Several questions...


New Member

I'm new, both to this forum and the world of tropical fish keeping So far this site has been very informative and helpful, but I would still appreciate your input on subjects I have not been able to find answers to in my research. I have not yet set up a tank, as I want to see if I have the right conditions to set up a successful one (preferably planted).

First of all, I am a student living in a dorm room. Although I would love to add a 10 or 20 gallon tank to my room, I would like to know how feasible it is to do so. My permanent home is about an hour's driving distance, and space is not an issue, as the dorm rooms are pretty large . I will also have access to several pet supply stores. Is the stress caused by transportation of a 10-20 gallon planted tank an issue? Is there something else I am not considering?

If that's a go, I would like to ask you about the community I would put in the tank. I currently have an empty 10 gallon tank, and have researched its limits. If I was to use this tank, I would put in maybe 3-4 otocinclus catfish (any other hardier algae eaters for a beginner? They seem pretty fragile, but if no other algae eater will fit in my tank, I will give it a go with them) and a betta. Is this an okay set up?

If I was to get a larger tank (20 gallons is probably the maximum size as of now), would the addition of a couple platies or swordtails incite the  betta's attack response? Their fins aren't particularly large, but any input from personal experience would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

I know with christmas break coming you'll be away from your dorm for at least 2 weeks which would be the perfect to start your aquarium cycling, as it is only a 10 gallon, your cycle might even be finished by the time the new semester starts, but anyway, you wou;dn't need to transport the tank back and forth all the time, there are feeder rocks and things like that, that will allow you to go one vacation for up to 7 days, so the only time you would have to worry about transportation is for summer break, and that shouldn't be a problem at all, there are lots of people that travel an hour or more from lfs to home, you just a bag large enough to support a greater volume of air, as for your second question, its not whether a betta would attack the platties or swordtails, more of whether the swords or platies would be tempted to nip at the bettas long fins, and also the fact that male bettas are very territorial, it might work with a 20 gallon tank provided that there are lots of hiding places and cover

HI Ibean and welcome to Fish Lore

A Betta and a few Otos in a 10 gallon tank is not a problem As for the Swordtails ... our expert Chickadee will surely have an answer for you.

If your home is only an hour's drive from the campus, I don't think it should be a problem to have a tank on campus for you. If you will be transferring the fish during cold weather, just make sure the car is warm enough inside to keep the temperature of water in the bag with fish warm until you get home. You'll have to empty the tank of the water. You don't have to remove the gravel and the decor, just the water. If you'll have any live plants, keep them moist during the trip. Keep the filter media moist as well. Though the beneficial bacteria may start dying off after 30 minutes without filtration, I think that if you keep the filter media moist and well oxygenated, you won't lose the bacteria. Once you get home, quickly fill the tank with water of the temperature appropriate for fish (the temp. in the bag with fish should also be similar to that of the tank's temp. to avoid any temp. shocks to fish) and hang the filter back on the tank and turn it on. Then slowly acclimatize fish back to the tank. This means floating the bag in tank's water, with tank lights off (room lighting should also be low). While you're floating the bag, pour some of the tank water (say, 1 small cup) into the bag every few minutes. Do this for an hour or two. Then, net the fish and release it. Turn the tank lights on the next day. Feed the fish the next day as well.

However, if you will be going home for only a few days, maybe someone will feed the fish for you in the meantime? You could ask someone. This would be better than transferring the tank a few times a year. Though I understand, you'll be taking the tank home for the summer break.

Whenever you transfer fish from one tank to another (or - in your case - change 100% of the water, as you'll need to do during the transfer), check the pH and nitrate of your current tank water and the tap water. If your tank pH and nitrate and your tap pH and nitrate are very different, the transfer may pose a problem since you'll be changing 100% of the water.
If you want a community aquarium, I would not keep a betta in your aquarium. Bettas fight with many species and there are also many fish that love to nip the betta's fins. I would get a 20 or a 15 gallon. No algae eaters beside otos can live in a 10 gallon and they're not all that hardy. If you get a 20 or 15 gallon aquarium these fishes do well together: 1 bristle-nose, 3 corys, 3 platies, 7 neon tetras and a few others. Swordtails need more room than a 10 gallon.
A Bristlenose Catfish grows to around 5 inches (some even more than 5 inches), and I believe any fish that is this large should not live in anything less than 30 gallons. I think for tanks 10 - 20 gallons smaller algae eaters like Otos are more appropriate. Bristlenoses and Siamese Flying Foxes are great for tanks of 30 gallons and up. But this is my opinion

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