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Chlorurus sordidus (Forsskal 1775), the Daisy Parrotfish. Indo-Pacific, Red Sea to Hawai'i. Mainly feeds on benthic algae. To sixteen inches overall length. Terminal phase individual in Fiji 2017
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Common Ancistrus losing interest in food      11/21/17
Hello Neale,
<Hello Jacob,>
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I’ve been monitoring the Pleco and while she still hasn’t been her old, bold self, I was just going to let things run their course since she still pretty much looked well. I nearly sent a follow-up the other day when it appeared she had some bloating/enlargement near the cloaca, but it seemed to pass after about a day so I didn’t bother. She has shown some mild interest in New Life Spectrum community flakes, though I can’t say I’ve definitively seen her consume any. I haven’t witnessed her eating in a way that was obvious to me. She ignored the latest bit of broccoli in the tank (still beloved by Otos) and wasn’t a fan of the blanched kale I tried (though it drew mild interest from the Otos).
But I’m replying because things seem to have taken a bad turn.
<I agree.>
This morning she relocated to the front of the tank and is very pale and *very* bloated.
<Yes; I would be treating with Epsom salt, 2 gram/litre; in addition, if practical, use Metronidazole, as instructed on the packaging. The Epsom salt will help with bloating, constipation, even egg binding; also helps with incipient dropsy; the Metronidazole is good for a range of intestinal microbial parasites, not just Hexamita. The two together, often done alongside a Furan-type antibiotic, are very useful and widely used for this sort of thing. Epsom salt is obviously very cheap and available everywhere, the Metronidazole will require some effort to obtain outside of the US.>
She’s now laying halfway on her back right out in the open and hasn’t moved for some time. It may not be obvious from the attached photo, but she is not attached to the glass. I also don’t think the picture quite does the extremity of the bloating justice. She’s never looked anything like this. It’s hard to see from the photo, but it almost looks like she has an ovipositor hanging out, something I noticed the other day as well. This maybe is an illusion and is actually something else (and she’s never been around a male) but I wonder if she could be egg-bound?
<It is possible, but rare in fish.>
Anyway, I’m not sure of the best course of action. I’m not sure if I should, say, add Epsom salt to the tank. I could put her in an isolation tank and do the same or another treatment, but I don’t want to stress her to death either. Of course, at this point, lying on her back in the open is probably pretty darn stressful too.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Hmmm ... (RMF, any ideas?). G Loach      11/21/17
Good day!
Thank you for the info Saturday.
I replaced the carbon filtration back in the tank, water parameters are great at Amm 0, Nitrites 0 & Nitrates 20 ppm. Ghosty is still eating & acting normally, and the spots in his two tail lumps are more of a brownish red than bright red now. They also appear to be shrinking slightly.
However, this morning, he looked like this:
See that pink squiggly stuff beside him? Is that his skin?

<Is it attached to him? Or just some random thing on the ground? If attached to the body, then yes, a piece of skin is possible I suppose. More ominously is some sort of external parasite. It doesn't look much like an Anchor Worm in the photo, but said photo isn't too sharp, and Anchor Worms are commonly seen on coldwater fish, so could get onto a Weather Loach at some point. Anchor Worm is a pain to treat, needing specific medication (because it's a crustacean rather than a worm) but this sort of shapeless worm might more probably be some type of flatworm or annelid worm, in which case Praziquantel is your go-to medication. It's easy to buy and use, not particularly toxic (though use carefully) and is normally tolerated well by loaches.>
I added Stress Coat to the tank Sat & Sun thinking that might help boost his healing. I also added Melafix yesterday (although I’ve seen you say this is useless) ... but with the carbon still in, I would imagine it has been processed out of the tank ...
<Melafix is fairly pointless, yes. It's kind of like a bar of soap. Sure, might kill germs on the outside. But doesn't really do much for fish that are genuinely sick. BobF believes it actually has a counterproductive effect. So nope, I'd not put a lot of store by it, though I do know some swear by it. Certainly, if you're treating a bacterial infection, a proper antibiotic like Tetracycline will be not only more effective but also less likely to affect the filter bacteria.>
Should I do another course of antibiotics or ParaGuard? Another medication? Or just wait it out? I’m so sorry to keep asking questions but I’m afraid you’re the most knowledgeable source & I'm doing all I can to try and help this guy. :-/
<If he's eating and behaving normally, and that thing isn't attached to him, I'd carry on what you're doing. But if that thing is attached to him, then treating as per a worm of some kind should do the trick.>
Thanks in advance for your assistance,
<Cheers, Neale.>
<<Don't know what the anomalous material is (fecal matter?), but not a fan of Melafix. Have Wendy search for our input on WWM re. I would NOT treat this Dojo further. Bob Fenner>>

Ghosty      11/21/17
Ok so I fished it out of the tank, & it is slimy & immediately dissolves when touched. There were two “blood globs” where those tumors or cysts are, that as you can see, flattened out w/the slightest pressure.
So strange ... I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you! -Wendy-
Wendy ��
<My thoughts run along the lines of "yuk". But as previous message, if not attached to loach, and your fish is basically happy and active, I'd fish out and ignore; stick with optimising living conditions and diet, and trust the loach's own immune system to do the rest. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ghosty      11/21/17
Ok great, thanks very much! It’s just the weirdest thing! Those cysts almost look as if they’re trying to “pop” or something. Very strange though I suppose I’m thankful he has this issue & not some of the other lumps & bumps I’ve seen since scouring the Internet for images of weather loaches with bumps!
<Do try Loaches.com; they do have a forum there, and the guys and gals there are generally very helpful and informative.>
Thanks again!!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Copperbanded Butterfly with new spots      11/21/17
Hello. Love your guys site. Was hoping you could help me ID this disease.
<... 9 megs of uncropped pix John!? Looks to me to be Crypt-like. VERY common w/ imported Chelmons... s/b pH adjusted freshwater dipped/bathed enroute to quarantine for a couple weeks...>
Got this Copperbanded 3 weeks ago and he spent a week in QT.
<Need at least two>
Is eating bloodworms very aggressively and looks otherwise healthy.
<Ahh! Good signs>
Overnight he developed so damage to his caudal fin and now it has a single white spot on it.
<Only the one? Might be naught/nothing
... a pinch w/ accumulated mucus. I would NOT treat>
He has no other spots or damage to fins. I’m hoping it’s lymph and plan to leave him be and not stress him by throwing him back in QT. Doing a water Change today as it is that time of month. Info on the tank he is in it is a
75 with a 30 gal sump and has been running for more then a year. All tank mates look healthy (2 O. Clowns and a Flame angel, one first shrimp, one cleaner shrimp). Thanks for any advice.
<Do stay vigilant.. i.e., keep an eye on this fish. Have a read on WWM re Protozoans of marine fishes.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Flasher and Fairy Wrasses      11/21/17
Alright, well we've had some time to maul this information over. We have narrowed our choices to the red head solon fairy wrasse. And either the McCosker's or Flame Wrasse depending on how you answer the next few questions.
First, for our purposes, is it better to get a pair of wrasses or a Harem to maintain natural coloration of the males?
<Best harem, second best, pairs>
Second, if you have not had a chance to look, a pair of Flame Wrasses are up to $599 depending on the source... a very scary price tag.
<Yes! I did look... Dr.s F and S had large/r males for about three hundred US>
However, females are substantially less (a little over $100) . If we purchased either two or three females at once, would it be guaranteed one would eventually emerge with "super male" coloration?
<Maybe not super (there are such things in Labrids, Scarids... if you consider the parrots a separate family); but at least male in time>
I also assume that adding these fish (either a pair or harem of both wrasses) to 84X24x18 130 gallon system with a purple tang, flame angel, Banggai cardinal and single clown fish would not create undue hardship on the system?
I didn't ask before as the system has a seriously low bioload.
<I don't think that you'll register any change here>
<Welcome. BobF>

Mimic Tang issue      11/21/17
<Hey Ron>
Looked online trying to diagnose whatever this aliment is affecting the fish in attached picture.
It is of a friends fish. She states that the area is raised and that fish is swimming and eating normal.
Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you in advance,
Ron Ruesch
Wisconsin Reef Society
<What is this? Looks... almost viral; or possibly resultant injury from... a brush with a very powerful stinging organism. What other life present here? NOT HLLE; and I would not treat this fish, system. Just good care... water quality and nutrition. And time going by. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mimic Tang issue      11/21/17
Thanks for the reply Bob.
Only stinging organisms in the tank according to my friend are a torch
coral and a mini maxi anemone.
<Ahh; these might well "be it">
She is going to work on better diet and
vitamin supplement.
Hope you have a great thanksgiving,
<Thank you Ron; and you and yours. BobF>

Stomatella or Scutus?       11/21/17
Hello wet web crew,
<Hey KL!>
I have looked over your site and read all your limpet and snail ID threads.
My main tank is 200 gallons with 75 refugium. Currently it only has crustaceans and soft corals in it. Mainly mushrooms and a toadstool.
I found this critter in my tank tonight and wondering what it is.
Looks like a snail but only a small shell. Is it a snail or a limpet?
What species?
<Yikes... due to striations on the shell, and that it isn't white... will guess a Stomatellid; but... could be either>
It's about 1 3/4 inch to 2 inches.
<The shell? Most Scutus top out at 12.5 mm>
Is it friend or foe?
<Friend; purposeful algae scraper>
I'm wondering if it felt safe to come out because there are no fish currently in the tank.
<Likely arose from your live rock; common>
It moves pretty fast for a snail. I also have video if you want me to send it.
It's shell seems frilled or scalloped along the edges and I can't really tell if its black or a translucent shell.
<Good points. Stomatellids typically have a mantle "tail" and are not emarginated>
Thank you for any help you can offer.
<I'd keep it. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: LFS is doing a huge import... opinions?     11/20/17
Hello crew, hope you are doing fine.
<Thank you Roberto; yes>
Weird, i cant find the response you gave to this mail... well, i am also forwarding the past message just for context.
<Is posted (I do this) in a couple places; here is one: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWLvstk13.htm
the import came a few days later after i messaged you, and fast forwards a couple weeks, here's what's happened.
No Biotodoma cupido (bummer).
10 H. psittacus brought in, about 15 cm the smallest one... whew, i wasn't expecting fish this big to come.... Didn't get any... yet, they all look full and have started to show colors at the lfs... only 3 bought so far, not likely buying one, they were brought bigger than i expected, likely displaying aggression at this size.
8 Uaru fernandezyepezi came in... they looked very weak and distressed. They are between 3 and 4 inches, one kicked the bucket at the lfs... 2 have been bought. Still 5 left which have seemingly got in better shape since. They still don't look totally well though, they are kept with silver dollars and a couple bulldog Plecos in a 15 gal or so aquarium... this is at the lfs... the price is surprisingly low... $14 each!! I mean, these guys are supposed to be expensive aren't they?
<Can be; depending on where, size, and actual species>
I'm assuming they are tank bred in that case... if... given a couple weeks more, and see if they are any better... would it be more or less safe to buy a couple?
<Should be>
the price is unfairly tempting. I have some wood that is leaching tannins and have access to almond leaves. My tap water pH is commonly between 7.7 and 8.1 and kH is around 9. I'm not sure how low i can get these parameters with just wood and almond leaves.
<I'd mix in softer water, reverse osmosis... to lower the pH below 7.0>
Not sure if it is worth it since the parameters may reset when i do water changes, which could potentially be fatal as they would be sudden.
Do you think it is worth the risk of trying a couple of them in a species tank?
<If it were me; yes>
Among other fish of my interest are about 10 or so varieties of Plecos. Being a Pleco collector, i bought an adult pair of Ancistrus ranunculus... they are about 10 cm already, one with very big and bushy bristles while the other one has small and fewer... so I'm assuming i sexed them correctly. Many other Plecos, true zebras even (not paying the $200 tag though). some Panaque varieties, Hemiloricaria sp, some that look like randomized but yet similar patterns and colors of Peckoltia sabaji, so I'm assuming there a few, related species among them.
<Am a huge fan of Loricariids>
Is there any Pleco species i should be wary of, considering my water parameters?
<Any from soft, acidic water habitats (I'd use Fishbase.org here) that are wild-collected, weak...>
i have a small but healthy collection of Plecs and have had trouble with not a single species, yet.
Many other species, not many i can house/have interest in right now. Pikes, Ossa knife fish, red bellied piranha, Apistogramma (learned to stay away from Apistos a long time ago, until i get R/O water, at least), altums. etc.
As always, thanks for your time, it always gets me excited when exotic fish get brought in.
<Me too! Bob Fenner>

Ossa knifefish    11/20/17
On second thought, about my earlier message.
I may actually be interested in Ossa knifefish. Did some quick research, although there is virtually no info on them other than they can grow really huge and are mainly predatory.
<Yes; Rhamphichthys rostratus gets to a meter in length>
The Ossas are around 12 cm at the lfs. Right now, i have 3 tanks big enough to house them. The 150 gallon planted tank: I see them in YouTube kept in planted tanks, however, this is a high tech, co2 infused and very bright aquarium. There is a big piece of bogwood with Anubias and java fern on the corner. It really is a big piece which gives shade to about 1/5 of the tank area. This is where the phantom Plecos come to hide during the day. Could this be sufficient for the Ossas?,
<For... more than one? For how long?>
there is dense vegetation also, the substrate is not that bright. I reckon the biggest problem will be the feeding. The tank has a lot of occupants: Rainbowfish, tetras, Kuhli loaches, a Kribensis quartet and so. Competition for food is high, and then comes the fact that the Ossa needs live or frozen foods, also he will likely be staying near the bottom while most of his tankmates will be at the surface feeding.
<According to Fishbase, live on "benthic aquatic invertebrates">
The tank is big, but i doubt the tank has enough microfauna to feed Ossas. I've seen scuds and some time ago i dropped some daphnia. Every now and then i see a single daphnia swimming. There is life in the substrate, but how much? i don't know. Also, can they eat my smaller, red phantom tetras? because they are my favorites.
<Will/would have to be fed specifically; foods (if frozen; defrosted, rinsed in tapwater to remove liquid nutrients; placed right down on the bottom near the knife>
The other aquarium, a long 40 gal which is housing Ancistrus cirrhosus and Ancistrus ranunculus, an Acara diadema and some Thorichthys maculipinnis, although these are smaller than 6 cm, they will be moved later to a bigger aquarium. This tank does not have much competition, but it is significantly smaller than the 150 gal, likely has no substrate fauna either, so feeding will be a challenge, again.
There is also a 15 gal long heavily planted tank again. However, this tank just has a female guppy, 2 black phantom tetras and 2 green fire tetras. Besides that, there is a thriving colony of cherry shrimp. For all i know the shrimp can help in feeding the Ossas! and really... i have not shortage of shrimp...
<.... this tank is too small>
Only other option i can think of is a 10 gallon, they would be by themselves though, so i can arrange the tank to fit their needs.
Any of these cases would be momentary, i would be setting a proper tank for them later, maybe mid-late February.
As for food items, i culture Zophoba, mealworms, daphnia, Microworms and have thriving colonies of shrimp and also breeding Poeciliids, probably have around 60-70 freshly born fry at any time.
There is not much info on these. Can they be taught to take flake/other prepared foods?
<I doubt it>
what about frozen pieces of shrimp and so?
<I'd ask what the shop is using. Have to be appropriate (small) mouth size>
their mouth look so small, they don't look like they could even eat my smaller tetras (red phantoms), maybe suck in platy fry.
<Maybe not>
Just realized that my fish room stays very cool, surprisingly. Unless using a heather, tanks stay between 22 and 24C during the night. 25C max during the day. during the hottest days of summer it may reach 28C. Telling you this based on the profile that they prefer cooler waters.
<Is a coastal species; likely hardy re temperature and water quality>
Thanks again.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Ghosty: Costia?     11/19/17
Hi there!!
<Hello Wendy,>
Since we last corresponded, Ghosty has been doing relatively well.
As a recap, I treated the tank with two cycles of Furan-2 to see if it would help Ghosty’s symptoms of a cloudy, clamped dorsal fin & lots of slime floating around in the tank (although I never witnessed it sloughing off of him in particular). I do believe he felt better after the first treatment, & acted more like his normal self, but about two weeks afterwards, his fin became clamped & cloudy again so I treated with Furan-2 again.
I didn’t really see much improvement after the second treatment, so I began researching everything I could re Costia, the other potential issue Neale mentioned. I settled on treating with ParaGuard, & am pleased to say that after two weeks of this treatment plus keeping the tank between 80-81 degrees, his dorsal fin looks clear & isn’t as clamped although the bones are curved - much like his tail. Don’t know why. The floating some patches have decreased SIGNIFICANTLY and I’ve only seen one small patch in the last 10 days or so.
<Ah! The plot thinnens, as they say.>
Ghosty developed two lumps near his tail over the past 6 months or so - tumors?
<Possibly. In aquarium fish, actual cancerous tumours are relatively rare, but they do happen -- primarily in species genetically predisposed to them, notably goldfish and Bettas. In other fish, lumps can and often do have other explanations: viruses, environmental stress, dietary shortcomings, even bacterial infections such as Mycobacteria.>
And for the last week, a red spot has developed in each one. He continues to act & feed normally. Is this a reaction to ParaGuard?
<Really hard to say. As/when you conclude the treatment as per the instructions, do a series of water changes, and ideally use carbon in the filter for a week or two. Basically, expose the fish to good, clean water and see what happens. Optimising diet, especially with regard to vitamins and minerals, will also help.>
I have treated at 3/4 strength vs. a full dose just because these loaches are more sensitive to medications. Or are the lumps “healing” from the treatment?
<Lumps and bumps on benthic fish such as Loaches can be a reaction to medication, but more often are environmental, for example because of coarse gravel, scratchy sand, or heavy metals in the substrate such as copper. Really, anything that can irritate the skin and allow bacteria to seep in, resulting in a lump or bruise. Under good conditions these things can/do heal; see above for details. Treating as per Finrot can help, but only if the environment and diet are appropriate.>
They do seem a tad bit smaller than they’ve been but I am worried about the red spot & don’t want septicemia to occur, obviously.
<Indeed; septicaemia is certainly the sort of thing I'd be worried about here.>
I can’t think of what to do next, so thought I should ask for your extremely helpful & educated advice.
Tank parameters are consistently Amm:0 & Nitrite:0 & Nitrates: 20-40ppm.
Thank you in advance for any help you can offer! :)
<Hope this helps! Neale.>

Re: Red Mandarin Breeding     11/19/17
Thank for the article! It helped a lot!
<Ah, good>
I know I kind of asked a stupid question about keeping parents with the fry. I knew they weren't Mouthbrooders, but I was hoping they would take care of the fry like discus or some other fish.
<Are pelagic spawners... some folks utilize egg catchers of sorts and overflow the fertilized and not eggs into these toward the evening; sorting them next day>
Then, I realize that they just release eggs to the
surface. At least I'm prepared with foods and setup. However, you mentioned I need branching Acros? Why is that?
<Habitat... have seen this and some other Callionymid species breeding in the wild; always associated with branching stony corals>
I have an ugly birdsnest colony
sitting around in my predator reef, would that work?
Also, how can the fry
be easily lost?
<Small, deleterious environmental changes and lack of nutrition mostly.
Thank you.
Jinoo Kim
Re: Red Mandarin Breeding     11/19/17

Ok, final question. Could you possibly spawn without the acro?
<Yes... I'd place some non-living material. Use the words "Mandarin spawning YouTube" in your search tool. B>
I kind of don't wanna add corals to a macroalgae tank, I want it to be pure macroalgae. Plus adding Acros would just add another worry to my system.
However, it is truly needed, I will add the Acros. Thank you!
Jinoo Kim

Re: Gymnothorax Pictus     11/19/17
First I'm a fan Mr. Fenner! This is the best picture I could get. Now that I've looked a bit more I'm thinking it's a G. Griseus instead?
<It is indeed. I fully concur w/ what MarcoL. sent you as well. Cheers, BobF>

Re: Gymnothorax Pictus... Marco, ID     11/18/17
First I'm a fan Mr. Fenner! This is the best picture I could get. Now that I've looked a bit more I'm thinking it's a G. griseus instead?
<You are correct. This is Gymnothorax griseus, a medium sized species potentially compatible with Echidna nebulosa. I've kept these two together for many years. In addition, I'm not a fan of keeping morays and lionfish
together. Cheers, Marco.>


Small tank; stocking, FW      11/18/17
<Hello Sandy,>
Are there any fish that are suitable for a 2 gallon tank?
<Not really.
Bettas can be kept in tanks this size of course, though I'd prefer more space simply because it makes steady water conditions easier to maintain. Most people with these 'nano' tanks go with various plants and
some of the smaller freshwater shrimps.>
I currently have a red wag platy male all by himself.
<Hopefully not in the 2 gallon tank!? Much too small for that species. Even 10 gallons is a bit tight for Platies.>
<Most welcome.>
Sent from my iPad
<Sent from my computer. Cheers, Neale.>

Puffer will not eat     11/18/17
Hi Bob and Team, as always thanks for the great advice you give. 15 days ago I got a 7.5" golden puffer. It was supposed to have been in someone's tank for 2 yrs, but I believe it has not been and am pretty sure it was wild caught Hawaiian and not eating so the person sold it to me.
<Mmm; not Hawaiian. I dive there frequently... had to look up on Fishbase.org though. Not found there>
It started in QT but didn't move and tucked it's fins in a ball so after a bit, I put it in my 180 predator display.
<Oh! Might be intimidated here>
Water parameters are good- 5 to 10 ppm nitrates, salinity 1.025. Large sump with a monster skimmer & water changes every 2 weeks of 25%.
It has no tankmates to bother him, just 2 lg eels that stay in their tunnel except every 3 days they come out to eat, a sm green spot puffer that eats and is full and doesn't do much. It's skin and appearance look good, it's thin and it's color is lighter that usual, it does swim around the tank a bit and sit on things.
I've read tons of your FAQ's on puffers not eating and have tried every food I can think of- live mussels/clams/oysters on half shell, silversides, algae wafers, krill, squid, shell on shrimp, live emerald crabs, hermits, small marine snails, fish chunks, scallops. Been to a couple stores to get ghost shrimp & peppermint shrimp but they've been out. Found some peppermint shrimp I'm picking up tomorrow to try live food. Spent a lot on food options and willing to do about anything to get the puffer eating. The puffer will look at food but not eat it at all. From reading FAQ's I have an idea of how to force feed.
<Mmm; I'd still keep offering the assortment you list for another few weeks. Really; these fish (Arothron puffers period) can go w/o food for a long time>
At this point should I force feed a mash of food, vitamins, and perhaps garlic guard that are recommended in FAQ's? Or anything else I can try?
Should I see if it eats the peppermint shrimp before force feeding, or try force feeding first?
<I'd hold off for now>
P.S. I wrote about an orange shoulder tang with an eye problem a while ago and followed your advice. The fish has recovered, is in my large reef system and is fat, healthy, gobbling food and begging for food! So thanks!
<Ah good. Please write back in 2-3 weeks w/ an update Flo. Do try the open bivalve/s, shrimps... w/ a food/stimulant product soaked in a few minutes ahead of offering. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Ozonizer     11/18/17
<Hey there>
I’m striking out it my search for an adequate Ozonizer that can help with Dinoflagellates.
Do you have a recommended Ozonizer that is rated by microsiemens/cm and can result in 400 microsiemens/cm?
<Oh, many... depends on a few factors... of course: The size/volume of water/system, biomass, feeding. Best to get one that has an adjustment knob... set up, run incrementally at a given setting for a few days... Till you find the setting that doesn't elevate beyond 400 microsiemens/cm. Actual makes and models are listed on WWM, but please do write back with some idea of the size, make up livestock wise of your set up and I'll suggest particular choices>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ozonizer     11/18/17

Thanks for your help! I have a 100 gallon mixed reef system with 3 tangs (Sailfin, yellow and Kole), 1 Rabbitfish and a Sixline wrasse. I’d say I’m a moderate feeder, usually frozen, pellets and seaweed; I rotate everyday. NO3 is usually btwn 2-3 and PO4 is btwn .07-.1; I dose to maintain parameters. Please let me know if you need more information.
<Ahh, an Aqua-Sander or Ultrazone ozonizer unit of 200 mg/h production should do it. IF you have a good deal of humidity (more than 50%) much of the year, a desiccant device would be my next purchase. BobF>

Vermetid Snail Infestation     11/18/17
Hello Mr. Fenner,
<Hey Israfil!>
I have a Red Sea Max S500 which is a 500 liter (130 gallon total) system with a Reef octopus SR202-s skimmer. I have BRS Pukani reef rocks over 75 lbs of it. I also sun Marine Pur blocks in my 16 gallon Sump.
I have found that my Neptune automatic feed system was dumping too much food in so I dialed that back and decreased the feeding. I haven’t done a water change yet after the fix. Hopefully the subsequent water changes will drive the nutrients down since there is less food going into the tank. I confirmed this with a test feed of the unit. Furthermore, I do water changes every other week (12 gallons)
<Sounds good>
The problem I am currently having is Vermetid snails shown in the images which doesn’t look pleasant at all. I have researched online and found that nutrients could be the reason they populate a tank (i.e..,lack of water changes or overfeeding).
<Yes; definitely a factor>
I do have minor Aiptasia problems (which love nutrients and light as well) and some bubble algae.
What are my options?
1. Pull the rocks out and start over with fresh cured rock and use proper quarantine methods? Dry the tank out and put new sand?
2. Pull the existing rocks out and sand them down with a sand disk grinder to get rid of the vermetid snail tubes and rinse the rocks out with fresh water?
I really regret not setting up a quarantine tank to make sure these pests were removed or monitored until clear before introducing them to my show tank. I believe these vermetid snails started from the branches of a hammer coral I had in my Older tank from the upgrade.
Looking to your response soon, thanks!
<I would try adding a fave predator here: Halichoeres chrysus, the green "Coris" wrasse... Bob Fenner>

query in regards to filtration; FW, bio.      11/18/17
Dear sir, I got your email id from your website and request your advise on the following I wanted to know whether biological bacteria which are on substrate enough for my aquarium if my filter fails for any reason ? I am asking this as I am planning to install a top filter which is kept above the tank as I have read that it provides a better biological filtration in comparison to sponge filters ( which I have in my tank ) due to air contact . But only thing that worries me is that in case of current failure or power head failure the Media may dry up in couple of hrs and my tank may lose all BB .Kindly suggest Thanking you Regards, Raj
<Hello Raj! Thanks for writing, and for what's a really useful question.
The short answer is that in a freshwater aquarium, the gravel or sand by itself WILL NOT provide enough biological filtration except in a very lightly loaded tank with plenty of fast-growing plants. By lightly loaded,
I'm talking about six Guppies in 200 litres or something like that! Almost nobody keeps an aquarium like that, hence the answer is, 99.9% of the time, "no". The reason is that bacteria live in and on surfaces with lots of oxygenated water. Only the very top of the gravel, the first few mm really, have that sort of environment. So while bacteria on the surface of the gravel will do some filtration, it's not enough by itself. Inside filters we have honeycomb-like sponges and things that provide much more surface for the bacteria, and the pump ensures it all gets lots of oxygenated water. That's why we need filters! Now, the filter bacteria are delicate in some ways, but tough in others. If the pump stops and the media dries out, the bacteria will stop working almost at once. Some writers suggest as little as 20 minutes without oxygenated water is enough for this to happen.
If the pump stops, it's a good idea to remove the media and place in a bucket of water simply so that it stays wet, and stir and splash periodically to ensure the water doesn't become 'stale'. This will keep the bacteria alive just fine. Even if the media dries out, the bacteria become dormant, and will spring back to life once they're wet. Not immediately of course, but in less time than the typical "new tank cycle" of 6 weeks. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Mandarin Breeding     11/18/17
Hello, this is Jinoo Kim. So I plan to breed Red Mandarins, but I couldn't find much info online. I have a list of questions I want to ask.
1. How can I get a pair?
<You can sometimes buy them as such... though they don't form permanent pairs in the wild. Typically there are multiple males vying for a breeding female... or buy males, females or a group of juveniles as you mention below>
Do I need to buy multiple and pair them off?
<Again; they don't make determinate pairs>
Or can I just buy a male and a female?
<Ah yes. The successful accounts I'm aware of went the route of raising groups...>
I know the male has to be bigger though.
2. Is there anything I have to do to trigger the mating dance routine?
Temp., water parameters, light intensity, etc.?
<Just good conditions, including some branching Acropora...>
3. How many eggs will they produce?
<Dozens to a few hundred>
4. Can I keep the fry with the parents? Will the parents eat the fry or are they just picky eaters?
<Mmmm... you (apparently) could use a bit of reading. Do you have Matt Wittenrich's Microcosm tome "Breeder's Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes"?
I'd get this AND read his article here:
5. How do I feed the fry after they depleted their yolk sac? Is Zooplankton good enough? How many times to feed a day?
<A few types of live foods have been used. This is included in the citations above; and I would locate copies of Frank Hoff's food culture works>
6. How fast will the fry grow to maturity?
<Slow... the fry are small, easily lost. Don't reach sexual maturity for more than a year>
7. Will the fry attain the red colors? Or is there a chance that they can be born with orange coloration?
<Are mostly the color of parents, though foods can shift a bit>
There might be more questions I want to ask, but these are the most important for me.
My tank setup is a 29 gallon standard. It is a macroalgae tank, so full of copepods and amphipods. There is just an air filter, tons of macroalgae for nutrient reduction. I have the Chinese black box LED, it's called the Mars Aqua 300w Dimmable (got it from Amazon, very high output light). I plan to put an IceCap 2K (with foam cover) for flow, right now running some powerhead. Pretty tall tank, however not sure if it's tall enough for the mating ritual. 0 ammonia and nitrites, >10 nitrates. Calcium is 400, Magnesium is 1300, and alkalinity is 10. I have a Snowflake Eel living in there temporarily, it will move to a much larger tank. It is just there to keep feeding the beneficial bacteria. Water is kept at 78-80 degrees. Tons of live rock, bare bottom. Ten gallon ready just in case I need to remove parents. Thank you.
Jinoo Kim
<Exciting! I'd be gathering the in-print works I've cited here; putting together food production means (not hard to do)... Please do contact me/us with your specific questions as you progress here. Bob Fenner>

Identification     11/18/17
Hi Bob and Crew, any idea what these are (see attached)? Looks like little flatworms or Planaria with tails.
Chad Wohlers
<Hey Chad! I do think these are Acoel Flatworms... possibly of the genus Waminoa.
Some folks advocate overt actions for their removal. These include the use of some more/less specific poisons. IF you go this route, DO be prepared to remove possible noxious metabolites (from the Platyhelminth et al. worm
die-off), or the purposeful livestock to other quarters. Much re possible controls is archived on WWM:
and the Related FAQs mat.s linked above. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Stocking question; SW,  mixed reef      11/18/17
Hello Crew!
First I want to thank everyone there for all the advice you have given me over the last five years. Just made a small donation to the site and encourage everyone else to do so also!
<Ahh, I thank you>
I have a 180 that has been running for about five years now. I have fish, inverts and some LPS corals in the display. I recently lost my red headed solar fairy wrasse when he literally forced the glass top open by jumping
into it, got stuck between the lid and the rim, jumped again freeing himself and landing on top of the glass cover. I immediately got him back in but he died about 5 days later, probably from injuries during the ordeal.
<Ugh! So/too common w/ Cirrhilabrus>
The fish left in the tank are an 8 inch female Naso Tang, a 3 inch Flame Angel, a 4 inch Melanurus Wrasse, a 4 inch Magnificent Foxface, a 3 inch Cleaner Wrasse and a tank raised Clown Fish.
I would like to add a replacement fish but I think I am limited with the Tang and Angel in the tank. I was thinking of a Blue Hippo Tang, that would probably not be welcome, two Heniochus Butterfly fish, that might be bullied, or maybe a few blue Dartfish or Anthias. Would any of these work or should I just leave the community alone?
<I think any of the choices would work here. My fave pick is the Blue/Hippo, but I'm also partial to the idea of a nice grouping of a sturdy/sturdier Anthias in addition! If you're going the Heniochus route, I'd get two of the less-schooling species, or three of the more (H. acuminatus, H. diphreutes); please read here:
Bob Fenner>

Common Ancistrus losing interest in food    11/17/17
Hello crew,
<Hello Jacob, and apologies for being slow to reply.>
I’m writing about my ~2.5 year old female Bristlenose Pleco. I purchased her when she was a juvenile, around 2 inches long if memory serves. She’s now about 4” - 4.25” total length. Here’s some background info about her and her tank(mates):
She has been in the same 29 gallon tank since I bought her and until a few months ago, had shared this tank with 2 German Blue Rams, 8 Rummynose tetras, 5 common Otos, and about 10 Corydoras habrosus. This wasn’t a perfect grouping of species in retrospect and I had to kind of square the circle in terms of temperature by keeping it at about 78-79 F, which is obviously on the high end for Ancistrus, at or above the maximum for the C. habrosus, and at or below the minimum for the GBRs. A few months ago, the male GBR died after a fairly long, slow deterioration during which he spent most of his time in quarantine. About a month after that, the female GBR died rather quickly (from the time she began showing signs of illness). Her death coincided with several of the C. habrosus dying as well, in my estimation 5 of them dying over the course of a month (I had lost 2 others over the years). That left the Rummynoses, the Otos, the Ancistrus, and 3 C. habrosus. I dropped the temp to 75 F and while the die-off was occurring the tank was treated with Praziquantel because the GBR and one of the C. habrosus looked emaciated and I knew the scaleless fish shouldn’t have any particular sensitivity to it. All of these fish were purchased at about the same time and so were a little over 2 years old.
<The tank sounds fine, though German Blue Rams do need more warmth than your Corydoras and Ancistrus, so weren't likely to thrive in this tank. Both like soft water, of course, but for the Rams it's essential, whereas Corydoras and Ancistrus can do perfectly well in even quite hard water. Some species of Corydoras and Ancistrus might be a little picky, especially for breeding, but your standard issue farmed varieties will handle anything up to pH 8, 20 degrees dH.>
Now after having a couple months pass with no further deaths or other problems, I’ve started the process of rebooting the tank. This involved cleaning things up in case this long-running tank had some stuff going on in the substrate, so I completely replaced the Eco-Complete topped with sand with just black sand.
<Do check the sand is smooth, not sharp. Sharp sand can/will abrade the stomachs and whiskers of catfish, making them more prone to bacterial infections. You will spot reddish patches on the stomach, and shorter than normal whiskers, when this happens.>
The tank was and is planted and has a large amount of driftwood, which is often where you would find the Ancistrus. Typical pH is 6.5, gH is 6 degrees out of the tap and usually 3-4 in the tank. I do 50% water changes every 7-10 days. Filtration is an AquaClear 70 (no carbon used, just sponge and extra biomedia) and a small sponge filter that is mostly just an insurance policy in case something happens to the main filter.
<All sounds fine. Do check your carbonate hardness though, and if it's very low (less than 3 degrees KH) I'd be using Discus Buffer or similar to keep the pH steady between water changes.>
Here’s the problem: This Ancistrus loved vegetables. I usually rotate between zucchini and broccoli stems, usually blanched but sometimes just cleaned and put into the tank. More often than not, by the time I had closed the lid she would be on the vegetable already. But this hasn’t been the case for the past few weeks to a month. She has been far more reclusive and I have seen her several times do something unusual that I’d only seen once or twice before: lying on her back on the substrate, not suctioned to anything (but usually underneath driftwood that she would suction onto if startled). And when I put veggies in the tank, she ignores them.
<Odd. It might be the change in the tank that's spooked her. Loricariids are very sensitive to changes. My Panaque is quite bold and will happily come out during the day to feed -- if she's left alone. If I rearrange the rocks or temporarily move her into a bucket for some reason, she will become very shy for weeks at a time. Provided the Loricariid catfish is otherwise normal -- e.g., fins are whole, no red marks, and the belly and eyes are not sunken -- there's nothing much to worry about. Just allow some time for said catfish to settle back in.>
I haven’t seen her get near them and I strongly doubt she eats them overnight since usually she leaves very visible bite marks, especially on the skin of zucchini. I know there’s nothing wrong with the veggies because the Otos still eat them relentlessly. I do put other foods into the tank for her on occasion, a commercial algae wafer (one low on protein and with minimal meat ingredients) and Spirulina flakes from Ken’s Fish. I think I’ve seen her show interest in these, but she was never as enthusiastic about chasing those prepared foods even in the best of times. There’s not nearly enough algae in this tank to sustain her. And yet, surely she cannot go so long without eating, so she’s eating something. I know Ancistrus may eat some driftwood, but I always assumed this was more “roughage” than nutrition. Her stomach against the glass looks as full as ever. I’ve attached a few photos, though I couldn’t get one with her on the glass), to show that she seems as robust and healthy as ever from the outside.
<I agree, she looks fine. Have you tried some meaty fare? Ancistrus are aufwuchs feeders, consuming green algae AND the small invertebrates found therein, such as insect larvae and tiny crustaceans. Alternatively, a prawn or mussel will often be nibbled on happily.>
I’ve speculated that perhaps the reduced stocking levels over time made her more anxious, that the GBRs and larger group of C. habrosus had acted as dithers. It’s certainly true that the Rummynoses were more confident with the GBRs around. I now have a group of juvenile C. habrosus in quarantine to bring up the numbers.
<Understood, but I think Corydoras habrosus are too small and too nervous to fulfill this role. You really want something bold and active; Pristella maxillaris is a useful default tetra for most systems, being hardy, adaptable, bold and attractive.>
I also just added a pair of Laetacara curviceps (well that’s what they’re sold as, I think they are in fact L. dorsigera) since I wanted another dwarf cichlid for this tank, these seem more appropriate for the conditions the other fish prefer, and I hope it may help the dynamics in the tank.
<Laetacara are lovely, but shy; they're also a bit prone to Hexamita infections, so keep an eye out for that and medicate accordingly.>
They haven’t been around long enough for me to draw any hard conclusions, though the Ancistrus has been out and about some more and the Rummynoses are exploring more of the tank. Still, though, she pays no mind to the vegetables.
<Maybe try something new?>
At this point, I don’t think it’s an emergency problem, but I’m at a loss for how she’s getting her nutrition and don’t want to be overlooking some obvious thing I should be doing to help her out. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for what I should do going forward?
<For now, I'd wait and see. I'd look at her belly to see if it's sunken -- if not, she's eating something!>
Thanks for all the help you folks provide,
<Most welcome. Neale.>


Re: 55 gallon glass cross brace    11/17/17
Hi again, Bob. I was going to up-date you with happy news, at least that was my plan. I got my fish back into the 1/2 filled 55 gallon. I redesigned all my filtration as my HOBs were no longer useful with the water level so low. I made all new internal filters with pop bottles, my fully cycled media, a power head, an air pump and an air stone. My goldfish was quite shocked by all the changes but was starting to come around again. (He's old and set in his ways and takes quite a while to adjust to change.
<Me too>
Kind of like his owner, I guess, heh hee). I was quite pleased... enjoyed the aquarium for yet another moment... until I saw this (pictures attached). I assume this spells the end. The inside seams all seem fine and soft and secure but what this looks like is a rather large bubble / weak spot in the structural seam between the front and side panel. I am a pretty handy person but I do not have the time nor the inclination nor the room to tackle a complete tear down and rebuild of this aquarium. Does this look as bad to you as it does to me?
<... it is bad. When the glass to glass (as opposed to corner joints) Silastic/Silicone rots like this, to this extent, it loses function. The tank might fail... slowly, as in splitting a seam>
Is a complete tear down and rebuild the only option for this aquarium?
<Practically, yes>
If so, I'm going to just pack it in and buy new.
<This is what I'd do as well. The tank is still useful... as a paludarium, critter container....>
Is there a particular manufacturer you would recommend?
<Mmm; for stock, I still like "All Glass Aquarium"; there are more sturdy more and real custom makers, but they're a bunch more money>
I would like warranty, customer service, quality work, and most importantly availability in Canada.
<Oh! I don't know much about what's available there... I do think  Glasscages(.com) ships to Canada; but would ask about re pricing, see re  alternates. I live in S. Cal.>
I really hope you are going to tell me that I'm wrong but I'm prepared for you to confirm my nightmare. P.S. It is not
leaking: has never leaked since I set it up.
<... not yet. Am a bigger fan of acrylic tanks... Bob Fenner>

Re: 55 gallon glass cross brace    11/17/17
P.S.S I highlighted the area with a red marker on the outside of the glass.
I have no idea how long this flaw has been like this. I will be watching my red mark closely to see if there are any changes. Thank you so much for responding.
<Good idea (to mark the limits of the fault)... it will grow unfortunately.
Bob Fenner>

Gymnothorax pictus    11/17/17
I was wondering what you could tell me about these guys.
<A rather typical largish piscivorous moray eel species>
I'm 99% sure it's the moray I just picked up from the lfs and they didn't know what it was.
<... Please send along a well resolved pic or two>
Will it be okay in a 125 sharing a tank with adult lionfish, snowflake eel, and tang?
<Mmm; no. First, it grows to more than four feet long... and am not a fan of keeping morays and lions together... the latter too often inadvertently stings the former. A G. pictus can grow large enough to consume all these other fishes in time>
It seems like a fish eater so I'm mostly worries about my banana wrasse and maroon clown in the future.
<I'd stick w/ just the Echidna nebulosa as far as eels here. Bob Fenner>

Flasher and Fairy Wrasses     11/17/17
Bob and team,
<Hey Tim!>
Greetings from Colorado! I have a series of questions about Fairy and Flasher wrasses.
<Some faves>
First order of business, are these shrimp cleaner shrimp safe?
<Almost always; yes... Unless VERY hungry, and the shrimp molting, dead...>
Second, I’m finding a lot of conflicting information on the net (typical…) regarding their coloration.
<Oh! Some species (more so Cirrhilabrus) are quite variable geographically>
To preface, my interest lays in potentially adding a Red Head Solon Fairy Wrasse, Red Velvet Fairy Wrasse, McCosker’s flasher or Hawaiian Flame Wrasse, or honestly, a mix of them (my tank size and stock is no issue here). Through the course of research, I have heard to maintain intense coloration, males must be kept with females, especially flasher wrasses (or at least to produce flashing).
<This is so>
I have also read that sub-males can revert back to female so it is important to keep in pairs.
<Mmm; nah. Better to have one definite male, a few initial/female phase individuals; unless the system is HUGE; and can therefore support more than one harem per species>
I have read that they must be kept in a harem of three to achieve super male coloration and finally I have read “just buy a female, they all turn male anyway.”
<Mmm; not the latter... generally only one determinate male per system per species; again, unless the tanks i very large (several hundred gallons to thousands)>
Which of the above opinions floating about the net is most true (as fish keeping has no absolute certainties)?
<As stated>
I do have space to accommodate two pairs if necessary, though would prefer only males. This is partly motivated by cost (read Hawaiian Flame wrasse here…).
<C. jordani is a giant fave. Am always looking for them when out diving in Hawaii>
Third, I have also read that fairy and flasher wrasses have typically short life spans, especially those purchased as "super male" or terminal phase. To what extent is this true?
<I have seen them live as such for years in captivity>
Again, read concerns over price tag of the Hawaiian Flame Wrasse...
<I'll have to look up... last time I was collecting this fish, the diver pay was a dollar or two, and the wholesale was about $10. Time warp!>
Next, In terms of husbandry to fairy and flasher wrasses, do they require a sand bed to burrow at night?
<No; these genera are not generally burrowers>
And final question, (sorry for so many at once, inquiring minds want to know), would any of these wrasse pose as heavy competition for a mandarin?
<They will indeed consume most all similar foods... Best to have a LARGE tied in (plumbed) vibrant refugium w/ RDP, DSB... to produce live foods continuously; otherwise supply suitable foods down near the Mandarin/s while feeding mid-water fishes like these Labrids>
I know virtually every other wrasse does and wondered if these guys were an exception to that rule, as they are exceptions to so many other wrasse rules. I do not own a mandarin but have played with the idea over the years as I have a 14 sq ft tank with 140 lbs of live rock… part of me really wants to try, another part of me does not believe this is a suitable species for captivity… the internal ethical fish keeping struggle is real.
<Well; Callionymids have gotten "better" with improved techniques for capture (NOT harpooning), and there are even some captive produced specimens about. ORA.com....>
<Thank you for your query. Bob Fenner>

Spider-like silky webs in between branching Millepora     11/16/17
Dear Bob Fenner & Team,
Attached is a photo showing silky webs in between and over colonies of Millepora (as if made by spiders). Many of the Millepora colonies seem to have such webs, while I don't recall it seeing on other (true Scleractinian) corals. The photo was taken in Kisite MP, Kenya at around 4 meters depth.
<Interesting. I'd REALLY like to have a bit of this thread-like material to take a look under the 'scope>
Some ideas that were suggested include: mucus threads of Millepora itself, snails and Cyanobacteria. However, nobody seems to be sure. Maybe someone at WetWebMedia recognises it?
<My guesses would include the first (mucus threads) and possibly algae of some sort; but could be something else entirely. Again, take a zip-loc type baggie down with you, remove a sample and have a look under a low power microscope. Hopefully one w/ a USB or other capacity to make images, and send them along to me/us if you would>
Thanks for your help!
<Thank you for sharing!>
Ewout Knoester
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: please need your help about rope fish     11/15/17
Thank you so much for your advice and help, Neale, all the best regards to
you and WetWebMedia
<Most welcome and good luck! Neale.>

Painted Fire Red Cherry Shrimp     11/15/17
Hello, this is Jinoo Kim. I have been breeding regular cherry shrimp for about 2 years.
<Nice beasts!>
With a long time breeding and proper culling, I finally managed to reach Painted Fire Reds. I have three (one male and 2 females) so far in a ten gallon. I had to sell all my hard work to start working with these guys and
expand into higher grade shrimps such as Taiwan Bees.
How long would it take for the three shrimps to reach a high population in the 10 gallon?
<When I start with about 6-10 shrimps, I find it takes about a year to get to the point that the shrimps are "common" enough (in an 8-10 gallon tank) that there's enough to spare. By that I mean you can remove 10-20 specimens and still have a viable population in the tank. Bear in mind it takes 3-4 months to reach sexual maturity, and even if each female produces a couple dozen offspring a month that survive to adult size, which is a generous
estimate, it's still going to be, say, 4 months for first generation of offspring to reach maturity, then another 4 months for the next, so at least a year before we're talking about a population measured in the hundreds.>
I never started so little since I started breeding with 30 cherry shrimps in a 20 gallon. I need to fill up the ten gallon so I can sell the shrimps and have more money for the higher grade shrimps.
<Understood. But to actually make serious money, you want populations in the hundreds if not thousands, so you can take big bags of shrimps to the retailer. So with just 3 really good specimens that have the genes you want, it's going to be probably 4-5 generations before you get big enough populations you can The ten gallon is super established, there is algae literally on every wall of the tank. The tank also has a blue Stiphodon, which I don't think eats shrimp.
<Should not eat adults, but tiny babies might be at risk, so provide cover.
Stiphodon are mostly aufwuchs feeders though, so competing for the same food as the shrimps. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Painted Fire Red Cherry Shrimp     11/15/17

Thank you for the answer!
I'm breeding the Painted Fire Reds as a hobby now (I might sell some, I'll even send you some shrimp for thanks if you want, that way I can test shipping).
<Kind of you to offer, but not necessary. A photo or two of your collection
would be just fine!>
I'm going to move them to a display tank after I reach a good population, with a Betta (to control population, I don't see them eating adults plus a lot of hiding space). I'm going to use the ten gallon as a cull tank. Now I
am breeding a bunch of Taiwan Bees (most notably the Galaxy Pinto, which is a hybrid) in 20 gallon longs.
<All sounds very promising and professional! Good luck.>
Again, thanks for the help.
<No problem. Cheers, Neale.>

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