10 Gallon Tank Pea Puffers and Ottos Compatibility

goosenewton

Hi all! I've been reading a lot about pea puffers and I'm interested in starting a pea puffer tank (still very much in the planning phase, I have access to an empty 10gal though). I've seen a lot of conflicting advice on how many pea puffers to keep in a 10 gal, and whether they can be with other fish. From what I've seen, it depends a lot on the individual fish, but some people have had luck keeping ottos and puffers together.

Here's the idea: a heavily planted 10gal with either 1 pea puffer or a pea puffer trio (1m/2f), bladder snail colony for puffer snacks, and then possibly a group of ottos (3-5).

My questions are whether a puffer trio is possible, or if I should stick with one, and then if ottos would work. Would it be better to add the ottos first to get established? Or the puffer(s) to see how aggressive they are before getting any ottos?

I would still need to cycle and plant my tank first, so we're a while out from actually buying fish. I'm just curious to see what others' experiences are!
 

carsonsgjs

I have two puffers in a 7.5g - i did have three but lost one fairly quickly. So far so good with the pair but keeping a close eye on things.

Personally I would keep it as a species only tank and leave the otos out. A 10g wouldn’t provide enough food for them in the long term and they would compete with the snails for algae and biofilm.
 

Fishstery

Hi all! I've been reading a lot about pea puffers and I'm interested in starting a pea puffer tank (still very much in the planning phase, I have access to an empty 10gal though). I've seen a lot of conflicting advice on how many pea puffers to keep in a 10 gal, and whether they can be with other fish. From what I've seen, it depends a lot on the individual fish, but some people have had luck keeping ottos and puffers together.

Here's the idea: a heavily planted 10gal with either 1 pea puffer or a pea puffer trio (1m/2f), bladder snail colony for puffer snacks, and then possibly a group of ottos (3-5).

My questions are whether a puffer trio is possible, or if I should stick with one, and then if ottos would work. Would it be better to add the ottos first to get established? Or the puffer(s) to see how aggressive they are before getting any ottos?

I would still need to cycle and plant my tank first, so we're a while out from actually buying fish. I'm just curious to see what others' experiences are!
I have also read that some people have kept ottos with pea puffers but with a tank in that size I wouldn't suggest it. In a large volume tank you could probably get away with it but not in a 10 gal. I'd just stick to a trio and heavily plant it. I have 4 in a densely planted 29 gallon with some cardinal tetras and the tetras do get nipped pretty often. If you were brave enough to try it I'd most definitely put the ottos in first and keep the puffers well fed always. Maybe provide some live blackworms in the substrate also to give them live food to actively hunt so they stay away from the ottos. However ottos do best with at least 3 and I feel that 3 pea puffers and 3 ottos with a snail colony will be overstocked. If you free feed the puffers snails then waste will accumulate in your tank pretty quickly. I only feed mine snails as a rare treat and I do so by placing snails in a glass feeding dish for easy cleanup.

I would suggest maybe keeping the snails in a separate tank and dropping them in to eat instead of keeping a colony in there. Pea puffers can't really get the entire snail out of the shell so any leftovers will rot.

In short, my opinion is just do a trio of puffers, get them all at one time (do not try and add more puffers after the fact) and keep the snails in a separate tank.
 

ProudPapa

Personally I would keep it as a species only tank and leave the otos out. A 10g wouldn’t provide enough food for them in the long term and they would compete with the snails for algae and biofilm.

That's a good point, especially since not all of them will learn to eat commercial fish food.
 

NotFishyFishGuy

From my personal experience, otos should be fine. I had 3 puffs and a male beta in my 15 gallon heavily planted and well fed. Never even saw the puffs try to get the beta. I added snails every week so that kept them busy. However I’d still be cautious, as every fish is different, especially something so personable such as the puffers.
 

Fishstery

From my personal experience, otos should be fine. I had 3 puffs and a male beta in my 15 gallon heavily planted and well fed. Never even saw the puffs try to get the beta. I added snails every week so that kept them busy. However I’d still be cautious, as every fish is different, especially something so personable such as the puffers.
I wouldn't say ottos are fine based on your experiences with a betta, an entirely different kind of fish than an Otto. You are forgetting the extremely predatory nature of pea puffers. They are active hunters. However despite this there is still always a pecking order. A fish like a betta is hot tempered enough to strike back at a puffer and stick up for itself enough for the puffers to recognize that it isn't food. However given the extremely docile nature of ottos it would be a different story. They will not and cannot nip back at the puffers to tell them to back off, so there is a significantly higher chance that they will assume the ottos are something to pick at. Even my tetras bully my puffers back sometimes which is why even though they get a fin nipped here and there, none of them have actually gotten eaten. My puffers could also easily kill each other but don't. They just charge and chase and that's how they socially interact with each other. If another fish doesn't display similar predatory behavior then that means they can be made into a snack.. Just a thought. I'd imagine the majority of people that have made ottos work as tank mates with pea puffers had a large enough setup that it was rare for the ottos to cross paths with the puffers and enough ground coverage for the ottos to hide or at the very least have enough room to flee the puffers. In a 10 gal the ottos would pretty much be cornered with zero way to tell the puffers to back off.
 

NotFishyFishGuy

I wouldn't say ottos are fine based on your experiences with a betta, an entirely different kind of fish than an Otto. You are forgetting the extremely predatory nature of pea puffers. They are active hunters. However despite this there is still always a pecking order. A fish like a betta is hot tempered enough to strike back at a puffer and stick up for itself enough for the puffers to recognize that it isn't food. However given the extremely docile nature of ottos it would be a different story. They will not and cannot nip back at the puffers to tell them to back off, so there is a significantly higher chance that they will assume the ottos are something to pick at. Even my tetras bully my puffers back sometimes which is why even though they get a fin nipped here and there, none of them have actually gotten eaten. My puffers could also easily kill each other but don't. They just charge and chase and that's how they socially interact with each other. If another fish doesn't display similar predatory behavior then that means they can be made into a snack.. Just a thought. I'd imagine the majority of people that have made ottos work as tank mates with pea puffers had a large enough setup that it was rare for the ottos to cross paths with the puffers and enough ground coverage for the ottos to hide or at the very least have enough room to flee the puffers. In a 10 gal the ottos would pretty much be cornered with zero way to tell the puffers to back off.
My mistake, I thought I also wrote that I had 3 Otos in there. However, youre absolutely correct that otros might not be fine, I think I was just lucky and I had puffers on the smaller side and larger otos.
 

Fishstery

My mistake, I thought I also wrote that I had 3 Otos in there. However, youre absolutely correct that otros might not be fine, I think I was just lucky and I had puffers on the smaller side and larger otos.
Oh that is quite interesting! I think your entire tank stocking is an anomaly. I couldn't imagine keeping much of anything in with my puffers at this point. But that's super cool to hear success stories! You must be lucky between the betta and the puffers.
 

goosenewton

Thanks for your advice everyone! It's sounding like ottos wouldn't work too well in a 10 gallon, so I'll stick with a pea puffer species tank. I'll try the three puffers but keep an extra tank handy in case it doesn't work out!

Now I just need to work on my aquascaping plan :D
 

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