Please visit our Sponsors

All "framed" images are linked to desktop sizes.

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

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

Freshwater FAQs, Ask us a question: Crew@WetWebMedia.com

Updated 11/22/2017
Other Specialized Daily FAQs Blogs: General, Planted Tanks, Ponds, Brackish, Last Few Days Accrued FAQs,
Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Darrel Barton,
Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Bob Fenner, are posted here. Moved about, re-organized daily Current Crew Bios., Not so current Crew Bios

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Adding new Fish - Complete makeover... same mis-stocked 10 gal....       11/22/17
Hi Team,
<Hello Shriram!>
I have had many interactions with you earlier with regards to the stocking of my 10 gallon. Last (As of yesterday) I had the following stocking:
2 - Firemouth Cichlid
1 - Walking catfish (Who grew to half the size of my tank)
2 - Silver shark(Bala Shark)
1-TinFoil Barb.
<As you know now, none of these are suitable for 10 gallon tanks except perhaps as tiny juveniles.>

I have returned all the fishes to the LFS and got a few pairs of small yellow morph.
<Is this Labidochromis caeruleus, the Yellow Lab? While a relative dwarf among Mbuna, I can't really see a group of these being kept in anything smaller than, say, 30 gallons. They are quite aggressive towards one another, in a pecking order sort of way, and like all Mbuna very sensitive to poor water quality.>
The Old Fishes were removed yesterday and the new ones were added. Today morning I found all the yellow morphs dead.
<Oh dear.>
Not sure what I did wrong.
<Well, to start with, you need to assess the environment. Labidochromis caeruleus will not live long in soft and/or acidic water; they're classic Mbuna in requiring hard, alkaline water (15-25˚dH, pH 7.5-8.5 would be about right). On top of that, again, like all Mbuna, they have almost no tolerance for poor water quality, so zero ammonia and zero nitrite are important. Finally, just like all other Mbuna, oxygen is crucial, and they won't live long in tanks that are overstocked or under-filtered.>
I am very upset because of the incident and am planning to do a full cleaning of my tank this weekend and then look for other options, like turning my 10 gallon to a planted aquarium or adding other smaller fish varieties, etc. I am still confused as what could have gone wrong with the morphs.
<Do see above, but obviously without knowing what fish you were keeping, or what the conditions of the tank were, it's hard to say.>
I need your advise in what I should be doing next with regards to my tank.
Thanks and regards,
<Some general thoughts on stocking small tanks is here:
While that article is a few years old now, the underlying point, that small tanks need small fish, remains true. Perhaps better to tell me what small fish you have access to locally, and we can offer some advice about keeping them! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Adding new Fish - Complete makeover      11/22/17

HI Neale,
<Hello again Shriram,>
Do you Tearing down the tank (Removing the gravel and cleaning and 100% water change) would be a good idea to start with, in that will I need to wait till my tanks cycles again or should I do only a vacuuming of the gravel and replace the water alone, before adding new fish.
<Giving a tank a good clean is often worthwhile, e.g., rinsing the gravel and wiping the glass. But leave the live (mature) filter media alone. At most, rinse it in buckets of aquarium water, squeezing out the dirt.>
My LFS has guppies, zebra Danios, dwarf gouramis, etc.
<So all the old favourites!>
Please note that my tank has a Heater and would prefer tropical fish.
<Understood. Do look at some of the 'newer' small fish in the trade -- Ember Tetras, Dwarf Rasboras, Endler's Guppies, Daisy Ricefish, etc. -- as well as the usual small fish like Golden Pencilfish, Neons, Whiptail cats, the smaller Corydoras, and so on.>
Please provide some suggestions on the fish that I can add and also what I need to do next with my tank.
<See above, and the article linked to earlier.>
Thanks and regards,
<Most welcome. Neale.>

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.>

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.>

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.>

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.>

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: 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.>

Re: Betta PopEye question     11/15/17
<Hello Elle>
I wanted to send an update on my Betta with chronic pop eye.
<Ahh. Such is the case at times>

His condition has remained the same over the past year, despite numerous and varied treatments, and he now also appears to have a swollen area on his right side (photo is attached) that I've noticed for the past few weeks.
He has a very controlled diet, and since the swelling is confined to one side, I assumed it wasn't weight-related or constipation. However, I did try a series of Epsom salt treatments (1 TBSP/gallon) just to see if I could get him to "go" and hopefully improve the swelling.
<Worth trying>
Unfortunately there has been no change. Do you think I should increase the Epsom dose and try again? Or should I begin to worry that it's a tumor? (I've given up on trying to treat his pop eye, and it hasn't appeared to worsen without treatment.)
<Again, such entrenched infections.... I would not treat this fish further>
This little guy has had a difficult year but I'm trying to give him the best care I can for as long as I'm lucky enough to have him.
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>


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.>

Discus just not 'happy' :(     11/13/17
Hi Crew,
<Greetings Liese>
Apologies for the tale of woe, but the more forums I check for 'advice' the more confused I get, so I hope you guys might be able to untangle the reasons for my Discus being generally 'off'. So, I have a 60 gallon (280 litre) tank with, as of the last few weeks, 4 adult Stendker discus (had 5 for the last 3 years but recently one died, perhaps all part of the same issue here?).
<Maybe; let's see your data>
I do 3 partial water changes a week (overall works out about 30-35% a week), using aged tap water, treated with Prime and warmed before adding. I used to do larger water changes (20% 3 times a week) using water directly from the tap (I did use Prime and warm water too!) but when my fish first started to look unhappy I was advised to age it for 24 hours, so now storage issues mean I can only change 35-40 litres at a time.
<Storing the new water for a week (or even more) is advised>
Water parameters currently and for many months are: ammonia and nitrite zero, nitrate somewhere between 10 and 20ppm,
<Well; I should mention, so I am... even cultured Discus don't like NO3.
I'd have you read on WWM re methods of reducing, keeping this metabolite under 10 ppm>
pH 7, temperature 83F. I have also had the water checked at the local fish store just in case my test kits were wrong, but no problems there. Water out of the tap is pretty soft. I feed a mix of beef heart, flake, pellet food.
<Mmm; I made MANY pounds of beef heart mix for my Symphysodon decades back, but this component has largely fallen out of favour>

So, compared to a few months ago, my fish are all so much darker in colour, almost black at times, I can see strands of slime coat coming off a couple of them, and they're not eating with as much gusto as previously :(
<Something wrong here. I suspect, as usual, first and foremost, issue/s with the environment>

At various points over the last few months I've treated for Hex, internal bacterial infection, worms, flukes,
<? All these fish have been in captivity for years? Where would pathogens be introduced here?>
trying to eliminate obvious issues first, but nothing has made any noticeable difference so I have to assume that there is another reason for their stress/symptoms? I know 6 is the magic Discus number, but my 5 were always OK and I was reluctant to upset the status quo since I know my tank is only 'just' big enough for 6.
<I would not add more to a sixty gallon>
I will get another couple if you think that will help, but I'd really like to get to the bottom of the current issue before throwing more fish into the unhappy mix. Since getting my discus 3 years ago, I added a shoal of 10 Corydoras sterbai about 6-8 months ago who are doing really well, breeding regularly (very cute babies!) and zooming around on the tank bottom.
<Ahh, a good sign... at least conditions suit them. Am curious as to your water temperature; as C. sterbai is a cooler water species (typically 70-77 F) and Discus warmer>>
So, this has now got me thinking. Could all the Cory 'action' on the bottom of the tank be upsetting my Discus?
<Doubtful, but a remote possible influence>
I'd say there is a pretty 'normal' amount of aggression between my discus generally, although recently the biggest one has been chasing two of the others around. Maybe now there are only 4 the hierarchy is being re-established?
<I think you'd see over aggression here if this were so>
I'd really appreciate your advice as I'm at a point now where I don't know what to do for the best. I have no space in my house for a bigger tank so can't go down that route (I would if I could!), but it upsets me to see my once-beautiful Discus shadows of their former selves :(
Thanks in advance,
<If it were my system; I'd try to systematically reason out the source of the trouble via elimination, manipulation of one variable at a time. Do you use chemical filtrants? Near the top of my trials, I'd use a pad of PolyFilter, and/or a unit of ChemiPure in your filter/flow path, and see (it should be obvious w/in a few days) if improved water quality is an/the issue here; next... I'd raise the temperature a few degrees F.
Please do report back with your further observations. Bob Fenner>

Please need your help about rope fish      11/11/17
Hello WetWebMedia team.
I have a rope fish for about 3 years in my 270 liters tank. She lives alone. Recently I have noticed the problem with her eye, it seems blush and a bit of blur and bluish.
<Possibly physical damage, e.g., from scratching against a rock or gravel. Physical damage usually heals on its own, assuming good water quality.>
I change 1/3 of the water every 1.5 weeks. The food: fish tilapia, shrimps, blood worms.
<Sounds fine.>
1 month ago I did one stupid thing, i found grass worms near to my apartment, but i did not realise that they could not be dirty because my apartment was located near to the big road, so maybe worms was polluted.
<It is possible, yes.>
In that time i had 2 fishes alive. They felt bad after i fed them worms, fishes tried to jump and leave the tank, was hanging on the top of water and their bodies was reddish. One of them unfortunately left the tank at night and died.
<This does not sound like a problem with the worms. The redness of the body sounds more like a bacterial infection, or possibly exposure to a toxin in the water or poor water quality.>
Unfortunately i also discovered that net secure of tank also was not safe
<Ropefish are notorious for escaping. This is natural behaviour, unfortunately. A good idea is to keep the tank only half-filled with water.
Ropefish only need 20 cm/8 inches water depth.>
During this month, the remaining fish seemed to feel better (i put coal in tank),
<Do you mean carbon? That will certainly help remove poisons from the water. Big water changes are useful, too -- but of course keep water chemistry and temperature the same. Ropefish may benefit from a small amount of salt in the water. Non-iodised cooking salt is fine. Something like 3-4 grams per litre will work nicely.>
before last week when i discovered this clouding. Please help me. I realize that her health is now very weak after poisoning. What can i do to make her feel better?
<Time will help, and of course good water quality. Warm, humid air is also important. I would certainly use salt as described above, for at least until the cloudy eye clears up.>
Changing water more often could help?
<See above.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

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.>

Adding fish     11/7/17
So, we had an incident. The week before Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I noticed a dripping leak.
I think it was at the bottom of the tank, but not quite sure. After scouring Kijiji and the like with no results, I ended up buying a new 45 gallon tank and stand on clearance.
<Nice size tank.>
I had intended to rehome fish, but several students upset, so....I purchased what was needed to restart.
<I see...>
Went from 40 gallon cube like tank to 45 gallon long tank.
<A much better shape, plus more water capacity! Sounds a definite upgrade.>
We used as much water as we could from the original tank.
<Neither here nor there, really. Assuming the water chemistry and temperature are kept about the same, may as well use conditioned tap water.
On the other hand, do try and keep as much biological filter media as possible, because that's where the 'good' bacteria are.>
All 11 silver tip tetras survived. It is now November 4th. Now looking to add corys and one Bristlenose Pleco.
<Excellent choices.>
Originally the tetras stayed in mid-upper level of cube tank. This changed before aquarium change. They go everywhere; up, down, middle.
I suspect I only have a couple of female tetras.
<So get some more! This tank will easily house, say, 20 of the Tetras, 6-8 Corydoras, and 2-3 Bristlenose Plecs without any problems at all. Maybe not add them all at once, but across a month, that'd be fine.>
I attached picture because I am not sure if enough cover is available for Corys.
<They'll be fine. For sure they prefer sand to gravel, but your gravel looks smooth. I'd avoid the hothouse flower species such as Corydoras sterbai, but most of the other species are good at the 22-25 C temperature range Bristlenose Plecs enjoy.>
The Stump has multiple entries at bottom and from top, but tetras enjoy too. The barrel has multiple entrances; but for one, tetras not really interested.
<Indeed. Tetras like floating vegetation for shade, but caves not so much.>
Bridges for cover- but tetras zoom there too. Do have extra bridge- no space. The brick wall is an inside wall (other side, stage, gym). On previous aquarium I put aquarium picture; still budgeting with this one. Is the environment good for Corys....if so, how many and what type...
<Looks a great home! Corydoras aeneus is a good default species, undemanding and cheap. Corydoras panda, Corydoras julii, and Corydoras trilineatus are some other species that might be considered. They're a little less hardy, but easily maintained in mature tanks where the water isn't too hard. I'm also a fan of Brochis species, such as Brochis splendens, which look a lot like big, stocky Corydoras aeneus and do especially well in deep aquaria. Corydoras don't really like swimming upwards more than 30 cm/12 inches, especially if the water current is
strong. Cheers, Neale.>


Freshwater Aquarium  Articles & FAQs

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

    New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

    by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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

    New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

    by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: