Tons Of Questions

Caleb Smith
  • #1
So I work at a petstore, and although I feel very comfortable talking about the more general aspects of fishkeeping (acclimation,nitrogen cycle,heaters,filters etc) I am struggling to remember the specific needs of each fish and which ones work well together. As well as a few other random things. In light of this, I have compiled a list of questions that I am commonly asked and I need your help to answer them. I know some seem like very basic questions but we sell hundreds of species and there is a lot I need to learn/reaffirm. So here it goes:

1. -What is the best “sucker fish” for smaller tanks(10/20 gallons)?

2. What is the minimum tank size for a BNP?

3. What fish work well with tetras?

4. What fish can go in an unheated tank. The only things I know we have that work are WCM and Paradise Gouramis. But I have heard that some tropicals can do well in cooler water?

5. What is the best fish for a small(2.5/5) unheated tank or bowl? I know its bad but we can't refuse customers and so I HAVE to pick a fish for them. Thus far I have been suggesting paradise fish

6. Do guppies have to be kept together?

7. What fish work well with livebearers? Schooling or solitary fish and which ones?

Again, I know these questions seem very basic, but my experience is limited to just a few species and although I know I can give a decent answer to all the questions above, I want to make sure I give them the absolute best one. Thanks for any help!

  • #2
You can try otocinclus, they are smaller, and they really do a good job in any aquarium. They are a bit more sensitive though, so be aware of that. I recommend clown plecos for 20 gallons, they are smaller than most plecos.

I would say a 30 gallon, but you can keep bristlenose in 20 gallons if you have a lighter stocking, and stick to water changes.
Any fish like bottom dwellers or centerpieces such as dwarf cichlids or gouramis will work with tetras. If they are nippy, then I would suggest otherwise.

White Skirt tetras can be unheated, and so can bolivian rams. That’s if you don’t have a tank under 68 degrees, otherwise it’s completely fine. I always liked WCMM, goldfish, or mosquito fish for unheated tanks.

Bettas, and you shouldn’t put a paradise fish in a 2.5 gallon, they get too large. No, guppies can be alone, but do well with others of their kind. Schooling fish, dwarf cichlids, bottom dwellers, and most invertebrates will work with livebearers.

  • #3
I applaud you on doing research on your own.

It's very sad that the store you work in doesn't supply training to you. It is because of this that so many people try to get started with fish keeping get advice at the fish store and end up frustrated due to disease and fish death and just give up the hobby.

Keep up the good work!
Caleb Smith
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thanks. They make all new trainees watch videos on fishkeeping but it is less than adequate on almost everything. Most of the employees know next to nothing about fish and the amount of misinformation I hear them provide is concerning. The worst part is that they pretend they know what they are talking about and dismiss me because I'm newer to the job. I had a manager(who used to work on a fishfarm) tell someone a BNP would do « Great » with someones goldfish in a 2 gallon. I had an assistant manager tell me that 5 PPM nitrite wasn't what killed a customers guppies but that it was their PH at 7.8 because it was « dangerously high ». I try to always pass the customer over to a more informed employee if I don't know much about the fish they are trying to get, but most of the time, I'm the only one near the fish section(aka I'm not allowed to leave the customer) and so I kinda have to wing it. My personal experience is limited to Axolotls, paradise fish, bettas, and a few types of shrimp but I feel comfortable talking about the care of most of our fish. The bottom feeders, chiclids, and other more random fish are my weakpoint. Sorry about the rant, I'm tired and bitter.
  • #5
1. If it’s a 20 long, you can get away with something like a BNP. Nothing smaller, and not a 20 tall.
2. ^^^
3. Tetras work well with many community fish, Mollies, Platies, Guppies, gourami, etc.
4. it all depends on the room temperature honestly.
5. Don’t suggest Paradise fish. Guppies, Bettas, snails, shrimp.
6. Nope
7. Same as #3
I typed this earlier and didn’t post it accidentally lol

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