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Questions and Answers

Picked by Andrew Nixon

A selection of Questions and answers from the WetWebMedia database.

Daily Q&A replies/input from the WWM crew: Ian Behnk, Sabrina Fullhart, Benjamin Kratchmer, Michelle Lemech, Scott Fellman, Mike Irving, Merritt Adkins, Eileen Ridgeway/Yunachin, Andrew Nixon, Scott Vallembois, Lynn Zurik, Sara Mavinkurve, Rich Dietz (Mr. Firemouth), Darrel Barton, Neale Monks, Marco Lichtenberger, Brenda Furtak, Chris Perivolidis, Eric Russell, James Gasta (Salty Dog), Chuck Rambo, Pufferpunk (Jeni Tyrell), Bob Fenner, are posted here.

225 gallon tank question/broken bottom

I just came across your amazing web site looking for tank repair answers.
<Well welcome to WWM!>
I recently purchased a Used 225 gallon custom glass tank. It is 60X30 and 30 inches tall. It is made w/ 3/4" glass.
<A nice sturdy tank.>
In the process of having a stand made to accommodate the weight the bottom of the tank split. So now for my problem, I was reading through all your FAQs and see that it is ok to replace the bottom glass w/new glass.
In my search for glass, a guy from a glass company suggested that I find a glass table top to keep my cost down. I have found a few. My question to you is can I use 1/2" instead of the 3/4", and does this suggestion make sense to you?
<1/2" tempered would work, I would go for the full 3/4 if you intend to go with a nontempered panel. On that note, the tabletop glass can work, but many of these will be tempered panes. This is a problem when going to cut it to size.>
One other thing, if this is a good solution to my problem, can just the bottom be removed, all the sealant totally removed and cleaned off well and just put new silicone on the bottom panel to replace the new panel?
<It can be. Do realize that silicone will not seal well against silicone that is already cured. You will need to remove all the old silicone as you describe, plus the bead that runs along the interior of the tank. The silicone between the glass panels will hold the bottom in place, while running a new continuous bead inside the tank will seal any leaks.>
Thanks so very much for your help and wonderful website!!
<Welcome, best of luck on this time consuming project, Scott V.>

Frogfish and cleaning crew (comp.)

Hello there. I am looking at acquiring a warty or painted frogfish for my 30 gallon aquarium. Currently the only residents are about 40 lbs of live rock and some hermit crabs. The tank has been up and running for probably two years with an assortment of fish, all of which were given away in time due to there becoming to large. I'm a lover of triggers and small ones get me every time!
<Um, ok... but if you plan to get a frogfish, please let this be a species tank. Frogfish will not do well with juvenile triggers (or most any other fish) in a 30g tank.>
I would however like to have a fish that I don't need to worry about outgrowing my tank.
<Yes, a smaller species of frogfish would likely be a good choice for this.>
The frogfish would be the centerpiece of course, but I'm thinking of adding a serpent star or sandsifting star to help with some of the detritus.
<Don't get a sandsifting starfish. A serpent star would be ok.>
I've read too much on your site about Brittlestars eating fish to put one in with such a sedentary creature. Would the star plus the hermits I already have and some assorted snails, be too much for the tank?
<It will be ok, if you stick to your plan of having a frogfish species tank. And If you have the discipline not to buy any more triggers or other fish inappropriate for your tank...>
I have an Amiracle hang on back filter with a skimmer that is rated for a 55 gallon tank, however I am contemplating removing the bioballs
<Good idea>
and just putting some more live rock in the filter.
<That or, maybe add some activated carbon filtration...>
Also, I'm looking a purchasing an AquaC remora skimmer because I have heard from other people that the Amiracle skimmers aren't so great.
<The remoras are great skimmers!>
So I would have two protein skimmers at work, is this too much?
<Not too much... but you probably won't need both.>
Would that take away too much "food" for the hermits, star, and snails?
<The skimmers won't cause this. However, having only the frogfish, which you should probably try to feed live food, you have to wonder... what are the crabs going to eat? You might want to add a small amount of food for them if it looks like they're not getting anything to eat.>
Sorry for all the questions, I have been doing a lot of reading on your site but couldn't find anything about the compatibility of all these creatures other than the predacious brittle stars. Thanks for all the help, I love your site.
<De nada and good luck,Sara M.>


Ok..I now have the bad news that the yellow female guppy has died.
<When fish die for no particular reason, it's usually a water quality or water chemistry issue.>
But now, the other male has gotten into a fight or accident and now, behind his head there is a circle of flesh missing.
<Treat for Finrot. Identify the problem. If the tank is less than 20 gallons in size, you can't have more than one male Guppy. They fight. If the tank has sharp decorations, remove them. If there are any "nippy" fish in the tank (tetras, barbs, etc.) then remove them. Fish do not randomly lose bits of skin, and if they do, it's a clue something is wrong with the tank. As ever, check water quality: zero ammonia, zero nitrite are what you need. Water chemistry should be appropriate too: "high" hardness (10-25 degrees dH) and a pH above 7.5.>
Should I add aquarium salt to the tank? If not, what can I do?
<"Aquarium salt" is mostly useless, and sold to beginners as a way of making them pay money for nothing in particular. Certainly, Guppies do extremely well in brackish water, and if you have soft water in your area, keeping them in brackish water helps. For this, buy some marine salt mix (the stuff used in marine tanks, like Instant Ocean) and use this to raise the salinity, pH and carbonate hardness simultaneously. For Guppies, a dose of 3-6 grammes per litre is appropriate.>
I have just introduced my younger sister into the joy of having guppies.
This boy is one of her four guppies. I'd hate to see her lose him.

(just a heads up, my younger sister Anna, will be asking you a lot of questions!)
<Before anything else, I suggest the two of you walk, no, run, to the nearest bookstore or library and get hold of a book on Guppies (or livebearers generally). There are many.>

Big fish community (selection), FW
Hi there,
My name is Gail and I am from South Africa. I have been an avid reader of your website for some time and have finally gotten the courage to ask for corroboration of what I have read and possibly some advice.
The tank: I have a large freshwater tank with an 'mixed odd ball community'. The dimensions: 3200cm x 100cm x 70cm. It holds 2500 liters (555 gallons) of water. The sump is 100 (22 gallon) liters with 5 compartments with a 2400 liter (533 gallon) per hour pump. Temp = 25C (77F) and Ph = 6.8-7. The lights are UV, broad spectrum and LED for moonlight. No live plant, only synthetic. Ammonia = 0, Nitrite =0, Nitrate = 50 - 75ppm.
My current stock list is as follows:
3 Bala sharks (15cm)
2 royal knife fish (18cm)
1 Black Ghost Knife fish (21cm)
3 golden gouramis (10cm)
4 blue Botias (13cm)
2 black & white stripy Botias (10cm)
2 Albino fire eel (25cm)
3 upside down catfish (14cm)
1 albino tinfoil barb (15cm)
2 rainbow sharks (10cm)
3 tiger barbs (7cm)
1 ropefish (21cm)
1 bichir (14cm)
1 tiger shovel nose catfish (I think, but his whiskers are as long as his body and he is white, silver and grey)
4 rainbow fish (2 boesemanni, 2 red) 9cm
These guys have been tank mates for about eight months and everything seems stable. However any new fish immediately get chased by everybody and anything under 4 cm.s gets swallowed immediately by the fire eels and the 2 knife fish. The fire eels usually eats shrimp pieces, bloodworm and have recently taken to snapping up pellets floating on the surface. I also feed algae tablets, veg flakes, wafers, occasionally bits of ox heart and Tubifex. Most of the chaps are happy to take food from tweezers now and even come to fetch it. Once a week I do a 20% water change by vacuuming the sand.
I have considered adding some peaceful cichlids but would rather not upset the balance or endanger the new chaps. I have been researching mild mannered cichlids that may be suitable and would appreciate any advice.
There are so many conflicting opinions and advice there regarding who may be suitable to add.
I would love to get Archers, Scats, Mono Angels, and puffers, but I worry that they may need brackish water. Some say that Scats and Mono Angels can be acclimatized. Some say they can't. I am keen for a freshwater moray, but not if he will need some salt in the water or suffer without it. The majority of opinions are that it will shorten his life. The same for puffers. I have read about their fin nipping but on the other hand I have also read that if they are well fed (not overfed), they settle down.
I am aware of the potential size of the Royal knife fish, Rope Fish and the Bichir and that they may start to eye the other less fast growing fish at some stage. I do realize that I will need to separate them, and I am planning another tank.
I have also researched freshwater invertebrates and possibly some frogs, but I don't yet understand enough about them. Once I do, I may ask for some help if I may.
Any input and or advice you may have for me regarding stocking will be highly appreciated.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Kind regards,

<Hi Gail. That sounds like a great aquarium! At some point you will need to do some "pruning" though. The rainbowfish are going to end up being eaten by any of the big predators. So they need to go. Same for the tiger barbs and the gouramis. Ropefish are gregarious and a bit shy, and I'd be surprised if a singleton did well in a community as "rough and tumble" as this one. Tiger Shovelnose cats may get big enough to consume things like medium-sized Botia species and Rainbow sharks, so again, there are potential problems there. Morays, monos, scats and other brackish water fish are not suitable for this tank. End of story. They cannot be acclimated to freshwater conditions permanently. The puffers in the trade split between (most commonly) the brackish water species such as Tetraodon nigroviridis and Tetraodon fluviatilis, and the (less common) true freshwater species like Tetraodon lineatus and Tetraodon Mbu. With a very few exceptions, puffers do not make good community fish, and I would not add any to this system. The freshwater species big enough to be safe from predation are all pretty aggressive. Tetraodon lineatus is a species that gets to about 40 cm in length, but it is legendarily aggressive, the degree it WILL bite your arm given the chance, let alone other fish! The two aquatic frogs in the trade are in the genera Xenopus and Hymenochirus. The "dwarf" species are Hymenochirus, and these would simply be live food in this tank! Xenopus is bigger, around 15-20 cm, but it is a subtropical frog from South Africa and not at all suited to tropical conditions. So no, neither aquatic frog would work. Hope this helps, Neale.>


Amyloodinium/cryptocaryon, microscopic ID

Hi all!
I've had a break out of Amyloodinium or crypt in both my quarantine tanks.
Quarantine tank 1 with 2 clowns (died) had symptoms of Amyloodinium (powdery dust). Quarantine tank 2 has brown powder brown tang and a strawberry dotty but with symptoms of crypt (salt like dots).
I've taken wet smears of the fish from both tanks. Both showed the same parasites microscopically. Tank 2 all the fish behaving normally (looks like crypt), Tank 1 all dead (looked like Amyloodinium). My question is that I'm have a tough time differentiating Amyloodinium and crypt under the microscope. I've looked at images in P.T.K Woo's book (Fish Diseases and disorders vol. 1, 2nd edition) of Amyloodinium tomonts. I see structures that resemble single Amyloodinium tomonts of various sizes, huge to small. Then I also see something very similar to these tomonts but if you look carefully they have very small active cilia.

<This last may be spurious>
I figure I may have both Amyloodinium and crypt. Also these samples have copper in them but from what I understand copper doesn't effect tomonts of Amyloodinium or crypt.
<Usually not... unless very high dosage/concentration...>
So my confusion is ciliated versions and non-ciliated version of 2 very similar things, i.e. what is what?
<I would look for two (macro, micro) nuclei here for the Ciliate... the Dinoflagellate is easily stained with iodine...>
Part of me thinks the ciliated versions are crypt tomonts and non-ciliated are crypt tomonts that are mature and no longer have cilia and have tomites dividing. With all these things that look so similar how am I to differentiate what is Amyloodinium or Cryptocaryon microscopically from smears/wet mounts?
<The above is what I use... Do look for a copy of Ed Noga's "Fish Disease, Diagnosis & Treatment" for more here>
oh forgot there are red dots in some (not all) of these tomont looking things.
<Mmm, the dinospores of Amyloodinium have red stigma...>
Can wait to get my camera for the scope...this would be so much easier you think?
Thanks again!

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