Hi! A Few Questions...

  • #1
Wow, it's been forever since I was on here last! Life's too busy. My 10-gal tank is doing great. My 2 Red Platies, 2 Guppies and 2 Guppy fry (now almost an inch long and still really cute!!) are doing great. The Guppy with that mysterious disease has recovered...I still don't know what was wrong with her, but I'm glad that all my fish are healthy. I haven't added any new fish...grrrr. Every time I went to the only pet store with Red Platies, they were all sick...which meens no males...which means no breeding I've given up on breeding since I can't find any male Platies, and I can't just get a male Guppy because I'll end up with hybrids, and no store will take those. So...I've just decided to keep my 2 fry, who I've grown rather fond of, and then see what other fish to add to my tank.

My tank:
2 Platies (I don't think they mind being the only 2--they shoal with the Guppies)
4 Guppies
4.4 inches of fish left for my tank, taking into account my fishes' adult sizes
mature biological filtration--4 mths since I added 1st fish after cycling
my water is alkaline
lots of fake plants and small, smooth gravel
can go with or without salt added to water
good aeration; decent filtration
10 gallons

Any ideas of what fish I could get to fill the remaining 4.4 inches? It doesn't seem to leave a whole lot of options. I would like to get something besides livebearers if possible. Thanks for any ideas...oops--I gotta go now!
  • #2
zebra danios are lively fish u could get 2 or get 2 corys ther really fun to watch or 2 tiger barbs those are the small fish that I'm most familiar with
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Wow, that was fast. Good suggestions, and I like those fish, but the problem is that danios and barbs like to be kept in shoals of at least 6, and cories in groups of at least 3. It's important to me that all my fish are happy, even if it means not getting what I want. So, unforunately, I can't get any fish that shoal or like bigger groups, which eliminates barbs, danios, rasboras, tetras, cories, and some other fish. You need at least 9 inches in your tank to even get a shoal of tiny Neon Tetras. As I already said, I only have 4.4 inches left. By the way, for anyone who doesn't know, here's how you figure out how many fish your aquarium can hold (for Tropical Freshwater Only! and
Not guidelines for Cichlid tanks, which may need to be more or less crowded!):

(by the way, this is all in inches! if you go by cm, you have to convert it yourself!)
Multiply the length and width of your tank.
Divide by 12 in.
This is how many inches of fish your tank can hold. For example, my tank is 10x20 inches, divided by 12 I get 16.6 inches of fish.
This goes on the theory that each tropical freshwater fish needs 12 square inches of surface area to support him with enough oxygen. (and no cheating by buying fish that can breath air and saying they therefore need less surface area--doesn't work! your biological filter will be overloaded and your water quality will go down the drain! which is, by the way, why you do Not keep Bettas or Goldfish or any fish in bowls! 12 sq. in. of surface area/fish is the min!)
Ahem...sorry...back to the subject. Now that you know how many inches of fish your tank can have, you can figure out how many fish you can get. Make sure to look at several sources for info on fish lengths, because some books I've read must have had an author with a broken ruler. Remember: use the lengths the fish will be when they are Full-Grown!
your tank can hold 20 inches of fish
you get 6 Neon Tetras, 1.5 in. each
that's 9 in. you have 11 in left
you get 3 Guppies, 1 male--1.5 in., 2 fem.--2.3+ in. each
that's 6.1 in. you now have 4.9 in. left
you get 2 Dwarf Ottocinclus Catfish, 2 in. each
that's 4 in. that leaves .9 in. left, whch is good to leave room for error.

Note: some people go by 1 inch fo fish per gallon. However, this is not entirely accurate, as the fish rely on the oxygen in the water, not the volume of water. A wierd-shaped, spherical tank with a tiny opening at the top could not support many fish, no matter how big it is. (which is, by the way, another problem with fish bowls...) A 20 gal. Long tank can support more fish than a 20 gal. High tank. The High tank may be preferable for certain fish such as Angels, but due to the decreased surface area cannot support as many inches of fish.

Wow, sorry if that got a bit wordy.
I appreciate any suggestions for fish for my tank!
  • #4
if you got green corys I thnk they only get bout an inch so u culd get 4 bu I hav 2 corys used to hav 3 but one wasn't doing so good so he passed away and the two hav fun together they eat together and sometimes swim arund the tank playing tag as I call it so its up to u mayber fancy tails work
  • #5
Ya I have 2 corys and they are just fine.
  • #6
0morrokh, Glad to see you post and that your fish are well. Now that you tank has matured some you could get a couple of otos (otocinclus). You would need at least two. they will eat algae if you have any or algae/veggie wafers. Check them out.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Actually, Butterfly, that was what I was originally planning to do--6 livebearers and 2 Ottos.  I was just a little concerned because my water has a high pH, and I've read that Ottos like acidic water and are fairly sensitive.  Maybe I'll check and see what the pH is of the water at pet stores that carry them.  Do you think I should be that concerned with pH?  They would be handy to eat the algae off my plants.  I'll check out the link from you.
  • #8
I would definitely suggest that u get maybe 4 red eyed tetras. I recently(yesterday) just bought 4 of them and they school well with community fish and aren't that agressive. Just in case u haven't seen any of these cool fish heres a picture .

Thanks for your posts,
  • #9
0morrokh, checking the pH at the store is an excellent idea.
Also ask how long they have had them. One of the problems with otos is how their handled during shipping.I believe their wild caught and not fed during shipping. Some just never start back and so die shortly after being bought. If the store has had them a week or so and their stomachs look good and fat they should be ok.
They are such cute little fellas
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Thanks for the idea, Cichlidxorz, but I don't think I have enough room for several tetras.
Butterfly, that Oto site was great. I'm just a little worried because of how they are handled during shipping. You're right about their treatment, but they are also actually temporarily stunned with chemicals so that they can be caught more easily (according to the site). It said that the chemicals can cause problems in the fish, and that even experts tend to lose a lot of them in the first week. I think I'm a bit paranoid about loosing fish, since I lost a lot of fish and almost gave up fishkeeping before I knew what I was doing. Part of me says that if I managed to raise fry in my tank it must be fine and I should just try a couple and see what happens, but the other part of me is...well...pessimistic. I mean, I don't have any live plants or exceptional filtration, so I'm worried I'd just be wasting my time trying to keep Otos alive. I must say, though, that I'm a sucker for little catfish.... Do you have any Otos yourself? Do you know if they're really that hard to keep healthy, or they just want you to be more careful with them?
I want to explore all my options before I make a decision. I just thought of KuhlI (or Coolie) Loaches today. I've read they're around 4 or 4 1/2 inches, and I could use a scavenger to clean up after my 6 messy eaters (plus they're pretty cool, and they have them at a local fish store) Could anyone give me any info on Kuhlis?--diet, water preferances, and mostly I need to know if you can keep just one.
I also remembered that I was originally planning to get a female Betta before I kept changing my mind about what to get, and I have room for one of those.
Are there any other small fish that you can get one of, or smaller fish that you can get two of? I don't know much about fish like gouramis and the smaller cichlids.
I appreciate everyone's suggestions so much!
  • #11
The Oto in the picture is mine. He's been in the same tank for about two years.
The treatment the Otos go through is why I said ask how long the LFS has had them. If they've had them two weeks or longer they should be ok.
I also have kuhlis, 23 as a matter of fact ;D. But I'm sorry to say your ten G isn't really big enough. They don't have a big bio-load but you need several together for them to be happy. They wouldn't hurt your other fish but might make them nervous because of how the swim all over the tank like little eels.
  • #12
I also have kuhlis, 23 as a matter of fact ;D

yay go butterfly!!!!! ;D lol
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
OK, I'll forget the Kuhlis. Wouldn't want them to be unhappy. I had a feeling they might need some friends. I would like to check them out though if (no, WHEN) I get a bigger tank. I've got this funny feeling that the 10-gal won't be enough for long. There should be warning stickers on tanks stating how dangerously addictve fish keeping is, and that you should carefully consider the risks, including going bankrupt from spending too much on Christmas presents for all you fish, before purchasing an aguarium ;D OK, I've made my desision--this weekend I am going to the store and buying 2 Otos for my tank, and that is final, that is my desision, and I am not changing my mind again! First I'll call and ask what they feed them, how long they've had them, and what their pH is. I think that if the Otos sound good there, I will get them at the LFS, even though they are more expensive there...I don't really trust the fish at chain pet stores, even nice ones.
Thanks for all the help, Butterfly. If you have any last-minute tips on keeping Otos, I would love them. Now I'm going back to that site to learn everything I can about the little cuties!
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Oh, one more thing. My Platys and Guppies get pretty greedy and even aggressive during feeding time. Any tips on keeping them away from the Otos and their food?
  • #15
If there's algae on the tank they will clean it up ASAP!!! But still need about 1/2 veggie/algae wafer every other day. Just drop their wafer in after lights out. If you break the 1/2 into two pieces and drop in different ends it will be easier to find and maybe the others will share that way
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Guess what?! On Saturday I bought 2 Otos!! They're sooooo cute!!
The store's pH was pretty high like mine so I was glad about that. I'm not gonna name them until I'm sure they aren't going to die on me, which I hope won't happen, so I just call them #'s 1 and 2. I see what you mean about them cleaning the algae ASAP. I put in some romaine lettuce for them, but it is hardly touched, probably because of all my algae.
Today they scared the heck out of me when I walked into my room and found them both sitting stone-still with their fins clamped. However, after sitting still for a while and not looking at them, # 1 unfolded his pretty fins and went back to his utterly important mission of eating algae as fast as possible. I have come to the conclusion that # 1 freezes and clamps his fins when he is scared of me, not because something is wrong. When I don't come flying suddenly into the room and proceed to sit there staring at his every move (which aren't many at that point ), I have actually caught him swimming around the tank or even getting a gulp of air! And he is so cute when he starts attacking the algae on the glass, his little body wiggling back and forth.
# 2 is a different story. He seems to go through cycles of acting perfectly normal and then just sitting there doing nothing with his fins drooping. looking rather sorry for himself. At the fish store, they had one Oto left from a shipment from 2 weeks ago, who I took, and then I picked one from a more recent shipment, who I think is # 2. What bugs me is that I can't do anything to help him, like treating a disease or even giving him a salt bath, which cured one of my Guppies of a mysterious ailment. All I can do is wait and see if he improves...or not
Meanwhile, I think I will double the water changes, especially since my nitrates are getting high. I do weekly water change/gravel vacuums, but I think for a while at least I will also do a water change in the middle. It's kinda funny that catfish are more sensitive to toxins than a lot of the other common fish, and yet they produce so much waste!
The good news is that my other fish don't even notice the Otos, let alone their food. I guess Queen Sunshine the Platy and her Second in Command Corona the Guppy figure that if the Otos don't take their food, and don't have any tasty food themselves, they aren't worth bothering with.
  • #17
I'm so glad you liked them!!!
I have a crypt with long leaves right at the front of my tank and my oto sits on them. Sometimes I don't see him and I panic then I look and there he is. Funny fella. I tried to buy him some buddys but the ones I found were so small and they died so I decided to let it go until I see some good looking ones. But he's fat and happy
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  • #18
Well, so far my Otos are doing well. They have gone through a big piece of lettuce, and I swear the algae on my front glass is half of what it used to be, which is opposite of what should be happening because my Nitrates are aiming for heaven. I'm so glad I got the little guys.
P.S. I also have a long-leaved "plant" at the front of my tank that my Otos sometimes sit on. More often, though, they stay out of sight. One of my "plants" has two really big leaves that stand up back to back, and they like to freak me out by hiding between them!
P.P.S. One of them sometimes sits on or eats algae off of my heater. Is this okay?
Thanks for all the help!
Miss Mouse
  • #19
Hey, welcome to the world of oto's! They're pretty cool I've got one and he also tends to sit on the heater until it switches on and then he zooms off. If you're concerned you can get heater guards so none of the fish can burn themselves.
  • #20
I had 3 but unfortunately now only have one left, but he is a real chow hound. I had brown algae all over the place and it took them 3 days to have my tank bright as new. They are night creatures so sometimes I don't see my guy move all day but usually first thing in the morning when I turn on the lights he isn't quite done yet and will zoom around for a bit. I love him, he's just like watching a very fast little vacuum cleaner. And, yes, they can scare the tar out of you when they sit so still; but I understand why after seeing them get chased around the tank by Azul, my Betta. They had to really hide to keep out of his way!

Welcome to the marvelous Otto Appreciation Club!


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