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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: sick Betta (RMF, any better guesses?) <<Nothing more>>   4/23/18
Thank you for your quick response. I have attached a few pictures, I hope they aren't too big. If Betta does have Costia will Seachem "Para Guard" be effective? Thank you again! Tina
<Paraguard should work, being marketed as useful against ectoparasites, but I've not tried this particular approach, and Seachem are a little vague on specifics! Since it doesn't contain either copper or formalin, the two best treatments for Costia, it wouldn't be my first choice. But definitely worth a shot, especially alongside elevated temperatures and/or salt water dips.
Costia struggles to survive at temperatures above 28 C/86 F, which Bettas can easily handle. Dipping fish for short periods in seawater (35 gram sea salt/litre aquarium water) can help to shift the mucous and kill some of
the parasites. Bettas aren't particularly tolerant of salt, so I'd use this with the usual caution of removing the fish at the first sign of distress.
The longer the exposure to salt, the better -- so obviously this approach is especially well suited to those fish that handle seawater well, such as Guppies and Mollies. Nonetheless, anti-Whitespot medications of all sorts, used on their own, should shift Costia, but as I've said before, it may require several treatments because Costia is a stubborn little critter!
Cheers, Neale.>

Worms in freshwater substrate   4/23/18
I found several of these worms buried in the substrate of my 46gal bowfront, today. Any idea what they are, if I should get rid of them and if so, how? They’re about 1mm thick, and maybe 1.5 - 2” long at a guess? They were pretty upset to be disturbed and all balled up. There are two balled together in this video.
<No video attached. But as a general rule, freshwater worms are harmless. Beneficial, even. Do look up freshwater Oligochaetes for examples of the 'good' kind of worm. California Blackworms are quite common and used in freshwater deep sand beds. Tubifex less positive in the sense of preferring/indicating relatively dank conditions, but in themselves harmless, even enjoyed as food by most fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Some Help Identifying this     /Lynn's input      4/22/18
Hey Bob! It's good to hear from you. Things are going well here. We're now loving life in beautiful Colorado after being flooded out in hurricane Harvey. This was a case of being gifted with a beautiful rainbow after the storm! I hope all is going great for you as well. I just saw the attached query and will get on it right now. Take care, Lynn
<Ah; great to hear from you and realize you're doing well Lynn. Cheers, BobF>
<<Thanks, Bob. Life is good! As for the queried subject, I've looked everywhere and can't offer anything beyond what you've already stated and recommended. Hopefully, I'll be more help with the next ID! Take care, Lynn>>
>Thank you Lynn. A mystery for sure. BobF<

Vision issues with powder brown tang, not able to eat but still looks healthy with a good coat and fins      4/22/18
I have a medium sized tang from Live Aquaria, got him along with 2 other fish (quarantined them overnight and introduced all three of them at once into a 250 gallon tank.
<... quarantined (just) overnight? A good source, and know their supplier in turn (that is excellent), but this Tang is a notorious "Ich/Crypt magnet".>
The two other medium sized fish (bi color angel and a yellow spotted rabbit fish) are doing exceptionally well. This one was shy to begin with for a few days because of a slightly larger and dominant sail fin tang that was one of the original fish in tank. All are healthy after 4 weeks during which this one darted in front of my gyre pump for the most part. But over the last 4 days, it seemed to have lost its ability to see food and hence seems to stab at the food which it seems to sense by fell mostly. No haze or swelling in the eyes, that I can make out.
I have taken him out to the quarantine/medical tank (20 gals) quite easily and trying to feed different kinds of food (flakes, shrimp pellets, Mysis shrimp, veggie rounds) but nothing interests him. He does not even pick food lying on the floor of the tank. Water quality in both tanks is quite good, DT has consistently had some nitrates (.5 ppm) and slight phosphates (0.25) ppm) but correct ammonia. QT has a slight ammonia but right level of Nitrates. Water changes in both tanks weekly but more often in the QT tank this week. 15% water changes in DT weekly (30-35 gallons) and 30% water changes in QT (5 gallons). PH is 8.2-8.4 in both tanks. Sp. Gravity is between 1.020-1.025 in both tanks.
<I'd maintain the main/display tank at natural seawater spg, and likely drop that of the quarantine for now>
I have treated the PBTang with Mardel's antibiotic for the 2nd consecutive day, changed water over the last 2 days and hoping he starts to see and feed better.
<Mmm; again... IF I suspected a gut/alimentary canal parasite/s I'd go ahead and treat for such. Metronidazole and a vermifuge (maybe Praziquantel, Levamisole...) and possibly an antibiotic (a furan cpd. likely...>
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. My DT is just over 6 months old and has 11 big and small fish and a cleaner shrimp and about 20 inverts. A few corals and 2 anemones to aid a paired spotted wild clowns.
I have had a few algae outbreaks but went through some Chem clean sessions and cleaning of most of the 80-100 lb rocks recently. All fish are still doing well (knock on wood). Thanks in advance.
Srini K
<Do use the in-place Google search tool on WWM (on every page) to gain background on the medicines mentioned, their use for lumenal issues; and write back if all is not clear. Oh, and please, re your further actions and observations. Bob Fenner>

Some Help Identifying this    4/21/18
Thoughts on what these might be?
I had a bad feeling I had the dreaded black bugs. But I read those are arthropod of some sort.
But I think this is some kind of AEFW? They have the hallmarks of a flatworm.
<In some ways; yes. The "eyes" structures, flexible body; absence of appendages. Worm like>

They are blacker than the AEFW I’ve seen before and smaller. I saw them on one of my Acros so I dipped them and put these under the microscope.
The AEFW I’ve seen are about the size of small rice, these are the size of fine black pepper.
I didn't have the software to measure them under my scope.
<This is close enough>
The second half of the video is more interesting.
<Yes... and that little tail... What dip, procedure did you employ? Bob Fenner>

Re: Some Help Identifying this    4/21/18
Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Killer for Soil and Turf Concentrate. 2.5 gallons of water with 400 mL of Bayer. 15 min, then I perfuse tank water into the dip container letting the overflow go down the drain.
Then I dip in Revive for about 10 min - not sure why other than it seems to make the coral “slime up” and then more things come off when I do the final rinse.
<A common occurrence>
Final rinse off with tank water and put the coral back in the tank.
So far not coral loss and the “bugs” drop off pretty darn fast.
<With the use of Bayer and ReVive most all should be eliminated. Am not sure what these are; or if they're predaceous pests or no. Bob Fenner>

Skinny Stingray    4/21/18
My motoro stingray is a pretty active stingray but parameters in the tank are normal (no nitrates, nitrites, ph levels are normal)
<I would prefer the values rather than a statement! To recap, nitrite should be zero of course, and nitrate as low as practical, though zero nitrate is in practical terms very difficult to achieve. If you are honestly getting a zero reading for nitrate, I'd double-check you're using the test kit right, because a zero nitrate reading in a tank with a large,
predatory fish is so unlikely. While the precise pH value isn't critical, it should be stable and not too high, and ideally, hardness and pH would be towards the soft water end of their respective ranges; maybe 2-15 degrees dH, pH 6.5-7.5.>
and there is no chance of infection or parasites.
<How can be you be so sure? Even at the retailer there's some risk of exposure.>
There are constant water changes and filter changes with at least 25% changed. He is fed everyday or every other day with more food (this does not happen often, but there are issues that come up as they do in life, but not enough for there to be leftovers in the tank).
He has been in our tank for over a year and a half and has been growing steadily, so we are pretty sure there is no stress, and as he has survived this long and continues to grow.
<I agree, this is promising.>
Our substrate is a soft gravel that My parents used years ago with another ray who lived a long life (obviously rinsed thoroughly with water).
<I am sure you're aware of the debate surrounding the use of substrates in ray aquaria. There are arguments in favour of soft sand substrates, and arguments in favour of no substrate at all. I wouldn't say it comes down to personal taste, but the latter approach is perhaps easier and safer.>
He is a very happy ray in all searching through gravel, finding Blackworms, swimming around all normal ray things. My problem is that he is too skinny.
He is fed a good diet of shrimp, Blackworms and live fish (who have been quarantined by fish store for at least a month usually more) but he will not gain weight.
<Live fish is already one major risk factor. Let's be clear, unless you're home-breeding thiaminase-free fish from parasite-free parents, then any live fish are dangerous. End of story. For a start, cyprinids (goldfish, minnows, and their relatives) contain thiaminase and simply should never be used as live food. No scientifically sound argument can be made in favour of using those types of fish, and store-bought "feeder" goldfish and minnows are simply parasite-bombs. If you've used those, then right there is one very probable reason for the ill-health of your Stingray. Thiaminase is an enzyme that breaks down thiamin (vitamin B1) and when used regularly the predatory fish can/will develop all sorts of vague, but potentially lethal, health issues. There's a BIG scientific literature out there on this subject, but let me direct you to Marco Lichtenberger's summary here at WWM, written specifically for aquarists:
Next up, the feeder fishes bought at pet stores will almost certainly have parasites of some sort in them, and quarantining them only means those parasites aren't killing the host fish. Get those feeders inside your predatory fish and things become more complicated. A goldfish might, for example, have a degree of resistance to a certain parasite because they evolved together over thousands if not millions of years, but South American Stingrays may never encountered parasites common in Eurasia, and would have no resistance at all to that parasite. Do you see the problem here? It's not a definite explanation, but the use of feeders is just such a wildly risky chance to take, that it is very difficult to rule them out. Given Stingrays aren't obligate fish-eaters in the wild, there's no real reason to feed them live fish anyway, and most if not all experienced Stingray keepers and breeders avoid them. Instead focus on invertebrates, particularly worms, as well as more mixed, vegetable-rich food items that offer vitamins and fibre. Gut-loaded earthworms and river shrimps are a good way to get vegetables into your Stingray! Alongside these, a good
quality Stingray pellets will help round out their diet, and arguably could make up their entire diet if you're on a budget.>
He also completely refuses to eat things like smelt, nightcrawlers and even wild caught shrimp (as in once he smells it on your hand he will not come near you the rest of feeding time he hates them that much) and we have tried countless times to introduce him to other foods.
<The golden rule with fish remains this: they'll eat when they're happy and healthy. If they're not eating, it usually means there's a problem. It's very rarely the food itself that's wrong, but something else. Could be water quality or chemistry, could be the lighting (Stingrays hate bright light), could be the tankmates, if any (Stingrays are best kept alone). But as we've discussed, there could be a deeper problem if live feeders have been used, especially goldfish or minnows. Nobody keeping a fish as valuable and as delicate as a Stingray should be giving them live feeder fish.>
We have even hidden some in the foods he does enjoy and he spits out the food he doesn't like once he figures out it is there.
<Classic food refusal.>
He is too skinny but as I said he is still growing outwards so he is still healthy but I hate seeing him so skinny.
<I would be thinking along the lines of internal parasites, if he "eats but stays thin" but I'd also be worried about thiamin deficiency.>
Are there any fattening foods that I can safely feed a ray?
<See above; your Stingray doesn't need more calories, but he does need his appetite back. You need to review that aspect, and act accordingly.>
I've seen people suggest clams, muscles, and worms.
<Clams are good. Mussels can be used sparingly -- again, they contain thiamine. Earthworms are good and safe; bloodworms and especially Tubifex worms substantially more risky, and best avoided.>
We can try other fish but I'm not sure how he will react. Any tips or suggestions will be much appreciated!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Betta (RMF, any better guesses?)<<None>>    4/21/18
Thank you for the opportunity to ask you about my sick Betta. I have a female Betta that has developed a whitish film first on her sides and now on the top of her head and gill plates. She has a good appetite, puts
forward enthusiasm when she sees me, but otherwise is not herself, depressed and not swimming around as usual, she is not flashing or scratching, her fins are clamped most of the time. She is in an established, filtered, heated bare bottom tank (I think it's a 3 gal) with weekly water changes. There is an air bubbler and two live plants in the tank. The film on her seems flat not real poufy or cottony and as far as I can tell does not seem slimy, it's just a film that I know is not normal.
She holds her anal fins close to her body. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated! Sincerely, Tina
<Hello Tina. Assuming good water quality and adequate heat, and no evidence of classic Whitespot (such as salt grain speckles and persistent scratching), my mind is turning towards Costia, sometimes called Slime Disease or Ichthyobodo. It's relatively easy to treat if caught early, but can become more stubborn with time. It's a protozoan parasite a bit like Whitespot that causes the skin to become cloudy with mucous. Often the cloudiness surrounds the scales, almost like mortar around bricks.
Many anti-Whitespot medications will work against Costia (I like eSHa 2000) but more often than not a second course is needed because Costia does seem to be quite stubborn and difficult to shift. The classic remedy was
formalin, but that's somewhat less widely used nowadays because it can be toxic, to both fish and aquarist! Hope this helps, Neale.>

Musk turtles, hlth.      4/20/18
<Hiya - Darrel here>
i have a 3-4 month old musk turtle and the other day i came back from school and she/he (haven't determined sex yet) was on the bottom of the tank not moving, i knocked on the window of the tank and the turtle didn't move, when i took the turtle out of the water there was no control in his neck, so i thought it was dead, then at 8pm my mom came home and i wanted to show her what way the turtle was, i took the turtle out and showed her but then she told me it moved, i was shook!, we've been keeping the baby warm, has a basking spot, water isnt too high up, so now what concerns me is the turtles head stays on one side which makes it impossible for the turtle to swim... and we have him now in a separate tank with a warm towel and a bit of water in it, but usually the turtle finds a small bit of water and puts his head under is this normal and what should i do?
<First of all - keep him warm and dry. When a turtle is sick their normal watery environment is not their friend>
<Unfortunately most medical care we give our fish and reptiles is, in reality, just an optimal environment that will do what we can to assist them in getting better on their own.>
<In your case, because of his size, even a full medical exam wouldn't yield much without extensive blood tests and other work ... so what we want to do is set him up so he can just rest and breathe and relax and hope that his
strength returns. Read all about dry-docking a sick turtle here:

Re: Musk turtles     4/20/18
Also forgot to mention the baby is not eating for 3 days now...
<that's not a big concern right now. When he's sick he won't want to eat.
Keep him warm and dry and treat him like the article says. Bath every day (make sure not to stick his head under water, they can drown easily) and offer him food -- but mainly we want to help him get his strength back>

Re: Silicone Mistake     4/19/18
Thanks for the reply, I'll let y'all know if there's any issues.
<Real good, thank you. I might suggest trying some bio-assay "test fish" for a month or so. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Crew Help offering      4/18/18
Do you want to answer the rest of this?
I saw you take it and asked some obvious things I missed, I ask you just to make sure James don´t get more confused, or you want me to continue?
<I do want you to continue; am just trying to do my bit to help. B>
re: Help port Jackson sick      4/18/18

She is cool water from off the cost of western Australia
<Ok I see it is an Heterodontus portusjacksoni>
I have attached some pics the video is still uploading will send lick when done the pics are taken now the video is from 8 hours ago
She is in a 4ft by 1ft tank atm (this is my quarantine tank)
<How big is the display tank?>
don’t have a numbered test book just a basic API test kit will get a test done at shop tomorrow has large canister filter and lime sand substrate no active carbon or chemical filtration
<Do you have a sump/refugium, protein skimmer?>
due to using medication (copper) have attached pictures of setup temp sits at 23 degrees Celsius salinity is 1.020
<Too low, it should be at 1.025>
same as all other tanks
re: Help port Jackson sick      4/18/18

No sump do have protein skimmer and 1.020 is the recommended salinity for this shark as my other Jackson is thriving in these conditions
<should be higher for long term thriving>
I am running 3 tanks with same parameters and other sharks at aquarium store that where in with this shark are still ok don’t think water quality is the issue
<Try doing a partial water change, about 20% and take out the copper from water by using Seachem Cuprisorb, copper is doing more harm than good, trust me here>

Is my Flowerhorn doomed?   /Neale       4/18/18
Hello WWM crew,
I have a young Thai Silk Flowerhorn that I’ve owned for about 3-4 months now that I think may have swallowed a foreign object (gravel) that he is unable to pass. He hasn’t eaten for about two weeks now (which is unusual, as he always ate like a pig before!), has an intermittent ‘cough’ and pretty much spends most of his time hiding under the filter outflow. As you can see from the picture, his nuchal hump is beginning to deflate, but other than that he has no physical signs of disease other than a slightly ragged dorsal fin that is probably due to being jammed up under the HOB filter all day.
<Possibly, or genetic. Something does look 'off' to me about this fish.>
I’m no expert on Flowerhorn morphology, but he doesn’t look especially bloated to me; his belly is not noticeably different from when he was eating (and pooping) normally. He’s about 5 inches nose to tail, lives alone in a 20 gallon long aquarium (too small for him in the long run, I know, but I’ll upsize as needed) at ~25-26C, pH 7.5-8.5, gH 10-12, kH 5-8, ammonia/nitrite 0 and nitrate between 5-15. He gets at minimum a 25% weekly water change and gravel siphon, and generally gets fed a mix of several varieties of Hikari pellets (cichlid staple, bio-gold and bio-gold+) interspersed with frozen food 2-3 times per week, including at least one feeding per week of Spirulina-gut-loaded brine shrimp for fiber (I’ve never had any luck getting him to eat peas or any other strictly-green food).
<I do think the relatively small size of the aquarium isn't helping, but whether the actual cause of the problem here isn't certain at all.>
He originally had a pea pebble substrate, but about a week after he started showing symptoms I did a 100% WC, added 1 tsp of Epsom Salt per 5 gallons and switched him to pool filter sand. I can’t say for sure when the last time he pooped was, but I know for sure he hasn’t had any stool since I added the sand (~7 days). I’ve treated him with one round of Clout and two rounds of metrnidazole+nitrofurazone bath, and incrementally increased the Epsom Salt content of the water to 3 tsp/5 gallons. After the first metro/nitro treatment his coughs became occasionally productive, releasing pea-sized balls of whitish mucus with no apparent critters in them under inspection with a hand lens (microscope doesn’t arrive until tomorrow; I’ll update then). He still swims upright, but instead of gliding smoothly he sort of ‘waddles’ awkwardly in a stilted fashion.
The time is long past when I would usually have consulted a vet; unfortunately, the nearest ‘fish vet’ I’ve found is over 100 miles away.
I am seriously hoping that I am wrong about the pebble, but I’m at a loss of what else to do. I don’t want to euthanize the fish, but I really would rather not watch the poor baby starve to death! Please tell me that there is something else I haven’t tried …
Thanks in advance,
<There's little you can do to help a fish cough up swallowed gravel. It's relatively unlikely that gravel will pass into the digestive tract, but it can happen gravel gets caught up in the gill rakers or pharynx. Assuming such blockages don't obstruct feeding or ventilation, they usually fix themselves. In extremis, you could -- with wet hands for handling and wet cloths to hold the fish -- try and open up the mouth and see if there's anything stuck there. But this sort of handling is hard: perhaps ask a fisherman familiar with removing hooks from fish prior to returning them. The real problem with cichlids is that their jaws are delicate and easily dislocated, and once that happens, the show's over and they'll eventually starve to death. You can also try pushing water through the gill covers and out the mouth. Again, this is tricky, and too much force is potentially damaging, but a turkey baster for example is a useful tool for this. I don't think medicating further will be much use, though the use of Metronidazole was a good call. Sorry to not be able to offer much help here. Cheers, Neale.>

Water Changes and Ph/ Moping JD    /Neale       4/18/18
Thank you for your site and taking the time to help home aquarists.
I have two questions:
Do 75% water changes greatly affect Ph? I have 16, 1 year old+ cycled tanks and was doing 75% water changes every 10 to 14 days to keep the nitrates low. The problem is I intermittently end up with 1 or 2 fish dying after a large water change. I read somewhere that 25% water changes are best for avoiding Ph fluctuation. With so many tanks I am changing water 1x/week at 25%. (My bigger fish – Oscar, Purple Rose Queen, and Jack Dempsey in their own 75s get biweekly water changes due to the large size of their waste). In your experience are large water changes acceptable? I clean the sand/gravel each water change and drain the water into the yard. I have a 150’ hose attached to a shower head to fill the tanks. The hose is run a few minutes before filling. I add Safe prior to filling. Filters are cleaned once per month.
<Yes, big water changes can affect the pH in certain circumstances. Suppose you have a tank containing stuff that either lowers or raises the pH. If there are a lot of wood, plants and fish, then acidification will happen. The pH will tend to go down after a water change. If there are a lot of limestone rocks, coral sand, or seashells, then these will dissolve, gradually raising the pH. Now, suppose your tap water has a pH of 7.5, and relatively little buffering potential (e.g., a low carbonate hardness). Before the water change, your tank with lots of acidification might be at pH 6.5, but you do a big water change, and all of a sudden the pH rises up to pH 7.2 or 7.5. That's a big change, and some fish (and plants) can react to that. Similarly, in a tank that had a high pH before the water change, maybe 8.2, you do a water change, and it slams down to pH 7.5. Again, hard water fish won't be happy at all. Of course if your tap water has a high buffering capacity, and there's not much inside the tank raising or lowering pH, then big water changes might have relatively little effect. It all depends.>
I have a female Jack Dempsey. I got her full grown from a lfs about 2 years ago. She was in the $20 predator tank. Recently, I put her in my 150 American tank. She would spar with the squeaker catfish and a large green cichlid I do not know the name of.
<Green Terror perhaps?>
The convicts were her downfall as the JD and convicts like the bottom of the aquarium. The JDs side fins were torn and she stopped coming out of hiding at feeding time so I put her back in her own tank – 75 gallon. She is now digging in the sand but won’t eat – think maybe she and the green cichlid made a connection. She has been wormed and her water param.s are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10 nitrate. She gets biweekly water changes of 20 to 30%. I have been putting her light on and interacting with her more.
<She'd likely prefer less light.>
I am thinking about getting a Salvini or large barb dithers to put with her.
<Oh, the Salvini cichlids can be quite nasty, so be careful here; I'd be more along the lines of a large robust barb or characin, if you really wanted a tankmate here.>
Wondering if you have any suggestions? I think she is just lonely.
<No, she's not. Couldn't care less about companions.>
I have been adding Voogle vitamins just in case. I feed her omnivore and carnivore fish pellets from American Aquarium Products.
Thank you in advance,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Water Changes and Ph/ Moping JD    /Neale      4/18/18

Thank you for the feedback Neale and Bob!
The Ph shift possibility makes sense. Many fish keepers swear by large - even 100% water changes. I will just stick to the 25 - 30% range and see if fish continue to die occasionally.
<Oh for sure the bigger the water change, the better. Think about a river -- the fish isn't in the same water at any point in its life! But if a big water change exposes the fish to wide pH changes, that's bad. If the new water has the same temperature, hardness and pH as the old water, change as much as you want! But if not, then be more conservative, and stick with the traditional 20-25% at a time.>
As for the JD, it may be her time to go. I have read that other JDs come to life when they get to chase feeder fish.
<Uh, not a good idea.>
I do not do feeder fish or food that may contain parasites.
<Damn straight.>
I have a Green Terror but it is taking forever for him/her to grower larger.
<Do review tank size, nitrate level, and perhaps parentage. While these fish should get to a fair size, stunting is not uncommon, and inbreeding has suppressed the size and colouration of many cichlids.>
Luckily I can move some fish around. In a 125g, I am going to put a 6" Pleco, the JD's green cichlid companion, add the JD, and later add some same sex red jewels when they get a bit bigger. Also going to add loads of caves and fake plants and see how things go. The JD keeps swimming around and looking out of the tank. I am keeping the light off now. As a child, my hamster tried to get out when he was about to die, could be that what she is up to or she could miss the safe feeling having more fish affords.
<Not the way these fish work. While for sure cichlids do response to dither fish in the wild, and in captivity, the lack of them isn't going to stress or harm them. Plus, if the dither fish will simply be eaten, or at least damaged, what's the point? Floating plants would work just as well, with fewer risks.>
I read that in the wild a JD watches the live bearers present in its environment to know when danger is approaching.
<Yes, this is correct.>
Anyway, sure appreciate the help and support!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Discus fins black    /Neale       4/18/18
Dear Sir,
Two of my discus fins are turning black even water temperature is in between 86-88 F and I am changing daily 50% water change thinking if they have any stress due to water quality it can be reduce down.
<Could be.>
For your reference I have attached a pic also of them.
Can you please suggest me the right solution which can solve this problem.
<Typically, dark black patches are put done to exposure to ammonia. So do check the ammonia reading of your aquarium. It should really be zero. The water chemistry is important too. Discus need soft, acidic water to do
well. For sure the farmed ones are more adaptable, but they rarely do well in very hard water. I'd be aiming for 1-12 degrees dH, pH 6.0-7.5. Of course at low pH levels biological filtration operates poorly, so under-stocking is important.>
Thanks in advance.
Yours Sincerely
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Discus fins black      /Neale       4/18/18

thanks for the suggestion....will check the ammonia and also follow your instruction regarding DH and PH and check and will update you the progress.
<Glad to help, and good luck! Neale.>
Re: Discus fins black /RMF again      4/18/18

<Hello again Anupam>
Thanks for your suggestions...currently i have not put plants as i have ordered for soil and waiting for that.
<Mmm; all this, the plants, soil, should be put in weeks to months ahead of the Symphysodon>
I read that if tank is not planted water temperature should be in between 86-88F and if tank is planted water temperature should be in between 84-86F hence i put temperature in between 86-88F.
<For wild fishes; these are cultured>
I am not sure much about stark what you mean to say but the place where i put the fishes is calm and quite. Kindly advise.
<Back to reading, study... at least what is posted on WWM... ALL re Discus.
They need shelter, decor... to be able to get out of the light>
PH level i will check and let you know.
<Read; don't write. Bob Fenner>

Discus    /Neale       4/18/18
A friend recommended you for advise! I have a mature 240 litre and hi have recently added 6 new discus fish.
2 of them have 1 fin clamped with what looks like a bit of Finrot and are breathing rapidly and occasionally flicking fins.
<This could simply be a result of stress or rough handling, both of which can cause these symptoms. They should respond to a two-fold approach here.
Firstly, remove sources of stress. Dark tank, quiet, and above all good water quality should help. Secondly, medicate appropriately, using a reliable anti-Finrot medication. Depending on where you live, antibiotics like Kanaplex would be a good call, or else something like eSHa 2000 if you live outside the US.>
I've used Melafix so far but it doesn't seem to have helped.
<Indeed not. It's fairly unreliable.>
Can you suggest a different treatment pls?
<See above.>
Many thanks Caroline
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Discus     /Neale       4/18/18

Thank you very much I'll try ESHa 2000. Do I leave water changes though for that as I usually do 15% daily at the mo?
<I would not do any water changes during the course of medications. If I recall, eSHa 2000 takes 3 doses across 3-4 days. But if you must do a water change because of water quality problems, do it 24 hours after dosing.>
You're the second person to say that about Melafix can I ask why? Not questioning you just to understand better.
<It's at best a preventative. It is very unreliable as a medication once things get bad. Experience through working with WWM is that a lot of folks who use it find it doesn't help. Some people find it makes things worse. No personal experience of that, but I would be sympathetic to the argument that in 'wasting time' with Melafix, the Finrot gets worse, maybe fatally so.>
My water is fine nitrates 25ppm but my Tap water tends to be around 20 too...
<Should be find for most fish, but Discus are a trifle sensitive, as are most cichlids. I'd be very aware of this, and think of ways to keep nitrate as low as practical.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Silicone Mistake      4/18/18
So despite knowing not to use GE 2 silicone, I decided too many things were going right and said what the heck. Anyway, just spent hours scraping and cleaning the silicone and wanted to see how much trouble I was in. So the
project at hand were teeth blocks on the overflow to raise the water level in the display tank. Luckily, my T attachment for the return wouldn't fit and I never cycled water over the silicone. However water did make contact with the bottom most edge (skin thin) for around 18 hours. Also water made contact during application when I was using a paper towel to wipe excess and water ran off it into the tank. Finally a few specs broke free while cleaning, but I recovered most of these.
So with that info in hand and photos of my cleaning so far, would you mind advising me on my next steps (no live anything yet btw)? Am I safe to replace with aquarium safe silicone and move on?
<Likely so>

Is there anything I can do to neutralize the threat after covering it? Basically is this tank doomed forever?
Thanks in advance!
<Only time, experience can/will tell, but with the use of activated carbon regularly changed out...
You should be fine. Bob Fenner>

Re: Anemone ID question      4/17/18
Hi Bob,
I just got off the phone with the vendor who hand picked this in Indonesia (<Omitted> please do not post his name thank you). He mentioned that he does not believed this was dyed and its the first time he came across this type of anemone.
<... I have never encountered such a naturally colored anemone as this. Am close to total confidence that it is dyed>
He said he had no issues with this place and he had been going to this place for years to hand pick. He mentioned it being as close to a bubble tip anemone potency vs. a carpet. I have seen dyed long tentacle anemones and leathers in the past. Usually its 1 color and nothing like this.
<Yes; agreed... or two, three colors... side to side, top to bottom... >
Also, he had a few different ones with green and yellow, but this was the only rainbow one. I'm stumped because it is an anemone that he reached out to various sources and could not identify. Enclosed is a pic that he just sent me. The red in it is not as intense. Thank you again.
<Dyed mate; and dangerous to put in your system. You may end up losing all... One last time, I would not buy this animal. BobF>

Re: Anemone ID question      4/17/18
Thank your advice. You just saved me a 1000.
Did you find it strange that the colors are different from the original.
<I don't find it unusual at all; red does fade more quickly; and take a close look around the mouth... colorless, and the various parts of the capitulum... Inconsistent; painted w/ a brush to dye it.

He said he had it about a month.
<Is the biz still owned by the original fellow; the <Omitted>? Unusual for him if so to make such a purchase, mistake. Bob Fenner>
Re: Anemone ID question      4/17/18

I believe so. I spoke to him directly. <Omitted>.
<Real good. Will not reveal his identity. B>

Anemone ID question      4/16/18
<Greetings Frank>
I came across this rainbow anemone
<Umm; not rainbow naturally. This specimen has been artificially dyed. Do NOT buy it. DO read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coloredanemones.htm
from a vendor and I’m not convinced they know what they are selling. They list it is as a Thalassianthus type anemone, but it kind of looks like a hell fire a little.
<Could be the former genus... the latter is just a common name that I've seen applied to quite a few species.>
Do you know what species this is and how big they get. This is about 3” and do you know if they are a fast grower? I do have various anemones (tube, rbta,2 rock, mini carpet) with fish and my fish are pretty good avoiding these without touching them outside my trio of clownfish in the rbta. Will this be a big risk for my fish since I had 0 causalities for years in an established 54 gallon tank?
<I would NOT mix this animal in with what you have. Again, I would NOT buy it period, as it has been artifically colored and is not at all likely to live; being bereft of endo-symbiotic algae>
Thank you for your help as always!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dwarf frogs      4/15/18
Thanks so much for your help!
<Most welcome.>
Sadly, I lost 3 froggies but the other 2 seem to be doing ok.
<Oh dear.>
I went today and got a new heater, the filter you suggested, and some live plants. I still can’t get them to eat though.
<They will when they're settled. But bear in mind three key things: Firstly, they're largely nocturnal by preference, and won't feed in bright, open area unless they're thoroughly settled. Secondly, they hunt as much by smell as anything else. This means if you put too much food in the tank it becomes hard for them to find the food, so a small amount in one concentrated area is better than lots of food spread around the aquarium. Finally, they have little to no interest in dried foods, at least initially. Tempt them with either small live foods or their (wet) frozen equivalents. I'd leave newly-purchased frogs for the first night unfed, and thereafter offer them, once a day, small amounts of small live foods, such as live bloodworms or mosquito larvae collected from a local pond. Remove any uneaten particles of food. Repeat until the frogs are obviously feeding, and then over the next week or two, try weaning them onto (dried) alternatives.>
I’m feeding them freeze dried bloodworms and ReptoMin sinking aquatic frog granules. I’ve tried putting the food right in front of their faces but they don’t take it, just swim away. Any tips?
<See above.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

African Aquatic clawed frog has yellow back legs      4/15/18
I have two 14 year olds that are wonderful.
<I'm assuming you're talking about frogs here, not children!>
One has a yellow color under back legs now. I asked Grow A frog about this and they said it is normal with age.
<Perhaps. Never seen it myself. They do become paler with age though, that's true enough.>
What are your thoughts? The other one is fine and has not changed color.
<Assuming the frogs are otherwise healthy, and there's no sign of, for example, bloating or lesions on the skin, I'd 'watch and wait' for the time being. Chances are it's nothing too alarming. I mean, you could try an antibiotic as used against Red-Leg, such as Maracyn Plus, just in case, as that's the most likely serious problem that causes damage to the legs of these frogs.>
The water is Eldorado Spring water/ They live in a long 20 gal aquarium. No filter just PVC tunnels. I clean the water two times a week. I have a make shift lid that is made from clear acrylic. It covers the middle top of the
aquarium leaving 2-3 inches on each side open. I have jumpy frogs when the weather changes.
<Indeed! Perhaps they are more active if air pressure changes rapidly? Like Weather Loaches?>
They eat pellets from Grow A frog one to two times a day. Otherwise the frog eats and seems normal. Any ideas?
<Not really. Never seen this sort of thing, and while it's good to keep an eye open for bacteria and fungal skin infections, if these frogs have been happy and healthy for so many years, you must be getting the basics right!>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Dwarf frogs; gen., sys.       4/14/18
I just got 5 dwarf frogs today.
I'm new to them but did research and had the tank set up properly.
<Cool. Let me direct you to some reading first of all, here:
Although essentially easy to keep, especially in a nice big tank like yours, they do pose a couple of challenges. Water chemistry doesn't matter much, but they do need tropical temperatures (not room temperature!) and they do need good water quality (via a gentle filter of some sort). Unless you happen to live in the tropics, you'll need a heater set to 25 C/77 F to keep them warm, and ideally that heater should be protected with a 'heater guard' that ensures the frogs can't burn themselves. Some aquarium heaters come with the heater guard already: it's a curved, mesh-like plastic thing that clips onto the heater. Definitely worth choosing a heater that has one. So far as filtration goes, a small internal canister is fine, as are air-powered sponge or box filters. I'd avoid hang-on-the-back filters because these require large open spaces in the hood that the frogs can escape through.>
It’s a 10gallon with only the frogs, a clay pot, hidey, and silk flowers. It has a bubble stone and a filter-however I can’t use it right now because the current is too strong.
<Do see above and choose the appropriate sort of filter design. Healthy frogs are not feeble swimmers, so a canister filter or box filter rated for an 8-10 gallon system should be fine. Of course if the frogs are half-starved they may struggle a bit -- some filters have dials that allow you to turn down the flow rate, and that would be helpful.>
My concern is that since putting them in the tank, 3 float on top and don’t stay down even when nudged down, and two stay still on the bottom. Is this normal for new frogs?
<It is normal for these frogs to bask at the surface of the tank, often under the lamp, warming themselves up a bit.>
Do they need a de-stressing period?
<The addition of floating plants will help enormously here; floating Indian Fern, sometimes called Water Sprite, is the ideal choice. Such plants provide shade and shelter. Bear in mind these frogs come from dark, shady habitats and don't like wide open spaces all that much.>
They won’t eat.
<What are you offering them? The dried pellet foods are sometimes rejected, and initially at least, things like frozen bloodworms and live daphnia may work better. My frogs would also eat tiny bits of fish and shrimp.>
Ammonia levels are 0,
ph is around 6.4-6.8.
<A trifle low, but probably not a big deal.>
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Help ¿Marine worm?      4/14/18
Hello! I discovered your website. Good job. A year ago I found a living being on the beaches of Gerona, Catalonia. (Spain). I was half buried in the sand, it is not poisonous or stinging because I took it with my hand and after taking some pictures I returned them to the sea. I've been looking for information but I do not know what it is. Could you help me? Thank you very much. Greetings from Spain.
<Mmm; these might be Echiurans... Please see the Net and here Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/echwrmidfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>

Need advice urgently     4/13/18
Good evening guys
<Hey only going on three in the afternoon here!>
I have a 1.5meter Boyu curved tank which I was busy taking into my house and I accidentally nudged it on the front panel at the bottom , the front panel overlaps the base so the silicone seal isn’t disturbed
The chip is right through the front panel but the base is still 100% perfect
<I see this, and the placement in your excellent pix>
Do you think I can brace it on the inside of the tank along the front panel and then put a lot of silicone on the trimming when I put the trimming back on ???? Please advise ..... I don’t know what to do and this tank has cost me an equivalent of about 1000 US Dollars
<I do think that you'll be okay with the brace, and would fill in the area of the chip to avoid cuts to your hands>
Thank you guys for helping out guys like myself and for your expert advice
Kind Regards
Trevor Jordaan
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Need advice urgently    4/13/18
Thank you so much for your prompt response , I’m so happy to hear that the bracing will work as I have asked a few people locally ( I am from Cape Town , South Africa ) and most of them say it should be ok but it was just that one person that commented that it wasn’t going to work that got me panicking. Thank you so much for your expert advice , it has put my mind at ease now that it will work .
I will brace it and do a pressure test for a week or two just to be 100% before I place it in my house ( I will keep you guys posted )
Thank you guys for such an amazing service of advice .
Take care
Trevor Jordaan
<Cheers Trev. B>

Betta Health Question    4/13/18
Hello Bob and WWM Crew!
<Greetings Jen>
I have been experiencing some issues with my Betta fish. I have 12 of them, and from time to time a few of them have exhibited symptoms where they have trouble swimming and balancing.
<Unusual behavior>
This has occurred in several different tanks with several different fish. Most recently it happened in a 2 gallon tank that had been setup for 3 1/2 weeks, when I added my established Betta to the tank, within a day he was having trouble swimming and balancing. I checked the water parameters (PH 8.1,
<Better for Bettas to be in neutral, soft/er water... a pH of 7.0 or so.
The pH scale is a base 10 log... so 8 is ten times more Hydroxyl ions (or ten less H2) than 7; a big difference. Do see WWM re pH control>
Ammonia .25,
<Mmm; this needs to be and stay 0.0 ppm; ammonia is even more toxic at high/er pH>

NO2 0,
NO3 10, I try to maintain temp around 77). The tank has a few live plants and fish safe gravel, and a filter with activated carbon. Here is the strange thing; when I remove the Betta to a cup (the cup they are in when purchased from the store) in the same water from the tank, within minutes to an hour, they are swimming perfectly normal, which leads me to believe it is not caused from the water, as I realize the PH is slightly elevated
and there is trace ammonia present. I am so frustrated trying to figure out why the Betta exhibits these symptoms in the tank, but when removed from the tank and placed in a cup, they almost instantly improve?
<Does seem strange>
I am hoping you might have some insight and suggestions for me, I have scoured your articles and FAQ's and couldn't find anything similar to this issue.
Please help!!
Lizzy M.
<Do you have other fish species? Are they similarly disoriented? Do the tanks have gravel, that is, something other than a reflective bottom... ?
I'd do what you can to make the water quality better for now. Bob Fenner>

Shell Rot       4/12/18
<Hiya, JP. I'm so sorry this email seems to have been stuck in my inbox and just now listed>
I have a turtle who has some obvious shell rot. We got her last spring from a family in the town we live in. She had a little bit of white
spotting, but nothing major. We moved in the summer and she refused to bask at much, preferring to stay in the water. Once we got back to taking
her out on the grass more often, allowing her shell to try, we noticed bigger white splotches on the hard shell and underneath. I took pictures
and went to the pet store. They said it was just because we have hard water as we are on a well. I found this hard to believe as she also
wouldn't eat much. I sent pictures my sister-in-law who is a veterinarian and she had us dry dock and use a fungal ointment. She was looking better
come October, and I reduced treatments, but continued to dry dock. The last couple weeks her shell has rapidly become worse again. She never sits
in the same water. She dry basks in her tank and then I put her in a separate tub overnight which gets refilled every day.
<Your sister-in-law was correct, clearly, but so is your pet store. As the shell firms up you will notice white discolorations under the scutes.
What separates them from shell rot is that the white doesn't scrape off -- it's a true discoloration and not a coating.>

3 toed box turtle       4/12/18
Hello Darryl (or whoever is covering terrapins today)
<Hiya! Another letter stuck somewhere in my box magically appeared out of the past>
You might recall our correspondence about 18 months ago, as our family grew by one small member. Boxy/SlowMo has settled-in well (even if we still haven’t finalized a name. We hope by the time our kids have kids we’ll all go with SlowMo).
<I like it.>
I’m reaching out partially to just say thanks again, we’re loving our little turtle. And also to see if you agree with our assessment that she is, in fact, a she. I’ve attached a few photos that should help. She was about 6 months old when we brought her home in November 2016, so she should be close to 2 now.
Thanks for all your awesome help
<No charge!! But if you ever hit the lottery, don't forget that "donate" button at the top of our page>
PS, we’re still rocking the au natural substrate, though we added a layer of coconut coir, and a top coat of sphagnum (ethically harvested, if the package is to be believed; and if you can’t believe advertising, what can you believe?!), which we can periodically remove and rinse clean. Still no odour issues, other than a somewhat pleasing earthy/woodsy aroma.


Is my turtle shell normal       4/12/18
Dear Crew,
<Hiya, Darrel here>
I have two peninsula Cooter turtles, I’ve had them for over a year already and their underside started looking like this a little while ago and I just want to know if my turtles are healthy, are their shells normal?
<Since I have no idea what you mean by "this" -- I just look at the pictures and I see a normal and healthy carapace.>
<Remember, the most important things are: 1) that they are active and alert. 2) that their behavior today is the same as their behavior yesterday. If they do THAT for you ... and you keep them in healthy conditions, you'll have no problems>

Re: Flatworm or something else?       4/12/18
Thanks, Bob!
<Welcome Adam. BobF>

Reactor question       4/12/18
Hey Bob. Hope you’re doing well.
<Thanks John; still hobbling about>
I wanted your opinion on something. I have a reef Octopus 2 chamber CA reactor that I’m going to convert into a bio pellet and carbon reactor.
<Can be done>
My plan is to use chamber one which is a recirculating chamber to tumble the pellets. Chamber one will drain into chamber 2 which is NOT a recirculating chamber and fill it with carbon.
Is there any down side into pushing effluent from bio pellets over carbon? Would it decrease the desired effect of the pellet effluent?
<No real downside here in the short or long haul. I myself prefer to use the carbon in Dacron bags (better for changing and keeping in place; trust me here), or just buy it in bags, like Chemi-pure. If you're using more than one bag, you can switch out the older one next interval.>
Thanks for the great advice.
<Always glad to toss in my dos centavos. Bob Fenner>
Re: Reactor question       4/12/18

Great. Thanks Bob. The only real reservation I had was that I know most people like to run the pellet effluent near the skimmer intake and that would really be <not?> possible with this application. Also I didn’t know if the slime that the pellets sometimes sloth off would gum the carbon up.
<All good questions, concerns. The only "proof" here will be putting all the gear in place and running it John. There is still some credible percentage of art vs. technology in ornamental aquaristics>
Thanks again! Take care of that knee.
<Out to the Sports Med. doc. in the AM; thank you. B>
Re: Reactor question       4/12/18

I don’t know the nature of the injury with your knee, but if you haven’t already done so, try some Tiger Balm. The stuff is amazing.
<Am a fan of this product, line>
It really took away the pain in my shoulders far better than any pill. It’s anti-inflammatory properties are incredible.
Good luck,
<Thank you for your input, concern John. Means much. BobF>


Can Epsom salt be used for Ich?       4/12/18
Dear WWM.
Hope you are doing fine. Thanks for maintaining an incredible website, it is so helpful.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
A quick question: Along with heat, can we use Epsom salt instead of NaCl to treat freshwater ich?
I am not getting a definitive answer from the interweb. In case we can, what will be a ballpark gm/US gallons mixing advice?
<No idea.>
I was wondering if the osmotic pressure difference between the Ich protozoan's tissue (in the free swimming stage) and the water is what kills
them. In that case any salt that is not detrimental otherwise should work.
<In theory that sounds fine, but Epsom salt has other properties, such as its laxative effect, that sodium chloride does not; therefore the two are
not interchangeable.>
Or is there something special about NaCl and ich biochemically?
<Might well be, but the research is lacking. If you visit Google Scholar you'll find much research involving Ichthyophthirius and sodium chloride,
but so far as I can tell, none at all re: Ichthyophthirius and magnesium sulphate/sulfate.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sandsifters and grain size       4/12/18
Thanks so much Bob - it all makes practical sense and matches up with a lot of my thoughts ;) It really will help A LOT.
<Ah, good>
No need to post this ;)
On a side note I just found this page - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/biocleaners.htm <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/biocleaners.htm> I for 1 would love to read that (or even better an article on different animals (maybe the best in each category) that are beneficial in a tank. Like I was thinking of having a dedicated critter in my QT as I (slowly) stock my tank. First I thought cleaner wrasse (then I read up on WWM so nope) - then I thought cleaner shrimp - now I am thinking cleaner goby. I have more research to do before actually asking you a question on this topic ;)
<Ahh, good>
For now I’m more focused on working out the aquascape and the next coming will be a about aquascape (in regards to Maxima Tridacna, an animal I think may also be beneficial
<Cheers! BobF>

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  • Fishes, Index 1: Sharks, Rays, Skates; Marine Eels; Marine Catfishes; Squirrelfishes, Soldierfishes, Lionfishes, Stonefishes, Gurnards, Sculpins; Anglerfishes, Seahorses & Pipefishes, Blennioid & Gobioid Fishes, Mandarins, Clingfishes, Wrasses and Parrotfishes,
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  • Fishes Plus, Index 3: Marine Angelfishes, Tangs/Surgeons/Doctorfishes, Scats, Batfishes, Rabbitfishes; Triggers, Files, Puffers, Flounders, Halibuts, Soles, Really Old Fishes, Marine Reptiles, Marine Mammals,
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