer species are more delicate.
<The Thorichthys meeki are only hardier because they've been bred for so many generations. Otherwise Thorichthys are much of a muchness: sensitive to nitrate, but not especially delicate.>
Thanks, as always.
Roberto
<Welcome. Neale.>

Stingray pups     10/15/17
Dear WWM Crew,
I've been keeping freshwater stingrays for almost 10 years. Love 'em!
<Certainly rewarding fish, for those with the skills -- which you certainly have!>
One of my female P. motoro gave birth to four large babies last night. All are doing great.
<Well done!>
She's now flat on one side but still kind of bulging on the other side. And four is a small litter for her. So I'm assuming she only gave birth from one uterus and will give birth from the other either today or soon. My
question is, "Is it possible for stingrays to give birth several days apart?"
<Certainly several hours can elapse between first and last pup in a litter, and I guess a day or two might be possible. Still, I'd be getting a bit nervous at this point in case there's a blockage of some sort. A substantial water change, and turning off the lights, would be two obvious things to do. The first to dilute any of the fluids and wastes from birth, and the latter to reduce stress. I'd think about Epsom salt too, as this mild laxative might help delivery the babies if they're not quite out but on their way.>
Thanks as always for your wonderful site.
Margie
<Do think about posting at Monster Fishkeepers. While that forum plays a bit fast-and-loose when it comes to using live food, it's a focal point for the big predatory fish community, and several Stingray breeders post their
regularly. Cheers, Neale.>

Complete Wipe Out of Most of My Fish       10/14/17
Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
<Lynnie>)
While I was away from home, something unexpected happened that wiped out all but four of my fish. I had left my fish in the care of my family, and the monthly aquarium service that comes to do a more thorough clean down,
and the fish were perfectly healthy. I had left a care guide for my family, and they were doing weekly water changes and feeding the fish a mix of dry and fresh foods. They had done this for my past two years of grad school without issue.
<Rats!>
However, two days after the service came, the tank completely clouded over, becoming opaque white, and almost all the fish abruptly died. I was not there, but my parents complained to the service, and the service claimed they had had accidentally not dechlorinated the water properly. They then came a few more times to clean up the mess, and the water is clear now.
The remaining four fish are healthy, and there is no nitrite or ammonia in the water, so it appears the biofilter was not destroyed.
<Ah, good>
Because I was not there, I do not have a lot of information, so I apologize in advance. However, I have to wonder what it is that could have happened.
Here are the possibilities that were raised:
1. Too much dechlorinator used. This was the excuse the service gave, but
I was under the impression that unless aquarium conditions were 'marginal' the deoxygenating effect of dechlorinators is not much of an issue.
<You are correct; it is very hard to overdose water conditioners>
2. Faulty heater. Apparently the temperature in the tank got stuck at 82 degrees Fahrenheit after the service came. But again, not sure if that would be enough to wipe the fish out (the tank is 105 gallons, so it's not small.)
<I doubt this as a cause>
3. Clorox. Apparently the service used bleach to clean the decor before putting back in the aquarium, and there is the possibility they did not wash it off correctly. The service claimed this is something they regularly do without issue, but I have never seen them use Clorox before.
<Very easy to make mistakes here>
4. The service removed a lot of snail shells that were in the gravel. Is it possible they could have abruptly changed the pH by doing so?
<Very doubtful; the CaCO3 in shells is not very soluble>
5. The fish are regularly given fresh vegetables. However, one of my family members gave them green bean slices that were in the fridge for 10 days prior. Could they have been rotten and killed the fish?
<This I do not know>
I need to acquire a new nitrate, pH, and GH test kit, so all I can say is there is no ammonia and nitrite at this moment, unfortunately.
-Lynnie
<Will share w/ Neale, as he may have other useful input. Bob Fenner>
Complete Wipe Out of Most of My Fish       Neale's take     10/15/17

Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
<<Hello Lynnie,>>
While I was away from home, something unexpected happened that wiped out all but four of my fish. I had left my fish in the care of my family, and the monthly aquarium service that comes to do a more thorough clean down, and the fish were perfectly healthy. I had left a care guide for my family, and they were doing weekly water changes and feeding the fish a mix of dry and fresh foods. They had done this for my past two years of grad school without issue.
However, two days after the service came, the tank completely clouded over, becoming opaque white, and almost all the fish abruptly died. I was not there, but my parents complained to the service, and the service claimed they had had accidentally not dechlorinated the water properly. They then came a few more times to clean up the mess, and the water is clear now. The remaining four fish are healthy, and there is no nitrite or ammonia in the water, so it appears the biofilter was not destroyed.
Because I was not there, I do not have a lot of information, so I apologize in advance. However, I have to wonder what it is that could have happened.
Here are the possibilities that were raised:
1. Too much dechlorinator used. This was the excuse the service gave, but I was under the impression that unless aquarium conditions were 'marginal' the deoxygenating effect of dechlorinators is not much of an issue.
<<Unlikely, unless they did something dumb like use the (super-concentrated) pond dechlorinator in your aquarium.>>
2. Faulty heater. Apparently the temperature in the tank got stuck at 82 degrees Fahrenheit after the service came. But again, not sure if that would be enough to wipe the fish out (the tank is 105 gallons, so it's not small.)
<<If the tank thermometer was set this high, and the tank actually warmed up to 28C/82F, then it is certainly possible for low-end tropicals (Danios, Platies, Neons, Corydoras) to become stressed, especially if oxygen
concentration wasn't that high to begin with. On the other hand, short-term (a few days) exposure to high-end tropical temperatures in well-filtered tanks with lots of water movement shouldn't be an issue. Still, if the
heater is set too high, and the tank also receives direct sunlight, it is most than possible for the aquarium to get much, MUCH hotter, and that can/will stress, or kill, fish that aren't adapted to prolonged high temperatures.>>
3. Clorox. Apparently the service used bleach to clean the decor before putting back in the aquarium, and there is the possibility they did not wash it off correctly. The service claimed this is something they regularly do without issue, but I have never seen them use Clorox before.
<<This can/will kill fish very quickly if significant amounts get in the tank. But merely cleaning ornaments, and rinsing thoroughly, shouldn't be a problem. Of course if one of the guys was new to the business, and didn't
know how well to rinse things, then there's a risk.>>
4. The service removed a lot of snail shells that were in the gravel. Is it possible they could have abruptly changed the pH by doing so?
<<Unlikely. While snail shells do dissolve in water, and quite rapidly (a few weeks, even) if the water is soft and acidic, in chemistry terms the process is slow, and unlikely to cause significant changes fast enough to kill the fish.>>
5. The fish are regularly given fresh vegetables. However, one of my family members gave them green bean slices that were in the fridge for 10 days prior. Could they have been rotten and killed the fish?
<<Depends on the amount of greens. Large amounts of decaying vegetation can/will remove oxygen from the water, leading to oxygen stress in the fish. But you'd need serious amounts for this: for a 200 gallon tank say,
I'd be thinking a couple cupfuls of greens rotting away would be necessary, not a couple string beans!>>
I need to acquire a new nitrate, pH, and GH test kit, so all I can say is there is no ammonia and nitrite at this moment, unfortunately.
-Lynnie
<<All very mysterious, but hopefully not likely to be repeated. Did the service company offer any explanations? The fact the tank became white suggests a bacterial or diatom bloom, the former if it was a more milky white, the latter if there was a golden tinge. Anyway, both are connected with environmental instability, the classic being "new tank syndrome" but it could equally easily be a change in water chemistry caused by the addition or removal of some soluble chemical such as lime, or else clumsy maintenance of the filter that removed too much of the mature filter medium. The latter scenario would indeed cause a rapid die-off of the fish, as the filter capacity drops, but once the 'surplus' fish have died and been removed, the remaining biological filter capacity would be adequate for the remaining fish, so you wouldn't detect an ammonia and nitrite spike if you only sampled water quality after the event. Make sense? Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Complete Wipe Out of Most of My Fish     10/16/17

The service’s explanation was they used too much dechlorinator, but that sounds doubtful to me.
<Indeed, but see previous reply.>
My family carefully meters out the food, and the amount of green beans was only a couple of small slices. They’ve done it many times before so I doubt it was the cause.
<Agreed, that being the case.>
The water is well oxygenated with a lot of water movement. The tank also doesn’t get any direct sunlight.
<Good.>
I’m personally leaning towards the bleach, or at least overcleaning the biofilter media.
<Quite so.>
I’ve never seen them use bleach before, so it is very possible the person using it wasn’t very experienced with it.
<Agreed.>
I’m honestly not sure exactly what to do now. I know I at least need to replace the giant Danios soon (there is a sole survivor, and he is not happy at all without his school) but if the biofilter has been reduced a lot I guess I need to do this very slowly.
<Yes, but in fairness, even if the filter is down to 10% of the bacteria it originally had, it'll "cycle" within a few days. It's not like starting a filter from scratch. Plenty of bacteria in the tank to colonise the sterilised filter media.>
-Lynnie
<Cheers, Neale.>

White Mountain minoes      10/13/17
Hi, I have a 5gal Fluval Chi With 3 minoes 1 micro guppies and a snail since March 2017. One of the minoes has sunk to the bottom this is the 3rd day and is eating, I do weekly water changes, today I did a 75% water
change, temps 74° to 76° add a under water filter system and more plants the fish seem to love it. Since then the bottom dweller tries to swim but goes back to the bottom the other 2 kind of carol her what could be wrong or could she be pregnant if so what can I do.
I love my fish.
Sonja
<I suspect the one fish is defective... perhaps genetically or developmentally; as the others are fine... and your tank appears well-established, stable. I would do nothing treatment-wise here. Bob Fenner>

re: White Mountain minoes       10/14/17
Wow, Thanks!
<Welcome Sonja. BobF>

Help please for my African Dwarf Frogs     10/12/17
Hi - Just so you know, I am one of those people that Google everything and anything and am usually pretty successful in finding answers to my questions. Well I have been searching for a couple days (at least) to try and figure out what is going on with my ADFs...well one ADF in particular.
I haven't had any luck and it may be that it is an issue that is hard to word in a Google search. I don't have much faith in the knowledge of the staff at my local pet store so I am writing you. I'm sure you are inundated with emails but I figured I'd see if you could help.
<Sure thing!>
I have a 5 gallon, heated and filtered tank and in it are 4 guppies, one mystery snail and now 2 ADF's. I had just one ADF for a few months and then decided she (I assume she is a she as I never hear singing like I have in the past with males) may like to have another ADF to interact with.
<Understood. But like most frogs, they're not really social as such...>
Prior to my adding the 2nd ADF (Ginger), my 1st ADF (MaryAnn) seemed like a happy active frog. She would always come when I tapped on the glass, would follow my finger and dance around for me, and would eat heartily Frozen Bloodworms and/or Brine Shrimp.
<Sounds neat!>
After adding Ginger to the tank, MaryAnn is a different frog. She hides out of sight most of the time, barely eats and seems to want to run from me versus being happy to see me. The new frog (Ginger) is acting normal. Is active and eats heartily.
<Odd.>
What happened to MaryAnn?? Could she be upset that I added another frog?
<Bullying is certainly a possibility, the solution for which, oddly enough, can be adding more -- it's harder for a bully to harass two frogs than just one. On the other hand, a useful trick is to remove the bully, rearrange the tank enough it looks different, then after an hour or so, return the bully. With a bit of luck, this has a "reset button" effect because the bully is now the newcomer again, and the original frog has a chance to assert itself better.>
Ironically, I hesitated at first to get a 2nd frog as I really enjoyed the "special" one on one time I had with MaryAnn. I only got the 2nd thinking it would make her happier to have a little friend.
<Always dangerous imagining animals are people. They're not. Their minds are very different, and animals that aren't gregarious, like frogs, really don't notice or interact with other frogs outside of breeding. Since you're offering the food, you are actually more "interesting" to them than other frogs!>
I don't know if it is my imagination but she does appear to be a tad bloated. That could be due to the fact that I fed her often....not sure.
<Possibly, so do try cutting back the food a bit, or using something with a laxative effect, like Daphnia or Brine Shrimp, to see if it helps.>
Either way, do you have any idea what could be wrong??
Let me know please when you have a chance.
Thanks in advance
Lisa
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Help please for my African Dwarf Frogs       10/14/17

Hi Neale -
Thank you so much for your response.
<Most welcome.>
I am not sure why but I originally drafted this to you in September but, for some reason, it didn't go through until October 10th. Possibly because I was on a different computer. Anyway, MaryAnn passed a couple weeks ago.
:(
<Oh dear; sorry to hear that.>
I will not be getting another frog to keep Ginger company based on your response below. As long as one frog is happy without another, I am happy with just the one!
<Indeed, this is the case. Good luck with your remaining batrachian buddy!
Cheers, Neale.>

Black algae? /Neale      10/12/17
Hi, could you advise what this black substance is in my tropical tank? It seems to have appeared after topping up my gravel.
<Appears to be Red Algae -- so called because of its appearance in alcohol rather than in life. Various types such as Brush Algae and Beard Algae, among others. Difficult to eliminate, but does tend to be noticeable only in certain conditions -- will direct you to some reading:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwalgcontrol.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_3/fwalgae.html
Essentially, a combination of good water quality, fast-growing plants, and possibly the use of suitable algae-eating fish, will be the way to keep these algae out of your tank (or at least present in innocuous amounts).
Cheers, Neale.>
Black algae?    /RMF      10/12/17

Hi, could you advise what this black substance is in my tropical tank? It seems to have appeared after topping up my gravel.
<Ah yes; does appear to be a Blue-Green "Algae" (Cyanobacteria). Does it feel slimy? Occurs in a few colors, morphologies. Please read here re:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_3/fwalgae.html
Bob Fenner>
re: Black algae?
Thank you for the prompt and helpful reply
<Most welcome! Neale.>

Stress from Water Change Worse than having 20ppm Nitrates in new Tank?     10/11/17
Hi Crew,
<Helen et al.>
I'm new to fish-keeping but have done a lot of research and hope I have got my aquarium off to a good start. I cycled it for six weeks using a fishless cycle with fish food for the ammonia source. I have a 20 gallon freshwater tank with two male Dalmatian mollies, 4 female Dalmatian mollies and two female gold mollies. All but one are less than 1 inch in size, so quite young. I know I may need to move them to a bigger tank in the future. They have been in the tank for eight days and I did a 25% water change four days ago and plan on doing one every week.
<A good interval and percentage. Best to store the new water in advance of your weekly changes; do whatever you intend to supplement (add salt/s, alkalinity...) ahead of time>
I have been testing the water everyday using the API water test kit.
Today's readings were: Ammonia:0; Nitrites: 0; Nitrates: 20; PH 7.6. Temp is 78.4F.
I know mollies are particularly sensitive to nitrates, so I would like to do another 25% water change today to get the nitrates down. However, I have also read that all fish are sensitive to changes in water chemistry so I
am wondering what would be most harmful to the fish - having the nitrates at 20ppm or doing a 25% water change.
<You are right to be concerned here. As you hint/state there are trade-offs in doing too frequent/serial dilutions, and just tolerating nitrogenous et al. accumulation>
I would also like to add some aquarium salt to the water but am again hesitant to change the water chemistry too
much when they have only been in the tank for eight days.
<I WOULD go ahead with the salt addition/s... some every day. This will also reduce the Nitrate toxicity>
Your advice is much appreciated!
Helen
<And gladly rendered. Bob Fenner>

New Pandas also Re: Epsom salts, peacock gudgeons and blockages     10/11/17
Thanks Neale and Bob for your replies. And Hi Crew! Thought you would like an update on how my poor gudgeon is doing, and I have some extra troubles which I will get to later in this email.
<Oh dear.>
I kept watching the display tank after it was treated with Epsom salts and could see the prolapsed portion of the affected gudgeon had shrunk by half overnight and looked much better.
<Good.>
However after a full day many of the other peacock gudgeons were showing some stress colouration and hiding, so I performed the scheduled water change. By the following morning the gudgeons were back to normal, but
prolapse was back to its original size. I took the plunge and managed to catch the affected gudgeon by tricking him with food. If they get the idea they are in trouble they can dart and jump surprisingly quickly but I was
very lucky to catch him off guard. Anyway after 3 or 4 days in his own tank, and after treatment with what I hope is Metronidazole (bought off the internet due to not being readily available in Australia, the packaging is slightly unconvincing), the prolapse had reduced down again but did not yet resolve.
<The Metronidazole is a good thought here, as prolapses of this type are sometimes a reaction to parasites inside the gut.>
The gudgeon was becoming very stressed so I put him back into the display tank. It's been over a week and he is back to his normal self behaviourally. The prolapse has still not resolved but it is not as big as it was, or at least, it looks fleshier and a lot less likely to burst than it used to so I will keep my eye on him and continue to be mindful of what I feed that tank. No one died so I am counting that as a win for now!
<Indeed. Such things do take weeks to resolve. So like Dropsy, if the fish is getting incrementally better, and still eating, that's good!>
I'm writing now about an old familiar problem - trying to keep some new panda Corydoras alive. My existing school of 6 panda Corys is quite happy and doing well (thanks for your help in getting them to that point!) and I
had the idea that the tank they are in has room for a bigger school.
Originally I wanted to try some pygmy Corydoras in a separate species tank but I saw pandas had become available again for quite a cheap price. I ordered 15 expecting to lose a few but hoping to keep enough alive to
eventually expand the existing crew and I'm using the unused pygmy Cory tank for the quarantine tank. The store sent me 16 pandas (and also 2 sterbai Corys by mistake instead of trilineatus), but unfortunately put all
the pandas in the same bag. 4 died in transit, but the rest seemed mostly quite lively and feisty after getting into some fresh water. I lost 1 more from quarantine in the first few hours, one overnight, and then one more on
the following day. This last one had his barbels curled under him and his gill covers looked like they were stuck open. I suspect it was just residual damage from being in poor water conditions during shipping.
<Agreed, but the "cheap price" might also suggest less than perfect breeding conditions. Sometimes fish are maintained poorly, but "juiced" on antibiotics, which keeps them alive on the fish farm. Once shipped, the
drugs where off, and you're stuck with sickly fish. Careful quarantining, good food, and judicious medical treatment as needed can help though, so all is not lost!>
The remaining 8 pandas are still lively and have good appetites, and the 2 sterbai seem much the same although definitely more nervous due to their small school size. The zoomy pandas seem to terrify them even though the
sterbai are three times the size.
<Corydoras sterbai do need warmish water to stay healthy, 25-28 C, so they're not quite as adaptable to lower-end tropical conditions as other members of the genus. On the other hand, they're good choices for Angelfish, Discus and Gourami set-ups where high temperatures are needed.>
I am using the refund from the dead fish/wrong fish to buy a few more sterbai so eventually they will be in a comfortable school size - they definitely behave differently than the pandas and trilineatus that I already have so I am looking forward to setting them up in their own tank.
The current quarantine tank is 65lt with a fine sandy bottom and I have been doing daily 20lt water changes and vacuuming out uneaten food trying to give these guys as clean an environment as possible to recover. They
have been getting live grindal worms and some small pellet food and none of the survivors seem skinny like a few were when they first arrived. I am mixing up their water to be the same as the water my existing panda Corys
live in as that's where I want to move them to after quarantine is over, so medium softness and temp is 24C.
<Understood.>
Anyway now to the problems. After the quarantine population stabilized I noticed 2 of the pandas had thickened white patches on their fins, faces, and one had a coated barbel on one side which was twice as thick as it
should be. Very difficult to see what's going on with white on white but I thought it looked like fungus so began treatment with a Multicure product (malachite green, Methylene blue, Acriflavine, supposed to be good vs.
fungus and some external parasites).
<Sounds about right; Methylene Blue is a good first choice for fungus infections. Low toxicity, even with baby fish and eggs.>
After 2 days of this treatment there was no improvement and the patches were thicker so I began to worry that it was actually the dreaded Columnaris instead. I couldn't actually see any fibrous or fuzzy growths, the white patches seem more flattened and blobby than anything. All I had at hand was some tri-sulfa (which does say it can treat Columnaris on the label) and I remember reading somewhere that Columnaris will not tolerate salt.
<Possibly true, but can't imagine the salt level needed would be tolerated by Corydoras for long. I'd be using a plain vanilla antibacterial treatment here instead. Salt is almost never useful against fungus or bacterial infections at "safe" freshwater levels.>
I also checked to make sure I could mix tri-sulfa and the other product and as far as I could tell all would be well. I have had tri-sulfa and salt in the tank for 2 days now (this is the third day) and re-dosed as required, accounting for the water changes I did (additional to the existing course of Multicure). I added equivalent of 5 tsp of salt on the first day, and another 5 on the second day, dripped it in slowly via airline. The fish are all tolerating this well. I know Corydoras can handle more salt than this after having success treating Ich this way, but I don't know if that level of salt is required to treat Columnaris (or even if that's what I'm fighting here).
<I do suspect you are right: the 2 gram/litre level used for Whitespot is easily tolerated by freshwater fish, but for bacterial and fungal infections you'd surely need a lot more -- bear in mind marine fish can get both!>
I am holding off on adding more salt for now pending further advice.
<See above.>
I'm a bit worried that my water conditioner has reacted with the Multicure as it seems like a lot of it has come out of solution and settled on the sand (or perhaps just the top layer of sand is now dyed green).
<One risk with organic dyes like Malachite Green and Methylene Blue is precisely this. Tends to fade away in time, but not always. The blue is generally overlooked, looking watery I suppose, but the green is more annoying, it is true.>
The first dosage I put in stained the water quite dark for a couple of days but the second dose looks to be almost gone overnight, even though I followed the instructions and didn't use it immediately after the water change. Anyway there is still no improvement and the white patches are spreading to the other Corys. Yesterday one of the sterbai had a patch on his forehead although that is gone today, but a lighter patch of skin is visible in that place. I now realise tri-sulfa is bacteriostatic rather than bacteriocidal and probably won't get rid of Columnaris by itself, but I thought if I kept the Corys eating well they might be able to fight it off. The package for this medication says I can double the dosage for severe cases and I am considering doing this as I only used the single dose to start with.
<Follow the instructions, and remember to remove carbon from the filter, if used.>
Since I've had no success so far and it is spreading, today I had the idea that maybe this is slime coat disease (Costia?) and not a fungus or bacteria. The most notable thing is that it seems the extremities of the fish (fins, barbels) are affected much moreso than their bodies. Where it is on their faces, it's mostly around their nostrils, and it is on the fins that are closest to the substrate.
<This is not uncommon. It's usually explained in terms of a scratchy substrate, or a dirty substrate, or both. The belly and barbels are scratched, bacteria infect the wounds, and something similar to Finrot sets in. Indeed, it probably is the same Aeromonas and Pseudomonas bacteria at work. That said, there are mystery plagues or red-blotch diseases associated with Corydoras that don't have any definite aetiology. A broad spectrum antibiotic is helpful, but with the Corydoras moved to a substrate-free aquarium for the process, so that the skin has time to heal over properly as well.>
The one with a patch on his body seems like it spread there from his fin.
The Cory with one affected barbel now has both barbels coated. It seems like it covers the entire surface of some of their fins. I have not seen any redness anywhere on the Corys but maybe that symptom would not show up
on fins (or can't be seen under the thick coating).
I would have thought Costia would be affected by the ingredients in Multicure, if that's what this disease is, however if the Multicure is being cancelled by the water conditioner it would explain why the disease is spreading. If the disease is Columnaris it also explains why it is spreading quickly, although I would have hoped triple sulfa would have slowed it down. I do have some eSHa Exit available which I didn't use yet, as I am not keen on mixing up my medications. I had assumed it had similar ingredients to Multicure however I found a webpage stating it contains Acridine, Malachite Green, Meth.Violet, Meth. Blue so not quite the same.
So it might work differently I guess?
<Indeed.>
At this point I am wondering what your opinion is of this disease and how I should be treating it. I am fairly sure by now that this is not fungus as the water has been kept quite clean, I haven't seen any obvious hairy fuzz,
and it has not responded to that treatment. I hope it's not Columnaris, but if it is, it's taking its time on killing off all my fish and they aren't really acting unwell. I've had advice that Kanaplex will work on Columnaris but at this point I don't have access to any (although I could ask my vet when I take my cats in tomorrow) however, obviously antibiotics are pointless if this is Costia. But if it's Costia, why didn't the first treatment get rid of it (maybe because it's not as good as eSHa Exit)? I'm hoping you have some ideas or tips as to what to do next.
<Costia is frustrating because it can't be easily diagnosed without a microscope. While some fish are prone to it, others aren't, and to some degree it's "the thing you suspect next" if fungal and Finrot bacterial infections have been dismissed. It's all very annoying.>
I'll attach some pictures but its quite hard to see since everything is kind of green, I have a terrible camera, and the Corys are tiny and won't sit still. They are still very white, reflective and you can see some of their internal structures and iridescent bits showing through which looks like white patches on their bodies but isn't.
<Indeed, I can see what you're talking about clearly. I'd be assuming the substrate and bacteria are somehow the issue, and treating as described above. I'd also double check the tank is Corydoras-safe, e.g., you used smooth silver sand rather than sharp sand.>
When the extra sterbai Cory arrive they are going to have their own separate quarantine well away from this tank since it is a bit of a disaster area. I'm lucky to have a very understanding spouse who has let me set up many tanks around the house!
Thanks as always for your help, your experience and advice is invaluable.
Cheers,
Bronwen
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New Pandas also Re: Epsom salts, peacock gudgeons and blockages     10/11/17
Thanks Neale for your quick reply.
<Welcome.>
Regarding the sand, it is an extremely fine river sand which I had left over from my other Corydoras tank which has been running for over a year now, no issues with the sand. It's very smooth and inert and I've put a thin layer for comfort more than anything. Fresh from the bag and rinsed before using here. Only one of the Corys has anything on his barbels but I can see the sense of sucking out the sand for now so that it doesn't provide a hiding place for the bacteria. I can do that during the next water change and it also gives me a chance to see if the green will rinse off.
<Indeed.>
No carbon in the filter at the moment but I have some fresh stuff at hand in case I needed to remove medication from the water.
<Understood, though rarely necessary; most organic medications will decompose rapidly in mature tanks.>
I do have a microscope but I understand Costia are small and hard to identify and my scope only goes to 100x - useful for larger parasites but not so much the tiny stuff. It might be worth a try, if I see anything at all zooming around it is indicative that something is going on at that scale as well as anything at a bacterial level. I'll report back if I find anything.
<Cool. Images of Costia aka Ichthyobodo can be found online.>
I'm going to the vet for my cats yearly check up tomorrow so I will ask if he can prescribe me anything to help. I don't think he is a fishy vet but he does have a huge tank with a turtle in it at his surgery so he might know something about aquarium medications. I found some tetracycline at the back of my supplies cabinet but I'm wary of using it on new fish weakened by shipping. Other medications I've heard could be useful are Kanamycin,
neomycin, Nitrofurazone but I guess I have to wait and see what the vet says.
<Indeed; the old Metronidazole and Nitrofurazone combo is a good one, if you can use it.>
Thanks again, at least I feel like I have a battle plan now.
Cheers,
Bronwen
<Good luck! Neale.>

Re: New Pandas also Re: Epsom salts, peacock gudgeons and blockages     10/15/17
Hi Crew! I'm still battling the white blobby patches on my new panda Corydoras so here is an update of what's going on.
<Sure!>
The visit to the vet on Wednesday wasn't much use, he was reluctant to supply any medications without a diagnosis, and was unable to provide a diagnosis himself even if he had a fresh sample - he's more of a
cat/dog/horse vet, despite keeping a turtle.
<Often the case. Medicating fish with help from a vet is the ideal, but rarely practical. It can also get expensive given the low cost of fish, though it has to be said there are fish vets out there, usually specialising in Koi, the best of which reach prices comparable with pedigree dogs and horses! My point being if you have a local or national
Koi club, they might be able to point you in the direction of a fish-friendly vet.>
He did suggest some places that might be able to give me a diagnosis and prescription, but they are all quite far away and mostly oriented towards trout farming so it didn't really help. I don't think I'm getting a prescription any time soon, and not soon enough to help my fish anyway.
Once again I'm thwarted by living in the middle of nowhere!
<Oh!>
I did manage to get a better scraping from one of my Corydoras and some of a white patch came off so I had a look at it under my own microscope. I didn't see any movement at all in any of the sample, and I also didn't see
any fibrous structures so I am much more confident now that it is bacterial and not Costia or fungus.
<Understood.>
The white stuff was fairly sticky so I am guessing it is either fish slime or a bacterial film. Zoomed in, it looked a lot like the chunks you get when you stir up gelatin jelly. Not much else to see at x100, my entry level microscope is not so useful this time.
<Certainly fungus should be obvious as x40, let alone x100; Protozoans a bit variable in this regard, but at x100 I'd expect to see something moving about or waving their cilia! As you say though, bacteria are elusive at x100.>
I stopped using Multicure (M. blue, M. green & Acriflavine) in the tank as it was not really working and was making it too hard to see what was going on, and continued with the course of triple sulfa. I found on day 3, the
day before the second dose was due, the patches seemed thicker and were spreading. But the morning after the water change and second dose of triple sulfa, it looked like the start of recovery. Some of the Corys looked
completely clear while the other affected ones seemed slightly better.
However by the following day it was obvious that triple sulfa really was not working - maybe it was just the water change that made them look temporarily better.
<Agreed.>
The white patches are spreading again and some patches were visible on fish that were previously completely clear. The sterbai Corys also are starting to have light markings on their faces which look like they could be ulcers.
I completed the course of triple sulfa but I think at best it merely slowed the spread of the disease.
<Triple-Sulfa contains sulfamethazine, sulfacetamide, sulfathiazole, only one of which, sulfacetamide, is an antibiotic; the other two are antimicrobials. Taken together they're a bit hit-and-miss as an aquarium medication, and not really anyone's first choice. While useful enough as preventatives, for example once a fish is injured and you're concerned it might get infected with Finrot, I'd not recommend Triple-Sulfa for dealing with an established infection.>
In any case, behaviourally the fish are still all eating, acting like they are well and so on so I decided to switch to tetracycline as I think they are well enough to handle the side effects for now. I keep finding conflicting information regarding whether tetracycline will treat Columnaris but I think its worth a try since I don't have anything else at hand right now, and I don't know for sure that I'm dealing with Columnaris anyway - if it is, it must be the slow-acting strain. I have ordered some Kanaplex and furan 2 from the internet and if the tetracycline doesn't work I'll switch to whichever one gets here first - although is it true that they have a synergy effect when dosed together? I will wait and see how dire the situation is and if its not so bad maybe I'll wait for both before
treating.
<Using two antibiotics can have mileage. Being very specific, if you choose one for gram-positive and one for gram-negative, they can provide a two-pronged approach without a risk of poisoning your fish.>
I'm also considering the possibility of using the Multicure product as a bath since the Methylene blue and Acriflavine ingredients might still help and that way I'm not mixing my medications "in tank".
<Agreed; I'd tend to back off the organic dyes (Methylene blue, etc.) while using antibiotics. Whereas antibiotics are focused and have low toxicity, the dyes and antimicrobials are much more akin to poisons, intended to kill
'germs' before they kill the fish. So overuse, or combining them, can pose a risk. Do a water change, stop using the dyes, and then begin the antibiotics -- removing carbon from the filter, if used.>
I hope the tetracycline will work but it wouldn't surprise me at all if this bacteria is also resistant to tetracycline as we don't really have access to much else in Australia. So at this point I'm just planning ways to keep the fish alive until the big guns get here. The bath instructions I've read are to use water from the current tank to fill the "bath", then use the medication at double the strength intended for in-tank use. Bathe fish for 30 min.s, watching and removing back to the main tank if signs of distress are noted.
<Viable, if used carefully alongside the antibiotic.>
Multicure has 0.4% malachite green, 4% Methylene blue and 2% Acriflavine which previously the fish have tolerated fine at the recommended half strength for scaleless fish. Do you think Corydoras would handle a double
dose of this medication (which would actually be a regular dose)? How often is it necessary to bathe, once a day? Uh, don't take that last one out of context, haha.
<In other words bathe them at full dose? Personally, I would try this, but carefully watching for signs of distress.>
These little guys have lasted almost 2 weeks since arrival, and despite their external condition they still seem vigorous and I haven't lost hope that I will be able to get them to be well again, that is, as well as possible after nuking them with so much medication. What do you think of my treatment plan?
<Worth a shot!>
Cheers,
Bronwen
<Cheers, Neale.>

Need help with dying Uaru      10/10/17
Hello crew.
<Hey there Roberto. Como que va?>
This time I write to you today highly distressed.
<Oh!>
I bought an Uaru cichlid, at about the 3 cm mark around 4 months ago. I placed it in my 150 gal planted tank with tetras and other peaceful community fish. The most in terms of aggressiveness are my two male Kribensis, but they hardly get past 6 cm long.
So the Uaru had been eating well. It is not the fastest competitor against the likes of dwarf rainbows or Columbian tetras, but I made sure he ate well. In the 4 months I kept him he's grown about one cm only. Now , I've read Uarus are slow growers but just 1 cm seems too little for 4, almost 5 months. my adult green terrors were raised from the 5 cm mark and they grew to 10-12 cm in a year.
Recently I started noticing small filaments attached to his fins... no damaged fins, just the filaments, I actually thought it was algae or something that was attached, because I actually saw other fish get strands of algae attached before without major issue. Now, the tank is high tech, and I use it to grow out cichlids when I buy them small and then move them to the main cichlid tanks when they are big enough.
<Ok>
A few days ago I did a major trim on the whole tank and got a green water bloom. I normally carry 50% water changes in this tank weekly. This time I started to do 50% water changes every 3 days, and at the 3rd water change I did a 75% one to eradicate the algae. Always use treated water and temps hardly differ more than a Celsius. Well today, the day after the big water change I found my Uaru on the bottom of the tank, gasping heavily, with ragged fins, but no noticeable fungus or bacterial marks (no white spotting, no redness, just ragged fins). He still reacts to my hand, but is very weak, can hardly swim and is gasping.
<Let's hope it rallies>
Besides the water changes, I also tweaked the co2 valve, and I may have gone a little overboard because I noticed my Columbian tetras hanging in a group without moving much (they normally scatter throughout the tank and they normally tell me when co2 is too high with the grouping behavior).
<Yikes>
I don't know, it may have been the co2, it may have been the water changes... I don't really know, I tested for nitrogen and the three readings are zero (tank has sump filtration and is very heavily planted, I actually feed quite a bit more than normal to keep the plants happy).
Right now I figured it would not be good for the Uaru to stay at the bottom where decomposition takes place. I have placed him in 2 gallon contained with an airstone and aquarium water, and have medicated with Methylene blue at 50% dose. I'm not sure what else to do, he doesn't seem bloated, but at the state he's in I don't think he's going to make it. No fish that I've seen in that state have made it. But I have to do anything I can to save this guy.
<I'd float the fish in a colander (plastic) in the main tank, with the lights dimmed or off in the area. Much more stable>
Ill be waiting for your response, sorry for the very long post, I am very distressed, This guy was very hard to get and I've grown very attached to him.
Regards
Roberto
<Will also ask Neale to respond. Am sure he'll point out the value of stocking this Cichlid in a small grouping (vs. solitary), ask questions re alkalinity, poss. pH. Bob Fenner>
Need help with dying Uaru     Neale's go     10/11/17

Hello crew.
This time I write to you today highly distressed.
I bought an Uaru cichlid, at about the 3 cm mark around 4 months ago. I placed it in my 150 gal planted tank with tetras and other peaceful community fish. The most in terms of aggressiveness are my two male Kribensis, but they hardly get past 6 cm long.
So the Uaru had been eating well. It is not the fastest competitor against the likes of dwarf rainbows or Columbian tetras, but I made sure he ate well. In the 4 months I kept him he's grown about one cm only. Now , I've read Uarus are slow growers but just 1 cm seems too little for 4, almost 5 months. my adult green terrors were raised from the 5 cm mark and they grew to 10-12 cm in a year.
Recently I started noticing small filaments attached to his fins... no damaged fins, just the filaments, I actually thought it was algae or something that was attached, because I actually saw other fish get strands of algae attached before without major issue. Now, the tank is high tech, and I use it to grow out cichlids when I buy them small and then move them to the main cichlid tanks when they are big enough.
A few days ago I did a major trim on the whole tank and got a green water bloom. I normally carry 50% water changes in this tank weekly. This time I started to do 50% water changes every 3 days, and at the 3rd water change I did a 75% one to eradicate the algae. Always use treated water and temps hardly differ more than a Celsius. Well today, the day after the big water change I found my Uaru on the bottom of the tank, gasping heavily, with ragged fins, but no noticeable fungus or bacterial marks (no white spotting, no redness, just ragged fins). He still reacts to my hand, but is very weak, can hardly swim and is gasping.
Besides the water changes, I also tweaked the co2 valve, and I may have gone a little overboard because I noticed my Columbian tetras hanging in a group without moving much (they normally scatter throughout the tank and they normally tell me when co2 is too high with the grouping behavior).
I don't know, it may have been the co2, it may have been the water changes... I don't really know, I tested for nitrogen and the three readings are zero (tank has sump filtration and is very heavily planted, I actually feed quite a bit more than normal to keep the plants happy).
Right now I figured it would not be good for the Uaru to stay at the bottom where decomposition takes place. I have placed him in 2 gallon contained with an airstone and aquarium water, and have medicated with Methylene blue at 50% dose. I'm not sure what else to do, he doesn't seem bloated, but at the state he's in I don't think he's going to make it. No fish that I've seen in that state have made it. But I have to do anything I can to save this guy.
Ill be waiting for your response, sorry for the very long post, I am very distressed, This guy was very hard to get and I've grown very attached to him.
Regards
Roberto
<Roberto, a bunch of things to consider here. The first is that Uaru species are delicate. Right up there with wild-caught Discus, and generally do badly in community tanks. Exposure to parasites and pathogens in "cheap" aquarium fish can be a serious risk, so best avoided. If you've heard the horror stories that come from mixing Discus with Angelfish you'll know what I'm talking about here. Certainly, quarantine any tankmates before adding to the Uaru aquarium. Thirdly, Uaru need a lot of heat -- 28-30 C. Anything below that will weaken their immune systems. Again, this is VERY similar to Discus. Fourthly, they probably need soft, acidic water to do well. Might be some latitude here with locally-bred specimens, but realistically, 1-5 degrees dH, pH 6-7 is what we're aiming for. Yet again, this is Discus-level fishkeeping. Finally, they're herbivores, and substantial amounts of fresh greens are essential. Cooked peas, spinach, cucumber and small bits of fruit, alongside Spirulina-based flake and wafers, are what you want. Avoid using too much protein-rich food, including traditional flake food. There's good evidence that even with Goldfish and Koi, let alone Uaru, offering meaty foods as anything more than occasional treats can cause health issues, from constipation through to serious vitamin deficiencies and fatty deposits around their internal organs. Short term, I'd be treating as per Hexamita infection, using a combination of Metronidazole and an antibiotic (or something like eSHa HEXAMITA if these aren't available) simply as a good general purpose approach to cichlid maladies. Long term, I'd be optimising environmental conditions, removing inappropriate tankmates -- these include not just species unable to handle the heat, but also species that need meaty foods. Review Discus maintenance, and keep Uaru in much the same way, albeit with the accent on plant-based foods. Juvenile Uaru are social it is true, but the adults form pairs, and like Discus, singletons can be maintained successfully in quiet, shady tanks without much noise or activity. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Need help with dying Uaru   RMF     10/11/17

Hello, thanks for the very informative response.
<Welcome>
The guy is now swimming upright and is more responsive to stimulus. I may actually believe CO2 overdosing was at play here also. I will be checking on his fins in a while when I arrive home.
<Agreed, and good>
some addressing of the points you told me:
this is the tank that receives the most maintenance, it stays at around 7.5 ph, 8 dGH and 8 dh (I know, not optimal). I just want to point out I actually have another Uaru, this one is 20 cm adult I got last year and have kept in a south American cichlid aquarium (230 gal), but I got him already at the 15 cm mark. The small and big Uarus do get greens, since I also keep a couple fancy Plecos feeding them zucchinis and other greens also involves the Uarus feeding. Also, the small Uaru nibbles on plants, particularly Hygrophila and staurogyne species which he devours happily. I also feed a combination of Spirulina and normal flakes with new life spectrum to all fish, although all in all they do get their share of meaty foods, which probably isn't good as you have pointed out.
Water temp of the planted tank stays at 25-26C, so yeah, below what is needed. All in all I reckon he's not in the best of conditions, even less for a 4 cm fish, which are more delicate than adult, robust fish.
Thank you, I will probably set up a different tank for him to grow out while he reaches the size to go to the main cichlid tank. I will also be upgrading the cichlid tank, the jump will be towards a 540 gal. The current main south American has the adult Uaru, 2 Geophagus steindachneri, 1 Green phantom Pleco, 1 blue phantom, and a school of 5 Festivums.
I have two adult Andinoacra rivulatus in separate tanks. I was wondering if they would be compatible with the rest of the fish in the eventual 540 gal?
<Will ask Neale to respond here. Bob Fenner>
Thank you
Sincerely
Roberto
Re: Need help with dying Uaru; also Gold Saum/Green Terror compatibility     10/12/17

Hello, thanks for the very informative response.
The guy is now swimming upright and is more responsive to stimulus. I may actually believe CO2 overdosing was at play here also. I will be checking on his fins in a while when I arrive home.
some addressing of the points you told me:
this is the tank that receives the most maintenance, it stays at around 7.5 ph, 8 dGH and 8 dh (I know, not optimal).
<For Uaru, likely life-shortening if wild-caught, suboptimal (as you say) for tank-bred specimens. Would review water chemistry here if at all possible.>
I just want to point out I actually have another Uaru, this one is 20 cm adult I got last year and have kept in a south American cichlid aquarium (230 gal), but I got him already at the 15 cm mark.
<The larger size certainly helps, and the sheer size of this second aquarium probably moderates stress factors to some degree too. But simply because one fish did well in suboptimal conditions isn't a guarantee that a second specimen will do equally well.>
The small and big Uarus do get greens, since I also keep a couple fancy Plecos feeding them zucchinis and other greens also involves the Uarus feeding. Also, the small Uaru nibbles on plants, particularly Hygrophila and staurogyne species which he devours happily.
<Precisely.>
I also feed a combination of Spirulina and normal flakes with new life spectrum to all fish, although all in all they do get their share of meaty foods, which probably isn't good as you have pointed out.
<I would avoid, in all honesty. As with Tropheus and other more or less herbivorous cichlids, providing too much meaty foods will cause problems, though to what degree is certainly debatable.>
Water temp of the planted tank stays at 25-26C, so yeah, below what is needed.
<Quite so.>
All in all I reckon he's not in the best of conditions, even less for a 4 cm fish, which are more delicate than adult, robust fish.
<I agree with this analysis and conclusion.>
Thank you, I will probably set up a different tank for him to grow out while he reaches the size to go to the main cichlid tank.
<Wise.>
I will also be upgrading the cichlid tank, the jump will be towards a 540 gal. The current main south American has the adult Uaru, 2 Geophagus steindachneri, 1 Green phantom Pleco,
<A "hothouse flower" of an L-number, so a superb choice for life with Uaru.>
1 blue phantom,
<A definite low-end tropical this time! 22-25 C preferred. So a poor choice for a Uaru tank.>
and a school of 5 Festivums.
<I do think Festivums are rather lovely fish! Happy enough at high-end temperatures, but a bit more omnivorous than the Uaru, so not a perfect companion.>
I have two adult Andinoacara rivulatus in separate tanks. I was wondering if they would be compatible with the rest of the fish in the eventual 540 gal?
<Ah, beautiful fish these, but not easy to keep. These are the old "Gold Saum" of the 1970s/1980s, also known as the "Green Terror" because it was regularly confused with the much more placid, but similar-looking, Blue Acara -- but so aggressive it could decimate your community tank! On the one hand, like (most) other Acaras, it's a good choice for low-end tropical systems, 22-25 C, and tankmates should be chosen accordingly. It won't be happy in the same warm water (25-28 C) that your Uaru or Green Phantom Plec would need. But it is aggressive, and tankmates need to be able to handle themselves. L-numbers of similar size are good choices, as are equally big and robust characins and cyprinids, for example Silver Sharks or Leporinus spp., but only with singletons -- mated pairs are far more destructive and invariably kept alone. For sure odd specimens were docile enough, but in truth most Gold Saums ended up living in rough-and-tumble Central American cichlid tanks or on their own.>
Thank you
Sincerely
Roberto
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Need help with dying Uaru; also Gold Saum/Green Terror compatibility      10/16/17

Funny, I decided to check the filtered messages of my inbox and three of them were from WetWebMedia, and here I was thinking there was a bit of inconsistence with the emails!
<Oh!>
Thanks by the way, now that I realize, I have quite a few tanks, but I have the space and caring for them doesn't take long, really. I would like to reduce the number of tanks into bigger ones. I find it easier to care for a single 100 gal than say, 4 x25 gals. This is the reason I am aiming at keeping a single south American tank, but I was really unsure of the green terrors.
<Agree that one big tank is easier than four smaller ones, but does assume all the fish get alone/share the same requirements.>
As you said, they are commonly kept here with central Americans, but from the look of things they commonly are the punching bags of Midas, red devils, salvinis and... ugh, doviis, those are true demons.
<Correct. But if you combine with less aggressive, but equally robust, Central American cichlids they're fine. In a 200-gallon system I've kept them with Convicts for example, which are smaller than the Green Terror, but able to handle themselves if they need to. I do think keeping singleton cichlids is the way to go here: one Green Terror, one Jewel Cichlid, one Convict, and so on would probably be fine. It's (usually) when cichlids form mated pairs and start defending their nests that things get nasty.>
Actually, many people have trouble raising GTs to adulthood. Most losses I've seen show GTs with sunken stomachs, not sure why is it that people have such hard time with them.
<All sorts of reasons. They're probably pretty inbred by now -- the species isn't a significant target for collection from the wild, so the population of captive fish isn't getting topped up with genes from wild specimens. Green Terrors were never popular -- for reasons of aggression -- so the actual starting populations in most countries was pretty small. So over time you've got a lot of fish descended from a handful of specimens, and combined with all the usual problems with tank-bred cichlids (exposure to bacterial infections, Hexamita, etc.) the quality of what you see today isn't very high.>
In fact, the general consensus of people here is that green terrors are bottom tier in aggressiveness and among the hardest to keep, hence why I thought they would do fine in the future 540 gal with the rest of south Americans.
<In a really big tank, then possibly a singleton or pair might be okay with schools of fast-moving, midwater characins and shy, nocturnal catfish that are essentially invisible and out-of-reach during the day. But I would not think of mixing them with any other South Americans, certainly not other Acaras, or for that matter Pikes, Festivums, or Severums. I'm sure people have combined them with really big South Americans such as Oscars or Peacocks, but neither of these two fish are aggressive as such, but very powerful if pushed, so it's difficult to predict what will happen for sure. I would much prefer to stick with the Green Terrors as the only cichlids, and everything else to be either a characin or a catfish.>
Both my green terrors have grown with the company of Raphael catfish. The biggest, 22 cm one is timid and will most of the time hide in between woodwork and come out when I get away from the tank. The smaller, 15 cm one comes out to receive me and eats (and bites!) from my hand. Two very different personalities.
<Quite so; could they be male and female?>
I also have an aquarium with blue Acara and aequidens diadema, but I was looking which of these fish could go together.
<I would not keep either of these Acaras with Green Terrors. Much too similar in shape, colouration and ecological niche -- but far below them in aggression.>
So, the green terrors are out of the question of the future 540 gal right?
<See above.>
would it be possible to do a single, Acara themed aquarium (diadema, blue Acara, green terrors?) I have never witnessed the actual territoriality of my green terrors as they were never kept with other cichlids, just Loricariids, but I trust you know better.
<Not so much know better -- just more aware, perhaps, of how often the combination can go wrong! Whenever you see a really colourful fish that's easy to keep -- but nobody keeps them -- you have to ask yourself why. Green Terrors and Jewel Cichlids are two examples of this. Look nice, behave badly. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ghosty the Loach       10/9/17
Hi there!
<Wendy,>
Just thought I’d give an update on Ghosty as things have been going fine since the end of Furan-2 treatment (final of 4th doses given Sept. 19 with 25% water change on 9/20, carbon filter added back into the tank on 9/23). Ghosty’s fins all began to look much clearer about mid-treatment, and I was really hoping that would have been the fix he needed.
<Quite so.>
However, on 10/4 I began to notice his fins looking cloudy again, and another loach named Jake has a very slightly ragged dorsal fin & tail fin now. :-/ Water parameters are pristine with nitrate being kept at 20-40 ppm as I am very consistent with PWC. Ammonia is 0 as are nitrites. Temp in the tank fluctuates with ambient room temp of 72-76 as the tank is on the main level of our home.
<Understood. I would ensure a heater is in the tank, maybe set to 25 C/77 F while medicating. Even for coldwater fish, steady warmth can be beneficial while they're immune systems are working hard. By all means turn it down once the fish are healed, but short term, I'd offer steady warmth.>
I have both Furan-2 and T.C. Tetracycline on hand so I could do either one immediately; am just wondering if a fungal treatment would be more prudent now?
<Only if you suspect fungus; scattergun approaches to medication are no more effective with fish than they are with humans. On the other hand, repeatedly dosing antibiotics may be necessary when medicating against persistent bacterial infections or in situations where some stress factor is causing the bacteria to regain their foothold even after being knocked back successfully.>
All the fish are eating & acting normally but I really don’t like the look of Ghosty & Jake’s fins. All the other fish are looking great, in fact the 3 Danios are once again looking vibrant & beautiful now, whereas before their color was faded (combination of better water conditions and Furan-2 or water alone?).
<Perhaps a little from column A, a little from column B...>
There are two other loaches in this tank & so far their fins are clear & intact, nothing looking off to them as far as I can see.
<Good.>
Thank you again for all your help! I really appreciate it!
Wendy
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Ghosty the Loach     10/11/17

Thanks Neale!
<Welcome.>
I will turn up the heater while treating then.
<Good-oh.>
I have never had any experience w/fungal infections so I honestly don’t know whether it would be better to only turn up the heat a bit to 77 as suggested & watch & wait, or also dose with Furan-2 since his fins did indeed respond quickly to that treatment.
<I'd up the temperature, and use the antibiotics again, especially if they worked once already. As stated earlier: there's no reason to assume a single course of antibiotic will do the trick with resistant strains of bacteria, any more than is the case with humans. A second or third course may be required.>
If he were yours, what would you do?
<See above.>
Thank you again!
Wendy
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ghosty the Loach     10/11/17

Awesome! Will do. Temp to 76 now & will commence antibiotics. Thank you again!
Wendy
<Most welcome and good luck! Cheers, Neale.>

Question about curious white slime growing on Mopani driftwood      10/8/2017
Hi crew!
I have a beautiful piece of Mopani driftwood in my planted tank that has developed a white slimy film all over it. The driftwood was previously soaked for several weeks, then dipped in hydrogen peroxide bath, then boiled for several hours and then soaked again in a bucket with prime before adding it to my tank. The driftwood has Anubias and bucephalandra growing on it. I'm assuming it's bacterial.
<Likely so; or fungal. Harmless either way, but unsightly.>
It has spread to my other large piece of driftwood. I tried taking the piece out and carefully scrubbing it off in a pan of old tank water while doing a water change, but it grew back almost overnight. The tank is cycled, but waiting on fish (Danios and Tetras) who have been delayed because of hurricane Irma who recently came through.
<Yikes!>
Is this harmless to any fish I add to the tank?
<Harmless. But it does add to the 'work' the filter has to do simply by being alive and in the tank, just like adding a fish. It will also be consuming oxygen. So it's best minimised by regularly cleaning the lump of wood under a hot tap. Some animals, such as Plecs, will also consume it, to a degree.>
Will it go away on its own?
<As/when the organic material in the wood is exhausted, yes. This can take months, even years. My guess here is that this bogwood was sold to you uncured. Sometimes happens. Such wood costs the wholesaler or retailer
less, so there's a bit of an incentive.>
Could it lead to a bacterial bloom in my tank?
<Unlikely.>
My ammonia and nitrite are both zero and my nitrates are about 20 ppm.
<All sounds good.>
Thanks guys!
Susan
<Most welcome! Cheers, Neale.>

Nitrate...      10/6/17
For Neale Monks and Bob Fenner
Hello again friends,
<Byron>
I’d appreciate your comments and reasoning about a question involving lowering nitrate. I will start by saying that I understand that nitrate like ammonia and nitrite is toxic to fish, though at much different levels/exposures and depending upon species or age of the fish (fry being more susceptible) [please correct me if I am incorrect here or anywhere else].
<This is correct; though the mechanisms, pathways if you will, for poisoning/toxicity of these nitrogenous compounds are different. NO3 in particular can be accommodated; i.e. much higher concentrations can be tolerated with long exposure>
Consequently, if one discovers nitrate levels in an aquarium are high, say 160 ppm [I am using an actual case from my work on TFF, and this is a stable state not something sudden], immediately reducing the nitrate to safe levels (under 20 ppm) is not in itself going to harm fish.
<Usually; yes>
I have been challenged on this, with the suggestion that the nitrate should be lowered gradually over days or weeks, similar to other adjustments.
<Mmm; no. Immediately lowering NO3 concentration is advised>
The idea apparently is that “old tank syndrome” is dangerous and rapid changes can be fatal; but I would respond that the danger with this is due more to pH, and ammonia being ammonium in acidic water and the sudden change to basic pH (pH shock, plus ammonium converting to ammonia) is the problem, not nitrates decreasing. My argument is that nitrate is not like other adjustments (GH, pH, temperature, or whatever) and being toxic the sooner it is lowered the better.
<I concur>
I maintain that any toxin in the water, be it ammonia, nitrite, very high nitrate, substances released from wood or rock that are detrimentally affecting fish, etc, are best corrected rapidly via significant water changes.
Comments please, with thanks.
Byron Hosking.
<Will ask Neale for his separate response here. Bob Fenner>
Re: For Neale Monks and Bob Fenner: Nitrate         10/7/17

Byron, Bob,
<Neale>
I don’t have any real insight into this. But I do wonder if there are differences between species and when comparing marine with freshwater fish. My point being that generalist freshwater fish are able to handle bigger water chemistry changes than more specialist species (or most marines) given they’d be exposed to such in the wild. For example, the pH of a pond can vary between around 7 to as high as 9 once photosynthesis kicks in and dissolved CO2 is used up.
<A useful point/speculation. I do think there are differences between salt/fresh, young/old, acclimated and not species, specimens. Have been to public aquariums that fed huge amounts of food to very large animals... that had thousands of PPM of NO3>
I’ve read before that the idea we can meaningfully acclimate fish to slight pH changes is actually erroneous anyway. The “float them in a bag for an hour” or “drip water into a bucket for an hour” approaches sound good, but supposedly the actual physiology works far more slowly than this. So for fish to actually adapt their blood chemistry (or whatever) actually takes far longer, and what we’re really dealing with is the degree to which fish can tolerate abrupt changes (i.e., shock) and then slowly adjust across days or weeks. Does this sound familiar to either of you?
<Yes; it does>
I do believe, Byron, that there’s a hierarchy of stress factors, and sometimes to minimise a severe stress (such as nitrite, ammonia or extremes of temperature) you may have to increase a mild stress (such as small pH or hardness changes) simply through doing water changes. Of course the standard advice should remain that water changes need to be made with water as similar to the conditions in the tank as practical.
So far as I know, nitrate toxicity hasn’t really been studied across a wide range of ornamental freshwater fish, but experimentally with things like goldfish you really do need quite high levels (100+ mg/l) to cause immediate health issues. In such situations, I think doing moderate water changes across a few days, rather than one giant water change, might be safer in terms of minimising sudden pH, temperature or hardness changes. But that said, if the new water was similar enough to the old, doing 90% water changes has been demonstrated to be perfectly safe in and of itself.
Anyway, keep me posted with what you learn!
Cheers, Neale
<And you, BobF>
Re: For Neale Monks and Bob Fenner        10/7/17

Thanks Neale and Bob.
<Welcome>
So what I take from both of you is that with the proviso that parameters (GH, KH, pH , temperature) are close enough to be called the same, a large water change to reduce nitrate from 160 ppm down to 10 or 20 ppm is not going to harm the fish, and is more advisable than doing smaller changes over weeks. I will assume my understanding is correct unless you say different.
<This is a good summation>
I do appreciate the benefit of your experience and knowledge on these issues.
Byron.
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: For Neale Monks and Bob Fenner    /Neale        10/7/17

I would 100% agree with this.
Triage of any kind is about balancing the big dangers against the minor stresses.
Cheers, Neale

Crayfish translucent growths        10/7/17
Good day!
<Bonjour!>
I impulse bought a 3" Tangerine crayfish and now I'm scrambling to buy the materials to cycle a 10g long tank but for now I'm keeping her in a small 2.5 gallon tub with a sponge filter until then. She recently molted (But lost some limbs because she had horrible shell rot from the shop) and now its been 13 days i have noticed growths from the stumps of her lost appendages!
<Indeed. These are likely 'benign' Protozoans, bacteria or fungi that grow wherever there's plenty of dead organic material. They're benign in the sense that they're not aggressive pathogens that will make your crayfish sick, but they're still undesirable. An antibacterial and antifungal medication known to be shrimp-safe (such as eSHa 2000) could be used here, alongside optimising environmental conditions. To a great degree this sort of 'fluff' grows on crayfish in tanks that have less than perfect cleanliness. The more gunk for them to feed on, the more the Protozoans and fungus will spread onto your crayfish.>
i don't have a test kit yet so i cant tell the parameters but i do a lot of partial water changes every other day and feed her veggies and sinking pellets.
<Good.>
She's acting so differently now and she's just scared of everything unlike before (maybe its because she also lost her claws).. but i digress, the growths look feathery and have spots in them, attached here is a photo i took of her in an ice cream container while i was cleaning the sand in her tub (there was rotting broccoli pieces hidden so it was stinking to high heaven)
<The photo isn't sharp enough to see exactly what the problem here, but for now, I'd assume the benign fluff described above rather than an aggressive crayfish parasite. Still, if you can get tack-sharp photos, sites like
PetShrimp.com have active forums with numerous experienced crustacean-keepers.>
Thank you for helping, I've added some antifungal meds (no copper) but i just want to help her get better soon.
<Understood. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Crayfish translucent growths      10/8/2017
Thank you for the reply!!
<Welcome.>
Just adding again but here's another pic of Megatron i took the same day, is this photo better?
<Not really. It's not so much the size of the photo as the fact the bit of interest, the fluff around the legs, is basically a blurry mess with black speckles.>
its got dark spots and it worries me to no end.
<They look like baby crayfish, what with the black spots and all! Cheers, Neale.>

Fish help please!     10/4/17
Hi! I'm coming to you for advice...
<Sure thing!>
I'm fairly new to fishkeeping... I have a 20 gallon tank that I set up in June, and it's been cycled since early July. It was stocked with 3 platys, 2 guppies, 5 Glo Danios, and one honey Gourami. (Stocked in that order. The honey Gourami was in the tank for a month.) Three days ago, the honey Gourami suddenly got big, clear bulges on both sides-- mostly abdomen, but two other little bulges on its side, too. She mostly flopped on her side on the bottom of the tank for a day, though she came up looking for food when I fed the fish. The following day the bulges were worse. I moved her to a fry tank to try feeding her a pea, but she could no longer eat, and died
that night. I looked for signs of dropsy (pine-coning) and to be honest, I didn't see it, but I took a bunch of photos and someone else told me that she looked pine-coned. Maybe just slightly? Not like pictures I've seen online. After she died the bulges disappeared.
<Does sound like a systemic bacterial infection. Could be caused by environmental stress of some sort. Honey Gouramis are somewhat delicate fish. I'd not recommend them for beginners, or for use in tanks less than 6
months old.>
The following day-- yesterday-- I found one of my smaller Danios on its side on the bottom of the tank gasping. It moved around a few times, but it was clear it was dying, so I took it out and euthanized it. It body looked normal except for a blood spot on its lower abdomen. Definitely no pineconing, bent spine, etc. And none of the fish have ever had white or stringy poop.
<To make a general point here, because the symptoms are rather generic:
when different fish die in a relatively new tank, then environmental conditions and/or maintenance are likely to blame. While you could be unlucky and have bought sickly fish or introduced something with a particularly bad pathogen, these are less likely explanations.>
First I'll tell you the water conditions, then my current problem:
Very consistently good water conditions before and after the fish deaths. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10-20 nitrates, ph is somewhere between 7.2 and 7.8 (hard to tell exact color), temperature 78. I have a bunch of moss balls in
the tank, along with some silk and hiding rocks. The only recent change is that I added 1/3 bag of PhosGuard to the filter because I've been dealing with diatoms for about 6 weeks. I do a 20% water change every week (25%
after the Gourami died).
<All sounds fine.>
A couple of the Danios have always looked skinny to me (the one that died was one of them), but no signs of problems before this in any of the fish.
<The fact that some Danios are skinny suggests they might be suffering malnutrition, poor genes, or possibly Mycobacteriosis right from the get-go, in which case nothing you can do will likely improve things.
Mycobacterial infections aren't catchy as such, so while serious, and basically untreatable, if you humanely destroy infected fish quickly, there's no reason to assume the others will have caught the disease. On the other hand, Mycobacteriosis is symptomatic of environmental stress, so you certainly can deal with multiple fish that are infected with the Mycobacteria pathogen, one after the other. Genetics plays a role here -- GloFish are very inbred, and that does make them more likely to suffer from health issues.>
Now the other problem: losing one Danio has seemed to completely screw up the tank behaviors. The other four are now acting aggressive to each other and every other fish in the tank, and even the platys are turning on each
other. It was a completely peaceful tank before.
<This is not unusual. Danios males can be, and often are, aggressive in very small groups. Certainly keep no fewer than six.>
So I'm very torn about what to do: since I don't know what just killed two of my fish, I planned to wait several weeks to get any new fish-- BUT now I'm worried that if I don't add another Danio, they're just going to stress
everyone out until they die anyway!
<Understood. It's a toughie, and your predicament is one that can cause real problems. If this was me, I'd wait a day or two and see if things settle. Longer term, I'd add some more Danios. But I'd also keep an open mind on the environment. Could copper be an issue? Do you use dechlorinator appropriate to your situation? For example, getting a brand that neutralises copper, Chloramine and ammonia alongside chlorine is a very good idea.>
Would appreciate any advice. I can send photos, but wanted to check first before sending attachments.
<By all means, but please keep attachments reasonably small, less than 500 kB for example.>
Thank you,
Jenna
<Welcome. Neale.>

Angelfish mouth problem      10/3/17
Hi there,
<Hello Nicki,>
I was wondering if you could help me out with diagnosing my angelfish.
<Sure thing.>
He is a male, about 1 year old. I had him in a 4x2x2ft tank (~400L) with about 4 other angelfish. I do weekly water changes, around 20-30%, with water treated with dechlorinator only. Water temperature is at 28degrees
Celsius and I have an Eheim 2217 running on the tank (containing filter wool and biohome media only).
<All sounds fine.>
About a month ago he started displaying red streaks around his upper lip (still eating), no other fish appear affected and there were no other physical markings on his body. I separated him into an isolation tank
(stopped eating) and treated with high dose of blue planet tri-sulpha (1 tablet per 20L).
<Were the Angels fighting? Cichlids, including Angels, will do a "tug-o-war" with their mouths when fighting, and very occasionally the jaws become damaged or dislocated, the latter almost always fatal in the long term. On the other hand, so-called Mouth Fungus, or Columnaris (actually a bacterial infection) is a fairly common problem in tanks with poor water quality and/or physical injuries on the fish.>
He did not appear to improve at all, and there was some inflammation around his fin. I then treated with Waterlife Protozin for 3 days, changing about 10-20% of the water prior to treatments. He did appear to improve with the
red streaks reducing. However, on the 4th day (which was a no treatment day), all the red streaks returned even more severe than before and he had lost a considerable amount of his upper lip.
<This does sound like Finrot and/or Columnaris. Antibiotics will help, if you can use them. Outside of the US antibiotics are usually prescription-only, but there are alternative medications. Protozin is, as its name suggests, designed for use against Protozoans, and of little/no help against bacteria. I would recommend a reliable anti-Finrot medication such as eSHa 2000 instead.>
I was wondering your thoughts on what he might have. I don't think its mouth rot caused by bacteria, but I'm not entirely sure if its fungal either (there is a lack of any white or cottony appearance). I also doubt it is septicemia as there are no other red or bruising markings on his body.
<Red streaks are almost always bacterial, so I disagree with your analysis here.>
Even if he was to recover, do you think he would still be able to eat with most of his upper lip destroyed?
<It is unlikely if the jaw bones are actually gone. Angelfish 'inhale' their food by extending their jaws into a kind of tube, then sucking in food particles. Without their jaws working properly, they really can't feed themselves. You have to observe and see if your specimen is feeding, and from there make the appropriate decision.>
Kind regards,
Nicole
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Angelfish mouth problem     10/4/17

Thank you for your fast reply!
<Welcome.>
I haven't heard of eSHa 2000 before, it certainly isn't available at the local aquarium shops but I should be able to order it online.
<Indeed. It's Dutch, but widely sold in the UK. Other medications for Finrot and Columnaris are available, but I find this one particularly effective and good value. The Waterlife products, such as Protozin, I've just been disappointed by a bit in the past, so tend not to recommend them.>
I was wondering, if you suspect it is bacterial then is there a reason why the tri-sulpha didn't work? As this is a broad spectrum antibiotic and more effective than superficial treatments.
<Difficult to say. Not all antibiotics work against all bacteria -- which is why we have to use so many different kinds. Antibacterials like eSHa 2000 use dyes and other chemicals that are less effective but also more broad acting, so tend to be better bets provided the fish isn't too sick.
Also, some people use all medicines in ways that prevents them working, getting the dose wrong, or worst of all, leaving carbon in the filter (which immediately removes the medicine from the water).>
Kind regards,
Nicola
<Good luck! Neale>

Epsom salts, peacock gudgeons and blockages    10/1/17
Hi Crew! Everything has been ticking along quite nicely in my aquariums, my murderous penguin tetras have settled down into a much better behaved school and the yoyo loaches I added to keep the tetras in line are
completely delightful. I have also added some peacock gudgeons to this tank, although they are a smaller fish, they have no issues feeding at the surface along side the rambunctious loaches and they are ignored by the
tetras as they stay in the bottom half of the tank most of the time.
<Ah yes>
I previously have had a couple of gudgeons die to what appeared like being egg-bound, swelling of the anus and a grapelike cluster of eggs protruding.
I had more females than males to start with and the males could not keep up with the females. But now I have an issue with a male with a protrusion from the anus.
<Does appear to be a prolapse>
I've attached a picture of the poor fellow in question. He is one of the fry from my first batch of gudgeons, grown into a nice looking young fish.
However he seems to have a prolapse, it is a clear fluid filled globe where his anus should be. I noticed it a couple of weeks ago and left him alone since it wasn't very big and it didn't seem to be bothering him. However
it is now at least twice the size that it was before and I don't think it is doing him any good. I'm worried that if he gets into a scuffle with one of his fellow gudgeon tankmates he might rupture it or something.
<Possible>
I feed these fish grindal worms, fruit fly larvae, crushed flake and crushed pellets, and sometimes peas. The gudgeons don't like dried brine shrimp or dried Tubifex. I wonder if this fish has eaten a non-food item
(a piece of substrate maybe) and gotten a blockage?
<Maybe>
I wonder if these fish have a narrow passage and are prone to blockages (or maybe the 2 females I lost were simply egg-bound and this is unrelated). They are pretty fussy eaters though so I'm not sure that they'd swallow non-food items. Is it possible that this could be caused by an internal infection?
<This is also a possibility>
I wormed this tank after I'd had the yoyos for a while so I don't suspect worms.
In any case I remembered Epsom salts as the treatment to reduce swelling and came across 1 tbs per 5 gallons - this is a 40 gallon tank.
<Good>
I didn't have a tablespoon measure at hand so I decided to start adding a smaller amount and monitor how the fish handle it, and increase it over time. I decided to treat the whole tank rather than the impossibility of singling
out and catching this one fish. Anyway I started with 4 dessertspoons dissolved in water, slowly added it to the tank, waited a while and everyone was fine, so added 4 more dessertspoons. As far as my reckoning goes 1 tablespoon = 2 dessert spoons = 4 teaspoons (Also I was using Australian measurements which go tbs = 20ml, tsp = 5ml). However I've been reading a bit more trying to find how slowly I should be adding this and came across the dosage to be 1 TEASPOON per 5 gallons. So I've now added about 16 teaspoons to this 40 gallon tank. None of the fish seem particularly worried by the extra GH so I thought I'd write in and check which dosage is right! Have I added too much?
<I wouldn't add any more than this here>
Is it worth trying to isolate this one fish - and does anyone know if this fish is prone to blockages?
<Have sent your message to Neale Monks here who knows much more than I on the subject. I would drop the dried foods for now, and offer live or frozen/defrosted Brine Shrimp or Daphnia if you can find these; or other
small crustacean fare... for laxative effect>
Thanks again for all that you do!
Cheers,
Bronwen Nottle
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Epsom salts, peacock gudgeons and blockages /Neale   10/1/17

Hi Crew! Everything has been ticking along quite nicely in my aquariums, my murderous penguin tetras have settled down into a much better behaved school and the yoyo loaches I added to keep the tetras in line are
completely delightful.
<Sounds good.>
I have also added some peacock gudgeons to this tank, although they are a smaller fish, they have no issues feeding at the surface along side the rambunctious loaches and they are ignored by the tetras as they stay in the
bottom half of the tank most of the time.
<Good. These are nice fish, but touchy about water chemistry.>
I previously have had a couple of gudgeons die to what appeared like being egg-bound, swelling of the anus and a grapelike cluster of eggs protruding.
I had more females than males to start with and the males could not keep up with the females. But now I have an issue with a male with a protrusion from the anus.
<I can see this. Not uncommon to see the genital papilla somewhat extended.
Whether it's a dietary issue, an infection such as Hexamita, related to water chemistry, or something else entirely is hard to say.>
I've attached a picture of the poor fellow in question. He is one of the fry from my first batch of gudgeons, grown into a nice looking young fish.
However he seems to have a prolapse, it is a clear fluid filled globe where his anus should be. I noticed it a couple of weeks ago and left him alone since it wasn't very big and it didn't seem to be bothering him. However it
is now at least twice the size that it was before and I don't think it is doing him any good. I'm worried that if he gets into a scuffle with one of his fellow gudgeon tankmates he might rupture it or something.
<A risk, but more often than not these things fix themselves with a high-fibre, low-protein diet and the use of Epsom salt to act as a laxative.>
I feed these fish grindal worms, fruit fly larvae, crushed flake and crushed pellets, and sometimes peas. The gudgeons don't like dried brine shrimp or dried Tubifex. I wonder if this fish has eaten a non-food item (a piece of substrate maybe) and gotten a blockage?
<Possibly, but seems unlikely. For a start, a blockage would quickly cause the death of the fish. Also, fish don't have throats as simple as ours, and while they do shovel in sand and stuff, by the time it gets to the gill chamber and pharyngeal teeth, the fish has plenty of time to sift out such inedible particles and pass them out.>
I wonder if these fish have a narrow passage and are prone to blockages (or maybe the 2 females I lost were simply egg-bound and this is unrelated).
They are pretty fussy eaters though so I'm not sure that they'd swallow non-food items. Is it possible that this could be caused by an internal infection? I wormed this tank after I'd had the yoyos for a while so I don't suspect worms.
<An Hexamita infection is certainly a possibility, or some other type of intestinal parasite. Metronidazole is probably the drug of choice here.>
In any case I remembered Epsom salts as the treatment to reduce swelling and came across 1 tbs per 5 gallons - this is a 40 gallon tank. I didn't have a tablespoon measure at hand so I decided to start adding a smaller amount and monitor how the fish handle it, and increase it over time. I decided to treat the whole tank rather than the impossibility of singling out and catching this one fish.
<A fine approach. Epsom salt has very low toxicity, and makes a useful short-term medication because of this.>
Anyway I started with 4 dessertspoons dissolved in water, slowly added it to the tank, waited a while and everyone was fine, so added 4 more dessertspoons. As far as my reckoning goes 1 tablespoon = 2 dessert spoons
= 4 teaspoons (Also I was using Australian measurements which go tbs = 20ml, tsp = 5ml).
<In any event, 1 Imperial teaspoon is about 6 gram Epsom salt, and you're aiming for a dosage of 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres.>
However I've been reading a bit more trying to find how slowly I should be adding this and came across the dosage to be 1 TEASPOON per 5 gallons. So I've now added about 16 teaspoons to this 40 gallon tank.
<So about 180 litres? That's 9 x 1-3 teaspoons, i.e., 9-27 teaspoons.>
None of the fish seem particularly worried by the extra GH so I thought I'd write in and check which dosage is right! Have I added too much?
<See above.>
Is it worth trying to isolate this one fish - and does anyone know if this fish is prone to blockages?
<Sleeper Gobies are somewhat prone to mild prolapses, yes. Yours is a bit more severe than usual though.>
Thanks again for all that you do!
Cheers,
Bronwen
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Bettas and Malawi Bloat      9/30/17
Hey all! A few years ago, I had a couple of Bettas succumb to "bloat", unspecified. All advice in other forums start off with "feed it a pea", "he's constipated". I have found that never to be the case in my situation.
<Mmm; most cases of "bloat" are bacterial infection derived>
When the last bloat sufferer had to be euthanized, I did some researching and came across an article and a few other sources that suggested Malawi bloat in Betta fish. One particular instance, the owner had the swelling of his Betta aspirated and they found acid-fast bacilli (Mycobacterium perhaps??).
<Could be>
The disease appears similar in Betta and cichlids, save for one thing: Bettas seem to do pretty well and stay relatively active much longer than the cichlids. They do not succumb quickly. A quote from the article (I am sorry but I cannot remember where I found this or I would cite the author):
“Malawi bloat may be caused by the same pathogen, (acid fast bacillus) but I think it’s important to differentiate the symptoms in a Betta...
*Here are the symptoms in a cichlid:*
*QUOTE “The first symptom is usually a loss of appetite. Other characteristics follow if treatment if not begun at this point. These secondary characteristics include abnormal swelling of the abdomen (hence the name-bloat), an increased respiratory rate, reclusiveness, white streaky feces, and sitting on the bottom of the tank or lingering at the
surface. Red marks around your fish’s ***** or skin ulcerations might also be apparent. Symptoms only appear in the latter stages of the disease; therefore, it is important to begin treatment as soon as symptoms are noticed, otherwise you will lose your fish.”*
*Here are the symptoms in a Betta:*
Acts normal in every way except for ever expanding abdomen: doesn’t lose appetite, continues to swim and flare and no visible sores anywhere else on the body. A long, stringy discharge is often noted.
​Since so many people treat their Bettas for bloat by starving, giving them incompatible food (peas) etc., I wonder if more could be done in the way of finding a better way to treat this?
<... have you searched, read on WWM re? Useful antibiotic use and ameliorative use of Epsom Salt are standard approaches>
If only I still had my scope ( former microbiologist and micro teacher ) I would love to have a look at aspirates
to see if AFB were to show up in more cases.
<Me too>
What say you, I would love some insight. I think this is a very interesting concept.
​Once again, thanks for all you do!
Kimberley Mitchel​
<The search tool... on all WWM pages. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bettas and Malawi Bloat      9/30/17

Well, all I seem to find re: Malawi bloat has to do with cichlids and not Bettas; but, I will keep searching!
Thanks again Bob!!
<Sorry for not being more explicit, please use the two words "Betta bloat" in the WWM search tool, and look for the highlighted FAQs. BobF>
Bettas and Malawi Bloat /Neale chimes in

Hey all! A few years ago, I had a couple of Bettas succumb to "bloat", unspecified. All advice in other forums start off with "feed it a pea", "he's constipated". I have found that never to be the case in my situation.
<Indeed. The key issue is that bloating (Dropsy) is a symptom rather than a disease. Superficially similar to constipation, which can indeed be fixed by providing extra fibre in the diet. But Dropsy is an issue with fluid retention within the body, and that can be associated with bacterial infections, environmental stress, and likely other factors as well. There really isn't a 'one size fits all' treatment.>
When the last bloat sufferer had to be euthanized, I did some researching and came across an article and a few other sources that suggested Malawi bloat in Betta fish. One particular instance, the owner had the swelling of his Betta aspirated and they found acid-fast bacilli (Mycobacterium perhaps??). The disease appears similar in Betta and cichlids, save for one thing: Bettas seem to do pretty well and stay relatively active much longer than the cichlids. They do not succumb quickly. A quote from the article (I am sorry but I cannot remember where I found this or I would cite the author):
“Malawi bloat may be caused by the same pathogen, (acid fast bacillus) but I think it’s important to differentiate the symptoms in a Betta...
*Here are the symptoms in a cichlid:*
*QUOTE “The first symptom is usually a loss of appetite. Other characteristics follow if treatment if not begun at this point. These secondary characteristics include abnormal swelling of the abdomen (hence the name-bloat), an increased respiratory rate, reclusiveness, white streaky feces, and sitting on the bottom of the tank or lingering at the surface. Red marks around your fish’s *****
<I have no idea what part of a fish is its five asterisks.>
or skin ulcerations might also be apparent. Symptoms only appear in the latter stages of the disease; therefore, it is important to begin treatment as soon as symptoms are noticed, otherwise you will lose your fish.”*
*Here are the symptoms in a Betta:*
Acts normal in every way except for ever expanding abdomen: doesn’t lose appetite, continues to swim and flare and no visible sores anywhere else on the body. A long, stringy discharge is often noted.
<Here's the thing. Those 'symptoms' are completely generic. They simply imply the fish is sick and stressed. Swelling can be a variety of things as we've mentioned. Loss of appetite and reclusiveness simply mean the animal feels bad; white stringy faeces indicate mucous rather than uneaten food are being passed out of the gut; red streaks on the body or fins are indicative of bacterial infections causing inflammation or necrosis. Absolutely nothing in that list that is specifically one disease, let alone Mycobacteriosis. The only way you'd know if Mycobacteria are to blame is by doing microscope work on a sample of tissue. Anything else based on external observation of fish behaviour and generic symptoms is wishful thinking on the part of the aquarist.>
​Since so many people treat their Bettas for bloat by starving, giving them incompatible food (peas) etc., I wonder if more could be done in the way of finding a better way to treat this?
<I'm sure. The vast majority of Betta deaths are surely down to poor environment. The fact they're widely sold as "dorm room" pets to be dumped in tanks holding half a gallon of water pretty much sums are the state of play. Any Betta kept in an unheated, unfiltered bowl is already facing an early death, and couple that with their perceived 'disposability' you can see that the biggest issue we have to deal with here is simply convincing people their Bettas need heat, good water quality, and a suitable amount of living space.>
If only I still had my scope ( former microbiologist and micro teacher ) I would love to have a look at aspirates to see if AFB were to show up in more cases.
<Precisely so. It's done, of course, but with relatively low-value pets like Bettas very few people do the necessary microbiology work.>
What say you, I would love some insight. I think this is a very interesting concept.
​Once again, thanks for all you do!
Kimberley​
​<I will direct you to some reading, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_2/mycobactera.htm
I think you'll find this very useful. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bettas and Malawi Bloat      9/30/17

Thanks Neale, for your reply. I suppose I should've kept it short and sweet and asked: since there have been instances of acid fast bacilli pulled from the swelling of Bettas with bloat, (forget the other symptoms in the quote,
comparing cichlids symptoms), would there be a better way to treat IF AFB was shown to be the cause in a Betta that is well taken care of?
<I'm not knowledgeable enough to answer this, I'm afraid. There are, certainly, medications explicitly sold for gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. But otherwise your best approach here is to research the medicines on salt, identify the contents (Minocycline, erythromycin, etc.) and use them accordingly.>
My Bettas were well cared for and lived a long while, even with the bloat.
And it's true, the cheaper and more expendable the animal, the less anyone would take the time to find out.
I'm surely not trying to frustrate anyone...this is my curiosity.
<Laudable.>
Anyway, thanks again for all of your great advice and replies. No need to add to my musing here. Just thinking out loud with people who understand what the heck I'm talking about!
Kim
<Glad to be a sounding board! 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
days.
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,
<Shriram>
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.
<Welcome>
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.
B>
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>

Re: New Fishes keep dying.; still not reading or listening.... Again?        9/29/17
Dear Team,
<Hi Shriram, Gabe here again>
I currently hold a ten gallon tank with the following stocking:
2 Firemouth
2 Bala Shark
1 White catfish
1 Tin Foil Barb
<As we have said before, this is way too much for a ten gallon tank. All of
these grow quite large and need tons more space to grow and thrive>

They all are healthy.
<They may look healthy, but they are likely extremely stressed due to the overstocking in the tank. Territory battles can break out at any moment and they could end up killing each other over the little space they have.>
The issue is whenever I try to add a new fish. The new fish survives for a couple of days and then one-by-one they begin to die.
<You should not be adding new fish to this tank. If you continue on this path, more and more fish will die.>
I am unable to conclude on what could I be missing on, and why are my new fishes dying when my other fishes are perfectly fine.
Can you please help.
Regards,
Shriram
<Shriram, you need to upgrade your tank size. Do not add any more fish to this tank, as they will surely die. I'm not sure how else to get our point through. You have sent many messages and we always respond the same thing.
Do NOT add fish until you get a bigger tank. Cheers, Gabe>
Re: New Fishes keep dying.; still not reading or listening       9/30/17

Hi Gabe,
<Shriram>
I have clearly understood your point.
<Glad you understand>
The only reason my mind deceives me in adding new fish is because at times the tank kind of looks empty.
<Even if the tank looks empty, it is not. You have 6 fish that all grow large. In time it will look too full>

I will make sure that I do not have any new additions in the existing tank and also look into options for upgrading the tank.
<Thank you. I would suggest a large tank if you look to keep aggressive fish like cichlids>
Thanks as always.
Regards,
Shriram
<Have you ever heard of the idea of having one inch of fish per gallon of water? You should try to follow this when you upgrade. For example, if you have a fish with a maximum size of 5 inches, it should be in no less than 5 gallons of water. While this rule has a few exceptions, it is normally a good rule to follow. For freshwater fish, use one inch per gallon. Saltwater is recommended one inch per two gallons. Thank you for using WetWeb, Shriram. Feel free to write us any time. Cheers, Gabe>

compatibility of rift lake fish; Bichir and Af. cichlids        9/29/17
Hello!
<Jonathan>
I have a question about compatibility. I have an 18 inch Polypterus ornatipinnis in a 110 gallon aquarium. For some time he’s been by himself, I got him as a small specimen but have been able to pellet train him and he is growing well and absolutely beautiful. He has become my absolute favorite aquarium fish. A while ago a friend who was moving across country gave me a Labidochromis caeruleus. After quarantine, I didn’t have a great place to put him, so I stuck him in with the bichir. I figured he at least wouldn’t hurt the bichir, and wanted to see if they might be compatible. They have been getting along great, in fact the yellow lab cleans up after the rather messy bichir. My question is, how suitable are other rift lake cichlids with this fish?
<With smaller, peaceful species, should be fine>
I understand that this bichir inhabits lake Tanganyika?
<Yes, among other areas: http://fishbase.org/summary/Polypterus-ornatipinnis.html>
Would something like Calvus work? or Neolamprologus brichardi?
<Both should be fine here>
Or would Malawi cichlids be able to withstand his boisterousness better?
<I'd stick w/ Tanganyikans. Malawians might bite the Bichir's fins; would definitely compete for food>
I’d expect that if he were to land in a community rift lake tank, given his size, it would probably be large (I have a 220 plywood tank not being used, would this be suitable for a handful of cichlids and my bichir?)
<Yes>
Any other fish that make particularly good tankmates with this guy?
<I'd investigate Characins and Catfishes, perhaps Mastacembelids that hail from Lake Tanganyika and other parts of the Bichir's distribution (per the Fishbase link above).>
Thank you
Jon
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Feeding a Bushynose Pleco while away        9/28/17
Hello:
<Judy>
We are going away for about a week to ten days and are using a battery powered feeder. I usually give the Pleco one of those circular crisp things every second night. I was wondering if it is possible to crush up the Pleco
food and put it in the feeder so the Pleco gets his food or can a Pleco just have what the angelfish have per day. Thank you
Judy
<Likely the food for the Angel will be fine. Bob Fenner>

Cichlids sick? Env. and parasitic; and mormyrid beh.          9/28/17
Hi guys, so I was hoping you can help me. I have a planted 75 gallon with a few small Tbar (sajica) cichlids, a small chocolate cichlid, a small red Severum, a female electric blue Acara, a 4 inch ghost knife (which is doing fantastic!! Swims all over the tank even during the day and eats out of my hand!)
<Neato!>
and a Featherfin squeaker (I know, from a totally different part of the world). This is NOT everyone's permanent tank. The tbars (which are my absolute favorite) are going in a 40 breeder I'm in the middle of cycling.
My issue is this, I got the tbars in the spring time at about 2/3 inches.
I had been looking everywhere to buy the tbars but I couldn't find anywhere that had them.
<Might have to order such "oddball" cichlids from the ACA (American Cichlid Association) or regional Cichlid Club>
On a suggestion from a youtuber, I traveled out of state to a fish store that actually had them. I really made a bad judgment call.
Sure enough, they had them, along with soooo many different fish and fish I never heard of. Amazing, beautiful fish that were not kept in a appropriate manner. I can't tell you how many tanks I saw that had severely damaged fish. The tanks were just gross and while some were so over populated, others only had one or two fish.. The tbars tank was not nearly as bad as others but foolishly I bought them and a chocolate cichlid. The tbars are barely growing, especially the male. It actually looks like he's shrinking but his fins are getting super long and he's grown the start of
his nuchal hump but he's small.
<Mmm; sounds/reads like they are stunted... from poor water quality, crowding (chemical feedback), lack of nutrition>
The chocolate has had no issues and is growing as he should. I also noticed that other two tbars we're popping
white stringy stuff coming out of them constantly. Just like a long string.
<Perhaps lumenal/intestinal parasite issue. Quite common with mixed, imported fishes>
That went away but now occasionally I see the white stuff again although not nearly as long.
<Mmm; search WWM re the use of Metronidazole here>
They and two of my other fish are flashing quite a bit.
My male Tbar that used to come out and eat anything he could, will only eat live black worms, but still he isn't getting bigger at all! He eagerly comes swimming over when I get in front of tank but won't eat anything except the live food. I have a marine land canister filter 220 along with a Marineland penguin 400 hob filter. My ammonia is 0ppm, nitrites 0ppm and nitrates are 20ppm. My pH is 7.2. I do weekly water changes as well.
<Good>
Do you think it is a parasite?
<At least; yes>
If so what do I do?
<Lace the foods with Flagyl/Metro, or treat the water... maybe after you move them to the 40
Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwintparasitf.htm>
I am extremely nervous about losing my male Tbar as he is my absolute favorite in the tank!! I feed them
a variety of food. Omega one flakes, Omega one shrimp pellets (for catfish)
I put a European cucumber in every few weeks and the Severum and ghost knife love it! I also feed frozen blood worms, frozen brine shrimp (which I have recently learned isn't that great for them) and live black worms
occasionally. Am I not feeding the right foods?
<I would sub Spectrum and Hikari pelleted for the Omega products>
Also, this has nothing to do with this but I have a elephant nose that I have had for a couple years.
He is my absolute favorite out of all my tanks, because once again he swims all over and eats from my hand. I just had a concern really. When I got him when he was rather small, he had that white coloration they all have on
their bodies but I have noticed for the past 8 months or so that the white is almost gone. He has gotten significantly bigger and eats like a pig. I just wanted to make sure if this was normal or if something is wrong.
<Likely nothing wrong here; this color loss w/ age, growth is natural>
I really hope to hear from you soon with some suggestions. Thank you so much!!
Jessica
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?      9/27/17
Hi,
<Miranda,>
This morning, I noticed my ADF (I've had him for 8 months) covered in a semi-transparent film. It's barely 1/16th of an inch thick and seems to cover his whole body. It's very difficult to see unless I'm very close to the tank.
<Quite normal for sheets of skin to be shed periodically, sometimes in alarming amounts. Generally safe to ignore, so long as the frog is otherwise normal, and there's no evidence of fungus (such as threads) or bacterial infection (such as red-white patches).>
I can't figure out if this could be a fungal infection or if it's a normal pre-shedding thing. The forums are all over on this. Do you have any diagnosing suggestions?
<See above.>
How long should I wait before attempting treatment? Do you have any suggestions on treatment options?
<Sit and wait for now! If the skin doesn't come away cleanly over the next couple weeks, then certainly think about what might be done, and anti-fungal or anti-bacterial as the case may be. But a happy, hungry frog is probably a healthy frog.>
He lives in a 5.5 gallon tank, fully cycled, with 1/2 tank water changes weekly (using RO DI water). His appetite is really good, I just can't figure out what to do about this weird film.
<Indeed.>
Thank you very much.
<Welcome.>
Miranda
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?        9/28/17
Thank you so much for replying to me so quickly. You have no idea how much I appreciate this.
<Most welcome.>
I was hoping you'd say it was normal shedding - I just never saw it look like that before (then again, I have to be practically nose-pressed-to-the-glass to see this transparent film all around his body). If it does turn out to be serious, which meds do you recommend? I'd like to have them on-hand just in case.
<In all honesty, have a quick read here...
http://www.xenopus.com/disease.htm
They give examples of the most common diseases, and describe some suitable products easily obtained (in the US) by aquarists. Elsewhere, when it comes to anti-bacterial medications, you either get them through a vet, who'll
choose the right one for you, or else switch to an alternative type of medication, like eSHa 2000.>
I do have another question, if that's alright with you.
<Sure!>
I just finished dealing with chytrid fungus with my other ADF. (both frogs were never in the same tank/room as each other, chytrid frog is at home and filmy-frog is at work.). I always use fresh gloves when touching anything
frog-related and am pretty confident that the fungus has not spread from the sick frog to my other one (I've had the chytrid frog for about 2.5 months now).
<Understood.>
I bought this one at PetSmart as a companion for my first and didn't realize until too late that he very likely had the fungus - judging from the tattered skin shreds all over his body.
<Yikes!>
I've been extremely careful in my treatment (gloved hands, new container after every round of lamsil baths) and (fingers crossed) I think I've finally beaten it (after 3 rounds of treatment - it's been exhausting).
It's been about 3 weeks with no further tattered shedding and he finally has a really good appetite.
<A really good sign with amphibians generally.>
I'd like to know how long should I keep him in isolation prior to him being considered "safe" to live with another frog? Do I have to worry about the fungus still transferring over to the new frog when I bring the two together?
<Chytrid fungus is a serious threat, and I'd be super-conservative here.
I'd be waiting at least 6 weeks before combining the two frogs. Since frogs don't get lonely, there's no overwhelming reason to combine them anyways, and you may decide to keep your formerly Batrachochytrium-infected frog in
its own tank indefinitely, or at least for a good few months yet.>
I plan to buy one of those test-kits for the chytrid fungus just to make sure he still doesn't have it but I think the fungus might still be in the water?
<Indeed possible, which is why I'd sterilise, as far as possible, anything exposed to the Batrachochytrium fungus. Chuck out anything difficult to clean but easily replaced (sand, bogwood, plants) and thoroughly clean with hot soapy water anything that can be properly cleaned (rocks, gravel, ornaments). You can't do much about filter media without killing the bacteria, but you might decide whether deep cleaning the filter and replacing the media with mature media from another tank is the way to go. It's what I'd do, anyway. Obviously change all the water, scrub the glass, heater, etc. Fungal spores will tend to lurk in crevices, which is why soft and porous things, like sponges, wood and plants, are especially bad. The ideal situation is to move your "cured" Chytrid frog into an entirely new aquarium that you know is Batrachochytrium-free, and take if from there. In this situation, the only way Batrachochytrium would carry across would be on the frog (which we hope is clear) and any minute drops of water on the frog (hopefully a very small risk). Moving healthy frogs into a system that once had Batrachochytrium fungus in it is more risky because of all the places the Batrachochytrium fungus might still lurk, unless we thoroughly
cleaned the system so well it was practically sterile. It's a toughie!
There are aquarium products out there for sterilising aquaria, but you'd need somewhere to house the frogs during the process, and of course some mature filter media you can take from a clean tank afterwards, to jump start the filter once the sterilised tank is reassembled.>
He lives in a cycled 2.5 gallon tank with a little plant, 3 gallon filter and several hidey-holes. Once a week I conduct 1/2 tank water changes.
---Miranda
<All sounds great. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?        9/28/17

Wow. Your responses are above and beyond. Thank you so much. There is so much information and nothing is consistent on the internet.
<You're assuming I'm right, of course...!>
The website you sent...the film looks kind of like how it does on the fungus frog, only more transparent and there's an even coat of it all across my frog. That leads me to think that somehow my little guy managed to catch a different fungus. Should I wait for the chytrid test kit or start treating him with Methylene blue? (I tried to find Mardel Maroxy but it wasn't available online).
<Regular, generic fungus is easily cured with clean water, good food, and aquarium anti-fungus medicine (remembering to remove carbon from the filter, if used). So you could use this, prophylactically even, to eliminate the possibility of regular fungus. As/when the chytrid test kit turns up, you can of course use it.>
Also, I know this is kind of silly to ask, but if I do a whole tank treatment should I still sterilize everything or could the medicine treat the tank as it is helping my frog?
<Hard to know. In theory the medicine should eliminate the fungus from both frog and aquarium, but it's hard to say. Hospital tanks tend to be clean and empty of decorations so that the medicine can get everywhere. Display
tanks have more sand, plants, etc., so while the medicine might work through the frog, you can't be sure about the decor. A conservative approach is justified here. By all means hope the tank is chytrid-free, but keep a close eye, and don't assume it's chytrid-free, at least not until you've had a good few months of success.>
I ask because right now I don't have any extra media. When I got the chytrid frog, I didn't know at the time how serious the disease was so I wasn't as careful as I should be when handling my other tanks. At this point, it's safe to assume that all tanks at home are infected.
<A wise assumption.>
I've seen some websites that talk about beating chytrid with heat and salt.
Do you know how true that is?
<There has been some research into the use of salt, with some positive outcomes. But it seems unlikely salt concentrations strong enough to kill the fungus are safe for a freshwater frog across the long term. Definitely
need some further evidence before I'd recommend this approach. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?        9/28/17
Once again, thank you.
<Welcome.>
One last question and I'll be out of your hair. Do you know what happened to the Mardel Maroxy or the Maracyn Brand? I remember ordering it from Amazon about a year ago for my fish tanks but I can't seem to find that
brand anymore.
<Hmm... just looked and found both on Amazon.com. So not really sure what to say here! To be fair, neither would be my first choice for treating bacterial infections in frogs. Tetracycline-based antibiotics perhaps a bit better. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?
       9/29/17
Oh. My bad. I originally clicked a couple of discontinued links. Anyway, thank you once again. You are a lifesaver.
<The candy or the inflatable jacket? Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?      9/30/17
Hi again,
Your website is incredibly helpful when it comes to my questions and general information. Thank you for that.
<Most welcome.>
In the last couple of days, the fuzzy outline went from barely there to very visible. I tried capturing it on camera but my phone had a difficult time focusing on him (blurry outline from the fuzz). He's in a bare-bottom tank right now (for ease of treatment) and as you can see, there's a lot of reflections.
<Indeed, but not a problem. This frog is looking healthy from what I can see. A little extra weight might be nice, but if he's eating well, then I think he'll be okay. There's no obvious damage to the skin that I can see, and if there are loose 'sheets', that may be normal shedding.>
I'm starting with Maracyn 2 for bacteria infection (internal/external according to the box), along with a Methylene blue dip once a day...because whatever it is, it's getting aggressive. From there, I plan to go with a Maroxy treatment for general fungal infections and possibly I'll add Methylene blue to the tank if nothing else seems to work.
<Don't overdo the medication! Medicate when you identify the problem, rather than randomly. If the frog is making progress under its own steam, then complete the current course of medications and then step back.
Interactions between medications can cause problems in themselves.>
Have you or anyone you known ever seen something like this? Any suggestions for treatment?
---Miranda
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: African Dwarf Frog shedding or diseased?      9/30/17
I may have panicked a bit...
<Oh?>
What started as a faint outline of fuzz, spread and thickened significantly on the frog's skin in the last few days, it's about 1/8 inch thick now. He looks like a little fuzz-ball. I've had this species for 8 months now, so I know this can't be shedding.
<Understood.>
So, I figured I'd find the safest medications for frogs and try them one after another and see if anything can bring the skin back to normal. I'd rather not wait until his appetite diminishes - cause with ADFs, I've learned that once their appetite goes, then they die within a couple of days.
<Does depend rather on their starting body weight, but yes, I agree.>
Thank you for your advice and I will be more careful with the medication. I will not mix them, and be more careful with them.
<If the frog is suddenly getting mucous-y, I'd be wondering if something (like copper) is irritating the frog's skin. I'd suggest also looking to see if the filter is removing all the silt, because when this gets stuck on the mucous, it can make things look a lot worse. In any event, medicating as per a bacterial infection is likely the first thing to do, but thereafter, I'd do substantial water changes, and leave a few days, before starting anything new. Do bear in mind that sometimes a second course of an antibiotic is necessary, so it's not always that the antibiotic was 'wrong' it's more that it needs a second pass. Cheers, Neale>

Kribensis coloration      9/27/17
I wrote you all a couple days ago regarding some questions I had about Kribs. I placed my order and they came in just about an hour ago. I am in the process of acclimating them and they seem feisty. However, is it common
for young juvenile Kribs to not be colorful?

<Oh yes... only really color up when sexually mature, of size, well-fed, in good quality water. And of course are still stressed from being moved>
I did not order albino, and these do not look albino. They're more of a gray color. Naturally, the pictures on the website show the beautiful rainbow colorations. I can't find much on this particular topic so I was wondering if any of you guys have any idea if they will grow into their colors? I do believe I have a pair, so I expect perhaps babies in the future? I would love to see some color in my tank!!
Thanks for your help and for all you guys do!
Kimberley Mitchel
<I urge patience here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Kribensis coloration      9/27/17

Thanks, Bob
You're the best!
<Welcome Kim. BobF>

Convict cichlids; repro., beh.       9/27/17
Hi there,
<Hello Natasha!>
I am new at keeping convicts cichlids.
<Neat animals>
With my luck I landed up getting a male and a female. They spawned and there are about 32 Fry. Within 2 weeks they had a new batch of eggs, but the existing fry ate them.
<Ahh! Happens>
I move the fry to a grow out tank and cleaned the cichlid tank. Upon putting the pair back in, the male started attacking the female to a point of almost killing her. So I separated her from him and put her with the  fry.
<Sometimes one sex will "blame" the other for early spawn mishaps>
When would it be safe to put them together again and how should I go about doing so?
<Best to put a perforated separator between the two, allowing them to see, smell each other but not get to... for a week or more. Barring this, a plastic, floating colander (yes, for draining pasta et al.) can be used, placing the aggressor (the male in this case) in for a few days for a "time out", then watching carefully on reintroduction for signs of overt aggression>
Thanks
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Convict cichlids        9/28/17

Hi Bob!
<Nat!>
Thanks so much for the advice :)
<Welcome>
I will definitely give it a try and I will let you know how it goes.
Have a fantastic day further.
Kind regards,
Natasha
<Ah, thank you. BobF>

Re: bloated Betta    9/26/17
Hi there me again sorry! My boy is doing ok, still a tad bloated so continuing with non pellet diet for now with Epsom salts in the tank.
<Ok>
His fins are now deteriorating however.
<Yes! Very>
A couple of the rays have snapped off his dorsal and overall they look thin. Does this look like fin rot to you?
<Mmm; no. More like environmental stress. How much Epsom is in this water?
You don't have ammonia or nitrite present?>
I'm now wondering if his bloat was bacterial after all and I should treat him for that? His eating and energy levels are fine. TIA!
<I would change most all the water out here. Bob Fenner>

Re: bloated Betta    9/26/17
Thanks for your reply! Ammonia & nitrite 0 and nitrate around 10. Ph is 8.2 but it's always been that. I used about a tsp of Epsom salts in my 19l tank - maybe I've left it in too long?
<No... all the above should be fine>
I'll do a couple of big water changes tomorrow. His rays have been getting thinner gradually. Aside from regular water changes and high protein diet is there anything else I can do to build them up again?
<Am given to suggest 25 mg. of Kanamycin, Kanaplex per gallon... changing the water every three days, three courses.>
Thank you so much for your help :)
<Welcome Karan. BobF>
Re: bloated Betta    9/26/17

Thanks for your quick response Bob! I'm in the UK and cannot get hold of Kanaplex. What else would you recommend?
<To go see your Vet re; or a sympathetic MD>
Would Seachem Paraguard do it?
<... no>
Am assuming you're thinking it's fin rot?
<Yes. B>

Black ghost knife     9/24/17
Hello Crew,
I woke yesterday morning to find my black ghost injured or sick. One side of his face seems swollen and is very red. The gill on that side looks inflamed. I have rocks that I have piled into large caves. I assume he got stuck in the caves. It looks a little better today and he is active as always and comes to water surface as soon as I drop fish food in the tank.
<A very good sign>

He is still eating like he always has. ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0.The tank is 225 gallon and There are two Bala sharks, two blood parrots, one ghost knife, two angels and four Bolivian rams and a huge Pleco.
Thank you!
Julie
<Considering this species' capacity for recovering from physical trauma, the size of your system, other livestock, I advise against actual medicine addition. Instead I would wait, do your best to perpetuate the excellent
water quality, feeding here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Can you help me identify goby sp      9/23/17
Hello, again!
I figured you could be interested in how the guys fared in my tanks.
Upon going back to the LFS and observing the fish carefully i realized they actually had 2 species of gobies mixed! One is the Sicydium sp. which i showed you a photo about, and also looks exactly like these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1LN5d2pHlk
The other was... well... different. I got three of the Sicydium sp and two of the other one. Upon observation i realized the unknown species preferred dwelling on the floor and actually went for flake food rather vigorously, while the Sicydium sp. preferred to stay anchored to rocks, wood, walls, etc.
I have identified the unknown species as an Awaous sp. For now i have kept the Sicydium in a moderate current tank with intense lighting to promote algae growth. They seem to be grazing but haven't really touched flake or anything. I have Microworms so I'm considering tossing a few and hope they get them. Out of the three Sicydium, one died a few days later. It had a very large head to body ratio compared to the others, which made me think it was thin, emaciated. the other two seem to be doing fine, grazing upon Anubias and ferns. The Awaous are kept in a planted tank with very clean water, and they go on and about all day searching the floor for food.
Some Awaous species grow quite big according to Fishbase, could these become a problem for the smaller tetras i have in that tank? (red phantom, black phantoms.) I like the Awaous a lot, very interesting fish, they sometimes swim up in a very unique pattern, probably characteristic of gobies.
As, always, thank you.
[https://i.ytimg.com/vi/o1LN5d2pHlk/maxresdefault.jpg]<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1LN5d2pHlk>
A unknown Sicydium spec from Colombia - YouTube<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1LN5d2pHlk>
www.youtube.com
This is a short movie about a unknown Sicydium spec from Colombia, They are wild caught and they came in as Awaous tasjica.
<Hello Roberto. In general terms, Awaous and Sicydium are similar in care -- plenty of water current, aufwuchs-based diet, and largely ignoring their tankmates. I guess the larger Awaous might, conceivably, consume a sleepy tetra, but that's pretty unlikely. I've kept Awaous flavus, and it's a pretty inoffensive fish even at its full size around 10 cm/4 inches. It is a "sand sifter" though, so I'd suggest you offer things like bloodworms scattered over a sandy area. It should consume those quite readily (mine did, anyway) though as aufwuchs-feeders, you really do want some algae-based foods in there too, such as Spirulina-enriched brine shrimp. Microworms are certainly worth a shot. Do note that (some) Awaous can be quite short lived, maybe even annuals, so excessively high temperatures are not useful. Hope this helps! Neale.>

L-255 and L-034 medusas, ID  - 09/22/17
Hello:
Just wondering if these are the same fish, the L-255 and L-034?? It is proving hard to find a female black L-034 to mate with the male I have, but I am wondering about a female L-255. I read that they are bigger than the
L-034, so maybe they are different, I mean they do have different numbers.
I have seen them at the LFS, but the ones there may be common Bushynoses with spots if there is such a thing, or maybe a female L-255 and a male L-034 would be a bad idea. There are SO many Pleco types. Thank you
<Hello Judy. Short answer is that the hobby treats them as different fish.
L255 as the "Spotted Medusa Plec" and L034 as the "Medusa Plec". L034 appears to be the same thing as Ancistrus ranunculus (a lot of these L numbers being differentiated independently of the scientific process of
naming species) so if we accept that L034 is indeed Ancistrus ranunculus, then L255 is at worst a closely related Ancistrus from the same bit of the world (i.e., Rio Xingu) but quite possibly just a geographical variety or
perhaps a subspecies of some sort. The longer answer is that identifying "what is a species" is extremely difficult at the best of times, and when we're dealing with what are likely species flocks, then species can easily be impossible to diagnose on external features like spots and colours alone, and may require more subtle techniques such as scale counting or even DNA analysis. So with all that said -- while the two species are likely identical as far as care go, and interchangeable, I wouldn't keep them together for fear of cross-breeding. Cheers, Neale.>
re: L-255 and L-034 medusas - 09/22/17

Hello:
<Judy,>
Concerning the crossbreeding. I was reading online about someone who accidentally bred a green Severum with a blue Acara, and the eggs died out.
<Unsurprising: these cichlids are distantly related; one's a Heros species, the other an Aequidens. Comparable to trying to crossbreed different genera
in the same family of mammals, say, foxes (Vulpes) with dogs (Canis).>
The person said that they would have to be culled anyway. i had no idea
that if two fish are that closely related, as in the Spotted Medusa and Regular black Medusa that problems could come up, but I guess they can
<Both members of genus Ancistrus, implying a close relationship, more akin to donkeys and horses, and possibly even closer than that, like two genetically distinct but otherwise very similar varieties of horse.>
Maybe they do not interbreed in the wild. Interesting stuff
<Indeed. Rule of thumb is not to combine genera where hybridisation is a possibility. Often breeding doesn't happen in tanks, so there's no harm mixing, say, characins or barbs. But Ancistrus can, do breed successfully
in community tanks, so I'd suggest keeping them apart. Cheers, Neale.>

Kribensis; gen. husbandry  - 09/22/17
I have a 55 gallon community tank (not much of a community yet, though).
I've always wanted a pair of Kribs. I understand that they are relatively easy to take care of and have a more mild temperament than other cichlids, except when spawning. Not much more info to be found here. Any advice or need-to-know before I purchase my pair?
<Mmm, a few things come to mind. Kribensis prefer water that is moderately soft (8-12 GH as a high) and acidic (6.5) and not too warm (mid 70's F.); though this one species of Pelvivachromis has been cultured for so long
that water in reasonable quality will do. They prefer to not have hectic tankmates and do better in systems with subdued lighting and live plantings. Caves and wood and dark substrate are preferred habitat. Foods should include a high quality pellet (Hikari, Spectrum) that sinks, as well as periodic frozen/defrosted meaty fare.>
I'm used to keeping mollies in hard water (and then saltwater, where they flourished!!). Going to have to break those habits I suppose, as Kribs parameters don't call for such hardness! Appreciate all you guys do!!
Thanks,
Kim
<Welcome Kim! Please do share your experiences with us. 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 cichlid do hobbyist named pun ashby on YouTube he has a video of a black belt cichlid beating up a red terror cichlid
<Mmm>
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>

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Freshwater Aquarium  Articles & FAQs

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